from A Transatlantic Dream, 1987

Greetings to the State
with the prettiest name…

Pierced by the north star
The moonlight shatters the comforting darkness
Of this summerhouse world.
At daybreak a brown haze
Spreads itself over the vale of the city:
Another year goes by. The cycle still repeats.

Wonder hardened to bitterness
Before you arrived to rekindle my youth.
In summer grass, the sibilance of bicycles
Wearing treads on the lawn, spilling
Oil on the tarmac as the rider
Stirs to sweat under a blank sun.
Voice deep in thought
Cool, refreshingly distant.
Perhaps too distant.
Eyes a monochromatic hazel
Timed to catch another's stray glance
And gently move away in warning.
Other small deceipts pass, unnoticed.
Instinct to you is irrelevant, dismissable:
Conformity is your mantra, conservatism.
Though you sip the quiet beauty of a life
Stripped of constraint
You, yourself, are free from weeping desires.

No artificial idol could ever match your grace:
Even the greatest sculptor's hand
Would tremble as his sight turned finite.
Across this workbench space
His weary hand might trace an argument
On the marble's stoic indifference.

If all conscious sorrow turned to love
This ghost of hopeful adversity –
Given in gratitude with a silken handshake,
Dextrous and yearning for an Anglic lover –
Would this ghost, this returning conqueror,
Drown the warnings of idolatry
And bury deep in the city's grounds
His sensuous interia, wrapped in a steel smile.

Or might this velvet hero
At last relaxing out of armour
Teach the younger man of his days of childhood
So many miles removed over a taciturn sea.
Yielding to the gentle insistance
Born, not out of bravado or drunkeness,
But out of an untouched affection.

Rejuvenated with the passing seasons
My love becomes unjust
Questioning the smile of a stone god.
Remembering the index of possibilities
Who would not fail to falter
Before the steady gaze,
So intimately uncompromising in its intensisty.

From the occasional thunder clap
Comes the premontion of August
And the shunting home
Of an interrupted friendship.
Letters go out to you
But your silence speaks more than words:
Stay away…

I must forgive and forget
Falling towards America…