A Return to Bleak
I described the weather
as miserably drawn;
a flabby gentlemen
with a moist surface.
and in short, not at all
an ecstasy of days, and
I sat for a length of time,
taking in the fog’s
Found and remixed, “The Bleak House” – page 374-6, Bell Yard, by Charles Dickens
The Scent of Light
The power is gone. Again.
I’m muttering after candles,
scented, too many
Candlelight is a gauze
in this spectral darkness,
and the air stiff
enough to snuff-out a flame.
Scents, breathless rose
and beige wilderness,
a perishing smell,
greasy, ropey with ash
from the hearth with its low
glowing coals strangling red
like a famine’s ache, and I sit
in a tall-back chair
with patches on its cushion,
and its stripe ticking leaking
like a stuffed trout,
and how did people sit
in such gloom
and foul air, and spend
their eyes reading by candlelight.
The scent from the candles
grows sickly – my head aches.
I rattle windows open
to darkness and light rain
and faint wind, and watch
as one flame after
the other flickers,
droops to darkness, and then
the room is blind again.
Remixed from Charles Dickens “Bleak House” and my diary from March 1991
The Humans’ Race and B-Roads
The sky is flat today, crushed
and beaten boldest blue, and clouds
by spadefuls exquisitely-turned
in chiselled weather. I pick my way
on polished roads, icy transparent
blue veins reflecting direction.
Ethereal maps without origin or end,
and it matters not which way I choose,
not when you live on an island.
Inspired by Martin Chuzzlewit
By Charles Dickens
She Comes from Sand
These are wicked days
in league with themselves,
and she says this weather
is apt to bore her to death.
But she comes from a land
where her veins flowed
Sahara sand. Mine still flow
with silty eddies, tidally
pungent as old lungs.
I wring weather from me
in steady streams, and I
love complaining about it.
for Miz Q: Day 4 –
The Common Measure of Wind
The wind from north, we poke the fire,
sparks’ playful obligation,
sharp blows from east, bedevilled cold,
it is as we observe.
The breeze from west, sea foam is blowing,
conscious always, going lea
soft from south, oft overlooked,
weather clips a broken sentence.
Remixed text from my 1991 Winter Journal
and Bleak House by Charles Dickens
A Slight Change in January
These soaked lanes
are so familiar,
as if known to me from cradle.
I can predict its unevenness,
foresee its roll and pitch
without a glance to my feet.
Change here seems wary,
steady as brown eyes,
and only the appearance
of spring in January
changes the pace of things.
There by the brick edge,
a crowd of yellow crocus
and a smear of icy rain,
and suddenly I am all change.
Morning air floods my head
with much merrier thoughts.
Remixed from Edwin Drood and my 1991
Winter Journal from Bletchingley, Surrey.
Note to Readers: This is a reviewed version of a poem written yesterday for dVerse poets. I’ve altered the enjambments, thereby changing its constrained form to free-form. I think I much prefer this version, but I’d be happy to hear your thoughts. Thank you.
That day had an appetite
for sun shining. Wind blowing. Shadowed
light passing fields flocked with birds.
All those black harps singing. And I knew
this day was too short lasting
when St Mary’s bells spilled the air
ringing. Changes, changes. Ringing
clouds swelling into thunderous sound.
Rewritten from original posted for dVerse
That day had an appetite for sun shining.
Wind blowing. Shadowed light passing
the fields flocked with birds – black harps singing.
And I knew this day was too short lasting
when St Mary’s bells spilled the air ringing.
Changes, changes. Ringing clouds swelled
into thunderous sound.
dVerse wants a broken poem form, so the last two lines of
this Ottawa Rima were ‘broken’ and written with internal
rhyme. Poem form Ottava Rima abababcc for dVerse
Found/remixed Bleak House and my 1991 Winter Journal
It was down to the skid of that wheel,
and we stopped breathing, as if that’d
bring it to a halt, the tail lights going
misty-eyed, blinked and swallowed up
in the darkness. And we scrambled
out of the way just before it hit a tree
and burst into flame. That tree never
had a hope in hell after that car hit it.
Written for Margo’s Tuesday Tryout.
The Melancholy of Rain
The bridge at the park is deep to its arches,
unclear the waters churned to movement.
Rain has become that ‘thing’, a beast
of intelligence, and we cannot take our
departure from it. Fields are sapped, sopped
and stand mired and stagnant. Trees hang
melancholy, and all the week long, both day
and night, the earth is punctured.
drop. drop. drop.
I hesitate to linger long in this wet. The air
clings soaked. To breathe it is to drown in it.
Felled trees make no crash as they fall
to ground, the axe no chop or splice, leaves
set themselves in quagmires where we step,
and smoke rises in untidy, lost clouds. Tardy,
my thoughts unhinged by rain, forever rain,
streaked and leadened on this windowpane.
And I smile. Wave. My neighbour walks her
young children to school, all dressed in rain.
Found and inspired from text in Bleak House by
Charles Dickens. Recollections of January 1991, Bletchingly.
A Found Haiku
specks of rain
a thunderous fall
Written for MLM,
A Found Haiku from
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Mark Twain (1835-1910)
My feet settle, warmed by the hearth, there
as the air convulses with thunder. My ears
seize on weather, my heart clutches at rain.
I want to rush into roof arches and beams,
and hide in vesper processions and dreams.
But I’m sat in this too soft, slumped fitful chair,
watching a contagion of dark clouds appear.
Autumn is gone. The streets are swept clean
by unintelligible snarls of wind. And I sip tea.
Quietly. Still as the spoon on my saucer.
Found and Remixed Text:
The Mystery of Edwin Drood,
Charles Dickens and personal
recollections: November 1990,
A Spill of Milk
There’s a great fog here.
It fills the valley like milk
spilling into a glass.
Even when you think it’s gone,
in diluted streaks
hanging on twigs,
and wrapped in tall grasses.
There’s no ridding yourself
of the stuff. It’s grey
and sits dim on thoughts
And I think I hear an owl…
Remixed Found text: “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens,
and my recollections of December 1990, Godstone, Surrey