Forgive me for using your life
as material, your mourning
as metaphor. A seam of grief
has opened under your feet,
a passage you must travel
without a candle or a torch.
Tonight you’re speechless on my chest
and for once I’m almost lost for words.
Maybe these lines will be enough
to carry what I’ve learnt:
the darker the night, the more
our eyes adjust to light, and stars
that shine in pitch black
are brighter than before.
Evenings we would eat in the kitchen
while mum’s soap rumbled the wall.
He was silent as I raged at famine,
nuclear bases, spillage of oil.
I remember now what he said without
words; morning, my shoes cleaned
for me, and at my bedside sat the tea
he’d made before he left for work.
After the Gallery
Heading north again, yellow and orange leaves stream past
like dots freed from a Seurat painting.
We pass a plump brown river, the promise of another flood
held under its skin.
A horse in a green coat rolls in a field;
a wash of mist
blurs a ridge. Outside Chesterfield
I try to look away from a girl
studying the Highway Code.
You’re almost old, I reflect
to the tunnel-blacked window. She glances up
and through me,
luminous and assured
as a Leonardo.
It’s cold on the bike, and I’ve forgotten my gloves.
At work, the team are not playing ball.
But a pupil-searing glare
is glancing off the Mediterranean
where cotton-clad backs are pressed
to cotton-clad chests.
The coast is clear
and so is the horizon.
Roy Marshall lives in Leicestershire where he works in adult education.
His pamphlet ‘Gopagilla’ was published in 2012, and a full collection ‘The Sun Bathers‘ (Shoestring Press, 2013) is available from the publisher or directly from Roy’s website: https://roymarshall.wordpress.com/about/.