TWO SECONDS TO TEARS
The Doomsday Clock is set at
two minutes to midnight
for life as we know it.
I’m set at two seconds
my mother, his father.
Not for the old reasons
which seemed so urgent
I could laugh
Just when we should
have been having
the time of our lives
his father fell
on a smooth surface.
My mother can’t remember
what she can’t remember
And time disintegrates.
SACRED TO YOGA
Tuesday mornings are sacred to yoga. The washing
and writing and parents and overgrown garden can wait
till I’m done, stretched and strengthened
Little pause after the in breath.
Foot strain, joint pain, migraine; endless specialists
have looked me up and down and in and out,
and asked, Have you tried yoga?
Little pause after the out breath.
Hands and knees on mats for cat pose: stiffened spine
curls smooth again. Bottoms up for downward dog:
release the hamstrings
and the head.
Little paws pressed to our mats.
The parquet floor is full of people
keeping ourselves well.
The only side effect
On the Putative Darkness of Cats
The household feline wants to think
he’s dark-mysterious, scourge of the night lands,
savage with delight; uncanny hunter,
companion of witches and poets.
White Death, they call him
in his silky dreams.
We’re all in the spare room, furry
and smooth-skinned family members together
because the silly beastie lost a baby rat
in the big bedroom, and I can’t find it.
The cat is in disgrace, but even he won’t stay
overnight in the same room
as the tiny terrifying wild thing.
A week before I leave
for my first cruise, a coldsore
the size of a bus and twice as sore.
On the cruiseship balcony, the saddest
soul trapped in the wood and metal rail,
wailing in the wind.
On the plush stairs, a teen retro-goth
in the one-act tragedy “Everyone hates me”.
I try not to laugh.
At bus-tour lunch after
the treasure-sodden Hermitage,
a Muslim couple fighting in undertones
in opposite directions. Echoes
of my past. By bus reboarding time
they’re all smiles again
over their baby girl
in her gigantic pram.
The whole bus smiles.
Egret with attitude
An egret coolly snacked on tadpoles
from the pond, white cuphook neck
bent with the elegance of aristocracy.
Ivy, protector of frogs and froglets,
waved long pale arms at the bird.
– What exactly is your point?
it almost said, lowered its lordly neck
for another refreshing bite.
Too civilised to shout at wildlife
the frog-defender ran close as she dared.
– Go! Leave the pond alone!
Unrushed, skilful on its stilts,
the white-necked bird complied, strolled
to the lush lawn, fished the damp grass
for undefended worms.