PAINTING ANGELS
AT HENLEY ON THAMES

The worst thing about it
was that they kept moving
all the time, in and out of
vision, here and there as they
delivered messages and dead
babies and things radiant
and never ever standing
still, only the slightest
rearranging of wings or
an ethereal hovering as if
all of this were breaking
the rules and at any second
the canvas would explode.
And then there was sometimes
the problem of my mind not
being content with the celestial
and searching for nipples or pubic
hair and what about the one with
spectacles and the one who limped?
Anyway, I kept at it and by Easter
the canvas bellowed bright and
buzzed but suddenly they were
off to tomb duty and as my mother
once said dealing with what human
wisdom could not deliver and the
figures on the canvas began to fade
and when Henley Cricket Club asked
me for a large painting to raffle two
of them appeared on the outfield, one
in rain, the other in a radiance of light
so that one minute he was there and the
next he had apparently slipped into sun.




Six Kinds Of  Quiet

When the words do not come it is the room that may say
something about today, these moments,the now of a window.

I have been thinking of a field in Somerset,a white horse,
the run of the stream, its voice of small stones,flow tone.

When the children in the snow world built the man and wife
and two snow children what was the name of their silent tribe?

The woman in the bedroom tries on his shirt, his tie, his jacket
having first cut her hair, removed her make up, changed the rings.

He plays the sonata from memory and he knows that she will be
listening from her somewhere, his fingers tapping that tabletop.

The daughters clearing the house so that even the voices will be
taken,into their hearts,and sometimes the silences,a whisper quilt.




Don't Let The Pillows Get Wet

Don't let the pillows get wet
after the baths, the dancing and parading and pretending that
we are all beautiful and dressed in sunlight and music and magic.
What the light does to the mind and the way the darkness switches
it on and dressing us in pearls;
but the wet pillows deliver ghosts and sea creatures and the songs
of whales that have lost their maps and there are ghost children too
growing old between riddles and hide and seeking and late at night
hearing their parents throwing words at each other and the silent roars.
The carers come, the carers go; what would they do without our silences
and wounds and the way we fall between meal times and silent clocks?
What is the difference between clocks and mirrors I do not ask you
and when somebody sits by my bed and begins a song or prayer
who am I to prevent these incantations? I don't want to hurt them
or chase away their gods. I have become a stillness within a rage
within a bleeding song. Remember me between a somewhere and
a not yet. Don't let the pillows get wet for they will drown me in
this otherness,this space between pages, this waiting to begin again.




CLICKING
                        for Beverly

Moon white, massive with signals and great with silence
and then when our parents had hidden in their own lives
we approached the cove again, the small hidden beach.

It was as if moon had landed in our souls,
stars singing and ocean dense and finally trapped
by land and tideless, all signals whispers.

And it was only children who came here to a lost place
to witness what some god had deserted or punished or lost,
this creature of tides and ocean dazzle and clickings,

and we brought things to surround our secret creature,
essential gifts of flowers and shells and drawings
placed where the wound might have yelped,

and we could imagine where the knowledge was locked,
and the codes of knowing and the maps of language
and finally stand and stare by the side of the ruined eye.

and what it may have sensed before we slowly entered it
in dreams and songs and stories with no beginnings or ends,
as countless creatures consumed reducing its structures to ruin,

except where an old man now lived singing his rebel songs
and when the big rains came he began his relentless clicking
to tell the other whales that all was purposeful, all eternal.

We never told our parents, we never wrote this down,
there are enough of us to remember between
NO and IF
and
BUT and what the silent songs say about regret and trust..




WALLANDER AND THE GOD THING

If there has to be a God I think that it will be interested
in fragrances, near misses, interpretations, the way things
swing and miss and even love can be mirages and clinging
to what might have been an adventure for life, the memory
of voices and what rain said and the dogs who kept returning
and trees that were always going to last longer and the fidget
of future compelling you to write your life in fictions or fractures
for grandchildren who might just remember the way laughed or
dressed or sent presents which were actually about the past and
whatever was never and did you ever let them know that a poem
might be a signal about belief and recognition and trust, love?


     David Grubb 2015