GETTING USED TO IT                                                                     

I have been slow in getting used to it: I have

not got to grips or taken the bull by the horns;

I’ve fought battles each day to remain in the swim,

fearful of eddies, of brackish backwaters,

with no punch left to get back in the flow;

whirling slowly, treading water, seemingly stuck.

The air I suck is stale, it fails to fill my chest.


That’s where my mind is just now, for now:

I can place my body so as to face the sun, which is

fine, though no-one shares my seat or is there to

point our feet together towards the source of all,

to play in its rays and say thank you for this world.

Better things than these to do? Put them away

for at least a moment! We drift if we don’t sail our boat.


I have, probably for some time, made the mistake of

marking down the number of birthdays passed;

of persuading myself that there is still a road to navigate

from the kitchen to the bedroom door, just one flight of stairs.

In my dreams I pair with the principals in a pantomime

who find worship on this earth and, against all odds,

eventual standing with the gods, so well controlled,

so well endowed.  Make no mistake – the link is not

one of lineage; they are not my kin, they are mere

metaphors, tools for defining a state of mind.


I hear them say: be precise, take a knife from

the kitchen table and cut meat and bread into shreds

and model what you mean and what you preach;

stop the prattle and open your arms, let in what you need –

begin to explain. I think (I have not yet lost all reason)

that what they ask is fair and I sit down to add these lines

I’ve planned to write a thousand times.


I miss so much the touch of a finger on my collarbone,

the rub of tangled hair on my chest and shoulder.

Can we revive the smiles of lips and eyes,

wordless because they may say anything and everything,

all known notions, all sweet devotions, all guises of love?

We could freely choose from all the above; meanwhile,

here’s a hand, take it; for I will not walk without you.


How can I write this down without hope of achievement?

The evening wears on, the day’s nearly done, will I

lay down my head on a pillow softened by silks

cut from the web that I’ve hung? I fear I’ve spun only

more space for confinement. The threads are cunning captors:

they stick firmly to my limbs. I am self-caught, spread-eagled,

as the last chance to jump the gap walks by.




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Don Matthews

Sun 7th Apr 2019 10:40

So good Peter

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