Theatre of the Backwards Play

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I drive
backwards through time,
past shops that sold toy cars,
down the hill I could not cycle up.

I see myself outside the chippie
laughing,
then turning up late
for that date that turned sour.

I remember my weekend job for £1 an hour
where those houses are now
and pass the post box where the post office
is no more.

I wonder how,
with the butcher and corner shop lost,
kids could be sent for messages,
missing out on the penny basket

and so I wonder what is the cost,
as I watch from my driving seat,
from my personal theatre that shows
my own backwards play:
the towers of my knocked down school,
the safety barriers of the once open pond,
and the bush that is no longer able to hide
its kissing occupants,
not that it was I who kissed her that day.

Winter Colour

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I captured Winter
and took it home,
kept it locked up
where it’s deep,
monochrome frozen heart
lay silently in my lap
and was lulled to sleep.

I held there such power
of an ancient time,
while, unknown to me,
it waited patiently
until some unknown
appointed hour
to address my crime.

Confused, then, my look
when I saw the child
in a sudden burst
that shook iridescent colour,
and while Winter thawed
so was I returned
back into the wild.

Bypass

the traffic walks
along four lanes of grumble
while abandoned coffee cups
in the morning jumble
provide no ups
to moving clocks
and unread signs
on parked cars on flyovers
sit in wait
from where people jump
away from dreams,
down with a thump
amongst bottles and cans,
a spate of papers and foil,
the refusal regime
won’t tidy it all
as a nation of litter louts
continue to shout
about unanswered plans
disappearing with speed,
knowing this is us all along,
stationary,
while the sign over the carriageway reads
visitscotland [dot] com

Lighthouses

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Within corners of the past
the salt stings sores left open
and looking back, re-reading my tales
I see a light that mocks,
that shines and yet turns dark
in unending sequence,
unaltering, repeat, the same,
pointing towards me,
pointing blame.

But I see clearly now friendship
fastened around my wrist in patterns,
which did not, to me, let tell of its romance,
and while the lights,
in their merry dance and mark
provided beacons to those who pass,
to me, I saw nothing,
and so the spark that sets the fire
was lost deep within the waves
and slowly I let slip
that long-ago
abandoned ship.

A Path of Nettle Stings

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Walking by I stopped and thought
a path for my feet leads to naught,
while overgrown and dark,
behind the bark of the tallest tree,
a secret hidden hollow route
might be a better choice for me.

There is no careful stepping stone
around these roots and so alone
I pick a path of nettle stings,
of jagged things that rip and tear
but still I push on against the dark,
far longer than I want or care.

Such searching leads me to a pool
and standing there, a silent fool
is reflected in the stagnant murk
while elsewhere a bright blue sky
holds close a warm summer’s taunt
laughing that I did not walk on by.

The Priest

In those last moments I saw
the drowning begin,
and while the calm of the sea
gently rocked and swayed,
recognised the predicament I was in.

As time stood still I watched
the thrashing for air,
as gulls called the landscape,
filling the sky with abstraction
adding to the conflict that now lay there.

In detachment I paused
and thought,
considered how important life to be
as landscape turned into reality
and I saw what we had caught.

But calmly I stood in ceremony
as the priest, by rote,
delivered with precision
the last rights with one swift thud
right there on the boat.