The Word Catcher

Some days, words come with a lark`s free fall,

or drop, plump with soot, like fledgling jackdaws in the hearth - a dark surprise.

An ashy buzzard`s plumy swoop to one fixed eye-sharp spot

would be my paradigm -

cruel, lovely brindled feathers hushing a soft, wind-powered landing.

But I must work at words,

worry them like a thrush with a tight snail,

learn the deft crash of shell on stone,

peck out the snug meat, soft as mussels, tough as squid.

And I must put on gear to catch my words,

slip my pen-cramped hand into a falconer`s glove,

take blooded meat

and swing the baited lure.

While you, my speckled merlin, snatch at flesh

with claws scaled as a tortoise`s stretched neck,

I`ll slip the hood over your stony eyes,

take your full-feathered weight on my curved arm

and watch the brown stain of hung meat

spread on my leathered wrist.



To gain a bird’s eye view –

windhover’s sight.

Not counting scale or distance

but feeling the sweep and pull

of landscape in ascendance.

Roads thin, electric threads,

houses squat shelters pitched against the rain.


And she, my aviatrix – bird woman –

will find her scope at last,

cease, like a hawk replete, to fret

and tangle in her forked routines.

See clearly or, renouncing sight,

let the wind take her to another place

where no thick objects cry out to be stacked,

no eyes and voices ground her urgent flight.

Her Jeans


Her jeans,

stiff on the boiler, drying too fast,

tug me like a lodestone.

I stop and pick them up, automatically

fold the hard crotch over

to a shape fit for a drawer.

Have her legs really grown that long,

her tiny greenstick pelvis hardened to a cage?

(My own shape now too slack and sloppy for the zip’s squeeze sticks to Lycra.)

The door clicks - its nine o’clock in the morning.

She’s just come home.

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