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31. Diplomacy
Gaga with their glamour the plenipotentiaries congregate
to make a demarche.

Procession of forward a step and backward two, imperceptible to all not in the know,
nod yes to negation, confound affirmation.

Stiff in back and upper lip, they treasure the slack that language allows, to perform
a pirouette on points of standing.
30. Seminar on Krakmaro (Island off the coast of Stockholm)

Basalt bulges through the dress of green: there she lies in sea of cobalt sheen.

Swallows twirl the twilight, lack of dark. Yesterday I heard the song of a lark.

Clamber over wind-sanded rocks, In the linger of light that cheats the clocks.


At every turn the sea appears, when across the shrubs the view is clear.

Wooden houses stand on toes of sturdy rock, outreach any snow.

Waiting in rooms, at the top of the stairs, hang prim portraits of imprinted forebears.

Grandmother’s lace draped on the chairs, graces the presence of wealthy heirs.

Standing apart in the studded land leans an old latrine, with carvings by hand.

Hallowed by a tattered print of Christ,
ruminating above the pit of shit.

In a barn the scholars discuss, huddled in shawls,
against the whirl of wind that howls,

whistles through the slits of their wits.
29. Atlas unmoved
Ponderous deliberation, aging men, sedate, but playful in conserving the game,
cuddling their spoilt little words.

Polished but weary from endless tugs of war, they piffle the ripples,
still waters of balanced power.

Astride their horses, unaware that the merry go round has come
to a halt, the power turned off.

The committee is a haven, a lull, away from the bother, of wife
and pushy young people still intent

on moving the world, still hunting to kill riding the drive, to prove their skill,
the ritual pride of manhood unleashed.

The old dogs say little, but enough to show their status and consummate skill, parading the
shine of a burnished view, guarding their honour.

Sort out the lighter weapons, rig the regalia, armour cliché,
and if by some mishap it does get rough,

they withdraw to the never failing stratagem of further consultation, a select committee.
Atlas did not move either while he carried the world.
28. Birds
They pit their nest of mud and spit along the eaves, from which they skip
and dart, to twirl the sky,
chirrup a riot, twitter the twilight.

The black and smart, two ravens, the rogues, wiseguys, nodding their trot,
skew their squint, to seize you up,
and screech the designs they aim to plot.

A stork stands solid, Zen master, composed. Balanced on a single stalk,
his also orange beak tucked into
the down, the bulge of his chest, solemn sentinel.

The heron, senior barrister, attired in tails, sleek grey silk, fixated stare,
not a feather moves, rapier poised,
masking his dream of succulent froglets.

Pigeons waddle around to parade their fatness, their softness and neon shine,
pick the crumbs that pensioners sprinkle,
and irritatingly fail to finish their coo.

Gulls, pirates of the air, tug and tear plastic bags, flick and strew the refuse,
chase even the ravens from the corpses
plastered into slits of bricks on the road.

Insulation has driven the sparrows
away from the nooks and crannies of old h…
27 Night 2
Sleep was seldom without life, but now life is without sleep.

In darkness afoot the slippers are felt.

The door without slam along a finger lodged close.

Along the stairs streaks a line of lantern light.

In the garden, the shrubs mumble what cannot bear light.

Across the street the gables stand stern and keep mum.

And in the soil wriggles a mole, tunnels the dark.
26 Tender rip-off
A man holds up a piece of bread. A gull speeds up and swivels its beak
to train its beady eye.

Hangs still, but how does he do that, in foaming waves, stiff with salt?
He edges in, with infinite care

in tender stealth, holding time, he wraps his beak around the bread,
and, snap, he catapults off.

His screech dies out on the horizon, sharp as a knife, cutting across
his feathered belly. Then he returns.


25. The stream
Down the path along the house, past fleshy plants with velvet leaves.
A potent tree, veins of ivy winding
around its trunk, trembles its branches.

Through a tunnel of foliage: prickly sprigs that clutch and stick.
The earth is soggy, hidden water,
lisping, and breathing musk.

On to the delight of the stream.
Clear water glides and tugs
at a bough that lingers, twirls
around a rock that curls a wave.

A girl bursts up with a gasp, a glistening seal. She flings her hair,
spatters a shower, extends a cool,
limp hand: how do you do.