Saturday, 20 May 2017

Permutations Of A View


Whether the lake is shaped more like an egg-timer

or a barometer is difficult, from this angle, to say.

The park is sedated with revolving sprinklers.

The water, green as thrift-shop chrysoprase,

has made an Ozalid of the trees and sky,

a mackled draft. You doze, no longer able to see

the playground for the infringement of leaves.

Our zen transient the heron, neck like a question-mark,

is stationary as a decoy, a sculpture depicting Appetite

Deferred. The people drift here and congregate,

milling as though a spectacle were imminent.

That being there in sunlight was the communion

they hoped for they walk home, beneath a sky

of tattered chiffon, benignly unaware.


Whether the lake moves more like a harbour

or an estuary is open, on this occasion, to doubt.

The park is a centrifuge of brusque if-onlys.

The water, choppy as a just-stirred bromide,

has made a counterclaim against the trees and sky,

a foolscap screed. You peer, angling to see

the willow-leaves twirl sidelong like helixes.

Our two-tone resident the magpie, wings like jagged oars,

is banking where the gale projects her, sheering

with the on-go. The people trudge here in ones and twos,

clasping their hats and hoods against aviation.

That struggling through this imbroglio of gusts

could be a trial-run for entropy they trudge home,

beneath a leaf-hectic sky, ultimately unconcerned.


Whether the lake looks more like a pewter tray

or skating-rink is a question, in this light, of perspective.

The park is preserved in ice until a later date.

The water, transposed to a sheen of opacity,

has made a tabula rasa excluding trees and sky,

an Etch-a-Sketch deletion. You flinch, preferring to see

the want of leaves from the warmth of your room.

Our late itinerants the gulls, whiter than the gelid grass,

are standing where a day ago they sailed, ‘not

helplessly strange to the new conditions’.

The people stay home, whelmed in their bundled systems.

That traipsing out through this static duress

could enact a mind’s decluttering they stare out,

across the monitor of sky, morosely unconvinced.


Whether the lake sounds more like tokai being poured

or a distant gamelan is a stretch, at this juncture, to decide.

The park is fleshing out with a new-found colour-scheme.

The water, lucid as a hydrotherapy pool,

has made an aquarelle of the trees and sky,

a synecdoche of our desires. You rally, eager to see

the latest developments in the field of leaves.

Our clockwork stay-at-home the coot, sleek in bombazine,

is conducting her chicks across in bobbing convoy.

The people come to wander here, lovers

and circles of friends, pausing on benches to read

or graze on fruit. That all Time is not contained

in this moment they trail home, beneath a sky

of muzzy turpentine, palpably undeterred.               

                                                                      (first published in Poetry London)