Clouds are my weather

the sky is filled with cloud,
not a blanket grey
that hugs the sky close
so the air seems dimmed
by the bruise of it,
but a duvet of down
in tumbling clusters of grey
and walkways of white,
clotting and frothing
like foam, like cream,
a sheet of cotton wool
spread overhead
to mop up the spilled sun,
scrunched from its spun silver
like cold candyfloss.

Here the airs meet,
cold and warm sliding past each other,
shivering the water vapour
into dribs and droplets
like frosted breath.
They are the face of the sky,
crumpled and creased today
but tomorrow they may be
new-blown white,
sailing sheep grazing my skin
with cold feet,
or purple and pink pashminas,
the colour of cocktails
in the evening sun.
Tomorrow they may be gone
leaving a baby-blue sky,
sweet-smelling, bare-skinned
and new-born,
bright with light and promise.

Clouds are my measure
of the bounty of the day.
Clouds are my weather.

Feather bed

Give me a feather bed
to lounge the winter in
and a down duvet
to snuggle to my ear.

I hear the snow
will be deep this year
and the dark-eyed nights full of frost.

I will be at home
under wraps,
safe as a cygnet
swathed in swoons of swan down.

I will enjoy the snow
through the curtain, beyond the window,
muffling and hiding my home.

I will hear the rain
tinkling and tickling the trees,
the dark trees
beyond the pool of my light.

I have serious business to undertake,
in my folds, in my feather-nest,
dreaming the spring into being.


There’s no dirt
like earth,
no rubitinyourfingers richness
that will grow me a green tree,
no other matrix
of microbe, mouldered leaf
and stone,
honeycombed with water and air,
furrowed by worms
for plunging roots.

So easy to despise
as dirt
the dust that forms our food,
that moors our bodies,
that links us to deeper mysteries –

the slow time of centred rock,
the cold holding of hot memories,
the love and lure
of dark gravity
as it pools and congeals
in whirls of magnetic coupling.

And spinning alone in space
with a jewelled face
our earthplanet,
twirling the sun
in a silent dance
to lift my soul

if I notice
what lives beneath my feet,
if I remember
what lies beyond the skies.


When I was a kid
I didn’t think there was anything there
where air reigns,
just the space between shapes and lives.
I didn’t think space mattered.

I didn’t see that I wouldn’t see
anything at all
if not held by space,
there would be no square or round or prism,
no face,

no place for love to grow between,
no words or songs or might have been,
no beauty.

I didn’t know
that air was so full
when it looked so empty,
that it carried chemicals
for our breath, our plants, our fire,
for rain,

that it held up planes and slowed down cars,
that it pushed without weighing
anything at all,
that it moved to give wind
and rippled to bring sound
to my ear.

I didn’t understand
that air invisibly enables
all things.


Can words burn?
Can a written voice be lost?
Once lit do they melt back into
the passion that pronounced them
ready to form new sounds
like a caterpillar preparing to fly?

Or are they still there,
a silent memory in the air
holding their shape like a
homeopathic dilution,
still potent,
still carrying their flavour, their feeling,
their texture, their meaning?

Does the flame launch them onto the wind
to carry invisible poems
to every doorstep?

Do they hover near ears that might hear,
bobbing like corks on a
swelling sea
waiting to be caught?

Are they owned by their authors
or are they free,
a gift of sudden beauty for you and me
like a piece of coral
washed up on the sands,
like volcanic glass
rescued from the fire?