An Invitation

I want you to come see where I live
To be familiar with all the things I see
Every day – the view from my kitchen
Window, the loft-space in the garage, the
Way the sun comes in on a late night in
The summer; see in a new light all
The things I brought to this new home
From the old. If you see it, old friend,
It is possible that it will end this terrible
Feeling that I am far away. Maybe it will stay
In your mind, sisters and brothers, nieces
And nephews, cousins, family, all the pieces
Of who I was and where I am, joined this way
Will go from this home when you visit my old one
And then maybe we will have done
With the alienation of distance and time
And this foreign land will be a little more mine.


The lily and the amaltas – a May Day labour of love

Fill your lungs with marvel, a wonder
Full of exaltation. To breathe
Each open red heart into your own
A kind of beatitude. They toil not
Nor do they spin yet which of us is
Freed from this sin. I have other
Places I want to be and other flowers
I need to see other labours
That beckon to me so far away
Unreachable so deeply lodged within.
Hours spent in the work of hands when
Other homes and other lands bloom
Yellow, gold, and shades of fire.
Give me an ecstasy of scents or
Bring me a fiery magnificence
But grant me no special beneficence
From this cleaving desire.

The Impossible Stubborness of Walls

Holding out as time and space and grief
Ravage the holding in. The brazen
Promiscuity of objects that move
To new homes, and glow with the accumulation
Of new-gathered riches. The unthwarted rigour
With which the shape of things cling
To the walls which held them up, the naked nails
Rejoicing in their unreplaced importance.

The returnee is eyed askance: cupboards retaining
The unwanted residue of indecision
Refuse to acknowledge the suitcase
And carry-on items that accompany moving.
Necessity is not the driving force of need.
Items left, undiscardable, regard the rest
As mere luggage. Unstable, movable.
Lightweight air freight.

No, home is never where the heart is. Ask the walls.
The brick and mortar that stand as you walk
Ride and fly where the heart takes you. Cement
Understands immutability. The resistance of immovability.
Make new homes, go. But if you really want to leave
Use your bare hands to tear those walls down

Five Bags Full

The two bags of namkeens
Were eked out over weeks.
My sister felt bad when I told
Her how treasured they were. I
Thought your suitcase wouldn’t hold
So much, she said, and to buy
More would’ve been a waste!
She speaks, I thought, as if taste
Lies only on the tongue, a matter
Of spices and dough. As though
The heart were not suffused
With the sweetness and salt
Of home. So this time, she bought
Five bags. All that they had
At the store. This time I told her not
To feel bad. How could a heart ask
For more.

“Life Continues”: A Truth

Universally acknowledged. Plants
Can be transplanted to other
Courtyards, other keepers,
Creepers are harder, but arches
Have been known to tether
Pillars of entrances together.
And the earth itself, in sooth,
Defies being cornered, demands
That we arch its latitudes,
North to South, altitudes flying
Across separation. No imaginary
Line is a bar. In consolation,  Life
Continuously cries – Here we are.
A place to be stable. Here,
Where the round flatness prevents
A slipping off, where
The edge is no bar, no table
No morning mug of tea too far.


For Audur, In Her New Home

A new house is always
A lovers’ dream. A consummation
Of pictures and walls, a yearning
Of spaces for filling. The many ways
In which a corner can touch
A small table, a tall vase; of
Such missed meetings as brass
Candlesticks too awkward to place
Near settees that need the light.
Such may also be the delight
Of warm floors and stockinged feet
Of open doors and a happiness to meet
Those who drink wine at your table
So that when you talk late into the night
And lights come on outside to kiss the sable
Your home is that moment when eye meets eye
And the crowded world settles down with a sigh.