What’s the weather, Wystan?

Nothing happens. Ireland’s
(Her weather still) peaceful.
But times across the waves
The wind comes, the rain comes,
And no rainbow’s yet made
To promise charm even
In chaos. Just chaos,
And its wake is nothing
Again, broken light un-
Broken into clearness.
Covenants make nothing
Happen—and if there were
Only gods to geld us
Into belief? But as
The Irish weather, so.
We will stay changeable.

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The Wall in Iraq

A scene, called “Peace”, from the so-called “Standard of Ur”.

[My first blog post, back in 2009, was a far different version of the poem below. I removed it from the site when I started blogging again in 2013, and had no plans to revisit it. But for some reason, more than six years after I first wrote it, I have started writing it again—and have made it much shorter if not much else.
          So, gentle poem, welcome back to the internet. (And great Achilles will be sent once more to Troy!)]

The deepest past’s mere meters down,
a lot of dust no doubt to those
who made it, but even ground
this trodden—boots, bare soles—
is air to a bomb.
A wall that rose,
and was buried in time,

rises again, its surface glass-
like rock, blue as movie-star-eyes.
The weathered ones whose hands glossed
the standing stone, like skies
over Ur long watched
for sterile signs
of things to pass, have passed.

Colours, populous in nature,
do not penetrate the iris,
but glass can well invade her
eyes, two dirt-red pebbles
smoothed by salt water.
Something happens
with life, some stray contour

around the side of natural
beauty shakes its skin and crumbles
into want. A thimbleful
of chancing chemicals
falls in a careful
mess, carelessness
diluting the dead-still,

slow-dying purity of rock.
The girl picks lapis lazuli
from her eyes. Fired up and dropped,
the shrapnel of history
shattered her sight. Stop.
Do not worry.
Even walls cannot last.

Bucolic III

Gentle, the fields, slowly, eating the bones,
Blood drinking, men upon them, new, compete,
Goat bone, sheep blood too, gently now and slow.

The fields fill, the tillers bring up again
Buried air, new, with old blood in them, veins,
Slowgentle the flow, new, on old scars, skin.

Applemouthed dogs as like, or heifers
Fleshcudding, as new, on inherited
Tongues, songs—war still, war, allwar, ungently

And swift, leaching through those old tales, leeching,
History, for new, like unfastened old
Rivers, twists, through the fields, and turns, bloodcropped.

Bucolic I

Tityrus lounges in the shade,
Bees lullaby the sleepy glade,
The reed sings soft, soft as the grass—
Then Meliboeus comes to pass,
Sour Meliboeus and his goats,
Their grumblings putting ends to oats.
         Thus always when one feels pastoral
         Comes some exile with his quarrel.

Bits for a Hot and Cold July

Chocolate
All the chocolate in my father’s shop
Melted that Irish heat-wave week into
Small-scale magmatic floods the window
Pelted with heat in unrelenting drop
Drop by softening drop they unformed all
Into ruination and my father pelted
Windowless-wrappered bars into the small
Shop fridge to be newly unmelted

Remains
The ice desires to flow and be
Water again (the cold remains);
It’s frozen still, though almost in
That shape it had when lately free

a swan skein breaks the water

a swan skein breaks the water spanish arch
cloudy corrib like the dog’s tail sweeping
our legs paddle the air in idle arcs
dangling from the edge above foam leaping
foam spitting white at feathers’ dirty-white
slipping like dream-thoughts back into the mass
the cloudy corrib falling like the night
toward the bay the ocean into gas
gas rising sun-pulled into day and cloud
cloud trembling gas into soft mists or hail
once cloudy corrib whispering or loud
speckling earth water feather leg and tail
soaking and sinking in each upturned face
restlessly resting in each passing place