Folk Song

Atop a towered collection
of records, desert clouds.

The tower too audacious will topple you over
if you don’t
listen in good time –

don’t sing like the skyscraper, crumbling on the hungry.
It’s magic-dust is bread crust from a distance of the stars.
Be like the cracked green bowl for sharing
before you hit the wood of the door,
and go madly.

Taste the spoon that drips
the black message
on the morning
that breaks to complete our circle.

What have you got lightly, under your sleeves?
The disc of Winter daylight settling when it’s too cold to get the nerve,
finger pickin’ though freezin’,
callin’ on us to forgo dreams.

When a cannonball played the Free Trade Hall
and the American Library of Congress to a ladybug,
the people at back there huddled to see,
through heads,
a man standing
and his travelling guitar.

I’m running with horses of muscle an’ limber dogs
across fields,
with horses and dogs,
my legs newly weak.

Across the fields,
as England’s sky knits complaint,
but I’m going home,
where to America
he plays.

Over tea,
over the steam of a cup,
and the droplets on a kitchen window have a
blue Chinese scene,
and leaves swirl in a loose storm
to galvanise a worried brain,
for lips that have not seen another’s for some years,
but another cup poured to sit in silence
about such things.


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