answers on a post-card please
the cathedral bell left like a cat yawning
      a sunken city      the
 walls are moon-wash
            I believe you there has been no rain today
though May is the month for rain not April
the songs are wrong and is that comforting

if you take this and divide it appropriately
you are left with      I am glad that the weather
is unseasonal      it's majestic and lots of other
unreasonable words      meaning      sleep is disturbed
and yet     
                    if I'm honest it's somewhere in-between
this and the dream I had      I had to rescue you
from a hospital because there was an insomnia epidemic
at the prison      the only way to reach you was through the cafe
but 'they' were reluctant      I suppose it could become less possible
considering      what I want now is to be able
to say 'I love you' and not be laughed out of form
for writing a sonnet      could things get more referential

let's take the ego out of it      and yet
knowing      'this' is the way      'forward'      if you're listening
guess the quote marks      there is a great calm
fins pop out of
                           'I'm taking away the compliments now
don't bother me'      why do you always hate them
what else am I supposed to do      how to appear green
and be really innocent which this is I'm not joking

            I've followed 'this' and I'm in pain      'have a drink'
'no thank you'     'no'      I think I need
to understand      you'll move some of your anatomy
maybe all of it      which at least is beyond

the bells have a colour all of their own      copper
left out in deep snow      more brittle than green
and they're trying to juxtapose something without committing robbery
            it makes them weep      which is private when no one is about
who is certain      (it's about time I remembered
not to tell you I care      you don't like it)
above your room the fallacy of the cat let upstairs
is tinkering with 'her' canaries      'she' is in
a position of power      we lack the glossy element of primary colour     

'the bells'

or      are we shooting today      if so      it makes
no difference      I'm off duty and forgive me           do you
understand      do I      do      perhaps I shouldn't take this
much further      I must be trying your indulgence
with my patience      forgetting lines 35 and 36      the moon is simply aching
and 'something' upstairs has been hit by 'somebody' advancing

but because your grateful palace is so tender
there are no tramps holy in the street tonight
which is naive      possibly offensive
but you sleep so quietly you are almost a picture
and still time passes      there is no 'now to this'
without a concerted effort to be learning

my faith in such quietness may be dismissed as ignorance
as a shell is still and empty      sounding in this tidal river       is it too late now
to take back the consequences or a drink     ' and is that
not humble'      it's pompous to talk this way
when the stars are making their enquiries round the streetlamps
      a little matter of moth-man-ship that can seem terribly important
through the window      rolling and knocking like bone dice
on a solid table      curtain-blind and not at all opaque

perhaps you can't answer why it is you're so quiet
and so not absent      yet 'present' is not right
in this distant shadow of the cathedral      maybe
you could believe that love      and so      but yet
            a charcoal parcelled drawing of 'the night' too

I don't need the answer but 'want' is a different word
in the Profound Dictionary of Happiness      and 'enough'
is 'complete' and 'satisfied' which is really not ironic
      ''I want' and yet 'I am complete' in the smallness of your breath'
I will make sure nothing can harm your happiness
with its whispered wing-beats
                                                             because I can really say
'I am happy'      or      'my heart skips'      and there's not anything
silly about it or broken      the lucky footsteps in the street
follow mine about on the pavement      maybe the 2nd wise man's shadow

but it is no threat as the light enters and several hours
of missed bells with the substitute dawn chorus of canaries
      (it seems we shall have to get a new cat      a better one)
there are secrets to tell and your eyes not even open yet
to know      why is there still an ache      do I have
a condition      it is 'enough' and 'all I want is'
that you are happy      no questions      nothing gilded except mischief
            but not like wars or terrorists or even nuisancists
stealing the bangs out of Christmas crackers      there's no need
for any of that      just our sonnet-like flexibility
and protracted unprotracted unity under your unfeasibly late mistletoe
            all we need and
                                          all we want is...

but maybe I am thinking for you      turning us into a tourist trap
and this is not a brochure      which is kind of problematic
            I think it's time now      but pigeons are always welcome
      I like their morning messages      they sound of you

first morning
                             last morning      it's really good that you're here
      the waters are simply amazing this spring      'so opulently wine-like'
            'here'      you too      take some      hold our hands      please      be our guest         

Exeter, May 2007. Source: Lee Harwood, Love in the Organ Loft.

sonnet for a book about stained glass    

how to understand the concluding      'god
the immaculate puller of heart-strings'
      but yes I'm with you      as with the longed
out of bed breaking bread in the morning
            did you read in the newspaper      last night
ten men at least dreamed in this town      alone
among them      I found you      (not obstinate
as such)      I guess      just lucky      nine heteronyms
also found you      making up the number
performing its shape greenly 'among the hills
surfed by motes under astonished eyelids'      'you're
great'      they shout      'as one astonished disciple'
            which      calculated religiously      leaves
 room      so      'not frightened      (apart from)      I'm yours' 

Bread and Cherries

Many animals I believed in have proved to be fictitious.
My study became an aeroplane. I could hardly see for love.

Because I have never liked porcelain
I am often given porcelain ornaments for my birthday by people I mistrust

or have insulted. From above these take on shapes such as 'nightfall
in Merseyside' and wander through my imagination in cherry-trim galoshes.

But my representative for tomorrow is not as bleak as you might think.
He is happy to ransack the cold corner of my room for upturned elephants

that chink their fruit-machine eyes in graveyards like fish-bones in butter.
'To be happy alone with your own footprints may be sagacious,' he says,

'out of hospital. But think. Who smoothes your rare bed-sheets
when it is raining? Who glues you back together like a manticore?'

The self-help manual from which he taught me is a great comfort at the bottom of the sea,
where everything might be so fantastical now that he is gone.

In his honour I build a porcelain bestiary around my doorway,
articulate only as powder under a microscope.

        Nathan Thompson 2008