Photographs are framed and placed neatly above
where I write - two full bookshelf lines - now
set against the handful received by post today:
my family's organised rows in contrast to this
clutch of images, some from fifty years ago.
A father is seen for the first time, one black and white snap
where arms wrap around a four year old daughter,
then the full colour captures of his wife, the other son, and
that sister much older, still being held; his handbuilt
custom cars too, and even an ultralight to pilot solo
into the freedom of the sky, but it is also no surprise
that after all these years, his first son, as far as I now know,
isn't in a single shot, or as his last wife confirms when
sending these, he never told her that I had been.


People walk past the open gate then stop
turn and look back into the flame, see
me beyond in the garden chair and glow, and
assuming I'm in control, walk on to let the
fire burn. In the time from dusk's first lit match
to these embers of rotted old wooden pallets,
the full moon has risen above the shed so that it is
wholly in my late night line of sight, shimmering
though in the heat haze from the bonfire and
flecked by rising red ash before it is snuffed out.
But why I am disturbed when hearing the sound
later of others I do not see moving straight to their
cars to drive away, not pausing to care or notice
the red hot glow still scorching our ground?


Crooks, according to thousands and thousands of
students, is primarily punctual, rising in alarm
to a day dreamed through gold-framed specs but
tightened by the reality of batterings he has endured.
They dream too of his multitude of shoes for all
terrains - bar the one he has to tread - and wishful
readings of his mauled life take on a life of their own,
being young and hopeful and having futures.
We know different. Though they too know he is old,
we understand the vernacular of what truly possesses
age; want to ask what snippet of the day he can
seize from dirty secrets isolated on his special shelf,
urge carpe diem to define a moment for those who
read into his chapter the risk of satisfying the self.

The Metaphor Programme

A spook-eye is watching the world wearing
its cloak and dagger. It is a ghost
haunting whoever hides behind their masks
then scans for the frightened flight from those
dark faces. If silence falls the spook-ear hears
it all, listening out for the eventual howl of scared
subterfuge and scheming. There's no escape
down fast river runs and mountain sides as
words reveal their literal anchorage in the
whispers wafting out of woodwork, those
skeletons terrorising the insides of cupboards.
It is all a web of lies and deceit uncovered -
language that now twists crannies and nooks,
unravelling through metaphoric spooks

Afternoon Walk

The insouciance of young steers
staring, their heads sideways cocked
clocking my amble by, and the absolute
beauty of the Charolais' upturned
face towards my passing observation:
how I see burgers on the barbecue;
sizzling steak at Gaucho. Further
around the corner, black and whites
loll in the sun and grass, churning
milk for strong coffee and my lifelong
full cold glass at mealtimes.
There is no blood-rush for the hunt.
What I see in this afternoon's strolled foray
is the supermarket's meat on cold display.

August Moon, 2011

An August and near-full moon rises above Devon
ignited entirely by the sun. I pause to watch it burn in
its safe reflection before returning to the television and
singe in the heat of London's burning streets where the
night's sky is blackened by smoke like a balaclava drawn
over someone's usual bright face. Cars are
beacons as are people's homes, their flames
fanned by marauding winds and other people's unusual
voices - words that sound familiar but out of place -
and the light attracts a swarm of something.

Going back outside to spot my Devon moon
it has disappeared, no doubt behind summer's clouds,
and rain will come eventually to wash things clean
or, like smouldering ash, turn bright light to grey.

     Mike Ferguson 2011