To Wake Is To Sleep
A dog barking at the unseeable,
sound carrying on a cold night.
A dog barking at an unsaid thing
or vague starlight or its own tail.
Barking like a pinched nerve,
like a wolf talking in a fairy tale,
the insomniac, yours truly,
making a stab at reading Aristotle.
Who claimed dolphins snore
and all beasts sleep without exception.
This page is blank.
This page is embroidered with snowfall.
It reflects light and contains all colours.
This page is now a linen shirt
made of fine Egyptian cotton.
It’s every room behind every door.
It’s a tidal pool. A settling pond.
This page is a freshly mown lawn,
a sliver of silver, moonlight glinting.
Look deep within yourself, you’ll see
this page is the first feather on Earth.
It’s a cancelled cheque, a boarding pass,
the liner notes for the devil’s scriptures.
This page is a pristine canvas
in the studio of a purblind artist.
It’s a movie screen, the images projected
resembling something akin to imperfection.
As if torn from a diary or family bible.
As if a flag waved in desperation,
and you only have to raise your hands.
You can only relent.
In the rented hall at nine o’clock,
meeting under a potted clementine,
a perfumed knot of radicals, angry
talk the swill of their contempt,
a kiss of arson on their lips,
of peasant stock but divinely proportioned
men and women under tyranny’s brush,
however warm and dry and well fed.
Who fondle change and like the feel of it.
Firebrands, renegades, anarchists –
however said, they suck the salt
of parlous bombast and rhapsodic élan.
One nation under a black flag.
Their discordant anthem none will stand for.
Those in on a new way, if not a better path,
the old order a tattered cloth.
A thin grey rag in the dead of winter.