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On Suffering

She had wild hair-steel wire snapping in its own current. When she pulled and it came out in clumps after the chemo I cried but tufts of it she threw out the car window for birds she said for nests.

Dog Days 

When the day frays, and Sage. nearly three; regards me from her fox-spot at the edge of the forest, I see we need to be dogs together; Down dog, I say and from out of the shade other feelings she looks up. Come doggie, I say, Sit. Sulkily she finds her dog-knees, shuffles over. Good dog, I say, patting her head and slipping the leash round her middle just as I do Duff,
the real dog. And we’re off, racing back and forth the length of the garden,
me shouting orders, Sage tossing back
her head and barking, back and forth, until chest heaving, red tongue lolling, she signals water. I fill the dog bowl and she throws her face in. Great syrupy laps with the ladle of her tongue. Then it’s my turn, rope down over my head, her small hand
catching round my furry-dog middle,
and we’re off. Till we have to pee.
together, because dogs like company.
At our favourite shrub we angle
our knees and lift one two three. One
of these days we’ll really do it,
piss our dogness in a hot pink arc over the world.

Gathering Oysters with Sage

When stone is struck
against stone
fire jumps out.
Poems come alive as stones.
Sentences of sun
and the green world
on which sun falls
reveal themselves
as the split-open oyster.
The spirit’s full hand.


My Father Underground

A cavernous room
houses the water table
under the earth.
Shadowy chairs and dim lamps-
Hearth fire falls 10 coals-
Root soup cooks in pots on iron hooks.
Everything I need to keep going
is under the earth and the fire’s burning.
There’s great desire under my feet

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