&

DH

On the stairs

I knew only I had to be on the stairs
playing my pretend back-alley flute,
the shadowy room at the top
no-one had entered these many years
required nothing less,
and if I had my pretend clown face on,
smudged as well,
this would serve better than my straw hat
after a hot swim.

DHk

In the corridor

Bold colours in the open book
opening on fields, hills, farms;
not much text.
A band of children, wading
through reeds and corn swathes,
tree climbing, brook trawling,
and a jar of stickle-backs
pricking bubbles, bubbles,
a strand of weed:
the door to the lounge suddenly
opened, and the massive draft
opened onto me–
so it was escape back to bed,
the safe house, cloth-eared and quiet.
I press escape now and
nothing happens.

DH

On the roof

To remember the future
so as to be there first and know the place,
there has to be a key for it.
To hear the wind first
and know whose door opens and why,
there must be a way
to open the book before even it is printed,
before thought or drafted,
to be there in the reeds waiting.
Now, as things are,
looking down through the skylight
sure I can get the music right
without instruments to
discover who’s there.

DHk

On a level plane

By the desert of the fingerboard:
ear to the soundhole,
resting on smooth wood.
Strings that have wound themselves looser
over nights of silence – plucked,
the harmonic curves, gains, turns
and we can read the grain from its throb.
In the pocket: paper, comb at the ready –
could go either way.
Back in the bathroom: a bar of soap
with the impression of a key
pressed in. It will wash away,
while the wind watches.
Scaffoldings of other buildings
stand around, naked architecture
sculpting space. But here
we use space to sculpt the thing,
rough melody roughed up from nothing.
Instruments, notes, paraphernalia
threaten to hold it, but can’t.

DH

Running on the spot

In the lost room lit by two candles -
was there a break-in, a shadow, a dream? -
running on the spot slows to
walking on that same spot to pausing on it
to the plaint of the comb, thought held almost
allowing a duet to surface for a
nanosecond, long enough for the blessed
primordial dance
to be conjured. Still here! Still here!