Song of Wise Nonsenses


for Lucy

Between before and after
between the now and then
a cricket rubs its legs
and the day begins again.

A bird speeds like a bullet
from the barrel of a gun
where its twiggy nest is gathered
like hair into a bun.

Each spring leaf from its bud
unfolds a golden scroll –
a tree within each seed
like a doll within a doll.

With faeries you can’t pinpoint
your faith stands firm and good
for you sense that they are present
like squirrels in a wood.

Behind a curtained window
there sits a little girl,
the colour of her eyes exceeds
summer skies and pearl.

Bright flame crowns her candle
like an owl on a branch,
the pool of wax a skier
that rides an avalanche.

The moonlight is her hero
the sunrise her best friend
the story keeps repeating
in a song that never ends.

Like perfume to an insect,
like echoes to a bat,
it’s only heard by children –
but what’s the good of that?

I cannot quite remember
the world when I was young
and what I do remember
entails another song

For the only thing that matters
the nonsense that is real
is that the non-existent
is truer than what’s real.

But it opens to the world
in the house where time began,
when with wind in your long hair
Time took your hand and ran.

Time took your hand and ran.
I wasn’t fast enough
to chase him and to catch him
and call him back, my love.

But fill your arms with flowers
and never breathe a word
to tell how sweet things fall away
like feathers from a bird.

My princess so and so,
my lady such and such,
the meaning of this ageing world
no longer matters much.

Some wizard conjures spells
like rabbits from a hat –
they’re only heard by children.
But what’s the good of that!