grey, lucent, dank, cold air.
and blue sky
and irregular paving stones
I stand taller and straighter
aware of the calling to shake off the weight,
open my arms,
aware of the grey, lucent, cold dark air,
and the irregular paving stones.
Too much computer time and office light glare.
I step outside to clear my head
–Saying that phrase to myself takes me back to other usages when the pain was overpowering and it seems absurd—
and got a faceful of tiny, cold raindrops.
I kept walking resolutely up the pavement,
my blue jumper dotted with the tiny dark traces of moisture
till all I could think was rain.
I turned back.
When I listen beyond the ticking clock and the whirring laptop,
listen below the surface,
I remember you saying I can hear your heart,
and there’s the rush of the rain.
DOOR ALWAYS AJAR
My feet hurt as i’m sitting still
watching my watch or watching the clock
When I go out I first smell the rain,
then it hits me
big splashes, cool
and the tress bare as they are
stand tall and gently leaning
and the house stands windows bright
door always ajar
even in the rain.
WHEN I GO OUT
When I go out of the door
a thousand thoughts flit this way and that,
silver fish in a school scattered by danger,
a roost of crows suddenly taking flight,
a pile of leaves swirled by a sudden gust;
but down along the road the sky is grey and also bright,
the wind is cold and fresh and there’s a distant taste of the sea,
the trees stand tall and still, bare branches high,
the sun turns the sky a brighter platinum,
and the road goes on
where the air is cool and the fields breathe.
The sky glows deep grey today, the air cold and damp yet fresh.
I step outside to clear my head of computer haze.
I have so much, touch, leaves’ crunch, flesh.
Here and now birds chirp noisily. A man in hi-viz vest walks briskly by, fag in hand, arm vigorously swinging.
The urge to create and recreate delight opens in me vistas of sky.
May I be that still sheltering tree where birds are constantly singing.
Stepping outside I stop myself from clenching, from hunching, from shrinking from the cold.
Standing more upright, I notice the pale grey of sky
beyond the grating whirr of a rubbish truck and the man in a black jacket walking briskly with a cup of coffee
and I remember how big and full and overflowing the moon looked
first thing this morning when I stepped outside.
Praise be for cups of coffee.
What Happens When We Don’t
It can be hard to practise not doing,
without holding your breath.
People steer their way past,
guided by their phones.
The shade and sun and big translucent oak
play and arc across sky, road, doorway.
I turn around.
The sky shines opalescent blue.
Born Berkeley, CA, USA
holds a BA in German Studies and Ancient and Medieval Culture at BRown University and a PhD in Medieval Latin literature from Cambridge
has held teaching and research positions at Harvard Divinity School, the University of Notre Dame, Providence College,and the University of Bristol
Now lives in Bristol, England with his wife and their three children
Employed as casework coordinator and equality rep (disability) for the University and College Union branch at the University of Bristol