Outside the General’s office confined to a knot in the hall of assumptions, thin shafts of sunlight cut the eye from a slit in the wall… the sound of my shuffle magnified on the in-breath stumbles on the out… clearing my throat for this session… I’m all too aware of myself.

Save heart
open the door
or suffer the eternal duel.

Come in!
Yes?
I don’t have the paper.
Name?
Lieutenant Yardstick, Sir!
At ease Yardstick.
Pull back the curtain to a business field of show
in pause
I look away to the floor
scuffed shoes still saddled in snow.
No Yardstick here… sorry, not in the book…
must be
posted… where…
enlisted on a gold star, sown to ribbon and bow
nothing by that name here
should be…
is there a story?
Pardon…
Background, organisation, time and place?
Not sure what you mean…
Melody and rhyme don’t make a name without cause.
Come on, think it through
that mercenary incident, anything
a reason for the turn
everyone’s got a story, man!
Who, what, where, why and when… so?
in pause
What’s yours?
Mine! Don’t be so forward lieutenant.
Sir!
Heavy-handed delivery derails the account.
You mean all heart and no shirt, sir?
We’re not those kinds of people.
That’s reasonable.
Too much focus on presentation, the cat walk distracts…
our model loses focus…
I absconded, sir.
What did you say?
I left the troop
that’s treason…
’tis a story, no doubt
consider this.

Sugar the pill
sweeten the blow
already beaten
before you go…
we value, liberty, identify a fix…
hemmed in, pillared, wracked up and smothered
broken, mended
you’re numbered and coloured
any which way…

I’ve no alternative.
Please!
You’re under arrest for missing the point.

Cut and sliced from the get-go
marginalised
disenfranchised
displaced by the magsman…
broken’s a word overused and abused
for one-upmanship….
a tall story the controller holds year in year
dictated by name
measured in numbers
the lesson of anger and fear
don’t worry
their excuse is a ruse
another man’s hurry
an act of contrition
made clear…
running hot and cold
educated
lamented
put down and backdated
flushed to a drain from the rear.

They’re all over us
stop that
you’re too stooped
too low
get up.

I look up to you… under your council; I’m an easy bend to break
hiding my head in your distract
I burst into tears
roar with laughter
conjure some masquerade you want to see
a dance-an-drama, seeking a few crumbs of acknowledgement… anything to please
the stooge who attends circles up in the loft.

Until further notice
there is silence.

Such renounced stillness
levers a heavy heart,
where the vacant apostle
apprehends the keeper’s lodge
we remain beholden
foundering awhile
in exile
poised to the upright
shock dissipates
head oscillations
ponder
assimilations
on the breath,
views, hopes, dreams
colours, shapes, a theory
that bears logical, illogical action,
a force so strong it moves me and the hitch
to go down to the lake.

From muse-maker’s hollow
we travel a river
regarding the lake
in readiness for rapids, the rough ride ahead
our plan marks a powerful say in how we follow the map
a paint-spray of thought can help or impede the journey
extract fixtures and fittings
for that exterior lap
on the hour
by the second
this ebb and flow of mind
scales every note
off and on
bebop, classical to it’s a wrap
a nonsense
or some great articulation
that warrants some
well-meant attention
builds or destroys the line of wisdom…
breakdown to breakthrough
that deluge of thought can unleash war
release the doves
from bombed-out, burnt-out remains of what’s gone before
leaving those left behind, who get to say what’s next
unless they break
the spell from within remains
a thought maker’s hell.

Still, your lantern silence roars.

Foreshore of the lough
the moon peaks
into that which is… there is I and I
drawn to embody the mirror speaks
a specular broach waxes and wanes
billowy clouds drawn in on the spin
bring a fleeting glimpse to the star on the rim,
that luminous orb
a unanimous glow
crowns Pen and Cob
in this valley below
they take the parade
our king and queen
upon a carpet of jewels
the silvery glade before them
their cygnets follow
one by one, in line and rank
those downy fluff cloaks keen to take flight
scrabble together to mount royal bank
around the bend, hidden from sight
they advance a secret feathered nest
wayside of the comforters shallow
raven clouds come again
stealing majestic right from the crest of the night
the eclipse’s shadow sweeps across slate
until a single sparkle of light
catches the black speculum plate
a nip at the surface
prompts an elegant furrow
illumines shift
the small bay window
’tis a labour of love
that house on the hill
call it life everlasting
a transient drill
drawn to ground
from the thought maker’s will

this mysterious hour
brings the advent morn
awake at the cay
ceremonial gems
sees tears where she lay
those pearls of dew
drip from the blade
quenches thirst
for the fast to be made
a ticker-tape cheer echoes in on the wind
the eye of rite
marks the first swift on the wing
a genial breeze
brushes song in the trees
out on the bough
the chaffinch touts time
with a peep and fink
mother hedgehog waddles out from tawny leaf cover
stretches sighs and twinkly blink
these nights of slumber ebb away
robin cries heartily to awaken the other
sleepy heads might yet have their say
another chance
to master the day

come rain, snow, slippery mists, a peppermint blue
we’re here to sing every note true
a change of heart
celebrations anew
your trumpet blast sounds
the crackerjack’s horn
riding in on white horses
for one and for all
’tis no mistake
this symphonic call
between low and high-season
something’s afoot
wide-eyed and awake
calm of mind
casts the sword o’re the lake
a butterfly beginning
deep within
the love maker’s keep
this arm in kind
make no mistake
sweet chariot
remains
an easy song to break.