David Helwig: new poems

Chessington Zoo, 1969

O elegant tall captive
browsing acacia leaves
on lost savannas,
your heraldry of gentle eyes

your voiceless extension
of the throat induce
specifics of sudden love
where pennies count to twelve.

A smiling Sabbath
of green late summer drifts
into a chilled autumn
of sudden loss.

O camelopardalis bending
to drink, proclaim
to your tall and spotted
lost herd the scent of water.


Spring suite

1

Among black draggle
earth frozen most nights
days nubs thrust
blood red to unfold
in acid and tonic flesh
vast poisonous leaves
white fists of seed.

Crow silent as it beats away,
black as far as you see it.

2

Islands all reflection, a fašade
afloat in mute misshapeness of green,
its shimmers slipping sideways, a glissade
of water dancing a reflected scene:
brick walls and marble show the stain of weed
drawn at the tideline and a coffin floats
through bobbing remnants of a spill of seed,
a masquerade adorns its silent boats:

in pouring rain, wrapped in a sodden cloak
while showers puddle on the paving stones
he lurks by the stage door drenched, his brain awash,
waiting for a response, knowing the joke
is played on him, shivering in his bones,
learning the price we pay for being flesh.

3

We are older and the meaning
of meaning disvalued, unfit
yet shines in particulars,
boldly, what heart sees.

Birch bud unfolds into a pointed wing,
wild strawberries spread white blossoms.
The honey bee bends the pale blue
forget-me-not under its weight.

Rainfall on the leaves repeats
a pulse of the softest drumming.
Tulips flaunt scarlet cups
within the green lace of the ferns.

By the night road a hungry fox
leaps high to catch a moth in flight.

4

Plaisir d'amour slashes its throat
to enter the blood garden:

void of history, explication,
the wide eyes, the wild gaze uncontrolled.

The hummingbird addicted to scarlet
flees, the wild dogs tracking the scent
of desire.

Petal after petal spreads open
in the damp pallid air

Youth is addicted, impersonal, mad.

The flower is fated to seed.


Full House

(for Will, Luke, Elli)

In a park of mighty trees
sun and mist nourish green
that is more than itself;
a bird calls sibling sibling

as the dangerous one
draws cards to a pair
and turns up three of a kind,
deals them into a world

where eyes, lips, fingers find
so much to be unknown,
the regular beat of sleep,
the belly’s soft remindings,

learnings of flesh and mind
in the sweeping soft salt tide;
three lives two handfuls long
sing daily counterpoint

where each house is a full house;
by the church the colour of flesh
in the park of hidden rivers
a bird cries thriving, thriving.