On days when stormy ink is in the air
and the atmosphere is virtual,
precautions must be taken.
If the downpour seeks the sea
by way of dimpled rivers,
an umbrella or a rowboat will be fine.
But if its threaded beads are necklaced round the clouds,
if they curl and melt in fashionable colors,
if they stain the foliage green and veneer the timber,
if they tint the windows and the mirrors
in shades of apple crumble, or vice versa,
you might consider a flexi-day.
Once you’ve been tattooed by falling ink
and its irrefutable ciphers,
empaneled experts recommend a carefree stroll
beyond the sunrise battlements.
Should you meet the dragons that dance beside the sea,
all papier-mâché and thorns,
do not applaud—no bravos or bravissimos—
instead unlace your sailing shoes, go gentle
to the echelon of twilight swans.
will reveal a rainy door frame
where your doppelgänger waits,
eyes wide with unimagined terror,
or carrying a wicker basket
of selected fruit and flowers.
You may offer comfort or inquire about their freshness,
but better not embrace your other,
better not accept the smallest edible bluebell,
or else a quantum paradox will manifest—
an insoluble implosion will delete the golden city
and the pantomime of planets,
leaving nothing but the moody swans.
Having heeded all instruction
and completed your assignment in good time,
the finale will be yours.
The pantograph of planets will shape a congruence,
a pentagrammatical conjunction
showering seeds of light,
and a long-departed lover will return.
Ask no questions, seek no facile explanations.
Remember that the truth and lies
are stories told to children.
- sailing shoes (Robert Palmer version)
- go gentle, do not go gentle, it’s hard to decide
- bluebells are poisonous
artwork: inky day (detail above)