The Shape of Words, Day Breaks Open, Last Lights

The Shape of Words

louis-poem3You are so impressed

with the shape of words

that you forget to fill them.

They are empty shells

displayed on shore –

the water doesn’t reach them.


You say that I haunt you,

as if to flatter me.

But I am an echo,

the sound of the sea,


in your empty shells.


You start to need me

for your freedom.

You don’t get it.

You have to go there yourself.

Swim down to the shells

with things living in them.



Day Breaks Open


Ylouisa-poemou know why I like the dawn?

Because it’s a slow show

of the real show


in that crossing

from one light

to another

like when you fly up

through clouds

over clouds

and the sun




all this time

and the light




and here we are

striking matches

learning electrics

fumbling for candles

in forgotten drawers.



Last Lights


louis-poem1I watched the clouds tonight

speeding jagged overhead,

bleeding last lights and I said,

you are no longer under this sky.


You have left this frame familiar

with its contours and its chemistry.

You have gone past the drip-led,

spoon-fed measures of clock time,


arrow to the eye with only

your readiness.

You have entered

where the running is hardest.


You said, I’ll not be staying long,

I have to prepare.

I get so confused by the trees acting funny.

Is mother coming soon?     Is granny?


It is not easy to imagine your eyes,

at the last, unseeing.

It is not easy to imagine

your final breath.


I wanted to be there,

hold your hand as you left,

let you know one last time –

you are loved, you are loved, you are loved.


But like a star at sunrise,

you could not hold,

and instead, I blow you kisses

from the doorway of the mortuary.


And now, the days are spent

in strange tasks.

I go round the house,

expelling every trace of your illness,



and choose the clothes for your final dress –

beaten up cords, a bright blue shirt,

your fisherman’s jumper,

the cashmere shawl I brought you from India.


We choose a coffin from a catalogue,

and pile up your shoes,

fill out forms confirming the facts.

I go for long drives, wearing your hat.


And now, the days are spent

in long hours of sudden grief

that speak in primal tongue of what it is

to lose a father, piece by piece.


Then, just as suddenly, it switches to relief.

For if there’s a god,

then for sure we are sparks.

But we are also bones and tired flesh.


I sit in the garden

and listen,

as blackbirds tremble their songs

through the morning.


You are alright.

You are travelling light

in that gracious mystery.

The cherry tree is exploding beautifully.


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India Writes Network
India Writes Network
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