4 Flying boats at Oban, Hesitant Hands, Spectre, Sunday: poems by Roy Carnon

Poem: "Flying boats at Oban" by Roy Carnon

First flowers
of the dawn arrival
parted mist at harbour windows
scanning our war-bird children
suffered of the night bay.

Tide-drilled by straining buoys
their gull camouflage
profiled into wind
keel-cut the salting shallows
of our northern consummation.

On the edge of deep water
first flowers were last
to fade in the dark departure
hinting at perfume
in the clamp of war.


Sunderland flying boats at Oban, Scotland, in WW2.

Poem: "Hesitant Hands" by Roy Carnon

Hesitant hands grope to a pinhole sun
through the complicated dark.
A wheel cakes the sullen earth
and emptiness trembles in the tree's high branches.
The snake slides into the gouged hollow  --
the wheel leaves no mark.

It is the plastic toy
that smiles into the middle distance
as if to confirm the lightly chosen word
and thorns tear flesh of their choosing.
Through gallow wood makes soup that is free
none know how to eat
for the trees are a million years old.

From the exhumed footprint
trapped in excrement on the factory floor
the prayers of our generation
rise like sap in tall pipes --
dispersing in simple clouds
that children draw.


Poem: "Spectre" by Roy Carnon

They will truss me
with cosmetic sentiment
to prove a death --
I who have been dead so long
and hunger for the earth
as earth craves blood
to feed its famished living.

A daubing of paint
will close my eyes,
a scattering of verse
on coffined ears
will fuel the pyre
consuming the remainder
of eternity
and testify
I will not get away so cosily.


Poem: "Sunday" by Roy Carnon

The day is in no shape
to face this enormity
of eyes wider than tears,
unable to stomach
the syncopated rag-bag
indecent over lax backyards.
Listening is to sink
limp in rumpled sheets --
presage of a sick inscape
printed on the night.
Pin-teeth tear
where the red plum stains --
only in vacuum formed shapes
between needles
is peace.


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