poetry diary

I rhyme to see myself, to set the darkness echoing. (Seamus Heaney, from Personal Helicon)

Autumn light

Autumn light on leaves.
Golden, like the ring on my finger,
And just as magical.

It was so windy last night,
with rain.
The ring slipped off again,
And again. Rain battered. It’s cold.

And miserable. Outside,
But inside feeling warmer
It’s not so bad.

Imagination bridges in and out;
Past and future;
Me and all of you.

And cannot be trusted:
Magic – like the ring on my finger.
Except it’s gone now.

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes

City morning – Brussels

Today is a beautiful morning in Brussels:
Blue sky with jet contrails,
And quite quiet for a city.

Streets are damp, with odd leaves from unnoticed trees.
The sunlight reaches only the tops of the tallest glass and steel skyscrapers, and their flagpoles, Giving them an air of aspiration, hope and promise.
And making you look up.
Fatal errors have been made from such perceptions, Which are so false I think.
Give me the human tenements, with their silly facades and idiosyncratic doorways – graffiti and tramps – promising little, but almost always a pleasant surprise inside – any day instead.

And here, they are just
across the road, above Pizza Hut – another sadness, out of place maybe for those seeking authenticity, but also the reassurance of common humanity.

I went in there last night;
they seat customers according to nationalities in little ghettos of common culture tables.
I didn’t like this, and objected,
saying that I spoke French
(in French)
but then a glance at the faces
of the French
made me feel not welcome,
and I saw that it all makes sense,
And that world war three
will be started by a waitress.

And now another day begins.
To battle all!

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes

Eurostar Terminal – Brussels

Places of waiting, spaces like beaches
But without the fun.
And people as water,
Ebbing and flowing,
Selfish and mindless.
With officials like crabs
Among the rockpools.

Experienced travellers feel this
And go with the flow.
Others, impatient, fight it and end up
isolated eddies;
lost and bewildered,
Giving an ultimately calm place an air
of sterile desperation.

And I’m being unfair on Eurostar –
generalising to all
terminals and airports.
This is a small one.
But it’s still the worst part of the journey.

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes