A CARD TO MARTIN STANNARD

IÕm writing regarding my head.
Do you think anything can be done
about it? No? OK Then. Birdsong

occurs frequently in my poetry
(here it is again). I mean,
I know itÕs preferable to stars,

but not how preferable.
And what about horses?

Because I know horses
stand for common sense.

Where do you stand

on the whole Ōbuilding a bridge
between you and the readerÕ issue?
When should I bring in the horses?






THE ANTELOPE

I must go now, a stricken antelope
is knocking at the door, one rare,

bakelite hoof chipping the paint,
oversize eyes awash with distress

fixed on the transom of coloured gloss.
ThereÕs a pan of soup IÕve been simmering

for such an occasion. Shall I turn up the heat?
Do you think I might need a towel?

There are always plenty of clean towels
in the cupboard by the stairs.

But the light switch is broken
and I have an irrational fear

of spiders. ItÕs raining too. Poor beast.
I must go now. ItÕs not a good night

to be waiting at a deserted bus stop,
let alone injured on a strangerÕs doorstep.

Consider the shivering antelope
at that critical point just beyond hope.

ItÕs almost too much to bear. I must
go now, there is, after all, a wounded

antelope in the offing. IÕll finish this
tomorrow. Should I call a vet? Is it too late?






A HILL IN LINCOLNSHIRE

A long way to walk
just to stand
looking out

on the fields;
nevertheless
ridges and hedges

furred in places
by a blur of blossom;
on parishes and villages.

The sky,
empty today
but for a few stray

clouds, buzzes
with ghost squadrons coming
and going from the aerodrome

reverted at last
to beets and potatoes.
I look down

on the spire, the spire
of St. JohnÕs.
And how

do I know?
A mile ago
an old man told me.

Baptised and married there
once upon a time
was what he said.


         © C.J. Allen 2004