MORE NEW POEMS

GIFTS

(I/m of Mairéad)

by

Michael Pattwell

 

If I could give you breath of life, I would.

I'd take you back to where the Gods ordained

our lives should be suffused forever with

the smell of mountain heather after rain.

 

If I could once more dig for you to sow

your seedling plants to scent the air with flowers,

or stroll with you the garden paths and see

you marvel at the cherry blossom showers,

 

I'd love to give you daffodils in Spring,

or sea pinks gathered by a sheltered shore,

in Summertime red fuchsia and bluebells,

in harvest time fresh fruits for Winter's store,

 

if I could take your pain and leave you free

to learn the things you never got to know,

to give you years you never should have lost,

to see again the sunset's scarlet glow.

 

If I could have these things at my command

I'd pay whatever price the fates demand.

ACOLYTES

by

Michael Pattwell

 

Dressed in white lace over port-wine red

we smelled of incense, lillies,

hyacinths and beeswax candles.

We recited the Latin Mass verbatim

and swung the thurabil in wide arcs,

clinking the chain in perfect timing with the choir.

Sometimes we processed backwards,

scattering petals before the gold monstraance

and sang the Tantum Ergo

with falsetto voices ringing in the rafters.

Angels all, devout and pure.

 

When the Parish Clerk was busy

we sipped the altar wine,

ate communion breads

and made rude shapes,

genetalia usually, of warm, dripping wax

or made wax-ball missiles

to pelt at one another

when the lights went out at Tenebrae.

 

The moulder of the most realistic penis

went on to be a urologist;

the lad who quaffed the most wine

became a sommelier at Claridges

and the best shot with the wax balls

joined the American Marines

and was shot by a sniper

during the Tet Offensive in 1968.

WITHERED LEAVES

by

Michael Pattwell

 

(Posted for Mairéad to mark our 12th wedding anniversary)

 

In the first days of May

the withered leaves

-last year's memories-

from the beech hedge

that sheltered

bluebells in bunches

swirled in the breeze.

They piled in little drifts

in sunny corners

while the first signs

of new growth

were just visible on the tips

of straggling branches.

 

At the base

I could see through

to the other side,

down the empty road

to Ballyheda

and I knew

you would not

be coming back.