Every evening he passes
catching the orange lamplight
in tiny slivers
that might be koi carp drowning in the air,
the steel studs
of long outmoded boots
striking bright sparks from the stones.
His head hangs slightly down
and slightly angled, gives the sense
of a head not properly in place.
he hums or whistles tunes that speak
of happiness - and even joy.
And no one knows the least of him:
whither he comes or goes.
Times without number - or success -
the local youths have followed him,
seen him turn in at The Albany Gate -
the last they'd see of him until next day,
the field beyond the gate
as empty as a liar's promise.
Stones and poor grass would be there.
but the high cliff and the sea beyond
and the blue sky, always blue,
and hung there like a promise of sweet love.
No one has ever seen him walking back.
He only ever walks one way,
turns in at the one gate
and there between the road and the high cliff
he ceases to exist.
The moon petals the sea. Rose petals the sea. Stone sea. Stone petals. Rose petals of stone. Stone rising before me. Sea moves. How moves...
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extract from the poem Koi by John Burnside All afternoon we've wandered from the pool to alpine beds and roses ...
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