Have you seen from this fair hill, the coiling streets of Rome?
Walked the narrow lanes of rock and wondered at the dome?
Left a lover in the Paris rain,
found a penny in Trafalgar Square
or kept the girls in waiting ’til your journey took you home?
I reckon not it matters, chasing stories over shore
you who’ve paused for measured lifetimes, for twenty, maybe more!
Like light from distant stars
the rains betray their tales
and tell your grappling roots of famine, wealth and peace and war.
To be your branch, at one with land enduring through and through
I’ll carve my name into your skin and quietly join the queue.
What I’ve seen is with me
yet remains in constant motion,
let me rest a while with you and live it all once more anew.
Behold! How your morning is measured
by a thousand minutes to a bed tethered
by scratched skin and a reluctant shaver
whose very stare can blunt a razor
or strong coffee and small favours
over nonsense words like mankyshepard.
Until past noon when curtains rain,
and someone falls asleep again
and someone else when no-one looks
decides to open up his books
until she rouses, throws a hook,
and paper tears a thin refrain.
Evening plays more sombre notes
with runny cheese and chortling throats
over drole films and half-time schmoozing
and games that end when he starts losing
from simple desserts of her choosing
until she tires of anecdotes.
Tug of war, interminable dance,
of reason and controlled device,
of something here and nothing there
with sweaty hands and relentless rope,
I fear that if I take the chance
and release a grip I hold in hope,
I’d fall and interrupt my trance
and betray all terms of my advice.
But at the end this fraying cord,
braced through my neck and up my spine
the nothing here is now something there
with blistered hands and bolted jaw,
I know that if I fought unshored
my failing feet could take no more
I’d scatter all the strength I’d stored,
and let the flag across the line.