Fred Beake: from POEMS 1997/98

THE OXFORD TRAIN


A world-tired, ill-dressed lot, except for that
   rakish, elderly, bewhiskered welsh man
prevented from smoking by his well-meaning woman
   when there entered an American
her grey trouser suit as carefully pressed
   as the dark strands of her hair were aligned.
And her two children: a little chatterer of a boy
   and his big-eyed sister
- very reluctant to sit anywhere close
   and had her OWN ticket, and was at last  sent
on an important mission to the buffet, but returned
   empty handed with the hurry
that marks excessive zeal. Then sat in a silence
   that was perhaps superior to what had passed before
till her brother exclaimed "The Police will come.
    The train is going faster."
and their Mother explained "Trains
    have a SPECIAL license. They 're ALLOWED".


*


As in a dream of a triumphal column

       the silver pigeon

does not move from its dawn perch of aluminum


High above roofs from before the time

       when Nelson

became a one-eyed tough on the god-line


and men were fewer on the English soil.

       One day,

where our gardens were, wild flowers will cover it all.


*

PASTORALE


Hodierna (call her Christmas-Day-EE!) daughter of the Priest of Bardsey
   Has gone to pick red apples by the bright-eyed Beck.

Sir Simon, son of Sir Simon (someone after him!) follows after her.
   There will be much blood or little in the green meadows today!

But the glossy black starlings and flittering swallows
   Just ignore the humans, who will never fly.


POST FACTUM


And after
   the wave
has passed over

the sand has a
   certain feeling
of wholeness

and is not disposed
   to blow away
upon the wind


*


Just a gaggle of schoolgirls in short grey skirts bearing flowers

But they were like soldiers who will outlast a defeat

And I remember them more than the rest of that great dusk tide

That washed a fantasy of flowers against a palace

And did it for a dead princess and twenty empty years


*

THE HOUSE


The stone of the house
                      is reconstituted and cream

and the door is open
                    and a man
with a belly
            like a pregnant woman
sweeps down the stairs
                      and beyond my eyes
and two boys come out
                     into the
kingdom of children
                   and a white butterfly
goes up and down