June day in Colyton
For Jan Dean
On this duck-egg blue morning
even seagulls keep their voices down.
The whirr of pigeons’ wings ruffles the air.
We stroll sloping streets, gazing
as summer flowers punch colour on walls
white as china or oatmeal antique linen.
Butterflies flicker, making no sound
As they tip wings from bloom to bloom.
No need for conversation between us,
we match step for step, dreamily.
Each house has its own story to tell,
each door keeps its own secrets.
Grief is a cruel handbag -
its catch snaps shut like jaws.
Inside is buried an old compact,
hankie embroidered with an M
in a huddle of forget-me-nots.
There’s a used-up biro, one cherry lipstick,
a purse stained from long-dead hands,
inside only a few pence, a stamp.
The handbag is a stomach
digesting the past. What can be
done with it? It cannot be thrown away.
Best hide it in the bottom of the wardrobe
an unexploded bomb.