The keeping of your heart


The keeping of your heart


  1. Bluebells


I came to the Esk when the valley woke

stretching stiff fingers

new green unfolding in the cold

the cliff a reddish haze of buds.


I followed the small, swift river

to the slope above the gorge

where bluebells grow.  Too early,

just buds, swollen at the base of the leaves.

Wind tossed light among the green blades.

Small birds called over a wave

of imminent blue.


I would wake you with this spring.

I would wake you like a bird,

calling over fields of blue.



  1. The magpie, balancing


the magpie, balancing

high in a hoop-pine,

surveying the morning

carries his dead lightly

in wing and bone


upturned dinghies rain-slicked,

the island hills painted out with cloud


but how shall we carry you,

now that you have gone where

cameras cannot hold you,

telephones cannot find your voice?



gulls and oyster-catchers pace the beach,

the slick edge light-painted


another morning opens

on a day that you cannot count


we will bring

for currency, shells in our pockets

for password, the tui’s husky music


how shall we carry you?

bare feet stepping onto the sand –


a thin moon cradling the dark

and a magpie balancing



  • The ginger fox


a ginger fox looked back at me

for a long moment

then loped away up the track


and I have a part

in the keeping of your heart


there was snow on the wind

yet the sun glittered


and this is part

of the keeping of your heart


the trees broke into leaves soft as petals

and the bluebells waited in their pale buds


ah, blown galaxy of leaves!

I will gather them all

for the keeping of your heart

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