Cow Puckered Up For A Round Of Applause
Your back could be turned, or you are just rounding
a corner of the field, or quietly drawing wet patterns
against the other side of a tree, or maybe even bent
down to tie a bootlace - when in that moment of rapturous
applause there is an instant of surprise and doubt
considering where you are but also the immediacy of
seeing this dark green fall into its growing and rounded
moonscape which suggests for the first time ever as a
visual learner what Plato might have meant when
philosophising how the form of a cow has more reality
than this cascade of manure which had deceived by
sounding like approbation rather than the pile upon
pile of a faecal ovation. This or Russell's dictum on what
we feel is the precarious real, not that I'll put a hand in it.

Northern City
Hand-woven from the Donegal wool of bog-soaked
sheep, your coat exudes its tailoring, yet we
wouldn't know that blackberries and fuchsias have
coloured other refinements: this coat has its
gorse-and-moss dye toned to a muesli elegance, the
flecks as goosebumps of alabaster and mahogany.
Hands in pockets angled by the measure of protractors,
you could be Royal - how the sartorial cuts us out and
above others it would seem in all those looks by
people in these streets from this darker city. Poverty
wears its heart on cheaper materials. But at different
times, their painted faces and dressing up is another
aspiration to rise over the playing fields of greed,
like a coat over a hard life in its deceptive tweed.

Hot Water and Wine Bottles
Hot water and wine bottles - here are the existential
possibilities: decanting a fine Chianti into the warm
rubber and placing at your feet, screw-cap loose so
you'll slosh yourself to sleep; filling the quaffed and
emptied glass with boiling water for its explosion of
heat, the burn a permanent scar of your inebriation.
Or turning water to wine, imagine it having happened
without understanding the process, or the wine back
to water if rejecting the reassuring idea of miracles.
Perhaps there was a time when both would have a cork
and differences less distinct, though now we are
clutching at straws and don't know from which to drink.
Snow is falling with the threat of its whiteness and strife:
here's comfort in this bottle of plonk and a Dutch wife.

When she'd announced our relationship was
going down the pan, I still didn't expect to find
those Lovehearts at the bottom of the toilet bowl,
not yet flushed away - and that took some time
as they nestled into the nadir of the bend. Love Bug,
Hold Me
and Just Us, expressions of affection
dissolving into mixed messages before finally
having nothing more to say and romance at an end.
With Valentine's Day only weeks away, this has
been the most final of lavatorial executions, love's
farewell repeating as a watery neologism in the
surprise of a fluid reminder further down the line.
Like lifting the lid on a once-lovers' exposŽ
here is the real dishing of dirt as it all washes away

      © Mike Ferguson 2015