Michael Curtis

Blame

 

I knew a man who searched for it for years, searched

everywhere

 

pored over politics, economics, read history and stats,

thumbed genealogy

 

exhumed parish records, trudged sodden churchyards,

navigated ruins

 

peered deep into the past to demonstrate nothing was

down to him

 

and when he found another proof his fate was none

of his own making

 

his eyes would close and a thin smile would release

a knowing sigh

 

he shared at badly-run meetings in cold village halls

and rank gymnasia

 

where all present agreed the problems couldn’t result

from their own actions

 

that the injustices they suffered came from the prejudice

and discrimination

 

of overpaid self-seeking time-servers they’d never liked

and never met

 

and he cast this forward into the future with predictions

of further injury

 

then sat arms folded, convinced no-one was listening,

wronged yet again.

 

© Michael Curtis

 

 

 

 

CHAOS PENDULUM
To contest certainty

 

inside the cathedral

chaos has been installed

in a simple machine

 

flying freehold

water flows

to the centre of a beam

 

that then tips to let it out.

 

Which way will it go?

 

the poster wonders

assuming ignorance

will test our equilibrium

 

this work of art

descending to science

to shake our convictions

 

and make its point.

 

What made it tip this way?

 

God is present here

in word and sacrament

the leaflet tells us

 

sounding confident –

but posing questions

without an answer

 

opens other windows.

 

The pendulum swings

 

past marble monuments

tableaux and mausoleums

of rich benefactors

 

slipping

through the wide eye

of the needle

 

tipping into chaos?

 

 

© Michael Curtis

 

 

 

Domicile

 

All that night I’d argued
with the unrepentant owl
and by morning we’d agreed
to disagree, but I was surprised

when sunrise over the castle
sucked up any thought of sleep,
skimming the tip of a steeple
on a slow burn of pixels

so I moved inside to wash up
and forget my loosening anger,
the promises I couldn’t keep,

and didn’t try to stop

the last warmth of my father
slipping from my shoulders,
didn’t attempt to defend
the faded songs of my mother

and right to the end
couldn’t think what I’d become,

told wife, sons, correspondents,
my oldest friends

this had always been my name,
my way of talking, politics, team,

dodged reunions, downsized, shifted

my domicile to an unlisted home.

 

© Michael Curtis

 

 

© Michael Curtis