wordsout from Cafe Church poems by Charles Jobson   home



strain 

1

by the bargeboard feet trespass
not wishing to wake the sleepers down below
all day long footfalls can be heard and waken
away and beyond a nervous laugh echoes from the deep
crackling and writhing sounds
the sky white above
a series of blue posts tacked on
glancing light and opaque hollow
beneath are the waves
this time slow but silent
a layer of green slime
ancient and tacked on too
treads the earth and leaves footprints
day by day algae rust away
and the boat can be heard into the night
 

2

what will it take to loosen
chains of meaning and surprise
a long path leads away ready for nothing
red and tamed down
heard it was bad and reckoning
under the sunlight men wait
and ponder
all the time bent back and doubled
their wrists taut with work
and no resolution
it’s the time of day to come away
and leave the stars to play above
watching and waiting
till at last a long cool breeze
washes away time and trouble
cracked and splitting
the soil yields up no more secrets
 

3

Working into the night
a bell tolls out and flashes
you gave it your best effort
but nothing gained
a clock is ticking away
and overhead bark chipping back

work till daylight
oozing oil and permanent stain
traffic in wasted goods
there on the brick earth
an empty canister—metal and dying
kicked away and left to decay
a whole clan of workmen
talking and scared by the door
nothing but heavy brutal sounds
clawing back the light green trade patterns
what is left but
row upon row of bleaked-out space
 

4

In the garden all is dry
flowers strewn on the stones
dying in their own sweet way
a man watches and turns away
too tired to take the strain
a heap of boulders
a pile of discarded newspapers
high enough to break even

a winter rain cutting away at the standard shapes
stalks and petals floating down to the earth
quantity is all that’s left - too cold to breathe
the atmosphere down cast and through
taking a break rustle of wind cutting by
morose and strictly dead
dead to the touch
blackened into dirty forms
exposed to view