I'm delighted to begin this series of poems with the following nocturne from Michael Mackmin, who is best known as the editor of that beautifully produced magazine, The Rialto. HappenStance published his modestly titled pamphlet Twenty-Three Poems in 2006.
As the light moves from deepest blue to black
among the last outlines of vines and roses the white
planes of the painted table top and seats of chairs
slide into that mist where sight and insight wait
the last green flare, phenomenal illumination,
and eyes begin to blur, catching in corners at
the ghosts of rats, auras of uncertainties,
as if and where the lamp of Vichy shines
and the worn cards in their grey gloss fix in the hands.
And then the night: the labouring bee is frozen
on the stem of thyme, the recollections of geranium,
the different reds and white, flitting to those ancient
landscapes of the heart, the voices of sheep
hooves banging on soft stone, all gone dark, obscure,
reliant on memory - the eyes’ pulse
pulling at afterglow, the least glitter, seeing
the sound of the dead wind the tired dry
iron wheels on iron rails, wheels on rails, rails.