Skip to content

June haunting.


IN LOCKDOWN I visit my father the anchorite
Crouched like a gnome in the smoky glooms
Of his dingy singed living room-cum-grotto
In front of his half-open window,
A birdwatcher shielding inside a hide;
Or it’s as if he bides behind an unreflecting two-way mirror
Since the sun behind me blinds me to him
Though he sees me clearly, perhaps clearer than before,
And, as always, I’m pale as milk, especially after
An epic interior spell, which, even with my
Reclusiveness has been a revelation of nerve…

Am I a revenant paying him a visit,
A revenant who thinks I’m still living, a ghost
His woozy thoughts have unwittingly brought out
From the cobwebbed boughs of his mind’s shadow wood…?
His youngest son grown from shadow who somehow
Survived well into adulthood, now middle-aged,
Against all augurs, grey in daylight, a wraith, a waif,
Frail Linton, fraught Hartley, brow-knitted Little Time
Who ripened in spite of expectations, a deep
Sense of emptiness, unspotted on the spectrum,
Problems put down to nerves, a strange vagueness,
Something missing… Or maybe that was all a dream
And my father’s Allan Quatermain mourning his son…?

Isn’t haunting just a sublime absentmindedness?
A soul’s shadow-throwing? Astral ruminating…?

Back at the flat I sit in my green leather chair
In the back room overlooking the long-neglected garden,
And think on my father, how much he has shrunk,
Seemingly in the drag of a cigarette, ash-tapped,
Crookbacked, brittle, but the warmer image
Of him long-summered in my mind is still rooted,
Gentle-strong, a gnarled trunk, browned by the world,
An anchored Capricorn, his large tanned hands,
And I sit back and listen to the wind in the garden
Moaning then roaring, and the warped old wooden
Shed creaking and groaning as gusts disfigure it,
So long neglected as the garden, the overgrown,
Overwrought garden, its agonised grass
Going over and over the same ground again…

Alan Morrison was born in Brighton in 1974. His poetry collections include A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (Waterloo, 2009), Keir Hardie Street (Smokestack Books, 2010), Captive Dragons (Waterloo, 2011), Blaze a Vanishing/ The Tall Skies (Waterloo, 2013), Shadows Waltz Haltingly (Lapwing, 2015), Tan Raptures (Smokestack, 2017), Shabbigentile (Culture Matters, 2019), Gum Arabic (Cyberwit, 2020), and Anxious Corporals (Smokestack, 2021). He was joint winner of the Bread & Roses Poetry Prize 2018. His poetry has been awarded grants from Arts Council England, the Royal Literary Fund, the Society of Authors and the Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust. He edits the international webzine The Recusant.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *