Charles Wilkinson

Charles Wilkinson’s work includes The Pain Tree and Other Stories (London Magazine Editions. His poems have appeared in Poetry Wales, Poetry Salzburg (Austria), Gargoyle (USA), The Raintown Review(U.S.A.), Shearsman , The Reader, New Walk, Magma, Under the Radar, Tears in the Fence, Envoi, Orbis, The Warwick Review, Otoliths (Australia)and other journals. A pamphlet, Ag & Au, came out from Flarestack Poets. His full-length poetry publication, The Glazier’s Choice, is forthcoming from Eyewear in 2018. A Twist in the Eye, his collection of weird fiction and strange tales, appeared from Egaeus Press; a second book will be out from the same publisher in the near future.

He lives in Powys, Wales, where he is heavily outnumbered by members of the ovine community

Order

Every night before you sleep you try to put your life

in order, though it’s not the tidy house, the balanced hours

or friendships kept in bright repair that keep you thinking.

It’s this prayer to a god of sequence who holds each kite

of memory on the line. The wind forgets the shapes

of elms - and see how this once shining string frays

and turns to cloud. Did you that first time in Spain

awake in a blue-grey room fragrant with oranges,

a thin white curtain to blur the sun - though light waxed

upon the window sill? And was this before the wave

that licked the sandcastle off the beach? And when

were those olive shadows and the scents of evening?

So hard to rank the trembling days and say which colours

are the liars or name the blue that holds a silver plane

pinned like a brooch to a wayward sky. A trail of white

flowers fades into water, creates a sadness we never

knew. The lips moving, the fingers telling, as if they

could make a story out of it. Snap out the light.

In the dark, they’ll come sharper - the cherished instants

clear and true ? And to think again of the hand you held,

as if you loved not once but twice! Night. Though

there’s a gleam behind the eye, a tiny figure skating,

a last joy, skilled in the arts of turning, on black ice.

(Previously published in Assent and on the Poetry Nottingham website)