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
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)