John James


le pollen c'est l'élément mâle de la fleur
le Morvan like a house of granite
south of Vézelay a fountain
so much the work of de Saint Phalle
a festive figure play of gold
a giant hand with golden fingers tipped in red
& overall the arcing twisting jets
turned on by a kind of local boy
who became a great president of France
unlike some grinning simpleton back home
in thrall to wealth & glamour & celebrity
& at what cost

in fact never trust a body builder
or men with legs like Indian clubs below their baggy shorts
or any seriously stupid people
you never can tell what they are going to do next like
take up an Italian gangster or invasive surgery
any one for martial arts he lisped

but on the trail of La Boucle de La Chapelle
close by Our Lady of the Oak the spring rises at our pilgrim feet

or on the boulevard de la République
your happy smile protected by a parasol

a petite woman in black
pays tribute to a little sparrow
& the people are captivated

so why in this moment of well-being should we want to see England again
that overcrowded space become a fen of half-occult corruption
in state academy & civic hall
all trust eroded failing system & due process
manners & liberty lost to abandon
more windows soon to close again in claustrophobic places
soon to be shivering under sleet & snow & hail
each word of art as a good in itself an irritation to the mighty
what hope of greater joy for those at the base of this monstrous tower
as the rich get richer with parental choice

but we have to say goodbye to our daily bread dear heart
go back to where the sessile oaks are valued less
& even monumental trees decay

sure then Brendan we'll be steadfast & depart & travel on
seeking the island cheerful as can be
such lowly duties on ourselves once more to lay