Paul Jenkins p.1

Looking over the Precipice of My Father’s Death

The Grand Union

On Seeing ‘The Valley of the Fallen’

Looking over the Precipice of My Father's Death

I awake in the night
fearing your late departure
that somehow
I hold your life within my grasp,
unable to let go
lest you plummet to your death.

Into my dream
we climb
through the bitter clouds
of your despair.
you go before me
up some past
steep and stony
mountain range
in the frozen, icy air
your breath
rattles and rasps;
on reaching the summit
you gasp in wonderment
and in relief,
freed at long last
from the cold
misty depths below.

I watch
as you step
out onto the mountain ridge,
at the sheer drop either side.
you take two faltering steps
and stumble.
I hurl myself at you,
manage to seize hold of your leg,
checking your fall,
while your hip
lets out an ominous “crack”.

I lie
sprawled across the top of the ridge,
holding your ankle
trying not to let you fall,
calling for help,
for my mother,
someway back
below the canopy of cloud.
My head swims
at the sight of the rocky precipice
far below.
“Let me GO!” you shout.
“For God’s sake, Paul.
“Let GO!”

Copyright © 2008 Paul Jenkins
The Grand Union

I’m mindful of your presence;
the purr of the diesel engine at my back,
wandering, as in a dream,
astride the coruscated back
of the Grand Union Canal;

beneath bridges
with steps that ascend
the dark waters
of this subterranean world,
adrift in sunlight
and in rain;

encompassed by the canopy of trees,
leaves stroking your face
touched by your beauty
I remove a petal
from your lips
to kiss.

A metre or so away,
a grey heron
spears the murky water,
to emerge
with a glittering, metallic fish
held between its silver, scissored beak;
beating the air
with outstretched legs and wings,
it rises up into the canopy of the trees,
like some primeval ballerina
in slow motion

follow me
and dance on her wing tips
your hand in mine
taking hold of the tiller,
water eddying about the stern.

In the same moment
A kingfisher free-falls,
fluorescent blue,
from an overhanging branch;
skipping low over the water
under the parapet of a bridge.

We move in unison
spellbound by the morning.
I watch the cold, dark water
fill the steep-sided, stonewalled lock;
and with the realisation of our love,
contemplate the way ahead.

Copyright © 2008 Paul Jenkins
On Seeing The ‘Valley Of The Fallen’
Franco’s Tomb 1993

Que soy yo?

Should you lead me
to the side of the road
and shoot me
beneath the trees,
who would remember me?

My loss would be recalled
for a day or more
my death
of little consequence
but to a scant few.

What little spilt blood
might stain some
square centimetres of ground
until the next rain.
Of no significance!

No importa soy nada
No es importanté!

Copyright © 2008 Paul Jenkins

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