Tongue-Tied


 

 

X-rayed a cloud, today;
Found only a grey, clammy, damp patch,
An old man’s drooling.
Who was I fooling, taking in that leaf

 

To be photocopied? I’d whispered it,
In tissue; breath-carefully, I’d laid it,
I’d cradled it, in that bullion-box,
Made it soft, feathered, flowered, in blank

 

Thankful, cardboard. Hoarded, not lost,
No, not lost, not tossed away, by this thin
Niggling, wind, this skint Autumn wind.
Yellowed to reds to faun ochres of browns,

 

All curled up, fragile parchment,
It fell, limply, down and gave up the ghost.
A dead hand, whose wrinkles I would have stroked away,
Ignoring me, who needed it the most.

 

Parched, gasping, feeble, lame,
I’d seen it that morning, flicker into flame,
By a sick trick of the nearly done Sun.
I had tried, tongue-tied, that very day,

 

I had tried, to utter it, though all in vain.
But then he came, charging towards me,
Bearing his leaf, sky-high, this sacred flame
Held up, by this young boy in my small town,

 

Transcending its name, now a baton, scorching torch,
Vase of stars! He burst down the bars,
Between us. Running through me, our souls, flesh, met,
When we merged as one, then my leaf flamed again –

 

In his blue sky, in my new sun!

© Richard Westall