The Men Who Play Bowls


We overhear the body and bowl connection,
muffled words of technique and tactic
as one man strings a stare to the far end.
The jack, alone. Parched upon the ground.

The knee bends, an arm swings slow,
casting a cradled bowl low in the palm
to the ground, departing hand to shadow,
a quiet transit, swift without a sound.

From all the years of practice, the fights,
the conversation, the rebellious spurs,
the regretful aftermath, he knows,
and quite rightfully so,

not to throw the bowl too hard.

To Eat

A lady asked today if her mushrooms were edible.
Tall things, with broad umbrella caps, smooth on top,
the pink gills breathing beneath, met at the stem
in neat lines evenly spaced to the rim.
“Oh, I found them at the base of some tree, she added,
“and there weren’t any other plants nearby.”

It’s beyond my knowledge, whether it would be safe to eat.
I can say that in my younger years, I’ve definitely punted
one that looked just like it, and watched the shreds of flesh
tumble and scatter across the pine and dirt with no care
for whether it possessed any nutrition or value or benefit.

I’m not sure, dear, if it’s edible. I probably wouldn’t.

With The Earthworms

Put your ear to the ground,
whether it be dirt or grass or concrete
and listen for the sound of remorse.
For every repeated mistake we make,
doubling the course of history,
lengthening our path to the future,
you’ll hear the rumble of one hundred billion
writhing with the earthworms.

To Cut Down An Aged Thing

It’s the surgeons this week,
hacking their way down
Victoria Street. A job,
one that requires skill,
precision, no doubt,
and these few carve
through the branches
as easy as cake, with no
pause to wipe the sweat,
no tea or coffee break.

Who am I to say anything?
To cut down a tree, fifty years old
with such speed and ease.
With a swift kick, and gravity
on my side, doing most of the work,
I swung my boot and split a stalagmite
in a Somerset cave, sent the thing rolling
and bouncing into a puddle, pooled over
centuries, gathered by the annual drip,
let the cymbal crash rupture
and rip the silent depths.

I thought nothing of it.