Like Listening For Glass - more poems written during troubled times

by David Gilbert

March 5, 2017

I don't have the capacity for blogs at the moment. These poems have been written during a period of ill-health. Again. Unfortunately. I hope you get something from them.


The Wind

Crows blown sideways
the treetops diagonal
children grown wild in the playground
a pink hat on the pavement
trains interrupted, thought disfigured.

I'm in Wizard of Oz – seeing things fly
– roof tiles, pot plants, sheets of cellophane

a two foot high hard plastic container
that narrowly misses the head of a pedestrian
plugged into his soundtrack
looking down at his phone.

I imagine mares with flailing manes
boats lost and some god grinning
at his tempestuous tidings.

I remember the first breeze, it came
with an innocent breath – what if
we moved things around a bit?
And before you know

it downs an entire civilisation.
I step around the spilled innards
of a toppled wheelie bin

under a momentary fragment of sky –
a shocking blue. This aftermath
will take some getting used to.




In our attic room, surrounded by the night’s rain,
unsure whether I am asleep or awake,
a hole in-between lets in everything
that poured down throughout the day.

As I go under, you turn from me, sighing
like the waves’ breath. And maybe I'm wrong.
When I'm this adrift, I usually am. It’s long
long before dawn. But I hear the gulls cry.




1. This is called Saturday. In this dimension they divide flux by line.

2. They wake occasionally to crack along the seam, but prefer to lay dormant.

3. They wave their limbs about or do ‘running’.

4. There are containers for those not ‘operating properly’ (am still investigating the phrase).

5. When they begin to get somewhere, they go back.

6. They are fuelled by a fungus in the brain that prevents them realising it. They would call this ‘irony’.

7. They don't like crows. There is a plethora of coconut oil.

8. You can pick up voices in the dark calling something like: “What's your anaesthetic, darling?”

9. They think they own pets, or each other. They would call this ‘humour’. Or be terrified.

10. There was one called Bowie who said he had a rocket and possessed nice haircuts.




The boat is setting out from the reed bed
From above, it must look like millions of O’s spreading across the lake

It will be beautiful to someone
But the heron will not notice

And I am merely at the shore
Throwing stones at the water

There is a piano in my left hemisphere
Diminuendo in an empty hallway

And I am there imagining this
It seems wherever I am, I am not

And wherever the boat has gone
I have lost sight of it.



Flowers By The Road

All I need to do is look around
And am fear

All I need to do is look inside
And am fear

I will keep a soft eye on
Flowers by the road

Breathe you in slowly
Fill with yellow

Draw down the green
Unmoving to passers by

Root in that black container
Sink into this gut of earth

Below the winded ribs
And recover the day





There is a trembling in the woods
A machine gun

The woodpecker’s bass drill
Thinking of how its neck muscles, thickened skull and third inner eyelid

Prevent damage to the brain
I am with my father again

In the clearing by the pond they call Red Arches
I take off my glove, and finger the burning cold

Hold out my hand in the only way I can – a gesture of peace
He tells me to stay very still

All I know is uneasy and my body frozen
Like listening for glass

Or an eye above watching me
The way a nuthatch returns

Me trailing its flight
Dipping in a long low u from the highest of trees

Removes the awareness of breathing
The stomach drops

And its small black eye aims at the hand
And its black beak at the seed in my hand

Over and over again
I must stand here in the trembling woods

For the attack
And ceasefire


Written while listening to Philip Glass, ‘Opening’.


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All poems © David Gilbert 2017

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2 comments on “Like Listening For Glass - more poems written during troubled times”

  1. Wonderful poems,
    I'll comment on each as I read them. Ceasefire - I never did anything like this with my father and it becomes very poignant, I feel it must be for you too, but for different reason maybe. I felt as if I was there in that moment. I know these birds now and the joy they bring simply for being. We have goldfinches turning up on our feeder for the first time and the woodpecker in the copse has gone silent. We wonder if he has moved on. You imagery is wonderful - listening for glass. Superb!

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