Cold

Stanley Wilkin

As cold as another age, wracked with solitude,
A slow start to another beginning,
Unreliable cloud coats the sky
And the sea repetitiously roars in,
Cuffing cliffs,
Pounding rocks
With calamitous roars
Playing endless riffs across the sand.

We walked together down the beach
Troubled by the surf
Chewing on cigarette stubs, sullied by the wind
New ghosts in the half-light
Bearing years like backpacks.

Grown old in the gathering twilight
We chattered together, our footsteps picking
Wounds. Barbed words
Like greetings, cheerfulness like an accusation.
Intercourse a shared and interesting memory,
We cuddled together in the scouring wind
Enjoying each other’s casual warmth.

It was a time for reflection,
When love is a scab on evolving friendship,
Heartlessness the price of redemption.
The contrived book of your beauty,
The gilded ceramic of expertly rendered features
The undulating film of your gestures, coded and decoded
Through time.

Beauty is finite, crumbling to fleshless reminiscence
Fixed to canvas and celluloid
With tireless labour. In the end, signifying another thing-
Of little interest.
An artist’s casual thought, a director’s cut.

They barely remember your name,
Your laughter and wildness gone, missed by the
Senile artist’s transitory brush,
Clotted with hundred-year-old varnish.

A small house by the sea
Surrounded by flowerbeds sparkling with summer colour
Self-absorbed children, with whom we exchanged affection
And parted from, holidaying in Bangkok
With lovers of all sorts.
As the sea rolled towards us
And evening gave way to night.

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