Posted in Lies


Silver haired and self-assured. Charming.
He was willing to help

Nothing was a problem
generous with his time
afternoon slides into dusk
he offers dinner – basic but filling.

We are a spontaneous collection of mountaineers
a mixture of hard experience and soft dreams
Four planning to climb a test piece peak
but only having equipment for two.

He is managing a nearby ski field
we ponder if they have any surplus equipment
expecting to be rebuffed but surprised.
Yes. It was a quiet time. It should be okay.

Four people did we have a second rope?
No. It would be much faster. They had a spare.
Only later is the significance realised
when an old climber intones two things in life are never lent
a wife
and a rope.

The start is an hour’s walk from the village
we can borrow his car.
I look on in amazement at the generosity
I would love to have.

After success a celebratory drink
only coffee but seeming like Scotch
deep and warming
a surprise visit from our benefactor
he kisses the only woman of the four
full and lingering.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.

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