Field of Yellow Flowers with Airplane and Standing Figure: Poem for Gavin turning 40

Your pointillist oil painting of yellow oil seed rape
under a runway sky, took shape
all through that cataclysmic summer.
This photograph shows us bug-eyed, leaner
– stunned by the usual cocktail
of youth: synaptic, chemical –
and also, in truth, a little androgynous.
Your high-up studio bedroom was a tree house
perched above dubious, parental ground.
We fled there daily, braced against the wind.

Your studio bedroom, or by some old demesne
wall in Seaford or in Castlewellan;
our picture-postcard South Down days all passed
in a haze of lust –
while at night you parked by harbour walls, intent
on the bulbous, crippling, virtually all-grass joints
rolled by a really anti-smoking friend.
Such beauty spots! I felt my mind expand
to a symphony of moonscapes, lilac skies …
then one by one my little boats capsize.

We were that old story: we were madly in love,
(We might have been locked up, or married off
in another age) and, of course, totally doomed.
At the point where the domed
sky – a bell jar – swept down to the sea
my Raptures had contracted chronically
to a tight, high thrum of terror
and somewhere out there on the burnished mirror
were the disappearing heels of Icarus.
Love, what became of us

who weren’t the worst, with uniform bobbed hair,
twin slouches; who could like cropped heather,
walks, rain-dappled lakes
as well as AR90 audio tapes
and the whimsical tones of bands based in the Catskills?
Sometimes I almost hear it still
under the white fuzz (constant, virtual,
diffuse) of daily meh – like the radio signal
left on some old transmitter, blindly sending and re-sending:
the faint persistent hum of the first Real Thing.