Photo by John Williams (2009)













































The Unbearable smugness of the craftsman

Daedalus fell.
Landed in my umbrella reeds.
In the final touchdown,
his flailing wings crushed the sunflowers
we’d coaxed from seed.

I rushed outside
to see what could be saved.
He was winded
but otherwise unscathed.
I helped him inside
offered him green tea.
He asked for something stronger.

I put him on the sofa
fed him scraps of Amaretto
left over from the neighbour’s do.
He seemed satisfied.
Then his eyes gyred.
Took in the peeling paint
the comedy DIY.

He made a sound,
not quite a tut,
more like the noise a kitten makes
when separated from its mothers’ teat.
I took him to the Renoir
to see a restoration of Bunuel.

He was in the kitchen when I woke,
making coffee, smoking.
I opened the patio doors wide.
He asked could he stay a while.
The shock of the fall, he said,
had made him a child.
My wife was sitting at his side.
She smiled.
I left for work.

When I returned
there was a water feature
where the sunflowers had been.
A maze made out of hyacinths
a sun-dial sitting on a plinth.
They sat, him and my wife,
in garden chairs on new-cut decking.
He stayed all summer long
hammering and winking.

In the autumn,
as raindrops seeped through broken tiles,
he made that sound again.
I followed in his trail up ladders to the roof.
I was the hod-carrier
the sterile mule.

He stood near the guttering.
Looked out across London.
The wings pulsed.
I pushed him off.
He dropped like a rock to the floor.
I’d clipped his wings the night before.