Martin Towers recently moved form Northern Ireland to Wales and now works there as a support worker. Moths are a big thing for him and the Angle Shades is his favourite.
An old man called Jimmy, nearly dead,
Gets up in a church hall and does a good dance.
A pigeon, dressed in grey, chases a crow
Who carries his mate’s egg.
A man walks into a village after fifty years.
Across a bridge.
Rain hangs in the sky like old curtains
Or ivy creepers reaching down.
The froth on the inside of a glass
Shows a man playing an accordion, with his legs wide apart.
You can take a man from the fields
But you cannot take the fields from the man.
In a place called Wasps Nest
A man remembers things.
A bird in a cage called redcap.
A girl in a shawl in cold weather
So slowly the turtle men move
In their wardrobed rooms. In jokey slippers. Shelled-up
in neatly tied dressing gowns.
They have toothless crescent-moon smiles
Beneath the most innocent eternal eyes.
They have the cleanest hair. And sometimes, impossibly,
They breathe out whispered single words. And their
support workers weep then, with love,
The words being from a place beneath the waves.
They tell friends later, how it first happened, to them –
the hearing, of one of the words.
At night they paint the turtle men’s toes with tea tree oil.
I am new. I carefully brush away at time. My ears wander
to the strange streets of the kingdom. I hear feet
move in a polite thronging around the palace of the turtle king.
Then the cap screws back, beautifully,
around the neat rim-thread ridges of the tiny bottle.
Then Midnight comes. The shift is over. You go back
Through blind, winding, deep cut lanes. A moth comes
to get held in the headlights, twisting, flicking, until it is free
from the spell of unnatural glare. It is all you can do. At the end of the day.