Two Poems by Charles Wilkinson

The Orangutan Tea Shop
today’s light
in the Orangutan Tea Shop
is all product, perhaps margarine

it is wet out,
rain pervasive –  even when it stops,
sunset falls with a squelch,
soaping air; the colours
remind us of candles
& cosmetics

‘on the far side of the world the men of the forests
dream of the nests in the green cloud that covered
their world, where was a banqueting on honeys
& fruit; they’d curled in high places, before
the canopy’s retreat’
                                                wild fire, & logging
                                                & then an imperia
of pine oil trees, the loss of the luxury of leaf,
the power to cushion & bandage; grounded,
the last arboreal ape forgets all sky feasts,
& in no forest & little rain cradles her child’

picture of primate & son
framed on the wall



& so in sleeping life entails another language
anxiety of travel encoded as an empty platform
though one thin shadow points across the track
the slow wave transports deep into the dream
a clock repeating rhythms along electric rails

hotel of dormant windows a latent light
no corridor leads back to the room left
the residency for an unstirred repose
nightly a name erased from the register
the syntax swallowed in the circuitry

airport echo & the ambiguities of flight
so just a way the tickets will vanish
illumination as an engine in flames
a passport speaking in another tongue
the controls a feeding of false altitudes

tide-tugged too far from shore & star lost
a mariner’s mishap as blind deep fishing
the compass spins the pure misdirection
a long voyage attests the triumph of water
beads of islands submerged in the map

awakening to day’s blaze is stable grammar
the last rays of a lexicon curling to rest
& now world to world’s untranslatable


About the Poet

Charles Wilkinson’s poetry collections include the pamphlet Ag & Au (Flarestack, 2013) and The Glazier’s Choice (Eyewear, 2019). He lives in Powys, Wales, where he is heavily outnumbered by members of the ovine community, More information about his work can be found at his website: