Poem: Into The Woods

giant

Dare I allow myself to reawaken my dreams?

Dare I allow myself to breathe life into what

I thought had been safely killed?

*

If my dreams return, let them not return in a

Violent shock, but the gentle flutter of

Re-animated wings – of birds limbering up,

And preparing for spring.

*

I was quite prepared to confine myself to the

Safest of Stations; to be a mute pillow; a cardiac

Vacation.

*

But love cannot be held back by a leaky dam –

The work of a self-sabotaging engineer,

Desperate for a flood to spoil his plans

*

Those waters licked me at first; then swelled into

A deluge, a chthonic mouth, that threatened to

Devour my equanimity – the mask of dispassion

I try to cultivate, to make myself more appealing.

*

It was all meant to be so simple.

I was just sitting down to meditate.

But then Aphrodite tore off her gloves –

She ripped that sweet little child out of

My chest, and pulled it up to heaven,

Cradling me in her gargantuan arms,

Saying:

*

“There, there, there – Mother’s got you:

Only love can hurt you now.”

And I am just a child.

How can I help loving you?

How can I help loving you the way

I do, when every minute flows you into

Your thoughts, and there is not a thing

That could ever exceed you?

*

Like a natural disaster, this love cannot

Be stopped – like the passion of infinity,

It cannot be brooked.

*

I feel scared.

And I feel lost.

And I have no clever ruse;

No Trojan horse.

*

So, I ride into the woods,

To slay all our fears,

So we’ll no longer be afraid

To love.

 

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Poem: My Life As A Secret Agent

figure

My life as a secret agent –

And I was never issued with a

Gun – only a notepad and a pen,

To record my danger

*

My first assignment was to be my own

Coroner – I opened up my chest, and found

A dead man swinging from my aorta – and

There was a dead woman swinging from my

Pulmonary artery – but he did not know how

To court her

 *

“Perhaps the seagulls know!” I cried aloud

With wonder; scooping myself up into the

Layer of the air where they most freely

Dispense advice

*

They only laughed. But, within their laughter,

I heard the answer that I was after – I heard

The secret that stows-away in every knowing

Smile; dashing to the library, to consult the

Dictionary, to explain what faces fail to

Hide

 *

But it was a hard assignment – twenty-seven

Years of bodily confinement – and my questions

Were only parasitized by answers, that became

More parasitic questions

 *

“Every answer casts its own shadow,” said the

Man Upstairs. “Your assignment will never be

Over!”

*

“But, what is this?” said I, aghast. “If answers

Pose shadows, do not questions cast shadows

Of light? Is not the destruction of all things the

Genesis of another? Are the dead couple in my

Chest to go on swinging separately forever?”

 *

But the door to the office was closed.

And the hallway was castigated with

Cigarillo smoke. And the secret of being

A secret agent was one I never suspected

At all

 *

But then a voice softly whispered:

 *

“Somewhere between the holly tree

And a ray of light; somewhere between

The end of day and the beginning of

Night; somewhere between the epitaph

Of silence, and the birth of sound –

You will find me waiting there.”

So, I followed her advice –

And that was exactly where she was sitting –

And if you follow that same advice –

That’s exactly where you will find me –

Her hands interlaced with mine

 

 

Poem: Visit to a Grave

mist

Visit to a grave –

We cross the threshold, passing through

The old iron gate; a defensive plexus to

Keep the dead in, and the living away;

A truncated giant okay, just there to

Mark, all the agony of that moment,

Still recorded in bark.

*

We walk further in. Two coronal yew

Trees look on, their energy sending out

A hum of blue, to muddy the mist’s

Omnipotence

 *

In that moment, I felt what it is to be

A Child of The Mist – A Founding in

The Fog – what it was to be a Celt;

What it was to put your ancestors

In the ground, as an offering to the

Same mists that bore you

 *

For the fog is our father – the mist is our mother;

From the fog we came – to it we Return

*

II.

But, there is more to fog than just this.

I know this, as I sit in the car, and the

Music of Brahms speaks sonic truth from

The stereo speaker – I know this as

The winter spirits amble – and

My spine is interwoven with a trellis

Of brambles

 *

I sit beside my mother –

Her partner in grief –

Her Second in Command –

She the Commander in Chief

*

For your Christmas Tree is not holiday

Paraphernalia, but a cosmic pillar –

The roots lead to the underworld –

The branches lead to heaven –

And the baubles are no ornaments,

But symbols of the spheres; even in

Your own living room, you can find

A map of the cosmos before you

*

III. 

If you could see the fog as I see it,

You would not see it as an obstruction –

As the senility of the landscape – but

The majesty of light, learning to see itself –

Of wisdom gently teasing itself, and pretending

It’s not there at all

 *

 

Poem: Loving In A Small Way

love

Building upon the light of the past –

And the wealth of cows is the greenness

Of grass – and, though my joints sizzle,

And my muscles are sloughing, I can still

Feel the stirring tremors of heaven, in

Every beautiful warning

*

I am learning to love in a small way.

I am learning to miniaturize my passion,

So it is no more unwelcome or overwhelming,

Than a single raindrop in spring

*

For love endures longest in acts of

Smallness – the folding of grass –

In the sparkle of an eyelash –

And the wealth of the heart is

Only sustained by the gathering

In of the small

*

II.

And, though I can pole-vault to Heaven,

Cutting straight through time with my

Celestial gymnastics, I have become far

Stronger through learning to creep there;

To ascend in steady shuffles

 *

III.

So, I love in a small way –

And, if you can hear the beauty

In what is never quite said, then

You will know exactly what I

Mean

*

 

Poem: When

piano_fantasy_wallpaper_background_26989

When the flowers close up within themselves,

And only inside one’s mind can one find any

Color – when the whole world hushes itself

Into a charnel ground, and only in the flickering

Tempests of your imagination can the thunder

Of life be savoured

 *

When all has been reduced to rubble –

Every concert hall despoiled to silence;

When the only music left playing is a

Quiet nocturne by Chopin; the swan

Song of a piano, about to fall off the

Edge of the world

 *

When all molluscs and crustaceans return

To their shells; and even hearts turn themselves

Inside out to try and find a warm place to burrow.

 *

When the lungs of the world collapse,

And the seas lick their lips over the ruins

Of train tracks.

 *

When that immutable ‘WHEN’ withdraws

Inside its own thunder, and things come

To pass exactly as they were hoped

 *

When the last chord, of the last song,

Is played, but never quite dies away,

And the warm safety of resolution

Is held in eternal tension – a tension

That never lets up, perching on an

Impossible tomorrow, that, every

Minute, becomes more

Possible

*

When all of these things come to pass,

I will have lived through them more

Times than they ever flourished.

And the tension of bow string

Against violin, will never quite

Abate.

*

Then, my tension will no longer be

The pain of waiting; my pain will

Have soldered itself into different

Forms; my waiting will have

Transformed into Waiting’s Long

Lost Brother – the one who returned

A week ago, and is back living with

His mother.

 *

 

II.

No – I will tell you about my kind of

Waiting – the suspense of a kiss a

Thousand years in the making – that

Senseless suspense that sits on the axis,

Unfinished – all those pale victories

You never know if you’ll quite accomplish.

*

But, it will be accomplished. Though I

Sit in this pool of erosion, and build

Up mansions from the bones of corral;

Though The Great Barrier Reef still

Gets caught in my teeth, and I can

No longer tell sky from sand – it

Will be accomplished

 *

I will not let myself down.

*

III.

Yet, there is still that suspense:

That fear of touching what has

Never been touched – of plucking

A string that has never been plucked;

Of hearing a chord, that, until you’ve

Heard it, you can’t be certain won’t

Have the power to destroy you.

 *

But, when has the potential of destruction

Ever lured me from the danger of my dreams?

I am too in love with destruction; I have too

Much adoration of all that can assure me

That things will never be the same.

 *

For that is my greatest fear:

The horror of the familiar.

So I look on the world with

A new mind each day,

Killing and reviving in

Perpetuity.

 *

 

Poem: The Snowy Owl

snowy-owl

Snowy Owl of my dreams;

Can you help me fly above my fears?

Can you help me traverse those acres

Of snow, with courage as my only

Candle?

 *

O, Ancestors! Rise up to me!

Beat your drums – weave your

Shawls out of stellar glass: for

Tonight we will unfold our wings,

Set foot in the chariot of the

Cosmic Horse, to dine with

The spectres of substance

*

And you are my spectres.

You have raised me up in

More lives than I can count;

Delivered me into an out of

Strife – made me a nervous

Newlywed, and a grieving

Wife

 *

And I know what it is to grieve –

To be pierced by the fervour of

The night; to cast that ebon shawl

Into luminous hallways that know

No night, but The Night of Nothing –

To evanesce into skies so removed

From density, it integrates All

Into The One.

*

II.

But, I will not speak of The One with

Number-stained lips – I will only speak

To you of Snowy Owls – of the fabulist

Messengers who sustain my dreams,

And ease me back into Everything

 *

And that is what I will take from you,

Snowy Owl, Dream Owl, fertilizing the

Thoughts of billions with your phantasmal

Pinions – with the phantasmagoria of every

Flight that showers us all in stars

*

That is what I will take from you, Snowy

Owl – I will take the Absolute Everything I see

You clutching in your claws.

*

For your yellow eyes see everything –

They, too, inject themselves into the

Veins of the night – they, too, tell the

Soul where it must go, to berobe its

Fertile distress with Wisdom.

 *

And This I will Bless.

And This I will Love.

And This I will harbour

In an eternal chest –

That lifts us above

The contagion of

Sorrow.

*

For I am done with sorrow. For,

Though I still weep, and my body,

Verily, often feels like an unreleased

Bag of tears – still, I cry, howl, weep,

And wail – still I will explode with the

Gift of Liberty, with the starburst of

Every tear fall

*

And, as God weeps those self-same tears

Back into your face; as Gods and Goddesses

Cry – every tear a legion – the pain milked

From every unwanted goodbye – as God weeps

Into my face, I will weep back into hers; and ours will

Be a union of such terrific tears, that it could be

Neither seen nor heard.

*

Then I will be The Snowy Owl –

Then I will be the parchment of

Every tear – then I will be the fragrance

Of an imploding happiness that always

Has too much to share

 *

And, as I rip from your beak the heart-felt

Letter that you bear, sealed with the

Stamp of an elastic soul, I will weep into

The miracle of your thunderous words –

Give myself up to the birds – to sell my

Remains to The City of Shadows, and the

Thirst of every Hug.

*

 

Poem: Queen of Autumn Sanctuaries

autumnlady

Queen of Autumn Sanctuaries –

What will you do now that your sovereignty

Has been displaced by a less sweet season?

*

Your season might be over – but your work is

Still in motion – posing unanswered thoughts

In the lullaby pulse of every burrowing creature

 *

You do not like to work out in the open – you weave

Your secrets into neat little parcels,

Deposited underground

For safest keeping

 *

Your kingdom is the happiness of jays;

The flight paths of swans in the lunar mist;

The roaring of the fire, in its tight iron cage,

Transmuting sadness into warmth,

Well-kindled,

*

Yours is not the regality of pomp and glory –

But the whispered glory of the small and

Hidden, hibernating in its own subtle beauty –

The half-heard majesty of the evening

*

This is why you love trees: not for their grandeur,

But for the way they enhance your smallness –

For you love anything that can miniaturize your

Frame, and enfold you in the gallantry of

Kindness

 *

Your palace is not turreted; but a pine cabin

In the woods. For, what need have you for a

Palace, when your kingdom dwells in a gallery

Of acorns, and the sustained tear fall of

Ice in the making?

 *

II.

Sweet Queen – though I can see you in the

Dolour of every yellowed elm; the escape

Of a squirrel’s tail – though I can hear you whispering

In unfinished manuscripts, and the mirk of sea-stained

Pages – still, I thirst for more than just traces, and the mad

Melancholy of boot-crushed berries

*

Invite me into your cabin –

Take off your veil –

Let us come face to face:

*

In the twilight of your kitchen;

In that perfect womb of cottag’d silence,

We will discuss the things that only we know,

And sing sweetly all that the mists only mutter

*

And against the shadow of all that furtively flutters,

The unsaid will be louder

Than the said

 *

 

Poem: The Death of Frosts

old-man

Old Age does not come in a moment;

Nor does it creep in with a limp; for

Things do not age here, but retain

Their youth – even when bones

Threaten to burst from their bounds,

Youth remains picturesquely the same.

 *

First the pitch drops, and we lose high

Noises; I look to the ground, and tiny

Elves rush among the leaves, gathering

The debris of autumn into the firewood of

Winter to manufacture a new age for the

Moment.

*

Ice Queens pass. I bow my head,

Solemn, chaste, as the white gowns

Of winter inspirit a benevolence more

Peaceful than the fracturing of a

Mirror

*

I pass the castle, and carry you with

Me, wrapped in a harness, like a

Swaddled baby. For even, many miles

Apart, I am always thinking of looking

After you.

 *

I will not drop you, though I continue

To limp, and we still have many crooked

Mountains to climb, before the worm

Wriggles from the earth, and the sun

Smiles upon the frosts that die.

*

This is not old age, but our first real

Flush of youth – all those melodies

Of past lives spent chasing each

Other’s tails – this silent shaman

Has learned to wail – and now he

Has his proof.

*

II.

And where will these melodies

Take us? What roads will they

Spiralize into the futuristic past –

Where all things creep up on

Themselves, rear their heads,

And tap their backs, saying:

 *

Look – I’ve found you,

Right where I left you –

I was right here all along!”

Did I not do the same?

Did I not tap your shoulder,

Lift up your heart – make you

Bolder? Catching you, delicately,

Unawares, as you fished me

Out my skin?

 *

The wind cannot tell me these things

This time of year – only kiss me, slowly,

With dried lips. And, if we sit still, and

Purse our lips, we will hear the sky

Laugh with a merry burst, and smile,

Smile,

Smile.