Poem: Terror

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Terror, terror, in my skin,
Where do you stop and I begin?
Filling me with dreadful care,
I seem to find you everywhere

Unconfined by geography,
Where is not your suzerainty?
I’ve tried to find it, but in vain:
Yours is an all-encompassing pain

You follow me everywhere,
Like an infection, skin-eroding,
Ask me if I do or dare,
Simplicity becomes foreboding,

You follow me in my happy moods,
And when I’m walking through the woods,
Chewing away my insecurity,
My only recurring stability,

Terror in the supermarket,
Terror in the crowded street,
Terror sits upon my chest,
When I cannot get to sleep

You make me feel like death’s flirtation,
You jeer, and jibber, grind and goad,
Ever repeating this one thought:
Any second your heart could explode

Why dishonour myself by believing,
Things that might or might not be true,
Why are you now my voice of reason?
Why have I put my trust in you?

I begged you to go away, Fear,
Said we should both see other people,
I do not wish to return to your church,
Or impale myself on its steeple

I am hungry for a deeper peace,
Hungry for the embrace of wisdom,
Hungry for a love that can
Be its own, fear-destroying Kingdom

Now a memory, I can see,
Pictures of our time spent together,
Holding hands, reluctantly,
Why did you love me, so much, Terror?

But now that you have gone, Fear,
I can see what you helped me learn,
But it does not make any more keen,
To know the day when you’ll return

 

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Poem: Interview With A Fox

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“Why are you watching, little fox?
I’ve told you everything I know,
Up in the hills, where eagles cry,
Greenery is replaced by snow.

Why are you smiling, little fox –
Have I done something to make you laugh?
Your soul is not the written word,
But an indecipherable pictograph

Why are you panting, little fox –
Is it because I’ve removed my clothes?
Conifers are sashaying in the wind,
Secret desires deliver soft blows

Why am I bleeding, little fox?
I have no knowledge of such things,
Is pleasure the plug that opens pain;
Sorrow what makes the blue bird sing?

I’ll ask no more questions, little fox –
Like you, a smiling fox, I’ll be,
I’ll be the answer that never comes,
Grinning at people between the trees

 

Britain has lost half its wildlife. Now is the time to shout about it.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/26/wildlife-modern-farming-insects-birds?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Something I worry about deeply and constantly. It often irks me how people can be so vocal about the most petulant and trivial of matters, but when it comes to the preservation of the environment – the one thing all our lives depend upon – so many are indifferent and oblivious. It reminds me of the David Byrne lyric: ‘And as things fell apart, nobody paid much attention.’ All those issues that arouse so much ire – politics, economics, business, and raising awareness ‘campaigns’ – while important, will be of little import if we do not have a healthy planet for them to take place upon.

***

I hate writing posts like these, as I know they can make one come across as preachy and sententious. But isn’t it a pretty fucked up world, where the wildlife of your country – of the world – can be in a state of absolute catastrophic crisis, and you feel like the bad guy for pointing it out? We should hold the land as something inseparable from our hearts, because it is. If it hurts, we hurt. And if the epidemic of mental health problems hasn’t made it abundantly clear, there’s a whole bunch of hurting going on – a vast deal of which I feel is a consequence of constantly interacting with technology, and not our natural environment.

***

If the plan out-lined towards the end of this article went ahead, it would be wonderful. But one of the best things I think we could do is to stop interfering with nature – to curb the endless proliferation of houses, businesses, cars, pollutants, pesticides, roads, and other constant, meddling, ugly, needless geo-engineering projects that spring up everywhere, and lead to the habitat fragmentation that is the destroyer of so many unmourned, animal lives. If it were humans dying, and not birds, animals and insects, it would be called genocide; cultural displacement and eugenics. Is a disaster called by another name any less, heart-piercingly awful?

***
There it is – I have said my piece – expressed the sorrow and worry that gnaws constantly at my heart. ‘But Nature,’ as some of you has expressed, ‘is stronger than us. If we blow ourselves up in a nuclear war, it’ll still be here when we’re gone.’ I won’t disagree with that. It very much would. But do you really want to wait until you, and everything you’ve ever known or cared for, is dead, before you can see nature re-robed in all its glory? Are you content to lazily let the world go to shit, for innocent lives, vegetal and animal, to be lost – to say goodbye to the daily splendour of flowers, trees, and bird-song – all because our successors – if we have any – may one day live to see them again? I, for one, am not. I am not content to watch a natural holocaust take place, all because this indulgent, Netflix generation – and their irresponsible elders – have more entertaining things or petty polemics to consider.

***

Excuse my frankness. I do not have all the answers, and am as much to blame as anyone else. But the change in our perspectives and priorities is the only thing that will see these things restored as they should be in our lifetime. It starts with caring, and having the courage to transform that caring into action. And if enough people participate in that cycle, the bird-song sonata need never have an end.

 

Poem: Shaman Sorrow

 

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When we were shamans,
The whole world was our tundra,
I controlled the mellow earth,
You controlled the thunder

Ice and snow wove a web,
In which we were the spiders,
Straddling star-back in the night,
As Heaven’s only Riders

Riding through The Milky Way,
The quartz-laced, star-strewn river,
Neither was the taker,
Neither was the giver

Then called we were by knocks on wood,
Called we were by clash of stone,
Called we were by tongues of fire,
Called we were by windy moans

Together we met a sad-faced God,
A hulking beast, covered with hair,
The snowy pine wood was his home,
The snowy pine cave was his lair

He looked at us, and shook his head:
“Together, now, you cannot be;
You must go into the sky –
You must go into the sea.”

Separated we were, my love and I,
She became a golden bird,
And I became a loathsome thing,
For which The Gods have not a word

Then sun and comets came and went,
The Earth no longer was our tundra,
I no longer sang the earth,
You no longer sang the thunder

We were not shaman lovers then,
Shamans again we could never be,
Now that you are stuck up in the sky,
And I am trapped beneath the sea

But still I dream of returning snows
Long for rebirth of the tundra,
When I will control all the world,
And you – all the thunder

Poem: Song of the Skogsra

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Note: The poem was inspired by an entry in George M. Eberhart’s two-volume encyclopaedia of Mysterious Creatures. In a section relating to Feral People, he refers to a case that took place in 17th Century Sweden, where a young man was sentenced to death for having a love affair with a ‘Skogsra’ – ‘A Wild Woman of The Wood.’ There seem to be three angles for consideration: that the being was a wise woman/shamaness with whom he was undergoing an initiation – hence why the act would have met with so much disapprobation from the Christian Authorities; that the Skogsra is a yeti/big foot-type creature (that have also been known to interbreed with humans); or that the Skogsra is a faery/feminine nature spirit. In the poem, the Skogsra is very much described as being a conflation of those first two suppositions. I hope you enjoy it.

Another day lost in this cruel world,
Another day at the gallows,
But what crime hath he commit,
This young man, so sweet and sallow?

Tender, pale, handsome was he,
But a drunken fervour crazed his eye,
He saith: “Why only in the name of love
Must the innocent be seen to die?

“I die not for love of human flesh,
No woman hath shared my pillow;
The one that I love hides in the hills,
And dances between the willows,

Chorus
“Yes, the Skogsra is my lover!
The Skogsra is my lover!
Unless I can hath my wild woman free,
I will not live for another!

“No clothes defile my true love’s skin,
No home, nor house, has she,
Her body is covered with moss-soft hairs,
That kindle a flame in me

Chorus

“She belongeth to a strange, secret race,
That live in the old, sacred woods,
The church says they are demon-folk,
But to me, her kisses taste good!

Chorus

“In the forest they found, they found us entwined,
Making love in a sweet, silken glade,
My head was between her hairy, strong legs:
In pleasance, her fingers were splayed.

“She tried to save me from these Christian brutes,
To beat them back with her mighty arms,
But they blew her down with a musket shell,
And my love was bereft of her charms.

“’Kill me now!’ I shrieked to these men,
‘Kill me now and set my heart free!
You accuse me here of savagery,
But in the mirror the true savage you’ll see!

“’For in the name of your phantom god,
Christ died on the cross for your sin,
And you kill and kill and kill all the more,
So all can die for your sins again

“’You hang me because the beast within,
Made me love the beast without,
But a beast I am, and a beast I’ll be,
Though I have no horns or a snout!’”

And so, from the gallows, they dropped him down,
Like a sad pendulum he did swing,
And it made me sad to see a young man die
With his heart such a fine, noble thing

I take it upon myself to see his legacy out,
Now into the woods do I roam;
Mind, heart and loins, lusting to find,
The place where The Wild Woman moans