Poem: The Birds of Autumn

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Wind-blown maple keys whirligig through the air,
Whitebeam branches fall to the ground,
Piles of leaves rob the trees of their hair,
And migrating fieldfares erupt with sound

Filling autumn with the commotion of bush-exploding chatter,
Zipping from cypress, to yew, back to fir,
Oh, dearest birds, whatever can be the matter,
To make you whizz, bang, cluck, and chirr?

Is there something you feel that eludes human hearts?
A secret in the chill air that makes you come alive?
Flying all the way from farthest Scandinavia,
You come here to mate, thirst, frolic, and thrive

And I can relate to you, my darling thrushes,
For soon a little bird will be flying to me,
Who will whisper to me, softly, in the night’s autumnal hushes,
And enable me to feel happier than I ever thought I could be!

We too will go flying, swooping over meadow,
Preening each other’s feathers as we recline in the lea,
Snuggled up together as snuggest of bedfellows,
Perched close together in a horse chestnut tree

My passion, once flightless, can now take wing,
And my caresses and kisses are as starlings in the sky,
Though a troubadour, only to you do I sing
Of a heart now empowered to fly, fly, fly

To fly with you, to smell you, to feel your breath on my face,
And the ecstasy and comfort of knowing I am loved,
With you, I can find a paradise in the ugliest place,
Heaven in the rooftops, my Stebba, my beloved,

To be with you as a rook, as a jackdaw, as a crow,
To be a feathered thing – beak against beak –
To nuzzle in a nest – to know and be known,
To trickle with you, as water, down life’s placid creek

And still the maple keys whirligig through the air,
Still whitebeams branches fall to the ground,
But now our migrations bring us together,
And I hear your music in every soft sound

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Poem: Holy Land

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Scatter my ashes in the woods,
No holier land conceiveth I,
No Jerusalem or Palestine,
Tibetan Lhasa or Himalayan sublime,

But the soil and water of the River Wye,
Are quite holy enough for me,
No desire for The Ganges nigh,
When I could have these valleys green,

And lose myself in Lady’s Park Wood,
The Little Doward’s limestone cliffs,
Or from Yat Rock espy the terrain,
Of Herefordshire rolling quick

And who will join me on these walks,
A pilgrim in this palace of trees,
Will give me love to keep me warm
In this everchange of nature’s confederacy?

I hope it will be you, my darling,
Who will be right foot to my left,
Who will be the inhale to my exhale
When I am struggling for more breath

But you enfold me, calm me, open me,
As a key unlocking latch of door,
Unto your glass, I will pour me,
Drain me, always search for more

In this quiet infinitude of man,
In this library of secrets, by crows surveyed,
You have the power to be my making,
And to be there when I am unmade

Unmade, yet never lost, not quite,
For there is a light under everything,
There is a song of whispering might,
That never loses its voice to sing

So, tree me, darling, branch me, leaf me,
Be the bark that ne’er will unsheathe me,
Be the Venus to my Mars,
Be the space between the stars

Be the rainfall on my lake,
Be the wine, my thirst to slake,
Be the building – be the stone –
Be the mansion I call my home

But most of all, my dear, be mine,
Be the needle on the pine,
Be the mountain, be the rills,
Be the hollows my mistiness fills

And, mysteriously, I’ll come down,
To be the thorn upon your crown,
To be the cells within your blood
Scattering my ashes in the wood

Sonnet: Love In The Making

Shelling by Night 1941 by Eric Ravilious 1903-1942

Pulling back the sable curtain of shade,
Unfolding happiness in the shadow of sorrow,
The theatre of light the mountains displays,
As I climb through the thickets of thorny tomorrows,
Searching the escarpments, the ridges, the plains,
Along river and canal bank, by raven’s call beckoned,
Wishing to surrender all the luxuries of pain,
Endured for years, days, minutes, and seconds,
I want to learn about you by kissing you,
To map out the seasons of your emotions and needs,
Desire puts the cartographer back into the blue,
To root out the affection on which our happiness feeds,
My heart is open – in your chosen room,
Waits love in the making – a kiss in the womb

 

Poem: Sweetness On A Rainy Night

rin
Paint peeling off an old door
Milks the memories of wood beneath,
Bereft of twig and leaf, chaotic hieroglyphs
Are gently thrummed by stochastic fingers,
Written by the pouring rain

The rain gives us all new means of passage,
Improvising pools, puddles and ad hoc brooks,
For blackbird juveniles to use as water slides,
With no more summer song to be sung for us,
The rain sings its song instead

I have prayed for this moment for a long time.
With the slippers of sleep tiptoeing on my peripheries,
I climbed into bed with the rhythms of a ghost,
And stretched out my arms until whole continents
Were warm and safe in the circumference of my
Not yet rainy embrace

Into the larval shell of your ear,
I whispered of reassurances,
And the shapes of faces that appear
In the contortions of clouds

I felt wounds – wounds that ran deeper than my own,
And I wanted to heal them – to pour honey into them –
To resurrect you from the touchlessness you feel has
Become your tomb

But with compassion so warm and cuddly,
I couldn’t help but feel perfectly sleepy,
And as I drifted off into your arms,
The rain peeled the paint away

 

Poem: Idle Thoughts In A Chapel

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Cloistered inside myself,
A one-man monastery,
From nave to navel,
From chance to chancel,
The architecture of my thoughts spiral towards sorrow,
Desiring touch, it flees all things that make touch possible –
Growing spikes – concealing itself in thorny foliage

Yet pollen still draws bees from across the ocean,
As we are drawn by irresistible patterns of migration,
Arcing along courses, as inexorably as stars,
Drawn into conjunction or opposition

Fearing, yet seduced by one another,
We shed fire into each other’s eyes,
And melt like butter, and the silence
Of my prayers is devoted to your potentiality,
Kneeling at the altar of space

I will kneel before the holy see of your femininity,
I will eat of your body as a sacrament,
And drink of your kisses like wine,
Saying prayers in the shedding of tears,
The communion of your arms will be mine

Then, out in the graveyard,
I will bury my thoughts in the body of earth,
And the lime trees will declare the sweetest of boundaries,
Where melody shepherds us in,
As lambs into an enclosure

They’ll pass round the collection plate,
And I’ll leave a poem on it,
And I’ll declare that it is holy writ,
For it was born of your womanly glory

 

Poem: Jackdaws In Love

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A congregation of jackdaws zigzag above a spire,
Each of their clacks a prayer of unconscious praise
The patterns dissolve and then repeat
Recombining in a thousand different ways

I’ll admit it – I am afraid of tenderness –
Of softness – of anything that can speak
Sweetly to me when I expect only indifference
And repulsion

A loving whisper can wear away a wall
Quicker than a brass band at Jericho,
And a soul-sung smile can disable
Even the most high-tech of security systems,
Leaving you defenceless and worn

But each of my cells is a jackdaw,
Sometimes cohering together in a maze of flight,
At others electing to spend lives of searching on lonely rooftops,
Dropping stolen objects onto the ground below,
To observe the laws of Caws and Effect

If a tree shan’t be my throne,
Then a throne shall be my tree,
And from the scriptural skin of spiral-spun bark,
I will offer shelter to those above and below me –
The Wooden Almshouse of the World

Just by being here, I am unchastened,
My kisses are loosened from their reins,
And seek out streams in which to bathe their secrets,
In the eddies and whirlpools of unknowing

So see me chaste,
And then unchastened,
In the clacking prayer of bird-born syllables,
Strung on every strand of the sky

 

Poem: Grandfather River

turner

Picnic in a bluebell wood,

Every step I tread feels like a pilgrimage

Towards the resolution of a mystery, that,

Geisha-like in a Schrodingerian box, evades

All comprehension 

 *

To the beat of pebbled feet besides river

Or stream, I am always learning so much

About myself – you invert me, and help

Me look at the world and myself differently

 *

In the pursuit of a dog with a stick in its mouth

Emerging from a river, I strive to emerge from a

Tide that flows deeper than I ever thought it could

But I cannot now unstick myself from the sludgy depth

Of life – even the crows play secret games – and magpies

Are behind the government of buses and trains

And I would like to be somewhere far away from here,

Somewhere roadless, pathless, trackless, where you can

Peel back the cracked skin of the centuries, and tend meekly

To your garden, where no one has yet fathomed the full onslaught

Of enclosure

For time is just a wrinkle in an old man’s brow,

In the passionate furrows of Grandfather River,

Rolling around his rocking chair bend

 *

Lurking behind it all, like an unweeded root,

Vermin in the wall, lies the deep weight of

My desire for love, for company, for riddance

Of the fevered solace solitude no longer grants

Me

And you, my dear, dear friend, you introduce me

To a gentleness I often find in water, but seldom

See in human clothes – with you, I can temporarily

Put the lid on my sorrows, and return to a simpler

Past, books and memories assure me once existed

Motherless, fatherless, brotherless, loverless,

Bereft of friends like so many limbs, I wonder

If the earth itself ever feels so lonely at being

So neglected, unrecognized, by those that

Live upon her

I could keep on writing,

But the winds are blowing me off my bench,

And to the tunes sung softly by Grandfather River,

I swim slowly round that rocking chair bend

Sonnet On A Summer’s Eve

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So steady the night on this soft summer’s eve,

As star seeds descend like manna from heaven,

The stillness of the scots pine fertilizes my ease,

And unmasks the demon by which my anxiety is driven,

Beneath all the chaos and dust of the world,

Is a light feather bed by tranquillity plumed,

The chaos is like two lovers wrestling on sheets,

The serenity is the mattress where their bliss is consumed,

And imbued with non-reference – the terminator of fear,

A tender consummation that nurses all wounds,

Cordelia is returned to the resanitized King Lear,

And on loving what’s lost, we no longer presume,

But cherish each beauty, the peace won by a friend,

Vowing to love them forever – faith without end

Poem: The Vial of The Night

black

I drink from the vial of the night,

Strange sips, in the groove of some

Unearthly tango, a maddening shambles

That divests me of sense’s good rhythm

 *

And in ancient Rome, at the death of some

Great dictator, you grabbed my hand with

Great excitement, to pull me into that flowing,

Serpentine procession

 *

But I had not changed my position:

I was still numb, numbless, purling out

In all directions for want of love – an

Ever-encroaching shore that licks the

Land, as statesmen thirst for war

And if I was on that sepulchre,

All my lovers, and those that loved me,

Would take turns kissing me,

And I would be apotheosized by their kisses –

Raised up and poured like a sandy equation

Into the vial of the night

 

Poem: Tender Oblivion

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I.

O, how can I take interest in art,

When all is within a frame encaged?

When beauty is kept from me apart,

And the words cannot escape the page?

II.

I have felt art travel through me in a body’s form,

Wrestled with finer hair than any filigree,

Keenly caressed by soft hands – by beauty torn

O, when will life beat again for me?

III.

All the genius of the world becomes as spiritless lead,

When your life-renewing bliss inspirits me not,

I lie pallid – anesthetized – in Apathy’s own bed;

A patient, unmedicated – by love’s nurses forgot

IV.

Infuse me with your blood – hatch phoenixes in my cells –

Lend me your lungs through the donation of a kiss;

Replace torpid silence with the clamour of your bells,

And if I needs must miss you – give me something to miss!

V.

Give me time – give me touch – give me a new pair of wings!

So I can take flight into realms unknown,

Show me the resistless curvature of Infinity’s rings,

And let me learn how happiness can find its home,

VI.

In the nestlings and nuzzlings of enraptured lovers, conjoined,

In The Milk Way Woman – and the star-blackened Man,

From the imperilled pageantry of illusion were we protestlessly purloined,

But how Reality teases – it will – and it can!

VII.

To satisfy your dreams in the shriek of a moment,

Inviting you into the halls of its opulent repast,

And then to be thwarted by endless postponement,

Dull cloying heaviness bereaves – leaves you aghast,

VIII.

Now tyrannized by ghosts – malignant memories –

Until that triumphal hour when your happiness returns,

Directionless, adrift, on sea-monstered seas,

By the profits of pain is your currency earned

IX.

While passion, in the meantime, is stoked in the waiting,

A fire needs contact to be quenched and subdued,

With emotion-filled waters – it yearns for the mating –

It gives up the pursuit on being pursued

X.

What then? What then? Only you can decide

If from this gallery I am ghostlessly removed,

Over-fathom me with your waters –pulse in your tide –

May this pale, languorous statute with frail flesh be renewed

XI.

For, if flesh must be frail – I want you to kill mine –

To make it wear away by being over-touched,

Rend me with your thorns – choke me with your vines –

Don’t give me just enough – but too much, too much!

XII.

I want to be consumed by the onslaught of your closeness,

To be carved apart, dismembered, by a body too soft,

Reduce to ruins my temporal fastness,

In your blood-drawing clutches lift me aloft!

XIII.

In that tender oblivion of interweaving pulsation –

You can be the stars – I will be the night –

Fill me up with a supernova’s bedazzalation!

Show me how softness can murder all might

XIV.

All might, all night, talk and breathe hard till morning,

An asthma attack – or Euphoria’s Curse?

Shock me – terrify me – give me no warning –

No time to notify coroner or hearse

XV.

I am wealthy with new passion – lustful for spending –

The merging of opposites – the serpent and the bow –

Coiling or uncoiling – ended and never-ending –

Loving the unknown in what we wish to be known

XVI.

And so I wait patiently, with impatient yearning,

Exhausted by desire – enlivened – inflamed –

And in-between two sheets, with fertility burning,

I long to hear your softly whimper my biblical name