Poem: The Anchorite

Sunset amid Dark Clouds over the Sea circa 1845 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

At the bottom of the crystal ocean
Lie great clusters of coracles,
All accreted together like so many fossils

Many anchorites have tried to reach this island,
Many more have failed – gobbled up by the hunger
Of the sea, reborn in the half world of The Tuatha De Danan,
Meditating on the glories of God in waters dark and unseen,
Their skins grizzling into carapaces of seal fur:
The bone-made carpets of the deep

Looking out from your stone-built hut,
God gives you layers of Celtic mist,
And you are crucified by the nails of ambiguity
That describe the landscape where you sit:
The Throne of The Holy Fool

Slowly, over time, rock, lichen and moss
Become your skin – your thoughts become
The spindrift of unquantifiable seconds –
Of unquantifiable questions –
And the crashing of the waves sounds like
The creaking of so many turned Bible pages,
Vellum sanctified into wave-worn silence

Baptized in the lonely font of the ocean,
You can see the face of Christ in the face
Of every seal, in the squabblings of kittiwakes,
In the unheard music of coral, and the contorted
Countenance of storms

But, should you achieve your wish,
And live eternal in Christ
To have him live eternal in you,
Then you will watch thousand-year-old
Oaks rise and fall with the passing of seconds,
Forests laid to wastes, and wastes regrown,
Cities to deserts, and deserts to springs,
To the steady thunder of civilizations crushing out
Their own matchsticks, and all the gold found on earth
Ascending to heaven, returning to the fiery
Centre of the Sun from which is was milked

But, until then, let each of the waves be the dial-hands
Of moments killing moments, one moment killing the
Moment that preceded it, only to be slaughtered by its
Ungrateful descendant, muttering:

“Holy is Christ,
Holy is Christ,”

Until you know every cave of the sea

Poem: Café Sonata – A Fantasia

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Watching The Willow Woman come to life,

All winter, cursed in un-nurturing soil, she

Breathes as though for the first time now

That spring is here

*

Brittle branches become swinging limbs,

Thirsty roots become the tenderest of feet,

Unleafed buds become strands of blonde,

*

This creature from Ovid, this nymph, this Dryad,

This unsylvan Diana becomes a forest in herself,

The very agent of every breeze, a body of skirts,

Shawls, and fabrics that apportions beauty to

The sighing breath of the wind

*

Bored of being a tree, she becomes a woman,

A girl, and takes a spirited tour around Europe

For a year, floating through museums, dancing

With statues, supple footsteps in marble – half-

Heard cantatas on the wind

*

Europa was made solely to delight her,

That flying dove – that agent of sweetened

Disaster, spiriting down boulevards, cobblestones,

Singing to the scent of Belgian coffee, aromatic

Skyline smoked into matter

*

This flightful fantasia that can take me

So far away from where I am sat – to

France, The Alps, Belgium, Senegal –

The sunny and sun-spotted skulduggery

Of Roma where – La Dolce Vita! – she

Will fall into a fountain, slim-waisted,

The water exploding, resonantly, from

The aftershock of Anita Ekberg’s breasts –

Federico Fellini still burbling as he is

Motorboated into his grave.

*

II.

Now The Willow Tree is bored of travelling;

Whimsical for want of whimsy, she decides

To settle somewhere, to give her space to reflect,

Sinking her roots into an art-cum-coffee shop,

Where she paces around, purposefully, like an

Avian-wader, looking for fish to follow the teachings

Of her gullet, only too eager to be swallowed by her

*

Luckily, I am not a fish –

I am a tree sparrow, hopping along

A window ledge, furtively casting artistic

Glances at her, available for purchase in

My next issue of illustrations

*

From the cup of a tulip, I compose my fantasia,

Pencil lead composed from a tulip stem

*

I hold it in my beak, and make detailed

Notes about her – details of breeziness

And lithe branching legs that I will later

Stretch beyond all reason into a set of

Popular French novellas

*

III.

And what does she think of this sparrow,

Making eager notes over here, his face exhumed

From artist’s charcoal – with breadcrumbs for his

Wings? Stood behind her counter, heron-straight,

Heron-composed, until the need to fiddle with

Something in the shop, calls her daring legs away

*

He does not chitter – he does not even issue forth

A dunnock’s dripping of melodic litter – he just sits,

And sips his MOROCCAN MINT TEA, until his muse,

Or the desire to buy yet another book, calls him

Idiotically away

*

IV.

And then to a bay, some wide, glittering,

Sun-knighted bay, where sands can kiss

One’s feet, and it does not matter where

One is, whether in Africa, The Continent,

Or Barry Island,

*

All that matters is that one continues to stand here,

To be nursed by the moment, to be tenderly caressed

By invisible arms, and held by wallpaper patterns of

Hindu Gods, sparkling, glittering, and aurorically panting

To the vividity of God’s Glorious Painting

*

V.

And somewhere, on the other side of the world,

There is a baby lamb just being born, and through

His mucus-bleared eyes, all he can see is sun – sun,

Sun, sun, sun – a world of sun – a light – a corona –

A detonation of innocence beyond the threshold

Of its own awareness

*

And, in about three seconds,

He will be dimly aware that

Some sparrow has just written

About him in a blank verse poem

*

VI.

But The Willow Woman has no such knowledge –

Only her till, her counter, and her marrow bone’s

Worth of musical items

*

And in the warmth of Innocence and Ignorance

Playfully dancing, The Cafe Sonata will draw to

A close, once the coffee machine stops working

*

 

Poem: How Things Are Captured

how

When the whole of life clutches at your chest,

Pectoral muscles and intercostals constricting –

That sweet angina of upward propulsion, forced

Downwards – reminding you that it is hard to breathe –

That it is hard to live – and that your imagination is dependent

Upon your body – but that your body is your imagination

*

Every sensation becomes centered in that pectoral matrix:

Tongues clatter – butterflies flutter – lungs feel sick and lucidly

Sweet in the deoxygenation of their own anatomy

*

And you reflect on how things are captured –

How to make the ephemeral immortal – how

To forget – not remember – all that needs to

Be forgotten

*

How to make a cup of tea last forever;

How to keep two pairs of arms from ever being dissevered

*

But The Eternal Memory continues, remembering all that

Needs to be forgotten, and all that shouldn’t: the little crevices

Where you keep your receipts; those little snatches of conversation

That torment you with their belaboured banality

*

But then you remember something worthwhile:

When you walked down the leas, and wondered at

Your own lack of wonder on seeing the acne scars

Of Celandine; and you hate them – hate yourself for

Hating them – you hate the recognition that you should

Be moved and feel something; yet you are unmoved and

An outcast of higher feeling; but, equally, those higher

Feelings are still there – you love them – want to kiss them –

To offset your lips as puckered petals against them – those

Little daubs of painted flax that bejewel the countryside

*

II.

You, too, can be a moment captured;

A memory amputated from someone’s side

That keeps them tossing and turning and awake

All night

*

A night of tears and agony,

On a wind-swept sofa, wave-riven and briny;

And then the bus ride back in the morning

With chaotic thoughts chorusing at desuetude’s dawning,

And you are ephiphanized with this realizing:

*

“The world is a better place with me in it,

So I am duty-bound to go on living,

Even though I find no joy or solace in existence,

And have no desire to go on living.

*

“But I do want to go on living! To really live!

Yes, I live, and I live through pain – but to live

Beyond and above pain, even while wholly

Centered within it – to be happy and unalone

For more than just a moment, but a continuum

Of happy and love-uplifted moments!

*

“But pain and sadness have become entrenched habits,

As I make myself a sponge of willingness to the sufferings

Of others: how can I give up on pain, without wrongfully

Turning my back on the pain of others?”

*

So, moments are captured; questions are captured;

And, gratefully, answers are as elusive as imaginary

Lips, and can never be said to be fully captured; while

Wrestling with the desire to distil the purity of man

Into a single sentence

*

And should you ever find that sentence,

Nail it to me, write it down, but never let

Me read it – and in the meantime I will

Venture forth with the harpoon and net

Of my retentive memory, and hunt for

More moments to capture

*

 

Poem: Visions of Spring

ecole-bosch-vision-de-tondal2

Where the earth grows gravid,

Pregnant with itself; that’s where

My thoughts flow. Primroses, crocuses,

Snowdrops rejoice to wheezing greenfinches,

Spring winds breathing fresh through the heather.

But we had to crawl through the dark shawl of winter,

Tear off her icy veil, to arrive at this florid juncture here;

We had to roam through lands, spectre-filled – haunted –

Every hectare sown with nightmares, wicked hags haunting

The cairn-carbuncled mountains

To where we find a boy and girl,

Both beautiful and fair, strayed

From their farm, their sunny fayre,

To a plain of nightmare, to a village

Of jigsaw-walled dereliction of Boschian

Black and cream-white bleakness

A little goblin guides them through the town,

Showing them the history painted on their walls;

Eight and ten-score years of making trophies, and

A thousand more of famine: “All the bread was burned

To black, and we never ate again.”

 *

“O, we are a poor folk here!” he lamented.

The boy and girl too wondered how they would ever eat again,

Caught in the woods, intersticed with pockets of civilization,

Which grew up like boils between them

 *

But now, reedy and wind-blown, a peace as deep and as heavy

As a hug anchors me to land, to the life of the land, and my thoughts

Cradle themselves, crow-like, in the negative spaces between the branch’s

Hands

 *

Truly, we never stop being children – each human life-span

As long as a primrose – of a mushroom – of the pre-programmed

Wrinkles in the tenderness of a sapling

 *

But life remains beneath the earth,

Though flowers soon exceed their day of birth,

And sun within the soil is cloven,

With love and fire, both inwoven,

I will savour the ease after the strain,

Though, still unable to separate pleasure from pain,

And in the muddy peace and chaos of fertile existence,

I will go on living,

I will go on singing

 

Poem: Conversations With Rumi

rumi

Sweet Rumi, and Prophet Gibran, lend me your hearts!

Let me not be corrupted by hate, nor the enmity of wounded

Pride; the mouldering coal of anger that inflames my myocardia,

And obstructs the outlets of my infectious affection

*

Let me not be a hypocrite – I have promised to give,

So let me give – give, even when I feel only the indifference

And inattention of those I give to – when I offer of myself to

The point of exhaustion only to be met with distant stares

*

It makes this wounded child want to repair into a Grinch,

A burglarizing old Saturn, and declareth thus: “I have

Given, and been denied loving gratitude, so wherefore

Shouldst I give?”

*

Abide not that Reuben! Take that Reuben –

Slap him in the face – and sayeth unto him:

*

“Give, Reuben – give until you have donated the very bones

From your back; give of your skin – give until you are so itchy

And inflamed, your tender layers excoriated by blazing sands,

You can barely stand for the pain of how much you give

*

“By all means cherish those that receive your love,

And return it too, for they heal you and remind you

What it is to be whole – to be the middle ground

Betwixt Heaven and Earth

*

“But cherish even more those who neither take your love,

Nor return it, or if they do, give back only in outward displays

Of silent mockery, or glut the ears of your heart with poisoning

Words; those who take your love as but a trifling snack, and, after

Eating it all to surfeit, with no trace of gratitude, have the temerity

To ask “What’s for dessert?” – those to whom you give your most

Precious things only to have them to converted into missiles of

Unkindness to slay and destroy, like the golden statue of a

Glorious saint or king melted down to make metal for bullets or

Swords –

*

“If those that love you are your healers, then those emperors

And empresses of ingratitude are your teachers: they show you

How to steel your love and keep it pure – to persevere in a love

That cannot be deterred – to make your love the king of all beasts;

To dine on your obstacles as invigorating meats

*

“Evolution thrives on adaptation – so make your love such a one

As this – a love that refuses to give up – that always find a way

To survive – if at first your love does not succeed, endure, and

Search out the forms it needs to take on in order to be the

Emancipating skeleton key, the hidden jigsaw puzzle piece

That connects every heart.”

*

“But the blackness of my anger is so hard,” you say,

“I am depleted, duped, dead – how much longer must

I go on refining the steel of my love against the adamantine

Point of other’s disdain, apathy, and hatred?

*

“Because I have met those that would love me;

That would crucify me with their kindness –

That can clearly see all I strive to do for the world,

And see that it is good.

*

“Why would I consent to being a pillar of odium

When I do not have to cast myself so bloody upon

Embattled plains? Why would I submit myself to

Aching disinterest, of knocking flint against flint to

Try and rouse love in an unwelcome heart when I could

Receive love elsewhere ready-made?”

*

“Why would you, indeed?” said Rumi. “Take the easy way

And all will later be hardness; take the hard way, and, as you

Now know, much else will become easier thereby – better yet,

Unite them both, and be indifferent, accepting, and loving of

Either.

*

“No one said you had to make a choice, because how can we

Ever just make one choice about anything? In selecting one thing,

We also create the anti-matter of all we failed to select, and, by

Opting not choose one thing, we are still kept in the pall of

Non-choice’s shadow. One may choose The Path of Happiness

And still find sadness pursuing them like a silent cat – one may

Choose to renounce the world, only to find that the world still

Pursues them in their renunciation, and nothing has been

Renounced at all. One will always find many things one did

Not choose, so why place such great esteem in choices after

All?

*

“Instead of worrying about what to choose, be mindful of what

You do with what chooses you – be kind to those things you do

Not choose – you’ll have to learn to live with everything eventually

Anyway, so why not make things easier and harder for yourself –

Isn’t that what you’ll do anyway?”

*

“So, this is what I get,” thought I,More of the hollow philosophy

I went into the desert to get away from: survive – live – die – or

Do not die; choice against choicelessness – self-control verses

Recklessness – egotism verses selflessness – virtue and sin in

Psycho-sexual union breeding more babies of ambiguity to

Keep the world going on and on and on.”

*

“I hear you, brother,” said Rumi, tugging me by the hand,

And pulling me further into those golden desert sands, “I

Hear your cries, your confusion, your incertitudes, and

Desolating and uplifting attitudes. I hear your thoughts

And all the sly silky nothings that slink between those

Thoughts. I hear them all as clearly as I hear a jukebox

That spurs on a barbaric barroom brawl.

*

“You want what we all want: you want to love and

Be loved – to feel that confusion is something you

Can overcome – that there is a direction, a purpose,

A motion in life you can eternally trust in – and

Even though you rebel against all linear things,

You still wish the course of life wouldn’t always

Be so frustratingly pinball quantum.

*

“Think of your friends, Rube. Those who are your friends

May later becomes your enemies, and, by becoming your

Enemies, may prove better friends in giving you things to

Strive against.

*

“How often have those you loved only proven to be stepping

Stones towards those you would love mightier later? How many

Dashed hopes have unleashed greater joys from the corpses of

Those they lost?

*

“The problem is the question of Finality – of Certainty.

The desire to have things so, and to have them always be

So: to have an eternal day, and be done with night – to

Have an eternal summer and be done with the savage

Ineluctability of winter – to have just enough love and

No more than you can manage – to have just enough

Solitude, but not enough that all your hopes are ravaged –

This golden mean – this constant ratio – this middle income

Of truth and light – of sustainable joy somehow always able

To vivify itself with an insurance policy against discontentment’s

Canker

*

“But we live in a seasonal world – an excessive world –

A world that will always take things too far, and, in the

Process, take you too far along with it:

*

“So why not smile and shout when you are happy,

And wail and cry when you are sad – and then reverse

Them, and dance and sing when your are unhappy

And cry with mightiness when your joy stabs you mindlessly

In the heart?

*

“Either way you experience –

Either way you keep on going –

Because there is no true stillness in this world;

But, like the ball in the pinball machine, you will

Always find yourself rocketing between one point

Of light, and a pair of pincers always ready to strike

You back.

*

“Like Homer’s Odysseus, you must choose between Scylla

And Charybdis, knowing that, in this union of sea monsters,

There is no real choice at all; between this rock and a hard

Place, you will feel the hardness of hardness, the softness of

Softness; the softness of hardness, and the hardness of softness;

And you will find joy and sorrow in them both; wisdom and ignorance

In them in equal measure.

*

“So what does it matter? It doesn’t matter which way you sail –

The point is that you sail. The point is that you have the courage

To be freely buffeted by the winds, lapped by the tonguing foamy

Surges of Neptune’s inconstant lover’s broil. Stay at home, and the

Sea will only seek you out – go to sea and seek out, and you will be

Sought by land just the same, if that be not the crux of all your

Seeking.

*

“Feeling stable, you long for change – feeling only surging

Tides of change, you long for the certitude of land to give

You a supply of paradise’s incorruptible currency.

*

“Again, the point is neither in choosing change or changelessness,

Finding both in neither, and neither in the above – the point is in

The motion – in the desiring, the end of desiring, and then the returning

Of desiring all over again.

*

“That is the point:

Motion – stillness – love.”

*

“I carry no assumptions about anything,” said I,

In return, throwing a bolt of lightning against the

Sand to make it into a glass to mirror us both.

*

“I know that one cannot choose happiness anymore

Than one can opt to completely outdo the conniving

Machinations of suffering. I choose neither an easy

Love nor or a hard love, for there is no love to choose,

Love being all there is.

*

“But I am human. I ask questions. I look to the future

And I speculate – I hold up and comparatively weigh

All the possible journeys I make. No one will ever truly

Know if they are the in process of experiencing the best

Of all possible worlds; but still – still there is the desire

That with every action and new direction one takes, that,

In the motion of that direction, we take it and make it in

The best possible way – that we leave no stone of potential

Wisdom, knowledge, joy, difficulty, or obstruction unturned,

Unfulfilled – that we do not lay to waste all those gifts that

Are made to us – that we make sure our cup runs over –

That we do not cease to drink wine until the vineyard has

Completely run dry.

*

“Who would do otherwise? In drinking milk from the tits

Of the world, who wouldn’t suck at and lust against every

Sacred udder they can find – who would be content to see

The dizziest of dizzy heights without being quest-proud in

Their vertigiousness to see them?

*

“But I don’t know really know what I’m saying anymore.”

*

“Then say nothing,” said Rumi to me, sweetly, “say nothing

And be sweet; say nothing and sing instead; say nothing and

Be ceaselessly still and silent and unceasingly without silence

And stillness in your dizzying quest for life and quest to seek

Repose therefrom.”

*

Then we took one another by the hand

And carried on walking through the sands.

*

 

Poem: The Return of Ecstasy

paradise

Who visits me in these sanctuaries of aurorean night,

And pours the sweet nectar of delight down my throat?

*

Thoughts can fly further than bodies, and, when they

Meet in the merging of breath-swollen mouths, wings

Are appended to every limb, and all your worries burst

In a torrent of starlings – a murmuration of sweetened

Madness that carries you aloft to the paradisial gardens,

Where your children greet you in the happiness of Divinity’s

Own Body

*

I will try and recreate it for you,

To cast my spell over you – to

Transport you to that floor where

I lay, hungover, in an ecstatic state,

A vineyard flowing through my veins,

Poetry erupting from me in hysterical

Leaps – singing madly, haply, with the

Full rainbow trout, rainbow song, of

Hysteria – of marriages between planets

And stars – of the invention of new birds –

Of all the wonderful, wondrous wonders I can

Show you once I’ve rebuilt my garden immortal

*

Let me show you that garden,

That garden, where the sprouting of any daisy

Is the dynamite of happiness – where every solar

Flare is as soft as a falling feather

*

You can see no cars – hear no motorways here –

There are no roads – cement is an abomination

Yet to be brought up from the bowels of hell – the

Wind is the tickle of the hoof-fall of horses: and

The sky is the sempiternal portrait we see whenever

We open up our souls. Clouds are the only traffic,

And kindness is the law of the land as we look

Out over that edenic ‘scape, hearing a stream

Saunter casually by

*

But, it has been so long since I’ve been happy

That I needs must find a new lexicon for my ecstasy –

Words that are the alembic distillation of purified, rapturous

Sighs – words that inflame the enraptured tongues of all those

Brave enough to sing them.

Thank you for making me feel whole again;

The smell of sulphurous death has been about me

For so long – I hated myself – I hated my body – I hated

All those things about myself that I felt kept me away

From others

*

But now clad, re-housed in the satin garments of

Loving appreciation, this bone-barren body feels

Warm and snug – this prison hath become a palace,

This agonizing dungeon, a citadel of pleasance,

*

I do not feel ashamed to be myself anymore,

But can wear my self in all my spectral majesty

*

I am beautiful.

I am enough.

I have nothing to be ashamed of.

*

III.

And, in that paradisial re-awakening,

In that absence of fear and worry,

I want for nothing, except for the want

Of wanting

*

And if you can feel me as I can feel the sensation

Of Psyche arching her splendorous back before me,

Then you can feel oceans and forests teeming in your body;

The epic release of surcharged electricity – of the shoreline

Warmly consuming the outlines of your body:

*

You can feel what it is to feel and be fully feeling

*

And, if you can take that feeling, and let it linger

On your lips for the longest of lingerings, and let its

Breaths haunt you like the eroticism of half-known

Winds; if you can let it sink into you like a shipwreck,

And embody it in your pores like a microcosm of

Riotous applause; if you can feel the sunrise rise up

In your stomach, and let all that is within and without

You be swallowed up in a mouth of luscious light

*

Then take all of that purified energy,

And concentrate it into a single kiss;

*

For just as we all have a bullet with our name on it,

So each of us is the recipient of a healing kiss – deadly

In its healingness – crafted and created just for us

*

And once you’ve found the person worthy of receiving yours,

Pull back taut the bow-string of your lips – and, as their own

Lips come into soft collision with your own, inject with full

Force the revivifying light of your smile – then collapse in

The perfume aureate of eachother’s souls, and eat of

The fruit of your bliss

*

 

Poem: The Horse

horse

The world behind the curtains:

That is my world – the domain wherein

I can be king, where else I would be but

A pauper – a man in the gutter reading

Out passages of Chaucer . . .

*

That is my world – yet so few ever see it,

Seeing only curtains – taking the hair of

The horse for the gallop of its heart

*

That horse could gallop along with my heart,

Its hooves trotting in time to the verses of my

Mind, stopping, nobly, humbly, before us,

*

That white blotch on its face – the last stain of

A sad eye that no longer sees – that longs to see,

But is forbidden sight by the sickness of its skull

*

That – that is the spot where I place my hand –

Where I receive and give knowledge – sending

Out and taking in parcels of love and empowerment,

The strangest of strange, war-wizened weapons, that

Only make their bearers feel weaker and weaker

*

I know what it is to be that horse,

To spend my days bathed – by great swathes of space amazed,

To be simple and sad –

Just a horse among horses

*

Then something happens.

A stranger creeps over a stile.

And the pattern of their legs meanders towards you,

And by the unhorsey beats of their horseness, you are

 Swiftly beguiled.

*

“Come!” you say, “I am wild and mild.

I am tame and tragic. I am patient and

Waiting, my hooves hardened by keratin,

And the jealous frustration of thunder.

I am all that you are, slender, unhorse-like

Things.

*

“I come to you for comfort,

Because comfort cannot be got from horses;

I come to you for understanding,

Because understanding is not shared among horses;

I come to you for wisdom,

Not because wisdom cannot be got among horses,

Because wisdom IS what a horse IS –

And, as every horse needs a rider,

So doth my wisdom need a non-horse to ride upon.

*

“But wisdom is pain,” continued the horse,

A tear falling from her face. “Have you not

Seen the saints cry? Have you not heard the

Wise men wailing? Have you not seen mothers

Confined in callousness, yet inside, as crumpled

And broken as the babes that came from them?

*

“This is why I came to you – why I humbly bow my

Head to you, and strive to let your fingers softly search

For the spirit of my soul; for, though we are divided,

Man and beast, and beastly man – your loneliness is

Still the same species as my own – the burden of wanting

To give out a gift everybody needs, but no one cares to

Receive.

*

“For wisdom is not just pain, but the weapon of love,

The dagger that seeks out the sagging point where it

Might carve itself a home.

*

“And, I can see your searching eye, strange, unhorse-like man.

Even as you stroke me, and we share a connection that transcends

Body and body, I can feel your mistrust – your awe of my power –

You are so afraid I could trample you to death with my hooves,

That you almost wish I would, just to get it out the way.

*

“From this I know you know how to love:

When you see an oncoming stampede, you do not run,

But lay down and open up your arms, and call out:

“TAKE ME AS I AM – FOR I AM NOT – I AM NOT AT ALL”

And even when the stampede somehow does not come,

And you suddenly find yourself whisked away to a desert

Plain, and see vultures swooping overhead, you do not flee,

But cry out in a Job-like strain: ‘I AM HERE – EAT OF ME AS

YOU CAN!’

*

“But no beaks come. No greedy, searching talons rend your

Waiting flesh, or carve grooves into that furniture of space

And time you call your skin. Nothing comes. Nothing symphonizes

Your last moments with the desperate flutter of its wings.

*

“And that is what love is: a sacrifice – an offering –

Not a gift given or taken, because it has no need

For giving and taking – that would be gain or loss –

Love can never diminish, though it be given and

Taken – because you cannot diminish what transcends

And underlies the very notion of diminishment.

*

“Can a river be said to give more because it’s banks

Are flooded? Can a volcano be said to make a donation

To the world when it vomits lava to harden into magma

From which new lands and continents will be formed?

*

“No. Because water will always be water,

Though it evaporate and dry up,

And lava will always be lava,

Though it harden into rock.

*

“So, love will eat up those who give themselves to it,

And to those that don’t, it will seek them out like a

Dangerous flood. But, whether love comes to you,

Or you to it, the outcome is the same – you will be

Burned and drowned. Drowned – but now as vast

As the immeasurable ocean. Burned – but now

Hardened into the hope of a seed-waiting new land.”

*

II.

We stood there in silence,

She in her hooves,

And we in our shoes.

*

We had to go soon,

And I could feel the sad tug

Of an aching bond about to be

Loosened.

*

I had given you my hands,

My small doses of love,

Now it was time for us to go,

And, with that thunderclap of

Envy, you returned to your sentinel –

Back to being a horse among horses,

Until that happy moment when someone

Creeps over your stile, perhaps to understand

You all over again.

*

III.

I can no sooner leave my field than you can, horse,

Unless farmers come to cart me away, and turn my

Idiosyncrasies into glue. For my life is my field, its

Demarcations and boundaries; and, I too, stand within

Its confines, just a being among beings, until that fleeting

Moment when someone reaches out their hand, and I can

Feel they understand – and I stand then in patient ferocity,

And drink in all that I can, because I know they will go soon,

And I will return to being misunderstood – a horseless,

Horseless man.

*

IV.

But it will not always be such.

One day I will build a home

Upon the making of such

Moments.

*

And I will be happy.

And my happiness will stride out,

Clumsy and sticky, like a newborn foal;

All that is inchoate and formless will be

As palpable and beautiful as a magical

Crystal.

*

And my house!

What a house!

*

I can see it.

I can feel its masonry growing upon me,

But I cannot yet describe it.

*

So, I can walk away from that field now with my friend,

Knowing that, as I leave behind timelessness to commit myself

To the future, I am somehow, magnificently, walking towards

My home:

*

The home where happiness will have its day,

And then have it all over again.

*

 

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: 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.