HEART & MIND
My heart is much more constant than my brain.
The heart moves slowly, considerately.
The mind darts, there, here, there again,
while the monarch of my being moves sedately.
It takes time to form affections in the deep,
though the maverick winsome mind is lightly slick
the truest sentiments, the ones we keep,
not only penetrate one's substance to the quick
but consume the very stuff that one is made of
arranging every particle and showing
that all the colours that one has a shade of
can animate and set each other glowing.
My brain is much more fickle than my heart
though each has jobs and errands to perform,
each conscientious in carrying its part
makes glory of traversing life’s great storm.
17 December 2015 Belgium
And we shall touch, ever so gently,
so that the trembling
is heard in the centre of each heart,
the echo of it
spreading like ripples on a mirror-smooth pool,
the very movement
emphasising the stillness, silence, purity and truth
in the chasm of bliss.
And we shall kiss, even so truly,
as though an earthquake
had begun at the bottom of a vast ocean
waking the gods,
making them ask, can this be so?
that some in the human realm
have dared to break through
the great rock door that guards the cave of love.
Eleusis 8th October 2015
Our walnut tree has been doing its thing
for a few centuries now.
I don’t think it is interested,
though I could be mistaken,
whether we notice what it is up to or not, and I doubt that it even cares
whether the other walnut trees applaud or deride its mighty efforts.
What sort of life is that? One asks.
We who always yearn acknowledgement.
A couple of years ago, I thought it was dying,
in the slow way of trees,
but this year, to our amazement,
it has sent out a multitude of new branches,
extending its size and making more nuts.
No doubt the weather helped,
but one can only wonder at the spark of life
hidden inside all that bark and dead wood.
Some visitors even remarked that the tree
now needs a prop
if its northward bough is not to be in danger of breaking off
so great is the foliage it now supports.
Again one wonders at Nature’s design faults:
could She not have designed walnut tree props Herself?
Or did She mean them to break?
are we just interfering, busybodies,
or do we have a part to play in the scheme of things?
In any case,
with or without its bough
I reckon that Old Walnut
is still going to be going strong
when my boughs have been
Posted 9 November 2015
PREPARING THE GROUND
Stones in miscellanies of 108
white, rough, big and small,
each already a multiplicity;
ours is the counting
back to one,
theirs to be inscrutable
somewhere beyond zero.
Clearing the garden bed
until the earth turns satisfyingly dark,
even though one knows that
tonight’s rain will bring
another crop of rosaries floating to the
old wrinkled face of the earth.
Each pebble grasped
between thumb and finger
could be a tiny tombstone,
bone dust of some old beast
that walked or wiggled here
in the primeval land.
The gardener is kneeling,
wrinkled earth, hands, mind, fingers,
beside the slowly filling barrow.
Weeds fall in a pile, stones to the trolly,
gardening is sorting,
counting the treasures of heaven.
CLEARING IN THE WOODS
Startled I saw the clearing in the wood,
here where once a great tree stood
and in its stead, now sheer delight
on a fine spring day, all filled with light,
a chasm opens midst the trees
decked out with butterflies and bees,
where orchids grow and, as there's room,
a hundred colours are in bloom,
all artistry devoid of toil,
there is no gardener of this soil,
it is a grace of the dark deep wood,
a magic rarely understood,
not to be known by the thinking mind,
but touching the heart makes it kind.
An endless way extends the wood,
a forested land where the soil is good
from a trillion leafs, no, many more,
that carpet this long untrodden floor;
full of mystery we do not know,
creatures that sleep then rise and go
about a business all their own:
that is how the wood has grown.
We can give thanks and we can pray,
enjoy the fruit in the fullness of day,
but the wisdom of the dark dark green
is ever hidden behind its screen
until once in a while, in a sudden flush
the sun breaks in and bids one, hush!
Posted 7 November 2015
I WANT TO GO
I want to look down on the stars again
from the dark dark arc
of the super-terrain
where constellations are rearranged
and the Milky Way is merely a spark.
I want to soar through the outer sea
in my bright bright ark
sailing into the lee
of the shadow of God, or gods aplenty,
where the plenum void is never empty
And all the beasts that ever were,
those that hiss, or bark,
or purr, and all the others in their fur
or scales or feather-wraps concur
that this is what we're all here for.
Yes, I want to look down from that other place
where up and down have no foot nor face
where east and west can only be guessed
and as two by two they're going forth
the land in the south is north of north.
I want to be there, freer than birds,
higher than heaven,
south west of absurd,
for once in that place I encountered a herd
of speakers of the Holy Word.
PLAYING WITH FIRE
Fire in my mind, liver, garden, in my bed;
Fire in dream, image, touch, silent words never said;
Fire of the gods, on sweet ambrosia they fed;
Fire of painters, poets, artists, seers, mostly dead.
Fire flaming mattress high on the pyre
Fire surging upward higher and higher
Fire of gold, so far without a buyer,
Fire of silver music flowing from her lyre.
Fire of Aphrodite’s glow from distant parts,
Fire of the goddess, breaking rocky hearts
Fire of the loins penetrated by her darts
Fire of sweet girls, innocent or tarts.
Fire of the dew on a morning song
Fire of you, away so long
Fire of the few who still belong
Fire of the true that can’t be wrong.
La Ville au Roi, 28th October 2015
ON STAYING MORTAL
If I were shown a riddle in a maze
I'd want to know the secret that was in it
impetuous, with heart on sleeve
agog for what's beyond the haze
far past the end of what I yet believe,
And yet, if all that secret lore were final,
absolute, complete as from Olympus seen
I would then tremble and be shy
for such a throne so regal
's not reserved
for mortals such as I
BITE THE APPLE
If darkness comes, I'm cautious in the gloom,
feeling my way by whatever sense I have
step by step I know not who or why,
but yet sometimes I enter in a room
I know that i can fly.
If shadows fall upon the path ahead
I trust they have a meaning for
the deepest silhouette
belongs not to the dead,
but does portend
something of import not yet met.
If I go far or if I idle
chasing rabbits who are always late
or pass a season all obscure
through the gate of fate
the motive's neither black nor clearly pure.
If the minute's unforgiving, as they say,
yet the world and all that's in it is my gift
then I'll rejoice in all that comes before me,
I, the unforgiven, who's yet happily at play:
content to be a sailor lost at sea.
If I am asked to be the master
of a fate I did not undertake:
I'll laugh and muddle the prescription
for such hubris is disaster:
the Powers, well i know,
by demonstration sharp, brook no restriction.
If I were asked to go another mile
to have revealed the secret of my being
and know all
and start again at the beginning,
bite the apple and allow myself to fall.
Amidst the shame and all the stresses,
picking up my dole
to feed obscure and sore recesses
in the redness of my soul
so far beyond fragile caresses,
can I admit I am not whole,
but only straw that one confesses
before hiding, dark as coal,
counting on the one who blesses
even what I broke and stole
from the hoppers and the presses
as I tried to fill my bowl,
and with rags and torn off tresses
made a claim upon parole?
For, with all my many messes,
I am an ordinary soul.