The Gift

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The moment of waking, his soft breathing,

the garden, frost on leaf, is darkness,

is a question arising unannounced,

yourself at the very point of turning back,

the path running off to night – is stars revealed,

trapped crystals in an hour-glass, time circling

around Saturn’s rings, and I, standing in the midst

of stillness, of a gift I cannot name,

return to his voice, to the window’s orange glow.

Song

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Looking at this world from my garden

I see how glorious life can be

on this day of endless sky and sunshine,

a tiny bird landing on the fence

to pronounce its song without shame

or embarrassment about its voice –

its song trills, loud and unapologetic,

as if to say ‘sing your own song

and do not be afraid,

live how you were meant to

despite the madness in this world.’

Maybe I’m tired of always lying

and pretending this is how it’s meant to be.

Life could be made of song

if only we had the strength to choose it,

if only we could see.

Spilling Over

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Some days spill over

like water from a glass

compelling you to write them down

as though you were composing music

or a song, as though you were clinging

onto life by your fingernails

at the edge of a sudden fall, each letter

of the alphabet a fortress

against the ruin, a new space

to inhabit within this lilting sound,

and even as my hand stops on the page,

the tune still plays,

the lamplight flickering in and out

as darkness sinks silently into dawn.

Nocturnal

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Some nights I lie awake in the dark

chewing over my mistakes, my wakefulness

a phase pulling me out of time

and on a journey

through the phases of the moon,

tonight, a yellow disk

in a sky full of stars

and in the corner of my eye – did something flash?

I thought I saw it, an angel twinking

into existence and alighting softly

by my side. I’m sure I felt the brush of air

as it landed and folded up its wings –

is this the end? Is this my final reckoning? –

my head bangs and I’m feeling suddenly seasick,

the woods outside my window

creaking and groaning in the wind

like a mad witches colloquy

gathered from the netherworld, sent to exile

and curse my own. I’m rent by pain

and mind games, dizzy within my brains cage,

my ribs cracked and aching

as though I’ve been beaten to the ground. Breathless

I witness the morning glow

cresting over the canopy, the night a ghost,

a premonition, a dark bird in a tree.

Silver and Gold

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She is always watching, watching from afar

just as she watches me

weighing up those rights

and wrongs – more wrongs lately

than are good for me,

and I am lost, yet I know I am there;

I am found and yet I am lost.

Do two wrongs make a right?

Or is the just, the unjust,

the judge, the condemned?

It matters not – the restless half-night

grows on regardless, unfolding

over resistance

like a flower bud turning its face

towards the ever rising sun,

atoms smash

and merge,

bursting out of nothing

like a thousand million sparks –

and this is how I know, how the flow

of love courses ever on

through the mind, through the body

made of stardust and the earth.

The Turning

 

astronomy cloud clouds cosmos

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Hurrying home in this darkness, in this rain,
there is a sound that’s easily missed, a still point
before a turning where the tug of the moon
holds the world in place, the house on this street
just like any other, dim under an urban twilight,
grey in the orange glow, and I’m walking blind

amid the shadowed shapes; the child’s broken toy,
the debris littered along the underpass, the emptiness
of the night. Just ahead the sharp cry of a cat
in some alleyway, piercing skin and bone,
the dark washing inside out, a figure etched
onto the wall pointing towards the blackness of a void…

“It’s all in your mind,” whispers a voice I cannot place,
as if I didn’t know, as if I wouldn’t escape this bind,
this gun at my head if I could, those yesterday’s,
and all those days before hanging around my neck
like tokens of betrayal left soaked and sodden
in the unmanned outpost of this heavy half-light.

Meanwhile, the shadow leads me further on, zig-zags
along the ground, running on ahead like a hound
that won’t stray from its scent, disappearing
into the murk. This is it then; the long haul, the be all
and end all of it, not knowing in which direction
to begin, to have some hope of distance covered,

some moments of release, the rising wind at my back,
the keys in my hand, my foot at the door. In my veins
lies the lure of another country whose sky resembles
a smudge of indigo shimmering in the distant heat,
where the guru holds satsang by the ancient temples
for the workers of the sweatshops and factories.

What is life for you, a heaven or a hell?
Both turn on the same wheel, he says – an awakened sage
who talks with a candour searing to the deeper parts –
only you get to decide which it is. And there my thoughts fall
to the patterns of starlight and shadow, murmurs
in the slipstream, the hush in the dark which brings me back

as the night deepens and the moon hangs low and full,
in this world within a world, this dream within a dream
that has no end, its walls paper thin, where I might
stand or fall or begin again. In this I’ve chosen, no going
back, just the blood-rush, the unspoken wish as I hesitate
by the splash of rainbow pooling on this sliding slick of road.

 

 

A poem from a good few years ago now, but one that came back to me recently. All things seem to go around in cycles, but bringing ever greater insight and knowledge each time. I like to think there’d be an end at some point or perhaps a different story, but I guess the moral is to slow down a bit and enjoy the journey, putting things to rights if possible and learning as much as we can. That’s my take anyway. One day I’ll get this life thing right. 🙂