are hard to say –
your throat choked
with grief and ash,
wanting to be like water
from an open wound –
in the heartbreak song
of a nightingale,
or a tale of a fierce wind,
a stag, a silver
crisscrossed spider’s web,
horse, bird, feather, wing
all daring you to come alive
and be like flame.
I think too much on death
wondering if when we die we wake instead.
But the gods seem angered –
it’s written in the stars, they say.
Yet morning arrives all mist and silence,
just the early thrush, a fox’s cough,
the slow rise of sunlight – glitter on dark water.
Amid the reeds, still and motionless
a heron, hook-necked, moon-feathered.
I watch, hold my breath, but the heron startles,
lifts off in a clatter, wings opening
into the weave of its becoming. I wander home
longing for the night, your nearness, your touch.
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.
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 could see,
if only we had the strength to choose it.
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.