Midnight

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Tonight, you feel like fire, hot

and burning with stars.

It’s midnight out in the garden

and I tell you I feel drunk,

kindling with stars,

straining my head back to take them all in,

the whole panoply arranged across the meadow

like a TV or movie show. Look,

there’s Venus and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn,

a full Aquarius moon. They say our bodies

are composed of dead meteors,

a thousand atoms from space. You remind me of dust,

a stream beneath my skin of celestial ash

circling about me, living and breathing

and threatening to spill over,

soaking the darkness that pools at my feet.

I can’t keep you in. You’re a storm

waiting to break free.

The Swallow

The swallow,

that crimson-throated shimmering herald,

sheen of the skies

and lover of the summer,

wind-rider, sky-diver,

cartwheeling aerial acrobat,

strong-winged swing devil,

twitter-flitter, fluttering thing,

master of the aether,

that screaming swift and inkonjane –

wheeling, dancing, forking

far-flung thrum of thrilling electric blue.

A Poem

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A poem is a way of seeing

wet cherry trees in the rain,

a dragonfly on the wing

flitting from reed to reed,

or a swallow dancing

through an open sky, or a red kite

hunting low to the ground

like an arrow. A poem

is the strange flicker in a human being

seeking somewhere else to talk,

speaking words to build a grail

to the imagination, a home

for when the night falls

in a deluge of shadow.

The poem is a lamp, a world.

Lightning

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Lightning strike,

the build of cloud on the horizon,

rain, thunder, the disconcerting flash –

like a sky inside you

thrumming, opening up

with thoughts

of touch, your lips, a dream,

a forest creature out at night

and lingering there, tasting waters

at the river’s edge. Something leaps,

a bird, a spark, some small hope

bursting through the endless,

boundless dark.

Some Things

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Some things 

are hard to say –

your throat choked 

with grief and ash,

wanting to be like water 

pouring freely 

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.

Longing

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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.