Shifting the epicentre of a life
consumes it whole,
requires its years,
its growing points,
And even then
tectonic plates will not shift far,
a childhood will not slide away
as stage sets do when plays move on,
but makes of life a one-act play,
its whole world rooted in a single scene.
Trees - apple, plum and elderberry -
were the watchtowers of our world.
Beyond the fence, the wilderness;
behind each rock a shadow or an unknown shape
would move or lie in wait.
The trees out there were postlapsarian:
one struck by lightning,
another by the blight;
one poisoned at the root;
and one, we thought, the haunt of ghosts -
one, certainly, of rats.
Within was Eden, still intact
despite the plague.
A passer-by was stranger, threat or friend -
and sometimes fraud - and only we,
who knew the shades of difference,
could tell. Out there life opened up,
though now it closes it. The way it was -
the lies it taught
of life, death, God,
life after death,
what we become,
the life of tombs
and catacombs - becomes
the great taboo.
forgotten as an unmarked grave,
it is the shadow that we cast on death.
Going through past digital doodles, I came upon this, which I was sure I had posted before. If so, I can find no trace of it. Good enough reason, I thought, wouldn't like to deprive the world of it ...
An afternoon nap -
See how learning, memory
and brainpower soar!
Forensic scraps of human flesh
still cling to its iron spikes -
last vestiges of past obsession.
The things you hear in galleries...
the things the couples do!
Seeing them and hearing what they said
alerted it to what it lacked:
a gender - or a gender substitute,
some similarly sensuous equipping
of the flesh.
Then overhearing that the angel hosts
have nothing in their natures of that kind,
evoked in it the rash thought that perhaps
it was a sort of angel in disguise.
From thought grew wings -
those fine steel mesh accessories you see.
An angel haunted by its history,
afflicted by its past,
pursued by shapeless echoes,
hounds of incoherence,
and sounds of choking. White
noise, whispers, shrieks and clunks
like train wheels on a track.
Words from repetition, rhythm, rhyme
the way a train's wheels fashion them.
Then mistranslation to angelic form,
having wings of confidence to find
words in the sounds and sounds in silences
and thoughts in words - and neither thought nor words
the same for poets as for us.
What matter if the visitors, the suits of armour
or the rows of children murmuring
with pencils in their hands
were spinning what the found thing heard, out of themselves
the way that spiders spin their silken threads?
Who knows where these things come from? Half the time
they are like clouds: amorphous things
that float by in the air. But certainly
the words fell somewhere there-abouts,
and by their being there,
by their proximity to that iron thing,
were known as metaphors.
"By whose proximity?" the people asked.
Well, not the words', for sure. The people's,
surely... Surely Duchamp got it wrong!
But poems need a structure, it would learn
from its attempt to prod them into life
(returning to the old ways, if you please),
just knowing in its gut
they were its only chance.
For some it will be drugs, for others booze,
but for the found thing, morphing yet again,
it was - had always been -
that hankering for human flesh;
insatiable, raw cruelty. It had
been born an Iron Maiden, and the iron (here)
had taken full possession of its soul -
until the day it felt the metal softening
beneath the power of poems in its loins.
Angry young men
trek the wilderness.
Nature absorbs anger
Death, boundless ocean -
and every man an island.
I love the sea for what it is,
the way it pounds the rocks
to grit; the way the sand grains
in its grip fly light as ash
in every wind; the way it roars -
a cornered lion that flings
itself against the land;
the way it sidles off some days
to scrape its teeth on undigested
seaweed in the bay.
Yet death is more than mere extinction.
If it was only that
it would not seethe with life,
it would not baffle us with contradictions.
We know it by its darkness,
we feel the raw emotion
by means of which it offers
and conceals its softer side.
We cannot fully understand
why such a friendly enemy
so fascinates with fear.
It nurtures dolphins in its breast,
for instance. You will know
how their strange sonar blips
can build a world that neither we
nor oceans apprehend?
But more than that, they beam
those images between each other,
share them with their cousins miles away -
at times with other dolphins
swimming in far distant seas.
If only we could have a sight
of what would be
a visionary image, see
the whole, grand, inward structure
of our future depths -
that may or may not come to be...
Are the PIGS like bankers
too big to fail?
(Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain)
I am the man who swallowed the boy,
who grew like a shell to surround the boy,
digested the bones and the brunt of the boy,
absorbed him into my growing self,
grew proud of the fact that I once was he.
I am the man who buried the boy,
at first in fun on a sandy beach,
then up to his neck in mores set like stone
with his bones slipping out of my reach -
which suited me down to the burial ground.
I am the shadow writ large of the boy,
taking the form of a palimpsest,
scraping away many layers of paint
to uncover the long lost shape of the boy
shaping this world of regret for the boy.
I am a masquerade of the boy,
the mask that I wear I took from the boy
to tackle the roles of all I could be -
but lacking his brio, unable to see
that all I pretend to is over-contrived.
Not the ghost of the boy - still wholly himself,
alive and well in the palimpsest -
but the ghost of myself is haunting me.
As a corpse the boy might have lived for ever,
but now that I've woken him... Never, oh, never!
Dress code compliant
bare feet and night attire -
the supermarket run
(A bit behind times with this one, but it had to wait its turn.)
After which, there is yet another treat in store for you - another video in the same series, this one, Art is.
Both Jim and I found that it took a couple of tries, presumably because the site is very busy, but I can assure you that both videos are well worth the trouble.
My Poetry is
My poem Sometimes the house will breathe for me has been published on the Salamander magazine site. It was posted last Saturday. I must admit I am rather over the moon about it as Annie, the editor, approached me about it, not the other way around. Anyway you can click on the above link to... but of course, I was forgetting... you've read it - here - havn't you?
Ground Hog Day - or Candlemass.
Celebrating winter's end
more snow - or Virgin purity.