Archive for June 2nd, 2013


A Week in Slovenia (Part 3 – Part Forgotten)


1. When Summer Comes


When summer comes the fields will fill

With flowers as rich as sun itself,

The clouds won’t form around the peaks,

The streams and waterfalls will dry.


When summer comes our days are long,

Our swallows laze against the sky,

Our lakes will haze and we will swim,

We’ll live our dreams and drink our wine.


We wake and find the air has ice,

The snows retreat but still have bite,

The birdsong has an urgent force:

We wait to take a breath of sun.


Forever waiting, never here,

When summer comes the end is near.



2. Unmarked War Grave


How many layers before the skull?

You breathe the air, you touch the grass,

You scrape the earth, you search for tracks,

But rarely can you see beneath.


The silence of the mountain air

Reverberates amongst the trees.

Old shots rebound from bough to bough,

From tight-lipped year to silent air.


And if you could reveal the skull –

Dig back once more the soil and skin –

What would you find but naked bone,

Corroded name tags, wasted times?


The silence held the truth too long:

That what was gone has lingered on.



3. Contradictions


The ivy rose to touch the sky

Whilst dragging down the tree it crushed.

The castle high above the lake

Had also found a sky to touch.


The mountains seem to stand as truths,

Yet on their slopes their lies are writ.

They’re not immortal: just like us

They rise, they age, they turn to dust.


A bridge is built to span the gorge:

An enemy will burn the bridge.

The bridge will fall and find its words:

The enemy will do the same.


The world is wrapped within itself:

The opposites have tales to tell.



4. Sentinel


Behind the trees a woman waits.

Her dress is grey, the snow is late.

Her youthful dreams inspired her once,

But now they eat her from within.


She waits to meet her southern guests,

No different from the other times:

They’ll pass the café by the slopes,

They’ll walk straight on and to the slopes.


She thinks of times when this made sense:

When eyes like hers had hidden depths,

When snows in May were something rare,

When friends had love and time to share.


The snow would fall from now to June.

The southern guests would pass by soon.



5. Burja Bora


The mountain butterflies all fled

Extremes of scarring sun and storm.

The butterflies had lost their wings.

The winds so strong they tore off roofs.


The winds so strong they broke their hearts.

The mountains turned away and wept,

The leafless forests bent and cracked,

The butterflies found caves and hid.


The butterflies found caves and slept.

They spent their years in worlds of thought,

They rolled through centuries of doubt,

They let the hurricanes abate.


And when at last they crawled back out,

The skies belonged to voltine moths.




A Week in Slovenia (Part 2 – Overheard Tales)


1.  The Angel and the Buzzard


Above the Ljubljana plain

A buzzard wheels, then tips its wings,

Its eyes fixated on a point

Where, in the grass, a halo glints.


The angel fell to earth in search

Of Jason and the golden fleece.

Instead he found a world of fear:

A mythless world of worthless wealth.


The buzzard lands: it speaks no word.

The angel and the buzzard stare

Into each others’ eyes, and know

They come from better worlds than this.


The angel nods, then leaves this world.

The buzzard screams for all it’s worth.



2. The Forest Man


Beneath his canopy of pine –

Far deeper than his stands of beech –

The forest man is moving rocks:

He’s building walls around his tales.


His beard: a twist of ivy fronds.

His mind: a mass of histories gone.

He plants his feet with sapling oaks,

He carves the tunes of violins.


His walls are taller than before.

They hide the world of dragon’s teeth,

Of golden chamois, witch’s curse,

But still the forest man builds on.


He knows our world has lost its myths.

He’ll keep his stories safely hid.



3. The Shadow Figures of the Vrsic Pass


I took the high road through the pass.

The rain and mist whisped round the pine,

Above the trees the clouds touched earth:

I saw the shadow figures there.


I moved towards them, they withdrew.

The shadow figures knew the tracks:

They knew them like the hazel grouse.

They padded lightly with the lynx.


I saw their faces briefly there:

Beyond the rock face, glaring down.

I saw their questions, wild and raw,

With human eyes and shadow souls.


The mists soon closed the Vrsic Pass:

The shadow figures melted back.



4. The Once Great Dragons


Of course the dragons are still here:

What else could make a mountain shake?

What other creature barks at night,

And turns the forest tops to steam?


Their fear lives deep within the woods

And writes itself on cavern walls.

Their scales are found on river beds,

Their teeth and claws still scour the land.


And in the dark you hear them prowl

The village margins seeking blood.

Their rumbling feet, primeval growls,

Will haunt your sleeping, drifting hours.


The dragons curl in caves and cry:

They once were myths, but now they’re lies.



With thanks to Maja and Luka.




A Week in Slovenia (Part 1 – Flight Path)


1. Terminal Three


How many nations can I see?

The beautiful and elegant,

The tattooed men and sleeping girls,

The drone of talk, the hum of planes,


(An aircon migraine coming on),

An altered world of wait-then-move,

A place where hats are worn indoors.

There is no smell. We wait, we move.


The people twitch and spark with life,

They watch for signs, they read the eyes:

An underscore of doubt and fear,

An overtone of joys postponed.


Here sound and light have coalesced.

Here everyone seems somewhere else.



2. In Flight


We know outside this metal skin

We’d die before we took a breath.

A wind beyond our earth-tied ken

Would rip our lungs and heart apart.


The red and green of near sleep,

Of drifting in a patterned haze.

A droning engine lulls our eyes,

Our senses mingle with the skies.


We plunge, we sleep, whichever comes.

We roll and tip out from the edge.

Adrift are certainties and hopes:

Out there the heedless rush of clouds.


The end of everything is air:

Just half a foot and we’ll be there.



3. Air Flow


Beneath us now there may be sea,

There may be history, may be land.

We are above, we are beyond:

A netherworld of curvatures.


We are the Europe – light on wings –

Where sun and moon are never dimmed,

A floating swirl of immigrants,

Where every heart is foreign born.


The clouds stretch on to Belarus

In fragile mountains, streams of breath.

Beneath are curious, earthbound things

With buried feet and downward eyes.


Our continent is shrinking fast,

It’s upside down, it never lasts.


4. Turbulence


It stopped

……………..and for an instant




a sound not far frOM God rang out

it COULD have been my heart or



………….have been a passing

it could                                           breath


a rainbow MADE of solid air

a story told by broken WINGS


….thought of


………………………………….something missed

or mayBE just my final spark


The sky had claimed another prayer

Another slip in time again

The fraud

…………….of flight EXPOSED by clouds


a                      enemy of



I quickly learnt the simple


I’m made for walking on the Earth.