1. Tourist Boats
We skim the surface, hide from facts,
We see ourselves reflected back.
A dreaming ocean laps through streets,
A knowing sea floods round the trees.
We are the silver and the gold,
We shine our light on glittered crests,
We speak as if we lived these lives,
We dive for pearls and bring back shells.
And this is how we see the world:
As waves, as mysteries deferred,
As everything we want to be,
As everything we never were.
We watch you work your grinding shifts,
And think we see the harbour lights.
I come from salamander peaks.
Around the veins, around the mind,
I bite as mountain vipers strike,
As sharp as pine, as deep as time.
I loosen tongues, I calm the fears.
My red is black as blood is thick.
I’m crisped by snow and swelled by May.
Within my soul the rivers flow.
The mountain clouds and owls arrive.
You hear the church bells call the hours,
And half awake you hear my voice.
I offer up my essence here.
My hillside memories are true.
I filter rock, and ice and dew.
3. And What Will Become of Us?
I hope you find a job this year.
I hope you find the love you need.
I hope your stories will come true.
Not much – I know – but hope is all
That anyone can give right now.
And yesterday the markets filled,
And yesterday the sun was bright,
And yesterday they sang your name,
But now the wind blows from the north.
Across the plains, the dragons stir.
From deep within the mountain caves
Come sounds we wished we’d never hear.
I hope you keep the joy and peace.
My thoughts are with you through these years.
4. Holiday Photos
Somewhere an avalanche is still,
The point just seconds from its fall.
I close my eyes and count out loud:
The avalanche awaits the pull.
I’m there, beside the mountain lake.
The waters clear, then from above
The ice does not collapse. The world
Does not come tumbling down on me.
The stillness is beyond itself.
The lake reflects the silent peaks,
The forests barely breathe at all:
I see a cloud refuse to roll.
I’m there – just for a while – I’m there.
The avalanche just hangs in air.