Posts tagged ‘death’

25/09/2013

The Shepherdess

 

Beneath a sky of stars and moths

She trails her light through olive groves.

And silences the nightingales.

The stars are stilled, the moon is dimmed.

 

Her breathing draws the warmth from earth,

Her feet float soft as owl’s wings,

She leaves no trace, she makes no mark:

This is her world, this is her night

 

She walks amongst her sleeping flock:

They twitch and flick, but barely move.

They trust her, breathe as one with her,

She guides their dreams to mountain pasts.

 

She is the shepherdess of souls,

Across the streams of Epirus.

 

29/08/2013

The One Consoling Beauty

 

The one consoling beauty is

These words will fade and pass away.

The sun will dim, the moon will fall,

And everything will cease to be.

 

We’re one: we’re all just one alone.

The earth and sky, the walls of stone,

The foals and horses running free,

Yes, everything will cease to be.

 

I touch your hair, and know its flow.

There is a tear beneath the smile,

And after all, it had to come,

For everything must cease to be.

 

I breath the air: it reeks of pasts,

Of love which came and meant so much.

 

 

16/08/2013

Object No.1 – Bedside Clock

 

I’d count the pills, you’d slip the ticks,

The clicks that flicked the days away,

Mechanical and fractured flow,

The souvenirs of sleep and fear.

 

You would have been with me throughout:

Between the pier and Marble Arch,

Before the facts, before these deaths,

Before computers drove my world.

 

We’d count together, fall as one:

Your face at night, at two, at three…

I’d ache with age, you’d creak with time:

The world outside would take us soon.

 

We might be measured, might be cast,

My skin as dust, your cogs as rust.

 

 

04/08/2013

The Letter Bird of Recurring Nightmares

 

I knew in sleep the beast would come,

And so I stayed awake too late.

My forest village lived to fear

My nightmares, clawing from their skies.

 

Beyond the lights of round-hut fires,

The Letter Bird had wasted worlds,

And screamed and stalked and hawked its prey.

It ripped at meat with metal beak.

 

They waited, huddled, through the night.

They heard its wings. I tried to wake,

And hoped, if not, their walls would hold,

And keep the Letter Bird at bay.

 

I rarely woke before it claimed

Another victim from my world.

 

 

for the prompt “Childhood Dreams” put up by

mindlovemisery link here… CLICKY

 

02/08/2013

Honeysuckle Fire

 

I thought I saw you come alive
The night the honeysuckle died.
So cold: it froze the moon in place.
So cold: it turned the air to ice.

Yet there you were, in rainbow scarves
And gloves as thick as bobcat paws.
You took a shovel to the snow
And dug on down, ‘til fire was found.

That glowing trace of slowing Earth,
Which – just for once – we watched as one,
Gave eyes their glints of petal stars:
The burning planet lit our soul.

It took you to its ember heart.
You lived undimmed as scent, as flame.

 

 

15/07/2013

Le Mort

 

The scratch of ink, the wash of blood,

The breath of lust and love and dust,

A wrap of linen (bed or shroud),

The tomb unlocked, a broken frame.

 

And past this list: a life in flow.

The fluid stains, forbidden pains,

The cold, external brush of god,

Who whispers to the pen: “breed death”.

 

And death will come, and you will flood

Your skeletal, yet swollen, grave.

The story of your eye encrusts

Itself, accursed, around your core.

 

The tale, the book, the heart, the brush.

The dead man, draped across the cloth.

 

 

After the artwork by Marina Kanavaki – viewable at:

http://marinakanavaki.com/2012/02/07/le-mort/

which was itself inspired by the short story by Georges Bataille.

many thanks to Marina

14/07/2013

Weight

 

There is a weight to being alive,

A density of songs and claws,

A flock of beaks and broken barbs:

It clings to flight, it grips it tight.

 

The earth will take the sycamore.

The sky will take the sycamore.

Its bark and leaves will feed and fall,

And life will take the sycamore.

 

This gravity of slowing blood;

The pressure buzz within the ears;

The dissipating breath and twitch:

It gives its all, it takes its toll.

 

The weight will keep the moon in tow.

The weight will hold us in its flow.

 

 

27/04/2013

Dawn Chorus

 

1.

The first of day, the last of night,

The woodcock and the lapwings meet

Beneath the blood-horn moon of spring:

A fold of wings in praise of bats.

 

The oystercatchers warn and reach

Inside the panicked twitch of deer.

They join the curlew’s howl of lust,

The curlew’s voice of bidden loss.

 

And soon the forest joins the moor

With wrens subsumed in bursts of wing,

Exhilaration on a feather’s barb,

The light which greets the point of flight.

 

An hour in life and all is raised:

The night time’s deaths, the morning’s birth.

 

2.

Avoiding death we sidestep life.

We miss the warbler’s beacon song,

The melodies of clouds on fire,

And trees which birth the passing days.

 

We cling to nights and hide in hopes,

Constructing tales of other worlds

Where fixities will fold our fears.

And shut away the shifting light,

 

And live these distant, searching lives.

The premonition sun will rise

Unseen. Unheard, the birds become

That larger world which we hide from.

 

Within us all is life and death,

A universe, a blackbird’s breath.

 

3.

The song is all, the forest one,

The neurones, pollen, twilight rings.

The trees connect, the eyes forget,

Ten thousand evanescent springs.

 

A chord beyond the reach of one,

Becomes the mantra of the one,

A unity to shed the night,

An ecstasy to greet the light.

 

A force as pure as air vibrates,

From blood, to throat, to bursting tongues,

Each song annihilates itself.

The forest sings, the birds succumb,

 

And I have ceased to cling to me:

The light is all there’ll ever be.

 

4.

And all this means the world to me,

But where are words to give it voice?

A ringing in the ears I shake,

The feet on leaves in dawning light.

 

The river glows with moons within,

The trout forget the bridge of day.

I walk and hear the passing dead:

The crumbling bank and martin’s nests.

 

A tree has lost its way this night.

Its branches bowed by sorrow’s time,

They point to earth, they brush the dust,

A chaffinch spills its mystery there.

 

I watch a redstart lose its mind:

Our eyes have met the pains of night.

 

 

For Steffen and Jo

12/04/2013

Waiting for the Swans

 

I felt the water rising up

And turn to mist around my tongue.

I slipped and fell, the mist fell too,

And up the waters rose within.

 

I lay beneath and dreams became.

I saw the sun, I heard the moon.

It whispered solitude and turned

The mists and waters through my bones.

 

I held the fish within my chest,

A flicking heart to measure years.

And hooks and wires began to tie

My ankles, wrists, my empty eyes.

 

But soon the swans will pull me free,

And let me rise again to see.

 

 

10/04/2013

Dead Calm

 

We never spoke about the end –

The evening out of light and shade –

But always there the fall of doubts

That soon the shade would take the light.

 

A trace of blood from deep inside,

A simple tap, a twitch then gone.

How quickly life can pass away,

Though sometimes worse: its clinging on.

 

We missed the intervening years:

From silence, back to innocence.

A final flicker in the dark

And that was all that could be done.

 

And sometimes face to face is best,

But never face to face with death.

 

 

10/04/2013

Sticklebacks

 

I had a jar of sticklebacks

I’d netted down amongst the weed.

I sat and watched as they watched me,

Our stillness shared for forty years.

 

With azure, scarlet, silver sides,

Eclipsed the joy of my field guides.

The book I’d read on every night

Would now be left to prop a pile.

 

The jar contained the living truth –

The eyes, the spines and fragile tails –

I’d felt them wriggle on my palm,

Their life as real as mine was dry.

 

I watched them breathe through gaping mouths.

I watched them stop, grow dull and die.

 

 

18/02/2013

Vertigo

 

You fall before the final scene,

Tipped from the lip of suicide.

You try to fix a stable point,

Out there, beyond the camera stare.

 

Her face is lit in vivid green,

Your clammy palms and dripping tongue,

Obscene in spirals, circles, swirls:

You’re trapped and haunting streets of lust.

 

Obsessive cycles, garish forms:

You can’t avert your preying eyes.

You pray to find one last release.

A dress, a gaze, address, a death,

 

Then life – a woman, painted, pinned,

An object of your falling dreams.

 

 

response to the film “Vertigo”.

 

 

18/02/2013

The Prophecy of the Raven

 

I.

I see the silence of my grave,

The wind, the hill, the mists of dawn,

The open beak and broken back,

The feathers thick with blood and moor.

 

I see the sunrise on my bones,

And light the tips of flightless wings

Which flutter in the gentle breeze,

As up above a skylark sings.

 

I see the fungus raid my flesh,

And watch myself dissolve in earth.

The seeping soil that once was me,

Will host my cold and strange rebirth.

 

My call rings out with joy and life:

I’ve seen beyond this pointless strife.

 

 

II.

I see an ocean in my eyes,

My feathers brushed with scales of fish,

My learning heart is formed of sparks,

I sense the tremors of the sun.

 

I see these pasts unfurl their tales,

Though barely one has yet begun.

I know the path that each will take,

Entropic embryos of fate.

 

I see my breath will join the breeze:

A moment’s warmth then lost in clouds.

Those clouds were once my pulsing blood,

They soon will fall as ocean rain.

 

I see my place and know my time:

I call from lungs, from heart, from mind.

 

 

III.

I see the world come round again,

The days of sleek and gleaming hue,

The night of warmth and sheltered wing,

The feathered signs, connected lines.

 

I see the places we once flocked:

The silent mountains ground to dust,

The ancient forests thick with moss,

They melt away in lakes of loss.

 

I see the passing of my kind,

But sight continues on through time,

Beyond the vanished arch of earth,

Beyond the burning universe,

 

I see what will be, not what might:

I shake my feathers loose for flight.

 

 

IV.

I see beyond the light of now,

Through cold eternities of space.

Out there where all the cycles end,

I see the elements descend.

 

I see that emptiness in life,

The ice within the spark and flame,

The pleasures burning in the pain:

I see the sun within the rain.

 

I see the dissipating whole,

Each smile’s inception births a death.

The reason why the pasts collide:

They are the future, form its pull.

 

My wings will take me to the stars:

But ever distant they fly on.

 

 

V.

I see the beauty in your kind,

And how the few will fear your rise.

They try to crush your nascent form,

Deride, despise and spread their bile.

 

I see the distant turn their backs,

And others shout to hide your cries.

They buy and hoard their island shames,

They warm their claws in stolen lands.

 

I see a constellation formed

From stars beyond your senses reach,

And in that gathered throng of stars

Another knowledge will be lit.

 

I call toward that beacon’s pulse:

I see your hope begin to rise.

 

 

VI.

I see tomorrow, cold and dark,

But in the ashes seeds will crack,

And something good will bloom again:

Something simple, pure and free.

 

I see a place where every word

Is set for all to hear and hold,

Where those who live and those below,

Are given space in which to grow.

 

I see the ones who suffered most

Respected, cherished held aloft,

And power flowed from one to all,

Together sung, together born.

 

I tumble through the misted skies:

And call to all the things I’ve seen.

 

VII.

I see your plans and see your pride,

The shields you raise to passing time,

Disputed tales you hold as truth,

When miracles are not enough.

 

I see the mountains ground by ice,

Until they fill the river plains.

The deepest oceans touch the clouds,

Within their depths volcanoes rage.

 

I see your cities spread and rise,

Their fortunes fed by starving mouths.

Your churches made to scar the skies,

Their limits set within your minds.

 

I fly above your world of gold:

There is no future here foretold.

 

VIII.

I see the rocks which were a sea,

The bones of fish on mountain tops,

The fertile lands and desert sands,

They are the journey we will make.

 

I see the cooling universe,

The metal heart of aging stars,

The moment when it all unites,

The moment when the silence falls.

 

I see beyond the end of time,

Beyond the consciousness and pain.

I see the track our spark will take,

When all is nought and sight will end.

 

I raise my beak and shake my wings:

I call the wondrous state of things.

04/02/2013

Black Narcissus

 

The bell is tolling to the storm,

From peak to peak it magnifies,

Until the wilderness is filled

With crash on crash of peeling bronze.

 

The fall: its horrors kept inside.

The fall: its myths and anguished guilt.

The fall: a never world of sin.

The fall: untouched, unblemished lust.

 

And still the bell is drawing howls

From all the broken hearts, repressed.

It shatters spells of hidden dreams,

It makes belief, it makes it scream.

 

The fall was beaten from the clouds.

The mountains break the passion’s fall.

 

 

response to the film Black Narcissus

03/02/2013

Three Colours: Blue

 

The beads of simple, tinted glass:

Between each one the links of loss.

The music of their chimes when touched:

The glittered schisms, splitting light.

 

Each facet shines with bitter dreams.

Each angle cut betrays a past,

A slight, a trap, a loveless chill,

And yet a life which always was.

 

The threads which bind are rarely seen.

Beneath the beat, a universe;

Between the beads and solid earth

The scattered force of freedom’s cost.

 

The grief which comes with cutting loose

The bluest segments of the sky.

 

 

Response to the film Three Colours: Blue.

26/01/2013

A Walk to the Isle in the Marsh (Walk No. 10)

 

Is every walk a walk of death?

Across the marshes to the isle,

Traversing fears and passing ghosts,

To rise at last amongst the lost.

 

Is every site a monument:

A shrine to memory, life and love,

A locus for the wanderer’s truth,

A proof that we had meaning once?

 

Each walk may seem to set us free,

To live at last amongst the souled,

To feel the flow from earth to sky,

To be apart and yet to be.

 

I recognise the way ahead:

Each wondrous view will mark the dead.

 

 

14/01/2013

Oh Whistle and I’ll Come, My Lad

 

A space between the sky and death

Where tides leave tracings of belief,

And words can summon or dissolve

The science of our solid world.

 

That space, in which the phantoms play

With fragile games and fickle minds,

Conventions, platitudes and thoughts

Are shaken from its nightmare’s breath.

 

And last when shards of safety shred,

We’re left an awful truth to face:

The nameless horror on the beach

Which twists and turns and tightens on.

 

The space in which we all are thrown:

We walk, we sleep, we die alone.

 

 

(based on the story by M.R. James)

12/12/2012

Song 5: Always Something There To Remind Me

 

She dug a marble from the ground,

And laid it back to mark the grave.

Some lives were never meant to be:

The kitten barely breathed at all.

 

The ice of Leith, the summer breeze,

The spring and autumn Pentland rains,

The poems spoken through the snow,

The poems of the cobbled roads.

 

We lived in books and Richter prints,

We breathed the northern lights of earth,

Yet on the edge of perfect voice

The silence and the shadows fell.

 

I walked along the city streets,

Alone, alive in memory’s words.

 

Edinburgh, where I listened to Always Something There To Remind Me, recorded by Sandie Shaw.

 

25/11/2012

Death and the Alder Grove

 

In hollow times I cease to be,

And seek the caves of others’ thoughts.

I cease to write and cease to speak,

I close my mind and haul within.

 

And there their echoes fill my mouth.

And there their doubts cascade around

In empty soothings, empty charms,

In shallow, whirling myths and lies.

 

So further into death I climb,

Until at last I find my peace

In ancient groves of alder trees,

In silence deep as pain is long.

 

Where mysteries breathe and lives are sought:

Where self has ended, selves are caught.

17/11/2012

A Last Rose

 

The circling point of dark distils

Around a single opening flower.

Its petals touch the edge of night,

A fragile archway through the stars.

 

This moment in its simple pain:

A pointless mark, a questioned breath,

A finger tracing ‘round a rose,

Then pointing off towards the skies.

 

And in the mind the scent of springs:

From way before the start of time,

The buds unfurled before the words,

The roses bloomed before the end.

 

Around the hand the petals fall,

As memories lose their ties to Earth.