Posts tagged ‘humanity’

15/09/2013

The Silent Keeper

 

She held her breath and life whirled round:

It blasted, blew and buffeted,

But somehow, silent, she stood still,

As if untouched, she stayed her voice.

 

Within, she held the secret tales,

And slow, she acted out their ways,

And slow, she carried on the lives,

Of all the slow and silent ones.

 

And all the rest just passed her by,

Ignored her quiet, hopeful words.

They lived so quick they barely lived.

They spoke so fast they made no sense.

 

When she breathed out, all history bent,

But no-one saw their world whirl round.

 

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03/06/2013

A Week in Slovenia (Part 4 – From the Adriatic to the Alps)

 

1. On Piran Seafront

 

Ten thousand years of people stare

Off out to sea and feel its breath.

Ten thousand years of questioned souls

Who turn, and shrug, and build their worlds,

 

Those years are here within this point.

Entranced, we watch the fish and boats:

That silver dart, that bobbing float.

We are those generations now.

 

Then Trieste fades and Piran falls,

The bells un-ring and we are back.

The fish all hide, the sun is bright,

I hold your hand, we are alone.

 

The Adriatic Sea is blue:

It always is – is ever new.

 

 

2. When the Birds Fly Low

 

You see the point in being close:

An avalanche destroyed that house,

An earthquake took the town that day,

You closed your heart as war raged on,

 

You see the way the birds fly low.

You buy the cheese and share the bread.

A flock of alpine choughs descend:

They work as one, they fly as one.

 

As snow is creeping through the trees,

A dusting through Arolla Pine,

It brings its memories of times.

The birds fly down amongst the town.

 

You turn your back upon the cold.

You feed the birds and drink your fill.

 

 

3. Rainfall in the Julian Alps

 

The sun won’t break the clouds today.

The mountain crags have gathered rain,

The sparrows hide beneath the eaves,

The church bells echo hidden peaks.

 

The peace of circle patterned slates:

The point before the rivers form.

Within a pine a blackbird preens.

The air is still, the rain is clean.

 

A miracle has formed the sky.

Here in the sky, we are the sky.

The snowmelt cycles up, then through:

We breathe the ice of years gone by.

 

Within the clouds I see the sun.

Amidst the rainfall there is song.

 

 

4. Night in the Julian Alps

 

We do our best to kill the still

With street light, owl hoots, cow bells, cars.

We build and burn, we run and hide,

But up here nothing comes our way.

 

The mountain’s cold and silent depths,

The forest’s growth on rotten roots,

The haze which twinkles dying stars:

They are the silence we can’t dodge.

 

We think we are unique in this –

Us falcons, martens, humans, frogs –

Not caught in headlights: we freeze at night,

And stare into the mountain depths.

 

The long collective mass of life

Is just a tiny flick of light.

 

 

03/05/2013

The Panther Man

 

The shadows curl their lips and kiss

My silent feet. They keep me safe.

In light I weigh, but here I float:

Adrift in myths and hidden fates.

 

From here I watch you fight for space.

I see the endless paths you take:

You circle, paw, and spiral down.

You know I’m here: within, beyond.

 

I ripple through your flitting mind,

Just hinting at the shape of words.

A fire as dark as Saturn’s heart,

A trick of whispers, mist and night.

 

I pad these forest tracks alone,

A shadow soft in shadow’s hold.

 

 

30/04/2013

The Atacama Humanoid

 

You called us dust and distant lands.

With sandstorm veil and mysteries bound,

With feet as sharp as cactus wren:

You claimed the stars, your hands were scarred.

 

Beyond the nitrate mine and cross,

You carried us to ocean’s scents,

To know the horrors of the edge,

To ask us how we bent the Earth.

 

We wept and tasted desert rose,

We shook beneath the condor’s wing,

We hid from caracara’s claw.

You called this home, this tear-stained sky.

 

We lived in fear of men and dogs,

For freedom begged the desert moon.

 

 

03/03/2013

The Snowden Monument

 

1. Stone

 

Up on the moors a marker stands,

A point of reference for a past,

Its millstone blocks are still edged sharp.

The past is gone, the past remains.

 

Its plaque is stamped with cold relief,

Released from duties and from loss,

It stands apart from choices made,

From compromise, from harsh mistakes.

 

Beyond the ridge the village slips

Into a valley, blind and bleak,

Still full of life chipped from the stone:

The stories new, the stories worn.

 

The world is circling round these rocks:

Forgotten cairn which marks our loss.

 

 

2. White

 

The milk and mortar ends of time,

The cotton sheets and cobbled streets –

Which shine beneath the western skies –

And clouds which hide the hills from sight.

 

The Mesolithic depths of life

Are dragged from earth like dock-leaf roots.

They glimmer, broken tooth and jaw,

The glaucous grin of history’s scar.

 

The markless drifts will melt the walls,

The lambs will slow and watch the gulls,

The frost will dust the shadow’s track.

A tarnished memory turns its back.

 

The bread and fish, the starch and lead,

The white forgotten light of fate.

 

 

3. Gold Standard

 

The towns and villages were choked,

With lines of sunken eyes and hopes.

The basic decency of folk:

Together bound, together broke.

 

They gathered round to try again,

Rebuilding shattered lives of men.

Where wealth was measured out in graves:

A balancing of lost and saved.

 

The mills were emptied of the souls,

As soulless mechanisms rolled,

Across the disregarded world:

They snuffed out hopes and hoarded gold.

 

The rich can claim no small success,

As lives are crushed for their excess.

 

 

4. Freedom

 

Where golden plover rest in flocks,

The sun will set and ages pass,

And forests grow and fall and rot.

Each spring the plover find their nests.

 

Where tewits tumble through the clouds,

Our lives are measured out in earth,

In hopes and prayers, in bitter joys.

The tewits call the start of spring.

 

Where curlew mourn the rising sun,

We cut our links and try to run,

We buy the land and think it ours.

The curlew drift on wings of song,

 

The moor has drawn us here to see:

For those who don’t, the birds can be.

 

 

5. Debt Burden

 

You sought it in the word of god,

You sought it in the human heart,

You sought it round the noble fire,

You sought it, then you let it die.

 

You sought it in the free exchange,

You sought it in the chains of gold,

You sought it in the price of time,

You sought it, then you let it die.

 

You sought it in the bought and sold,

You sought it for the highest price,

You sought it at the highest cost,

You sought it, then you let it die.

 

You lost your hope and lost your way.

You built up debts you could not pay.

 

 

6. Traces and Tracks

 

The landscape stretches out of time,

Beyond the solid to the sun:

The setting, bloodied, monstrous sun.

The moors are full of spirits lost.

 

We crucify our histories here,

We break the links and travel on:

Erase the mysteries of our age,

Betray the ones who need us most.

 

The empty tombs and hollow shrines –

Where rites of truth and pure belief

Were once the center of the world –

Are crumbling and forgotten stones.

 

Across the moors are hidden tracks

Where spirits weep on cotton grass.

 

 

7. Handcart

 

The madness of the century churned,

Within, without, with demagogues,

With splits and deaths and compromise,

The wheels ran smooth and fires were stoked.

 

And fear had spurred the horses hard,

And land deals turned and history spurned.

The rich could cheat the grave once more,

And pour their assets overseas.

 

The shattered bones and broken homes,

And promises to workers burned,

In chapel halls and Liberal clubs,

Where speeches drifted cheap as smoke.

 

The mad, the rich, the charlatans:

Their cart rode past and you hitched on.

 

 

8. The Speech of Moors

 

The ancient language of the hills,

Hides questions in the tussock grass.

So close to earth, they feed its roots.

So close to sky,they shake the seeds.

 

Your scattered ash returns the words,

As old as rock and lost to time:

The dialect of moorland farms,

Forgotten lanes and trackless moss.

 

Up here your lives can ebb away:

A cairn, a plaque, a hiding place.

In snows the sheep will huddle round,

So far from everything you were.

 

And this is where the questions start,

It’s where they end, it’s where we part.

 

 

 

Dedicated to the people who always carry the greatest weight, and who always suffer the most in times like these.