Posts tagged ‘loss’

21/10/2013

Passengers

 

So who is there to hear our sighs?

Our tears will go unnoticed here,

And we will pass, as angels pass:

Unseen and in the end, unloved.

 

And who will take this track with us?

Another lonely soul who sits

And traces light on passing clouds,

With nothing left to lose or win.

 

And we will fill out hollow eyes

With all the dust which fell from stars.

And we will cling on to the hope

That someone here will share our weight.

 

So who is there to dream of us,

To hold our hand, to make this stop?

 

 

This poem was written as a response to the photograph by artist Cheryl Garner. It is part of an on-going journey.

The photographs, with poems, can be found at:

www.thecheesewolf.co.uk/category/vicarious-journeys/

the work of Cheryl Garner can be found at:

http://cherylgarner.squarespace.com/

 

20/10/2013

Train Leaving

 

That lost, bewildered look she loved:

So why, today, was he a wreck?

“Forget the night”, she said again.

They fell in drops about her feet,

 

Those heavy tears, they fell inside.

She made her smile for one last time:

It formed a line about her lips

Which wasn’t there the day before.

 

The first he knew she’d walked away,

A rueful cast upon her frown.

So there he stood, alone and cold:

He wished he’d worn a better shirt.

 

He wished he had a clever line.

The platform span and she was gone.

 

 

This poem was written as a response to the photograph by artist Cheryl Garner. It is part of an on-going journey.

The photographs, with poems, can be found at:

www.thecheesewolf.co.uk/category/vicarious-journeys/

the work of Cheryl Garner can be found at:

http://cherylgarner.squarespace.com/

07/10/2013

Soliloquy

 

The light was dreaming for the swans:

A morning mist, an autumn drift,

For necks to lift and court their kiss.

I wonder how I’ll break the news.

 

The leaves beneath my feet were soft,

But dry despite the time of year:

It could have been the perfect walk.

We are apart – so nothing’s changed.

 

I close my eyes and count to ten,

And nothing’s changed: it never will,

No matter how you try to hide.

This train pulls further from that past.

 

And closer to the end of things.

Oh god: the beauty of those swans.

 

This poem was written as a response to the photograph by artist Cheryl Garner. It is part of an on-going collaboration.

The photographs, with poems, can be found at:

www.thecheesewolf.co.uk/category/vicarious-journeys/

the work of Cheryl Garner can be found at:

http://cherylgarner.squarespace.com/

 

06/10/2013

Terminus

 

And so it seems this all must end

In blue and gold and shattered glass,

In metal coils around the throats

Of mottled lives between the cracks.

 

What route I took I just don’t know,

It seemed so long and hardly changed:

No matter how, the rains will fall,

The storm will come and I will fall.

 

I have no questions left to ask.

Explosions in the sky can pass,

Explosions take my eyes and pass,

Explosions bring this to its end.

 

The summer lost its heart to me,

But I was cold and told it so.

 

 

This poem was written as a response to the photograph by artist Cheryl Garner. It is part of an on-going collaboration.

The photographs, with poems, can be found at:

www.thecheesewolf.co.uk/category/vicarious-journeys/

the work of Cheryl Garner can be found at:

http://cherylgarner.squarespace.com/

 

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.

 

 

27/07/2013

Minotaur on the Moortops

 

He tries to sink back through the earth,

Through iridescent slips of schist,

To where the rock can douse his eyes,

Quench fire of sight, dull iris light.

 

The space – which counts the stars as months,

And judges time by shadow falls –

where lives can howl and show their age.

Each tick of sun and moon: a death

 

Up here, where echoes never start,

He lays down low and feels through peat

The rocks beneath, the subtle heat,

The walls where blood is merged with night.

 

Unfreed, unbound, and lost beyond:

The air is thin and spiked with sound.

 

 

25/07/2013

For the Crossing (video)

 

 

a micro-film of my poem “for the crossing”

21/07/2013

The Apple Trees

 

We sit beneath the apple trees,

Which bloomed all through the long decline,

And raised their blossom to the skies:

A world of struggles, famine, war.

 

Those complicated patterns form

Across the grass like veins of time,

And radiate out from the trunk:

They chart another year of growth.

 

Another era for their leaves,

Which we will live, then leave behind,

As bees and beetles, moths and flies.

The shade is cool, our days are short.

 

We plant the seeds and tend the shoots:

Above us spread the apple trees.

 

 

07/07/2013

Melencholia I (Dürer’s Angel)

 

The comet tail has sliced the sky,

And rainbows with it sink the sun

Beneath a springing autumn tide:

A will which never will become.

 

The dust of spirits coat the walls

And count from numbered square to square.

Their flightless wings, which trick the skies,

Dissolve her memories into time.

 

And all around there lays the wreck

Of love and art, which break apart,

And carve their sorry tales away,

Into the pointlessness of life.

 

With watered crown and weighted wings,

She leans her heavy bones on bone.

 

15/06/2013

A Balkan Street Scene

 

For several years the street seemed old,

The tired shopfronts never changed.

They clung nostalgic to a time

Of paint and flowers, songs and life.

 

The woman in the orange dress

Has sold her paintings since things changed.

Back then she couldn’t paint enough,

But now her days just pass her by.

 

The men – the three who barely move –

Observe the street and how it’s changed.

They raise their cups to passing girls:

They judge and drink but rarely speak

 

Today is sunny, tomorrow rains,

The street’s the same, the street has changed.

 

 

09/06/2013

A Week in Slovenia (Part 7 – After Thought)

 

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.

 

 

2. Borovnice

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

02/06/2013

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.

 

 

18/05/2013

The Primrose Bank

 

The primrose bank was April sun.

Beneath a hawthorn, robin rich,

With sad, sweet, dappled songs of light,

The primrose bank was every spring.

 

And every spring the petals poured

Their golden cadence gleaned from years,

From melodies of pastel tints,

From wood, to beck, to changing skies.

 

The verses flick rebirths of time,

Their delicate and shuttling lines

Which called on rains to fill their voice:

And voices filled, and sun rejoined.

 

The primrose bank is life to you,

The robin’s song is always new.

 

 

14/05/2013

Bachman’s Warbler

 

The light of neurones formed of gold.

The light of skies beneath the lakes.

The light of memories dying out.

The light of mourning fireflies.

 

Out there, before the war forgot

To purge its nightmares from our streets,

A weightless shimmering of blood

Had stopped to drip on southern crops.

 

Its song was shackled to its fate:

Its song of falling, song of light.

Its burned with topaz in the swamps:

A voice of sunlight through the night,

 

A drop of blood which stained its loss

On leaves and lives and crosses born.

 

 

13/05/2013

Always Four

 

Between the branches on the beech

She sees a star and shivers.

She gathers in her dressing gown

And closes tight the curtains.

 

The floor is cold, the room is poised,

A creaking board the single sound

Besides the tinnitus which whines.

Outside the wind is dying down.

 

Her eyes are heavy, full of sleep.

She stands and waits for thoughts to break

The pounding of the still.

 

The clock, which stopped a while ago,

Restates the time when timing ceased.

She bows her head and shuts her eyes.

 

 

27/04/2013

Egyptian Vulture

 

How many ways to kill our pasts?

On wings which carried deserts north

The pharaoh’s birds would soar with souls.

We clipped those wings and pinned those souls.

 

How many desolations built?

From mountain peaks to Shiva’s shrine:

We emptied every one of birds

And wondered at the silent skies.

 

How many ways to carve our guilt?

Those perfect wings, those lines of flight,

Which glide from life to life beyond.

Those messengers of ancient tombs.

 

Out of the sun there wheeled the birds:

How many ways to praise this world?

 

23/04/2013

The Bud

 

Do not delay, don’t wait for word,

The spring will burst the tightest buds

Without you. Summer dries the stream

Without you. Autumn takes the breath

 

Of swallows – late to leave. And death

Will strike with winter ice and waste

The final throes of sun, and then

You’ll miss your time to effervesce.

 

Do not be caught in thoughts of lives

Which could have meant much more than this,

Which could have been, but passed you by.

The buds are leaves, are mould, are gone,

 

And you are watching as they dry.

Become the leaf, return to bud.

 

 

20/04/2013

Under the Tree

 

So let’s not say that time will end,

Instead let’s watch the summer light

Come pouring through the valley leaves,

As if there were no other place.

 

And let’s not say it passed us by.

The earth beneath our feet is firm:

It stays the same – it doesn’t change –

We touch it, know it, share its pull.

 

So yes, we’ll simply linger on,

And take our shelter from the rain.

We’ll wait until the wind has calmed.

We’ll wait until the sun returns.

 

These moments, here beneath this tree,

Mean everything to you and me.

 

 

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.