Posts tagged ‘peace’


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.




Gwen John


Of all the moments, there you were:

Alone in thoughts, and thoughts alone,

With lessons learned in fields of corn,

With pasts to run from, pasts which form.


Alone in knowing reverie.

An open book of worlds to touch.

Alone and deeper still, within:

Those worlds of darkness, warmth and words.


From Bordeaux, running field to field,

Remember all those tainted hopes?

From Britain, homeless, drifting, cold,

Whilst all around was burning light


That strength once learned has found its poise:

A stillness brought from years of pain.



inspired by the work of painter Gwen John, especially “The Student” in Manchester Art Gallery





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.




The Barmanou



They shook the mountain caves at night,

They broke the boulders, cracked the cliffs,

They mocked the flags on sunrise snow,

They howled around the prayer wheels.


Then far beyond the mountain’s pull

A gentle chant, the plateaux’s thought,

Was caught in clouds and spiralled up

To join the Karakoram’s breath.


They stopped a while to hear the chant,

Put down their knives of Yengisar.

Then, furrow-browed, they went on back

To breaking wilderness and peace.


For all their noise, they heard the change:

They sensed the myths had rearranged.



Like Hummingbirds and Astronauts


Above the chaos, lives and clouds

A stillness – silver, pure as light –

Envelopes all and coats the stars,

Creates the blue and planet’s curves.


Above, in flight, as one we flow,

As lines, as points, as rippled air,

As pressure nodes of thunder’s birth,

We burst a universe of wings.


And there where blood and breath won’t flow,

Our feathers brush the edge of space,

And on this stratospheric arch,

Our wings touch tips then head for Earth.


We carry in our hearts the calm.

We’ve seen the truth: it’s all there is.