Posts tagged ‘poems’

20/10/2013

Flight

 

And into air I spin and twist:

I never knew my scattered world

This high, this bright, this burning light.

And down below they swirl in blue.

 

The forests and the fields, they flow.

Their dizzy hearts, their green and grey

Are fading out, escaping from

The boxes and the traps we built.

 

And here, I hang on cirrus lines,

On eddies at the edge of space,

In jouissance, in points beyond

The passing earth and all it was.

 

It slips away: a distant star,

A point of light in boundless light.

 

 

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/

 

13/10/2013

Commuters

 

I’ll see her standing in the rain.
The place, the time: they never change.
She hugs her bag in front of her,
Her toes are on the yellow line.

It’s rare to see her raise her head.
On days like this her hair is wet
And darker than its usual brown.
She stares on to the tracks, unmoved.

For years we’ve shared the same routine:
She stands, I wait – anticipate
Her being there, existing there –
A confirmation of our lives,

And how our lives are drifting by.
Her toes are on the yellow line.

 

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/

 

15/09/2013

Her Lineage

 

Her warmth was bundled up with tales,

Her knowledge flowed on through the years,

The gentle heat, the milk and sweet,

The alchemy of cultured thought.

 

And in each bite, a crunch of salt,

The memories of mountain peaks.

From ninety generations formed:

A slight and sliver, ash and heart.

 

With such pride she gave her love,

With each remembered trick and tip.

On every drying shelf a tale,

Another history of grace.

 

She carried secrets to her grave.

She took off much, but left her soul.

 

21/06/2013

Creatures Beyond

 

Beyond the dramas of the town,

Outside the battleground of now,

The creatures, barely human, form

And question our complacent ways,

 

By simply being with the hum,

And spinning through the forest lanes.

By breaking and remaking whole,

By calling all the creatures home.

 

They nest their fictions in the earth,

Lay naked all their tales and truths.

They slip – revolting – from our grasp.

They drip – as fungus – from our pasts.

 

And bloated, we build roads and walls

And so much noise we drown their moans.

 

 

05/06/2013

A Week in Slovenia (Part 6 – With the Swallows of the Sky)

 

1. A Mountain Pass

 

The poetry is closing in

And trapping words in limestone blue.

In mountain forests, catching clouds,

Words lose meanings, clouds lose rain.

 

The air is pulled through lips and teeth:

It bites the throat, it takes a road

Of sunlit snow through mountain tops.

The sounds may form, the thoughts will not.

 

How will I find a voice for this,

This pass which crosses through the peaks?

It used to be the only way,

Now purposeless its tracks are still.

 

As evening gathers clouds and flow

We hear the night birds call the snow.

 

 

2. The Impossible Swallows of Mount Razor

 

Against the backdrop of these cliffs

The swallows seem impossible.

As morning lights the highest peaks,

The swallows swirl and dance the more.

 

Because we know all this will end

We breathe the pollen scent of trees,

Make crystal memories of streams:

We try to find the solid ground.

 

Too soon the wings will fold and furl.

We’re living in the past again:

The passing through, the sleepless dreams.

We’ll stare at walls and hear the calls.

 

I close my eyes, there’s nothing there

But mountain birds in mountain air.

 

 

3. Ljubljana Airport

 

So this is where it all begins

(And for all that, it’s where it ends).

The spirit drifters check on through

To other times, to brand new lives.

 

The Forest Man is watching planes:

He has his papers and his pass.

You see the girl who shifts and frets?

She can’t believe she won’t be back.

 

You see the woman dressed in grey?

Her mysteries mean so little now.

She longs for shadows, hugs the wall.

The angel at her shoulder weeps.

 

A palimpsest of all who pass:

This stone and steel is first and last.

 

 

 

4. Sky Layers

 

The edge of air lays curved and dark:

An empty hell of frozen lungs.

Above the highest birds and planes:

A point where science fiction ends.

 

Beneath the earth-rim, filters fade

The black of space – a lighter grey.

It sucks the clouds up from below:

Their hazing emptiness is filled.

 

Then further down through mists, the clouds

Begin congealing, blowing knots,

And twist themselves in rain and storms:

There, where light and silence stops.

 

And last – inconsequential – lies

The thinnest layer, the layer of lives.

 

 

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 2 – Overheard Tales)

 

1.  The Angel and the Buzzard

 

Above the Ljubljana plain

A buzzard wheels, then tips its wings,

Its eyes fixated on a point

Where, in the grass, a halo glints.

 

The angel fell to earth in search

Of Jason and the golden fleece.

Instead he found a world of fear:

A mythless world of worthless wealth.

 

The buzzard lands: it speaks no word.

The angel and the buzzard stare

Into each others’ eyes, and know

They come from better worlds than this.

 

The angel nods, then leaves this world.

The buzzard screams for all it’s worth.

 

 

2. The Forest Man

 

Beneath his canopy of pine –

Far deeper than his stands of beech –

The forest man is moving rocks:

He’s building walls around his tales.

 

His beard: a twist of ivy fronds.

His mind: a mass of histories gone.

He plants his feet with sapling oaks,

He carves the tunes of violins.

 

His walls are taller than before.

They hide the world of dragon’s teeth,

Of golden chamois, witch’s curse,

But still the forest man builds on.

 

He knows our world has lost its myths.

He’ll keep his stories safely hid.

 

 

3. The Shadow Figures of the Vrsic Pass

 

I took the high road through the pass.

The rain and mist whisped round the pine,

Above the trees the clouds touched earth:

I saw the shadow figures there.

 

I moved towards them, they withdrew.

The shadow figures knew the tracks:

They knew them like the hazel grouse.

They padded lightly with the lynx.

 

I saw their faces briefly there:

Beyond the rock face, glaring down.

I saw their questions, wild and raw,

With human eyes and shadow souls.

 

The mists soon closed the Vrsic Pass:

The shadow figures melted back.

 

 

4. The Once Great Dragons

 

Of course the dragons are still here:

What else could make a mountain shake?

What other creature barks at night,

And turns the forest tops to steam?

 

Their fear lives deep within the woods

And writes itself on cavern walls.

Their scales are found on river beds,

Their teeth and claws still scour the land.

 

And in the dark you hear them prowl

The village margins seeking blood.

Their rumbling feet, primeval growls,

Will haunt your sleeping, drifting hours.

 

The dragons curl in caves and cry:

They once were myths, but now they’re lies.

 

 

With thanks to Maja and Luka.

 

 

19/05/2013

Lost for Words/Words for Loss

 

The words will cease one summer night:

Just midway through an opening line

A poem stops and calm descends.

They drain my veins these awful words.

 

The words have worth I never knew.

Their meanings hide in other minds,

They find their ways to pool their tricks,

They carve their tracks through broken hearts.

 

And I will stare at stars that night,

And see them just as points of light.

And I will feel the wordless dew:

Just notice it and know it’s true.

 

The words will mourn me in my void:

You’ll find the words despairing there.

 

 

10/02/2013

The Barn Owl

 

Defying earth and air and moon.

An essence made of sky and flight:

Your every silent bob and feint

Will stop a heart, or still the dew.

 

Defy mechanics, vault the clouds,

And shatter every shackled thought.

You see through roots, through night, through time,

And fly on questions, drift on mist.

 

Defy the senses, hide in sight,

You hear the elements combine.

You are the opposite of weight,

You are the miracle they missed.

 

Defying life’s fragility,

You scream impossibility.

 

 

17/07/2012

The Song of Ondine (Parts I – V)

The Song of Ondine

The first five poems of the series The Song of Ondine (for Oxfam, Skipton)