Posts tagged ‘tales’

03/10/2013

Platform

 

So here I am in hope again,

Between the layers of sleep and thought,

The shade and space and hidden lights,

Between the shifting lines of doubt.

 

I sit in carriage four of five,

And drift through waking depths of dreams.

I wait for certainties of time

To close my eyes, or shake me out.

 

He sits on platform three and stares

Into an emptiness of clouds.

The train – not his – has mirrored glass:

He sees himself – he’s looking old.

 

I watch that world disintegrate:

What could have been and what was not.

 

 

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/

 

18/09/2013

First Born

 

Before the writing on the rock,

Had scratched the miracles away,

Before the clay had stamped its songs,

Before creation raised the seas,

 

Before the ignorance of Greece,

Before Tibetan chants of death,

Before the worthless wars of Rome,

Before the Dreamtime thought to dream.

 

A child began its cry for life,

Like every other cry at night.

Her cries rebounded through the hills,

And echoed up beyond the skies.

 

Her father had a cheating mind.

Her mother screamed and broke the ground.

 

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.

 

15/06/2013

The Thunder Birds

 

The thunder birds could tame the sun.

They flew, although their bones were stone.

The broken parchment of their wings

Could soar them through volcanic skies.

 

With jade for eyes and quartz for teeth

They hunted over nightmare seas.

At night they slept upon the moon,

And hung like bats with diamond claws.

 

And when they roared they split the earth,

The sound would echo on for years,

The scars they ripped were canyon deep,

Whole mountains crumbled at their screech.

 

One day they simply disappeared.

They left this world, they left their fear.

 

 

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.

 

 

11/04/2013

The Halcyon Beasts

 

Above are creatures born of flies

Which stab and spike and reek of blood.

The tales all speak of nests they make

From neatly piled up bones and scales.

 

It’s said their wings are sky made flesh,

And dry as drought their awful skin.

It’s said they scream beyond all sound,

And move so high they breathe the clouds.

 

And if these creatures mark you out

There’s nothing you can do to hide.

No reedbed thick, no lily-pad

Will keep you safe, will save your life.

 

The creatures of the deathly air

Form rainbows from our world’s despair.

 

 

24/03/2013

Degrees North

 

Beyond the north: a second north.

Beyond that north the memories fade,

And tales take hold of dark and ice,

Of endless nights, of swans in flight,

 

Of dead who walk with mirror step,

Of land where rock will crack and burn,

Of skies that burn, of snows that burn,

Of seas that swell with monster’s bones.

 

Beyond that north, there’s nothing more,

There are no dead, there’s nothing born:

The formless still, the waveless sea,

A void as deep as space is cold.

 

It’s in us all, that silent space.

It’s in our blood, it’s in our graves.

 

 

24/05/2012

These Minotaurs

 

These Minotaurs: the lost and sad,

The broken bodied, buried, burnt.

These fragments of the tales and fears

Are scattered over ancients’ seas.

 

These Minotaurs: so full of pride,

Of lust, of frail and short-lived reign.

These horrors spawned which rise and hate

And tear the spirit from the heart.

 

These Minotaurs: the innocent

Chthonic children, bursting free.

The gods of tunnels, formed and planned.

The gods of monsters yet to be.

 

These Minotaurs which question us.

These Minotaurs betrayed by us.

 

22/05/2012

“Why do Monsters Cease?”

 

The town wore dust as some wear skies,

Its buildings barely stood on props.

The crumbling had been centuries long.

A rootless people drifted through.

 

Around the town the maquis spread

Obscuring tablets pressed with tales,

And ancient bricks which burnt and broke:

The merest trace of palace walls.

 

Its stories scattered through the world,

With sails for wings and widening eyes.

They drifted off beyond the earth,

Became a breath, became a fear.

 

The truth lies lost beneath the scrub:

A pile of bones reduced to chalk.

 

(The title is from Seneca: Phaedra, 173ff)

21/05/2012

Grassington Minotaur III

 

From off the moors I’ve heard your moans,

And seen the blood stains on the stones,

The howl of fearful winter storms:

Above the doors I’ve seen the charms.

 

But were you ever any more

Than breath exhaled in voiceless awe?

A thought which lingered on too long,

And left the anguish clinging on?

 

And did you taste the cavern’s air:

The dampness, rock and trapped despair?

Your monstrous counting of the space:

The skeletal wrecks through which you pace.

 

And did the living curse your name,

And weep as lovers fed your shame?

12/05/2012

The Minotaur’s Image

 

His blank façade was made for tales:

Where nothing lives the world exists

And meanings flood to fill the space.

Where monsters lurk we build our homes.

 

The venerated beast and man:

A test to all who leapt and prayed.

Then later he was hid away:

His appetites too close, too true.

 

And in that inhumed form was left

The residue of lust and death,

The tales of innocents sacrificed,

The tales of writers, tales of pride.

 

Our monstrous elements abide

However many times we’re slain.