Sea & Stone
Seeking out the remnants of ancient trials,
permanent in their shared afflictions,
I set my vision to
the green, even curves of a hill;
its upswelling earth-root blossoming
below the many coats of human imprint.
Sparrows tussle in the bare stems.
Crevices of travel-worn byroads,
once pathways for soldiers and ungulate herds;
where a rupture in the surface, following
brings canyons, filled by glacial sediment,
burnished in time to smooth, grey frost.
Sky of ornamented scars;
or the burning moon,
whose decorous breath wears thin
the vaulted flesh.
The oldest passions are those of water and stone;
tide against towering falsehoods.
Do not assign false quantities to forbearance or cruelty, or
the myth that one may outlive the other.
Do not be persuaded by your bubble of modernity.
Your misfortune cannot be uncoupled
from the revenue of tides.
Yours is the heartache of sea and stone.
A savage precision,
a wild man’s vision scalpel,
carving through exhaust streams billowing
in the mid-morn sun;
the gentle fearful trembling
of offspring in the presence of the furnace dawn.
Sun the father.
Mother the moon.
Beside the reservoir, beneath the water’s surface;
from there all sound is the electrical current of sunlight,
above, the glassy, whirring wings of the damselfly
above, the water skin split, water parting
The winding water snake wetting his scales
into the shape of a young girl’s gymnast ribbon.
I adopted the fighting stance of fervid petroleum beams
by taking up the practise, learning the trade;
those are oil spills that were his eyes.
Sun the father.
Skeleton orchard – mountain display of bone,
grass yellow as bleached coals.
How the moon, she, cold queen,
smiled the raging fire of her sleeping king.
Who now could recognise this plot of land?
Above, cold witness to the terrors of night,
above, the blinding hatreds of day.
For this smoke presents itself to no other sense than smell;
the reeking bluetail damsel inside the boy’s glass jar.
For what is that voice I seek?
An upward groan of the frustrate, standstill fumes
or the rainbow glistening armour of a sinking soul.
Be then that squaw-cry song of tired fights.
In myself I know only the maddening splendour.
Utterance in the swift, invisible motion of a buried tide.
A Partial Skull: Golden Distortion
A partial skull breathes sunlight of itself
through uneven rows of a year,
passes runlet draught through
moon cycles of a buried smile;
since expired upon hoary clay
of silent, frozen tongue.
Then too, the upper-horseshoe gleaming;
tell time, the blackened underbite
of winter’s preservation.
Holds up for inspection to the summer sun,
the mind that fevered centuries in the ground
And now, breathes light through hollow eyes.
The Sun, in giving,
wants little more than excess water
No, the fact does not escape me
Nor can I wholly break from that
Which closed lids cannot screen;
The constant unconsented revelation
Of all heavenly light:
mere golden distortion
Swollen and spread across the shapes of things
both fine and fat
Till celestial arcs
Become mutinies of shadow
Yet traced, without difficulty, back
To a single disk;
Still among still more shadow
Obscuring the very form that casts,
Which fire and thought has made its nest.
The wind rejects,
fortifying the now stripped-bare mound.
There is no stone only the residual cold of dawn,
a cold belied by blossom,
by green grass and golden sun;
inherited jewel in a clear stream.
The site seems to rise from bone-thin hedge line
bloated above a black swamp on one side
and a slow sunken river on the other.
Rubble memorial: one of few shadows.
A weathered tree strikes a delayed eight.
The branch shadow shakes and time sits
It must have been now or now or not
the buzzard rises into view
red, brown and folded-out feather
parting the wind that keeps it still
silencing it in turn
The bird moves off into blossom
hidden behind sound.
Sleep, Low Valley Pass
Sleep, low valley pass
of twin midday summits,
where the shadows of the great gold mounds
meet within the fold, spring petal and thorn;
rest, but grow no fruit.
Where pollen rubs sting into the eyes of
the dreaming dead.
Make what you can
of unsnarled nets,
cut lines, broken-thin;
only a sense of where the knots once met.
Rooks mock the windfall leaves,
sing upon tips of oak root deep
a yellow song of foliage;
to bellow in the caves of noontide
and bring time round to earthfall.