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A LULLABY AGAINST FEARS

Do you not see the doors swinging open, swinging shut?

With each breath in and out, the breeze of their coming and going.

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Cold is the mountain and the white snow will wake you, will wake you.

There is only a moment to know more,

Only a moment to remember and forget.

Until we know what it is to dream it,

We shall never waken.

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We thought we had removed from ourselves

The scent of death that followed us down

Through all the long centuries.

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We thought the posy of politeness had done more

Than mask the fear.

As always, it is the smallest of things

Breaks open the delusion

Of genteel comfort.

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Every room, every landscape, every moment,

Has a door that, should we walk through,

Would take us into other places, never to return.

They swing to and fro with our in and out of breath.

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A door of leaves, a door of grasses,

A door of breezes, a door of riverbanks,

A door of whispers, a door of praise,

A door of sorrow, a door of breath.

These doors coming and going

Between the world you know

And the worlds you do not yet know.

How many have changed you beyond recognition,

Forgetting the song you were singing

To get lost in a tune unfamiliar,

That better becomes you?

So many doors, remembering and forgetting.

A door of small things, a slight imperceptible door,

And you have gone to be elsewhere,

In sunlight unsullied, in radiance of starlight.

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PLAGUE DAYS

The silence grows with the lengthening days.

We may yet learn how to breath in

And how to breath out with simple joy.

We may yet sit still and listen to birdsong,

Settling into the world we almost lost,

And now have the chance to find within us,

As it has always been, as it has always been.

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NOT YET

If you go a little way from here,

Down to the valleys and towards the towns

You will see the surprise of green:

The hawthorn hedges already plump with budding,

Blackthorn blossom scattered and the slim beginnings of willow.

But not here.

The hill is waiting yet, as its people waits,

In no rush to lose the cold, clear skies.

Still breathing deep and slow the muddy mulch and bracken,

The silent puddled lanes that measure

The stretching days and spin of stars.

There, (here and there), even a cherry, young and impatient.

Even the black ash swells.

But not here,

Except the elder has begun to heal its emptiness.

One more bright day.

One more clear night

And we shall be full of lambs and birdsong.

But not yet.

Not here,

Not yet.

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THE LOVELY RAIN

The lovely rain –

Its breath is music

In the chapel pines.

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What we have left

Of what is done

Is debris.

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The lovely rain.

Chapel pines hum,

Eyes closed and swaying.

Cool is the air.

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CHAPEL OAKS

Scattering dark fingered roads

Across bright dazzled morning.

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Jackdaws coming and going

like second thoughts.

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Snow picks out the distant hills

As if they were unattainable heaven.

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Cold clouds drift on slow sunlight.

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The in-dwelling silence is a song

Stretched out to eternity.

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It is what the red kites,

What the ravens, wheel and dance upon,

Uplifted by delight.

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The pain of frozen air

Is how we know

we are alive.

CHAPEL OAKS (2)

A murmuration of starlings

A murder of crows

A ricochet of jackdaws

A damnation of preachers

A singing throne of oaks.

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The bones of the snow

On a bitter wind.

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March morning sky

Churning the bright butter of glory.

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The hands of trees reach out,

Shaking in eternal prayer.

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I DREAM THE DISEASE OF INSISTENT TRUTH

We have already lost the world

We have already lost the world.

But we go to a world where it still is.

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Filling the bright circle

With a cadence of whispered names.

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It is not this.

It is not this,

Where we step through to brightness.

Going nowhere, we turn,

Become pillars of silence

Against the metred songs of a warrior god,

Sung in a warrior’s language you hardly even know,

Built for grey walls and bitter days.

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A circle of leaves

In a sacred number

To build a door in air.

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The knots are tied and untied

To measure the moon’s dance,

The stones moved round the circle.

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The one who was lost

Is a clue to the thing

That can never be found by looking.

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All our friends who are not with us are dead.

They are remembering other roads

Beyond the shadows of trees and the towering fountains.

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We dance with mathematical precision,

A syncopated falling.

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Small white flowers shall puddle

In her footsteps

Though the bones of the snow

Spell cold on the mountains.

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We cannot tell if your bleak holiness

Shall heal yet, or simply dissolve our duties

To leave us standing mute and shelterless.

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We fall into the roaring gorges,

The broken roaring overhung,

The dark, weeping trees.

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It is a battle whose sides

We once understood.

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Through a silent circle of leaves,

Holy in number,

We shall step and take new forms

That wait for us

Winged or furred or fluttering,

Whispered or yearning

We shall slide between

The rocks of certain truth.

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Stones will shatter for our gentleness,

Worlds cave in and crystals crack,

The dark shall fill with pulsing light.

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The impossible sky

The impossible sky

We will dance within.

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STORM WIND

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We cannot outrun the storm wind

We cannot outrun the rain.

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Between the lines appear the shapes of other letters.

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The moment the tongue finds a shape to express a feeling.

The moment the feeling swells, a flower

Of song blossoms out.

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We cannot outrun the swollen river

We cannot outrun the racing cloud.

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Every thread laid and lost within the weave.

To hold one thought, just one,

When the roaring chord that rocks the pines

Sweeps the world away in ragged tatters.

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We cannot outrun the world of sorrow

We cannot outrun this tide of time.

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The meaning here

Is not the meaning

We seek.

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We cannot outrun the storm mind

We cannot outrun the candle’s shadow.

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