Posts Tagged ‘constellations’


Spera octava – spera stellata

The circle of stars, a silvered scum, a foam, a detritus,
A flotsam of teleologies, nub-ends of endless parties,
A whispered recital from dust-gnawed cities.
Shall we savour their strangeness, the fruit of centuries?
A wish
The tomb
The roof
The old man.

The tent
Al Tard, the end.
The apes
The south gate
A pillar
The old folks.

The raven’s neck
The falling cross
The long sandbank
The wolf.

Al Kaid, the eggshells
The embracer
The green hill
The changer.

Kakkab Mulu-izi, the star-man of fire.
The magician
The golden well
The spectre’s head
The first frog.

Al baluh, the city.
The azure dragon
Crown of the forehead
The southern sea
Announcer of invasion on the border.

Narrow cloudy train of female stars
Golden cluck hen and her five sisters.

Temennu, the foundation stone
Al wasat, the central one
Saptar shayar, the seven anchorites
The white of the poplar tree.

San Tsze, three instructors
Antasurra, the upper sphere
Drag-blod, the fire tail.
Pivot of the planets
The nail
The bright one
The defenceless
The virgin’s girdle
The lady of heaven

And so we fly past the whispering lights,
souls and stories,
wished-for and longings,
The indicators of time and movement,
a slightest of lost taste,
A melting of bright ice.
Silence returns.


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Orion leans drunk
Upon the hill.

(The winter’s wine
Is its night air).

Rolling cold breath,
Sickle bright smile.

Knows the way home:
The well-trod way,
Wheels careless.

Drawn on by faint
Petticoat Pleiades
Perfumed and giggling.

Too far gone, always,
Ever to catch them.
(Faithful dog
Licking slack hand.)

He will slur a sea-shanty,
A limerick, a whistled
Through teeth
Tuneless tune
And roll on.

Neither happy
Nor sad.


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Two hours before dawn, (woken by cats hungry for philosophy),
Frost by moonlight, yet so many stars, swung round, hefted northerly.
There, the smudge of Pleiades, bright above the upper field,
Tempting to be counted, (we are never happy if not counting, naming,).
Oh ye city folk, still numb and dreaming, adolescent nonchalence
Washed drab and starless in neon pools, who look up as far as street names only,
Who care not for the whence and whereto of any thing, parcelled time, demarcated space,
The here, vaguely mapped sufficiently, the now, a dusty film, a slick of petrochemical colour.

They were souls once,
they were spirits –
these roving, cold bright stars,
these companions.
We have economised, rationalised, downsized, both thought and language.
Hawked, shrugged, scratched, sauntered away (arrogant swagger, studied indifference).
Where once were many, a constellation of souls, a menagerie, a family, a clan, now none.
An empty mansion, windowless, faint smell of urine, ash, stale food, skitter of mouse.
Perhaps one ghost is allowed, never seen, never fed, an ancient inconvenience, a nostalgia.

Before, before ( that word, a sound that roars like a sea, grey wave rolling in, rolling out),
We were ensouled, enspirited,
A soul for the mechanics of earth,
Another spirit unsullied,
Untouched by gravitation.
And before that, even, each hidden mover, each part, each vital air,
Was known and named, assigned its proper home, ensured a place of continuance,
In earth, in rock, in tree, in sky, in sun, in star.
Belonged to,
here and there,
scattered like seed,
lost but ready to rise in forms and ways,
Calculated and considered, maintained, sung to, taken out, remembered, polished, fed.

Only the here,
Concrete, certain.
We believed in atoms indivisible,
Forces mathematical.
Things to pin down,
Things to plot.
No crystalline spheres to peer through,
No slow revolving, no ascent, no soul required.
But then, (never learning to let things be), we poked and pushed ’til form dissolved.
This unsplittable opened to component parts,
(named, weighed, approved, assigned purpose).
And those too, found to have a before, a smaller cause, beginning of beginning.

Determined to find what is
(The counting of stars, the sift, the song)
The certain dissolves, though stalwart Reason, optimistic, remains.

An indeterminate number of souls.
That is the dance
Within each one of us,
Numberless avenues
Of frost-bright mornings,
Drunk and burning
In cold air
still with moonlit silence.
A revolving, constellated brightness,
A sky river, a flock, a formation, a migration,
A seasonal coming and going.
We are not held steady nor monochromatic by this fluff of autocratic science,
The redactions wear thin, threadbare, barely enough to cover false modesty.
Bluster conclusions abound, bombast, a dislike of stories.

But it is still dark, still dark
The ghosts of dawn flicker and stir.
I would be dust, shining, scattered, returned home,
A cave inhabited with warm echo,
Voices of the familiar, watching embers, watching embers.


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Another star poem:


Looking tonight
It was a child’s game,
A peasant’s carpet.

Patterns of light
Stuck on the slow swing
Of the sky’s bowl.
Refusing to flee farther
Than over the rooftops,
Beyond the field.

Try as I might
They adhere to old
Telling stories,
Whispering names,
Herding seasons.

One spark from a star
Lodged fast in my soul.
A splinter of light,
Lost tombed in my eye.
Quick burin of night
Engraving my brain.

As I lie now
Echoes sift
The skull’s dome.

From a million threads
I turn slowly, slowly,
About a still Pole
Whose name is mine.



Followed by another night poem:


Ripening moon
Warming breath

Through race of wind
Sharp scent of stars

Rain-grass taste
Blue supper

Black towers
On whistling wheels
Wing, scud

With their first lick
Our Lady’s sides shiver

Embraced in shouts
She melts and fades

As night rains
So silk fish leap,
Flash and ripple
On the water’s face

But She swings
Like silver
Like silver bell
Around the dark dome

Shakes light
Sinks shrouded



Followed by two poems of waking:


As a hawk
On the cross-beams
Of tick-tock

By light
With the blackbird’s

A slim wedge
Pricks this
Bubble bright

The riddle orb

The shadow flock
Leave whispers:
Pool worlds
Flash and floating
High and dry

Purchased with oceans-
This blanket demesne
Whose senses
Night’s scythe

Strewn grains
They sprout
Strong cauldron

Tinker tailor
Whets and sews

Nerve and sunbeam
Weld the spark
To Jolly Roger’s
Skull and bones

The Last Trump!
The Seven Citied Isle!

The five floodgates

In daylight.



So long lost,
Save what is saved
For the brave wave’s winnowing.

Cast on the drift,
Drowned in the deep oh,
Drawn down in sleep,
Slip the fathoms,
The far fathoms fine.

Tumble slow in motion,
Heels over head,
And leave to care
The coves and caves,
The sloping sand
Losing time in tides:
Each beach that speaks
The long waves reach.

Breathe green for aye
The deeps
No eye
Has seen.

Sink in seven seas:
The eighth ocean
Where fishes kiss
These fingertips-
The slow shoals
Of sweet dream.

Where stars fish
The deep green dream of hue,
The skein of scale,
Glimmer shimmer of tail.

The sigh
And sough of sea
Within the shell’s siren ear.

Sigh and sough,
Sigh and sough.

Fish the sea’s eye
And rise on tide’s wings.

The wind-washed world
Calls the length of leagues
To the seaweed tangle
Of your thought.

Bleached shell
Rolls a line to and fro
And rising,
Sleep ebbs away.

Eyes closed:
The shingle sounds
Of day.



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