Posts Tagged ‘equinox’


Balance Point ( songs for an equinox)

Fading words on fragile pages.
Autumn winds blew old, very old words into my mind again.
I think some of these pieces, which I wrote over thirty years ago, stand up well. But it is hard for me to tell.
They are like long-forgotten, well-thumbed photographs – difficult to look at objectively through the associated memories and emotions they evoke.

Still it is a nice thing to press them, like fallen leaves, between fresh white pages, letting them float across other’s sight for a moment or two……


Corner of the Year.

(its voice is the essence of the crow – its name is its sound, it can be heard even when it cannot be seen….)

The crow’s call
Across the golden morning.

In my mind
Summer ends.

The fire
The leaf’s fall.
The fire
The world’s edge.
The fire.

It was the crow’s cry
Turned the sky
To autumn.

On the bridge
The corner of the year.
On the bridge
The salmon are leaping.
On the bridge
The fire has fallen.

The crow leans
Into distant blue.

I stand at my high place:
The battle of dawn.
Banner-black cloud pinion
Where cold light falters.

The old fire sinks
To the deeps beneath.

But deep
in the call
Of the dove
on my window

Is where summer
Has hidden.



Mind. Moon. Circle.

(An offering for zen poet, Ryokan)

Deep blue.
The deepest of blues.

That lightens
And darkens
To shape and shadow.

From out of the woods
He steps in silence.
Standing still
With no thought.
Breathing the earth
Through his heels.

There is a closeness behind,
As of dreaming trees,
But it is the past
With no memory.

I was going to meet
Old man Ryokan,
Gazing together,
The glimmering cup of sake…..

One robe is the sky.
One bowl is the moon.

And perhaps
A word or two:
A haiku with the first line
“though we must part..”
Never finished out loud.

A white dancer,
A blue stage.

There is music
But no one watches.

Having forgotten themselves
Which is the moon?
Which is the lake?

Pale lips
The moment
Before speech.

No words.

There is silver.
There is deep blue,
And the deepest
Of blues.

There are no words
And no end.



Corvus corone corone

( for those who love the freedom-loving crow)

Across blue ether’s egg,
This black winged voice.

A rag of will
That pits the wind.
Bone and barb
To carry hunger’s beak,
On the gibbett air.
Moulded sharp
Upon the squall.

Cinder of night
Strewn upon
Day’s garden.
Fall of ash
From star’s devouring.
With a cursing tongue.

What god is his
Whose bright eye hallows?
That marks the quick-drift,
Cross-tide of seasons?

What fist
That clenched the flux
Of elements,
Drove the spring
Tight bound
Around this heart?

Praise Him
Whose passion
Light exalts.
Him whose thought
In shadow.



The Silent Centre, or: The Night’s Road

( this was written when I was working in a studio in rural Lincolnshire for a year. I was working a lot with stars, star names and patterns, the evocative stratigraphy of history and folklore…….)

The silent centre where the slow Pole turns
Winds and ravels in the breath of minutes.

From the root of the spine
To the branching sight
It pulls upwards an arc of thought
Spanning clear into the glimmerimg dark.

Long are the miles of Time.
Long the carts wheel that studded road.
Heel and toe the tongue considers
To mark each stepping place.

Mirae, Arcturus, Menkar, Rigel
Deneb, Vega, Scheat, Enif.

We need and must go
To the edge of the wind’s roaring.
We need and must go
To the shore where all seas still.
We need and must meet
The house at the road’s crossing,
And rest not but pass on.

Long is the road,
The road that the stars look upon.
And it is a fragile holding:
The hold of name and number.
If ever we should forget, oh
If ever we should forget the stepping place,
And careless let slip the line of sight,
Careless let fall the weight of thought
And the heart’s salt tide
Not rule the night.

Then whence and where would lose the circuit’s end.
Lost one by one, the wheels should cease,
And lost, the lights would dim and shiver.
The names of Man, the Spirit measure
Would curl and grey
Forbidding dawn forever.

But where eyes turn
The name shall find them,
And footsteps trace
And tracks recover.
Where edge meets edge
The hope discloses
The constant spark
Forbidding night forever.

We need and must go
To the edge of the wind’s roaring.
We need and must go
To the shore where all seas still.
We need and must meet
The house at the road’s crossing
And rest not but pass on.

Mirae, Arcturus, Menkar, Rigel
Deneb, Vega, Scheat, Enif.



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Fires within the world – summer’s ending.


Bank the fires
Hum the lullabye
End the world’s work
Weave a breath of dream.
Tree shadows on the wall
Watching the flicker of eyelids.
Who is awake?
Who is dreaming?



The fast, turning wheel
Of the northern year:
warm honey summer air
Sunk now
Deep within the nested chambers
Of swelling berries.

Golden days.
But more insistent now:
The filigree of stars
That thin the silence.

Shadows lengthen,
Edges turn pale:
Fragile are the hours,
The gathering in.

The sutras of Time:
A balm,
Most beautiful elegy.

Never weep
The drained cup:
The wheel of the year
Is the beat
Of your heart.



No moon
This Lammas Eve,
But all along the path:
And silver mugwort.



( upon the increased beuracratisation of personal choice, living, breathing, eating, dying, thinking, choosing……)

A drift of angels:
All smiles,
Cudgels behind their backs.
“Do what we say –
message from an Almighty –
or creation will crack.”

Thugs of theocracy,
Regulators of vocabulary,
Rhetoric of righteousness,
Statistics of placation:

A bad smell

The viral notions
Quietly take charge –

We succumb to apathy,
A belief in benificent power.

“This is all for your own good,
you cannot afford to ignore,
You will be ill-advised to question…..”



(upon a sudden plague of idiots with circular stupidity…)

And I shall not smile
To keep you merry-
You who go round
In the same ruts endlessly,
Congratulating yourselves
For the new views,
The progress made.

Deeper and deeper
In muddy mire,
With tawdry mawkish ballads –
Hymns to mediocrity,
Platitudes that destroy
The truth of language…..



“Blessed be.”

All summer
I have been dreaming –
Up to no good,
Saving up time.

An ocean of words
Ebbing and flo-ing
Just beyond reach.
A roar of voices,
A hiss of whispers.

Dabbling my fingers
In shallow, warm waters,
Bemused by sunlight,
Waiting for a signal,
A start,
A point to begin.

Upon a lake
That is not a lake
There is a boat
That is not a boat.

Not doing,
But being.




If you try
To grasp reality
It is crushed
Beyond recognition.

Just wait
With hand outstretched
And beauty
Will alight,
For no reason –
Only because
it can.



The spice of death
Is on the air:
Reddening brambles,
Crisping, fading bracken.

Edges turn brittle.

Earth and grasses turn damp.
Damp seeps
Into the bones of things,
Like darkness
Eating the edges of daylight….



And then,

One calm,



We realise:

The swallows

Have all gone!

Silence descends

With the blossoming

Of autumn stars.


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