Posts Tagged ‘mystery’


(Three great stones upturned, strange, wriggling things beneath them)

Bright Browed

The truth is a severed head
telling tales to the mesmerised
survivors of a world disappearing.
As simple as it is, it cannot be circumscribed
by any answer.
The bright sun rises on a land, still with frost.
Over the horizon night falls and the
white winged soul of owls hunt glimmering,
and the children whimper in their swaddled sleep,
the dogs by the fireside and the dancing shadows.
Dawn is a spark that burns what went before.
The river is a crooked woman dancing on shivering hips.
We become bright-browed and ancient,
shunned and out of step, the harmony misunderstood.

Ssh! Pass it on!

The wise, as ever, steal their wisdom from the lips of others.
Too smart, they exult in escape from the banal.
Too fast, they run from the slow lurch of time.
Too full, they shrink and burst leaving nothing to itself.
The mouth is a cauldron cooking the unsayable,
bringing to life the exposed silent ones,
the cloaked, watching, single-eyed ones.
It does not say and need not say:
the seed we have become will die for the tree to live.
For the tree to live the seed is forgotten.
Turn around, this is not yours ( nor ever was).
Perfect, you must dissolve into one thought.
the one never before, the one pillar that upholds the sky,
the silver-headed beast, the clutch and shudder of love,
and know its name, and know when it was born, and for what purpose.
And never, ever, ever, say.


The bard’s mouth is a cauldron that cooks the food of heroes,
That will not suffer the fame of fools.
It will bring the dead to life, though they can never speak for themselves.
It will feed all, no matter how great the host.
It will wriggle endlessly through time
But will never escape the timeless, spiral woman who turns into herself.
It will come out of the sea. It is the way to within and without.
What is not yours , you will come to love,
If you are wise.
A war of words clothing naked souls.

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no moon, but a single
sickle call of an owl
in the deep valley

cold stars are winter’s eyes
as warmth leaves the world
and darkness wraps all up
as close to silence
as one can think.

by rivers and stars are we lifted up.
by rivers and stars are we brought low.

silent voices dipped in cloud.

I shall sit in darkness and dissolve into light.

dissolve into endless light.
dissolve into light.

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Old Friend


We are declining, you and I,
As a dream that senses dawn.
Certainty thins and colours wan,
The story, less convincing, wavers.

Many we have known have now awoken.
Lost to us, they have slipped into new light.
Our hearts now as silent as autumn,
Feeling the creep of gold and azure;
A yearning to be wrapped in simple night.

The mantra and its music still infuse our bones,
The hum of joy within the blood.
Our future is a low mist, down on the hills,
A pearly light that moves with mystery.

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A flash of summer and the swallows are all gone,
Restless above the purple flowers of heather.
Everything that is hard work and driven deep into sorrow mountain
Looks heroic and sunlit from this serene, absent distance.
Held equally suspended before the slope,
fragmenting between memory and forgetting.

Last night’s rain has burst the river’s banks almost.
The leaves spin that have fallen, though the silent wood
remains there, green and dark,
Folded into the valley’s thigh.
Small things shelter, all there is a scurry
and birdsong and bright eye.
A dream language self-generated,
a precision of small hungers.

A moment flows and eddies
Reaching out for words to be clothed.
But now it is a roundness cold and naked,
Hollowed in leaden light, tumbled in cloud.
Hills drift bodiless, dew-ringed.
All the hearts that have ceased
And those that have begun again
Will fail to encompass the mystery.
A perfect river, inexhaustible.

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In brown light, thick as honey,
A book of instruction lies open that is a door.
Listen now, listen to these pictures.

How the reckless, (and even those we once thought wise),
Rush after what has been lost.
Into the fortress of emptiness,
Into deserted palaces and courtyards calling, calling.
And how they, we, I, reach for a clear golden perfect thing
And in that moment become immovable, entranced,
The fountain of all life bubbling inches out of reach.
The golden chains, (each link a true remembering
Of the one before), disappearing up into eternal blue
That holds the perfect vessel, that is equally curse and blessing.

If it has but one clear meaning, then it is not our poetry.
(A vessel chased and engraved with hypnotic flow,
Imperfect symmetry of ripples on a summer stream.)
If we are not led astray, it is not our poetry.
If we do not forget ourselves, wondering how we came here,
What it may all mean, then it is not our poetry.
We shall become poisoned by it and purged by it,
Blessed by it and made full with it. Stripped of skin,
Made shining and given new names, the names of ghosts long gone.
For the truth is: it shall revive the dead, made perfect again but speechless.
Only through our own voices now can they wander this world,
And we haunt them as they inhabit us.
Memory and forgetfulness.

A patch of sunlight sweeps the hills
And is gone.
These clouds, these hymns, these voices.
For a moment we shall fly upward, then remembering,
Fall down once more below the soil.

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A Summer Lament

Summer, the dream we so soon forget.
Feeling the bones of winter beneath,
Its bleak branches bleached
Upon a cold, dark sky.

Green folds the small roads here
And the rain is warm.
But in the heart of the cities,
In the hearts of the powerful
Burns always a welded light
Wedded to words of war.

The cold is never far
And simple goodness
Too easy to be proud of,
As simple as breathing in and out.

So on the long days of a short summer
They will still wish for the clear pain of winter,
Something to rail against.

For they cannot let go of being more,
Though they are nothing
That the world will not allow
For a moment or two
In the brief shadowed sun.

To be a cause of pain is not power.
It is a road that promises,
But falls to void and oblivion.
Hedged with narrowing views
When the marrow melts
And blood burns free
To its coagulation
And the bitterness of hollow words
And the leaves curl
And an end that is not peace,
A bitter question, a hollowing answer.

We so float upon this thin skin of summer,
Longing it eternally, and as vague as holiness.
A glorious relaxation of edge and purpose.
The dive and long sighing arc of swallows,
The endless warm rivers of lark’s song,
The murmured chanting of a million bees,
Forgetting ourselves for a while,
Melting into being, nested in spirit,
Lazy in directionless, dreaming light.

Til the bite of the cold night
Returns us blinking
Wondering and hungry
And small in the face of almighty things.

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It is a cloudless silence, a stretched skin of light,
White wheel of sun and moon, stars silver singing road,
Painted vast and edgeless, the deep rolling earth
Breathing in hills, dreaming in valleys.

Cloudless silence here
White light pierces winter mind.
The tumbling waters

Cloudless silence here
Lost in mist, crow calls its mate.
Cold air, dogs barking.

Cold breeze shifts the mist
Dogs bark in the distant town.
A cloudless silence

In cloudless silence
All these thoughts fall silent now.
Footsteps on the road.

A delicate touch
Keeping warm this egg of words.
New cloudless silence.

Three crows dancing song
Cold breeze on the snowcapped hill.
A cloudless silence.

Pakad, jor, alap.
A slow unfolding morning.
This cloudless silence.

A pakad is a theme in Classical Indian music. It is a short series of notes that identifies and characterises every raag. It appears and reappears throughout each piece of music. It is a constant moment of return to mood and purpose.
Alap is the slow development and investigation of the note sequences of a raag, a discovery of themes.
Jor is the section that continues the development within a more rhythmical framework.

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