Posts Tagged ‘Poetics of space’

View From A Mountain Garden ( part)


Of ghosts,
a splendid architecture of ghosts
Do we make our habitations.
From the heart and sinews of seas and forests,
From the ground-down aeons of mountain muds,
From river stone, from oak shadows….

this waiting house,
a world reconstrued, once
laid low to dust, now breathed
and built up once more…

a nest for sighs and whispers
wrapped in birdsong
wrapped in leaf…

making no choices, though shaping all.
says nothing, mother and grandmother,
mam a mam-gu of the land.
dressed in their wild and neatly stitched green lawns,
their tidy beds, their hasty gates and tumbled yards…

they all rest in their own weight,
watching the come and go.
an anchor for time and space,
intimation, imitation, even, of eternity.
our own cosmography outliving us….


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It drifts, it slips, slivers, divides, diminishes
Slides, slides
Though the sky moves not,
Though the silence remains.

Heart’s division
An ache, a season,
A mist, a smoke of lust
Unslaked, bitter as ivy.

No reason, no recall.
A habitual residue
A dust of sorrow
A settlement too familiar,
Mica, clay, chalk, bone.

Shadow moons, blue lifted light,
Relapse, rapsody, requiem.
A heavy ransom for gold,
A skirl, spiraling chill.

But this song, abstracted,
Extended, drawn out, attenuated
A nerve or a vein tampered,
No remedy but to feel more
Not less, not, never, turning away.

Control, unfurl, unfold,
Lips and fingers unpetalled.
One moment silent
Naked eye, naked ear.
Stand upright, balanced,
Worthy on the world.

Rather abstracted and sketched. An impressionist or expressionist, or maybe symbolist….a translation from the movement of inner zephyrs…..a little of something, though I know not what….


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DECADENT LINGERIE (dream stream)

Perhaps it was
the early sun,
The night sun,
Or the slim,
low dark moon.

But the halls
and chambers within,
The tales
and stuttered songs,
Were filled with dark
And strange, literate beings.

Wild, bohemian,
relics and collectors
Of the mythic
and the mundane.
A dream full
of forbidden rooms,
Reckless draperies,
swathed velvets,
Lascivious elegance,
experimental liaisons.

Good to see
the corridors of my mind
Disreputable and inhabited,
The forgotten,
the unfashionable,
Breeding experiences
Like there were no

Sculpting options,
Reviewing gestures,
Collecting ephemera.

Busy before the moral,
Busybody day curtailed
And manacled these lush
And poisonous flowers,
Slain by opprobrium…..

A very lush dream sequence. Dream buildings always carry a strong atmosphere. They are, after all, the dreamers represention of ‘self’ in some way. My own tend to self-construct around one of a few core architectures, based on real structures, elaborated or morphed together.
One is based on the classic Edinburgh tenamant. A stony, cavernous dimly lit open stone staircase leading up an unholy number of steps, on each landing, two doorways facing each other. The majority are 19th century constructions, so have an inner hall ( in my dream architecture this tends to be a large, square space with a confusing number of closed doors) leading to a variety of high-ceiling rooms with plaster mouldings….
Crossing the Meadows
Frosty autumn morning
Smell of barley and hops:
The brewery down
West End way.
Pale sunlight,
Pale water.
The loom of
Castle Rock.

More often, I construct a space cobbled together from my first flat in Birmingham. A solitary, disreputable maze of a building, again Victorian in construction, in a once elegant, turned seedy, part of town. Split into a bewildering Gormenghast of flats and bedsits inhabited by borderline lunatics, outcasts and keep-themselves-to-themselvers, in my dream constructions it sprouts an unlikely number of split levels, long, thin rooms, rusty balconies that overhang dark, deserted gardens. It breeds a nest of dark, vaguely familiar roads around it….
There is a place of
Poetry there,
Colour of dust
And dried blood.
A place of confusions,
Lost directions,

Most often, those inner spaces are based on Bridge Street Studios, an inner city canal warehouse complex ( probably now developed into expensive waterside penthouse flats), but when I was there many of the floors, abandoned by East Asian fabric manufacturing companies, had been taken over as the largest and cheapest (hottest, coldest, leakiest) artists’ studios in Birmingham. Divided up by partitions, often ghost towns of creativity, large open floors, huge windows, minimal electricity, always the risk of calamitous waterpipe bursts in cold winters. Again, a multitude of floors, a welter of staircases..
A place of exhibition
A place of seeking out
A hideout, a stakeout
A gathering of unlike minds
A flock of outliers
Dead leaves
Blown in,

Then there is the occassional tasteful Jungian set. A church or cathedral, often with internal growths of trees or other plant forms.. Which brings to mind a particular windswept . island dream, saint’s relics, boats leaving ( always leaving).

A fascination:
From nowhere
Memory of an old dream
Jumps in,
Flavours with mood
Then scinters away
Drawing no conclusions…






Photographs are from Chichester Cathedral, Ranga Hotel Iceland, traditional Japanese house, Yamanashi, Japan

Not sure if “scinters” was a word, but it is now! ( meaning: fragments, disintegrates, dissolves, flakes off, splinters, etc.)

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Here are a couple of haibun inspired by the Ligo haibun Challenge for this week


The rising wind scours the walls, all four. Swings down and sings in the chimney, brightening the small flames. It is late. The cats are attentive, but unwilling to stir. Content will the small silences of the house. If I wait, the tumble of the day will subside. Thoughts will scatter, settle, lilt into corners like leaves do in autumn. Perhaps one or two shall remain to keep the company.

afterglow of single malt
bees dozing in noon sun
something important, forgotten


They turn so carefully, the cats. First one way, then, after some thought, the other. Winding up to relax. Taking just the right angle for air, for warmth, for watching. Not a hair out of place, their senses, too, sleek and flowing.

still rivers of wind-
inside the house
not silence, but listening

fire roars
sings and whispers
longing for wind’s freedom

slow, long voices
wind and rain-
dream language

soon the fire will falter
though the fast winds run
we turn, fall into dream


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what is this thing? To whom do we speak as we insistently write our thoughts, narrate our day, fume and bluster, dream and debate?

Like praying: hoping someone listens, someone cares, someone approves, someone answers.
Recording a life that might otherwise go unnoticed,
Lost in the night,
bleached colourless, irrelevant, ordinary, by time.

What if:
The static on our TV screens
We are told is the remnants of the Big Bang,
The moment of birth of time and space,
The echo of the beginning…

What if
This noise tide
Sweeping between the stars
Is just the electronic surf
From a previous creation’s

Travelling endlessly on,
The omkara
not of God’s word,
But of little lives,
Like our lives,
Muttering, praying
Hoping, laughing:
“End of the Universe?
I don’t think so LOL!”…

Calling out
Like sheep
In the darkness,
Herded to an unfamiliar field:
” where are you?
” I’m here!
“who are you?
” me?
“yes you!
” don’t know, who are you?
Hi, it’s me!
“great, who are you?
“dunno! Nice grass though!
Nice grass!
Mmmm, good grass!
Where are you?
I’ m over here!”……


Gently Radiant : a Wash of Electrons.

I call and call,
Somehow call.

You hear,
And silently reply.

We are virtually human,
Virtually present.

Half the world is sleeping.
The other half
Is dreaming.

Wonderful silence.

Light from distant stars
Drifts and dusts
Pool-dark eyes.

Without tongues, even,
We begin to sing.



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