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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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ORACULAR MESSAGE

In the woods, in the green wet woods

The dead are waiting with their songs.

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They have longed for their flesh and they have forgotten.

The rivers are full of their passions.

It is a cold steel desire, a lust like winter.

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It is gone now, subsided into multiplicity,

The tracks lost, the flash of prey in the bushes,

All become unintelligible like a valley dissolves in driving rain.

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But the dead are waiting there with their slim fingers

To crack open your sight, to break open your eyes

The release the hawk of your mind, the hungry raven of your heart,

The river of your reason.

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This is for you, a prophecy for you

Because you have read these lines,

Because of the intersections of the stars,

Because you are nothing but this,

About to be forgotten, about to be lost.

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The dead are waiting in the woods, singing and dancing,

Forgetting everything.

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You have dreamed enough.

You have destroyed enough.

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They slide between species, have no regard for distinctions.

They breathe the matter ejected from shuddering galaxies into the void.

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These words are not for you

But you must remember them and pass them on.

They are for the last one who leaves.

Who turns to flick the light switch

And with a small smile steps into darkness.

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Tell them the dead are waiting in the green mossy woods.

Tell them to listen for the sighing song

For the surprise of pine scent drift singing storm winds.

Tell them to remember the small things,

The notions that eat worlds.

Tell them the dead are waiting

To take them home.

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STORM PASSING

Sway , as wind makes the grasses.
Here then there (but silence in the soil still).
It, breathing, roars. Tears away what breath there is.
It, moving, alights and passes through all, a sudden thing.
It, breathing, shudders the solid, twists each sound.
The singing fires dance free and the slope of wings as sharp as scythes.
Sedge, winter dry, rattles with a serpent’s hiss.
On tip-toe we scramble homewards, whipped eyes watering.
Such a small thing, this flush of weather. Half a day
Flooded with impecable instants of translucent uncertainty.
And we, made small again and frail by ineffable, invisible airs.

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Storm Morning

Into the slow heron lift of it.
The storm morning roar,
Like a city train, rattles roof and windows.

Druid trees with one eye shut
Stand on one leg and let go of nearly everything –
That is what their roots, deep as choirs, allow.

On green meadow and crashing hill
We push against a sting of rain.
Lost, but not lost as the ones by the sea,
Watching the waves eat the shore and the harbours drown
And all the long, safe years melted away
In a wall of water and sound.

It is a patient world, willing always to start again.
A reformulation of parameters, season by season.
What is gone is gone, the autumn trees say.
What is gone is gone, says the storm of grey morning.

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Book of Changes

I
Wind river
Ocean airs
Clouds race
Birds watch
From shelter
With anchor feet.
Sounds stretched thin.

“The Creative is heaven.
It is round, it is the prince,
The father, jade, metal, cold, ice;
It is deep red, a good horse, a lean horse,
A wild horse, tree fruit.”

II
News from far off
Sorrow and treachery.
Collecting radish seeds
As they ripen
Between the rains.

“The great prince issues commands
Founds estates, vests families with fiefs.
Inferior people should not be employed.”

III
Dawn already in the east.
Rain in the west.
We wait for news, and names.
The kettle bubbles.

“The well. The town may be changed,
But the well cannot be changed.
It neither increases nor decreases.
They come and go and draw from the well.
If one gets down almost to the water
And the rope does not go all the way,
Or the jug breaks, it brings misfortune.”

IV
Standing still,
All the flock, backs turned
To the wind.
When the storm is over
The grass shall taste sweeter.

“Innocence. Supreme success.
Perseverance furthers.
If someone is not as he should be,
He has misfortune,
And it does not further him
To undertake anything.”

I recently picked up a copy of Richard Wilhelm’s “I Ching or book of changes”. I had it many years ago, and though it is probably not the best translation, it carries a certain, stately grandeur in its language. This morning, in stormy weather, I decided to see what happened combining a few short verses I had written with random selections from the book. Meaningless and meaningful. Everything becomes oracular. Juxtaposition revealing the mysteries of the mundane.

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TRANSIENT 1

This day
So full
Of veils and doors.
Rain-washed, wind-swept,
Metal bright:
Cold hills, copper burnished;
sky walls swagged and pewter blue.
Rivers fast and thick as soup,
Wavetopped, roiled, cascading down.
Pulpit trees proclaiming
Spring is near, but not yet.
Radiant light and broken rainbows,
And the scattered white heads of snowdrops
Praising the quiet corners,
And the drunken roar
Of storm winds.

TRANSIENT 2

Rain curtains the valley.
Like the dead
The hills are invisible
But still with us
(Breathing different air,
Dreaming slow, deep dreams).
Hymn-makers come from here,
Praisers of the Intangible.
(The hawk’s cry and the
Sighing grasses and the
Oaks in the lee of the wind.)
It is a short enough life
Not to sing out praise,
Not to wonder at it,
Not to search out the right words
And the tune of the soul-
A counterpoint to the heart-
And the rhythm of footsteps
Down the winding roads.

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SCRIBBLE RIVER

1
The trees bend low,
The hills, open, roar.
The world spins fast
On its way to war.
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Drenched in
Their own silence.
The hills.
Made cool and
Winged to the sky.
3
Tongue numbed:
The eloquence
Of tumbled waters.
4
Wind harp in melancholy minor
Sweeps, weeps and fades
Across the roofs,
Through the forest.
5
A flint
Struck from verse.
Bright words
Fly splutter
In endless rain.
A breathing on the roof,
Laughter soft in the gutters.
To measure out a little time
Upon this place.
6
By here we wander
Sullied by reason
And the oldest of stories.
Chained and unchained,
Livers pecked-
Our own hungry ambition.
7
We, unbecoming all,
Scatter aimless,
True to undiscovered dream
And the whispers of the greedy dead.
8
Here they speak
One long river of words.
A thrush by the waterside
Cracks a snail on green grey rock.

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