Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A Warp in Time

For Diana.

Your head is on my shoulder.
Your leg crosses mine.
Our quiet and gentle breathing
Is in synchronous time.
The scent of your hair is in my head,
Your satin skin is soft and smooth,
Your arm lies lightly across my chest
And in this warm cocoon we neither move.

Outside the hushed, cold world is transforming.
The first faint rays of morning light
Come grey and dim through the gum trees.
The first magpie warbles the passing of night.
Soon winter light will struggle feebly across the sky,
The busy, hectic world of work will start
And separately rising to our tasks
We sadly must of necessity part.

But now it is this moment of ours
Where we in deep contentment lie,
In dim, half conscious dreaming state
Where the world unnoticed passes by.
That each day can begin with such peace,
Such happiness, is bliss, is joy divine,
A warp in time where you lie close
And your quiet breathing matches mine.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Dark Fruits

Too much ease and too much shelter
Encourages thick weeds to grow,
And the grassy fertile glade
Can make thinking dull and slow.
Then comfort, working like a drug,
Entraps and enslaves the mind,
Whispering those sweet and easy lies
That we are not the slaves of time.

Too much struggle and too much pain
Can strip the spirit bare
And the wind, precipice and sliding rock
Engender hopeless despair.
Then bitterness, that destructive blight,
Makes imagination dark and sour
And a mind stripped of joy and hope
Is bereft of all its healing power.

But struggle, difficulty and pain
Can also be our closest friends,
Directing both mind and character
Towards a most desired end.
It is through these dark fruits
We the seeds of compassion sow
And in ways mysterious and strange
Empathy and love germinate and grow.

Monday, 19 September 2011

I am amongst the richest of men

Tim, Cathy, Dan and Ben- all Ebenezer Public School students, 1986

For my children –Daniel, Catherine, Benjamin and Timothy- and for my wife, Diana, the source of all my wealth.

There once was a time when I was poor,
When my house was dim and empty,
When wind rattled through my empty vaults
With a bleak insistent constancy.

But I am amongst the richest of men,
My vault has wealth untold,
My treasury is full of sparkling things
And I dwell in a palace of gold.

My wealth is based on four unique pillars,
From one quarry cut but standing discretely,
And now I declare that I love each one
Completely, fervently and equally.

Did I once fear that this wealth must leave
And the cold, empty wind could blow again?
No! Time has wrought the hoped-for change;
This wealth -my children-  have become my friends.

For my wealth is not in things that rust,
Or moth can corrupt, or thief can steal,
For I am rich in care, hope and love,
In all the deep things the heart can feel.

So I care little for success or fame,
Or for any trinkets for which men lust.
Compared to the things in which I am rich
They are not much more than worthless dust.

So I am amongst the richest of men,
My vault has wealth untold,
My treasury is full of sparkling things
And I dwell in a palace of gold.

Ben, Cathy, Dan and Tim, I think around 2000

Morning light is filled with gold

A sonnet for Diana.

Morning light is filled with gold
Of delicate, transient hue;
The noonday sky is beautiful
With its deep and ethereal blue;
The momentary grandeur in the west
Is repeated tranforming delight,
Followed by that changing mystery,
The silken lustre of the night.
O they can boast of their display
But I will count our love more rare:
Say they have no voice to speak, no lips to kiss,
No minds to knit, no hands to care,
And in repetition they come then fade away,
Whilst my flawed love grows with each passing day.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Ship of Fools

"The Ship of Fools", by Hieronymus Bosch
The ship of fools sails blithely on
Through the troubled night.
The blind navigator plots the course;
The captain lacks all sight;
The crew are easily manipulated men
Who keep their eyes shut tight.

The ship of fools sails blithely on
Ever closer to the shoals.
Though the navigator has some charts
He keeps them tightly rolled.
The captain and the crew are inclined
To see what will unfold.

The ship of fools sails blithely on
Filled with ignorant swine
Who spend their day in discourse,
Who argue, boast and opine;
Whose nights are spent in revelry,
In lusting, fighting and much wine.

The ship itself is a lovely craft
And should demand respect
But they muddle with the rigging
And fail to swab the deck,
So the danger is that graceful ark
Will soon be just a broken wreck.

Then the fools will flail about,
Will find their tongues and speak,
Will cry for mercy and guidance,
Make promises they cannot keep,
Before the tides draw them down
To the unsupportive deep.

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Still Small Voice

It is in the high and lofty mountains
That the mind is free to soar,
Far above the ease and comfort
Of the fertile valley floor,
In the region where the air is clear,
Where the eyes look far and wide,
Where life is but a little speck
On the rock strewn mountainside.

It is in the sheltered, peaceful valley
That the mind can go quietly deep,
Far from the icy blast of wind
Of mountains stark and steep,
In the region where the grass is lush,
Where the water sparkles and gleams,
Where life flows unobtrusively by
Like a meandering valley stream.

So cling to the side of a rock
Where the ice driven blast blows,
Or lie down in the dappled shade
Where the meandering stream flows,
But listen hard, wherever you are,
Let the gentle whisper draw near,
For the still small voice is all around
For those who have ears to hear.

1 Kings 19:10-12 And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.