Sunday, 19 February 2017

this fog

this fog

makes us love light

and it descends

the mountain
the trees
and paths

and we huddle together
longing for light

the clarity of the sun

for a glimpse
of the distant mountain's

Accepted by Rats Ass Review for the "Such An Ugly Time" collection.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Monet's Water Lillies, Musée de l'Orangerie

Monet's Water Lilies, Musée de l'Orangerie.

(Published at The Ekphrastic Review)

 The room is hushed.
People sit or stand as they stare,
awed into silence.
What do they see?
Is it water or sky, clouds floating,
a wonder of blue and lilac,
the surreal float of water lilies,
shimmering splashes of green, pink and yellow,
slender green-leafed pendant branches
of exquisite gracefulness,
moments cloudy, hazy, sun-sparkled in a way beyond beauty
or rippled by momentary touch of passing breeze?

Or do they see the master at his work,
sublime, magical, mystical,
representing the beauty of the world,
transcending time,
without beginning and without end,
ever-changing but forever there,
taking this sense of timeless beauty
and transferring it through his mastery
so that all we lesser humans
can glimpse in the small things-
    the shimmering play of colour from light,
    the dance of water and wind,
    the float of colour upon the blueness-
what is eternally there,
if only we had the eyes to see.

Monday, 6 February 2017

I Am, We Are.

I Am.

(Published at Praxis Online)

I am the wind that ripples the water,
the sun rising from the sea,
the dark clouds scudding the sky,
the leaf that falls from the tree,
the womb in which I was woven,
ten million million words that whirl,
my love who shares my body and mind,
the little child's hand enclosed by mine.

I cannot lift my hand against you, my brother,
abuse or oppress you, my sister,
exploit you, my neighbour,
or burden you, my little ones.
We are all the wind that ripples the water,
the curling swell upon the sea,
the clouds that billow, wisp or scud,
the momentary glory in the west
the darkening mystery of the night.

Night Meditations

Night Meditations.

(Published at Praxis Online)

Night has descended, dark and thick,
that surreal time when image and reality merge
and the mind wanders alternately in fear and hope.
Another contemptible man has received
high office and great power.
I hear someone say,
to a chorus of approval,

"The Most High rules the kingdom of men
and gives it to whosoever He will
and sets over it the lowliest of men".

I hear in those words
patronising condescension,
satisfaction with being in possession
of secrets unknown to other mortals
and into my mind comes a challenging thought,

that if God is in control He is doing terrible job

because I have seen,
somewhere in Syria, in an ambulance,
a little child covered in dust,
eyes blankly expressionless beyond confusion;
saw too a mass grave
with a hundred decapitated bodies;
saw ruined landscapes,
camps in Germany, Poland, Siberia,
a mushroom cloud spreading up from Nagasaki
and a little naked girl, her face contorted in terror,
running along a dusty Vietnamese road.
and saw too the dark history of humanity.

I have also seen wind blowing across the water,
clouds billowing, rain falling,
plants climbing towards light,
forests, meadows and mountains,
the stained-glass wonder of evening,
night's diamond blaze,
the complex unity of it
and again I return to humanity,
gifted, capable of beauty, dreaming great things
but warring, violent, unjust and oppressive too.

I raise my eyes and ask:

What do You think
when You look at the world?
It is scarred with holes.
Its polar caps are melting. Its glaciers shrink.
Its forests burn.
Millions starve while some feast.
The smoke of war rises everywhere.
Are You anguished?
Are You filled with grief and sorrow?
Do You lament and weep for what You see?
Is the world dark because You have given to us
the freedom to choose?

At the Hustings.

At the Hustings.

(Published at Rats Ass)

Citizens, I say to you:

Shed no tears for children caught in war.
There is no money in that.

Think not upon your children's future.
Take your profit here and now.

Ignore questions about neighbours.
Your responsibility is to yourself alone.

Poverty and inequality are always with us.
Your wealth is only yours.

Fools worry about the state of the earth.
I say you cannot bank beauty.

You cannot live on bread alone,
The only real wealth is money.

I set you free.
Accept liberty.
is security,
a mere commodity.
Gather to yourself
beautiful wealth.

Go forth.
Exploit, exploit, exploit.



(Published at Autumn Sky Poetry)

(For Joan Colby in thanks for her poem, "Tom Sawyer")

Yes, it's true, Tom married Becky,
became a lawyer, then a judge,
forgot that vibrant youth,
harrumphed and carved the roast
and settled into opinionated age.

But not you, Huck,
weeping over the dark heart of your fellows,
triumphing in goodness over faulty conscience.

They say you lit out for the Territory
but you have had many guises.
I know you re-appeared in Greenwich Village
in the 1960's with curly long hair,
dreamy eyes and a bag full of songs
about the folly and darkness
of the mighty river of your country.

We need you on your raft again,
writing and singing of all you see.
The King and the Duke are still with us,
lying, cheating, vilely manipulating.
The Shepherdsons and Grangerfords still feud
and the murderous madness of the mob threatens.

Come again, Huck. Re-appear.
We need your truthfulness and your vision.
That at least is a kind of liberty.

Rottnest Island.

Rottnest Island.

(Published at Praxis online)

The wind blows across the dunes,
low trees and shallow lakes.
It doesn't weep or cry aloud
but it should.

The swells roll across the sea,
curl in foam then slap on the white sand.
They have neither words nor tears
but they should.

The luxury boats bob at their moorings,
and the restaurants stare out to sea.
They do not weep or cry aloud
but they should.

Should they not weep for the 369
indigenous men and boys
perished from disease, malnourishment
or the cruel violence of guards?

Should they not weep for the 3700
indigenous men and boys
cramped in fetid cells now converted
to luxury accommodation?

Should they not weep for men
ripped from the Karri forests of the south,
or the red soil of the north
and imprisoned on this low island?

Should they not weep
for these soft eyed men
with their bleak and hollow stares
and for all the horror of humanity's history?

But always the wind blows across the dunes
and still the waves slap on the white sand.
They have neither tears to weep nor words to lament
but surely they should.