a death in a zen garden

she found him next to Buddha and his two attendants
arms and legs outstretched like a beached starfish

the gravel had been freshly raked to outline his body
an unlikely death scene in a serene zen garden

some say his master had orchestrated his funeral
others that the truth was known only to the willows

but next day his body was gone and the gravel raked
in patterns resembling waves and rippling water

only the words of his poetry and songs were echoed
the meaning of it all concentrated in the ensuing silence

she that had meant everything and nothing to him
taking her own last breath and reaching for his hand

isn’t this the way death dreams our eternal slumber?
on the point of everlasting meditation, of no return?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

I was free to dream in Wyoming

I was free to dream in Wyoming
pulled in at the side of the road
considering an epiphany
not a soul in sight
wondering
if I came back here again
would the feeling be the same
the moment and the state of mind
wind dried grasses at the side of the road
silent voices and dark shadows
dizzy under the big sky
thundering of hooves
I look up
there’s no one there
my heartbeat bangs out the seconds
drowns out my whole past
on my knees at the side of the road
consumed by my insignificance
intolerably small
impossible to quantify
my own voice useless against the backdrop
washed into a river bed
herded away by cloud rustlers
I remember thinking
I want to die here
right now
here on this sacred spot
at the side of this road in Wyoming

I was free to dream in Paris

I was free to dream in Paris
when I was a young man
with my head full of ideals
I went looking for the real deal

I was roaming the boulevards
and in the cafés I met poets
and there in the bars I met artists
I went searching for some answers

I was talking to the dead in cemeteries
where mausoleums crumbled
and the paper flowers faded
I went praying to my own truths

I was smoking on the balconies
drinking beer between the daylight
in a hotel down a side street
I went to find my muse under moonlight

I was walking and reading
with a book opened to my mind
lying on grass under glass skies
I went delving in my mind’s eye

I was staring down the river
at grey water slowly moving
knowing also I was passing through
I went knowing I was leaving

I was there for the first time
when I was a young man
and all the world was spinning
I went to ease all the questioning

I was free to dream in Paris
and no-one could tell me not to
not a soul could ever stop me
I went to find my lasting freedom

I was always in my own world
thinking who would come and join me
to be forever dreamers
I went looking for that lover

Yes I was free to dream in Paris
and who could take me back there
oh please take me back there
I went then but now I’m restless

my beautiful girl

my beautiful girl
went gallivanting off
into the storm
her curls in the clouds
twisted in tree branches
her siren song
whistling with the wind
peeling with thunder
lightened with laughter
her bare feet squelching out
the loughs and the seas
she formed the mountains
with her breasts and thighs
no rest or sleep
whilst I wept and worked
her galley slave oiled and lustful
chained to the oar locks
I dragged across the heavens
the stars for her
and fitted them one by one
into the orbits of her eyes
where shining like diamonds
she became forever
my beautiful dream

(to read more in this series please click on the Shepherdess tag below )

Isn’t that just how dreams are meant to work?

I followed you like an orphaned lamb follows
a shepherdess, blindly bleating, jumping for joy
until you cut my throat and stifled my hunger
with your severing knife of cruellest steel

I know, I know, I didn’t sleep well last night
someone kept calling me out in all my dreams
I suspect it was you but I couldn’t hear your voice
and isn’t that just how dreams are meant to work?

they trick you into believing you are safe with them
that clouds and lambs and eiderdowns are
merry-go-rounds with familiar sounds and
there are painted smiles on the turnstile ponies

but on reflection, in the cold light of morning
I should have heeded the warning signs
and if by chance you should come my way again
leave at home your knife of severing pain

(to read more in this series please click on the Shepherdess tag below)

glassbox eyrie

in your glassbox eyrie we lay on cloudpillows
and dreamed of poetry and pictures

down below the flotsam flowed
and scum collected in off-white corners

up here where the swans flew with outstretched necks
the sounds of the streets could not be heard

like the silence that snow brings, you said
or the quiet at 4am

when all the clutter has been swept away
and the albino creatures come out to play

is there a point to all this hiding away, I asked
the foreverdreaming and the cloud painting?

but you were gone in a feather
blown on a breeze of your own making

drifting to your next glassbox eyrie
to lie on cloudpillows and dream of poetry and pictures

escape routes

staring at the cracks in the ceiling
he went in search of unexplored lands
lost worlds mapped in lines and stains
one-eyed cyclopes in missing plaster caves

there the route to King Solomon’s Mines
Quatermain exhausted he falls to sleep
forty leagues of adventure dreaming
he climbs Kanchenjunga in The Lakes

exploring Slater Bob’s copper mines
‘sing out if you see rocks under water, Roger’
but there are only books lying on the floor
slipped from the hand of a tired boy

now the books are aligned on shelves
classics, fiction, poetry, art, nature, travel
and the man still dreams of unexplored lands
the cracks in the ceiling his escape routes

~

the black holes he passes through
huh, the mazes that he wanders
a different form of escape sometimes beckons
one that cannot be written in words

 

‘sing out if you see rocks under water, Roger’
adapted from Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.

early morning (snippets)

avoiding the early morning alarm call
we cram ourselves into each other’s warmth
beneath the blankets and unspoken words
hovering birdlike in thought in dewy air

~

so, shall I sing this morning in
or wait another while?

shall I steal your dreaming
or make you smile?

~

but I know not what leaps through your head
what early morning hopes and fears tease you
my own are whispered hints in search of life
words that will be lost far quicker than they come

~

so, shall I fly this feathered nest
or further line it with my guile?

shall I remain within your rest
or flee upon the raven’s mile?

~

if I had a way to record each word and song
every raindrop, blood drop, tear drop fall
would I compare them or leave them hanging
this one enduring moment won’t last forever

~

so, shall I sow
or will I steal?

shall I go
or shall I heal?

~

what shall I do?
oh what shall I do?