The Other Side of Silence

Michael Baird

Michael Baird - Unsplash

© Copyright 2009 A. S. Kline All Rights Reserved

This work may be freely reproduced, stored, and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose.


Contents


Reductio

It is an aspect of the world: imagine

that the unwatched mirror is empty;

that things inside the room, the room

itself, vanish, when the door is closed;

that there are no words inside the books

till we open them, nor behind the screen;

that the sun dies each night and is reborn;

that the universe, its billion-fold light show

is a darkness that the mind populates;

that non-existent gods spring into being

whenever the faithful say their prayers.


Circuits

I too make sanctuaries, in art, love, life,

and you inhabit them. Towards the centre

of the tree-ringed clearing, the focus

of the stones, the pavement of the world

and the silence, I walk, to find you there.

Those sacred spaces that human need,

its psychic shadows, force us to reveal,

those openings in the chambers of the heart,

all the fantastic circuits, pillars, hollows,

platforms and arenas, circuses, where mind

leaps rings of fire, to memory’s applause,

I too create them.


Vision

It began with the burning where you are

then the jasmine, pear-tree, sweet-briar

took fire, until the gilded edge of the earth

was charring, and the eye itself was flame.

It began with the inner core of you,

the intricate reality of your being.

It began with the vision of centuries,

and the light of futures,

until the mind alight sang mysteries.


Wordless Light

From your land the far wind blows,

a western wind.

On my island light matures,

a wordless light.

Through the dark, now, beauty goes,

this clear night.

Bright fire, your meaning flares,

in deepest mind.


Frost at Night

Frost burns in the moon, pine-trees quiver,

light runs round the sky’s deep horizon.

You and I watch through the stillness,

the sound of our whispers shatters boughs.

Mind-traces, cloud-tracks, stars, satellites,

the little planet turns and we turn with it.

Frost burns in the moon, the saplings bend

to set their snow-gifts on all the pathways.

Love makes our delight, delight makes love.


Garden

Here are silent stones

that do not express

the burning of lives.

There are trees

that were saplings here

when the dead passed by.

There are walks

below whose surface other feet

entered the silence.

The past cannot exist,

yet cannot die, past

being what survives.

Other fingers touch the rose,

other faces turn to the light.

Now we are them, and they are us.


The Silent

The silent save us, ordinary lives,

mother and child, the skilful, their skill,

creature as creature, nature in wind and sky.

The mysteries are specious, all that striving,

all the strain, that pain, the grasping,

we are repeating other lives, lost in the flow.

The silent save us, ordinary lives.


What We Have Given

We have given the universe mind,

but its truth and beauty are echoes in mind

of its reality. What is not an echo? Only love.

What do we give? We give the universe love.

And our solitude is an absence of echoes.

and an unrequited passion in the silence.

Truth and beauty have their echoes, they

are the correspondences. What lacks an echo?

Only love.


Tale

Sweet tale, the Prime Mover

giving all the creatures roles and names.

You be fox, you snail, you sparrow!

One god, one rule’s identification.

Campfire myths for minds of long ago,

were always the doubly safe and sweet.

We knew the world then, not like now’s

one giant flow and flowering ecstasy

of unknown future’s glittering emptiness.


Passing

Complexity stilled, intricacy stopped,

grace, memory and feeling vanished,

at the moment when heartbeat ended,

in the depths of a life, in the eye,

gone from time, space, a place in being.

Dark, slipping beyond into the void,

stardust into earth between the stars,

ash on the slope, silence under leaves,

another clasp and knot of meaning done,

another fall, another infinite passing.


Seethe, Flow, Fire

Seethe, flow fire of everlasting life,

its leathery toughness,

dark rankness, bright assault.

Fear, disgust, joy, admiration

as it flounders from our past,

thickens in our present.

Seethe, flame, fire,

salmon-spawn, humming-bird, pike,

river-pool, ocean, air,

herds and shoals, dense, soft,

wet, enduring, death-cries,

life-cries, seethe, flow, fire.


England

Kestrel at the field’s edge at noon, dark shape

and shadow here of this one tree left standing,

black-oak cloud on the blue over crop-yellow,

pallid the boundaries, and the boughs beyond,

down to the sea there, shingle, work of hands,

hooves, machines, and silver centuries’ loam,

coils of a furrowed nature, mind here listening.

Wind-hovering, every wing-beat, every thought,

then life darts through light and small terror ends.

In the grass, in the deep-ditched mud-sunk lanes,

climbing the stone stiles’ deeper, silent England.


Back Then

The first purity of wood and stone,

walking the reservoirs, world opening,

and this, Nature, sudden and shining.

The spaces then mind launched into,

favoured places in other dimensions,

orthogonal, infinite, light-shot, sweet.

That was the unexplored universe,

the unheard music, unread book,

forms unseen, and lives unknown,

history coruscating, all time waiting.


No Easy Words

Wind on the mountain,

in the night,

bows down the fir-tree,

I am the mountain

hard as stone, then all light.

No easy words, loss

to communicate,

the deep, strange, slow

vanishing, return of all

the atoms to the stars.

A negative, the black, bare

tree at dawn,

a cry, Nature, the non-human,

mindless, pure,

eternal cry. The ghost call.

Shuttered in the dark, mind

flares, flashes, stills,

no speech, no fluency, to compass

pain, flame, mask,

mystery, this reality.


So Vast, So Small

Fragile civilisation,

fragile system,

the individual, the species,

fragile,

but Nature, ah, resilient,

slick fecundity,

ancient toughness.

The specialisation,

fragile, an extreme,

the primitive niche,

vulnerable, the other.

Small change

or great change.

Vulnerable.

This complexity,

a danger, a delight,

richness balanced

on an arm of stars,

a risk,

a galaxy,

so vast, so small.


Dark Light

This waste of spirit, all these wars,

the blindness, change them all

it changes, all those minds,

all shuttered in limitation.

Here universe gives voice, one

shining, shimmering, song

through all, one resonant,

majestic, mindless mind-cry.

This waste of spirit that burns

the heart in pity, irrecoverable

death, a human wounding. Only

this balm, dark light, beyond species.


Long-Exploited

The lion’s cheetah’s leopard’s attack:

but I always sided with the antelope,

those sensitive, fearful, liquid, loving eyes.

The tiger burning far in Orion’s fire:

but I always loved a fainter mist of stars,

the mice, the snails, the insects in the grass.

The universe, this earth, the deserts,

grasslands, seas: but I always chose

the half-known, used, neglected corners,

rust-filled, weed-green, long-exploited land.


That Place

That honesty is hardest, honesty of nature

(wind, hail, sea, light), honesty of creature,

solidity of things, the things of hands,

places without names (slopes, walls, copses)

to achieve that, that transparency, is hard.

A silence, of a kind, the inner disengagement,

from Babel, from the world, a truth of feeling,

cleansed of the contamination of history, nations,

texts, like being young again, and free

of destination, no one, no thing, nowhere.


Rehearsing All Things Human

Soft through the night-long winds

the grasses on the dunes rise and sigh.

Metal clangs on metal in the valley.

rehearsing all things human. I search

for dawn-light white glow for meeting

and strange meaning of mind-shadows,

enchanted conversation with the dead.

Soft music of the grass and flying sand,

the jarring clock, a beating out of time,

while all our constructed worlds fall

around me, until Venus in the dawn

the agony of light, the still-existing-here.


Over All the Planet

I understand those mountains in your country,

old-coned volcanoes, old peninsulas, dark trees,

wild mists out to the blue Pacific,

far as Hawaii, and the China Seas.

And the fir forests of the far north, I understand

how the flow moves there, nature’s energies,

and peoples, ancient races clinging

to the bare south-stretching shorelines.

If we could vanish, and nature’s free return

bring a fierce, tough cleansing, its ocean

under mountain, river over desert,

forest into grassland, over all the planet.


Attending to World

Beyond the love, or perhaps

the source of love

what keeps us here

is the beauty.

Beyond the pain, or perhaps

the source of pain,

what consoles us here

is the beauty.

When anguish fails, or perhaps

because the darkness

causes our revulsion,

simple beauty,

comes to redeem us, or perhaps

transform us,

from simple things

careless beauty.

Beyond our love, or perhaps

the source of love,

what calls out here,

a taste or sound,

beyond the pain and silence

of the rose, of inner form,

a radiance at the core,

its throb, beauty.

Beyond the love, or perhaps

the source of love,

homing ourselves here,

amongst beauty.

Beyond the pain, or always

the truth of pain,

our transience, our beauty.


This Alien Tongue

And we are all those lovers,

in all the texts

real or unreal,

all the species,

that enact the story,

buried in every soil,

blown on every wind,

ground down by every tide,

dark under every star,

we are all the vision,

all the lovers,

every paradise gate,

key to every prison,

texts in silvery Latin,

or Romance sweetness,

those ink-brushed characters,

this alien tongue.


Sky

Horizon of cloud, blue-lit intricacy

volume, vapour, motion in gauze,

darker on white, grey on greyer.

Intention-less ocean, whose birds

and planes in the inverted seas,

pass through in lesser, pale dimension.


All This Society

One space of the wild-tongued surge in the mouth.

Of the body to body grasp of essentials, grasp of surface.

Of the reality cried at beyond all words, the renewal.

One space of the heart-stopping pulse of the species.

Yearning to go beyond – all this society.


Pacific Coast

Sea-roar and the dangerous soaring road.

No path up Cold Mountain, how many years?

Boom in the fog, wave-crests in mist-fall,

America China logged, these green remnants.

Steel-barred bridge: climb the spray from the deep,

bushes meet granite, slippery bark’s in the crevice.

The pit of the dark the noise shouts mountain,

this crushed thing sings million year creation.

Void, nothing of life unless it’s all life,

impersonal fire creating dreamlike meadow

perched on miraculous weight of dawn

moving its blue and green earth-limbs.

Snake-thin ribbons make for delicate roads,

all one curious sea-roar mind ascending.

White reefs of the sea, creek’s green clarity,

rainforest fern, silence enough for this eternity.


Pillow Talk

Sing to me in our abandoned house.

It returns, the wind at midnight,

the singing text, the soul’s lightness.

Milk moon, star-sheep, dust black pines,

wild wash of the pale galactic aurora,

knowing buried, end of all illusions.

Watch out our little space, nothing grasped.

The process is the thing and is no thing.

Writing on the darkness, world is so.


It Took a While

It took a while to get here

though it wasn’t our intention,

simply accretion, aspiration,

self-deception.

Now we are here, the silence

and the beauty are oppressive,

unless we learn to love them,

learn acceptance.

It took a while to get here, but

we are here, now we are here,

love the truth and beauty, give back

what world has given.


Scroll

Valley unrolls, mind unrolls,

snowy heights, little huts,

one lone Taoist, mist, trees,

down to pale sand, green sea,

folds and shades of white hills,

rippled creeks, moon-bright

summits, oh, tiny meadows.

Valley unrolls, mind unrolls.


Elsewhere

Elsewhere the others are dying

here we are singing.

Elsewhere naked children are being born,

here the sun rises, sets,

here the beauty is mountain,

there it is river, mudflat, dune, sky silver.

Elsewhere the others are dying

here we are sleeping,

resting, playing, over there the wars

blood, sickness, hunger,

here the slow fields under the blue,

the waves, the leaves, the cooling breeze.

Elsewhere the others are dying.


East Again

Pines eating clouds, the distant bell.

Out of the night, the real.

Sweet volcanic cone,

red sunlit herons.

Virgin forests, soon logged, slide,

soil the primal fountain.

Place of no return, airport of silence,

caught at dawn with no exit.

These strange countries, past and present,

so small, the lonely traveller.


This Place

The years we lived in, numbers.

Memories, they fail to correlate,

history went on by, left detritus,

names of the foolish, the famous.

Jupiter rising, and this blue planet

turns eastward, wind in darkness.

The years that don’t return, far

as the moon’s far side concealing.

Jupiter, and the Gemini, so bright,

the years one place re-configuring,

a mist of self, of others, this place

endless tremor, transient, eternal.


Back Where We Began

Where we began, between the hills and plain,

in the oak wood, by the lakeshore, at Ohalo;

at Vedbaek where the child on a swan’s wing

beside its mother, hums with our transience;

under the ochre dust, in the Mesolithic gardens,

in the villages and encampments of our heart.

With the potters smoothing clay at Uenohara;

where the deer-masked hunters learnt survival,

in the killing we must unlearn; at Koster, Sandal

Shelter, Pachamachay; by the caves and craters

in the grasslands and tide ways; Monte Verde,

and Bhimbetka; in a thousand hidden places.

Where we began, anonymous and lovely,

leaving behind our debris: tools, grains, stones,

before the written word our speech of silence,

that otherness of habit, identity of being,

lives we cannot enter, lives we have never left,

where we began.


Happening

Among the things that do not happen, you happen.

Among the silences that do not occur, that of your voice.

Among the darknesses your night is lit

by verdigris moons and leaves of silver.

Among the eyes that do not open is your gaze.

Among the sleeping bodies yours opens.

Delicate your soul like the souls of the creatures,

who happen in our world where few things happen.


Those People

Those people who never seem afraid

of what makes us sad and fearful,

who seem to be in life and not to view it,

while we gaze wholly into ourselves.

Those people always in control

of their bodies and expressions

while for us words fall apart, language

entangles, meaning bleeds away.

Those people whose loves, hates,

angers and silences are hidden,

those true denizens of a world we

venture into, painfully and afraid.


At Dead Of Night

At dead of night

between the wind and glare

at dead of night

ascend the stair.

In fallen light,

beyond the living crowd,

in fallen light,

be present now.

Concealed from sight,

and past the calling here,

concealed from sight,

break free, break clear.

At dead of night

between the cloud and star,

at dead of night

be eye, see far.


O Universe

The black pine on the mountain sings

the spirit in the body sings,

O Universe.

Ours the world to hurt or heal,

mind floats free, is this the real

O Universe?

The water in the river shines,

heart and soul are forms of mind

O Universe.

All eternity to view,

but where am I except in you,

O Universe?


Mutualisms

Mind is in the Universe,

Universe by Mind rehearsed.

I indeed exist in you,

you in me, and so make two.

Beauty, truth and love, we save,

inward only are displayed.

No mind forged us, we are mind,

being in the species find.

World-created, in us world

through eternal space-time hurled.


The Silent

Oh we can write what we can’t feel,

and we can feel what we can’t write,

and so the I that I conceal

is not the I revealed to light.

Behind the dumb voice always sighs

the living mind that time denies,

the thought that in the darkness rests,

the silent, and so doubly blessed.


Not Simply Self

Not everything in life is fine,

the Tao has no morality,

to live a life can never be

perfect spontaneity.

No place for dust to cling, it’s true,

I am not I, you are not you,

but self-redemption without love

will never make the starlight move.

Nothing to lose, nothing to find,

from the beginning all is here,

but our own loss of being is

the least we have to fear.


Night-Piece

Some show a clear self-image

are pieces of society.

Others are bare, trembling light

shattered fractally.

(In the moon great seas,

a silent Arctic dream,

an orb of snow

synchronised with darkness)

Some are solid, chiselled in time,

of their age, at home in being.

Others are satellites, glimpsed

as falling, never quite doomed

to fall.


Too Much

Too much you are not here, too many words,

too many thoughts, dreams, memories, anticipations,

too many lightning flashes of somehow recognition

piercing the light, too many night sweats, half-hopes

mind-games, true love’s crazed hard moments.

Too much of the eternal and transient, given, gazed-at

lost and recovered, sweet and bitter flow of irrecoverable

fine life-process, of severed lovers, lit

by a strange entanglement of stars.


Mount Lu

Blurred the being, dim the being:

where from, all this existence?

Nature, not knowing, nature

un-meaning, simply arises.

Marvellous accidents, marvellous

presence, unintended cloud, water.

Mind-free in thunderous silence,

is the white fall of endless light.

Not a thing, the thoughtless process,

out of which mind and thinking.

Out of nothing, miraculous powers,

seeing light, and breathing air.

No-self, no-name, mountain peak,

as light, as solid, as passing mist.

Presence here is barely presence,

action here is barely action.

Cloud in the sky, stone in the path,

no difference the light in the water.

Mind is empty of wind and waves

where birds fly and fish leap.


Meditating, Mountain Moment

Harder to say the simplest things,

sitting silent in the rain.

Sun and mist on the west cliff,

dark trees silent beyond envy.

The further we go the less to say,

poetry culminates in silence.

Beauty of blue-grey winter cloud,

one landscape to fill the mind.


The Other Side of Silence

Wind in the grass, the light,

the hidden life

is best. Set free

from force and power, cache ta vie.

All private secret thought

the deep, the true,

in mind’s anonymity,

pass by, pass through.

Beyond the silence, wait,

inside the other space,

the still, the soundless heart’s

mute, moonlit face.


Fall

World vanishes,

world falls,

bright foam

of being.

Pool, at the base

of time, where

the ages are

reflected.

I look into you.

I see mind

and spray

of language,

consider the flow

bright stream,

the processes

of being.


Bright Bird

Bright bird you make

lightning-swift

darts at life,

the jewel that hides

in every stone,

diamond glitter

of mind lovely.

Who valued you right

when you were young?

Who understood your

mercurial gemini click

and snap

at time, space,

truth, eternity?

Why were you not set

on the Way,

why the pearl of your

being neglected.

why the misunderstood

arc of your

perfection missed?

Yet here you are,

delicate, bending

to every shimmer

of leaf, gleam of star

in the blue-hung

clustered night,

every plate of galaxies.

Here you are, in my

heart, a flame

and a flow,

passion, compassion

deeper than time,

bird of meaning

flashing your wings

until the heart splits

in desire and seeking

as shield and fruit

ripe and opened,

where you bring me

the burden of earth

its weightless joy.


Her Sensitivities

Heron pale in

the silver water.

All the emotion

of mind all feeling.

All feeling creates rights

even the creatures’.

Feathered robe fluttering

a slender moving

stalking through shadows

soundless at twilight,

a dagger of grey

searching the real.

Heron of beauty,

my electrometer.


Nothing Returns

Express who you are,

be mind’s artifice,

obedience is death,

the idea is alive.

Pursue the ideal or

die into the real,

nothing returns,

all process is open.

Freedom is our

condition, creation,

evasion of nets

in silence and cunning.

Express who you are,

the errors, the failures,

buying and selling,

they are what limit us.

The shared multiplies,

the given increases,

we are the minds,

the rest is fantasy.

None has authority,

nothing returns,

the past is buried

deep in our memory.

Escape from the made,

consider the given,

nature is beauty,

re-new and re-make.

These the three ways

to all creativity,

love, beauty, truth,

three paths to delight.

Love, whole relationship,

truth, the deep consonance,

beauty, that clarity

born out of fire.

Express who you are,

be individual,

be mind’s artifice,

idea alive.


The Un-opening Gate

The present – all

possible futures,

the trace of the

physical past.

The paths we failed

to take were paths

only when past

was present.

The paths we failed

to take exist,

only as modes

of imagination.

Paths that is

never to be

taken, beyond

the un-opening gate.


You, Futures

Human words

solid, weathered,

like warm corners

bright in the light.

Love is the root of life,

love of the human –

not violence, conflict,

hatred, history.

Eye to eye in

friendly silence

the warm futures

of the world.


Clear Creek

At Clear Creek

translucent present

insubstantial past

gone process.

Mist in trees,

sparse grey cloud,

brush, white light

on pale green bough.

All past ages now

and here, all one,

seconds, aeons,

all the same

for mind in which

they are embedded,

translucent singing

crystal-water mind.


White Sky

You point, your hand

wipes out a mountain,

your eye closes,

universe, all gone.

Breeze-swept minds

swept clean,

dance on thousand

feet of cliff.

Eternal azure’s

beyond our lives,

thoughts of you,

the ruins of the heart.

Lone wind sings

in pine, the chill

white sky every

thing empty.


Ash

How many pounds of ash, then, clasp your flesh,

this sweet, the gentle moment, how many to be

thrown, blown in the air from the high crag, buried

pale split splinters, leaves lost to milky midnight way,

all ash fractured fragments bone blue of myriad stars

or down the flash of stream into rock moss deep lichen?

How many pounds of ash, measured talk, songs in time,

in eternity, things given without need or return, shared

excellence, mind, flowers of the earth’s desire, diamond

flare of spirits, hid radiance of all meanings, places, days,

strangeness, waking to prove we dream, known in each

other’s silence, understood, how many pounds of ash?

To ash, white blade of intellect, passion, language, pity,

deep to the soil, hurled to the night, sage-smell of winds,

lake stir, fire’s core, ah, hiss of all-speech, rise fall of all cities,

gone planet, eyes, lives, truths, music, azure void, to ash,

body and pure brain, vision, desires and talk unending,

histories, phantoms, cries, golds of presence, deep passing, ash.


All of it Bodiless

All of it mind, and

untouched, all brightness

not cities cars power death,

but void, emptiness to fill

with heart’s fire, charity, peace,

the lover’s word, touch kiss

of reality, gone thought, history.

All of it spirit, clear, tremor,

easing the pain, calming the terror,

all so strange what we have made,

all the invisible prisons of time,

all of it vision, air, and illusion,

spirit to spirit, hands of trust, warmth,

floating, spiritual silence through all.

All of it bodiless, bodied deep,

shining river of intellect, flesh.


Think, Meditate, Contemplate

Think of you, I think, in the

stillnesses between breaths.

(Clouds, ah, pines and birches,

slopes white ice to the light)

Meditate on you, around you,

through stone tree silences.

(Brown paths, misted hills,

snow like foam in the air)

Contemplate, in the space

beyond words, you, and you.

(Hedges, boughs frosted silver

their light, white smoke breath)


Pine, Yew

Slow pine, slow yew grows

in the rock, green

against grey, slow

love, deep down

shatters, splits stone.

Delicate, pine, yew secret,

living, and cracking

the core of the cliff,

make ring on ring

build through the years.

Intricate, living silence

of winter-dark root-fall,

forks the white stream,

flourishes high

arms from the rock.

Slower than time, swifter

than vision, yew, pine

green on the grey,

speakers to air, lone

hearts in the stone.


Entering Leaving

A trickle of light,

through the gate of grass,

the stream,

through the quiet gate

as of a

hand’s touch

dark closeness

through gates of grass

out of and into the earth,

seed, ova, germs of living

dust and pollen of earth,

we eat, split, lips

mouth on each other,

light run

from the wordless gate

through quiet

through gates

of grass.


Capital

These buildings,

darkness of power,

dead forms,

granite on hearts,

deniers of nature,

all our sad monuments.

Yet at dawn light

and evening

misted oblivious

tree-silence

bird-song wing-stir

touches of breeze.

The inward life

greater than these stones

all truth, time,

beauty, sense, love

in the individual

life.


Given

Logged and gone down

wind bleak

on the bones of hills,

the creatures

logged and gone down,

sterile earth

and the wind bleak,

light, sky, light

colder than heart-pain.

Ah, love, be light

of another kind,

radiant, tender,

be flesh and form

in the dark,

be green fir birch

be black solid soil singing

be sacred given

not made.


It Shines

Ice on the paths,

frozen pools,

it shines, intellect,

eyes that give rest

peace of her eyes

stars underfoot

feet aware

pressing dark silence.

And among trees,

beauty, warmth

living roots

underground

these trunks

heat the soil,

their form beauty

lead grey boughs.

Coitus of organism,

earth, shining

in this our time

our mind-alone

season,

mountain cloud

wet fields, silence,

it shines, intellect.


Where We Are Now

Freed from all pasts,

the mind liberated,

from all gods, all laws,

matter, assumptions,

freed by the starlight

by spectra of stars

freed by the sieve,

winnowed by time.

Washed by the white clouds,

bathed by the white breeze,

eyes free, heart-free,

beyond gods and demons,

free of intentions,

free of all purpose,

free of possession,

moon in the water.


Beaches not Buildings

Chime again, shine

pebbles in sea-wash

under bare feet,

eyes to the sky.

Beyond walls

and temples,

or hostile silence

of marbled buildings.

Here there are clouds,

always changing,

and you, mind,

always un-still.

Click and glimmer,

stutter of stones,

bright against pale,

in the back-flowing wave.


Not Blind

Slowly the vulture

plucks at our culture

darkly the rat

the roots where we’re at

and the worm in the earth

the ant on the leaf

they bury our birth

they silence our grief.

But the civilised mind

attentive not blind

to the real, the true,

the beauty in you,

takes light as its guide

(the inhuman denied)

the moth and the bee

the wings of the free.


Harsh Days

Not everything is made right,

pain stirs, reality hardens

eats at the light,

at you, child,

and the maimed bird –

hurting the eye

hurting its empathy.

The green tree splits,

the chill stone breaks,

moon’s arc is eaten,

Jupiter clouded,

this harsh spell that almost

shatters the spirit,

though world is intention-less.


High Cliffs

‘No core,’ you said,

‘like a dream, my life,

dream slipping by’

the lightning flash

and the moment,

core is empty.

Like light under larch-trees,

our muffled footsteps,

form in the storm,

flash on flash

then pain in the

stillness.

Drowned

‘I immersed

my spirit in darkness,

nurtured myself

on silent cliffs’

Gone, gone, gone in an instant.


Cormorant

On the dark branch

at the lake’s edge

lone cormorant

raises his wings

to the sun.

Shakes black wings,

crooked blades,

in symmetry

at the flame

of the sun.

Over the glittering

path of water

towards the trees

at the end

of the silent lake,

lifts his dark wings.


Flows Through, Not Seen

Silent pebbles

bound in the ice

sentient beings.

But water flows through,

bright mind-nature

process of being

empty at heart

softly flows through,

love flows through,

truth flows through.

Bound in ice

wordless pebbles

sentient beings.


‘In every pebble there is a jewel’

The hare still lopes

through the dark furrow,

and Scorpius shines

in the summer sky,

as your eyes,

there in the silence,

beautiful mercy

midnight fountain.

The grain in each tree

and thought in each word,

heart’s sexual fire

and mind gone beyond,

in every

pebble

a jewel.


Hanging in the Void

All clinging to the earth

we turn, hanging

in the void.

All drifting clouds, purposeless

we turn, quiet

in the air.

All calling in the silent

valley: ‘silence’

it says.

All fog. Gravity holds us

here, singing

in the void.

All climbing up the mountain,

we question-less

answers.


Heroes

The heroes were not

famous,

founded no cities,

won no wars, built

no temples,

the heroes of feeling.

Sensitive as shadows

they stood

behind the makers,

ploughed dark fields,

loved deeper,

cherished the creatures.

The heroes were no one,

anonymous,

hearers of music

in motion of leaves,

in starlight,

the heroes of feeling.


What We Hear on the Hill

The hiss of the stars,

the space we are travelling

beyond this vibration,

one single note falling,

a flute of light in the air,

an intention-less sighing.

The vast empty breath

of wind in the valley,

stirring through leaves,

caressing the face, uncreated,

a time that is now, not now,

not grasping, not dying.

No depths, only far extents,

corners where turns are made,

the tremor of tiny earth

wandering in slow orbit,

the sad echoes of peace,

silence, everything passing.


They Sit Quietly

‘They sit quietly on shining mountains,

cleanse their spirits in hidden valleys’,

gather white cloud through dark pine-trees,

watch leaves fall on tracks of silence,

finding the meaning forget the words,

(since the beginning, only freedom)

pass time by, on empty hillsides,

not searching to pacify the mind.


Unborn Mind

Not grasping, enter the mountain.

This is called the unborn mind.

Nothing goes, nothing stays,

shining emptiness all this being.

Lacking fuel, light still shines,

in still space, without a centre.

Nothing’s saved, nothing’s lost,

idle constructs thoughts and words.

Now you see how this is empty,

know your mind, and be free.


Atheist’s Song

Singing the love that ends all things,

love that remains of our beginnings,

mind’s affection that brings delight,

singing the love that is the light.

Universe there, intention-less,

its core a glittering emptiness,

is truth the dark and truth the bright,

and beauty in us of mind’s delight.

Nothing is left of all that was,

the child remains within the loss,

mind’s affection that brings delight,

singing the love that is the light.


Seeking Echoes

Words stream from us into the delicate dark,

images, caressing the gas giants on their way,

leaving behind the Earth, its blue-white beauty,

leaving us all behind with the slow-grown rose.

Into the Milky Way’s veil-spun dribble of stars,

into the gulfs, word-light bending on its way,

encoded flickering electro-magnetic tremors,

no shortage of us, no shortage of our pain,

our laughter, joy, despair, all our articulation,

occasional compassion, gone into the mystery,

that beggars all description, none of us equal

to it, no, not even the buddhas and saints.

The words stream out of us into the galaxy,

asking response, the so-chance of others,

mouths that are not our mouths to declare us,

and eyes that are not our eyes to find us here.


Civilisation

A drug you can’t kick,

obsession you can’t break,

path that imprisons,

ease that enfolds,

also anguish, terror.

Who put the world to work

and made the artefacts

of intellect, tools

of every kind, some

immaterial?

Lost all the beauty,

caught it in glimpses,

locked in texts,

half-notes, sketches,

all gone dreams.

This drug you can’t beat,

compulsion that grips you,

road your eyes fix on,

leaves you enfeebled,

here, where we are.


Oh, You Know

Oh, you know,

you have to choose

believe illusion

or get the blues,

or take the way

that runs between,

immaterial play

the ancient dream,

world in a spiritual sense,

truth though

not god-ridden nonsense,

real love below,

where body sings

with electric beauty,

and love’s a freedom

not a duty.

Choose earth and light.

Though all’s illusion,

there’s no deceit

in time’s confusion.


Song of the Other Tradition

I despise the dark hunting, the blind killing.

The species not ours, their lives are their own,

and we without rights, I despise all those myths,

trail-songs, and dances, those pseudo-shaman

drum-beaten, blood-soaked, sacred old ways.

I’ll slip the knots and cut fibres, break locks,

loose your traps, your catches, nets and cages.

May your guns rust, the shots fail, arrows fall

far from the target, may wild hares outrun you,

deer find concealment, merge with wolf-silence.

Everywhere your rape of the species, road-kill

or cull, your blind interference with given beauty,

the lizard its jewels, the crow its blue-blackness,

the slither of snakes, and the glitter of insects,

blood on hands and feet, and in minds and eyes.

The tribes still stripping red-wet whale-meat,

detonation of pain from the barb of barbarity.

Back to nature for some is back to the killing.

Better we go without flesh, hides, and drugs,

if it takes the torment of creatures to gain them.


Excess

Our land, our dust, where’s the possession?

Nations carved out of space owned by no-one,

tribes squatting in deserts lines on our maps.

We die of boundaries, we die of histories,

die of our claims, and the prisons we make,

die like the planet this next hundred years,

from our grasping, holding, blind consuming,

possessing what’s never ours for a moment,

destroying ourselves in the flames of excess.


Balance

We were moral in those first dawns too,

grasslands, lake-shores, deserts and seas.

We were tender, nurtured, we countered

the errors of culture, loved, knew beauty.

Religion has no sole claim to morality,

rarely true to the human in us, the balance,

the mean we made, the clear path we struck

between mind and body, in rooted being.


Out There

Suffering, patient, sacred creatures

rustle at dawn in dark oak leaves,

tremble at night in deep hedgerows,

stir the grass by burrow and bolt-hole,

suffering, patient, sacred creatures.


Walk Ancient Trails

Love is freedom, truth without walls.

This is freedom, love without limits.

In the spirit we’ll escape history.

Create, create love beauty truth.

No good all these forms of society.

Living like this won’t set us free.

Sidestep in mind is Tao in reality,

being not forms, deep sensitivity.

Walk ancient trails, praise spontaneity.


February: Hidden Valley

White and green birch bark,

smooth silver too where

tree-creeper dances, climbs,

vertical bird, high cold blue

of February after the freeze,

and hereabouts deer flicker

along trails to fastnesses,

places where they drink slow

ten thousand years, hooves

clicking on ancient granite.

bending, looking, unmoved

by the long dark breeze.

I slip on ice, hand braced

on bright splintered stone

of cliffs weathered, boulders

clogging the hidden valley.

Spirit locks on to matter.

In the lungs air is new fire,

damp earth, the elements

where mind still lingers.

Deer our family too, soft

eyes of long questioning,

hearts throbbing, hot to

the touch, their flanks,

their trails behind rocks

printed on leaf-fall, moss,

this secret space how we

fit true to this universe.


Downstream

In the silence, temple statue

birds sit on its head, bronze

eyebrows and upturned palm,

far smile at the strange planet.

This the one teaching, listen,

this flutter of leaves behind,

or at midnight the galaxies

blue, silver, cold, voiceless,

this word for human kind,

Sssss, stress-less sighing,

long breath of the universe,

water-pale music of stars,

not the roar of its power,

but the pressure-less touch

of its purposeless fire,

all free of possession,

devoid of authority,

and so blessed we are

that there are no gods,

and no plan, no end

ordained for the process.

Just this one great river

in which now submerged

we are carried along,

downstream.


No Zen Wars

No Zen wars, no Tao wars,

love and beauty they too

practise patient non-action,

looking, finding diamond light.

No Zen meaning, no Tao way,

only angles on existence,

fill the mind with scriptures

soon believe such nonsense.

Sudden Tao, Zen satori,

mind seems mighty clever.

What are the creatures doing

without all these temples?

Zen master, Tao adept

on the snowy mountain

bow down to the grasses,

answer mind with silence.

Tao script, Zen talk,

write them on the water,

say what the child says,

love truth, make beauty.


Don’t Accept

As we get older (the fire colder

it’s said) remember the flames,

what youth gets right are the lies,

repeated in various names.

Wisdom is not resignation to life,

belief in the system because nor I

nor anyone else can devise a better,

as in fantasy gods, lacking science,

to create an explanation, or free

our minds from the words that lure,

lovely texts that make us secure

by a childish murmur of beauty.

Integrity and truth are a duty, war

is not wild virtue because we must,

all violence contaminates the soul,

which is the mind beneath control.

Raping the planet, killing creatures,

is not some mythic fulfilment here

of our history, our sieved selection,

destructiveness should engender fear.

Things that have to be are not by that

rendered right, youth knows that, sage

old age should not by sweet acceptance

of death and transience, forget its rage.

We, unintended for this mad being,

must play our parts with integrity,

our purposelessness has validity.

Don’t accept, sing authentic seeing.


Meeting a Stranger

The soft white smoke of pale mist

climbing the flowery, humming

hillside stillness,

strange mixture of weathers.

High country, quiet with deer

birds, green fir-trees,

birch, alder, oak

deep in the valleys.

Peaks slumbering in rain,

anthropomorphically,

drowning in honey-grass,

you and I talking,

Nature, Science, places:

lost like light

beyond all the lakes

in a world of silence.

Such beauty never again

as comes once

or twice in a lifetime,

the body forgotten,

the mind in another mind

leaping and forking,

lightning moments,

divorced from time.

Remember it now,

in the house at night,

meeting a stranger,

getting it right.


Manifesto

Will life win, will we

lovers of beauty,

peace lovers, lovers

of stillness, non-action,

cultivators of flowers,

unmoved by cash

the relentless

oil of our age,

creators, dancers

players

on every kind

of viol, makers,

will we, in eternity,

which is mind, free,

transform the world,

declare reality?


The Path Revealed

After the jewelled haze

diamond blue misting

of sight as I walk,

eyes fazed by the snow,

this quiet way through

stripped larch woods,

crystalline half-melt,

displays the perfect path

where, feet-compressed,

the coiled leaf-mould

(brown shapes ochre

veined against silence)

looses stressed energy

warms the surface.

Where we have been

before, reveals us,

where we have strayed:

no life is hidden, here

I break a branch, snap

roots, clear windfall,

long to blend with all

this Nature, so long

beyond us, so far gone,

remote as star-fields.

I am the self, divided

mind from its source,

time showing through,

patient as larch waiting.


Particulars

Names, places, the long

trails of confessional,

I resist them. What

can it matter, which

tree, which peak, which

friend, which country,

nation? All’s one earth,

lands and seas, islands,

countries of the spirit.

Roots, bindings of mind,

I resist them. What

can it matter, which

acts, which dates, which

movements of time, I

you, repeat, over again

in the cascade of human?

Is there a warmth you miss

in me? Is it the love

of the particular?

I love the particular,

hidden in my life,

hidden in yours, unknown,

the love, the grace,

the blessing of being.


Nothing More Real

Summer hillside feather grasses,

one long sigh of continuous beauty

to the listening mind. Sit to watch

lone kestrel hold its own in the blue,

the beat of life, growing stronger.

Far off valley’s highway roar, is

one long hum of the endless wheel,

power driving power to buttress power,

no way to see an end to that: action

makes us weak, destroys the silence.

Beyond the hills endless rivers,

over the field swallows flicker,

weave in and out dark-backed forms,

nothing but nature describes nature,

nothing more real behind the real.


Ridge-Work

Orion silent, Perseus dropping light,

on empty tundra the star-ways sing.

Without intention, without design,

this land we scar, these woods we raze,

from China, Russia, to Alaskan heights,

plough deep, destroy, call it progress.

The brush will burn, the seas will rise.

At dawn hawk slides from the mountain,

deer call, trucks slide in waving grasses,

carve dirt-roads up ridges, roar and grind.

A waning moon, caught in deep blue air,

in the sacred depth, in the wind’s idling.

Each footstep crushes creatures, crack

of branches drives ah the species away,

slowly beauty meant for a lifetime slips

sad uneasy down to the creeks, the lakes.

Down diamond sky the trees in darkness,

cast ah at their heart a deepening shade.


Insect

Flash of your life, as long as our age

or the timeless universe. A repetition,

one same clear prototype of a species,

all those billion stars, ours sufficient.

Glitter, your whirr of wings, flight

over rank black pools, mud oxbows,

over the oil-slicks and the detritus,

the lightning of your bright seeing,

not my burning memory and future,

my sphere of human life in the hand,

you see all one in reality’s stirring,

not my light, flame of my kindling.


Symmetry

‘Symmetry’ you said. Secrets,

beauty in that, and ‘transience’

this ghostlike real, this foam

of the world without core.

Between us the lightning, fire,

a garden of brimming waters, tall

watchtowers of night, Moorish

silences, incredible journeys.

The beauty between us, the orb,

what is heard beating in darkness,

the transient symmetry of wings,

the pale slow meeting of doves.


Progress

No I don’t know what it’s for.

Birthing, eating, dying, the work

of the creatures, nurture, truth

as reality, beauty as immersion,

that I understand, the old space

we come from, the original life,

but not this complexity of pain,

this stress and fire of meaning,

this burden we seem to take on,

this long dark progress, process

of moving away into nowhere.

Birth, sex, love, death, beauty

I understand.


Messengers

Shall we talk forever, minds gentle,

spirits entwined in eternity, souls

hidden, radiant silence across oceans,

the planet, from dusk to dawn,

shall we talk forever?

Be pillars of love, vessels of love,

flesh and empty eternity’s semblance,

speaking ecstatic words ephemeral,

words immortal, electric urgency,

forever talking of love?


Primal

Greater than surface world:

mind world, and this

world of your feelings,

your body, your womb

that made life.

Greater than dark of the

universe: mind and its

terrible beauties, anguish

and awe, your thoughts

that make love.

Greater than civilisation:

primal body and mind,

the species before being

clothed with meaning

un-meaning.

Greater than preconceptions,

laws and religions,

is this sac of yours,

sweet flesh, elegant

tender mind.


Gone Back

Huge moon through

the black oak swells:

this wind is from

the moors and smells

of sculpted ice and stone,

long dark hillsides.

Among the blackened

weathered walls,

I chased poets, lovers,

all I could discover

of those who sang

scouring the heart,

voices of generations

and bodies dispersed,

globe-full, a mind-full,

loading the secret soul,

blowing apart this world

phantom, semblance.


It’s All About Perception

Looking out of the window

I realised today we almost gave

way ah to the world of matter,

and conceded the mind-space.

We nearly got lost in ripping

apart the textures of intellect

to get at some substance beneath,

that once seemed to beget it.

Trees too almost ceased to be

thought and time, and became

long terrible strands of black

breaking the masses of white.

We almost gave in, and died

through the dumb material earth,

believing in buildings and roads,

constraints on our love, our truth,

ways of deceiving ourselves,

by creative illusion that we

were one with the hard lines

of pure description, the things.

Looking out of the window

today, I saw we were process,

that well nigh made itself stone,

poured from an old volcano.

That only our hands need

to reach through the glass,

and part the layers of sky

to abolish the dark unreal.

That only the mind needs

to cry through all the dull hours

to free these women and men,

to break down the prisons,

that laws are not needed where

hearts are pure from the start,

that we shackle our clear lives,

with the chains of misperception,

that I set you free, you free me,

by a single eternal acceptance

of all that flows through you,

is mine, and flows too through me,

that the spirit does not stand

in the body, the body stands

in the spirit, time and process,

work of ephemeral water, fire.

That talking in metaphors

is the language of wisdom,

that the clearest description,

is simply a movement of mind.


Baths

Pale water, and flesh’s silence,

the tiled bays shine, the surface

steams, the music stills the mind,

I feel you in substance, spirit.

Hands go kneading your body,

loosening your ties, touching

you at the sensual heart of fire

where the notes possess you,

mind is a moisture, feeling is

being, thought is a swirl of time,

a past in the air, meaning is this

continuous murmur of instants,

a process of bright inner singing

traversing every empty archway,

passing wet along every pavement

towards the deep well of the mind.


Meaning Less

It’s meaningless, it’s empty, be free.

Back from history, thoughts of being

the silver silence of the boulders

half-way up the mountain, trees,

forget them, let the mind float out,

the gentleness all beautiful, humility.

It’s thoughtless, it’s intention-less, be

free. Ageless being in eternity is now,

a stone’s throw from the pass, above

all cities, wars, laws, gods, illusions,

white stars are out, mind’s confusions

pass, gone flowing through the galaxy.


Wych-Hazel

Twig of wych-hazel

sprigs of rosemary

in a jar,

strange delicate

nature of reality,

not us, who are

process,

but material eternal

beauty out of time.

Mind only is

in time,

matter timeless,

but transient

durable, lovely

form and symbol,

Nature,

radiant in thought,

perception, feeling.


Jasmine, Buddha

Scent of jasmine over all the city,

and here in the house, in the room,

by this chair, the green-white spear-clubs

flower-buds open, five-fold petals, slight

arrow-leaves curling, shed mind-fire

from crystal fields under this night’s

waning orb, high winter moon.

On a shelf, bronze Buddha sits

hand raised, peace, the sign of Dharma

on soles of feet and palms, night silence,

great wheel turning.


This China

This China billions move,

not Li Po’s China

of high individuals,

these field-hands, labourers,

hauliers, boatmen punting down

through rice-fields, under limestone hills

lovely as silk-screen landscape unrolled.

This China, fixed on matter,

pure basic human,

light on endless faces,

bikes past roofs and tombs

of imperial silence,

long-gone mercury pools

mapped heaven underground,

vast states done, Li Po still

drunk under the moon.


Passing Fires

The road here the result, so many branches,

uncertainties, decisions, by chance or nature,

mapped in the creature or learnt by blundering

like bears through trees, paramecia in pond-light,

all on a knife-edge, or just environment and genes,

yet some things clear, tiny energy of that message

leveraging a life, two lives, great consequence,

and near-death on a night, the glass cascading

in slow slow-motion through the air, chance

meetings, passing fires.


Pure Vision

Inattentive listening, suddenly seeing

(half-hearing still) blackthorn’s white

cascade on the hill, the mind distracted

straying, despite this need to focus,

simply being, devious circuits kicking-in

the eye filled with beauty, or is that in

the deeper higher mind, lower or higher –

my old fault, losing it, sidling off again

down frost’s dim track in the woods,

this once – pure vision.


In a Flash

No, can’t revise these

poems, made,

in a flash,

as Tao taught,

lightning Zen,

the brush gone

in the hand,

and no pupil

looking.

They go by in

the air, like

kingfisher’s

azure track

over running water,

arrow-straight, done

and eye did see it,

yes, and lovely

delight.


No Deceit

Making it dance, the word, the eye,

you making music, swirling there

skirts in the air, dance, love, talk,

here no deceit, the one clear truth,

pure openness, mutual penetration

erotic depth, in a word, in an eye,

the body curled in the mind, all

rhythm and meaning, deeper the dance

than a world of reason, matter, power,

one beauty, truth, and no deceit.


Some Day

Some day walking in beauty friend with friend,

through golden grass to the bright sighing

of trees on the hills and thoughts like suns

of distant galaxies known for the first time,

with innocence, and the glance of strangers

only tenderness and the gentlest encounter,

no sites of power where phantoms cold

mistake their matter-laden minds for light,

some day, we’ll touch and kiss and realise.

Some day beyond the sad desert, fine flowers

of miraculous hearts glowing, warm bodies,

true unbelievers, trembling with joy we’ll come

weeping for all pure humanity forms within

not meat of the world but intellect singing

transience emptiness visions through time,

the enormous freedom of purposeless voids

the sacred laughter of anarchic non-action,

some day, we’ll give and share and surprise.

Some day, on bridges over the wild cities

in moonlit parks, in forests, on lost seas,

beyond all gods, and seizing the holiness,

sensitive, true and kind in charity, mercy,

beauty we’ll go ending the wars of planets,

far through the universe star-ways’ glistening,

like Han river, music of ancient gleaming,

leap from our graves, and gather from ashes,

the primal original human species, we’ll rise.

Some day, blessed by our own uniqueness

among the creatures and equally lovely,

respecting all life (not ghosts or demons),

gazing at hatred in museums of emotions,

serious in lightness, seeking each other,

not the dead bleak dust voyagers of ire

but the delicate journeyers of delight,

not ever-learning existence over again

but some day knowing, some day wise.


Big, Heavy

Weight of sun on the water, glare

liquid between the trunks of firs,

I laze watching the nuthatch climb,

ants on leaves, and beetle black pincer

pushing the great orb over the desert.

Pharaohs made pyramids, bought only

this same dark weight of sun with lives

and spirits their own included, missed

the point of being, its fragile, sweet

ephemeral dancing, as light as a twig

swung metronome-wise by the breeze.

Back in the gallery, great beetle-domed

head of Amenhotep sits in air, huge mass

of every gone civilisation, including ours

hanging in space over our upturned faces.

We go to sit in the sun, on park benches,

and eat what earth gives somewhere simple

evading this progression towards the stars.

Lake there, glare, weight of sun on water.


Stopping at Night West-bound.

Seeing in the sad lined face of the car-stop waitress

the once girl’s echo of butterfly petal on bough,

I tip her vastly, and watch the wheels tyre-burning

their ceaseless water-mill murmur on tarmac highway,

saying this is the way we come, the way we go,

mindless mechanical metal mooning through matter,

cut through hills, bridge valleys, rail-yards, canals,

carrying all the minds of the world to their mission.

Waitress of night, lifting your thighs to the darkness,

blossom falling over the sleeping poet’s lap and hair,

moon-girl fallen to cups and bowls, reflected gently,

isn’t there something in you greater than what’s out there,

the tender intimate meaning of this frail slight existence,

that is given once, light in the sun, and with us dying

gets reborn everywhere after us crying and laughing.

Cat stalks bird or frog by the garbage heaped rain-pool,

I watch the flower of your face closing, now opening

suddenly to some thought, my thought too, cascade

of memory’s bright stars down the black chute of air,

so that we are two poets of fire, and among the brave,

telling them rise up, re-enter, return to the act that gave.


Imagination Madly Holy

The sex of everyone under the surface stirs on the Earth,

which is not that of the body which is in itself beautiful,

nor that of the raging mind desirous of object-possession,

not even that of the heart which seals us from desecration

by dark phantoms of the world, those with designs on us,

but the subtlest erotic sexual fire of the holy imagination,

which is opposed to every violence, cherishes all creation,

and is pulsing through the city on every stop at the lights,

goes entering and leaving the glass revolving doors eternal,

refuses entry to all transactions framed by devious powers,

delights in every anonymity, much more so in being unseen,

thrills the virgin mind, waxes light in the long-accomplished,

and shows its symbols in poetry, peace, joy and sensitivity,

devoid of belief, empty of purpose, an unfailing fire burning

like the immaterial flame at the core of the earthbound rose.

Under the surface the sex of everyone transforms the Earth.


Blood-Guilt

We take their lives then ask them to bless us,

that’s blood-guilt expressed as religion,

on the cave-walls there in France, Spain,

the Drakensberg, Kalahari, old Sahara,

we took the creatures’ lives, then we spun

ceaseless similar odd mythologies, masks

of our primal error, in the first great garden,

which was somewhere in Africa, not scripture,

earlier than Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists,

we were well away slaughtering the creatures,

though sensitively incorporating them all in art,

in oral culture, perceiving the continuity there,

between ourselves and the lovely non-human,

and noting of course the violence the killing

the death everywhere apparent in primal space.

But don’t go asking a blessing of dark kill now,

better to understand when they die we die too,

that the ancient hunter had virtues not like ours,

and returning towards the tribes is sentimental,

a kind of senseless tourism of the spirit, where

the values we condone are not the primal values.

Take no life: learn to love all our brothers and sisters.


Really

Only now I understand, it doesn’t have to be real,

it only has to be true, to be a reality that happened

somewhere deep in the mind, that never surfaced

to become a visible piece of the tangible world.

A relief! I don’t have to scribble autobiography,

write the amazing long poems of now in memory

or the continuous map of the unravelling voyage,

and can go on making poetry out of imagination,

just as if all these things you read really occurred.

Of course you think they occurred to others really,

because they wrote them down, but to see the self

that would be a remarkable feat of mental-mirrors.

No, they just invented themselves and sometimes

sadly became famous, had to provide confirmation,

by failing to elude us, by failing indeed to explain

that every name reads ‘anonymous’, every image

of the well-known’s really known except to them.

Only now I understand, life doesn’t have to be real,

like poetry it only has to be true somewhere in mind.


What We Need

The problem with every challenge to society

is that the gesture becomes a part of the web,

whereas what we need is a long cool silence,

the touch of yew-trees, cedars, and tall pine,

that the coal-tits feel as they ply the snowy

branches, and the squirrels hanging up there,

something with ice from Himalayan reaches,

on the long slopes to Tibet, where no man goes,

and the over-flying jets and the satellites

see only beautiful contours endlessly white,

sandwiched between the map’s occasional names.

The problem with taking power to fight authority,

is that we all become the tools of power ourselves,

whereas what we need is a long draught of eternity,

the emotionless, intention-less space between worlds,

not yet filled with our electronic chatter, nor that

hopefully of the billion other civilisations, who

have equally failed to grasp the point of existence,

what we need is something of purity’s emptiness,

like a molten mass of white water between pebbles,

or the purposeless buds gone pale on every bough,

the emptiness, the purity of silence, its ‘awareness’.


River-Crossing

Feet in the ice-cold water,

walk on stones.

Banded, eroded cliffs,

bush grown on boulders.

Push down forked stick, click

and grip,

toes round pebbles, slick

shelves soft white rock.

This basic human

progress is

the real

mind grown solid

of ethereal senses,

water burns like fire,

cold blue-grey beauty,

grabs the heart.


Threefold

White in his pure embrace

lay your body down,

hold your mind in mine,

take me where he’s found.

Quick to my spirit cry,

dream us close as you come

to knowing time, to die

through eternity’s bright room.

Bed, table and chair

imprinted in your eye,

lay your true body there,

suffer our depths to sigh,

white in his pure embrace

past all jealousy, see,

how three in one may face

mysterious one in three.


Song of Eternity

Now and a little late I understand this Eternity,

it’s the dimension of spirit against the spiritless worlds,

it’s mind-heart’s joy against the material anguish,

it’s the child of light against adulterations of darkness,

it’s the planet before us pure as the planet after us,

it’s living Poetry against the matter deadly,

it’s beauty and truth against the seductive lie,

it’s intention-less emptiness against purposive trickery,

it’s charity, sanity, mercy against every manifestation of Power,

it’s the Muse of gentleness against the demonic spirits of fire,

it’s a green tree on a hill against the prophetic desert,

it’s imagination against a host of disguises,

it’s space enfolded in process stilled by dream,

it’s Buddha erasing his error the wheel of dharma,

and Christ in his new wisdom refusing the cross,

it’s landscape full of light, free of boundaries,

it’s all the creators, lovers who work forever

to form the hidden universe of light, in age after age,

it’s tenderness of flesh against the dark weapons,

it’s soil of living growth against that death which is not

and that space which is not, called death,

which is only the worlds of life-aware continuing,

it’s the saintly natures of those who deny the given

and yet who know what it is that is truly given,

it’s the labour of hearts to ease the pains of being,

it’s the nameless angel though there are no angels,

it’s the eye weeping, heart beating, mind sighing

for the endless corruptible beauty of ghostly lovers,

it’s the touching of hands on flesh it’s sweet sexual blessing,

it’s world released from self from the mortal bondage,

and self from delusion of self returned to the myriad creatures,

it’s silence of joy waiting for Man and Woman to be born

out of the darkness of history, religions and nations,

and the terrors of anger, hatred, cruelty and mistrust,

it’s the soul being born in us who are born without souls.


Humility

In silence, at night I call out to the spirit within us,

to the soul, the heart, all those aspects of mind

we name, as though they were things within, oh

we are no thing within, we are the process light,

we are the uncreated pale lovely without-intention,

in the great intention-less glittering universe dark,

where the jewelled and diamond rivers white flow

beyond every doctrine. We are the people of time,

oh, voyeurs of eternity, hearers of ceaseless songs

of uncounted generations returning again and again

to human frames, to love and mercy, pity and peace

of the gentle pure tender arousals of poets and lovers,

under the returning moon, oh she who comes graceful

silver through branches, whitening grass under leaves,

in the rail-side plot, the whispering meadow, the hill’s

delicate shadows of tracery hedgerows high-climbing

to the ridge of dawn, and the wondrous horizons there

beyond the transient bounds of the social imagination,

in the individual closed-in, opened-out fancy of hours

stolen from all this illusion, this strange phantom being,

this constraint, limitation, matter-bound flesh-bound

prison of seconds and hours, where infinity and eternity

(say to the poet, child, lover, wife, sister, brother, beware!)

are hidden away as the sun is hidden away and the marks

that point out the way, and the sleepless beating of hearts,

and the naked truth under false adornments of nakedness,

and the great pulsating star of the deathless mortal spirit

under the shrouds of matter and the blind roots of custom,

oh Moon, snow essence of England’s raw America’s night,

one moon from all many perspectives of dark-bound Earth,

bringing enduring emotion that eases the suffering of being,

bringing intellectual vigour, and the kindness intimate small

of one for another, and no more than one or another, passion,

compassion manageable in these empty spaces full of powers,

full of the dead weight of power, full of meaningless purpose,

by your light I speak to she who knows, whom I love, to men

and women in disciplined pursuit of the inner crystalline sand,

to those who hear the tick of the clock that goes on endlessly

in the instant singing the music of eternity in our world time,

to their naked being, their secret body of fire, their mystery

of awareness and refusal, of sanity and reticence triumphant,

of the planet beyond show, and the self beyond constriction,

of the silence at night where I call out to the spirit within us

having no greater right than you to call, in the heart’s humility,

the learning of which is endless, and as endless its inner poem.


Speaking Your Name

Sexuality is where you enter the infinite world,

grasping and clasping the flesh that so encloses

to get at the leap of mindless mind that diamond

bright escapes the flesh and illuminates presence,

ah spasm of flame that for you eludes gone time

and launches you into the space of spirit wailing

down all the long valleys of beauty into the heart

where humility ever endless obedience, yielding,

is your soft neck bowed to the forces of the ages,

and your emotions flying scattered down rivers

of ice-cold blazing water into the rapids of light.

Sexuality is where you challenge yourself to be,

where you loose the reins of body and celebrate

the joy of your forgetfulness in intention-less fire

that burns the surface of skin, the damp internal,

that plunges you into the baths of time, lays you

kneaded and lapsing under the motions of hands,

in an eroticism of intellect deeper than knowing,

in a bliss of giving, of the pain and cry of the gift,

in a space where all is accepted, tender, comfort

of none-identity which is beauty of all identity,

which is the species, the sex, majestically aware.

Sexuality is this space where the child goes lost

to find the adult contained in the womb of years,

is the rhythm and music that brings you to love

even love of the wrong object greater than dark

of the unloved ones who are imprisoned in matter,

greater than silence of space without spirit or mind,

greater than fragile limited self bound by its powers

as all are bound, greater than cliffs of sheer fall

from which you leap into affirmation, approbation,

tremor of pleasure that needs only that sigh of one

of more knowing your beauty speaking your name.


Sudden Perceptions

1.

We are these bodies caught in the world

is this our compromise with time?

Oh, spirits caught in Eternity’s dilemma,

how shall we ever be free?

2.

Gone, gone, gone in a dream,

what of all these trappings then,

because of such, missing the jewels,

the jewels in every stone?

3.

Who’s this asleep or awake,

who’s this aware or at rest,

this person trapped in the flesh,

ephemeral process lightning?

4.

No way and no way to find it,

No self and no self to suffer,

then what’s this path of fire

traversing this world of flame?

5.

I illusion yes and you,

you illusion less I’d say,

ah but surely love is true,

where no selves are at play?


Small Dark Bird

Small bird shadows me in leaves,

flickers from twig to twig behind

the eye’s imaginative leap, body

of being, every design of light.

The hidden life is best. Be strong

for the true presence in anonymity,

for the work itself, the being here,

the delight in every tiny process.

Small bird’s life is as valid as mine,

feel that then through every nerve

and every pore of the sunlit skin,

believe it, don’t rest in the words.

We all rest in the words, fall short

of the inner reality of existence,

of the bird’s senses (Blake) in its

intricate world, of the movement

of relative time, life long or short

according to the highest moment,

not duration, the now is infinite

the here eternal, watch the bird

arrow-like speed across the lake

bury itself far in the furthest shore,

not every gem’s on fire, not every

small dark bird has to be nightingale.


Like A Lover

The whole world’s quiet and waiting

for planetary transformation, ending

of one age, the age of rapaciousness,

beginning of another, the age of light.

The whole Earth’s quiet and sighing,

for breezes of night and that crying

of the creatures against the moon,

who never understood our agitation,

which makes them anxious, feeling

the surge of our emotion but cleaving

to their long-established hold on time,

their foundation in centuries of matter.

The whole planet is still and breathing,

a layer of life positioned by gravity,

and viscosity, and pressure, and fire

from the inner core, and cool oceans.

The whole world’s quiet and waiting,

tonight, for the rebirth of humankind,

for us to reclaim the spiritual from those

who usurped it in the name of authority.

Only the quiet world has authority,

which it relinquishes in every instant,

possession which it lays down so like

a lover yielding making no demands.


Little Breeze

Little breeze at grey twilight

animates the under-leaves,

matter mimics life and force

like all process, softly heaves.

Beauty out of randomness

bounded order from the tick

of never-self-repeating paths

chaos that things human mimic.

If mind itself could only free us

to see ourselves as we might see us

gathered each for purposes

that survival mutely blessed.

Beauty out of randomness

sensitively animated

mimicking the chance process,

by transience consecrated.


What Have We Done?

Maybe we’ll sever the branch we’re standing on,

with the cold rattle of chainsaws with the whine

of cutting through bark through layers to the core

scything whole swathes of timber all gone down,

slashing away our branch of the tree of life, end

this age of the planet, leaving the stillness clean.

Then vast stars will rise on the blacked-out earth

the creatures left, insects, deep-desert dwellers,

will creep from their naked holes to swiftly inherit;

and silver streams run bright through empty woods;

and great quiet hum in peace with natural beauty,

when we are done and gone none any the wiser.

Maybe we’ll make it through and maybe not, tell me

reader of unseen futures, or not, as the case may be.

Children who’ve lost control of the world, acceptors

of a destiny unproven, of a system dubious shaken,

what have we done to the most precious of spaces,

dark with our poisons, fouled by desire all our air?

Maybe we’ll dam the river of our being, big boulders

shattered and half the mountains cut away to fill up

the crater of our extinction, the pit of our semblance,

maybe we’ll light the fires, conjure up silent snows

of a final shroud, before the fresh beginning, before

the next pure turn of the tide, the cleansing of shores.


March Sun

Taken for granted, glittering March sun,

intimate silence of dew-beads on grass,

sweet blue, dark earth, shifting breeze

stirring the leaves the mind at morning,

for how long all this pattern remembered,

our culture soaked in it, all that free light

still welling up clear from the Middle Ages,

those strange wild hearts, a jewelled world?

I feel the seismic change, centuries vanished,

and we gone back beyond, to the first times,

seeking ourselves, the stars real, a true sight

of universe, all of the fast-running reaches,

this spring, taken for granted, this rare order

known for a little and so thought permanent,

but fragile as moth blown from the night side

flickering here into shadow no seeing beyond

into mysterious future, but hillside in new air

pale low grasses waving, the crisp cool beauty,

walk out through fields and trees their murmur

of everything taken for granted, taken for love.


White Clouds Moving

Light as air

the nameless stream.

Down hillside

white grass bows

to the breeze.

No one here

knows our names.

No one here

owns any thing.

Small spirits envy

great silence.

Slight our minds

facing beauty.

On green paths

we slowly wander,

white clouds

moving in our dreams.


Words for the Poet

Documented a life

in poems like prose

or prose like poetry

but it’s all gone by.

Those moments all

brought to life and

delicate beauty, but

you can’t go back.

Only those who do

believe in your soft

tone of voice your

deep heart’s phrasing

can recover not you

but a trace of a trace

of your being here,

somewhere in time.

So we all go, illusion,

action as little a gain

as mind, but thought

a little more lasting

it seems, for a while.

Oh, we over-value

this species that we

are, but beauty, truth

of nature, how can we

over-value that given,

so much greater than

what we, words, create.


Moments

Moments so beautiful

how come we never went back?

Our children so like us

repeating the pattern

reflect us in mirrors,

refracting our being.

Moments remembered,

how come we never went back?


Cities of Europe

Cities of Europe, masses of darkness,

burn in the night, under the star-ways,

where history gestures in iron statues,

then vanishes light on the rain-grey air.

The voice of the void is the voice of now,

their parks a landscape: fashions shift there,

their withering away of each state of being,

the flourishing there of new consciousness.

My mind goes roaming old Europe, its face

of inscrutable knowingness, its weary sense

of the jumbled detritus of furious centuries

the long fight for freedoms won elsewhere.

Galleries of light, curious corners of beauty,

all human-made and re-worked over again

until their levels are like the levels of Troy,

cloaked in the dust of lost women and men.

Wearing their old-fashioned granite helmets,

uncomfortable in lines of ancient buildings,

misaligned to modernity shuffling by them,

in noise and fumes of our ceaseless grasping.

But nowhere else this marvellous refinement

of intricate mental games exhibited in matter,

these the originals, everywhere else the copies,

submerged as under oceans in pale grey light.


Ethnic Photographs – One Perspective

Aborigines squat silent on orange sand,

perplexed by a white-man foolishness,

but robbed of tracks, space all the same

all the deep ancient frames of reference.

The San cross Kalahari strangeness, call

on huntsman stars as they chase the eland,

as ghosts now, the creatures disrespected

by massacre as by conservation, absence.

Cherokee, Iroquois, Crow, Cree nations,

all the vast continent fenced, railroaded,

Amazon tribes criss-crossed by contrails,

sad-eyed islanders lost on the blue Pacific,

Asia, India, China, Russia, silent peoples

caught in the dark lens show no anguish,

are robbed of their meaning all the same

for white man’s culture not worth having.


Midnight, Waking

Lovely night-sounds,

creatures out there, birds

shifting position,

insects click, mice scutter,

languages all, soft pads

and delicate hooves,

murmurs and squeals,

squeaks, eerie yapping

fox-laughter:

world better without us,

I, curled deep

in our moss of dreams,

waking a moment to hear

what passes,

feel the moonlight on skin,

touch the edge of night,

hear leaves, smell breezes,

sense cloud-cover moving,

sense starlight ascending,

connect again to pasts

and trails without ending,

strange shivers of fears,

sentiments of being

different to this,

and turn again to sleep,

feel body’s tremor,

embrace

the species we deny,

whose space we covet,

no spring silent,

stirs, no April cruel,

rain later

now the beauty

of unveiled moon

of shattered silence

broken fragments

lovely night-sounds.


Words for Federico García Lorca

In my quiet angle of the twenty-first century

I read your poems, García Lorca;

wonder where under the soil your bones lie;

bring you news from the edge of eternity,

which is the moment, Now, that has

no past no future, those aspects of mind,

those twin projections from our being.

They tell me you existed, García Lorca.

What news from the mountains and the cities,

from your Granada that still sleeps

on the great fortressed hill under the moon,

whispered to by fountains and streams,

decked in the intricacies of the Moors,

cooled by the pure wind from the Sierras?

Your hummingbird is still sipping

the nectar from the flowers, García Lorca,

the children are somewhere singing or dying,

the crimson flow of love, sex that is death,

death that is beauty, time that is mortal

for me now, still rage in our bodies, you

saw rightly, sang rightly, told the flesh

about courage, understood the language

of flowers, knew the anguish of freedom,

which is the mind, heart intertwined

with another’s, love, García Lorca,

islands that flicker bells that sound for another,

you speak to me of the virgin wife,

of naked silver horses on plains of light.

You planted the bandilleras of tenderness deep

in the loving tormented spirit, García Lorca,

green of the hoar frost, gangrene of distance,

now I walk through memory your silent city,

lost among rivers, wells, moist baths, gardens

where phantoms walk, not yours, García Lorca,

feel the touch of your long dark tongue of sadness,

licking my body, whispering to me of one I love,

watch Venus hover in deep blue sky over spires,

taste snow, drown in the light of crystal lamps,

evoke you, spirit, conjure you in my dreaming.

The orange-groves and the lemon-groves call,

and the olive-groves fill with black salt breezes.

Oh, where are you García Lorca, where am I?


Origins

Dark red-brick rows wreathed in smoke and silence.

Grit-stone walls,

soiled nettled wastes’ neglect, humble beauties,

old flagstones,

empty roof-tiles, back-yards, hidden lives.

Reservoirs beyond, where birds, the free souls, sang

out of visionary worlds,

through interstices of mad industrial light, and sank

down mind-sweet blood,

soft feathered bones, black insubstantial ghosts.

My clouds of unknowing, virgin fields, relationships

immature, unreal,

my shifting grasp on fluid voids, vast fate, white texts,

mind-flights of being

through the wheeling sky, its blue ache a lifetime in the heart.


Consort

One girl on cello bows her way to absolute silence,

itself a form of listening, mind vibrating.

Flesh become spirit still is lovely flesh.

Two flutes, rhythm of blue light, fall crossing

dark glass above, pivot and plunge, birds,

out of coming night, their wings trembling.

Three voices make these human cries, moans

of this world, something of beauty’s pure

anonymous call, from time to this eternity.


In the Streets

In the streets I see these spirits

ponder, what thoughts in their heads,

if that’s where thought is,

being simply process of magic symbols

fired in electro-chemical webs.

In the streets I imagine spirits.

In the streets I go fearful,

menaced by buildings, events, though

space is illusion, I walk

on the void, as we all go fall through

eternity, still-eyes, silent faces,

inwardly laughing or crying.

In the streets I feel the enormity

of life, the fragility of being, feel

the muteness of centuries

beauty of thought, and craving for love,

endurance of mind, ridiculous

transience, vertiginously feel.

In streets I am not I, you are not you,

time is not moving, death is a phantom

stalking the flesh, light is a master

carving the block made of metal or stone.

In streets the eye trembles,

in streets the flesh freezes, or sweats.

In streets I think of love, dream,

touch, miracle shared, warmth given, deny

the ghost skyscrapers, phantom

beat of machines; dream solitude, darkness

shining skin, sweet flesh,

tenderness, beauty creating, arc that comes.


All Mind’s Narrow Ways

Over the red desert, time broods

in a space too large for us,

though there are stones, hills, bare trees

delicate derelict watercourses,

paths, the great dreaming.

Our species walked this land,

kicked dust, made shelters,

hearths, birthed, died, danced, carved

rock, daubed faces, bodies

sang the vast dream-song.

Hard truth met harsh beauty

and who conquered? Time

met Space, in mutual coherence,

long vastness, naked, scarred,

emptied itself of meaning.

And Love? Buried deep here

in ritual, in belonging, in all

sweet mind’s narrow peaceful ways

to silence, mystery, light

red sands, white moons, oblivion.


Hagg’s Farm

Blind minds here marred lives, made them.

Self betrayed self’s vast spaces of nurture.

(Art not morality, but truth’s the life of art.)

A precious bird, crushed, warm in the hand

made bitter mangling, a curse of harshness,

then loves misaligned, then deaths of feeling,

then failures of shared being, power, force,

rolling dumb, blind, over hills, to the east.

Beauty, Truth, nothing without Love, ah then,

no heart’s country survives the last betrayal:

hill, furrow, field, pond, copse, ditch, runnel,

in darkened imagination. Over the shattered,

ruined red farm falls the shadow, broken roofs,

over crumbling walls, the shadow, empty yards.


Shore

I like the way your mind works,

adept, delicate, warm,

a long-legged bird picking your way

over gravel, sand, mud, gleaming

feathered breeze-blown pure,

turning over tan shells, white pebbles.

Among the viewers and doers,

it seems, you are a doer.

Low tide clings to shore, soaks

the rock-pools. Mind blank I watch

tankers slide, boats glide, keels slip

over green sands, red weeds, stone.

Mind works when we stop watching.

You pass, a mover of light.


In Here, Out There

Easy to anthropomorphize

the Earth,

such beauty must be living?

Easy way to easy feeling,

bowing inside

to miracles of being?

Yet what’s the difference between

feeling evoked

and feeling simply projected?

Great mountains, white peaks,

soft forest slopes,

feather-grass meadows, water,

cause the same awe, same love,

same eternal

joy in the watching spirit.


Crow Speech

Crow said, as good as said,

‘I see you, fear you,

but I’ll wait to see

what you leave behind.’

Dark black eye of wild

intelligence gleaming,

voyager of free society

the currents of high air.

Crow said, almost said,

‘We’ll wait out your

coming and going, we

so much closer to Earth’

Strut, flap, rock, balance

on boughs, great branches,

whirl then to our level,

cock an eye, and consider.


Symbolic Form, Flesh Form

This life I celebrate

is form in you, ah

dancer, light dancer,

sweet line of your flesh.

Curves like hills,

and secret flows,

thoughts in caves,

pure hidden fires.

This is our beauty,

transient creatures,

carrying our mind

in memory, symbols,

yet its power is this

to be so expressed

in matter’s delight

your lovely body.

Inward notation

outward creation,

centuries long

magically strong.


The Sword of Truth

Thought, so much of you

is beautiful but untrue.

Poetry, so much of you

is feeling, always true,

prompted by a thought,

that should not be taught.

Thought and Poetry

had their way with me,

Beauty always and Love,

but Truth stands above,

with its symbolic sword,

holding me to my word.


The Word

That it be not performance,

all empty, all for show,

it must flow from somewhere

not clearly intelligible.

That it be more than a way

of passing time in the void,

it must come from a mind

that hovers stilly on silence.

That it be strong with desire,

not the common feeling,

of matter and its despair,

it must conquer all gravity.

That it be firmly rooted,

it must have its origin

in a solidity far greater

than mind-flesh can create.

That it may take the heart

the spirit, the soul whatever

we call it, and exalt them

it needs fire from eternity.

That it may last lifelong

be emotion that endures,

truth must be there inside,

all love and beauty’s laws.


Index Of First Lines