Paul Earle

Paul Earle - Unsplash

Authored by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved.

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A black wind blows on the image of the cedar.

The image of the motion of air in the seeing

Eye troubles the midnight image of the cedar.

In the dark of the mirror an image of motion

Reveals the imagined movement of the cedar.

In the eye of the mind the image of the mirror

Is the image of wind in the image of the cedar.

An imagined wind blows the imagined cedar,

In the eye of the mind, in the darkened motion

Of the image on the glass of an imagined mirror.

In the imagined mind the motion of air disturbs

The image of night-bound cedar in the shining

Image reflected from the darkness of its mirror.

An imagined reflection shimmers on black glass;

It is the image of an eye gazing on blown cedar.

The image of the motion of light in the night air

Disturbs the movement of the nocturnal cedars.

The image of process of mind in the seeing eye

Stirs the mirrors of sight in the gleaming branches,

Reflects the invisible stars and the planets rising

Behind the mind in the darkness of moving cedar.

The mirrors of branches in the glittering cedars

Stir images of unseen stars and planets rising

Out of the silence of glittering dark reflections.

The vast wind carries the stars among the cedars

In the unseen image of midnight mind reflecting

Darkness of branches, tremor of imagined motion

On mirrors of minds in the wild tremulous night.

Ambiguity Of The Idea

The cold of winter is not the cold of winter,

But is our cold. The frost and wind

Are names of thoughts, the reality we create.

The thought of a sadness shrieking in the air,

Is not the sound in the ear of wind and cold,

But simply the sound of sad mind shrieking.

The wind and cold have no minds for winter,

But these minds do. Likewise the bright sun

Rising in the eye over larch and birches

Heavy with snow, is not minded to mourn.

Where does the black crow sing between

Worlds? Is it happy or unhappy, dancing

Over the crust of light? Bare morning burns,

Whether with ice or fire. This landscape now

Is what you make of it, dreaming, are made.

The mind of the bird and the un-mind of Earth

Are one. We interpret their beautiful signs,

That point over the drifts of the frozen plain.

Some parts of the mind are bright. Some glow

With last night’s fires and the far galactic veils;

We are not deceived. Equally, cold thickens.

A word of cold and a word of heat contend,

To form the language without indifference,

Order without intent. The lack of purpose

Exuded by your thoughts of the universe,

Is a reason for believing in cold and heat

And not the joy or misery of the season.

The thought of the frost and wind and sun,

Is the thought of what you the maker know,

In the inner making, is never the thing itself.

The Sunflower And The Heliotrope

Sunflower twists its yellows to the light,

Heliotrope its fragrant purple turns,

Singing the high praises of the sun.

The flower of the sun turns in seething space,

Becomes a sunflower in the turning mind,

Call this what you will,

You bring me the sunflower’s midsummer blaze,

You bring me the heliotrope burning in violet.

I eat the oily seeds of becoming.

Whatever we were is changing in what we are,

The white sun draws ours eyes from time and space,

Into the inner stations.

I am the sunflower, if you say so, you are star

Or heliotrope in its purple obeisance.

We turn to the light

Of galaxies, turn to the orbit of selves, turn

In the splendour of green leaves and storms,

To every token of the daedal Earth.


That thought which was all of the past,

And the vast light beyond the window

Were both more of reality than I am.

And the huge past which was thought,

Was more than the far external glow,

Or less; as the gleam beyond the glass

Was less or more than insubstantial past.

I hovered between the two. But the two

Were hovering in me, so I proved more:

More than the solid phantoms of the past,

Or than the light in its first glimmerings.

Island Of Perception

Blue fell from a sky that was not blue.

Green poured from leaves that were not green.

In the silence a yellow sun shone that was not yellow.

(In the eye the yellow sun shone from a clear sky,

Soft green leaves flickered over a pebbled shore,

Above the cry of long-billed gulls in the waves.)

The sound of waves rose from a soundless tide.

Wind in the morning light blew in noiseless air.

The cry of gulls was a cry from the mute heavens.

(In the ear the crash of breakers drummed on stone,

The gusts of wind sighed through the moving leaves,

Thought wheeled to the cry of grey abandoned gulls.)

The flesh of tasteless fruit was on the palate.

The foot resisted insubstantial sand.

Flowers without fragrance hung in air.

(In our mouths the mass of fruit broke sweet,

We kicked against the blondness of burning sand,

Our spirits drowned in the perfume of bright flowers.)

The Feeling Of A Feeling

The thought of a thought may be in truth a feeling.

This is the sense of I, the ground of I,

Like the perception inside of a dark river,

The flow of power is more than what’s in the eye.

Out of the air we grasp the night-winds’ flowing.

The process sings and we detect the process,

Beyond the mere flow itself in the form of flow,

Which is the sense of being beyond becoming.

Here are the poles between which charged veils ride.

Here are the contrasts and the opposites,

With which the mind is charged, its deep conjunctions,

Here are the symbols, fleshly analogies.

How is it that you catch the world gone by,

The red-breasted bird in flight, the magnolia

Fallen, the whirling eye of the storm,

Except through feeling?

The I proclaims no necessary meaning.

Among the welter of necessary facts

That follow from the constructs outside,

All the boundaries that organize themselves,

The I declares no necessary purpose.

The feel of freedom is the eternal feeling,

That brings on fear. The bright poles glimmer.

The thought of a feeling may be a feeling.


There was your hand you gave me in moonlight, saying:

What begins must begin in memory, and ends there.

The meeting is the inward resolution of what goes back

Into the morning bayou;

Its dark reflective green, its moist wet trees,

The snapping of fish, the alligator-silence.

The first encounter is the last beginning, which like the first

Takes place in thoughts where daylight

Is mingled with the mind’s fresh unfolding,

A certain understanding of the shadows,

Which makes the sense of fate, the false assurance,

Only the meeting of dawn with the river.

There was the river flowing in the moonlight, your river,

Showing what was there and what was not there, being

Itself a symbol of its progression,

An endless transience, to which they gave a name,

Those peoples who once lived along its shores,

And now give way to others, enter in them.

The meeting is already comprehended, as is the ending,

You so said. What ends in memory always began there,

Only in a different form of twilight.

The green and purple storm has tinged the horizon.

The heron lifts from the roots of some deep inlet,

Its flight a fold of morning and the river.

The Winds

What moves is in the mind, is not the mind.

As cloud stirs, crow flies, white sun whirls.

What moves beyond the mind moves the mind,

The forms it cannot make surround its making.

What takes place in the funnel of my thoughts,

Blown on by the massive winds of darkness,

Is not the sum of blackness nor the self.

The giant levers move the tiniest motions.

The tiny motion of the powers of thought,

Is gazed on by the massive light of silence.

The image of the feeling of an image,

Is this bright symbol that we send to oceans.

The banners waving, the high bright banners,

Signal that something moves not mind alone,

But in the mind’s conjunction with being.

We cannot say what moves beyond the mind,

Except that it is not something we created,

Else why these massive winds of light and darkness?

The midnight roaring lulls the beating mind,

The hum of the giant mirrors of the sky.

Fandango Of Time

The fandango of time dances in the air,

Its castanets follow the flow of skirts,

It’s a rhythm heard on a street

In another century,

The vibrant strings of the guitar.

The strings of the air quiver in your mind,

The castanets beat on your memory,

A concatenation of sounds

That progress in time.

The fandango of time dances in your mind.

The sounds in your mind dance over your feelings,

Their rhythm joins with that of castanets.

A flow of skirts entangles memory,

That flickers in another century.

The tremors of feeling form a dance in time.

The feelings in your mind dance around you,

Their castanets chatter, their skirts flow,

You are a rhythm on a street

In another century.

Mind in the air dances the fandango of time.


Hung there the simple scarlet of pomegranate,

A reddened glow in a corner of the morning.

There were the senses, too, the mind of body,

There were the senses, too, the body of mind.

And your face, there, the simple skin and bone,

Was still your face. The tough-skinned fruit

Hung there between the real and unreal, as

Pledge of the movement between realms,

Uniting them, the live, the dead, that exists

In memory only, but memory is held inside

In the form, if the object embodies meaning,

As frozen reflection, as a mirror of the real.

Memory is Persephone’s dark realm; the poem

Of mind is feeling, overt thought, a messenger.

The flickering swallow it flies through night,

Battered by turbulence, over death-black seas.

The form contains the past as image. Meaning

Is stored there, mind alone provides the key

To unlock the process that is a re-creation

Of meaning in the present from frozen form,

Which is also the present, where alone past is,

And all the potential futures of imagination,

As all the potential futures of the dual world.

The artefact, the object and the self, they are

Strangest embodiments that go on persisting.

Not change alone creates the perception Time.

Rather the change followed by persistence,

Persistence opening vastly in fresh change.

And both in the mind, and somehow in the real.

The pomegranate hides its blood-red seeds,

Which eaten are a pledge of the re-creation,

A gift of the dark to us for our gifts to the dark.

So the pips of existence in your mouth, the blood

Of being, substantial, on your tongue, the rind

Of time and space, the bright glow of the globe

As it hangs from the zenith of noon, the token.

Without You, In You

Out of Chaos the singing order comes.

It chants itself across the burning bay.

It forms the wind and sea for company,

It ruffles the leaves of spun reality.

Out of disorder, order with no design

Wrings the bells of the flowers azure,

Holds up mirrors: the great glass of sky,

The black glass of the river roaring on.

It is self-organised, our singing world.

Its chant in you is the chant beyond.

Form is the essence of the real outside

And in, not simply matter that is energy.

You must have a mind of chaos to sing.

Out of the dark relation will appear notes

Of the scale of mountains or of clouds,

Dots on a stave of mysterious mutation.

A chaos deep in you will transform itself.

Glimmer of lucent meanings hovering

In the bright water show a fin or ray,

The fierce burning season plunges there.

Or of ore, argent of silvering, almost a form

Is singing there below the conscious threshold,

But that also is you, whether asleep or woken,

It is the churning of the unfamiliar tide surprise.

Gift Of The Already Given

Our dawn comes out of Russia, our night

Descends into American seas.

We pass our dawn to you.

Your evening ends in Pacific mysteries.

Stars of the great steppes rise in our East,

The Moon I send you is no moon of mine.

The jewels you receive

Are some green necklet of the windblown brine.

All our deliverance from exhausted night,

Comes from your depths of phosphorescent dark.

The blackness that you see

Out of our skies ascends in its effulgent arc.

Fashioned of brightness blown towards our West,

The galaxy hangs milk in a web of fire.

I send the turning Wheel.

It brings the burning Swan, the Eagle and the Lyre.

Communication Is A Purpose Of Meaning

What is the word you try to say to me?

Is it the word we could not give each other?

A blue wind gathers over the Mississippi.

The ferryboat is blue in the evening breeze.

Where are the markets for the depths of soul,

The burgeoning markets with living wares?

Why are the days descending on the squares?

Green alligators cruise in the blind bayous.

When comes the darkness cradling us in light,

The delicate darkness filled with orange stars,

The Gulf of being where the squids fly high,

Argentine fish and emotions of deep ocean?

How shall I say the word I could not say?

Was it the word you gave, already given?

The blue wind runs in reefs beyond the bay.

Black cars climb bridges in the evening sky.

The Arbitrary Is Not Art

The dove that is a tree, the lion that roars

In the looking-glass, the mirrored river

Flowing through the caverns of the mind.

The imaginary glow of intrinsic moons,

A world on the mantelpiece, a house

All dark in twilight under a cloudless blue.

And why not the silent woman in the stars,

The shape of humanity against the sun,

A dove in the wind green-foliaged a tree,

Feathered limbs dissolved in pumice stone,

A strange machine its purposes unknown?

Still there’s deep logic to the imagination.

To startle the mind accept the mind has laws.

The Bronze-Feathered Bird

Though the world beyond the mind is devoid

Of values, that is not the end of values.

The peculiar music plays, the barer shapes

Twist on the canvas, sparse the poetry,

But you and I are love in the breakers’ roar,

The breakers fall true on the glittering beach,

The shore sings beauty in shining resonance.

The world beyond the mind is given meaning.

The bird that sang, the bronze-feathered bird,

The one Byzantium made, is dumb and gone.

Imagination sings on the perch of night,

Its cry is what the alien dark sings long.

It is a cry of energies without purpose,

No less tender than more cruel to hear.

The world without a purpose is the void,

The void without a purpose is the world.

When being seems to be and seeming is,

The form of the mind is in the poetry.

The form of the poetry is in the mind.

O bright values call on the twigs of night!

For you and I are love in the silvered dark,

The darkness gathers true on a shining shore,

The shore sings beauty in gleaming resonance.

We grant the world beyond its only meaning.

No Emperor

Let us not make death a personage.

The iceman and the snowman may be one,

Carving the drifts of darkness,

In the mirror,

Spreading the sheet, watching the body lie

Like soapstone angled sharp to oblivion.

But let us not make death a personage.

There is no form under the skeletal skull,

Waving its silent diktat in the air,

Above your head,

Vanishing in shadow down the night,

Gathering bright cold in the atmosphere.

There is no empire and no emperor.

Its limousine idles at no dead man’s door,

No ghost gusts across the empty floor.

Your sighing

Is memory in the deepest plane of night,

Gathering in its arms what was best-loved.

No Platonic Spaces

You plant a tall tree there beyond the stars,

I understand: you want it real.

You wish it then incomprehensible,

A tree without cedar bark, or swollen cones,

Un-rooted, waving to galactic veils

A tree that is not and yet is imagination.

It is a tree that cannot touch your life,

I understand, you wish it so.

Since if it could it would be the tree within,

And simply then a pass of the fantasy,

Making, as I, a universe from mind

Although I say the universe is given.

Your tall tree bows down somehow to brush

The signs of suffering from your cheek,

Yet cannot do so.

It is a tree with no Platonic grove

To give it immaterial meaning there,

It simply hovers in the midnight air,

You think I cannot comprehend the wish,

Or cannot comprehend the depths of pain,

Or more the joy, the sheer delight?

It is its shade that chills me, how it cheats

The burning sun of all its depths of night,

Casting its own deep nightfall on the ground.

I plant my own trees in the dark beyond.

Green glittering branches of eternity,

Baryons fleeing through obscure space-time,

Fragments of light from pasts beyond recall,

Ready to launch some later universe,

That neither you nor I are ready for.

Tree not of my design, who could create

Anything as mysterious as a tree,

That even when explained is not what we are?

Its flesh is other, its sap, its fruit, its fibre.

It made itself out of the otherness,

And resurrected itself in me. Mind is the tree.

Very Old Are The Stars

The oldest galaxy sits there calmly, a knot

Of light on the screen. It takes no time

To cross the floor or pierce the glass.

Riding a light-beam is outside of time.

The light’s a memory containing meaning.

We measure time watching it cross the floor,

Or cut the window plane in fire,

So faint it hardly matches our desire

The longing at the very heart of us

For beginnings and for endings.

Strange that the ancient mind considered

Light flowed out of the eye to illuminate,

But simply a confusion of light with meaning.

Meaning flows from the mind to explicate;

Meaning surrounds the oldest galaxy.

Mind merged with the world is irreality.

The Force

I feel the massive force of the poem.

The poem gives the massive force of feeling.

The massive force of feeling is from thought.

Thought goes down into the memory, process.

Out of the memory, process dredges feeling.

The massive force of feeling empowers the poem.

So you step from a bright lawn with statues,

Out of a white building filled with paintings,

To face the camera on a day of meaning.

The shutter blinks on eternities of feeling.

The photo lost, the mind retains the image.

Cars and people framed the eternal fury.

Light shone as in some nuclear explosion,

To lay life bare and shatter all illusions.

The massive force of love becomes the poem.

A Basin Filled With Water

After the flowers have fallen, the light falls

Into autumn, into the bowl of trees and lake,

Round which the white statues stand musing,

If they could. The beautifully human glistens.

It is the child feeding bread to the silver carp.

It takes a while to understand the human is greater

Than the inhuman; there is no poverty in the air;

We are not less than we have been, we are more,

A more moral world, a scientific comprehension

Of what flickers through the mind the universe.

Because both are one. We cannot leave the play,

And what plays without us has no meaning,

Though it has a presence out of consciousness,

Whatever that would mean. The stars rotate,

In a glittering that is still a thread of promise.

A moral eye looks out, it is filled with values.

It brings you beauty, a word, and affection,

It brings you the neutral consciousness of light

From autumnal galaxies that have no autumn,

But you will not look neutrally on these skies.

After the flowers have fallen the children play,

In a space that is overblown with leaves and petals,

The grass shows the print of others who were there.

They are the figures in the unfinished drama,

Each one the flicker of mind, invented, re-invented.

Pike Is Pike And Not More

The pike has no claustrophobia in its dark green world,

Why then we in ours? Its weeds and stones, its shelves

Of light, do not provoke a musing about its thought.

Its surface and its depth are no names of thoughts,

As ours are. Pike feels without describing its feelings.

So creatures, planets, stars and the galaxies: universe

Not self-descriptive, other than we are, is unresponsive

Mirror, reflecting back ourselves with no new message.

Look in the deeper mirror inside to reveal the ghosts,

The phantoms of thought swimming through memories,

The dreadful glass that reveals yourself, strange pierrot,

Who wait forever in the wings of a spectral darkness,

Never to be called on stage. Pale clown on the ladder,

Lifted above the boards, waving at moons and starlight,

Look in the deeper mirror to see your bare exiled self.

Pike moves through interior dark which is endless glow

Of its own element, between earth and air, never a fire

Burning to reveal the alien being. But we are self-exiles,

Strangest of things, reflective mind, stranger than dumb

Universe, whose only strangeness is self-consistency.

But we are difference. Where the pike glimmers slowly

Through dark silence, we in our particular language rave;

This human that partakes of the same matter, tint, form,

That shouts to the muteness, howls for identity, thinks

Itself far from every origin, distant from every consolation.

Everywhere, Nowhere

Even in darkness the braided waters sing

Being is the river now immersing everything,

The long black flow.

Outside the river is nowhere. We are inside

The river we cannot leave, it is inside us.

As it seems to flow.

After the turbulence passes, the current’s whorls

Dissolve the river that was in the river that is,

It is still the flow.

It has no shores; sun, moon, and stars are inside

The river, night and day, its lights and shadows

Illuminate the flow.

Trees (with white hair of leaves) and reflected trees

Are both within the waters, they shine there,

Phantoms of the flow.

The dead gather there, inside the minds of the living.

Populate its bed with fish and birds, houses gleam there,

Deep inside the flow.

Every perception is water, we would like to know

Something of its source, or its destination; it has none,

There is just the flow.

Stepping through its blackness there is no force impelling,

But to walk upstream through memory is hard,

Against the flow.

As in space, where no gravity exists, we swim and breathe,

In volumes without air, our fires are drowned,

Submerged in flow.

Other creatures, plants, existences, our dreams, sway there.

Down its cascades, like flumes, the debris surges,

Embraced by flow.

Under the light and air, appearances, there is the river.

You ask the purpose of the river, it has no purpose,

An un-purposed flow.

Identity Retrieved From The Sea

Breeze sounds like a breeze in the mind.

The cry of the birds is the cry of the mind,

In trees that sigh with the intellect’s sighs.

But the bright sun gleams on the bay.

Waves break in the breakers of thought.

Over the shores of thought, bare feet

Tread the shells and the pebbles of thought.

But the sun rings out in the sky.

Slowly a boat of imagination, its white sail

Cutting the farthest tint of azure horizon,

Crosses the gulf with barely visible wake.

But the sun on the hillside shines.

A cloud, or two, selfless, create themselves,

And un-selved float alone in a tranquil blue;

A gull, a ‘y’, soars and cries, sinks, floats and cries.

But the sun proclaims other and I.

The Face

I considered the image of a face in my mind.

It trembled in the storm of evoked emotion.

The power of the emotion bore no proportion

To the solidity of the face in its real existence.

I considered the meaning of its real existence.

It had been the other that impinged on mind,

But in separate existence of that mind; a mask

Which was then solid in primary perception.

It might now be solid or not solid, an unknown,

As the state of a place we saw but are absent from,

Or a place whose name is seen, or the room

Beyond the door, but to live is to assume.

So the real and the unreal are one in the irreal.

The face as it was and the face in memory,

The face in thought, the face of emotion, are one.

None of them is less the face, or more the meaning.

Now I considered the storm of evoked emotion.

This implies that what the face contains is more

Than the face itself, it drags along the person,

And other faces, bridges, cities, rivers, speeches.

So the face encompasses tracts of time and space.

The face in effect is a world, with a world’s tremor,

An atmosphere, a challenge, a resistance, a fabric.

The face is a globe that surrounds and lights me.

The face is inside my mind and I am inside it.

I explore the dimensions of its remembered arc.

I try to explain the vast tides of feeling, blown,

In the eye of the storm, over its errant landscape.

The power of the storm bore no obvious relation

To the extent of country I observed beneath me.

There was a howling in the wilderness of air,

And then a calm. In the calm I saw the face.


What you would leave behind is what others left.

What you can leave behind is only yours.

A little more than what a photo might convey.

A little less than others, a strange identity.

It is as though you recomposed the picture of self,

And merged it with a picture of the species,

Or took the seasons of life and drew from them

A sketch of the possibilities, dim inexplicable.

What you create can never be what you are.

The icy analysis will not capture the laughter.

Creation is what you are and what you are not,

A constant turmoil whose artefacts are other.

Behind the Greek statues, the anonymous artist.

Best so. Since even the named are anonymous.

And what you think you know is only what seems,

The vagueness around which unrealities hover.

You would leave behind your particular sun,

The trees in your mind, the skin of your world,

The three-dimensional taste of your century,

And not the past which has only the one dimension.

You would leave behind what you loved, yet

You take that with you, or rather take nothing,

To become the particles of a new arrangement,

Which is dissolution and transformation both.

You would leave behind a message and a pointer,

A sign set high without name, without direction,

Conveying the fact of inner destination outwardly,

The purpose imposed, the values to be conveyed.

You would pass like Mercury over the horizon,

Close to the sun, carrying its sole communication,

The feel of its light on the skin, the sense of its fire,

The strength of its burgeoning in the green fuse.

You would find a metaphor to convey your self,

Though you cannot find yourself when you try,

Only the blacks and whites in their faded frames,

The paper, splinters, fragments of stick and stone.

Amethyst, Argent, Sable

His colours were black, silver and purple.

Gold was the luminary of the sun.

White was the snowfall and its landscape,

The lack of form, the blankness of the void.

Black, purple, silver were his colours.

Blue was the azure of the wild surround,

The mirror where the clouds went to and fro,

The colour of the sea the breaking sea.

His was the twilight of black, silver, purple,

And the shadow of the angled depths at noon,

The midnight colours of the storm-sped moon,

Floating a barque across the bays of mountain.

Green was the word of life, the sphere of life,

The poem of the summer mind in its occasion.

Yellow the sunflower singing to the sun.

Silver, black and purple were his colours.

The wine is on the palate, the stars fall down,

Imagination weaves in the hulls of darkness.

His were the tones of silver, black and purple,

Shrouds of the evening in the tangled wood.

Nature’s Order, Not Our Order

An order grew from the seed, it replicated.

It was self-same at every level of being.

Its boundary was the detailed infinite,

Its repetition was never the same arriving.

An order plied in the heart of our dimensions.

It hovered about the form of its renewal,

Returned along the paths of its unseen centres,

Marked out a domain, between a space and space.

An order moved, but never the same twice seen,

As the flow in its flume, braided in infinite motion,

Never the same, coils in the threads of water,

Ever the same dark current in the living mind.

An order, not our order, fills all our objects,

Makes our horizons, spins the processes,

Reaches down through all the planes of being,

Reaches out to all the folds of the universe.

An order, self-organising, self-created,

The un-designed, presents its scaled invention,

Exemplifies spontaneous artistry, perfects

The rigour of the care-less hand and eye.

An order, given, un-made, free, marvellous,

Shone through the garden to the statue’s base,

That held there white, uncompromising beauty,

Form of the human, cast from chaotic mind.

Mind Is A Passion Of Its Own Creation

Without our passions what would be mind?

What would be mind in the cells, the metal?

As for me, what comes without emotion,

Is the motionless orbit of blind eyes and skin.

As for me, I can only understand being,

By feeling the texture of a comprehension,

By taking sides in the inwardness of values,

By reading the world over and over again,

Until there are favourites, influences, forms,

Until on the pillow at night the shape cries

And the objects shift in mesmerising dark,

In the inner dance, or in their inward storm.

Values are the decision of their passions,

As beliefs are the acts of the inner human,

Truths of the irreal though not of the real,

Our only paths to the gestures of meaning.

Mind is a passion of its own creation,

Which lies below creative consciousness.

Consciousness is the identity of mind,

Projecting meaning onto the mindless world,

And into the empathetic stir of the other,

Human or creature, wherever circuits glisten.

We wait the shadows on the moonlit screen,

To cast our shadows on the silvered lawns.

Beyond Imagination

You are the far sublime, the fiction

Beyond all my conception.

You sail phosphor seas

On a shell-strewn shore.

Your pastorale is my cavatina,

The psaltery, theorbo of hours,

Diaphanous limpidity, transparence

Of midnight azure and blue noon.

You are the artist of the verb I make.

My making is your tune,

Melody of light, of shadow,

You sail seas,

White with primeval foam of mind forlorn,

Moon-creature of desire

You are the blanch

Of ivory meaning in the frost of dawn.

Atramentous night, where I exist,

Simply clothes the pale hull of your sails

With branches full of constellated fruit

To hang in tinkling dark about the moon.

No Wilful Obscurity

Clarity is the light inside the web.

What use the frustration of intelligence?

The plain sense is mysterious enough,

The figure fully seen its alien face.

There is a necessary move to bring

Existence to the reader in the light,

After the night’s insomnia, the rain,

The green glass of stars, the restlessness.

Slowly the obscure world unwraps itself.

It is a figure of the dreaming mind,

And has no value unless you set it there,

And has no meaning if you move your place.

All the extraneous is to make a music.

It is never the music that we wish to hear,

The one that brings a purpose to the lack

Of purpose, the one that mirrors there our face.

Stare if you will at the morning window.

This is the hour before all time begins.

Welcome the form of its obscurity,

It denies for you the absolute of things.

Reality Is Imagination’s Mirror.

The bee, blind, honeyed, sank in its shaft of gold.

It was there in the green glass. The mind is a bee,

Creeping close to the trumpet heart of the crimson

Flower. And the mind is a flower above the flower’s

Meaning, anticipating the rain the flower does not

From those thunder-headed clouds of dark and grey.

Mind will go chasing meaning forever down paths

Of the universe. And meaning is the signification

To self of patterns of existence in mind’s languages,

Which may or may not correspond to world, as bee

And flower do, or the act of perceiving both. Soon,

We will have to have a new metaphysics of meaning.

Meanwhile the child chases memory into the green

Mirrors, into those shimmering frames of receding

Selves, each fainter and more distant than the last,

Each moving, gazing, troubled, waving, smiling.

It is immaterial whether or not there is a mirror.

The deep green selves are chasing a deeper light.

Reality is Imagination’s mirror.

More Serious Or Less?

The poem is the force of its conception.

Mind causes the grass to be green, stops

Us dying of the intolerable emptiness

Of the void, or dying of our crying.

The poem is the strength of its succession;

The eye in the dark the proof that we are

Dreaming; our dreams, of the real. That death

Is absence of reality, the mind its presence.

The poem is the power of its conceiving.

Those memories in the head walk and talk,

With the living faces of forty years ago,

Pick the flowers, are a tempest roaring.

The poem is the force of its conception,

The strength of its seriousness, of the mind

Beyond it, of the world behind the mind,

Of the power to resist the phantom night.

No Way For All

The fly on the window, that’s the essence of it:

The Other, the repugnance, the mind interpreting,

Foisting a meaning on a wholly valid alternative.

Sartre’s root, poking itself into the heart’s nausea,

Pure alien. If we met minds in the universe other

Than human, they would be less alien than root.

Or fly. Some can’t love everyone however hard

They try. Or embrace the void. Or float here free

Of all responsibility. Some grapple with the tree.


The sound of the septet as a sound of feeling,

Or say the elusive resonance of instruments

In the silvery echo of the gone mind’s conception,

Therefore flickers in the landscape of the hearer,

In echoes above the mutter of the fall and river,

And becomes a stream of feeling silvery falling,

Plummeting now, shattered on those black rocks.

Which are Death, or its representation in music,

The silence after the echo, the septet before septet

Again, and after feeling. There is a distance from art,

A work of art, that increases and decreases, sometimes

Across a chasm, sometimes too near then for the spirit,

Like this. The black frames of the stands glisten, the chairs

Are people and the people chairs, the phantom vanishes,

And the movements of the sounds transpose reality.

And if the septet is not the real septet, but the tremor

In the mind of a ghost of the hearer’s own conception?

Then we understand the one artefact has many meanings,

As many as there are minds. And even these sciences

Can only describe the structure the process perceived,

And not the exhaustion of all movements of the process,

Which is the non-computable nature of unfolded being,

Infinitely recursive, loquacious in its ambiguity, and so

As unrepeatable as the septet, and the feelings it evokes.

The world is locked in repetition, of beauty, of meaning.

Immortality Is Deceptive

And put the fly in a poem, like a Muramachi poet,

Immortalising, yes, a specific fly, you can’t kill

A fly you’ve just put in a poem however much

The buzzing annoys you, it’s no worse than

The buzzing of an Earth of phantoms round you,

And maybe in a hundred years no house, no flies,

But the glory of the wastelands, glowing softly,

Nor the impossible frenzy of all these mad rituals

Going on and on in the buying, selling, screaming,

Laughing, worlds of the shadows, nations, dreams,

Senseless artefacts of the minds, not enough mind.

No harm in the fly. Plenty of harm in the world,

We put there, beyond the fly, the glass, green

Summits of trees hanging on clouds of white, one

Patch, no two of blue, above dark volumes of grey,

Which is to say further this way so higher, apparently,

And the hum of traffic which replaces the buzzing

As the fly halts to consider another kind of irreality

Utterly than mine, I assume, but it’s not the specific

Fly that becomes immortal, it’s the meaning of fly,

As it’s not the poet who is immortalised (ah, fame!)

In the poem, but the meaning in the poem, its buzz.

Another Meaning Of The Sun

Love cannot be the winter in the mind,

Nor you the split boughs cased with ice,

The dazzled mastery of the unintelligible

Shivering before the advent of the sun.

Love cannot be the windless leaves creaking,

Over the frustration of the bared white grass,

Between the dry canals, the chill underpass,

Where shadowy concrete underpins the light.

Love cannot be the cry that rang unintended

Over the criss-cross of the phantom sirens,

However dull and colourless world’s leavings

When feeling lapses out of your arteries.

Love cannot be the billowing of dumb cloud,

Passing in what we call the blue serene,

Though devoid of any instinct for serenity.

Love is another meaning of the sun, as bright as fire.

Body Cooling, Your Mind Goes Cold?

By fiction you mean invention something less

Than reality, as mind is something less than a black hole

Sucking in matter from its galaxy to message-less death,

Or a rebirth in chaos? You equate power to kill us

With the great? And the lack of morality, of values,

Manifested in winter or the veils of gas

Shrouding the cauldrons of hot forming stars, blue-white,

As an indication of the triumph of nothingness?

Yet all’s the void. The ant, the grass, your eyelid, clouds

And constellations, they all subsist in the emptiness,

Which lacking purpose is forever insubstantial.

Consider: if there’s no mind out there, the deep fields

Lack meaning: more interesting than a crossword-puzzle,

Or a game of chess because defying analogy and intuition,

But much less to us than the sight of the other across a room,

Less than the wisp of thought called art, less than a leaf, perhaps,

Which being leaf of a tree in a memory of a place on a planet we love,

May mean more to mind than two galaxies colliding,

Or our understanding the equations in the fruitful maths of our era.

So fiction may be the body’s imagination, its fine fantasy,

Which may in turn be no more fantastic than your claimed

Reality, which when it comes down to it is ever in mind,

Though it’s given in darkling powers and may oppose us:

A fantasy perhaps: that cannot kill, yet can give the spirit life.

No One Watching

Our forms defined the landscape till light faded.

Then the black wilderness beat like a heart-beat

Under the vast conflation of the stars.

We were subdued by natural forms.

The wilderness we aimed to civilise

Turned out to be a civilisation

More subtle and more humble than our own.

Its very power was its humility.

Its secret was it had no secret purpose.

It grasped at nothing, nothing was achieved.

It had no sense of ownership or meaning.

Without a brain or heart it had no life

Except in the things it granted life to,

Without knowing that it did, or could.

Our forms dominating, dominated nothing.

The slave had no idea of its master.

Till light faded, we walked through the landscape.

There were trees greater than earthly trees.

The river flowed with brightness in its sound.

The fleshy leaves grew taller as we passed.


Seal in the singing sea,

The dark diver in his element,

Swirl from the swinging

Residues of time

In foaming grey

And cerulean blue.

Let liquid eyes,

Black orbs

Of midnight, muse;

Scan the beating brine,

And braid the moonlight,

With thoughts eternal.

Nothing in you begins

Or ends. Plunge

Through wild arcs of glass,

The green arcades.

Shimmering with fires,

Embrace the darkness.

There is nothing more.


In the elemental wastes,


From the residues

Of time.

States Of Awakening In Louisiana

Mind looks in the screen books windows mirrors,

Sees what is and is not in what is and is not.

I am the self that remembers and the memory

Of selves. I am mind behind the conscious mind.

Here is the void without purpose, silent, dark.

One meaning flickering outwards is enough.

There is no way to stop the dawn’s immense weeping.

It is a greenness of tears containing the yes and no.

Squirrel navigates live oaks on the black power cables.

The machinery of money pounds still in perilous forms.

Naked in the light dreaming is the correct posture

Of the poet. Alive or dead is in no way germane.

I do not mention the river, the river mentions itself.

It brings down the hills of America, oh, promised land.

The barges are Rimbaud’s barges in emerald spume.

The ferry-boat is Charon’s barque of glittering cars.

No one could begin to imagine the breaking of dawn.

The breaking of dawn is the beginning of imagination.

Lonely our courage, trembling forever enduring innocence,

Flies as it flew with last night’s moon of monstrous white.

Violence under the stars a continent screaming in tribulation,

Eternal existence tender in silence shivering in empty air.

Butterfly vast of bayou light on the red shrub sip at being.

Pale dust on the stairs where I sat to consider the darkness.

The trees were open and hidden the cicadas open and hidden.

The movement of your thoughts in the air was open and hidden.

The denial of dawn is magnified by lightning by rain on tar

In the deserted lots where the weeds grow as valid as we are.

A rejection of blue is not an acceptance of grey, neutrality

Is not a state of the being with breath, we go on without us.

Again and again the plane lands there in the rouge of sunset,

An ocean out there west over billows of land the snake below.

Over and over the plane lands over the big lake the highways,

In the quivering maw of the dawn in the delicate iris of mind.

Music And Meaning

There is enough in the tiny tenderness of the Brahms,

And in the melodic moonlight of the Chopin

To persuade the heart that all is well.

There is sufficient in remembering the gushers

Of water spouting from the hill after the rain.

Nothing is less, the dwindling light is fulfilment

Easing its way over the rim of tree-starred horizon,

Soothing the anxious mind with irreality.

The moth on the leaf of night continues to flutter

In the roof of the mind, its pale wings beautiful.

The Schubert too is perfectly capable of continuance.

This is how the perpetual recreation has to convince,

Be left as the chosen path of contemplation.

It is no source of similar sounds but a free uniqueness,

Which persuades of that terrain we could return to.

Human hands striking the keys have become such tremor

Of notes in air, as mind of the performer interprets here

Past mind of the composer from printed score

Of another century, to stir the hearer’s feelings and flow

Like the moonlight itself through the moonless room.

It is irreality’s simple demonstration of meaning moving.

The transfer of even a single bit reveals the power enough

To lift the moth from its leaf among pallid threads,

And pass like a glance or a murmur or a silent touch

Through whatever medium separates mind from mind.

Products Of Motley Selection

No, no-one’s concerned with death, they are concerned

With the no-more-being-here or the harm to what’s left

Behind, or the process itself of dissolving ongoing process.

Death is the nothingness about which there is nothing to say.

Not even a figure from myth, or a form dancing the horizon,

Not a sound or a sign or a particular place in space for long.

If darkness appals, then it’s simpler to think of the light,

The amazing flowering we only now begin to understand,

And how the place where we end contained its beginning.

The skull is an emblem, we in the cave, under the ground,

Or the death’s head hawk moth’s furred embellishment,

Or the scythe in the field or the patch of Trojan blood.

But death itself is not. The emblems reference the life

Of the living, not the dispersal from planet to galaxy

Of the handfuls of atoms with their lost bursts of light.

Beware of the metaphors that disturb the imaginings.

Beliefs are beliefs of mind. Wandering these stones,

These sleepers in quiet graves are not even sleeping.

And a slight persistence is about the minds of the living,

And loving, about memory, meaning and performance,

That burgeons above the hillside like the rising glow

Of a plenary satellite dented blurred by time’s assault,

But still lifting, over and over the silhouettes of trees,

In your forest of night where no single bird has died.

Courts Of The Night

If you sing without anything spiritual at stake,

Is it singing? Spiritual, of the spirit.

However clever?

The issue is not even translation, or imitation,

But singing of the spirit, whoever’s spirit,

However done.

If the machine sang (as it will) that were not

A singing of our meaning, we, that is, this side

Of the machine.

If the sound simply emerged from space

And not the space of the poet and the singer

But empty space,

A moaning of the intentionless universe,

A cry of the other, in a like mouth not ours,

Would that be spirit?

Phenomenon certainly, perhaps even artefact,

Captured, art, subtle to our interpretation,

Through being granted meaning,

(So that the sighing of the trees is art, the fall,

The night-bound sirens) but not spirit

Until we make it so.

If you sing without sense, obscurely, too much at ease,

Where is the cost? Was Mozart facile?

The spirit laboured.

It may cost a weariness, but did it sing, of the truth

Of things and not the easy lie,

With love or beauty?

The poet is the poet of his conscience, it is this self

The harsh voice in the evening light,

Delivering judgement.

Keep It Real

The photographs of the ordinary grasp world.

There is an art outside of art, which is action

Of memory on a world that is merely concerned

With living. Art can be a contamination.

Art that goes out to capture the ordinary world

Is an abomination, which should be actionable

By the mass of human lives, the artist shown

How to return his thefts to the inartistic world.

The creator looks with abhorrence on creations.

Own work’s uncomfortable, the concept died

Somewhere in the making, there is a silence

And a stillness that every creator knows, a rest

From whatever it was inside possessed the mind.

Who spends their time wandering the graveyards

Of their own dead, is it wise? Then keep reality

For mind’s sanctuary, but still cherish the irreal.

The irreal is where we all live, but from the real

Flows the fierce stream filled with flumes of light,

That absolves us of our black arts, our languages.

Its Movement Is The Drama In The Mind

What is it Piero’s figures gaze at?

Nothing of the limestone the domes of trees,

The mirrors of the twisting snakes of water.

They are there in that same way.

They present themselves to the light,

They wait in the river of light which does not flow.

They are being, competent, complete.

The drama is calm. So much is real

Only because we consent. Deny the myth

And it evaporates into real un-meaning.

Do you guess the thoughts behind

These inscrutable faces? There is no heat,

The pale blue sky is cool. Is it ritual;

The pre-destined perfect silent and unveiled?

At The Full

The shadow on the blind in the mirror was every

Shadow in the world.

Silvery moonlight spread its gentle cloth

And the emotion went chasing over the floor,

Climbed the wall, settled silent on the ceiling.

An emotion like every emotion in the world.

It was loneliness, or longing, or the pain

Of an inevitability.

Its inner cry was the long wail of the bird

Crossing the unseen blackness of the sky

And falling into the moon. It was death

Or the fear of death, and life, green and sighing.

It gathered to itself time, the companion of late affections,

The transience that limns

Beauty’s poignancy, and the torments of possibilities

Unseen and un-pursued; it gathered remorse, regret.

It was the shadow of whatever is real, and unreal,

The fusion of this outside us (to which we can only point),

And the imaginative projection inside the moving mind,

Which are, together,

Interweaving the woven web illumined by the shining full,

The waning crescent, every net, every tremor of the human.

The shadow on the blind like the shadow of the fir was etched

By moonlight, it was almost the shadow of a man, wavering.

Far Enough, High Enough, To Turn Back

The sound of the place where he climbed in silence

Was not a sound of mountain but of feeling.

The vision is ever the same eternal vision.

The dream is ever the same transient dream.

The feel of the space of vision where he felt

Was the space of an emotion turned inside-out,

The emotion being generated by the dream

Crossing the sky of the dream, over the mountain,

In a gust of sound which was the gust of the wind

Blowing on the real or imagined tracts of stone,

To make a metaphor of time in the imagination,

Dream that flickers, the vision that does not pass.

The unreal space of the world is always the real

Space of the mind as the unreal space of the mind

Is forever the space of the real, the image is one,

A gust of the construct blowing inside the process.

The thought takes place in time but feels a surge

Of language inside a space, words like mountains,

A range, the peaks, the troughs, the snow-fields,

The warmth of the mind against sun-wet stone.

The gust of words blows through a valley of time,

Time being movement, you can smell the herbs

Which are not herbs, hear the shiver of water,

Which is bright in the corner of the inner speech.

The wind in some sense is being, as being seems

A movement of whatever is not stasis of not-being,

A presence which is the wind and its wild swirling,

The curious feel of stone, air, self, substratum.

Mind in the wind feels the thought whirl in space.

The mountains of the dream appear taller, closer,

Their flanks are clothed with curling, vibrant seas.

He becomes the sound of vision where he climbs.

Woman The Pillar And The Flame

Hot summer blazes down on thick-leafed trees,

And the woman of summer wanders, leaf in light

As she appears to the mind of a man, despite herself,

That which is all things nurturing, all things solace.

She strives to shake off the metaphor, why sun and moon

In the sky of a human planet, why the gold and silver,

Why sky and earth, or earth and sea, why the single tree

The wild apple white with its far-breaking foam in spring,

Or the hawthorn, why now green summer, the virent wave?

Today she strays across the lawns of emerald, malachite, verd,

To become in the memory of a man the determinant,

Though it saddens her to be metaphor not engagement,

She would be what she is and not symbol or mythology,

And will be what she is without aeons of association,

She will be free mind moving in the suns of summer,

In the eye of the wind, the snow-peak, the shaking tree.


Here is a small presence carved, it sits on the mantelpiece,

It is some kind of beast or bird,

It holds inside itself all the quiet of the room.

It is ivory or wood or bone,

Polished, it has no immediate meaning,

Except its stillness, the stillness, whereas the evening

Is a shadow, a half-formed, unfinished medium

Hanging in the glass.

The meaning grows. It is from a human hand,

A long lost human touch, it carries its maker’s sign

The meaningless sign of creation,

Its curves are clean, and its hidden angles

Its undersides are equally complete,

They communicate a sense of values,

A desire for beauty cherished, the love

Of the maker for the finely made,

The deeper signature,

It means all art, all struggle to achieve,

All skill, experience, longing, wisdom,

It means the humility of the small validity

Of the shaped in shapeless night,

It means two sides of the globe, the matter

Of the creatures and their forms,

The purpose and the function of the made,

Two languages in the head, an echo

Of cultures merging, and one more ancient;

It means a man sitting quiet in a quiet room

Writing the meaning of the silence,

The tremor of ceasing the tremor of going on,

And the mystery of those dual tremors,

Feeling the little presence, delighting there

In what offsets the darkness and the quiet.

Unaccompanied Sonata

The reality of things becomes

The irreality of things,

The mind-world objects,

The shadowy processes.

What is, is a reflection

Of how mind processes ‘is’,

What it projects

On all these signals it receives,

Forms it acknowledges, creates,

This mind in world

Which is the world in mind

Perception in ever motion.

What is real outside is re-created,

What is real inside is re-projected,

Your blue, your dark, your intellect

Your feelings, all these sounds.

They assault the night

They draw the constellations in.

The instrument is in the music.

The music is in the instrument.

The Blue-Flowered Weed

The blue-flowered weed is something else,

Something more than the ragged sense of self,

The flower we don’t cut down, but leave to grow

In the untamed corner, in the dew and dust.

It’s the object the dead would come back to see,

And cherish as a token of the given world,

The one that blossoms without our intent,

And is destroyed by our wrong intention.

The one that would tell them, yes, they felt

And what they felt was ridiculous existence

In all its strength demolishing the body,

And setting itself embodied in those leaves,

Coarse and hairy, on their ribbed green stem,

Bowing to escape our words that don’t describe,

And forever don’t contain. The language

Of the dead would be objects, exchanged

Held there in hands, or what passed for hands,

Or pointed to, or wept on, or possessed,

In the spirit which is all transient possession,

The nothing owned that is a moment cherished.

The blue-flowered weed is so laughably itself,

So boldly unplanned, superfluous, filling

The wasteland and the deserted slopes of air,

To never a purpose, simply spontaneous life,

Which the dead would envy, silenced there,

Lacking all trace of drama, or achievement.

This we would come back to see, beyond the pain,

Beyond the white silence of the extinguished heart,

To watch the light fall on the fluted pillars,

Hanging pure blueness on the edge of meaning,

To touch the rain-filled fibres, the moist flowers,

Wild beauty waved in planetary colours.

The Age Of Empathy

The Muse of tragedy? Well there’s the world

Floating a blue delight in the starred blackness,

In all the intentionless energy of the silence

Beyond this human species. Now turn back,

And watch the violent without sense or mercy,

Nail their shadows to the masts of moonlight.

Where’s the design in this? Though there is order,

The self-created self-sustaining order burning

Its crazy candles fleeting in the flying universe,

The order of the flower and the glowing crystal,

The order of breakers, cloud, the season, light,

The questionable order of the mind, its desires.

The Muse of tragedy is the muse of destruction,

Its banality. Her agony is too much pain for us,

Who are sated with pain and agony, who stare

At images of distant galaxies and grow calmer.

She acts in silence on an empty stage, peopled

By dark ghosts, the ghosts of power, the bells,

The hollow bells of rituals crueller than death.

The tragedies are monuments best left in night.

An age of empathy prefers bright constellations,

Hanging white fruit in the non-inimical mirror;

Prefers Ovid’s pathos, the gentle humanist,

Or the sweet redemption of The Winter’s Tale.

The Man Of The Future Looks At The Stars

I sit and watch the stars, they are a part

Of my irreality. Does Florida still exist?

I am clasped round by the technologies,

Data of worlds, and yet the self is still

Tender and fragile. More so. The rays

Of night converge from the deep abyss

On the lonely mind, darkly it is exalted.

I sit and watch the stars, the flow is real

I am a part of: relation there and form;

No way to step from the river, or halt

The current, or stand like stone or glass

On the hill of our own creation, outside

Nature. We are inside what we observe.

I sit and watch the stars, outside and in,

Shining slowly. Erosion is not all of life;

I am species, and am more than species,

Mind, self-created and creating, flower

Of three hundred thousand generations,

Blue-green in the blackness, glittering.

I sit and watch the stars, through which

I fall. Singing Earth is never left behind.

It is the bitter root, the transcendent leaf.

The sea sounds deeper than our metaphors;

Our metaphors are deeper than the sea,

Bursting on time’s billion shores, forever.

Sudden Thunder

You are aware of your own awareness,

In the day that has suddenly darkened

With summer storm. Sweet lightning.

The dark is an early twilight, the green

Of the trees goes black, the rain hisses

As it must do in the Tropics mutedly.

This is not the end, not even the presage

Of an end. Mind lives through anticipates

The brightness, this is the very centre

Of the metaphor, the white stars weep

Somewhere beyond the clouds over

Africa. Or winter glitters in Antarctica.

Washed leaves glitter, the colour returns

To flowers, there is a sunbeam seizing

On a twig. The mind inside is flame again.

And there is a tinkling from the gutters,

A last sinking glimmer in the roadway,

Quailing before the immense hot power

Of whatever it is shines in whatever glows

In whatever space it is encompasses thought,

If you understand space as implied relation.

This was neither a melting nor re-forming,

Of what is. Merely a resonance repeating,

A bell-note sounding, a ringing in the Void.

Everything Is All Of What It Seems

There is not one thing and its opposite,

Nor one feeling and its counter-feeling,

Nor a thought and the diametric thought,

There are the complications. It may be

In the world of the mind that a thing

May exist as its opposite, a feeling

Be twined with polar transformation,

The thought embracing its contrary.

There is a clash which is not a clash,

But the deeper understanding of form,

Such that a blue may raise a ghost

Of yellow, the act appear to counteract.

So you are not my foil, an antagonist

Within the play a dramaturge performs;

You are not placed at my antipodes

To sing the night to suffuse my dawn.

All the mutations of light are one,

They are the quantum states of self,

This the entanglement: that we discern

The essence of the self in each other,

Which is not the self, never the other.

And the moral being is just this care,

Discerning more closely fluctuations

In all the complex mass of subtle shade.

Tell me what rises from your silences,

I’ll match it with these voices of mine:

Say what you see in skyey mirrors.

Distinctions are the cradle of the mind.

Bee And Butterfly

Slowly the butterfly moves over the flowers.

It is the movement of what is not the butterfly

Or the beat of its wings, pure blue in the light;

Yet not merely movement in the inner space,

Of mind which would be to distinguish form

From form, the form in the senses, that is,

From the form of what is beyond the senses,

Moving slowly through whatever is the real.

Both are forms of the form, aspects of each.

This is the essential entanglement of irreality,

That everything is both being and perception,

Perception and being, or part of unnamed void.

The void is what exists beyond perception, full

Of the energies that manifest themselves in this

World of appearances which are also actualities.

Can you separate mind from body, day from light?

Slowly the butterfly settles among the flowers.

It is the motion of what is neither the butterfly

Nor the beat of its wings, pure blue in the light;

And never merely movement in the inner space,

Which we call mind. The bee rises in the air,

The honey-bee barrels through the golden air,

Humming a sound which is in me a feeling,

And in you a word, an image (a metaphor?).

Beauty Born Of Transience

Our response to transience is beauty, feeling

Ah, of vulnerability, on the brink of falling

From moment to moment through the night,

Hearing the lapping of wavelets on the shore.

Nothing comes out of death, but the verge

Of death is a place of amazing resonance,

Accompanied tonight by the watery sigh

Of leaves about to die unknowing of breeze.

It is the world’s unknowing amazes us,

Coupled with our deep knowing, deeper

With time, this consciousness of presence,

This tangled net of selves grasping selves,

Of self seeking self, walking midnight bay,

Listening to rhythms from which the escape

Would be lack of music in the universe,

Lack of the grace, the meaning we granted.

Mind cannot wish un-mind, cannot conceive

It. The peace we seek is simply a harmony

At the edge of death, at the uncertain margin,

With bright forms, beauty born of transience.

New Platonics

The poverty of the imagination saddens.

We could not make the world which is more solid

Than we are, is glutinous, vibrant, tangible,

A foreign world glimpsed across mountains,

Its soil, the villages, the alien trees

With glittering flowers and unknown fruit,

The birds and insects we cannot name.

A single leaf is beyond us, or a cloud.

The sketches do not move, the flow

Of notes and words, the gestures are always

About us, when what we desire most

Is something not of us, and not our past,

Something we have not (the species) known

Before, easing curiosity, the boredom.

But the place of the imagination is irreal mind.

It makes the world it knows and knows the world

We go on making made time after time.

The rest we pursue is rest from self and other

Selves, rest in the stimulus of not having

To imagine this world any further, simply to move

In a universe of forms that are not our forms.

Words From The Well

The thing that changed with age,

That no one told me,

You have to know

By living through,

Is the gradual disengagement

From superficial

Aims and purposes;

The denial that those things

We all were told are true

Or even worthwhile;

The sense that my values

Are not their values,

Or maybe your values.

You assume your values

And bring them to me,

Saying: ‘These are the values

Of the world’.

Try to comprehend:

The mind before it vanishes

Must be true to itself

True to its nature,

True to its learning and creation.

Why should I be part

Of what I did not create

And was not born for?

I have engaged;

I have been deep enough

In those pale shallows,

Trodden dead water.

‘We lay waste our powers.’

Why accept the wasteland

Or the wilderness?

They too are acts

Of the imagination,

The morbid, dulled, or weary

Imagination that makes worlds.

Don’t involve me in your schemes,

Your expectations,

I am your freedom.

‘Écrasez l’infâme’

The foolishness of sacrifice

In that distant age, saddens.

Some poor sacred ritual

Designed to appease

The perennial gods of violence

Or denial,

Leaves its trace in the peat.

Anaesthetised before death, perhaps,

Posed in peaceful stillness,

No, he is not some metaphor

For the mystery of the divine,

Or the darkness of other violence;

He cries the thing itself,

The evil I confronted in another


Its casual random cruelty,

Its mindless cause.

For freedom? Faith? The only freedom,

Is non-violence, kindness, empathy.

I will not celebrate his physical

Reality, its survival;

Nature is unaware; no goddess

Took him to her heart.

Nothing will germinate from ignorance,

The language

Of death and its devotions,

Dumb repetition.

Here is the beautiful freedom now

Of mind in intentionless eternity.

The Output Unforeseen

Since we have seen and been the actuality

Of love, truth and beauty, if only for a moment,

Then they are always here,

Always a potential of creative process,

A possibility of this universe.

This is the unforeseen output of the equations,

The flower un-guessed from the seed,

Though once seen forever inferred,

Eternal prophecy of self-organising being,

Which is always more than energy;

Becomes form. Though the black river

Is being, and flows on, as alteration,

The dark builds levels, structures, light,

And bursts in mind. Reality presents itself:

We are the mask itself our minds project.

What The Dove Said

There is no search, there is nothing to find,

The way is its destination.

Beware of the sentiments of suffering,

When empathy becomes obsession.

The only freedom is to begin again,

Our ghosts are always with us.

At the end of the road there is no depth,

Only space, in a moment crossed and gone.

Flight does not escape the phantom,

Only the spirit can do that.

The sound of the bamboo flute signifies

More than hollow nothing, more than void.

The uncreated dove descends in uncreated light,

To coo in the emptiness.

The metaphors of loss and pain are endless,

There is only one metaphor for joy.

At the end of the land, watching the stars,

A consciousness in time.

The dream has always been that the others will one day

See as we can see.

In the reddened light what forgiveness for all that pain,

The violence, the mindlessness, the ignorance?

Dionysus and Apollo are both gods of power,

And all the gods and deities are foolish.

Sensation is not craving but the source of the real,

And pain and beauty are intertwined.

Our fault is not in thinking too much and too deep,

But in not thinking well enough.

The selfless state of consciousness is not in itself

Desirable or undesirable.

You cannot find a non-existent purpose. Every why

Ends in either a purpose or a how.

Don’t fill your mind with metaphors and fancies.

Truth has no icon.

The worlds of passion are endless and destructive,

Passions must be transformed to be understood.

All art is a frozen passion, the energies pass

And leave their trace behind.

Compassion implies superiority, empathy friendship.

I am on the side of empathy.

Feel with those you can feel with, love those

You can.

Creation and preservation are the ultimate values,

Destruction is their opposite.

If there were sin, which there is not, and a primal sin,

It would be violence, against body or mind.

What has no absolute reality is not therefore only imaginary;

Imagination is sacred irreality.

Understanding is the thin margin at the verge of knowing,

The boundary that finally eludes.

The more sensitive the mind, the more pity devastates, the more

Tragedy destroys. Nothing demands we be destroyed.

Every poem exceeds the understanding, but so does every word;

Words are bounded only by their usage.

The mind may be destructive despite itself; its purposes

May be self-defeating.

Reality looks different a thousand feet up in the air;

There is space on the mountain of the self.

Lack of talking is not silence. Silence is the contemplation

Of that about which there is nothing to say.

What we do not value is ultimately empty; but emptiness

Itself may still be valued.

If we only value purpose then what is purposeless is empty;

And we search for purpose in the intentionless.

The freedom of the dove is to fly above its own past,

And descend towards its own future.


Some are rooted, others not. I possessed

My regions of the mind, they were not given.

This is the age beyond mythology, its metaphors

Are out of nature as the universe presents itself,

Not as the fancy amplifies, gathering charms.

Consider the stories, but comprehend reality,

The gods and demons are our self-made ghosts

Haunting the corners of the dark imagination,

Or the bright, not these mountains, trees, walls,

These forms found in the grasp of re-projection,

In that interplay of self and sense that makes mind.

I wander regions beyond those I was born to,

Trying not to be seduced, to discover by thinking

What the mind has done and can do. We create;

Creatures of change, not stasis; seize the substance,

Build from the materials granted; this pale stone,

This wood for fences; these clouds and hills, these

Feelings, thoughts for poems; this flesh for life.

Nothing Told Us

The world in the head in the wilds of summer

Sings and aches and melts with the dew and rain.

The world in the head is made of all it sees there,

And the mirror in which it sees the wild mind makes.

The world in the head is wild with the wind and stars,

Scouring the pines and larches over the mountain.

The world in the head is made of the constellations,

The whirl of the galaxies is its own bright whirl.

The world in the head sleeps in the silent moonlight,

Sleeps and aches with the sadness and pain of Earth.

The world in the head is a moon-world, foam and fire,

The ice of rest and the light from the mirror made.

The world in the head is the only world of our being

Summer, moon, wind and mountain keep their silence.

The world in the head grows from the wild mirror,

Shaking in storm, showing lightning, azure, glass.

Turning The Wheel Of Karma

He climbed a metaphor and it turned to dust and stone.

The mountain of desolation shone in the cloud and fog.

He climbed, without ropes, in the gravity of his heart

Dragging him slope-wards, he climbed at first in hope.

The track he followed was neither up nor down, it ran

Through the long spaces of his dissatisfied dreaming.

He carried his sorrow on his back, his pain, all death,

Disease and suffering, all desire, all beauty, craving.

He carried the world, to leave world behind weeping.

The mountain was there, it neither watched nor waited.

What he wished, a sign for his life’s direction offered

By sun or wind, was not forthcoming, only dark scree.

He carried himself curled tight in the ache of his being,

Setting it down against rocks, by tarns, in stream beds.

They were all parts of the mountain that denied him,

The mountain, the metaphor, hanging in the mind.

His body was on the slopes of the real, his thoughts

Floated in brightness of peaks, of the shining pearl.

The mountain gleamed in the stillness of its being,

Existing through aeons without sense or time.

In his restless spirit he was already descending.

To live with the self is not a question of wishing;

Perhaps a matter of discipline, of temperament,

Intention perhaps, indifference to the pain of truth.

Finally he was neither himself nor the mountain,

Which is never a mountain, always a part of mind.

He travelled the same road inwardly as outward,

Over a continent of night bathed in dust and flame.


The tall pendulum swung in space

From the ornate ceiling of the dome.

It swung slowly beyond my feelings.

As I returned from inspecting caves

Of remembered dead; the brassy bob

Moved silently over the marble floor.

I returned and sat to watch the pendulum,

Or rather gather my thoughts together,

The movement of fragile dark emotions.

This is how the earth moves and the dead

Move with it, and the living, while here

The swinging path stays in one plane,

Moves delicately about its strange attractor.

My feelings oscillated in one plane, my body

Moved through air and light, circling.

The pendulum seemed to move infinitesimally,

Without the tick of the clock of measured life,

Making its traverse below the massive dome.

My thoughts accompanied, slowly circling,

About the strange attractor of my fate,

Beyond my feelings oscillating in one plane.

I felt the science of inarticulate pain, how others

Fade into distance marked off by an intense

Feeling, making an island of the lonely mind.

Something about the height and weight of it all,

Building and pendulum and clouds and city,

Oppressed my feelings, those agitated feelings.

The tall pendulum swung there in space

Through the ornate silence of the dome.

It swung slow, far beyond my feelings.

The Poet In His Picture

He thought description was the way do it.

Words closer, each word weighed and placed,

Out of the english horde, to make all solid.

He thought there was a virtue in precision,

That things in their silence grant emotion

Breathing-space, communicate a meaning.

His exteriors glow. His interiors shine

Like something from de Hooch or Vermeer,

Only modern, of a long-benighted country.

His rightness is the rightness of things seen.

The observed rituals, the conventional feeling,

Deepened a little, made more spiritual-seeming.

He was of earth, earthy, dreamed he was more,

A poet of spirit perhaps, one born to dead faith,

The slowly dissolving face of the missing god.

He placed his bricks as if they were great stones.

He built the charming walls that hedge him in,

Yet which seem to frame his portrait perfectly.

Not Made For This World

Subtle you vanish behind yourself, behind

The trees in the gardens,

Statues in the square, those benches, flowers;

Vanish into the green river trailing,

Into the wind howling round the bridge-struts,

You are your own ghost,

Gentle and delicately moving

Among the fragments of your southern city.

Carefully you display no sign of permanence,

Nothing too sharply set,

Nothing defined, like the edge of a bench,

Or the bushes bordering the flow.

You prefer the shadiness of leaves: blind cicadas

Crying to the inner darknesses,

Are not your meaning,

Drifting among the butterfly alleyways.

You are the gift of moonlight in the mind,

A variant on creation,

Its mysterious obscurity of being, ambivalence

At the smallest magnitudes,

Un-measurable by experiment, intangible,

As the unspoken, unspeakable

Expression of uncaught feelings,

Seething below the frontier of your thought.

You are not the lightning, the tempestuous rain,

Beating on the bedazzled glass,

The wind blowing the long curtains skywards,

Or burning pit of light,

Or crash of the inevitable, the grind of gears

From the all-night world,

Its arrogance, its harsh cruelty.

You are half-light, half-self, my ghost of being.

In Between

If the world was the imprecision of the world,

If it slipped and slid, more than viscous,

Unbound in any series of equations;

If reality was more than non-linear, intangible,

Beyond the maths, beyond the senses,

How could mind and irreality exist,

Even in some inexplicable form?

If reality existed solid for the mind, transparent

To mind, not needing to be caught by our equations;

Then mind would be the world it projected,

Fused with it in some deep symbiosis.

To touch the world would be to touch

The world and not ourselves, not the mind,

Where all we sense is subtle self projected.

As it is we exist between the real and the ineffable,

In the space of interpretation and creation,

Where mind itself is part of what is

In mind, the process and the object seeming one.

So world exists neither imprecise nor solid,

And we exist between knowing and unknowing,

In the mastery of the senses, their powerlessness.

 Still Life

Reading in someone’s life is simulating life,

Writing your own is creating its fiction.

The difference between the storyteller naming names,

And the shy employer of ideas, musing.

If I named the real place how would it help you,

To be me I mean, not to read a story?

Even I am not sure of what I saw, or the emotions,

My sense of truth is an obstacle to speaking.

I admire the confidence with which others do it,

That harking-back to the great days of being,

When everything was outside, like chopping wood,

Swimming in the sea, or walking the trail.

But at the other pole of poetry, this strange season,

Nurturing an art-form sliding into prose,

I fail to clear ideas, to hurdle the deep confusion,

Held back by feelings, limited by the mind.

Write This, Read That

In language the other, not the self, satisfies.

Do you really read your own poems?

Once past the tree it’s not worth going back,

Crossing the fallen needles, brown on green.

I stumble along the path to newer woods.

Watching the fresh configuration of cloud,

Swirl in the silence, cumulo-nimbus,

Icy castles, contrails, streaks of light,

What was the last configuration of the real?

A jet plunges into the sun and re-emerges.

But you I read, your descriptions of everything

Around you, where you were and what was done.

Bearing witness is the reason for our sweat,

Working in the shade while they sing in the sun;

As you did, though your poems say otherwise.


You’ll sing to me

In the sad light of blind reality.

Will we be free?

In the sad light of blind reality?

Our mystery:

In the blind light of sad reality

You’ll sing to me.

World Is A Strange Motet

For you reality is solid, life is everywhere,

A peacock-feather, bead, pelt, mattress,

The campfire, meadow, trees, fog,

The mountain, the city, all the people.

I realise now for me it’s not the same.

Reality’s transparent, there are phantoms.

The ethereal air is ethereal space, the vast

Towers are maya, blind appearance.

I poke a hand through the store window,

Tremor up, down, sideways like the leaves.

When we touch body passes into body,

Mind into mind, the invisible exists.

Soul, spirit, they are nothing religious,

Simply the unseen processes unfolding,

In the empty skeleton and its sad flesh,

Beautiful though evaporating in silence.

And nothing permanent. The work’s not done.

Creativity is forever, the words control us,

Deep down, not we the words. No lament.

This one life is the unlikely gift, un-given.

The invocation of things is fine, but that alone

Can’t save us from the spiritualization of time,

From the sadness of existence in bright eternity,

The translucent ply of energies, conservations.

But no lament. There is a tenderness in seriousness,

The spiritual music will play if we give it space,

The monsters, the phantasmagoria will fade,

And women and men luminous will walk free

And radiant from the heart of the living furnace.

There is a conflict between the vision and the dream.

There is a conflict between nature and the machine,

Unresolved. The billions in their innocence deceived.

The world un-solid slips from out our grasp, in change,

And though you claim the power of things about you,

I ask for consideration for the intangible other-life,

Which permeates like the winding river of dark being.

Even your thoughts seem substance, granite matter.

You celebrate the rock, the creek, the vast moon

Gleaming on my lamp-lit evening. Do we take mind

For what it is, the in-woven cradle of the self, the real?

I gaze down into the space of the screen, the whiteness,

And there I place these words to shine, dispersing,

The cry in the ear beyond the presence of the ear,

A part of the music, the shuddering of the voices.

Mysterious: Picasso?

From the blue period? Signed, at top right,

Validly perhaps. Two women with children,

Seated. The walls are blue, Behind the lace curtains

Blue trees, white houses. A child in arms,

A child standing. Crumpled white fabric

On another chair. Blue vase, saucer and cup,

Blue fruit (an apple? blue) on the oval table.

Blue shadows on white blouses, one blue skirt,

There are yellows in the folds of lace

Of the curtains at the single window.

The flowers in the vase (chrysanths fading?)

Are yellow, pale, and purplish blue.

One child’s head (standing) is of blue shadow,

The other the infant’s head has strands of gold.

There are shades of ochre, pale sand, umber,

Here then there.

The furniture is dark, the blues deepen

From people towards things,

In the azure world a movement blue

In which no movement exists.

There is a stillness, softness, absorption

Of mother in child, mother with child,

A tenderness unexpressed, harsh almost

But gentler in surfaces of light, deeper

In pools of shadow. The painting is unknown?

The chalk-white gleams, in fabric, folds,

Overlaid with lapis lazuli, cerulean blue.

This is a world. Never in reality?

Filled with the essence of reality,

The cool intensity of imagination.

The Moment Of The Eye

A whirl of silvered leaf goes down the road.

A form of leaves scuttles between the hedgerows:

Its movement divides the deep green shadows.

A whirl of beauty catches the watching eye,

Cries its vanishing, speaks of transience

In the tones and subtleties of its existence.

A whirl of light contests the road’s blackness,

Its tarred silence. A spiral of time unwinds

In a moment of time; the one thing here and there,

Is that one thing, or many? What sways in the eye

Is it swaying and not what sways?  A whirl of silver

Leaves whirls in the mind, in the emotions.

It is the whirling of life in the silvery wind light

As thistledown passing along the fences turn

And turn again of the substance of being.

It is the whirl of beauty, sweet in the watching eye,

Sighing of vanishing, rustling of falling low,

Over the dark roads deep through viridian shadow.

Colours, But Not Of Feeling.

Two in the half-light, the fountain spraying,

While the stars from Russia lift over us,

Bringing all Germany, all France,

The arc of the world mirrored in skies

Black with the winds of the Arctic tundra.

Gaze in the dark glass, feel the universe

Tremble and press its magnitudes on you,

Unseen, rolling the world around you,

The heavens of glass that shatter in silence,

Send light to eternity out of no anguish.

You there and I there, the water trickling,

While freaks of the eye align over us,

Bringing the east to meet the west of us,

To die in vermilion, lake and damask,

Free of pain, free of love, free of hatred.

Little Figures In Enamelled Fields

A language generates its own sensibility,

Which passes deeper into language.

The introspection, the individualistic

Longing of these late centuries is not

Reflected in the earlier language,

Which takes its cue from society,

As society from its means of speech.

So the late interest in landscape.

And we no doubt consider our own

Hoard of words exhaustive, as they did

Once, the players on a different stage,

And yet the same reality? Where

In the Classics are my trees and roads?

We gaze in the distant mirrors sadly,

Longing to see ourselves, finding only

The language of the past, its opaqueness.

Did Ovid agonise over the real, unreal?

Did Propertius yearn for Faustian spirit?

Did Catullus caress the bark of a tree,

Or Horace feel the shifting of the mountain?

A sensibility informs a language, its tongue

Drives the dark rivers of a sensibility.

Minds of the forty-first century, will you

Be mystified by our imperceptiveness?

Branches In The Wind

The movement is universe gone and being,

Being and gone. The world, the place, are

Still the world and place, but other world

And place. An energy alters and remains.

It is a green energy flickering in the torsion

Of the trees which is: the trees themselves,

Which are never the trees but rather the flex

Of branches and the passage of the wind.

Reality is the movement of reality, in mind

Or space. Unmoving reality would not exist;

As nothing exists in unmoving imagination,

Which is self-contradiction, mind moves.

The movement of the branches in the wind,

Is the movement of universe out of which

Trees emerge, greenly expressing form

In the flickering eye. And mind uninvolved,

Observer of the scene, never the frozen man,

The man of glass, at the heart of endurance;

Never the oneness of the flow of lucent air

The being, the concept fixed, and the motion,

United in a single river that is always passage.

Even the stone not the stone but the moments

Of the perception of stone, the moments here

Of the engagement with a universe, the flight.

Being So

Be kind, if you can. There is so much here

That does not deserve our kindness. Give

Affection as a gift, it is a form of creation,

The silent kind, perhaps the best of us.

Forgive, if you can. There is so much here

That does not deserve forgiveness. I have

Seen evil, it is the selfish spirit coruscating;

Others as objects; a psychic greed and fear.

Love, if you can. There is so much here

That needs our love, as we to be needed.

Love is free sharing, and a common

Tongue, the deep, the true consideration.

Last out if you can. The warmth of mind

Is all we have against the silence; rituals,

In the end, of kindness and forgiveness,

The being so to create our being so.


The inherent order is our image. Flicker

Of thought around identity, as the tree

Is the tree in the wind, the river runs on;

Form almost solid, almost being there.

Or rather what being is, within the chaos

A relation among efforts that still holds

A fluctuation around that central core,

Within the form, the outlines of shadow.

In its strange orbit the planet moves,

And the moon of the planet, like mind

Around identity, which is then the orbit

Of the self, with its attendant moons.

Blues cluster around blue, creating blue.

These tremors are the image in the eye,

A something abstracted out of movement.

The word’s the word in congregated meaning.

Here is the music, here its interpretation,

Never the same crying twice, always one.

The world seems solid, almost central form,

Then time ravages, the scene’s translated.

To and fro the pendulum in its path, making,

Living, the unrepeated tracks of repetition,

A trembling of green in the unstable mirror,

Or these moving constellations of the stars,

This icy skating round the lake of darkness,

That burning oscillation of the sun, its tropic

Dance, that rise and fall of lives, civilisations,

Till the ragged measure’s tread seems uniform. 

Here is the music. One Schubert rises delicate

From the Antarctic ringing, the snowy towers;

The bespectacled image fades, the silent score,

And over the tundra the black puma prowls.

Human Order Is A Majesty Of Mind

On a day of weakness the strong rains wither,

The wind diminishes; the dark green sky,

Driven by black, weighs its mirrors without

Meanings on the heart, turns flesh to soil.

The ground gathers, the hand reaps nothingness,

The leaves run wet with the effort of being leaves,

Though each leaf is only the substance that it is.

And never an intention launched across the air.

The music of the sea is not a music of form,

Rather a muffled roar of an absolute fury,

Chaos its calling, or by the cliff a sheet of calm,

Without head or fin or buoy or fishing craft,

A grey corner, or green-purpled bruise of foam

Breaking on shattered steps. Where is your cry

For order? Is it enough, the quietude, the lull,

In which you are not argument, engagement;

Or the discrete roaring, of unstructured afternoon,

The turmoil of the lion in the air? Your strength

Is the hold of the tenacious limpet on the rock,

Or the weed clinging, rubber, to the breakwaters.

And no superiority, by virtue of consciousness.

An enervation darkens the teeth in the mouth.

Reality seeps from irreality to stand outside,

As though belittled mind was less than stone,

When mind is more, more stone than stone,

Infused with our stony tongue, stone history,

The stone on stone of the granite language made,

Standing high and firm towards the starriness.

It is no more, this mood, than the other of fire,

Nor less, and is a construct of the ebbing process

Before the moon-ripe crescent of glittering flow,

And is no more reality than the majestic other.

All human reality is mind, irreality, the fusing

Of the purposeless sounding with a human music,

Whose notes are the small ascents, the low hills,

One step in front of another on the rough slopes,

About which there seems nothing great: a phrase

Catches, hooks at the heart, a repeat in moonlight,

Over the carved leaves, over the shades of chairs,

To fall on the table here, suffuse glass with time,

And you are no longer withered. The melody moves,

A form unwinds, a ribbon of mind in the brightness,

Quivering with memory, trailing its aches and sighs,

A track of awareness that is the only transcendence.

The wind scatters drops of the lamp onto shavings

Of black. The tiger of flame blinks an eye where

It waits concealed by landscape, a deep yellow eye;

And there is no death before death, and no dying after.

Un-diminishing Witness

Fearless Moon climbs quiet

Over the edge of horizon,

On pinnacles that graze upwards:

Whispers then in silver.

Moon, unafraid, in black grass

Makes dimness near-green;

The trees, the wild pillars,

Nature’s declaratives.

Un-trembling, the moon

Holds the dark tufts at bay,

Fills the bowl of the heart

With wet argentine.

Moon, unafraid, moon brighter

Than stars, dissolves glass stars,

Ice stars, the shattering stars

Broken in night lakes.

Moon, courage maker, bares

Pale lips to the terrible dawn,

That exhibitor of being, fear;

To unmediated glare.

Moon, sweet as the flower,

As the flower of a face

Here once, and never again

(Who will know of its flowering?)

Moon, without terror, intentionless

Moon stepping out through the air,

Unaware of our dread,

Un-diminishing witness.

Moon of the darker world

Moon from the far side, climber,

Treading the vapour of cloud,

Down the wind-blown heart.

Good To Be Gone

Nothing of ours will last, be thanked.

None of our dreams and visions,

And mercifully not our failures,

The faults and the evasions,

That have fouled the living world.

Perhaps there will be a big desert,

Cold and bright in the starlight,

Out of which bare hills rise,

Overlooking the dust road

Where the last car passed by.

The music will cease to play

From the abandoned café,

Or the motel where the fool

Stared at the dingy wall,

And inside cried and shrank.

Perhaps there will be wild ocean,

Azure and gold in the evening

Past the belt of shattered trees,

For Earth’s poisoned symphonies,

Slowly washing clean.

Or a drift of magenta cloud,

Covering fenceless meadows,

Where mad horses gnash

Moon-teeth at the bitter night.

Perhaps all will be light.

Our shadows on the wall,

Not visible then.

But the silhouette

Of fresh forests standing

There, wholly unaware.

The Man In His Years

You think that time will bring you closer

To reality? Perhaps the bright appearance

Will seem less, and the memories deepen,

And yet, and yet, perhaps this is not night

Approaching, or winter settling in iciness,

Perhaps it is the intimation of other fires,

The return of keener sight, no reduction

To the shadows of solidity, its phantoms,

But Imagination’s movement in the eye,

A new empowerment, as the very first,

That silent sun almost unnoticed rising

Over a freedom in time, the bright grasp

Of the flesh on raw felt being, expansion

Of horizons, to the confused unknown.

Perhaps there are forms that are revealed

Only by intricate consolidation, only by

The kaleidoscope of fierce mind musing,

Beyond the learned rituals, the artifice;

Its ambition, not self, world, but meaning,

A guise not pre-destined, a far glittering

Not calculable by stars, or shapely orbits.

Is there a sigh of knowledge, the carrying,

A gravity long-endured; is this the silence

That involves the grass, confirms the night?

Or a pause of forms, a slow hushed circling,

As the colours and the outlines transform,

Create new insight, re-arrange themselves

In other structure: no slide to dark season,

No gathering of gloom, no obscuring there

Of the constellations that forever gleamed

On the mad enterprise, the unforeseen end

Of all awareness: the ever-strange origins,

This burning transience, mind in its cabin,

Body afloat in time’s mutual dissolution,

The wildness of it, the blind incongruities.

It is morning still on the far side of Earth.

Every state of the mind is equally present.

The midnight bird calls on the misted tree.

The billion yesterdays, tomorrows are one

Moment in time, the moment of your being.

The breath of dawn now is not the new light

Creeping in whiteness over the upper snow.

It is not yet first redness, flush of sentience,

The waking thrush, the blackbird on the grass,

The swaying of the poplars’ starlit murmur.

You dream there are no possibilities, no words

Other than those in the books over your table,

That the ghosts would not return were they only

More than the fictions of our hopeless longing;

Return, crying for life, on fire with its singing?

The day is not dying into its own destruction,

Nor is night laying down its silver masteries,

A broken moon fluttering to rest in the sea.

The universe churns; the energies are not yours,

And so not lost to you, those flocks of air;

Everything lifts from dark arteries, re-sounds.

Cancel, Cut, Erase

Wonderfully sweet the work that goes,

Erased, burnt, thrown to the fire in joy,

The secret writings, and the coded life;

Work no one else has the right to see.

Crazy irrepressible laughter of the wild

Non-conformist mind, hiding just how

Little of this given world it believed in,

How much of the regions of the spirit.

Cries of the private soul gone up in flames,

Shredded, or cancelled, cut from the file,

Blown from the screen, nobody’s journal,

Held back from the spurious confessional

(Since no one can claim a real existence,

Only the tissues of half-confused recall),

Given in atoms, electric discharge, to the sea

Of nothingness which is the great fertile Void,

Full of coming voices, as yet un-natured howls.

Send your plough, like Blake, over the bones

Of the dead; bless transience, maker of beauty.

Watch the flutter of pages obscured by smoke,

Gaze at the empty screen, and celebrate this

True personal and one-off mind, swiftly gone,

In hidden deliriums, agonies, pure delights,

Its tremulous ecstasies, crying to be re-born.

Theseus In His Room

The book was familiar. The page opened,

As he turned the lamp to illuminate his hands.

It seemed as if the words though unexpected

Waited for his absorption, his embellishment.

They were not the speech of an alien mind,

Though not the speech either of the everyday.

The mind of another mind opened on the table,

And it was as though a light shone softly there.

The obtuseness of the language was seduction,

The end of the thread at the labyrinthine sill.

She: life, nature, world, reality, had wound it,

So that he might unwind it, with a challenge.

To reach the Minotaur at the heart of being.

In the last corner find the creature keening.

His sword and shield were only papier-mâché,

His helm was the spiky Pre-Raphaelite helm,

Of imagination, and not the true Greek original,

But it served. One had wound his way inwardly.

And left behind these tablets of folded stone,

A name (not his) a form (other than his person).

In the green twilight the book was like a torch,

Alight, planted solid in the outstretched hands.

It shone on bare walls, on black window glass

Beyond which grew a near presumption of night.

It gleamed on the fixings, surfaces of his life,

With an odd continuity of self, as though one

Solitary thought at once gleamed in two minds,

Dead and alive, though moving in only one,

As down the dark curves of the subtler ways,

A shadow shuffled through its animal soundings,

And waited for him there. He adjusted the light,

Lifted his hands, in a silent uncoiling of the clue.

Confirmation Of The Boson

Irreality is a part of the world, and all the world.

It is where ‘I’ exists. I imagine the leaf that is.

Reality is the black river flowing. Irreality

Is the mind conceiving the glittering current.

Every mode of our being takes place in irreality,

Which is also the process, we infer, of reality.

You are irreal to me, I to you. But your

Reality seems greater than my own.

We make the model and reality conforms,

Beyond our reasonable expectations, Nature.

The irreal model fits the irreal measure,

And reality is there, in its new dimensions.

If I step forward into irreality I also step

Out into reality. The world is where I thought.

Surprise is the essence of the real, and un-surprise,

That the holly-leaf is there, that it remains there.

One world in many minds, no minds in other minds;

Empathy too is how the irreal proves real.

The bird, in the masque of air, felt the wind. I know

It was not just the movement in my mind.

All that went into the miracles of our meeting: irrealities

Converged on the core of reality, on the flame.

The beauty is in the given and in the going,

In the zenith of the star, and in its setting.

It was raining, but beyond the sun was shining.

You were silent, but I heard your mind speaking.

Behind the thousand footprints I saw

The marvellous shadow of your passing by.

Fact Not Fiction

Poetry is not supreme. Beyond its form

It has or has not meaning, as beyond

The form of science is correspondence.

So poetry too bears witness or does not.

Poetry is the cry of the witness. The mind

Of the poem is a mind to create a form

Of the irreal mind, as a science creates

A form of the tangible real in the irreal.

Neither poetry nor science can be mere

Invention, even if their content is babble.

The form of the utterance communicates,

Even beyond its words of sense or nonsense.

The poem is a fact as the mind is a fact.

Its serious intent is to change the world,

As every true presence alters the possible;

It calls to the wild and free imagination.

It is the individual flare in the darkness,

That illuminates mind in the glare of stars,

Weakness of thoughts that dove-like glide

To possess the future with a moan of value.

Green Bark

Green bark lifts over the foaming stream.

This creek goes down to pools of granite,

Sculpted smooth ledges and flakes of light.

The child throws pebbles in the dark flow,

Which on inspection is translucent, glass

From the highest fells above this valley.

There is a twisting and turning of motion,

A cascade like hair and pearls, strands

Of braided brightness, coils of shadow.

There is a roar of endless going down.

It fills the spirit. Here, there a bobbing bird,

Under the bare branches of the trees.

We clap our hands and regret disturbance.

We are a part of the unnecessary cry,

Without which nothing here is diminished.

Each of the many worlds has equal weight,

Equal presence, equal validity if not value

For the mind. We must learn a new humility.

Man and woman bird and stone and child

Are one. The vast vigour churns in its far

Remoteness. Nature seems more not less.

When heavens fade real heavens brighten,

And the little here shows its magnificence,

Without a word, jubilant slight existence.


Black heath over the moor, and the skylark

Goes up, invisible, in the singing of the sun,

Performs in process, suffused with feeling?

Before and after, Shelley knew, pining for

What is, and what is not, the poet’s trilling,

Gloom of the night under the silent lamp,

Chill of the real, sad winters in the mind.

Perhaps the bird too feels its own existence,

More lightly than us maybe in the breastbone,

More deeply though in the outstretched limbs,

Over this landscape welcoming but spare,

In which we are no longer truly at home,

Despite our littered fragments in the soil,

The shattered rocks, the bare non-witnesses.

If only our minds could merge with the bird’s

For an instant, and be what we shall never be,

Even if we observe in the subtlest of ways

The workings of its irreality. Do you doubt

That it too creates the world in imagination,

Constructs, projects, feels, thinks, limited

In scope perhaps but not in pure immediacy?

Doubt that the world flares brighter in its eye,

At a hundred feet or so, and that what sings

To me, as to others, in the depths of meaning,

Is a shadow of that gleam, a phantom blown

From the presence of that ethereal burning,

I, less and not more through mind, further

From nature, more distant from the child,

Though on the dark moor, where song rises?

Noise In The Night

Poetry is the last incantation.

The seduction. Those rhythms

Of feeling in the exhausted mind,

The roll of transience, the roar of love.

Poetry is the call of what is

Beyond call. The wind’s order,

The sea’s order, the gateways of the stars

That lead us back to where we are.

Always new planets, new galaxies,

Fresh poems. There is no

Single way to sing our witnessing,

Even the lost moons bear testament.

Poetry is fiction only as life is fiction,

Pure irreality. The tongue-tied mind

Stumbling over these truths that undo us,

Startled by midnight owls.

Not The Tao

Incantation is an arrogance,

Not the Tao.

There’s truth in the casual,

Though form and beauty too

Are in the purposes

Nature hones,

Or rather the mindless sieve

We call Nature.

We see purpose everywhere,

Not the Tao.

There is spontaneous truth,

Though form and beauty too

Are in the purposeless

Roar of Nature,

Its silent lion-roar of brightness.

An incantation and an arrogance

Not the Tao.

The God Of Gaps

They look for purpose.

It is not here inside.

They look beyond, beyond the stars.

The god of gaps

Is absent.

They look for purpose.

It is not there outside.

They look within, beyond the mind.

The god of gaps

Is absent.

They look for purpose.

It is everywhere.

Self-ordered, self-created.

The god of gaps

Is absent.

The Sage’s Song

Young and poor is beautiful,

Old and poor is not.

Those nights were beautiful,

Before the dark was not.

Wisdom worth the having

Was in the early mind.

The knowledge of the old

Is the learning of the blind.

Young and poor was beautiful,

Old and poor is not.

You were always beautiful:

That truth worth every thought.

A Little Clarity

The dreams are gone, the dancing stops,

And we are here

In the bright light of a raw afternoon,

In the back end of February.

But now at last we see each others’ faces.

Here are the human voices,

The beauty of chants

Against the cruelty of wind and snow.

Collapsed balloons end as rubbery shreds

Caught on the wire fences,

A dilapidated silence grips the park,

But there is no poverty of thought.

True we are caught still in the detritus

Of futile violence, un-creative power,

But the glow is in the air,

The winter’s depths are merely attitude.

Now at last we see each others’ faces,

The what-is that was always all that was,

Disguised as stranger things.

Now at last we see each others’ faces.


Odysseus returned from his time-travel singing.

Broken rafts, odd islands, shallows

And seasons lost beyond horizons,

And the wars of others’ causes.

Cloaked as a stranger now it seems.

Things were lost on the voyage, friends

And objects, places and moments.

Experience slipped over his back

Like an old turtle, he the blind minstrel

Of his own tale’s retelling.

Shrewd as a limpet on the rock of life,

Callous with certainty of death, its workings,

Loyal to something, wife or Ithaca,

Or youth, or the olive tree of his survival.

An old fox on a summit in the lightning.

Sign of the cunning man, the sign of nature.

You forget the struggle, celebrate endurance,

Pack your lyre for another court,

Another fortnight paid for while they feast.

The wanderer brings his mind intact from the sea.

The Angel Of Empathy

Desolate in the dark he felt the abandonment of time.

There were the hills of Colorado trawling starlight.

The hum of the night was the throb of wheels westering.

Of black wheels turning on black roads hilled with silver.

He drank the feeling of space, the roar of what passes,

Which is ever ourselves left behind as reality changes.

He knew the craving for peace, rest, end of craving,

Which is also the craving for watched purpose not ours.

Where there was no spring, in an autumnal desert, he saw

Tiny creatures hop bright in the sand with the magic hour.

He was one with all broken species of ancient mourning,

The tribes of red dawn, the bleached bones weeping in earth.

And one with those men and women of the present, keening,

Each in the solitary centre of their dark un-reconciled mind.

He was the angel of empathy, construct of imagination,

A shadow of earth projected into the infinitude of stars.

He sobbed, and the plants writhed. He shook and the clouds

Shook over the canyon rim, the clouds of too-deep knowing.

He lifted his wings of light, and they stirred whispers of dust.

He became the stillness of night, the magnitude of darkness.

Some cloud danced in the emptiness, some veil of silver

Around the essence of what he was, a declaration of mind,

Swirled at the distances, thrust out beyond the moment,

To form which is timeless, being which is infinite.

Quietly in the dark he stood in the desolation of time,

At the conjunction of the marvellous with the banal.

Irreducibly himself he vanished like a glitter of nothing,

A shimmer of permanent atoms in the impermanent void.

The Other Constellations

When the aliens arrive they will be human,

And as imponderable as we are ourselves.

They will be as strange, creatures of the moons,

The stars, the likely and the impossible planets.

They will spring from chance, exist grieving,

Joy at form and light, extol amazing beauty.

If they come carrying weapons, those will be

Human weapons, instruments of time’s anger.

If they speak, it will be to warble a human tongue,

Not unlike bird-speech but a subtle twittering.

When the aliens come they will come as minds,

So like our own thoughts we shall be terrified.

When the aliens come to us here in Andromeda,

They will bring tales our tales new tales once more.


Recovered and lost again, like the sea

Breaking out of the far Atlantic breaches

To pound on the windblown gravel shore.

You, recovered and lost again like the orb

White light in the sky plate of bent silver,

Gone down with Venus over the trees.

Found and let slip somehow, gusher of ore,

Gold water after rain from the stone wall

Spewing down under the shattered bridge.

Trawled from the net of night, loosed free,

Sent down with the flesh released to life,

To thrash through green water kick of fire.

There’s a tremor of destruction and we fail.

Accepting the killers near, those dark hands

That twist the breath out, slack the bright

Movement of being, callous appendages

To minds made brutal, hearts turned stone.

And there’s the deeper tremor of creation.

So then, we tried. Built and now washed away,

Pillars of moments, carved notes in fierce air,

Precious because both minds touched together,

Caught and un-caught. A gentle unfastening,

Finally, one that keeps hurt beneath recall,

Memories of fondness, inklings of desire.

Recovered and lost again like the headland,

Stretching its green tongue towards the tide,

Angling in spume towards the far Americas.

Perceptions Of Metaphor Out West

Buffeted by the wind, its blocks and barrels,

Logs of soft air, big drums of rolling light,

Over the inlet bays, black with rough weed,

The green sharp upland, and the craggy hills,

Airy with time; confused by what is neither

The end nor a beginning, this pure boundary,

Of wild tide and rolling grasses, blown free

Of whatever brought you here, down fearful

Winding lanes, by the crush of chewing cattle,

Those leathery tongues-out of the natural world;

Until you stand at the outer edge of sea and land,

Watching the slow grey cloud of rain approach

Like a dim sail on the Ancient Mariner’s sea,

A spectral barque where Death and Beauty play.

The Potential For Despair

Once more the intimacy with harsh surfaces,

Landing at night to find cold waiting guns,

In the feverish hands of soldiers on patrol;

The undercurrent of violence, like the street,

Where a scraggy youth from the projects ran

To try and snatch his pickings from the prey,

Clasping a piece of metal, death as its end.

It is the complexity of life and beauty, fragile

Brightness clear years nurtured, shining there,

We fear for, the knowledge of the true good

That unmans, tremor of meaning against pain,

The deep detestation for the cruel and selfish,

Whose hands we cannot cleanse in reparation.

These are the people who bombed themselves,

Who pay lip service to some god of loyalties,

Bound by the dead in their mad dance of death.

We walk through their host, like creatures of air,

Or spun glass, like feathers swung in the breeze.

We know the bright gaze of mice in the hedge,

The alert attention of the flickering bird, quick

Between fences, the knowledge of the victims,

Who carry in their hands the invisible treasure.

Ballads Of The Concrete

Indeed a poet should reflect his landscape,

Or invent it. Are those who live in cities

To imagine fields, are the urban warblers

Barred from barding wet streets at midnight?

If our technologies are devoid of charm,

Those past slipped into disuse in the silence,

Are we forbidden from creating worlds?

I sing the laser night, the dark automotive

Sliding electric down its track of shadow,

The pod, the pad, the satellite, the siren,

I sing the slick modern free of wood and stone,

A plasticized reality, a flare of oil and diesel,

Pulse of acetylene, glass, steel and concrete.

I sing the blind future, on a damaged planet.

And in its stillnesses, the love and meaning,

Forms of the unknown, joys of the unbidden.

Next Time Round

The world in a word, and the word sealed

In a stone, and the stone buried in a city,

Under dark pavement, awaits the jungle.

The world in a sound, and the sound sealed

In a gem, and the gem set in the forehead

Of an icon, of a statue, awaits the jungle.

The world in an image, the image sealed

In an eye, the eye flickering in snowdrift,

Between beetling hills, awaits the jungle.

The world in a cry, the cry uttered at dawn,

The dawn ascending in fire, the fire licking

The world in silence, awaits the jungle.

How It Works

Not to know you ever again,

Is to know you as you were forever.

Not to have you in the soul again,

Is to have you in the mind forever.

Now the dark wind blows offshore,

Carries the fragments of the cloud forever.

Not to possess you is as it should be,

Who should be un-possessed forever.

The past is in the mind the past is dead,

The past is a lost mode of the word forever.

Not to hear you speak ever again,

Is to hear you utter in the night forever.

Now in the darkness the ocean heaves,

Waves roar on the granite rock forever.

Not to see you follow catch your name

Is to see you in the midnight sands forever.

The past is the child’s book, the eye’s delight,

Irrecoverable, fixed in thought forever.

Not to know you in the flesh again,

Is to hold you burning, in the heart, forever.

Truth Is Difficult

The reef in the poet’s sea is truth,

The reason for shipwrecks, continually.

Honest simplicity, simple honesty, is hard.

Why memory re-constructs, dream re-orders,

Mind rationalises, and language lies.

Sailing over the sea of words, cleverness

Is not enough. Beauty seduces, siren music,

The body of work confuses, self-importance

Corrupts. Plain truth is difficult, since every

Feeling involves its opposite, and others.

Every thought’s vague, even in diamond speech,

A life is not the life we think we lived.

Our limitations are not as imagined, we are less

Autonomous than we know and more,

Less free of background, freer in intellect.

Always the black barque breaks on a hill of foam,

And slides over slippery stones in boiling light,

To evoke the endless echoes, the foundered texts;

But there’s a lamp of mind on the splintered mast,

A white bird whirls to meet the hammered flag.

Someone Writing Something

There are possible and impossible poems

Of the present: tradition and reality dictate.

Whether the possible poems come to be

Is a question of whether the poet arrives

To create them, within the boundaries

Of the possible. Where the possible ends

And the impossible begins is unknown.

But we see the towers of the impossible,

At the heart of their country, and we see

Tracks towards the unknown borders.

Beyond mythology and imagery there is

The real soul of poetry, its deep matter,

Reflecting the age, the nature of language

In its time, matters of meaning, description,

The absolute nature of that witnessing,

A tone, its coldness, heat, the self-projection.

The poet projects the self as the self would be,

Not as the self is, or rather makes the self,

Which contains the poet and the person,

What self sees what the other sees of self.

No complex mind can ever be disentangled.

There is no true portrait of the self-creator.

The poet daubs parodies on the twilit wall;

Calls slogans; gestures; falsifies a region.

Strangely Part Of This

All the bright things being born brave creatures.

Insects, mice, tiny turtles heading seawards,

Everything scrambling, flasks of life and death

Entering the sieve. Everything glowing, growing.

Stars in their birth. Planets spinning out of dust,

Particles flickering in and out of form, energies

Of the great wheel turning, strange life, burning

Fires of the universe, little veils of spider eggs.

Incredible resilience, tough defence in the fragile.

Fear is its own reward, and many forms of courage.

Puzzling over the mind that sends us far from origin,

The San may laugh, the Bushmen, caught in Time,

But we can be only what we are. We the ongoing.

Thousands beautiful little natural things unfolding,

Storm of being, plethora of forms to the winnowing.

Between dark flesh, bright mind, a curious cunning.

The Dark Green Poem Of The Mind

The dark green poem of the mind in tangled excellence,

Lianas of Paraguay, woven entanglements, tropical

Depths replete with insatiable noise, damp sounds,

The wild seething movement past abolished winter,

Is the stage of life, is its ancient mysterious drama.

Let the mind lash here among pillars of viridian air,

Over the black river being in its islands and flows;

Foam in the cataracts; thrash with the savage churning,

Know its own irrelevance to the universal un-making

Re-creation, the observer stripped bare in observation.

The dark blue poem of the mind in bruised excellence,

Flower-jets; black-winged butterflies hovering, moving,

Too large for comfort of mind; poisonous, protective,

Tough-skinned life cascading defying the civilised,

Where we shelter, homeless and alien, in the fearful.

And the yellow moon over the webs of shadowy water

Murmuring night; and the shrieking skittering other

Than us, making its peculiar music, as valid, a meaning,

Not ours, spilling umber notes of the dense cacophony;

The yellow moon, solid moon, world in its matter rising.

Silent Beyond The Pane

Over and over the mind keeps practising and that

Is what makes an art. Or for that matter anything

Human, any game, any delirium to pass the time.

Practise is substitute for ritual, placation of gods

Those non-existent phantoms of the fearful self;

An exercise of skill on behalf of the real external.

So we like to hear the tangible description of acts,

Performances, with all their little appurtenances,

Their special terms, their times and proper places.

As we like to hear about the moments of suspension,

The gaze into vacancy in the pauses between action,

Which is the look into the nothingness after being.

Death in the sense of the abeyance, the converse

Of the movement, the denial, is always present

Counter-pointing human affairs, the after-silence.

So from the dark stillness of the trees a gust of wind

Moves its black shadow through the silver meadow,

Travels near, asks a mute question of the unlit house.


Is elegy the only proper movement of our words?

To declare this love for the irreplaceable unique,

There, what existed for us and no longer can exist.

Like reading Byron, all the magic of that mad life,

The free spirit that exhausts the finitude and feels

Only in the subtle connoisseur’s extreme of feeling,

The electric depths, love, beauty, set against truth.

Or Ginsberg on Kerouac, Jack the Wizard, mind

Disembowelled for the non-existent meaning, lost

For the purpose absent, blown in Manhattan night.

Something special past, Dante or unnamed foetus,

Poet on your instrument play the mortal concerto,

The impromptus, those fantasias for four hands.

Mourn and keen and grieve, with wind and rain,

In the empty concert hall, our bare universe.

Lament the passing. For corpse encased unseeing,

Blind puppet head glaring, grey ash mute returning,

Or unseen atoms whelmed in the ocean’s churning.

For the moment that makes the magnificent, birthed

To stir strange enchantment from our dull soil, music

Of Pushkin or Akhmatova, or Chopin’s dark singing,

Out over the moonlit snow, through the black park,

Along eighteenth century walls to Mozart’s room,

The pale sharp-nosed face intent on the Requiem.

The Dancers Dance

Out beyond scepticism, where there is nothing left

To be doubtful of, and atheism; no theism to ignore;

Out to where the universe glitters in bound array,

And the dance of time becomes the dance of light.

Not the end of desire, or the end of our perceptions,

But the end of the fantasia, the false forms vanished,

The hierarchies of the human now women and men,

No mystical succession, no faith in power ever again.

The great democracy has flowered beyond its forms.

History’s prisons are opened, the mind flies free.

The individual, the golden one, unfettered, rose

Stretched arms and legs, and reclaimed the divine.

A godless Prometheus waved the brand of fire,

A godless Blake beheld the human form shining,

A godless Dante sang the communion of spirits,

A godless Whitman hymned the human friend.

No more sad strains, the music of fear and dread,

No more beliefs and faiths, no more ghost shadows.

Out where the phantoms fade, the dancers dance,

Galaxies pulsate, those billion new worlds glimmer.  

The Poem Beyond The Poem

We stretch for the poem that is beyond the poem,

The body of the work unchanging left to change,

Imagined changed in the reader’s eye of ages,

Like a landscape altering but always fixed.

The author is that volume on the desk, a page

Remembered burning on the screen, there

Undiminished and more himself than seemed

The tangled mess of wild concealed emotions,

Of which the work is a peculiar shadow, greater

Than the self, the unique individual, and less;

A dangerous persona, a blind force that rages,

Swaying others through the common language.

The dead are safe, extreme. The bright chanting,

Rilke, Rimbaud, or Baudelaire, ends when we

Close the book, refresh the page, refuse to hear

The strange cries warbling in night’s shining tree,

The cries of death or misery or refusal, the denial

Of the softer world, those long, charmed solaces.

The incantations are not of flesh and air, true mind

Goes echoing down the centuries: we know them.

They are alien worlds we enter at our peril, those

Of the stranger dead, the bell notes chiming deep

Behind the façade of our solid world. There are

Authors whose voices we fear, those who bring

Our selves to our own benighted comprehension.

And still we stretch for the poem beyond the poem,

The world beyond this world, past’s other tongues,

To that utterance they could not grant when living.

The Summoners

There were undiminished loyalties floating there

On the yellow water. Shallows of mangroves,

Winds of Carimata. The heart is never its own,

Never, we are always going, wavering, returning

To some shape of shore, a strip of foaming sand,

Which is the spirit’s familiar, the uncertain ghost.

Silence of Borneo, of far China, islanded seas,

Where what we commit to is mystery of faith,

The madness that sets mind in thrall to mind.

The heart is never its own, never. We sail on,

By curious promontories, alien coasts; they are

The strangenesses that summon, the summoners.

The You And I

Look deeper in the vast outlay of light,

Through the bodies in a world transparent,

Inside each one a simple glittering arc

Invisible, of irreducible spirit.

Look deeper in the empty sky that hides

Our absence in the mirror where we lurk,

A lack of language that betrays our mouths

Bleaches the feeling from our faces.

Look deeper in the heart, the lonely heart,

Pure trembling bodies, minds’ sweet union,

Down to the empathy, the all that is, irreal,

The You and I, the Human Mystery.

If We Knew

If time were fixed and absolute, if we knew,

How would we deal with the terrible sadness?

If past were there beyond and tangible, and not

Dependant on recall, the ample lie, the self;

If future was a space where we could go, solid

And stretching bare before us, waiting for us;

If time existed, was a true dimension; if we

Could travel through our being, to and fro,

Return to moments, sample them again,

The ecstasy the pain, anticipate our living,

Until we were the one continuum, the coexisting

Instant of existence, and nothing to be feared

But everything, and nothing to be newly known,

How would we ever trust ourselves to speak,

Or to create, the voyeurs of our selves and others,

The gazing eye, the adult and the child, neither

Comprehending; strange scenes enacted, insights

Mutilated, a union of beings endlessly fragmented?

If life was pre-destined, if we unwound the thread,

Rewound it, every move and word foreseen, if we

Were pitched, at random, into the bloody mire,

Forced to live all again, live all before we lived,

Outside time, continually returning to the moment,

How would we stand the lightning’s dark exposure,

How would we bear the scream within the silence?

Not mere recurrence, an ignorant ‘being over again’,

To which one might say yes, but absolute knowledge,

The word already heard before the tongue, the shame

Engraved, re-etched with acid lines across the mind,

To feel remorse for what has yet to be, expecting nothing,

Forbidden utterly to intervene, a long regret, a witness

Hovering within the impossibility of anything but error;

If we were not the ghosts, the transients, the phantoms

Of our irreality, but were the perpetual victims knowing

The very instant of our execution, the little drops of pain,

If we knew the sufferings of the loved, anticipated loss,

Were drowned in longing, for a freedom without truth,

A shadowy vague greenness bright with light, not that

Cold plain of stillness, filled with our timeless echoes,

How could we dare to offer or accept love, if we knew….?

Failed Powers

We began to fail when we gained power

Over the natural world. Our lives grew

Smaller in empathy, larger in possession.

Same for the hunters as the seed-sowers,

One paradigm of power and propitiation.

Still the killing goes on, the desecration.

I too an inheritor of all our mutilations,

A beneficiary of the species’ masteries

Of creatures and machines, full of regret,

Sensitive now to the fall of trees, pained

By the marred fields, the concrete slopes,

The silt and soiling of a cancerous journey,

That leaves no one innocent, no one free,

Way back to the slaughterers in the grass,

The ancestral trees and shores, the failure.


Beautiful silence in arcs of shattered branches.

After the storm, grass quiet with resurrection.

And we reclaim the stillness before thunder.

Make this the place of imperceptible passage.

After the lightning, calm with nothing human.

And re-possess the language of our morning.

A space where stars dipped on a green horizon.

A curved moon ran beyond the leaves of silver.

And we claimed all new islands of beginning.

The place where cloud over a restless ocean

Breaks dark green in embryos of being,

And movement trembles, a peculiar motion.

Beautiful peace in the country of white streams.

After the downpour, slopes express renewal.

And we reclaim thought before the rhetoric,

That silent thought, the metaphor-less dove,

Flickering from its hiding-place, the fearful,

Gliding through planes of broad non-repetition.


The spirit in white space,

The sublime unimportance

Of the equestrian statue,

The played out passions

Of the empty quarter.

Black railings round a tree.

The dog in frost

Scratches its absent flea.

An autumn wind

Flows over concrete posts.

If death was a thing

It would haunt the benches.

A mass of cloud hangs

On the aerial wires.

There is no mercy.

Contaminated thoughts

Jostle together.

One is remorse,

One is embarrassment,

At minor failures,

Venus scuds on a shell

In granite

On the embankment.

Her hands are fiddling

With Botticellian hair.

There is a discontent.

It inhabits softly

The inner wrinkled-ness of evening.

Rain in the night

Would seem a mitigation.


There was an agitation at the root of his being.

Life was incomplete, and its solace, affection,

Proved always insufficient. The flesh incapable

Of forging the role in action he envied, while

A frustrated sense of grievance burned there,

Obfuscating thought. Poetry was mere effluvia,

Though it still captured the essence of the man,

The lack of correspondence between what heart

Yearns for what the human circumstance offers.

There was strength in Nature, or the creatures;

Strength in the love of women, while the branch

Glowed in the blazing fire. There was landscape

To view, causes to espouse, phantoms to attack;

The husks of power, the shibboleths, the tyranny

Of idle and accustomed usage over true freedom,

The lip-service paid, hypocrisy, the endless cant.

There were lands of the imagination, the islands,

The seas, the languages and peoples, the hot sun

Vivifying mind, the space to breathe he needed.

There was friendship, and the talk and laughter;

There were the silences, those black oppressions;

There were the worlds to toy with and despair of.

Never the centre, never the place to be complete,

At the precise core of self-established meaning.

He sang the transience, the sweetness, the regret,

The wasteland of vanished passion, and the fury

Of the unsatisfied heart, tilting at every windmill.

Inside him there remained the idealist, unfulfilled,

Despising invention, a rider between sand and sea,

Forever leaving, and forever loyal to what was left,

The deepest part of self, the loves, the lyric of fate,

The places where the fragments of shattered heart,

May congregate a moment, be gathered together,

To form a temporary whole, the greater language.

Contemplating Armies

Dumb armies in the darkness move

Between us and paradise.

The coils of wire distinguish where

The species failed.

The tanks and guns waver in the heat

Of deserts, sweat in leaves;

A trail of unburied corpses leads

Into the hearts of the un-dead.

The powerful are not the great,

A disregard for status is a virtue.

The universe unmeaning shines

In silent aeons overhead.

The soldiers in the darkness give

Way to intelligent machines.

Their wars will be the play

Of unimaginable games.

It is hard not to consider

The future with terror.

The past with pity,

Life with empathy.

The armies in darkness move,

Woe to the weapon-wielders,

Those who deal

Eternal mindlessness.

Form Without Content

Your voice, the invisible movement of air

Is a transfer of meaning, but only to those

Who understand the language of voice, is

A flow of information knower to knower.

Your voice being your voice, the invisible

In the undulations of air, a shaping form

In the ear, carries meaning merely by being

Yours, it is the voice of the known knower.

The meaning of the voice is not only language,

But intonation, expression, the self moves

Between selves in dark unending unfolding,

Which is more than the electronic simulation

Of feeling in a possible mode of the machine.

Likewise the wind moving in what it moves

Among is more than a shift of the atmosphere.

What moves in mind is also part of the motion.

Your voice being yours moves inside mine also,

And mine in yours and the neither one nor two

Is a form of the complete billowing of meaning

In the night air which is filled with moonlight.

Now the moonlight too becomes part of a mode

Of being in the space in which self and not-self

Form this continuum that reaches to the other

Greater than self and a music in the moonlight,

The moonlight of your voice, the greater moon

Swimming in atmosphere of brightest meaning,

Between tongue and ear, complex form moving,

Form without content except it meets the human. 

Burnt Branches At Dawn

Once more the viewless voiced slow suffocating dream.

Lost, shut down, the half-people of the ghostly past pass.

Four crows on the fire-damaged tree consider the morning.

A seed and a moth afloat in the air purposelessly correlated.

The star sinking bright is not a star nor is it a planet Venus.

You are confused with me and I with you but not in reality.

Troubled by written word and the lack of echo in the light.

Absolute change abolishes every last instant of being.

The eternal and the infinite are pure aspects of time and space.

Eternity and infinity are simply where we were, are and will be.

Eternity’s trail is time infinity’s track is space, both in mind.

Two crows have a mind to leave the charred branches and fly.

The spectres of the dream flowed out of far light, enormous.

Now waking is the solace while the flight of phantoms recedes.


You nowhere, in the last infinity of your atoms,

Gone from the dream and the lost poem of life

The never-written-down, that lived sensation.

No continuance to discuss, no means to bridge

The bridgeless ravine, the vision faded in you.

No vast pain going, a dereliction, sudden ache

In the brain and then the drift to stunned silence?

All that gone, centuries dwindled to a pinhead,

Then smaller than the furthest galaxy’s pulsing,

Then….for me still moving, you done with it all,

Rather it done with you, and the ‘you’ dissolving,

Once mind, then flesh, then the products of flesh,

The lightning over, the last great flash of the sun,

Less than the tree, the flower, the breeze, the dust.

All gone now. All thoughts in their intricate music,

All unique perceptions, the unexpressed, the word

Inarticulate striving always to find its voice dark

In the mouth, the tongue crying, the old phantom

Politics, the teacher’s dreaming, all those dreams,

Who knows what we each dream private in the dark,

On the strange journey, we, loyal to life unto death?

No noise now and no quiet, no speech, no silence.

No more getting and spending, longing, sighing.

No more disgust, no shame, and no physical ill,

Everything quiet in Russia, Germany, China,

One with the buildings standing tall in maya,

One with the grand illusion, not knowing here

We go, un-being nowhere, a vast world folding.

The mind in the world collapsed to mindlessness,

And the world gone with it, down the sweet flume,

The world gone taking the mind to voided chasm.

The world in the mind shrinking to nothingness,

Like the white dot after the film, then no after-image.

Not the release, nothing left to be released from,

Swallowed by the lion roar that consumes itself.

Not gone from the world of memory, not yet;

Shade lingering, but not shade of your lingering:

I cannot live for you, nor you for me, in time:

Separate we sing all to concatenations of stars,

Back to the atom all the universe, space and hour,

In a flash, the flesh, the hopeless unsatisfied mind,

With all its caterwauling, fond delusions, we were.

The universe young and old as the universe, in you.

Time and space created in you, and then abolished,

Created in me and not yet abolished, creating me

To be created in me, and create all in me creating.

Mute as the bars that Mozart left un-transcribed,

Gone with the dream, and the beauty of the dream,

Nowhere on earth, nowhere through all this being.


Enormous stream of strange lives,

Through streets they flow, how

Do they make a living, exist in

Rags and blanket, live and die?

Wild millions still, co-existing,

Flesh and bone in the pavement

Flow, no level down, the basis,

Fill the interstices of the species.

Vast flow of those with nothing

Except the body-mind. Persist,

In monsoon rains, holy sun,

Something supports all this void,

Forever, when one flow ends

Another begins, food spills down,

A little space, moments between

Time and disease flicker bright.

Beyond, phantoms of other

Worlds buy sell trade barter

Indulge the sweetness of flesh,

Delve mind, imagine selves.

All vanishing like a dream,

Leaves this space, beggars

In dark-light below anything

We understand. Empathise?

Like empathising with force

Of nature, or leathery kick

Of matter, glutinous place

Of the primal dumb disgust.

Recoil. Retreat to vision.

Brown river carries down

Its corpses, bloated cattle,

In slow snout-nosed roil.

Shadow of the city burns

In semblances of eternity,

Activity outplays sadness,

Tenderness blinded, lame.

Conflict of emotions, weight

Care and shame in the ghost

Flickering through the dust,

Of no account, indulgence,

Though the true reality

Of what is felt, outside

Crawl, stench, ingestion

Of true, false, fusion.

Night no release, dark

No bright lone silent

Glitter of lights high

Over this flesh ocean.

Conscience clamours

For no good reason,

Compassion flickers,

But the hands tremble.

In eternal sadness Buddha

Bronze gazes, no problem,

Beatific smile over all this

Play of matter, pain of self.

Movement Of The Flower

What should we edit from the real world?

The real world is the whole of its reality,

Of which the poem, this form in change

Is part. I watch the words pause, appear.

The motion of the foxglove in the air,

Its to and fro, is not this evolution

Of fragments of the mind in ecstasy

Building a pillar on the afternoon,

In mystery of order in the chaos,

That of itself the foxglove equally

Projects; these are the regularities,

Broken, the imperfect arcs of shape,

In a perception of the foxglove’s being,

Deliberate making, ache of the perfect,

Our dustless mirrors, our measurements,

Our counting out the beats of alteration.

This is the irreal motion of the mind,

Lifting its column without the sun,

Or the benediction of the moonlight,

No ancient warmth, in modern season.

It is the ecstasy robbed of its rhetoric,

Calmed of its rage, gazing at pale stars

Dripping their wet light down the reaches,

In the metal and the glass of our presence.

It is a strange enchantment, crystalline,

That layers tiles of beauty on the dark,

Though not a beauty it can comprehend,

Within the order that its chaos makes.

The singing about singing is still song.

Words of the sun and moon not ours,

Would be the fitting subject for the real,

Of which imagination’s a component

As valid as the bundle of perceptions.

What should we edit from the real world,

To shape the irreal? Each contains the other,

All places in us where the deep field shines.


I shape your beauty in the caul of night,

Coil of the sea in seas before all seas,

Fluttering of heart inside the inner motion,

Cry of the soundless ocean in the dark.

I form your beauty in the pall of light,

Veil of a dawn that shines before the dawn,

And folds, an attribute of deeper night,

The nascent mind within the nascent body.

I delineate your coalescing beauty, far

Song of existence rising to perception,

Word before word of flesh in utterance,

An airless speech of air before its season,

A cloud of tissue on the walls of coral,

Sunk deepest in shallows of beginning.

I feel your curling grasp of time unwind

Translucent fingers to the bays of morning.

I turn your beauty to the seething summer,

Beat back your autumn, deny your winter,

In the wild rage of spring’s incipient season.

I lance your sorrows and defuse your pain,

Take on the mantle of the ominous future,

That elemental neutral, those green tropics,

Those cataracts of meaning, the black flow

Of being down the mind-cliffs of moonlight.

I am the years to come will be your past,

A name that signifies the edge of breath,

The legacy of flesh, speech of the self,

Phantom of all we are, ghost of the chaos,

Crossing the hours and phrases of the sky,

Tossing the white foam to the arch of stars.

I draw your form inside the gates of life,

In filaments of beauty, skeins of flame.

Index Of First Lines