No Roots Except In Air

Kien Do

Kien Do - Unsplash

Authored by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2006 All Rights Reserved.

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Try It Yourself

The dislocation

of the art of our century

is also visible

in poetry.

Minds are not less

but the Void

is nearer,

the blind reality.

Though the pain of being

can still be opposed

by form, truth,


to speak with dead voices

is incomplete,

while our silence

deepens eternity.

The Silence, The Light

On the mountain

everyone is scared,

just as in the city,

the same Void opens

under fragile lives.

Work lasts, why cry

at what passes?

Affection, mutual

recognition – world lasts.

This is not an age

for grand gestures:


their intentions.

From the heights,

sierra or

skyscraper, feel

the silence, the light.


Bitter beach where

civilization ends

but Nature’s ceased


Sand layers

tarred by destruction,

heart’s erosion,

fouled detritus.

The poem of love

and beauty chokes


to be written.

Even our children


by imitation

by false repetition.

This is the Tree

You are a flower

or a tiny star

in white, rose, green

seen from the Void.

This is the sky.

This is the earth.

Between them,

sit and carve a purpose.

You are the stem-tip,

changing in sun,

mist, rain,

flame in the air’s shift.

This is the tree.

This is the breeze.

between them

confused, we turn.

Darkling Sands

The old, long breakers,

the end of the island.

I fail to sleep, I

count the shadows.

Moon grasps emptiness

in well-holes of cloud.

Insomnia plucks

its ancient lyre.

There are no more

empty shores, or

easy wastelands,

comfortable Voids.

The old winds

at the headland’s edge,

own the new,

the deeper roar.

We Make

I kiss you, we make form.

The leaves grow, they make form.

Space is not void but form.

Speak to me: that is form.

Memory’s wound is form,

the bed and the sea are form.

Landscape shudders with form,

our lives are unburied form.

The game against death is form,

the harbour, its piles are form.

Inside you, beside you, form.

The tongue, the artery, form.

Be Clear

Light is also salvation

but not in any

form of religion.

Organised illusion

is still illusion,

but the light

on the hill

brings salvation.

If you dispense with ‘truths’

and begin again,

with Earth and the human,

you arrive at what we made

what made us,


in Nature’s light.

Light is redemption,

but not in any

kind of religion.

The silence is silence,

despite your meditation,

metaphysics, endemic confusion,

the light from endless space

is redemption,

mind’s salvation.

Seeing, Choosing

A priestess of Brauron on a wedge of stone,

beauty passed down to us in the bone,

or mind’s infinity, just as desired,

soothes our ire, venom, spleen,

distrust of the mean, the vile, political.

The soul is in itself critical.

It chooses, this sensitive spirit,

delicate things, pictures, frail rings,

words, forms, memories,

acts of impossible fidelity.

We are the seers of beauty

(It seems) for this reality.


Be calm my heart,

night is falling.

Consider eternity,

night is falling.

An eye, a shoulder,

night is falling.

Island of secrets,

night is falling.

Bitter the knowing,

night is falling,

bewitched of feelings,

night is falling.

Tired the kisses, night

is falling.

Silence, spirit,

night is falling.


There are no perfumed islands free of pain,

there are no scented fields of paradise.

Where we are is where we shall remain,

whether we stay or sail towards the light.

The world though opens in a thousand flowers,

our minds (no souls exist) are free to be.

Where we are is the boundary of space,

the inner form is our humanity.

The Death of all Religions

We will not fear the centre of our being,

true, sensitive and kind is our achievement.

In human hearts, and not in any temple,

is all of our reality and knowledge.

Religion holds no ownership of spirit,

the soul-less, god-less, world without intent,

is still as open to the mind and heart,

its love, and truth, and beauty still exist.


Bluish smoke from the fresh campfire,

fragrance of cones, cut-wood, trees

for a hundred miles,

and mountains no man owns.

World, the un-possessed,

slips from us, Horace says.

This Latin text wiser

than critics, metaphysics.

Blue smoke, white, the fierce

blaze of timber at the core,

red fire that warms the spirit,

beyond the word, the law.

No Power

The truth is the truth of the mind

is no longer public.

Inwardly there is no hierarchy,

every spiritual niche is valid.

Outwardly power simply

inheres in the process, beyond our control.

Outwardly wealth, force, notoriety

are vessels without validity.

The truth is the truth of the mind

is private now, of the spirit.

The false gods and priests,

their voices, have no power.

The Question

The space of my necessary intensity

includes you, is it right love

that your space

should include me?

When love alone despite its greatness

depth, is not enough,

when we torment each other

without so wishing?

I burn in eternity’s mind-space

for you, is it right love

that you

should burn with me?


The plaint of beauty

with the breath of charm.

The life not the reason for the verse,

the verse the flower of the life.

Exiled, ah, fallen from the sky,

seeing the eternity of earth, no paradise.

Beyond religion, clinging to the incense

of religion, no deist-Satanist, but moralist.

Electrometer of our pain, tremor

of our distress, idealist-realist.

A flare of light, then dark…a flare

against indifference.

Fountain of energy,

falling in the night!

Perfect Citizens

Who feel no disgust at humanity en masse,

who find religious fantasies consoling.

Who celebrate the rich and famous as they pass,

find charity an answer to the spirit’s keening.

Who love earth’s creatures farmed, and destroyed,

though embarrassed by intensity’s excess.

Who consider life as something designed and not absurd,

who believe in all the rituals of progress.


The trees owe nothing to the stars.

Their darkness shines beyond the night,

to softly populate the light,

Earth’s Venus, Jupiter, and Mars.


Those whose pleasure leaves an aftertaste,

those whose joy’s anxiety ungraspable,

those who try to show the moment’s pace,

those better suited to sobriety,

work, immersion in indifferent Nature,

not humanity, those possessed,

driven by intensity, who stare

too closely at reality, gazed at

curiously by the rest.

Solid Stonework

Tired of world and time

I read the Chinese.

Life flowers in

solidity of seeing.

Words can seem solid too

but not like that.

I love the intention-less,

Nature’s indifference,

non-hostile, undemanding,

except of our attention,

a purity of motive and desire.

A wall, an interface, of rock

cleft by tight roots,

half a mountain glitters in the sun

each fold and twist

is stony universe.

And so we find

as we grow older

the space seems larger

we must consider.

Words can seem solid too,

but not like that.

Love Song

Everything is there in our hearts, sister, sister,

the far reaches of tenderness, child, my child,

beauty of silences, and of caresses, lover, lover,

pulsing of mind’s empathies, friend, my friend.

Everything is there in our hearts, lover, lover,

marvellous spaces filled with light, friend, my friend,

where we shall always be together, sister, sister,

in spirit’s unwavering stillness, child, my child.


A trembling moon, a well of fire,

navigates poplars, clouds, hills,

illuminates the single stem,

the leaf of grass, the white stone,

everything humble, everything real.

Oh, I understand the unreality

we make to live inside,

our alien-human,

but this is moonlight

flooding over hands,

a blade of peace

and mind’s last outpost,

before the Milky Way

the galaxies, the deep field,

the outer veils of time,

a trembling moon of fire,

the outlier.


Your body cold as ice,

your eye in mine eye,

cloud on the hills,

mind among the trees.

This place is penetrated

by the air, set on a verge

of heart and mountain,

a place believed-in.

My hand on your womb,

silent, tender, walls are thin,

this house is fragile,

opening on the stars.

Your lips as cold as ice,

and mine in thine.

We’ll close the door again,

we’ll build our fire.

Cosmological Constant

Gradually, as the galaxies separate further,

(The universe expanding, Void grows greater)

Earth will float, by its star, a blue flower,

lonelier, its teardrop of reflected light,

still fiercely bright, no clearer.

Slowly the heart subsides, grows cooler, stiller,

(Mind voyaging, the silence grows deeper)

and, by its memory, beats, blue wave,

with the pulse of ever, vessel of time

still dark with night, its fires.

On Snowy Hills

This is beauty,

snow on the hills,

bent-pine, smoke trails,

no way over the pass.

Sky’s ephemeral blue’s

the vague centre, skein of light.

Pine-smoke at dawn

in glittering mist,

what mind sees

of air and rock,

shattered reality,

this is beauty.

Kick off the snow,

trudge downhill,

stilled saws, old trunks

of levelled timber,

the years of growth undone,

the ache of seeing.

This is beauty.

Infinite Room

No roots except in air.

Can I base the self

on a silence of silver,

a mist-like wake in the light,

on seconds like centuries,

the galaxies crowding

to spill their veil-thin milk-glow

on stone’s bare-shouldered gleam?

You I can hold in the shadow

make you a flame of the air,

a shiver of tree-night, horizoned,

you in whom there is

infinite room,

universe, world’s eyes that search

for you present, you there

un-rooted except in air.

No Idea Dies

In and out of the tangle

of the world’s slippery presence,

Minds, we emerge

from the womb’s

beaten blossom,

torn vulva, sent into the empty

silence of all being,

universal dark and flow.

Daughters out of daughters,

of daughters, from the caves,

and sons, the cul-de-sacs,

all part of the dance,

Mind that delights

in freedom from circumstance.

Mind to mind we kiss,

thoughts to thought connect,

no idea dies.


We are blessed by insentience,

blessed by inanimate things.

All of equal validity, we assess.

Creativity, or destructiveness,

nothing external judges, we are blessed.

Out of us the morality.

We are blessed

by root, leaf, cloud, stone,

tree, intention-less.

Beleaguered mind,

they soothe and calm,

all creatures in the light,

torn between silence here

and consciousness.

Creating, we are blessed.

Mountain Trails

While states enact,

fill time, consume,

moonlight rakes

the mountain’s silent lines,

the whispering rain.

There is a state of mind,

soft as the planet,

waits for stillness,

waiting for the void,

while mountain stands

in cloud and snow,

forest laid wide open.

Such you know when

you find it.

No roots except in air.


As we understand the power of minds meeting,

there must be a frustration with the body.

Empathy must overcome the pain, ennui,

the mechanism’s sadness and the flesh.

Million to relate to, ah yes, but when you know

the beauty of minds meeting there must be

irritation with the world where vacant forms

jostle, without awareness, in the crowd.

It is not that we are greater, wiser than others,

only that we are as we are, must be,

frustrated forever here with matter,

when we understand how minds meet.

Your Heart

How valuable your heart,

so calm the night,

so soft the roar of sea,

the fading light.

How valuable your heart,

a path that walks

across a wake of stars,

so strong your art,

that in its simplest part

defeats my own,

so still the night, ah, pale the flow,

towards your living heart.


The winter-mouth

has a touch of silence,

this is the way it flares

lips, blindingly

with the rage of time

beyond shadows.

Its speech is the

alien tribe’s tongue,

the heart-heavy

whiteness of days,

mercy’s fall,

the birth-foam’s tall jet.

And its palate

tastes us mortal,

blind of all meaning,

white as the poplars’

crushed sense

of a blood-wet exile.


Black-waved remembrance

night-born heart’s-bed

star, swims

towards me,

bears lamp light,

white gaze,

glance of its farness.

The black candle spent

flames in anguish,

how the beloved

lances from centres

of fire, disrupts

the wax of parting,

collapses the soul.

Amelanchier, Pieris, Osmanthus

At twilight,

white snow-blossoms,

break here, sprays and olive wings,

and there, dull-cream cascades

from spears of sharp thick darkness,

but quietest, strangest

are the tiny stars

on pale grey-green,

ice lights, on leaves made globes,

clustering constellations,

(Cygnus, Lyra,

Han River flows east)

drops from the painter’s brush,

bits of time,

fractured twilight.


Shock of life,

articulated insect

climbs Japanese leaf,

is a leaf, strange,

Words are ours,

but this is real,

nothing you made,

nothing I understand.

Unaware, they say,

life though, better,

and we, though grand,

life startles.

Over my hand

climbs mountains,

a multi-limbed Dante

my hell its purgatory.

Species? Like us,

no mind, no name,


shocks of life.


The urgency to make,

now let that go,

let music of meaning

sink into silence.

Licks of fire

scale the driftwood,

but you are not thinking –

peace, giving.

Between self

and the infinite

stretches the thinnest

of membranes.

The grasping, the desire,


observing space,

let it go.


Not to accept the conclusion

is our integrity.

To be carriers of light, now,

into the void.

The mountain shifts

imperceptibly, slowly,

and packed in our moment

is all this flow.

Relationship is hardest,

do you see,

between us and beyond us,

self, eternity.

To still the heart,

to pass between these hearts.

Not to accept,

to maintain integrity.

The Light

Who in the light,

appreciates the light?

Who in the dark

frees themselves from darkness?

Between the two

the real work is thought,

though we still have to toil

with things of hands, to be able to begin it.

I would say eternity was there for the taking

if the essence were not in releasing.

Who in the light

understands the light?

The Journey

Odysseus carves through the black salt seas,

considering islands, contemplating Circe,

in magic juggling with uncertainties.

He dreams the dark groves of Persephone.

There, the dead must walk, not quite substantial,

between trees hung with ribbon, pools of light.

Reflecting shadows deeper than a funeral,

the spirits of the underworld are bright.

Other shores of foam break, other skies,

swallow-footed Sirens, fruits that maze,

doubt’s whirlpool: opposite the cave of lies,

Charybdis looms, through the dawning haze.

Blue, Luminous

Tonight the sky, dark-luminous turns,

Earth is floating in the blue abyss,

but here all things are bright,

all the harbour light,

where mind and spirit pure

heart-heavy true azure

reflect the glowing centuries

long-lost wars, veil-less mysteries.

Mind we are, inside this tiny space,

time-voyagers, drifting in this place,

but transparent trees, the hills, are light,

here for a moment, floating in the night,

where we have lived before,

creatures of fragile law,

among the dead antiquities,

among human iniquities.

The Age

Swear no allegiance,

the times are unpropitious.

The flute, the dumb glance

echo worlds beyond us.

Bow to nothing, mock all powers,

watch the Achaeans come, the Romans go.

The mind’s dawn light’s a colder flow,

the night increases, the times are ours.

Earth’s still earth: stones under our feet.

Pay no dues, avoid the market-squares.

Keep the painter’s hand, the artist’s moves,

Pythagoras: mark sand in the open street.

Swear no allegiance, the times are unpropitious.

Let the blue fox shine: the dolphin glistens,

notes compel the air, and dark soil listens.

Bow to nothing: cherish what’s beyond us.

Deer Walk Through at Night

Through the transparent alleyways

of the dark kingdom. Feet

on threads of bark, sand, twigs,

the grey girl returns from the depths.

Dream, bird-calls, chatter of passage,

then the word opening, clarifying,

do you know it? Language, bright

salient, luminous, brine-filled, bitter.

Fruit in her teeth, seeds, pine-glow,

blood-dark, the strange garden,

what has been seen, where

it has been, is not forgotten.

Grains lodged in the mind,

and heart. A dark walking.

Deer pass through at night.

This is our planet.

In the Flames

Children run through the sun

at street-corners, those are the

early-dead. Broken glass, cans,

and the rubble of un-creation.

Children sold at the crossways,

ghost-shadows, here, quiver,

the innocent-maimed

the detritus of un-civilisation.

Children play games with the fractured

pieces of adult worlds,

fallen through the sieve of meaning,

they give them their names.

Children mimic life, space,

stand on infinity, crawl

the surface of futures, fragile as insects,

footed, winged, straying here, alight.


Is shooting a shaft right through

the stone, without thinking.

Bending the bow of un-thought,

in no mind, then, release it.

In the air it moved, how?

Did it move in seeing?

Nothing passed through the rock,

no electron pierced the holes.

Sudden the dancing feathers,

the heron’s wings over water.

Loosed like light, flung like thought,

fired straight through the mind.

Performing Art

Let the performance impress,

the dancer flow as the dance.

The rose is intention-less,

beauty’s in circumstance.

Do it for us: create, move, flower,

only for us, once, then never,

be the way meaning towers,

winds unfurl, petals quiver.

Only the Earth, nothing less,

the poem’s leaf-fall in the night,

where you are where you are forever,

though days seem heavy, they are light.


Images translate from tongue to tongue,

music harder, chime of different bells,

as tone is cast of mind, scent of thought,

what hue stains the mouth eating berries,

particular soft shadings through the leaves,

in a garden filled with silent shadows,

and the unique bird, the hidden voice

singing in the night from ten till two,

one imitative of a dozen others.

Images are sweet, and the tradition.

All poets share a common tongue.


Speaking the obvious, a Ch’an ‘master’

makes the simple difficult to see,

like the presence of a tree in starlight,

obvious, and then too obvious.

Chasing it is a sign of craving,

unhelpful as following ‘the master’,

not how the master became master,

something he never desired to be.

It’s obvious the obvious is not easy.

Speaking, seeing, feeling, that’s a gift.


Over the falls

like snow

petals slide

on the stream.

The grey-branch

flows white-fire,

mind layers

of glassy leaves.

So we as we fade.

Go there,

be right,

purify the heart.

The Force

The force of time

makes us forget,

the tallest tree

points at the stars,

a finger post in time,

we pass.

Yet time is free

and form connects

through past

and future minds’

and world’s


I brush your lips,

I hold your face

between my hands

a clearer pool

a greener force

of time.

Reality is Local

All distant power

puts nothing in our hands,

yet sharing

speaks through distance.

Mind calls to mind

though nothing’s in our hands.

Beyond all power

is trust and understanding.

To break the power of distance,

fill our hands,

is our first step,

lose power and never grant it,

least of all to those who seek it.

Power is nothing,

all our sharing,

all our empathy is in our hands.

Deeper then the Root

If the universal core is randomness,

something we will never fathom,

since our life is all effect,

since our meaning posits cause,

then randomness must be the heart

of the deeper stillness, its potential.

If the endless forms of the world,

are always subject to the formless,

something we will never fathom,

since our life is form and purpose,

the formless is endlessly an aspect

of the deeper silence, its potential.

Energies, deeper than the root.


Its small brown whiskered face

pokes silent from a hole

between old paving stones

observes, is free, considers me,

who put out food to reach

to creature and be warmed

by slight relationship.

The small brown long-tailed form

runs between light and shadow,

appears, retreats, pursues

an inner urge, we converge

on intention-less truth,

are fine, find grace,

have purpose in the sun.


Of all things the heaviest

were made light, were conquered.

In the ashes of the fire

my tribe found a meaning in the eye,

their place in mind, arrows flying

into final spaces beyond here.

All things precious were destroyed,

no thought was destroyed,

no emotion, all intensified,

the barb within the eye,

the heart within the tongue.

Ilium Re-visited

Barriers made of blood, tall as fire,

Troy-defeating flames, lift

between us, love is

between us.

Who said time dies, walls break:

nothing dies, the black sun slides

out of the skies

between us.

We wade through silences, bitter

as fire, we flog the horse of wood

with memory’s wire:

it looms above us.

Signs of Eternity

The emblems of eternity

are mindless stars,

the protons, neutrons

in us, there, forever.

No one went to this

making, why does that

trouble you with fear?

Those infinite spaces

have no design on us.

Be serious, un-fearing,

our sweet transience

is painful, but a blessing.

Signs of eternity

clouds, lights, worlds,

ephemeral, changing,

something there, forever.


Green leaves thrust

through the snow:

‘Through what should

kill us, slow.’

Ice on the silent lips

ice on a bitter stair,

but shadow dances still,

the poem is there.

Light from the black cloud,

striking its fire from stone,

but a rain-filled stream

spreads the silt below.

Green leaves on the lips,

light-less sight for the blind

we see what thought creates,

we are by pain refined.

Nine Paintings of Paul Klee



On a red ground this bird flies between moons.

Trees on its precipices are also firs by pools.

The background is a woman, the leaves are leaves,

but open, pointing to eternally-lit spaces

in the interior of any planet, mind, eye.

A sideways mountain stretches to mouth-arc,

bitter lips carve through the flesh. The bird

flies back to the egg, fertile moons sing

of health, forgiveness, the bird is a plane,

the moon-trees are sperm, something is coded,

triangles potent, curves sing, see this is cut

from the ground of words, they creep

beneath borders, over the silver sand,

this is the tapestry of flesh, there are white

stitches in the fabric of a one-winged age.

The egg is offered, the leaves of the tree.

There are margins, entrances, hills, shores.


‘But still not close enough’

Cogs and keys. On a grey ground

they go running, the shapes of our fears,

objects with legs and with meaning,

they are the names of our intensity.

The drummer beats out red on the canvas

of time. Oh elsewhere, blues and greens

are there, the lines that grasp at the heart,

spheres are there with eyes, our humanity,

and beyond all, colour and touch, the sense

of something, amazed, wholly individual,

there are golden fish, there’s the Prince

of the Underworld, musings of the musician,

and the helmeted self with the barbed lance

who calls to monsters to surface, out of

the deep, shadow-squares, light-bringer!

Ah but here there is red, here there is grey.


Beyond You

Where does it come from?

Out of the Mind.

How does it get there?

Out of the World.

There are signs pointing

but the way is not

where we thought,

forces appear from clouds

and trees, and go past you.

The puppets, the faces,

the heads, where do they

come from? Out of

the Mind. How do they

get there? Out of

the World. But the eyes,

the tongue, the heart

are not what you expected.

They go beyond.


Cool of life.

The mountain is echoed by blue,

sky and tree, columns of air

are columns of time, moments

of time, one moment of time.

Symbols flicker over the ground

of mind, eyes, starbursts, hands, arrows,

in every direction, smoke from a roof,

the king of darkness is once more ordering blue.

Blue churns, and something emerges

a red road, green lettering, white towers,

a kind of sun, and vegetable stirrings

point at black. In the centre, blue.



The water is blue

flecked with white

but the boat is black.

Over a blue wave

the oar circles,

the oar too is black.

There is a shore

with a jetty, a wharf,

the timbers are black.

The water is blue,

pale and pure,

but the boat is black.



Fragile the handle

that turns our hearts

in the immense

silence, blue-green.

The vanes of thought

on a dead wind

rock to and fro

enchanted by

gold, and a little red.

The tongued heads

chant, puppet-like,

from the isle

of women,

bird-claws cling.

The mechanism

so delicate

turning us over,

lifting us skywards,

no one turns.


The Hosts of Fragility.

An eye is stitched

to a mouth.

The ladder (of tears)

is pinned

to a frame

of perspectives.

The sea is grey.

The sky is grey.

The tower is white.

Notes, springs, wire

coils, tenuous fine

between strands, lines.

A foot, a head,

a hand, a heart,

are stitched together.

The hosts of fragility

walk, a thousand

feet above us.



The objects, do they smile at us?

The circle’s symbols, keys, twigs,

forks, combs, in which we find

faces, forms (human), trees, ankhs?

They smile, they become wells,

trunks, mouths, sexes, not mocking

sharing foolish existence,

the strangeness of being a construct.

They smile, we also reach down

to protons, gluons, quarks,

fingers slip into the glove

into veils of what equations,

symbols, coded, keys, twigs, forks,

combs, where we find forces, forms, ankhs.



The cleverest art, most childlike

art, is the art of the rainbow,

the art of the puppet theatre,

face stuffed with sun and stars,

the cleft of the brow,

the breasts of the heart,

the triangle, lower, of fate.

The simplest art, the profoundest

art, is the art of the rainbow,

the creatures, those dolls,

the flowers of cloth and felt,

the fish of the feet,

the grid of the chair,

the stair and the curtain.

We go there together,

in colour return,

in white of desire

and purity’s red,

in gold of arrival,

in emerald ending.


Looking into deep water,

to what churns, slower,

slower, till eye goes on

through stillness, same

action, variant change,

motion round a centre.

In the ink the fisherman

by the rock, rod idling, feet

in the stream, face hidden,

spine relaxed, views water,

stone, eyes the flow of form,

all that’s pouring from the Tao.

The Ideal

The beetle’s pincers lift

a world, its arms push

clear through grass. Each

coarse stem an infinite

rod of this universe, it

holds up time, under

which all beetles crawl.

Undaunted, pure, this

armoured knight crashes

through undergrowth

and thorn, one arm a sword,

the other a knife, blunders,

toils towards its destiny,

the green, unseen eternity.


You must go, for a long time,

before you find value,

I must lose you forever

for you to know me.

The leaves we have opened

must settle on water,

cast a brave shadow,

be sunlit in silence.

You must go, far off,

to come to your homeland.

I must send you to mercy

before you can find me.

The face that shines,

eternity struck there,

must extinguish all things,

before things exist.


Again and again from the living eye,

it sang, it sang, in the depths of the fire,

now beyond midnight’s shivering spire,

it rises up in the dark blue sky.

Softly out of the dead of night,

once more dear than love of the heart,

now washed azure by evening’s art,

blown through air in a gust of light.

We were

Our line became truer

nearer the heart of creation.

Breathed through eyes

turned dumb, love

gave itself a name.

There was written,

a star on a leaf,

night’s opinion,

time’s ruling, ash

on our mute hands.

Out of grey night,

the line floated

in heavy meadows

of spring stone,

held off autumn fires.

Eyes, arms we were hands,

sepals we were flowers,

words and windows broke

fell like the doves

in heart-pieces.

Why we meet here

For something deeper than world,

you come here, why I came here,

for what troubles, all our anxieties,

for the walking on transience.

For that feeling, not time or space,

you are here, why I stay here,

for the what we cannot grasp

for what we must live through.

For knowledge of what cannot

be knowledge, why we speak here,

listen, through symbols made

of light, for mind unseen by mind.

The Hero

Foreseen: the flesh

scarred by sand,

the first fierce

tug of the horses.

Hands on helmet,

breastplate, spear

already translucent

vague as ancestors.

To be without hope

the gravest destiny,

no cities to found,

no magical consort.

Dust tiring the mouth,

eyes in silence now,

the departure terrifies

nostrils quiver with foam,

ice, and the wheels turn,

and the walls wooden,

and splintered, lucent,

ah, and shuddering.

Feels grit under the teeth,

the flame in the eyes,

a meaningless future name

echoed by centuries.


The light on the leaf

oh you can’t explain

that organic feel,

Leonardo’s line,

how mind drops

feet first through

space and finds

meat of the object

whatever leaf is,

an open mystery,

Mozart’s phrase,

light on the leaf,

not how it’s done,

natural intricacy,

must be easy,

simple, there

it goes, light

leaf, note, line,

grace of being.

Your Name

In the silence below the leaves

I breathed the light of recalcitrant stars,

the barriers of fate, the heaps

of ash that we call Then.

‘How can tenderness be weight?’

I thought, not understanding,

‘How can love be harsh,

the galaxies shine in the night?’

Durance of beauty, rock of distance,

even to think your name is fire.

What is left is the reed that roots,

the poplar, still, under the mountain.

Earth and the rose are stardust both,

lightest of flames, and heavy burning,

turned dark, solid, a fertile nurturing,

seeding memory’s stones through time.


Black earth hand labours over,

cool out of dark sub-structure,

where silvered roots gleam,

from the eye, the stream

of ebony, darkness, clings,

until it uncurls, becomes,

sillion, silence, leaved.

The past lives on in furrows.

Fields of presence, urns of clay

uncover the mortal kingdoms.

How, from this soil, display,

Muse singing, women gathering?

You must plunge your spirit into

what shows under the blade.


From the outside where’s the mind?

The extra-ordinary lives inside

the sacs of flesh, mirrors of eyes

From animal utterance who can hear

the creature’s dumb inward voice,

rivers of pain, and plains of feeling?

How did the face create the poem?

Mind travels places on other faces,

camps, eats, beyond this common place.

From hidden body and time’s illusions

comes the thin rill that feeds the flow,

another visage, and deeper than this.


Separation where silence deepens,

watch the creature pulled from the rock

thrash in a cloud of sand and ink,

subside by suckers, foot by foot.

Separation’s where ache goes on,

asks the question, fails an answer,

speaks its lines, without reply,

on stages empty of light-fall, footfall.

Separation’s island, there are others,

archipelagos, sunlit, idle,

ship-less, smoking, glassy hillsides,

where trees wave and silence deepens.


Making the complex life simpler,

becoming leaves, stones,

forgetting roadways,

becoming bird’s far cry

or the rose.

There is no truth

in all those faiths,

reality is much simpler,

though it’s not of our

energies or our greatness.

It’s name and silence,

beyond and here,

the hush of ice, and star,

and rain, soaking the earth

the tension unresolved.


Your silence has no meaning

or a meaning I don’t wish to hear.

Your silence is denial of what was

value to me, you, who knows what?

Your silence is pain, baffled spirit,

thwarted mind-hurt, no redemption.

Your silence has no meaning, truth

has bled away, doors closed once open.

Your silence speaks, more loud the phrases

than love declared or beauty altered.

Your silence surprised the mind, still

giving, heart, lips, hands, ears burning.


We drown in the world’s vast energies.

How small we are on the heart-slopes here!

Slighter even than leaves or flowers,

they return in eternal innocence:

we will sink with the weight of stars.

Things seek to be without consciousness,

while we are lost in the thoughts of self,

reader-less pages turned underground,

they, things grown towards the light,

we, loving stones, stars, rains that fell.

Annihilated by world, and smothered,

the wounded snake, the grounded fly,

return in perpetual innocence,

they are forever the products of sense,

while we drown deep in the tangled sky.

The New Voices

These are the makers,

the new voices,

the heron’s breast-bone

bright in the sky.

Stars in the grass,

alder, rowan,

the white flower

of the watching eye.

Rooks, crows

on the winds of evening,

these the makers,

their forms on high.


Those trees we planted

show in midnight silence,

apple, pear, poplar

that shroud the stars.

Deeper we plant now,

deeper we follow,

these roots, the heart-roots

of the spirit.


Butterflies loosed through the sunlit world,

only fly summers, autumn’s their winter,

but you, your spirit, the houses of light,

are beauty, are truth, woman of dream.

Dragonflies skim on the sunlit pools,

only glitter through warmth of evening,

blue-green mica followed by stars,

but you, your glitter, their pole of fire,

are silence, and grace, woman of dream.

On the Edge

Half a day reading history

until the shadowy dead

have presence,

by such small things

captured and remembered.

Fine detail makes us live,

generic creatures

a movement

or a gesture resurrects,

a window-face watching winter fields.

Events are, by their nature,

meaningless, the fire’s

a fire within, Coleridge saw,

world turns on our fulcrum,

great on small, and earth on a knife-edge.

Love Conquers

Love conquers and the heart is ravaged.

A sweetness fills us, there is no resistance.

What pours from us is ours, within, reversing,

the gifts we’re given, barely understood.

Rain then Stars

Rain down the glass,

streets float through air,

I touch your neck, we converse,

see later how the new moon lies

down banks of cloud, how stars

and planets shift, a music heard,

we laugh, the echo of a voice,

calls through our night, our

whispers soft, of place,

of bodies’ gentleness,

and long acquaintance,

rain down the glass,

through open dark,

and quasi-eternal fires.

Cloud thoughts

Mountains of white cloud,

but we too free to go.

Impossible to see what is

this stream of water moving.

New shoots, fresh ground,

all the trees bow down.

Our song is here and gone,

but, then, the echo stays.

Who sold the forests?

Who felled the creatures?

Roots, there are no roots,

we plant them here.

Dark light, pale earth,

through the blackbird’s eye.

The child, you, the mother

and the child.

Quality, they matter

the tall white hills of mind.

Hardest of all, the letting go,

Rilke, hardest to bless, let go.

There are still those who care

for consistency, for foundations.

All alive, every slope, new leaves

ancient light, grass cool at dawn.

Grass cools at evening, clouds,

every slope, every eye, all living.

A Text

A text is not a life.

No word’s a thing,

but process pointing

into what is hidden.

Still Nature is a language

which we read, a text

where bright things move,

if time is verb, if space is object.

Past and future here within the text,

encoded, the moment is the word,

and what is dumb in us

the dark tremor of the creature,

now freed, now part of speech,

a sentence in the primer of the world.

We become the word,

yet life is not a text.


We will go naked through the centuries.

Civilisation is the cloth we wear,

but beneath the flesh the mind is bare,

ravening naked through the centuries.

In You

Your hand by moonlight,

delicate as an eyelid,

touches that silken web,

that silvered thread,

tensile as steel, my love,

my faith in you.


Emotion clouds your mind,

and all your thoughts are lost.

Phaedra follows her sister

into the heart of the maze.

There the lost bird beats

blind along alleys,

falling through the shadows,

on broken wings.

Here an axe stands, there a shield,

the half-hero shudders monstrously,

but you are overcome by intricacy,

and baffled by hidden voices.

You have no way to speak

from all your shining faces,

Pasiphae, Phaedra, Ariadne,

Woman, girl, child, bird’s tongue.

The Call (A Photograph)

Those shafts of light are white

among the trees, they move

towards us,

are us, are our love,

mine for you, yours for me.

The forest is black,

the bell of light,

white fire, chimes in the dark,

nothing here is shattered,

the crystal shimmers.

The voice of time, our time,

is light. Cry of the Now.

This word alive, those trees,

fern, grass, seeds, flow

from ancient silence.

There is a distance

and then light unfolds,

there is connection.

The shafts of light

call towards us, call.

At Night

By night

the mountain-canyons,

the uncut, darkened

forests of Oregon,

the far north-west’s

volcanic call,

the ocean winds,

the creatures breathing,

lights of Algol, Deneb.

Under the planet’s weight

you lie, naked to stars,

my words extend

their fingered blindness

to tides, plains, rivers,

the great sigh

of grasses and seas,

from island here to far fall

to find you.

Wind-gleams among


lips where you dream

all the Pacific murmur,

the sweet cries

in the mouth of dawn,

cedar, fir,

the ancient trails of light,

all seeking, meeting.


Following the threads

of sweet association,

until richness deepens

corners of light and shadow,

old walls, old trees, new grass,

time swift or with

impossible slowness,

you, Nature, together

loved, in eternity.

No way to explain

what moves the heart,

the manifold connects,

all those landscapes,

and all those terrains

of your body and mind

deeper than I can bring

to the making,

closer to creation.

We hold what we love,

nothing escapes us,

fierce as reality, fiercer,

seen from beyond,

seen from within,

till both are either,

nothing is left behind,

you have me, still,

I have you.


Heron glides slowly over the lake,

after the rain has gone, water on

water, after the hiss of light.

Heron cries, monkey-screech

then, silent-waked, glides the trees

a grey sail of beauty, after the rain.

Heron sends strings of cries, kites

of sound, beats silent down

the lake, is gone, out of settling light.


Mind is not at the mercy of seasons,

places of light are not surrendered,

by mountain-cloud, or planet’s motion,

Mind is not sold, thoughts re-kindle,

silent, we are still all.

Out of mind flows compassion,

sacrifice for the true, the loyal,

the flame un-flickering, quiet the pure eye,

limpid love comes, gathering, quickening,

Mind is not at the mercy of seasons.


Water slows in the eye’s focus.

Water fills the hollows, then flows,

Water of storm’s edge, of sea’s maw.

Wave of the mountain, a hundred

thousand, ten million years, falling.

Crest of the forest curves and breaks.

Water bright at the cliff-edge, green

in shallows. Water stuns our hearing,

covers the hand, the groping fingers,

blinds the senses, lifts the wreckage,

Water that fills the hollows of hills,

till they drink, we drink.


Ghosts? Masks?

Into subtle stillness

of places, things

behind the mind.

Ghosts, dance on a hill

of cloud, we see the rain

and thunder, pine on pine,

above the mountain.

Potent the symbols, mad

the ritual –

with what does not exist

can be no connection.

Until the next turn of the earth,

crazed dancing,

takes us no further,

leaves us facing things.

What the heart paints,

what the mind dances,

no one can make myths,

past, past, not this again.

That Purity

The purity at the heart of things.

Who denounce their past

deny their future, but to live

in the past is death.

All things always new:

free of memory or affection,

but, with no adverse intent,

rain falls, the glacier flows,

light opens again at dawn

like a flower.

Purity at the heart of things.

Is There

No mind, no names, no things.

Smoke in the air on a thousand peaks.

You think you understand this world?

No one understands this world.


(‘Infinite things desired, lofty visions’)

I found you among noble things,

I knew you among true spaces,

you come bringing the world’s depths,

hold in your hands the mind’s future.

You were not meant for dull being,

and I long to sweep away,

all this time, and all this silence,

find you again among noble things.


Deep in me,

you died deep into me,

boulder, the world-bed,

strata where we lie, lie.

To be layered of dark,

to be entrances, exits,

stones that hum,

trunks that tremble.

Smoke-scapes passing deep

in the floor of you,

over and over us gold centuries,

the aeon-lights.

Even now, still alive,

even now black air writes,

the now-infinite moment,

the all-we-brighten.

Sent out, gathered now,

into the days

over-seen by exiled star-fire,

we flare.

The uncountable names,

one vision, one

indecipherable hour,

morning, evening, dawn.

Of this we drink

our life, drink our death,

are, in a moment,


The Proper Subject

The proper subject

of poetry, is time,

the frail, tender, mortal flesh,

its mind, care, grasp, satiation,

and what from time

we salvage here,

of truth, trust, beauty.


Is the meaning inside, and those temples abandoned.

Is the wisdom of knowledge, and no blind discipline.

Is the nurture of spirit whereby the machine serves life.

Is to create the free, and to give beyond power and state.

Is the middle way of mind, thought balanced with feeling.

Is justice in the heart, tenderness there, grandeur of care.

Is the end of superstition, is meaning forever.

The Fore-Runners

Theirs the subtler music, the clearer light,

ours the beauty of darkness, gleam of night.

Theirs the dust of years that clings to the stem,

ours the strength of eye, the power to know them.

The Triad

Beauty becomes the mind’s delight,

all delight must end in beauty.

Love is sweet as mind’s delight,

all that delights we love.

And truth that delights the mind

is beautiful to us, is loved,

the three then are interwoven,

in delight, in man and woman,

truth, love and beauty here

the triad of delight.

No Formula

The truth of the world is more than its equations,

A is a woman, B a child, C is in truth a man,

X is hatred, Y a thought, Z their combination,

the fire, the light are more than the equation,

what is, is forever beyond explanation,

being is more than its representation,

it is the reality of star and stone,

or death would be merely transformation,

and not this loss that strikes us to the bone.

Chance at the Core

Chance at the core is deeper

than meaning to the eye,

chaos the cloud that hovers

between the ground and sky,

that world is deeply random

defeats the mind, you sigh.

Random the inner movement

time’s least step in flight,

though moon moves in pure order

across the seas of night,

that all this is from nothing,

I sigh, seems nothing right.

But out of chance comes beauty,

true form is the child of light,

the particles that bind us

require no second sight,

they move, we sigh, forever,

in the play of have and might.


I walk on matter, on the not-I,

the manifold bounds and bonds

of the universe, feet cannot enter:

feel resistance, know this tide.

Winter insects over grey turf

rise in the spring-like air,

a current of time lingers in space

of solid world, the unknown.

Fragile we walk the earth,

slide over rock, silt, sand

pass miles through brown grass

breathe under sunlit cloud.

What is this ground we step on?


Go silent rose,

go, flower of eternity,

tell her that knows

when there’s no more of her and me,

what worlds must echo still,

to our mortality.

Go silent rose

all your rich petals, from the sun,

retreating, where pure snows

and time’s true hours are gone,

be, there the mystery

of mind’s eternity.

And say no more of us

than this will live

the life that dreaming glows

in lines the light can give:

be the undying rhyme,

be you the rose of time.

Longing is a World

Longing is a world,

we are not loved enough,

we do not love enough,

and longing is a world.

World is not enough,

the deep desire burns,

on towards further fire

and longing is a world.

Such purity as form or mind

as love and truth may be

meet in delight, defeat the night

and longing is a world.

Feeling: there lies humanity,

we are not loved enough,

but mind knows light is tangible,

and longing is a world.

Where Silence Ends

As I came to the place where silence ended

and love began,

my mind was not as it once intended,

driven by plan:

the richness comes from randomness

the world’s alive in our first excess.

I walked the fields to where woods gleamed,

and leaves began,

though the darkness there still seemed

a friend to man:

complexity out of storm and stress

is what the sighing trees expressed.

And complexity’s beauty: though truth is cold,

love draws us down

to what we learn, before the mind is old,

all we can own:

the endless moment, all hearts’ confess

where we gave, and gazed at, what is best.

Where We Are

At the end of the first history

with the detritus from the journey.

Below, the sea that brought us here,

a scattering of cities, and enslaved minds.

Above, the stars in all directions

which are not where they were.

With this light on our hands

a signal, a blessing, a gift.

At the start of the New Life

with only ourselves and the Earth.


To love your mind. Love is patience,

love explores the detail loved,

does not disown what is not found

to be its blood and bone,

but something other-wise.

Love is the other, now,

I love your mind.

The Deeper Sweetness

Not to understand

the nature-users,

those impervious to

the deeper sweetness,

the silent Earth,

Spoilers of the world

we the late-comers,

survived once by respect

and now without respect

for shining Earth.

Politics is not love,

the mind engaged,

is not the loving heart,

what we can save,

of living Earth.

There is no place

for those who love the race

more than our cradle,

these flowing seas, these leaves

of turning Earth.


More comfortable with inner silence,

sky’s deepening blue, the falling

rising stars, the snow-black woods

the stillness in the grass,

the universal moment where the breath

ends breathing, and the mind

enters what is inward and between,

what is not human,

never will acknowledge

human thought, or process,

purpose, mind. There is

such comfort in the inner silence.

The Light, the Leaf

We will begin again without the names.

The one life is eternal. Nature there

and nothing changes, everything goes by.

We will begin again, but not the dream,

it passes. One life is eternal, you and I

naked mouth on mouth, a wheel turning,

pierces matter still, are spirits, spirits,

mind a maker and unceasing, and in line,

and form Nature is still there, the light, the leaf.

The Word

Comes from the inner depths of what you are

and no delusion, your audience the makers,

and then no more the makers. Silence where

we ourselves create beyond ourselves.

In time, or out of time, or of one time, the same,

from the one place with the sole intention,

the rest not worth a candle, the one spirit,

but Caliban’s music, not Prospero’s magic,

out of the deepest space of what you are,

ah, and with the purest of intentions.

Leaf Gazing

Climbing White Mountain

to watch the maple leaves,

seeing the white leaves

climbing MapleMountain,

until the world grows still.

Water is the eye of the dragon,

coil on coil round the mountain,

disclosing its white leaves.

In Nature is our being

this hundred thousand years,

climbing through the silence,

to see the leaves burning,

birch, maple, mountain ash,

along the thousand hillsides

and through a hundred valleys

of the mountains of the mind.

The Sensation

Between two moments of eternity I live my life,

dark in the wood shadows, pale in the light,

of fields and slopes, bright hollows,

the landscapes between lives,

and almost seize once more what the child saw,

that inner echo of vibrating world, the wheel

in the sky, the mountain peak

of un-conveyable sensation.

Through us, and not despite us, being comes,

all this complexity, and what I do is richness

how I flower, the mind is caused

not uncaused mystery.

Myself, this living thing projects

onto the silent tapestry, hawks wheel

the world in silence reconfigures,

in the only space of time.


There is no message can convey

the complexity of everyday,

we echo between selves, ‘friend’ we say

and then a thousand intervening hours

of wishing, of suppressing the demand

for what cannot be given by circumstance,

hiding pain, fear, time, space, every thing,

writing the mind’s pure drama on the wing.

All this there is no message to convey,

the thousand unseen movements day by day.


Then to speak out of truth’s centre

call from the heart in spirit-meaning

the world-sorrow and mind’s lightning,

Seafarer now at the earth’s ending,

since all times end in self’s singing.

Words to make, and then worlds

beyond earth’s mountains fallen,

in forests down-slope into night’s kingdom,

risen again then with the dawn clouds,

the light on streams, on cliffs’ clinging.

This the clear truth, this the deepest,

unfamiliar the truth past all deceiving,

fire of the un-made universe, un-created,

of man the patchwork blown in a whirlwind

within this world, and all this world within.

The Light Within

Your thought elsewhere.

In nature mind returns

to its first wholeness. Form

is joy, the balm, the meadow-straw,

where spider, beetle crawl, ants fly,

the delicate intricate smallness

is the greatness of the world.

Love’s union, that intense delight,

is bond, is tie, is inwardness transformed,

life’s wholeness energised

in the open field, the spirit of light,

and not in dumb, dead religion

but vision risen, to fill the void

with love. Your thought elsewhere,

the light within.


Go beyond, no half-measures,

intensity tears the fabric

of the known, splinters

of being pierce your skin,

touch nature, touch mind,

bear true relation. Go, beyond.

Passes, it passes what you are,

and where you open on the brink

of centuries, space or silence,

where the child went, knot

of the web, curl of the bright leaf,

passes, re-passes, what you are.

Out of the space I can’t convey

where being is an arc in the sky,

is a mountain there, its slopes

its wooded cliffs, is burning child,

is wheel of our unknowing, being

here, and beyond.

No Fences in the Way

No grass stirs. By speaking

you seek to enter silence?

What is it then, this world

the bird flies through?

Conscious mind projects

the world beyond, unconscious

of itself, and is projected.

Truth, beauty, the spontaneous heart.

When you find it, there’s nothing there

where everything is there.

In the mountain stillness

be the bearded grass. Let go.


Here in the silence of night

affirm your values.

True, sensitive, kind,

affirm your values.

In the valleys of love and beyond

affirm your values,

where the mind is not for sale,

affirm your values.

This is the starlit womb,

declare our presence.

Love, beauty, truth,

declare their presence.

In the fire of the galaxies

declare Earth’s presence.

Mind and the planet alike,

preserve our presence.

The Womb

Pure landscape, grass in the wild wind,

all mortal beings sing self on self,

this is Earth, this fragile voyager,

intention-less, lovely, pure insensate

source we sprang from, tongue-less, mind-less.

We the voice, the creatures in whom love

self-born makes mysterious presence,

all that we feel and no way understand,

the one womb, kindness of flesh and sense,

yours Earth, dear in mind, tongue, essence.

For a Moment

Scrambling, cliff-wide hands

in the cleansing rain,

sea-stones in night-grass,

winds in the shore pine,

rocking the core of silence,

leaning on tree, watch cloud,

mind-rinsed beauty of being,

before words in the first knowledge.

Come to it, how it unfolds, the order

from chance, at the white fire

hedge-tangled, edge of the sea,

over the grooved dunes, bark

sand, pebble, the reef of time

and its changes, the gone things,

but nature, science, mind remain,

and we too out of the ground.

Sinking down to this earth

to the turf bank, under deep sky,

hands touch, as ever, as eternal

echo of other minds, hearts, spirits,

we too emblem, and moment, immortal.

Index of First Lines