Looking Back at Earth

England, Baltic Sea and the Persian Gulf

England, Baltic Sea and the Persian Gulf - Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, NASA

Authored by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2001 All Rights Reserved.

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 Loose, Shifting Ghost

At one end of Nature is rock, stone,

at the other end, Life.

At one end matter.

Mechanism at the other.

At one end a glory, light

from the galaxy, a flower,

from inside the petals of dust,

at the other end, Mind.

At one end is word,

at the other end, silence,

the sifting of sand over gravel.

At one end darkness, complexity,

driving at truth.

At the other is grace, truth,

laughing simplicity, mocking complexity.

At one end the drift,

the quiet, mindless ease.

At the other the lure,

to get, form, create,

in the sweat of the maker.

At one end, the adult, dying,

at the other, the child.

At one end power,

at the other, powerless love.

Climbing blue night,

on the mountain, madly,

at one end of Nature,

is light,

at the other is ground,

root of our being.

What is it this Mind

floats above, the loose,

shifting ghost?


Corona Borealis, Canes Vetanici,


Perseus, Andromeda.

Antares, Arcturus, Spica, Vega,

Cassiopeia, Deneb,

Gemma, Mira,

Rigel, Regulus.

Anguem, Alta,


Lyra, Serpens Cauda,

Altair, Crux.

Capella, Draco,



Soul’s Mirror

Quieter, quieter,

and stiller, stiller,

between leaf-stir,

between star-flare,

nothing human.

Those we have missed,

un-found forever,

those we have missed.

Quieter, and stiller.

Until a trickle of light,

in the slow-flowing stream,

lifts a dark piece of branch,

moves it on;

until a corner of forest

shudders with light,

embraces the moon.

To love and not touch,

to miss them forever,

who would have been loved,

the soul’s mirror.

Those noises we hear,

but quieter, now, stiller,

are voices that move, in the dark,

we never recover.

The darkness is lover,

the night, without love,

starred wind, bleak fire,

void of joy,

abyss of measure.

Duller, softer, blunter,

quieter and stiller,

the longing, the anguish,

what is not said to the other,

the pain, of the lover,

soul’s mirror,

between leaf or leaf, star or star,

quieter, quieter,

and stiller, stiller.

Trying To Make It

Trying to make it,

so that nothing is there.

Trying to be, but not-be,

breathe, not think,

think void, see,

nothing, where there is tree,

but still see tree,

tree to be void,

and Mind, nothing, there,

is hard.

Trying to see, cannot see that

trying to be nothing

is nowhere. Light stares,

tree sings,

but in the word, work, being there,

before the task, entire,

and watching, till something,

not the self, creates, is there,

where nothing is there,

in tree, mind, air.

Behind the Words

Still enough, here, you can hear the voices

without speech,

those who are silent.

Can you be so still?

Not the speakers,

not slaves of the word,

the others,

the ones with no voice,

no names,

who fill history,


Where there’s no moral light,

words are dead, artifice

is no longer a gift to the night,

but a dark fire,


the dance of the dead.

We must shine,

to the end of our lives,

we must shine,

through all dark,

and be still,

to hear, on the mountain,

behind the voices,

the voice,

of the ones without voice.

They died in love,

they sang,

at the rim of the heart,

sun, light, and life,

life of the word, of the heart,

as animals sing, birds,

out of the spirit.

We must sing,

love. The rest is deceit,

names, artifice, word,

that engrosses, inflames,

sends spires high,

made forms, made games,

worth nothing,

unless we are still,

still to hear,


words behind words.


Through distance

I feel you,

something of you,

some shining of time,

heart engages,

desire engages,

spirit’s concern, mind’s love,

but a ghost with a ghost,

side by side,

in an insubstantial country.

I see. Voice. I hear.

Tremor of sounds, remembered,

on the brink of space,

in the centre of time,

separate, words of departure,

and word is pain.

It reverberates

where the feelings, tremor inside,

where the severed threads,

go silver, in twilight.

It is going, and then,

eternity’s silence,

a nerve of stillness, a never,

a nothing, a no-one’s world,

out of time, out of being.

How? When this shone,

with the force of a star,

with the strength of a sea,

with the sweetness

at the root of what moves.

How going? How done? How

silent and nothing?

But you, something of you,


reflected light,

the ghost of a mind,

saying to all those,


deeper than you, deeper

I live.

No One

The black candle shines

in the Houses of Dust.

No one is forgiven.

Pain belongs to the victim,

and not the unclean.

No one is forgiven.

Pain is a black flame,

burning at sunset.

No one is forgiven.

The land there is empty,

despite many people.

No one is forgiven.

There is a form, a shape,

a design in the dust,

it dances, it stirs.

There is no language, no word,

no space for the word.

No one is forgiven.

It rises beyond. It glitters,

it rattles, it burns,

in the silence of night.

Under the eyeball,

and over the hand,

in the voice out of crystal,

it sings,

in the darkness of fire.

No one is forgiven.

Time heals, you say,

and silence. All is forgiven.

No one is forgiven.

The black candle shines,

in the Houses of Dust.

No one is forgiven.

Mind and Its Light

In the darkness,

a shade to a shade,

will you (three times) believe?

Blood in the vein,

flickers, pulses, burns red,

with the language consumed

by the voices of fire,

up there, up there,

by the vortex of stars,

where the mind sings,

for strangers,

by the stream of light,

in nobody’s house,

in the dark.

As a spirit, as mind,

as process, as shadow, as shade,

through all of the roads,

earth, water, air, fire,

tempest and sea,

mountain and love,

O love, the rage

of the angel,

the devil’s desire.

As a flame, almost caught,

gentle, that burns,

in the courtyard

where no-one comes,

singing for strangers.

The Kingdom.

What light angles

down the paths,

forces’ stairway in the darkness,

you, shade, inhabit,

the mysterious word.

Babel. We purify,

to a dialect of flame,

by blood, and by time,

with a charity no one denies,

with a love,

no one can deny,

by the word,

by what’s staked on the word,

Mind, and its light.

Babel’s Tower

In Babel’s tower,

my eye is the pupil of stone,

the time-voice,

the network,

of broken fire, on the face,

of night, before dawn,

is shadow, naked,

is arm, plumed white,

the bird that cries...ah, ah,

in Babel’s tower.

In Babel’s tower

the ghost’s breath

the bright

glitter of pebbles, the spume

that blows night together,

in foam, in murmur,

of cliff-fall,

in Babel’s tower.

In Babel’s tower,

distance, the lion-eyed

desert of fear,

a pain, between brows, a trickle

of flame, of ash,

floating down

from the eye of the lion,

to the hiss of sand,

air’s whirr,

storm’s sigh,

in Babel’s tower.

In Babel’s tower,

something, bone, sperm,

dream, wound,

hammered, split, peeled,

mind-womb, unseen

barb, the bright wire

drawn through the mouth,

gales, bird-mouths, the bricks

of a tower, a gate,

keen, moan, grief’s moan,

and it blows, breaks, brightens,

in beams of agony, rays,

and names, always names,

in Babel’s tower.


The core of power

is a heap of dust.

The centre of power

is a light that blows

on a void,

over silence.

The heart of power

is a night gasp

from the statue’s head,

on the path of stone.

The focus of power

is the sterile coil,

the tornado turns,

the twist of light,

on the inner face,

of the gaze of death,

the broken lens,

the shiver of shame.

The essence of power

is fine sand,

dark gravel,


cloud like a hand

on a desert.

Power’s name

is the name of ash,

the drift, the smoke that clings,

the oily, viscous

flakes of despair.

Power’s silence

is fools’ gravity.

Power’s violence

is fools’ work.

Power’s irony

is fools’ gold.

The core of power

is a sigh of dust,

a motion of dust,

in a dawn wind,

by the black tree,

where the creature sits,


the meaning,

the purpose,

of power.


The heart is not owned

beyond the corruption of eye and ear,

where the yellowed grass slopes

to the dark stone of the temple.

The place of the heart

is not owned.

The wind, the sea, the grass is not owned,

blows in the silence,

breaks in the silence,

stirs, is not owned.

The Mind is not owned.

The stars, the dark stars,

the flares, out of stillness,

out of the reaches of night,

spaces where nothing will be

but moment’s chaos,

the gulfs of the deep,

are not owned,

nothing is owned.


Spirit – not to deny,

spirit, ghost-fern, down

the misted space, fern-seed

hollow, that must not be void.

Not to deny, process, spirit,

objectify, make voids

that darkness fills.

Tiny scales of fern,

edges, whorls, heart-fern,

to which we return, to the heart-fern.

Faith, hope, love. Give the fern: share the fern,

down the dark path, speak to spirits.

Valleys, fern-slopes, fern-rimmed

water, wells, springs that spout

from fern, pour cold stone,

over stone slabs, into dark soil,

the dark earth of ferns.

Do not deny – the spirit,

do not deny. We shift

in the wind, in the rock, we are not

one thing, time’s process,

we are many lives, heart’s spies,

lost, in the homeland of fern,

in the country of fern, green

dark where the dead wait,

to tell us their word.

Do not. Nothing owned

in space, by us, who are time.

Nothing owned in time,

by us, who are space.

Not fern, not star.

The Book

The Book.

What is the book?

Slope of the heart, between teeth,

the silence grown light,

the exile’s stair.

What is the book?

Smoke, the remains of stars,

meridian circles of syllable,

blind-moving mouth.

The Book.

What is the book?

Speaker in night’s intricate shades,

follower of gleaming voices,

finer, more distant, than cry.

Boat, rowed to the island,

clouded with aspen, on cliffs,

where the waterfall carves no name.

The Book.

What is the book?

The window, dark

with glass, the crystalline rain

of sound, the incantation.

I chant the people, the nation,

graced without roots,

except those in the air,

without blades, or icons,

without faces or names,

without being,

ash, asra, asher.

The Book.

What is the book?

The curved wings meeting in darkness,

the pillar blazing in darkness,

the smoke, the cloud of burning.

Spirit. Freedom is the book.

Earth, air, light, heart, written on water,

a table, where bread stands,

a wall, on which light falls,

of sun’s pain, of memory,

memory, the Book.

Grave Goods

In the darkness, with the child by your side,

under the earth, and waiting,

in the darkness, with the child by your side.

Gold over the heart, gold in the hand,

gold around hair, and on foreheads.

Gold of the dark, with the child by your side.

No one climbs the air that looks for an eyelid.

No one stirs the arms that look for a moment.

No one touches your face, or the child by your side.

There is a distance, as far as a star-field,

one where I do not cry, where I do not see,

that shape of the child by your side.

In the dark, with the child by your side,

an offering to earth, an offering, and waiting,

in the dark, with the child, by your side.


You sing for strangers, and your word is a cage,

out of which spirit seeps slowly,

into the dark canals, into the evening light,

into the soul of the mirror.

You say this is all fine, all clear, all true,

but I say time dies, the earth dies,

and you, you sing for strangers.

By the waters there, where we wept,

at nightfall, the rose, the fish-pools, the jewels,

the galleries, what is clustered? What is

perfumed, what is turned by the maker?

You sing for strangers.

Believing the heart can survive, the mind

can survive, the spirit need not be harmed,

the soul impaired.

Mouth, in the stillness, you weep.

Knees, in the silence, you bend.

Hand, in the mirror, you move.

Word, in the darkness, you yield.

You sing for strangers.

You Build the Tower

We make what nobody knows.

You build the tower, hollow on slenderness,

put there a stillness, the leaf of a rose.

We watch time in the glass, and nourish

each other, with names, strange foods,

and the curios of eternity.

We exchange eyes: we count seconds,

out of the fibrous past, its tentacular spread,

we make roadways from winter to spring,

we make a bridge from ocean to ocean.

We exchange tears. We watch: we study

the things they have made, the dead,

and the echoes between, we are firing a metal,

strange, in the crucible, angling the stars.

We know each other in light, carry

each other through darkness. I watch you stand

in the flames, walk through the flames,

and I praise.

Is there a ferry to cross to your shore?

Is there a boatman over the pool?

I can see down to the floor, of the ocean

of fear and division, white sand, dark rock.

The gates of both earths are open. We hear

the birds flocking, that cry, through the skies,

skies green with light’s refusal. We gather,

truth from the stone, trust from the hurt.

Making what nobody knows. You,

the slenderness there, placing word on word,

life on life, silently, building the tower.


The dying is leaving: that is the pain,

being left, reducing, to what we have not

loved, not known, not understood,

exhausting ourselves, sighing out flowers,

winds, leaves, the outgoing breath

of the mind’s eternal face, the crystal child,

finally ravished, finally damaged and torn,

as we give birth.

The living is leaving: that is the pain,

being left, diminished, by what we have failed,

in trying, to own, loved, and not known,

not understood, vacating ourselves,

sighing out selves, mists, flames,

the vanishing breath of the heart’s temporal phrase,

its stillborn child,

finally shaken, finally threshed and winnowed,

as we reach birth.

The moment is leaving, that is the joy, the pain,

leaving, beginning, going, from what we, now, are not,

to what we, yet, are not, unknown, not understood,

losing, re-finding ourselves, leaving behind the skein

as we wind the labyrinth’s web, our dark canals,

our clefts, our deeps, our forgotten children,

finally changing, finally forming, transmuting,

in unending birth.

Your Image

Your image,

of you, in the pool, in the liquid flow,

ripe, rich, among friends, in the moment, naked,

you fill with memory, memory’s tenderness,

making its space.

And a girl, your tale of a girl,

and an echo in time, a tenderness, she,

arriving in time, to your hand,

and now, seen again, seen again,

in the face of a stranger.

These are stillnesses, you can return to,

beauty and tenderness, you can return to,

sweet in the private mind.

And for me, there are landscapes, sea-coasts,

grassed corners, deep places, and lines,

words made of lines, there are faces,

but not with your peace, not with your stillness,

the beauty, that flowers from you,

like the child from your womb,

flowering, the tiny flower.

These are things you can hold, and return to.

There is death, and division,

mists’ dense gleam over water,

clouds’ snow-melt of silence,

obscurers of dream.

There is life. Its strange force

and arousal, ocean of movement,

white spume of the wave,

and what it delivers.

Your image of you, and of them, alone

in the pool, naked, ringed with water and rock,

your elements, earth and its flowing,

above them the air, the crystalline mind,

darting, a hummingbird,

secret through ancient darkness.

And a girl. These are stillnesses,

you can return to, pure,

in the private mind,

where all true things are,

where the real world exists,

to all hurt’s confusion.

The Singing

Faun’s touch in the silence.

Light falls in tenderness there,

where the sex is revealed,

in the soft swelling of line,

in the purest of forms,

from the Minotaur’s hand.

They gazed at beauty, that gazes

nowhere, beyond, is shape,

is a pillar of time, a thing out of time.

beyond action, they gaze, sleep,

the lovers, beyond, sound

in the crystalline earth

where light is alive.

Cradled in time, in trust,

in the stillness of trust,

like a flower, a miraculous flower

on a precipice, bright as a wave,

lifted and lost like a wave,

but cradled in time.

The Minotaur sings, not

in a tongue that they know,

he sings creature and man,

come from the mount of the bull,

the force of the sea. He sings. He cries,

with inhuman cries, a language

heard in the sonorous walls,

in the spirals of pain, in the hollow curves

at the core of the sea’s whitened shell,

its horn of immaculate pearl.

And you reach down and touch,

reach through the circle of faces,

the eyes without speech, and you touch,

bravest of all, truest of all, most naked of all,

you stretch out a hand, to the creature,

to his heart, and imagine a heart,

to create his heart, as another did

to set free the line, as if the curve sang

the space of the block, the white space

of the page, of the Minotaur’s singing.


How to make it here, how to

create it, here, in this mist of the darkness,

this crystalline spirit,

without weeping, without lying,

how to make it, here?

White snows of earth-light

touch me in silence:

waters of space-time

cleanse me in silence.

How to hear stars, here,

how to feel earth, here, how

to recover the singing,

how to lay out

the places of love,

how can we make it, here?

Blueness of evening

I suffer your word-fall:

stones from the distance

shower on my page.

How to kneel down by the rock, here,

how to make anything sacred,

in error’s dark tower,

in the Babel of mirrors,

where men learn to destroy.

Black winds of morning

move in my ashes:

dark winds of dawning

scatter your knowledge.

How to know mind, here,

enact it, exalt it,

in the cold of the night,

in this time of oblivion,

in the pool of the dying,

how to build, here?

The Name

A place

for the hand to write

the name,

for the name


from light,

the space,

where memory

knows all the mirrors,

and speaks

the name.

It takes

It takes strength, calm

for the mouth

to speak the name,

a space

for the name,

boiling from darkness,

place where the hands


eyes melt, lips

make the name.

A light

for the heart

to read

the name,

a time

for the name,

flare out of silence,

earth has forgotten,

air has forgotten,


of the name.

Note: The name is the name, in the mouth of those who have lost, of the one who was lost, or the ones...it’s other name is Bergen-Belsen.


So many lives

carrying water,

carrying water

to the river.

Those teachers,

all those words,

those streams of light,

those flickerings,

carrying water

to the river.

The fountain of the poet,

that deep subterranean spring,

that tributary

carrying water,

carrying water

to the river.

The river glows below.

The river shines above.

Carrying water,

carrying water,

carrying water

to the river.

We Can Listen

The voices of dead men

are talking through stone.

They sing also

while hands move in the dark.

They are ascending

the leaves of summer

bringing a frozen word.

The Earth is empty.

Dead men fill it,

and women, dead women,

with voices of fire.

Their blind word is life.

Not to traduce it, corrupt it

with objects or wealth,

making men objects,

or women objects.

They tell us not to lie,

love power, defraud,

they ask us to try, living.

Out of the void, the heart,

unchanged, in the word

or the shape of the stone, the line

of colour, syllables, notes.

The voices of dead people

carry on talking.

We can listen.

Writing Me

Something is writing me,

says that the Garden

is not over,

that we could deepen

and recreate it,

before the Mind goes

under the sea,

into the space of denial.

Something moves this hand

sensitizes the heart

until every word is a fire,

every letter a branch.

There are paths to the hills

we have left,

a way to the shore,

of the horses and swans,

and the tracks of the gulls.

Something is talking in me,

not reason’s voice, or silence,

a perception,

outside the reference frame

that you read in,

and it speaks about nature,

the spirit, mind’s deeper dimension,

says that we

could recreate it,

its beauty, its hour.

I Entered

I entered the night

I broke the owl-sound

and threw it on roadways.

Moon shuddered in Earthlight,

she moved away.

Flights of birds, of stones,

towers of granite.

A city’s deceit

like the soil of waste

on mute fingers.

We wash and we wash,

in the silence,

but never get clean.

I entered the night.

Twigs waved. Buds opened.

A thought sang at high pitch.

Feelings trembled, eclipsed,

closed, joined, died.

There’s a counter-current of stars:

the sun swims backward against them,

rips earth out, takes it along.

We abandon the hammer of night

and leave it,

leave ourselves nothing,

we never redeem.

I held a fraction, a part

of a stamen, a rod,

sieved, sieved

at the black memory lake,

listened: do you? to secretive voices,

the not named, unspeaking,

the ones that go round

the anvil of night

and beat at the forehead of meaning,

the buried ones.

I sieved and sieved,

at the water,

that cannot be seen.


Autumn is over the hill.

An opaque light


is might have been.

Quarries, clouds

small silver lances


go on, hurting,

with curious


Through a hole in time

a hand

moved to touch


of passing flesh.

Flower is star,

its light

the heart,

it lights the heart, hurt,

gashed mind inflicts,

radiant, redeems.

Autumn is done. Heaps

of seed, forgotten,

wasted in darkness,


the Angel walked through


The Kingdom of Nothing

On the almond

from the black branch

a single flower.

And from the cherry-tree

the chamfered, rough

thready bark,

the first clear pink

double rich blossoms

break in winter.

On the almond, black.

And on the plum,

smooth, grey,

dark-grey column

slender as a girls’ neck

the buds open.

But on the almond,

on the almond,

despite winter,

there is a flower,

a flower,

despite winter.

A flower

in the kingdom

of nothing.

Folded Rock

On folded rock

the bird soars.

This power

is worth having,

not the other.

The fox, red, gazes


drags his brush,

flickers, is gone.

Deep inside

is his secret.

Look down

over lakes and hills

Mind knows

its place,

in the chest,

in the eyes.

On folded rock

sitting, seeing,

wishing for power

to pass me by.

In-form Me

Plenty of empty spaces

awash with words.

Plenty of things,

not useful,

not worth


Wrong lives

need to be


to fill emptiness

with space.

Only words

that transmit love,

many kinds

of love

form, in-form:

the rest are

used by power,


to create.

When we have overcome

this universe,

will we be


and in-formed?

What We Have

It came there, a mind.

It came from the root

from the flow

from the element eye

to say, like a shade, you.

Its word was aleph.

It had an evening light

and its galaxies

coiled, spinning

the wheels

of the word,

clustered, star-rich, branched.

It fed on shadows.

It took strength, its say

from shadow,

and spoke in the light.

It followed on.

Its veiled children

gathered by stone,

cupped water in hands,

under branches, thick

with doves and air

water and serpents.

Its veiled children

had hands

of ice and steel

of wood and crystal,

broken, enduring,

wounded, re-made.

Finer and finer it shone.

Mind. Word. What we have.

The rod, the amber glass,

pointed through clouds.

Finer, purer, truer,

if we are fine, pure, true.

It feeds on night,

one by one,

on the moon’s steps

under the grey poplar, the black

cypress, waving to time,

has tears,

is strong,

goes on.

It came here, a mind.

It came from root

whirlpool, vortex, void, flux,

out of the nucleus,

hadrons’ patterns,

out of the unknown equation,

to say,

like a shade,


Wing of an Eyelid




of an eyelid

saved me.

Out of night.

Had no need to,

but it came,

on a column

of poplar,

on a leaf,



the sky,

a stair

to the spirit.

Helped me.

Touched skin

by skin’s

lifted silk,

gave the river.



of an eyelid

saved me.








of an eyelid.

Breaking Down

Melts us down.

He will not stay in this house.


storm, star


leaves trails

of crystal, pebbles.

Broken door in the rain

boundary, swung

open or shut

on what comes

or does not come

grasping, clutching

a sharp sliver

of light.

Can you be him? Is he you?

Entering, stripping,


till you weep

into the exhausted hand,

you, all of him, he, never you.

Yet he


take himself.

Melting, fusing,

electric taste

of wired eternity

where we are not,

speaks here, makes here

dissolved, worn makings

of sea’s brine and slow sand.

He will come from below

as often as above

or be in the eye

the hand, the sex,

naked in mind-space,


ticking, echoing,

where we lie

down, emptied.

Breaks us open

like a shell.


The scale is



against which

we weigh.



Mind and Light.

In the other pan

I weigh

your heart,


my heart.

Mine is heavy


balances it.

The two arms

two wings

lift, fall,


into the bed

of time.

Nothing weighed

against us

is heavier,

or void,

here and there,

or word.

In your scale,

a tear

drops from an eye.

In mine,

a shadow



That earth and what is human should not stifle.

That the heart should be greater than the head:

that the spirit should be more than mind alone:

that the body should itself remain sacred.

That the earth should not die from commerce,

or the love of the earth become trade,

that the violence of the mind should be defeated,

as much as the violence of the flesh.

That every rage should be a rage of light.

That the poem should remain greater than the poet,

and the highest values be love and freedom,

and never the one without the other.

That we should go naked through all being,

and all of being nakedly through us.

That we should learn to hate our prisons and our chains,

that we should learn how to love and to be free,

and know all human futures are in freedom,

and the future of the mind to be in love.


Poetry goes on for ever,

beating inside the sad world’s stifled heart.

It goes on breaking open barriers,

invading every prison, making love

to all that is free, given, and untouched

by the blurred fingers of the careless,

by those who make an instrument from mind,

a lever from the body, trade in spirit,

buy or sell the soul, the head, or heart.

Poetry goes on for ever,

celebrating beyond selfish praising,

all that exalts and feeds the heart,

and it will always come, a dark wind blowing,

into places where imagination

has lost its way, those where power ruins,

money poisons, where the living word

is held a captive, or the dead forgotten,

where voices are stilled or tongues are silent.

It will endure the laughter of the dying.

It will speak the true word of the free.

Not Till I Touch You

So many roses

so many hours

nearer the rose

entering there,

so many hours

fallen away

till there is only

your truth

and you.

So many paths

of stars

burnt-out wreathes

of ash,

urns of silence,

tombs of dead ones,

so many ways

to your truth

and you.

And not

till I touch you

will time

come to an end,

in our sphere

and in yours,

not till

we know


of light and ourselves.

The heaviest things

were light,

gorse bloomed

with yellow


and dark spears.

Wild light

are you in us?

Time will

come to love,

will tell our hour.

Blue Eyes of The Sea

Blue eyes of the sea

open and shut.

Dark eyes of mind

gaze, flicker

in my land

of volcanoes and fire,

in my land of light,


Green eyes of fir-trees

dew-wet they blaze.

Dark eyes of spirit

shine and remember

in my country

of mountains and crystal,

mineral region

of beauty,


White eyes of night.

Dumb eyes of root.

Soft eyes of rivers.

Clear eyes of morning.




scarred, horned,




The girl comes,

to console,


shows the face,

hides it,

with footsteps,





ate the core

of the womb,

where the seed


Under granite, lava,



Under sea, mountain,

field, temple,

under palace,

sky, earth, stream,





to be found,


In the circle



symbol, buried

by symbol,

severed mind,


of the creature,

blazing mask,


The Poem

The secret of the poem

is that it

should burst

in a single tongue

of soul and sense

onto the background

of light,

tearing up roots

flattening trees.

With it

should come

in blood and fire

the heart

of the poet,

who for a moment

forgets his whole life

to pour it


onto the molten

crucible’s lip of iron,

until it runs

a splash

of gold

from the dark eye.


Word woke

the light

of a city

of bodies

that live under clothes,

and glass watched,

and the mind

lifted and stirred

the hands

of the clocks.

In gardens

creatures flew


leaves without concrete,

trees without railings,

and sang

songs and led lives

by alien stars.

Lights went on and off

in thousands of rooms,

and noises made sounds

of oblivion

for temporal children.

Lost words,

untidily present,

blew scraps of memory,

while ages

jostled against each other

bricks and stones

on slates and steel.

An intangible arc

of mad powers

raised an open hand

of sharp fingers

to a grey sky.

Motionless things,


to pieces of what we forget.

Mist like an arm,

legs of a river,

skins of soil

paper without roots,

waved their mouths

and flares

of the real,

offering chaos to chaos,

offering to be

a scatter of embers

in the tall night.

The Net

Somehow I know

I want to reach out

into the deepest core of the day

and from it bring back one more time

the far root of the child

the sole dreamer,

return the moment

of self and no other

of mind without species,

seen blurred through the water of time.

I want to describe

how in a space

remote from the world

miraculous nature quivers and flowers

and contains the child,

and not part of any age

but the age of the Earth,

the age of a landscape

that does not belong to me.

I see the child,

and I feel him there, reaching out

to a world, the word alone will try

to grasp. So that the word

itself flowering

not able to capture the feeling,

the strangeness,

will go on threading its net, gathering,

finding it empty,

until only the net is left,

and the child,

and the word.

The Voice

From the hills of night

comes the pure voice

that enters the poet.

It is the crying of gulls

the crying of birds

that are not human

that watch us from

the star spaces,

and I lie and listen

to the bird voices of night,

in which is your voice also,

and my voice,

so that we are two mouths,

in the line of mute mouths,

that now and again open,

now and again dictate

the lines of trees along roads,

the fields by canals, the roses,

especially the roses, in hedges,

and the deserted woods, empty slopes,

the places of lonely quiet.

I hear your voice

teaching me language,

writing words on the dark,

flowing from hills

to the dark plains, to light

where I write, the shelter,

at the whirlwind’s centre,

in February light,

where the pure voice, comes

to enter the poet.

If I Had Known

If I had known you better

green woods and wind-swept hills

on the plains of light.

If you had lived in me

and I in you,

to return motionless

to the silence of stone and earth,

and become in you

a waiting womb

of words and space,

not this,

the mortal void, stranger

from all directions,

then returning

would not be re-living

being re-born out of rootless pain

and loose breezes,

in the oaks and ashes, it would be

a rooted fragrance of waters,

where light ferments darkness

and a child’s eye sees

moorlands of dawn, lone hawks,

life along rivers, a wilderness

rich, un-wasted,

surrounding the heart.

Where Are The Leaves?

Thrown off like so many leaves

into the brown levels of soil,

and the rain comes

intensifying the silver air,

moulding layer on layer,

the yellow, umber, orange voices,

the shaped, the destroyed voices,

crushed down.

The swifts make crossbow bolts

in the sky, the heron

fishes dark water.

We do not fight

against the levels, we stand

where they are, we become

one more pair of lovers,

we join our cry to the birds’ cry.

So that in the sweetness

of the great whirlwind

we are bound to something,

some purpose of hidden nature,

some wheel of life and species,

and are not isolated,

and are not defeated.

I take your head in my hands.

I affirm existence.

Where are the leaves, colours of autumn,

the thick, honeyed leaves of insects,

the dark, bitter leaves of dying,

where are the leaves?


Sweet sometimes

to sing among shadows

in underground night


lone heart,

among the transcendencies.

There gods flicker,

winged, darkly silent,

and Persephone

yearns in the darkness.

I wait for her

who inspires the singing,

who, never fully clasped,

sheds the light

a man gathers

to hear the cry of his birth

among flames

into air, over water.

She follows, she returns

on the upward path,

strange symbol,

the bitten ankle,

the poem that stumbles

shrouded in beauty

whose pale silver face

shines over black robes.

And is lost when we wake

here on Earth.

She remains,

at the foot

of the ascent,

reached again

in dream-repetition,

in never-failing journey.

Gods bar the way

but I meet her

in mind

in forever Elysium.

Looking Back At Earth


On the track towards the stars,

green pine below white rock.

Dim light.

Where is the world?

Follow white clouds

in mind’s mirror.

See now that affection,


constantly offered,

are the only things,

and we are

a piece of nature.


Long shadows in dark ravines.

Tall cliffs for a thousand miles.

The river churns a bowl of snow.

The trees vanish in grey mist.

Tiny on a giant mountain

I watch time pass.

No moment exceeds this moment.

Past and future – all one.


Emptiness is hard to grasp.

Silence is hard to hear.

A house without walls or windows

is always hard to live in.

Those who think it is easy

to escape forms and names,

see only the mountain

on the mountain.


Weeks go by here faster than hours.

Thoughts like fires burn in tall grass.

Sadness, beauty, regret, desire,

are you beyond them, person of silence?

Those who would pass on their teaching

already confuse the message.

Those who would show the way,

already mistake the signs.


Dark boulders drenched in spray

choke the stream in Hidden Valley.

Old logs block the roads.

Birds and flowers live here.

The stream shines like the stars.

The moss clings to buried stones.

Even the pine knows more than me,

talking alone to the white clouds.


You want to know how to get here?

I only wish I could show you.

Not by doing something.

Not by doing nothing.

Recognise the river.

Let go of names and forms.

Wealth will not obtain it.

Power cannot own it.

You must make the mind change.

But you won’t do that by trying.


Sadness that the Earth is no longer free.

Pain at the violence of the world.

Power is a game for the foolish.

Nonot, are the words I use.

Not to follow, not to own, not to believe,

to live, without harm, with human love,

to live in the deep and sacred hour.

Lives are consumed. Thoughts live.

Minds vanish. Stones survive.

Standing near to the risen Moon,

know now all human littleness.


Hand in the water, silver in the mirror.

Dark pine branches cloud my image.

Through the pool of old reflections

see the white sky above me.

Try to follow nature, realise the vortex.

Quiet and stillness will release you.

No need of laws or reasons then.


Dawn sun on green cliffs.

The rock is my mind’s coolness.

The moss grows to my ears.

The mist swirls round my feet.

On a hundred feet of cliff

a white cloud of morning hangs.

I write a poem in silence,

for a clear eye to read.


The gateless gate is always open,

you only have to find it.

Not by searching or by thinking,

only by complete stillness.

It doesn’t know my words.

You won’t find it following me.

Go and climb the high mountain,

without leaving your house.


How we should live? That’s not hard.

We have to change the world to do it.

Divert everything we do

to making beauty and affection.

Let them be the criteria of every action.

How we should go? That’s not hard.

Take the power from those who seek it.

Take the wealth from those who grasp it.

Make power and wealth serve love and beauty.

How we should be. That’s not hard.

Part of nature, doing nothing

unless truth and joy inform it,

unless spirit is its essence,

and no one is an object,

violence at last forgotten.

Free each other. Free the mind.

Free the word. Free the body.

How we should live. That’s not hard.


White pearl, white moon,

white diamond in a blue sky,

at midnight on the mountain,

between the roots of pine.

Sitting on a stone, leaning on a cloud,

eat the air of evening,

drink the stream of morning,

while moon goes round the night,

my feet, my hands, my head.

Mirror, flower, silver sphere,

plate of light, show me

the galaxy, lead the road there.

Let us be crazy. Let us learn madness,

before this world of ours dies.


I try to stop craving, try to quell grasping,

but cannot stop loving this strange world.

I try to embrace the void, see the vortex.

But truth is not empty: the way is not joyless.

What I should crave, tell me, what I

should grasp, is not violence, not power,

not wealth and not mind alone, not reason.

Respect all those things that are human affection.

Make sacred Nature and every spirit,

spirit in us, the human spirit.

Love: remember: create the beauty.

Set free what is loved: live in freedom.

This is a world worth grasping.

This is a world worth craving.


Stream over the sheer ledge.

Mind over the smooth stone,

sliding and vanishing. Moon

over the lake.

Do not remember what does not help us.

Do not value what only corrodes us.

Going deeper is not clearer.

Stream. Ledge. Stone. Moon.


Words are not stones: thoughts are not rock.

They are light. They are light.

Mountains of pine gather the winds.

The deep gorge is filled with birds.

Tangled colours of a thousand vines.

Clear water of a pebbled stream.

Take them. Make them light.


There is a cold wind that blows here,

and white roofs to the peaks.

Snow in deep valleys.

Wind on high passes.

Good to be beyond the world.

Good to return to warm silence.

Clear the heart of all things.

Sit still here with me.


This forgetting is not love.

Love ties us to the earth.

Cool mountain streams run

over the sheet rock.

Cold leaf. Clear air. Dark

trees even in the high pass.

My heart is not yet clear.

Keeps falling back to earth.


Creatures, of no plan, long for a plan.

Minds, of no purpose, long for a purpose.

Go beyond to find the purpose-less,

mind-less, creature-less, un-planned.

The vortex will accept your mind.

The void will accept your body.

There is no destination.

There is no attachment.

Perfect love might be that place:

that which could forget itself.


Writing poems, walking, for the mind,

I forget them on the downward trail.

For a moment make a miracle.

Give it effortlessly away.

Never write those poems down,

that are your true existence.


If I spoke to you would it change your life?

If I climbed the mountain would it show the way?

Write it all yourself, that would be better,

mind’s dark script crossing silent air.

Watch it move over the clear stream.

Watch it vanish into empty space.

Here the stars declare the word.

Void and Vortex are for ever.

Index of First Lines