From the Mountain

View of Mt. Rainier

View of Mt. Rainier
Grafton Tyler Brown (United States, Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, 1841-1918) - LACMA Collections

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

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



Silent air.

Clear light.

Dark earth.

Quiet water.

Where rowan

is reflected.

Dark air.

Quiet light.

Silent earth.

Clear water.

The green


The ‘Sybil’s Headland’

where the heart is healed.

The ‘Lake of Shadows’

where the mind grows calm.

Over all the sky

the white clouds


in the still glass.

Quiet air.

Silent light.

Clear earth.

Dark water.

Shore of stones.

Clear air.


Quiet earth.

Silent water.

This is the last place.


Chamandra, when they strike fire in you,

you show blue-white eyes of oblivion.

Alkanet, mouth of the hidden stamens,

tight closed corolla, now bleed root-red.

Tanacetum, deathless, do they call you

ditch, roadside, wasteland?

Sagina, between the sacred feet,

leaf, where the white pearls scatter.

Anagallis, you are the well of tongues,

dark waters swallow you.

Centaury, Chiron’s find, gentian,

waists of the mares.

Vervain, sacra herba, divinatory one,

Tell me how they know you?


It sings.

A voice, a voice, a voice,

star, star-white.

Black, black

poplar, mind-light,

it sings.

It shines,

a moon, moon, moon-comb,


Still, still,

pipe, leaf-edge,

it shines.


Lost one.

Old Ballad

How does she ride?

In silence and fear.

How is the Bride.

White is the tear.

Say where you die,

beguile the light.

Moon on her fingers

silent and bright.

Time is the liar.

Mind is the briar.

Pain is desire.

Mortal is fire.

Where is the gold.

Flesh is the white.

Where will it fall?

In ashes and light.

Three Anonymous Motets from the C13 French

The Guardian of the Wood (‘Je gart le bois’)

I guard the wood,

so no man steals

the leaves or flowers,

or pleasure feels

who’s free, of love’s powers.

I love so faithfully

no pain touches me,

hot or freezing hours.

And I guard the grove,

the flower of the wood,

so that no man steals

the crown, except for love.

‘En mais quant naist la roseé’

In May when days are dewy,

and frosty nights are past,

he’s fine, who has his sweetheart,

since then he’s doubly happy.

What art brought heart to this pass?

How can it help but beat fast?

Now I’m doubly happy,

since she, who my heart has,

whom I’ve deserved so truly,

she gives her whole love to me –

my body and my heart has.

‘Tout li cuers me rit de joi’

All my heart is full of joy

to see your beauty here:

but to have to go from here,

leave you, pleasant, sweet and true,

take the road away from you,

makes pain, from joy, appear.

There’s no other way I fear,

except to go. I pray you,

By God, don’t forget me,

if I can seldom see you.

Ah, my sweet friend it has to be,

it hurts me so to leave you.

From the Mountain

‘Only the cold wind on the river, or the full moon over the mountains,
caught by the ear, becomes sound, caught by the eye becomes colour.
No one forbids me to make it mine. No limit is set to the use of it.
It is the endless richness of the Vortex of things,
and you and I can share our delight in it.’

Su Shih (Su Tung-p’o) 1037-1101 AD, Sung Dynasty. From ‘The Red Cliff, I.’


When you think it is silent

it is silent.

It comes from nowhere.

It goes nowhere. Silent.

Whichever way –

it goes. Silently.

Don’t move.

Don’t grasp.

What’s known

that’s worth knowing?

Stillness –

is not ignorance.


Will there be quick hills

and these mountain streams?

Will there be places,

untouched, maybe,

needing nothing?

In a thousand years,

pine, stone, water?

If there’s no way through,

no way back,

be free.


Point, describe.

Don’t analyse. Don’t name.

Childlike words

take a lifetime.

Folded stone,

split trees, poke

the moon.

Mind’s rubble.

Blown, burst, empty.

Jupiter, Mars.

Turn. Flow.


Fragile, to eternal,

it collapses,

to bedrock.

Leaf, to air.

Stream to star.

No names.

How come

mind, can’t see

the dragon?

This mountain

warps, slides.

This water


to get back

to the uncarved.


One day the people go,

wake up.

Run this yourself

if it’s worth something.

Pine, sifted needles, gold

dust. Light

on top of cliffs.

It gleams.

One day, learn,


Delight’s not for use.

Desire goes nowhere.


Hawthorn. Dry birch tangle.

Bitten grass by the river’s edge.

Go far

and sit still.


is ceasing.

Swirl, as it changes.

Blue, white

flowers, wild between.

See light,

it’s strange.

Don’t think

we can’t make

a world

like this.


Look-out. From you, are

women, men, cities, grass,

cliffs, trees.

Far light.

No edge.

Feel the bark, leaf,

cones, berries.

Wash your hair

in fir winds.


what you

don’t see.


White moon’s neglect,

Crystal blind’s stars.

Took rocks from the lake,

sank jars under seas.

Better though

to find winds,

follow streams,

below leaves.

Veins run these hills.

White silk space.

This house

is empty.


It never passes the trees.

It wavers.

The shadow is never

its shadow,

when you look,

but it was there.

Now hollow, hump, pine.

If it comes through

it’s water, air, fire,

light, lightning


thread of leaf,

one right word,

soft dust,

a stone.

A trick of light,

you see.


This tree,

three thousand years.

These stars.

These moons.

Dark crag

many summers,

holding many snows.

Rain in wind.

Black granite.

Heart of the wood.



Blue smoke

where trees go higher.

Here’s the blue


in crushed stones.

Sane here.

No Thing will

fret the mind.

Trees float,

on mist,

No Thing is.


Greed, hate, dross,

dumb Science,

bought minds,

names, names –

useless knowing,

bought bodies

mindless show,

ends here.

Wind, cloud

is the Void.

Nothing to

despise, decide,

achieve, desire.

Clear view.

The lake

is meditation.


Mountains, rivers, cities,

transparent, fragile,

tremble, vanish in rocks,

winter snow, night rain.

The lichened bark,

etched pattern,

random light - Now - chimes.


Dark cliffs,

old gorge.

Cool, the Void.


This power

takes no possession.

Mountains are.

This force

makes no demand.

Rivers run.

This wind

has no authority.

Clouds flow.

It is.

All night.

It is.


Woodpiled tree-bark,

old roots, rotten trunks,

twisted, scaled lichen,

grey, green dragons.

Blossom comes

right out of boughs,

white flowers

over grass.

Bowing, bending in the wind

rustling, shining, quickening,

whir of soft


silver light,

slow breeze.

Empty. Cold here.

Go where

mind pleases.


Things that increase

by being given,

grow, by sharing,

deepen by use,

cannot be traded.

Facing the mountain,

feeling the silence,

indifferent beauty,

thoughtless, mindless,

emptier, deeper.

Not negative,

not uncaring,

neutral, vacant.

Hills that make


stumble inside,

slip in the wind,

eyes closed, lips closed.


What now? Do you see it?

Pale wind in grey valley.

Climb down

two thousand feet.

Pick up

an old track.

Everything here is


Nothing here is


Doesn’t need names.

Works at nothing.

Effortless action.

Instant movement.

Can we see it?

What now?


Don’t believe

in all those things.

Gods, walls, people,


rules, dead imagination.

Better the Void.

See the one Moon,

over the river’s Vortex,

rise in the dark sky.

Mirror of mind.

Glass without dust.

Clear your heart.

Bathe your eyes.

Don’t believe.


No Mind.

Rocks and trees.

Tracks in deep cloud.

Watching mist pass.

Green moss, thick

climbs branches

then clothes,

from blurred leaves,

wet grass.

Silence. No Mind.

Beat the dust.

Pile rocks.

Don’t grasp.


The dragon

of a thousand years -

cloud and light

on the mountain.

Fir by fir,

stone by stone,

climb to silence,

find the rock-trail.

Nothing moves.

Everything stirs.

Nothing turns.

These things go.

In the light

it fades and dies.

In the night

it rises, it remains.


From the high cliff,

moon on the lake.

From the grey rock

wind on the trees.

This mountain

carries the moon

on its back.

These firs

hold the sun

in their arms.

Lost in oak and cedar,

the green

root of a thought.


Mind goes, with the stir.

Wind shifts,

in the darkness.

What we destroy, destroys us.


is mist in the trees.

How to use empty space,

and not play

with things.


Blunt rock.

Dull light.

Dim thought.

Clear feeling.

Fir trees

pierce the winds,


dragons writhe.

What we call nature

slips away,

eroded, corroded,

abused, used.


No Mind.


Whatever we kill

kills us.

Creatures, all broken deer.

No need

to kill to eat.


eat to kill?

Burn dead branches,

drink stream water,

under a rock face

by oak, birch, yew.

Earth moves.

Water moves.

Stars are our

wind and fire.


Bark smell.

Green firs

ranked along valleys,

but larch is

yellow, golden.

Conifers with steel hearts.

Logs and a shelter

in fine mist.

Cold foam

in creviced rock.

The valley’s root

is mind’s spirit.

This pass

is heart’s gate.

Stop, and be free.


The black cliff.

Red lacquer,

shadow gold,

pine sun.

Midnight winds

bring rain

out of sparse cloud.

Polish this mirror.

It is hard - not to be foolish.

It is easy - to think too much.

Give. Be still.


The subtle mind

is not primitive,

is not native,

but clear.

Everything human

is not useful.

Dark hills,

empty streams,

grey rock,

at nightfall.

Don’t go finding

the master

here, there

in the deep cloud.

Ignore what’s past.

Be still.


The wind past the summit,

silent, Void.

There’s nothing

Humankind can’t uproot.

But a hand

on this mountain

feels the stone.

Hawk goes down

miles of fir

in the vortex.

Horned lichen

on the tree-stump

grey, blue-silver,



Feet in the water.

Cloud, cloud, cloud.

Grey, drowned

cold stone.

Heavy pine root.

Light pine juice.

Silence has no name.

Long grass. Alders.

From Void, Mind.

From Mind, words.

From words, vision.

From vision, Void.

In one place,

see it all.


Open light.

Flat sky.

Gold papered


This white light

sets. In the mind.

Tree cries

in the ravine.

Hills and seas

always move.

Oak leaves stir

the wind.


Peace is for

children. In them,

nature is

not yet mind’s violence.

Find child words.

Dig a hand

into wood floor.

Watch the birds.

Make the heart



Shapeless the tree


Dim the stone


Empty the sky


Shadowed the water


Wavering the flame


Dark the earth


Deep the valley



Don’t move

Don’t name.



Heaven’s Ocean’s

billion stars


the earth shine.


with no cravings,

take refuge

in the small.


So simple it can’t be seen.

So shallow it can’t be crossed.

So still it can’t be moved.

So small it can’t be held.

On a hundred foot cliff

the high aspen.

Wreathed in leaves

the silent face.


When you think it’s simple

it’s too complex.

Fame is the ghost

the famous dream of.

Here’s grey light

tall cedars,

clear air,

mountain streams.

Old man

in the Vortex

sees through

your transparency.


The truth is what

words confuse,

can’t be told

is either

there or you

don’t see.

Teachers don’t mean

to be tricksters,




they say,


not it.


You don’t need

to do things

to be there,

to see it.

Moon in the water,

on distant lake shore,

seen from a mile high,

drowns looking.

Crystal, blue, clear

wind turning.

In the deep stream,

grey, red rock.

Pine-frost, fir-bark,

stone over white sand.

Heron shifting,

feather-coat dancing,

blown in the wind.


Open, Open,

the ones that are open.

Thread drawn

spider-thin, fine

and, at the end,

nerve-light, heart’s-flowers


at the stillness, we are.

Grass, grass

lifting and moving

on wind’s lips,

darknesses, whitened,

turned, massed,

and, at the tips

waves, air volumes,


in the silence we are.

Planet, planet,

white rose of light,

corolla, fire,

bright in the black,

pale eye rotating on night,

and, at the cusp,

something, beauty attends,


of the emptiness,

absence, we are.

Calm, calm,

lake of the heart and the star,


where the lost too have peace,

in the ash

that falls from the graves

soft, grey


of the grasping,

craving, we are.

They will be,

dwell in a place,


candle-lit hail,

through darkening air,

and in the flames,

spirals, tremors of light,

dark, blossom, red, blind


of the nothing,

nothing, we are.

Open, open,

they find you, then you will


life drawn, tenuous, rare,

and in the hour

death-light, mind-whorl,


of the darkness,

darkness, you are.


What we see, what we are

and not what we do.

Under the surface of grass

rivers once, used veins of earth,

twisted like cloud trails,

star canals,

out there, the far lights.

Forests gone, land gone

under highways.

But this house has no floor

and floats on the Vortex.

Too late for

the naked and barefoot

unless we can see

behind ice, the stars.

It empties, it frees us, we free

from the bones of the place,

from the ash, from the fire,

free, at the gate,

on new grass

under the white leaves, the blossom,

deep green

dry needles of fir,

on bark, on rails

that we don’t see, can’t see.

Night roads,

light and cloud, frost and wind.

Old words,

float through the trees,

in the mind,

and those who can


keep on pointing.

Silence before dawn.

Thing seen, things done, never twice,

show the way. Snow light.

Europe cold, but winter

cherry over T’ang hills

in the chill wind, sheds air.

Dry fir, plum branch,

bent bamboo,

all shapes of light,

stand still, shiver,

shimmer, glisten.


Never look for your heart in the gate of the stranger.

Beauty is memory’s wound, is the eye of the guardian,

raised wings in the dark, of gold and of silver.

Never look for your mind in the hands of the lost ones.

Soft ash, see, gleams of white, sharper than needles,

wax from the candles of fire, from the dumb drowning.

Never look for your soul in the house of the stranger.

A Wing, a Flower

A dry, pale winged transient, over water

a day, then a day, this fifty million

times goes back to the start, more than we are,

though not even the first age.

Tiny, winged, pallid darts over

wrinkled grey water. See, in the small,

the minute, the idea, that uniqueness conceals,

the inferred, the wrong

generalisation. Time to begin

again. New, yellow flowers like stars,

tiny in oceans of grass, tormentil’s yellow.

You can’t play games with the Void,

only bow with the mind.

The wing lifts, the flower

creeps, waits, shines.


This is the angle of fire,

son and son.

Oblique, you must look obliquely.

This is the water’s crook, bend of earth,

air’s corner, tilt

of the bamboo, the reed.

This is the house of light

where the animals cry.

Earth floating for nothing,

for no-one, this sea

can it feel the load

of the moonlight? You

must look slantwise, between

the shelves, the lines of the earth,

to see the house no-one built,

the transient place.

A shelter, a house for the ear,

a sensitive movement of light. You

must look at the angle

of every unnoticed corner,

edge, hedge, gate, leaf, book, hill,

where ear still echoes.

My son and son, you

must look into

the layers of the earth

at the only forgotten,

whose words are

curious lisping,

whose inarticulate cries

hurt the wind, in the wires.

This is the knowledge.

This is the angle of fire.

Mind – Matter

Solid, the melt-word, the micro-

atomic, the glue

of the dark behind light, so


Solid, the body of tongue and

visceral silence, heart walls

on lung walls, where mind feels

something, as solid.

Solid table, chair, place of the flower,

where being brightly

unfurls, and is


But light, as air, as water, as deep

field of space, time,

is mind, so fragile,

river running life-process, light,

so light.

From the Almond-Tree

Stone memories, loosening

the hair.

(in the cavern that she ascends)

the golden life-body

of emptiness,

touching what’s lost.

Clouds, rain


(of hands without thorns)

the night-rain

of white chillness

soaking the skin.

Out of the forked tree blown

hair that’s like mist

(of the pain she retrieves)

the pale life-body

of void, gorse,

whitethorn, ice, snow.

A Little Course in Morality

Don’t be confused, love is all. Not,

insects or reptiles, but we,

what we are, means empathy is.

Don’t be deceived. Without word,

with senses, beauty, mind is,

truth, delight, that is

where we are, sign is.

Don’t be subdued. Create

again and again, act, sound, tongue,

hand, do and give,

as we can, flowers.

Don’t despair. Say the heart.

Love, show, create. Given’s

not less. Shared is not less. Fight

for what you believe in. Endure.

Getting Lost

In a dark moment, under the ice, sealed

dome of stone, planet

on clear plate of light, opens

its eye.

Its fire, coldness

touches your breast-bud

sheds starry seed,

damps with its streamers

the flower of lips,

sepals, corollas.

Her cry is the scorpion’s sky.

At the ford, on the left, the death-figure

raises ice arms

laps at semen, culls the mandala,

fused gold, fused silver, fused sun and moon.

In a dark moment, lifts

the lid of the earth,

shoulders dead

soil, bruises feet, bruises hands

on the interminable real.


Over the angels, earth’s silence turns.

Bruising the wings of the angels, galaxy burns.

Be silent, don’t fly, to find the core of the angel.

Outside the angel, neutrality sings.

Stunning the angel, universe rings.

Imperfect - the cry out of the soul of the angel.

Without the angels, compassion’s alive.

Harmony is a non-angelic drive.

Wind’s note. Cloud’s eye.

Watching the City

Lanes, lights, dark stir. Wind

in the fir, behind, blows on down there,

to the rim of the well, where multiplication is,

in concrete’s shudders, the hum.

Nature is margin. Time

is the process whose, interchangeable,

players retreat, and are changed.

Flow replicates. Create, break, love, live,

beggar, ruin, believe, this unreality greed

makes real, this is the place

of planet, of species, where clothed

or unclothed, betraying each other, deceive,

beyond truth, beauty or love, the engine noise

of a world grinding uphill

to the silence, where shoddy is king.

End of beyond, poverty turned to your face,

paid lips, token trees, fall of light

over the refuse of night, generations,

spent sperm of millions, unminded

hoardings of messages, rails, eyeless towers.

Evil’s here - helpless good. This is mind’s

mad creation, the sad creature’s contrivance.

Dark, lanes, lights stir. Obscure skies,

hidden stars. Winds off the hill blow down

to indifferent process, not nature, made

by accretion greater than by a creator.

Anthill of inner hells, spiritless dust,

a pain of loosened sensations, that radiance

of energy’s darker consumption, of wheels that turn.

What we made will unmake us,

what we built as a gaol.

Dark, light, lanes, stir.


All dark against the evening blue

but the birch trees’ cylinders of grey,

white, silver. Froth of twigs, upward

V of arms, gathering to Jupiter risen,

one diamond in emptier azure.

Losing it all in the darkness, mad city,

until there is nature, mind, then

no mind, no nature.

Fir, the great wave, poplar, sky-lance,

holly, lilac, old pear, crab-apple tree,

but birch, the silver, tender, dark branches

painting inverted sea’s stillness, drips

silver light, and one, unblinking, planet,

in perfect silence, in winter, in cold,

mast from the frigate of dark,

miraculous brocade.


Remember the three, the one

whose hand the god reached down and touched,

gently, the back of the hand,

stirring pale wings, and, with his white

crown of flowers, soothed the pain,

that kindest of shades.

Remember the second whose hands filled with sand

stones, soil, wishing the power of the star,

its green, glittering light,

throwing his net towards shadows,

dwindling there, a vanishing head among crowds,

a sunk fire, a pebble lost on the shore,

by black water, under serpentine skies.

And the third, the one

who nurtured the flame,

out of ash, still, out of ash,

who added a stone, made a prayer

to the shadows in time, for the bitterest tribe,

with dark gasps, through the depths,

a stirring of wings, in the dark.

Remember the three.

(Note: Heine, Mandelstam, Celan)

Breathing the Void

Over the snow

that holds

the colour of shadow,

the black fir, the green.

Empty nature.

No place in us, for the wild.

No place in the wild, for us.

No place.

No mind.

Wind over the snow, grey, cold,

the colour of shadows,

stirs black, green, of the pine,

down that side of mountain,

where, once, there were

five kinds of owl, six kinds of deer.

Nature. Empty.

Reaching Down

Touching my chest, with her hand,

said, ‘ Again, another, another, until....’

(Your hair is dark gold

over the stream

and the eyes, O, the eyes

seen once, and seen.)

Stands, framed in the light,

glittering eyes, slender fingers, long,

saying, ‘Find, from the pain

how to bury the self, again.’

(Your hair is dark gold

over the stream,

and the eyes, between

the mountains,

seen once, and seen.)

Waits (not for me). Remembering

is memory. Gives them her... Names...

‘Hear, again and again...

Can you?’

(Your hair is fine gold,

dark eyes, dark fires,

in the light, seen,

over the stream, and, once, seen.)

Touched the eyes, the forehead,

the mouth and the lips,

said, ‘Here, and here... Find the beauty

of pain, the beauty of beauty,

of difficult breath, life,

and learn death, here... and here.’

(Your hair is dark gold,

and over the stream,

the eyes, O, the eyes

seen once, and seen.)

The Twenty-Eight Stations of the Heart


To desire, desiring what can only be desired, what

desire destroys, no longer desiring,

ever, and never, achieved, desirable.


To delight in anticipation, delight, in security, be

happy, in other’s happiness, lose

self, in another self, celebrate being.


To make the other, self, to love self embodied

in other, from words, thoughts, make

in the semblance of other.


To remake, refashion, confuse, construct

the other as greater, as what conforms

to the image, the dream, the desire.


To find the one perfect place, time, other

and then to be there, in the place, in the time,

not to miss in anticipation, expectancy

in uncertainty or regret, but to know.


To see what is loved in things, places, times,

symbols, radiant fires, echoing radiant thought,

external analogues, that outer world

as image of what is inner.


To desire to be desired, think to be thought,

attend, to be attended to, seek to be sought,

rehearse the other as self, the self as the other.


To find the self in the other, only self, mirrored,

but to demand, of the other, self that is not self,

and know the other for other, but also the self.


To attain, what, attained, is no longer attainable,

start of the new desire, lost peace, anxiety.


To mismatch the means and the end,

unattainable desire, or the attainable undesired,

the attained now undesirable, new desire unattained,

the means without object, or object without the means.


To wish the other to be free, and be constrained,

to be free only in our image, to watch it, constrained,

die, become non-existent, what we desired

to see in being, and to love us.


To envy the elements that surround the place, time,

where we are not, to be jealous of all possession

but unable to possess, what we can never possess,

hating the other’s happiness not come from us.


To be driven by signs, words, images

accidents, emblems, guesses, those dark externals,

whispers and dreams.


To suffer, to be in suffering, to suffer to be,

to neutralise out, make potential, delay, mask, conceal,

the returnee, the wanderer, the familiar, suffering;


To want, not wanting what given destroys, all peace,

but wanting what transfigures, the peace that soothes,

and then recreates pain.


To wait, to hope, to expect, to be disappointed,

renew anxiety, be racked.


To wish to alleviate self’s pain, to concede all power,

to display love, to show attention, create love by love.


To wish to appear to disregard, or concede, power over ourselves,

to try and prompt, by indifference,

a desire for power, to make indifference, love,

to gain the other’s attention.


To wish to enter the other’s mind, to discover the self,

ignorant of that other’s thoughts, love, hostility,

or only a bland indifference.


To destroy the present with the future, future with past,

past with present, corrupt by imagination, overlay,

anticipate, agonise, over-prepare.


To be blind, to refuse to see indifference, irritation,

to hope by displays of pain, renunciation, to hold,

by what can only be viewed indifferently,

or not believed.


To imagine, in order to evade destruction, pretend,

enhance, fantasise, to make happiness

out of lost happiness, to recreate love of the object

beyond, and beside the object.


To fall in love with renunciation, with pain,

prompt unlovable pity, hope for contradiction,

search for love’s signs.


To kill, to poison, to anger, so as to be remembered,

to turn away towards peace, to love what kills, gives peace,

and then to mourn, to try to keep alive, to attack

indifference that cannot care, in hope of a love that cannot be.


To silence so as to be free, to destroy so as to find peace, calm,

habit, nature, art, and creation, to deny, turn away, end, hide.


To feel hate die with love, to feel jealousy, envy

die down to indifference, to postpone, to evade,

to be free of anxiety, turmoil.


To die without dying, feel death, atrophying,

until it cannot be felt, being dead, and no longer dying.


To replace the other, to re-project self, to attempt once more

to define and refine the other, the self, love, desire, the world,

and time, while there is time.

From the First

From the first, the dark hoe, that cut the world in two,

from the first, the scythe, from the first plough,

from the saw, the axe, that first felled the firs, cut cedars,

cleared fields, broke into the woodland silence.

From the first fire, the first drill, what we lose,

faster and faster. Dead sand, burnt trees, by the sea,

from the first.

From the first, hoe, from the furrow, the fire, that pyre

over the wordless and nameless, that closed the eye,

that conceals, what is lost in the furious,

fertile present, the concrete, metal and glass,

the fierce transient that is loved, the fire

that the eye encourages to, and the body enters.

From the fallen poplar, the limbless oak,

the flower-free ground, the smashed rock, the quarry,

from the first limestone shelves, from the very first, giving up

what outweighs what is taken, a comfort, a truth, a love,

that outweighs what we have, what remains, that completely outweighs.

From the sea, where the wind is, the salt and spray sound,

from the tree, the stillness from soil, the heat cold and light,

from the air, from the night, the wild boiling, stellar and mindless.

From the first, hoe moving in darkness,

from the first plough – Play, you can play, but you

depend on the first scythe, the wheel,

on the crankshaft, the deep drill, the rig, and the rails.

On every beachhead an oil slick, down every dark slope the spoilage,

through every spent wood a roadway,

from the first hoe, from the first plough,

from the first scythe.


Between the past and future state

stands the traveller at the gate.

Here we love, but now we part,

in the silence of the heart.

On the Island

On the island of the self, where self’s betrayed,

mind moving in the dark, on those sad slopes;

from the island of the self where time’s betrayed,

I saw your moving hand: I touched your heart,

your silent hand, your foolish heart.

On the island of the self where self’s betrayed.


A star,

shines on the last, highest slope.

Is it Altair?

Capella, Arcturus gleam

Vega and Deneb hang,

in a web of fire,

in a darkness, greater

than every human darkness.

Are their spirits stars, all the vanished,

ashes, sparks in the air?

A star,

shines down the veil of Perseus, by

Andromeda’s silence.

A star,

knows light,

listens to light,

becomes light.

Is in Draco, is in Serpens:

Is it Antares,

invisible one,

Dis’s bright blazing guardian?

Not now, not seen now.

A star,

Is it Dubhe,

foundation, and kingdom?


Is it Aleph, Vav?

Is it Adar, Av?

Is it the blood giant,

the pale dwarf,

or the grey one, is it the grey?

A star,

glistens, shines,

between the fingers of dust,

vitae novae, nebulae,

those in the dark field,

and those under it,

those who could, and

those who could not pray.

Is it Regulus,

at the lion’s core,

in the heart

of being?


City of flowers and the rock

grey, ash under foot.

There are places we should not go to,


we will not go to,

where the tracks are darker: further down,

the rails, run on dead sand,

the wind crosses sere grass.


where no planes land, no one dares

to see, no one remembers, and

none to remember.

City of streets, light-filled

smiling, and the stone,

the cinder-black clay under the feet.

See it? There ?


of the couplings, wheels

making their way, by Lethe’s runnels,

By Styx, by the dead marshes

of Acheron, there.

There are things no one can say.

There are names no one

speaks, no one asks for, the names.

City of light, and forgetfulness,

it is you, who come from the dead,

their fire-tongues crying,

whose soil splits open, rocks crack,

to show, in the fissure,

the wound

that no one can feel,

no one can know.

Not catharsis. A wall,

a stubborn wall that weeps wet dirt,

moss, earth, ash, air,

the concrete, solid, time that waits,

for you, city of light.

City of voices, language, tongues

we do not wish to hear,

soiled music, acid powers,

O city of psalms

in the heaviness of glass,

in the voice that wails

above and over the word,

prayers for the people.

City, of such innocent choirs,

there, now, by the rails,

on the sand, in the sere grass,

on the dark soil,

blowing the heart.


The owls cry, all night, under a white moon,

spring moon, higher.

All night the owls go down mask-like winds,

crying, territorial anger,

crying, a warning, a paralysed fear,

crying, light.

Making the heart glad, deep in the night, owls.

Deep in the silver branches, deep in mind’s eye, cries

wild star-hunt of wild owls.

Down granite walls, down cliffs of trees,

down lakes of moons, quarries, headlands, scree,

the diamond-crying owls.

What else calls at midnight?Savage eyes,

in soft rotating turrets, gold-flecked eyes,

clawed, feathered eyes of stillness.

The owls cry, tonight, to leaves,

to earth floors, to the frozen ones,

in a deep caress, owls cry.

Through the hollow starlit chamber,

through the eye’s cavern,

through the heart laid bare.

Crying the ages, the aeons,

the resistance, the survival,

of nature, of the boundary,

are unbroken, are on station.

Calling, unafraid, calling, calling

on the hilltop, in the valleys,

by the river, on the mountain,

in the gorges, in the quarry,

through the mind, and through the trees.


A dark body, hand on chin, moon-gazes,

the sweet smile lingers, memory moves,

towards a little singing silence there,

a mute, far singing. Luminous spirits meet

in mind’s electric arc,

the lost inside the lost, the remembered

in the remembered, folded down

into what stares back towards history,

reality, in a memory, in a poem, in a reader’s eye,

mirror in mirror, crystal lens on lens.

Between the gilded mountains and the sea,

a pain of mind, recalled by pain of body,

white goddess, moon-white, of the scented May,

spinning the thread of fate invisibly,

spinning the thread of words, of poem, of thought,

into the silent future, memory of memory,

light inside the diamond, the girl

forgotten in the goddess, the goddess

unremembered in the girl.

Gold in his father’s mansion, lines of fire,

in book on book, piled to the high ceiling,

a sweet Parnassus that a twisted frame

climbed, with a girl for Muse, crescent

burning to crescent, pain to pain,

and both declining, golden, in the west,

under indifferent stars.

How we would like to meet you, secret spirit,

for whom this world was weight enough:

your mind was light, but she still danced beyond you,

the white shining one, your hand could never reach

in her perfection, like that girl pointing,

in Leonardo’s drawing, Miranda from the Tempest,

pointing there,

towards the pale stone, where the dark torch sputters,

the fluted columns, and the granite lid,

we call the sky


Washed by the rain, Verrocchio’s

green bronze, hand to the wound,

waits on the wall.

Art and Power, barred stone,

and the crown of exiled laurel,

dark with homecoming.

Medusa fixes a stone city,

San Miniato lingers, Fiesole,

under the dome of thunder,

cradled by clouds and hills.

Leonardo, like an albatross in the air.

Lorenzo missed the knife.

In the palazzo,

a white fountain sinks.

Sun, rain and sepulchres.

Waiters dry the gleaming chairs.

In the morning, here, beyond the bells,

Savonarola arches, agonised, black to the sky,

the squared tower sways,

the pigeons land,

an earthly beauty glimmers.

Index Of First Lines