Wild Fruit

Rain, Fog, Tree, Bud, Branch & Forest - Public Domain Images

Rain, Fog, Tree, Bud, Branch & Forest - Public Domain Images

Authored by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved.

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Sweet Mind

No…that’s not the Way,


the wren in the wall,

tree in the universal silence

its form on the void,

following is not being,

taste the air,

all this…

it’s just empty,

and a long pure flow

from a hundred hills

is your heart.

Be here at rest

in whatever is,

all that ever is:

sweet mind.

Nature, spontaneous,

without thought

is all the view;

self-made, nameless,

deeper vague

and indistinct

is here


under voiceless stars



if we don’t interfere

don’t intervene,

not this…

to follow the way

is not the way.

The purposeless

pretends a purpose…

leave that,

be at rest,

make our meaning;

love ancient forests,

untouched seas,

green-grass hills,

stone-choked valleys

dreams quiet,

pines high,

wild nature singing

ringing in this light,

oh it’s all about

intent, its lack,

don’t you see.

It’s all invention (morality)

to counteract intent

this human space.

Who needs ethics,

laughed the Taoist

master diving deep,

but don’t try that yourself.

Our sensitivity

makes all worlds pure,

it’s whispering

here, all light,

the snow the blue

the feather in the wind

the mind-sound,

echoing, the life.

Oh, refute the details

of those futures;

science is not

the scene complete;

truth is not some form realised,

nor is affection,

mind is not

it’s process,

but its meaning,

the essence of the heart…


Reclaim it all

from religion,

all that sacredness

that resonance,

that is nature.

Don’t be confused

simple heart,

smell the pine resin

from the trees,

touch this grass

this careless grass,

feel, the dark empty void

(because intentionless)

is also light,

is also every form, every


that vacancy is fullness,

nirvana is samsara,

the Buddha is

a block of stone,

you are not here.

What Is Spirit?

Ice on the sunlit pass,

and I, returning

your image

in my mind

down slides of stone

eroded rock,

clinging still

to twigs and branches,

every path

still slipping by,

until the cradle

of pure stream,

the bowl of light

shines into me.

It is the images

confound us,

the echoing

with meaning


the mirror

that reflects

but does not keep.

Slow trickles of clear water

out of darkness

fall and tinkle

as they fall,

they have no style

essential form.

It is the images…

mountains, trees, presences

the human,

the bubble of our air

the silent tick

of sand grains

circling deep down

round some fluid


out of which images,

we make a self,


despite intent


Breeze on the sunlit pass,

on mouth and eyes

the morning coldness,

you warm

in my heart…

all abnegation

is a clinging


tiny energies

the sapphire blue

of perfect skies,

reduce the fear,

bring me here

to silence.

Sit among stones,

think in tumbled rocks,

eat air

drink dreams,

construct a paradise

then let that go,

on floating

limestone dome,

through frail ash trees,

down slopes of light

to molten rivers,

these are the places

of the spirit.

What is spirit?

The mindlessness

of mindful




not grasping,


striving –


An ‘I’ was there,

cannot say

who or where,

but there, the nets

of shimmering past

or shimmering future

in always-only-present,

those seconds of now,

round which a self


Sincerity, bow

mentally to snow.

Humility, let pain

of errors purify,

ah, lack of affectation,

the unmarked

spread of misted silk

where mind makes


Two seconds are the now

in the singing trees,

scented pine

over empty hill-slopes,

cool mist

blue, all your

erudition no more

than a wrinkle

of sunlight

on the lake,

this sea of grasses.

No self, only selves.

Beware the seduction,

a heaviness of words,

the charmed ideas

they have no truth,

clumsy dancing figures

of a vanished age

dead religions,

intellectual powers

your being clings to


Walk in the free air,

leave the village,

this wind is cessation,

these clouds a blowing-out,

stop searching now

for what never exists,

looking now for what is never lost –

be, beyond,

in nature’s awkward ease,

the marvellous accident.

Oh dukkha is frustration,

dissatisfaction, irritation,

all from clinging,

let beginnings endings go.

And April does not exist,

(it’s a name, arbitrary division).

The city only is

if you wish it so.

There’s a style of rhetoric

that commands

a semblance of force and mystery

(it’s a style)

while reality slips by mindless


flickers like the light

on mountain streams,

moving silently

never interfering.

Trees will rot,

we’ll die

the world renews.

Love’s not a metaphor

in a blaze of glory,

but nirvana

and samsara

the thing itself.

All that is free of intent

seems dark, void, empty,

conjures the wasteland,

or the feeling-filled vortices

where harsh music plays,

but torment

is only human,

the dark is light,

the meaning is simply here


Morning in spring rain

soaked to the root,

drenched to the stem,

pines in mist,

unseen falls, spray,

ears, eyes cleansed,

stumble the long gullies,

drift in bright air,

all past lives broken stone;

all futures empty,


if we erase,

if we wish;

something indistinct there,

nameless, blurred,

something sweet


On Neglected Tracks

Grain of the tree

twisted from the rock,

is a slow accretion

to no purpose

ends in simply being here.

The grain of the past

does not confine,

is simply a weft of ideas,

memories in the mind.

History is not what was

but what we make

of what may have been,

what we choose to take

with us to the future.

Be free.

Freedom is everything,

the path your own feet


without possession,

or obedience,

no thought or perception

untested against

the living universe.

Fail to obey.

Abolish the names and creeds,

tragic deference,

the rituals of sin, remorse, redemption,

but not our (precious) ethics,

deny the past

it’s gone.

Choose a better future,

six thousand feet of cliff

a slow cascade,

pine-needle stillness,

the tick of creature,

white air,

frozen earth

on neglected tracks.

Not A Word

Don’t make love hard,

it’s a forgetting of the self,

a not-clinging.

Whose that shadow

hanging on behind?

What’s beyond the self,

the void;

and beyond the void

the self.

No shortcuts here

to Parnassus

or anywhere:

is it love

if you can’t see

the separate being

of the beloved,

other or universe,

word or form?

It’s not the self,

it’s the other

in the self,

without oppression,

without possession,

or intrusion, in empty space.

Don’t make love too precious,

it should be robust.

Twisted gorges,

rugged cliffs,

a fire in the dark,

a bed under the pines,

high mountains,

silent trails,

perhaps what is loved

at the end.

Tao is not the truth,

Tao is a word.

Zen is not the truth,

Zen is a word.

Love is not the truth,

don’t make it hard.

Make it subtle appreciation,

delicate being,

a voice over distances,

a refuge in trees,

the million shower of light

without a purpose,

the deep structure

here by accident.

Shape the meaning

and place it there,

a token of the human,

it’s resolution.


There’s no violence

in you.

Your ethics

are the ethics

of peace and silence.

Amongst the green

grass you

are in place,

also infinite

also timeless.

You are

the ungraspable,

the elusive,

eschewing glamour,

pure in the soft and dim

twilight and half-light

and in the full sun

still concealed

a beauty among


In you no doctrine,

no tradition,

no ritual,

no way, no mind,

no thing.

Wildflower, in you

there is no violence.

Your ethics

the domain

of peace and silence.

Lives of The Poets

Love also

is a great landscape in the mind,

whose paths and non-paths

reach the boundaries

of the other

and beyond,

as wide and green

as this landscape,

of soundless hills,

where the low large

winter sun,

stealing behind white


calms or disturbs

the heart.

Light has its splendour also,

over wet fields

whose few square miles contain

more blades of grass

than minds

on the planet;

a brightness here is

the landscape loved,

the non-interference

of reality

that flows unknowingly

in relationship

and not like thought

echoing with self,

mirroring self.

The great landscape

of interpenetration perhaps

is why

we find

more truth

in the biographies

than the works themselves,

the lives

move us more deeply

than the artifice,

with their feints

and failures,

the relentless

search for self

for others.

Love also

is a great landscape,

where the heart

which is always shaped in mind

shifts freely,

pales with those distant hills,

dreams a shadow

the shadow pursued,

chasing the feared away,

the desired, that is,

banging, as the Zen text says,

on a drum

in search

of a fugitive.

Deep, Clear, Here

The point of the tree,

an ash on a slope,

is hardly meditation,

those scrolls of leaf

dark wisps of a fire,

the summer’s leavings.

The point of the firs

over the meadow,

edging the cliff-slope

is scarcely dissection

scarcely the analytic,

those green spires.

The point of the mist haze

drenched with light,

the bright stream,

is not intent

here’s not the place

for your reason.

The point of enlightenment

in a flash

is not to make words, empty,

but simply sail through

mindless skies, letting

everything be itself.

None Of This

One step from the village

is the wild: wild skies,

wild thoughts, wild grass,

wild fruit,

wild ideas of solitude.

Alone who needs

the laws we’ll never break.

The meaning of the heart

is not social;

pleasant to feel, to hear

a wild wind blow,

proof how inconsequential

human life,

in the context

of a glittering universe.

The green hill signifies

on its far horizon,

no judgement,

its authority merely smoothness,

a casual dominance

gained mindlessly

from shaping storms,

a non-authority,

a powerlessness

to be other than hill,

then void, then hill again.

The clear mind needs

only its personal history,

its solitary tracks,

free of the species.

There’s the wild

hawthorn fruit

still hanging,

the wild apples

that came with us

on our journey,

each tree the secret

chance, the cultivar,

a beauty and a harvest,

and the wild flowers

we see when we

forget the self,

and wander,

travellers, wayfarers

gone beyond.

Best when alone, some of us.

I am with Shelley’s thought,

the burning mind,

image, intensity

greater than poetry;

best the wild moment

that clears the past

and travels on,

into a realm of vision

that purifies,

free of the world;

not some conceit

but the natural mode

the innermost reply

of certain spirits.

But then wild fruit’s

more honest still,

wild pear,

the apricot in eastern valleys,

almond and quince,

the shell, the glowing skin,

the silent heart,

the pregnant form,

that feminine of the earth

that has the uppermost

forever of the masculine,

the bark that bears,

the slender column,

or aged arc of humility,

reminding us we made none of this.


Lightly. Here too

you cannot turn back

time, the world

does not reverse,

the order scatters,

or transforms,


a play of numbers,

so you must

escape time

another way

falling with the fall,

flowing with the cloud

that intense


Lightly. Here too

you will not observe

the unobserved


the real truth

that runs beneath

our concepts,

and so not truth

concealed reality;

the measured being

all we know

of the unmeasured,

none of which

saves us

from ourselves,

or each other.

More lightly. Here

also, nothing


of the vague self,

you must dance

in mind

along a ridge

or through the water’s

bright transparency,

we’ll get no nearer,

though we visit stars

fuse ourselves

with forged intellect,

the deepest paradigm

is still the child,

whirling with light.

Lighter still. Here

universe begins

under an eye-lid,

eternity flickers.

Feeling is all,

and then is nothing,

is delight,

greater than science


religion dreams,

mind more than

universe to us,

since filled with meaning,

ours the purposes

the love, the beauty:

being is imagination.

Lightly, here

sigh with the pines,

bow low,

the huge wind scours,

the mountain moves


unintelligibly, slips

or rises, lakes

come and go,

a billion years,

of light

and lightning,

and we

the ghosts of joy

our passing


Wilder, Purer

That we be speakers

for nature, true

freedom, wilderness,

not human institutions,

civic worlds,

the rites,

that we adventure

the light,

through woods in spirit

not merely

woods in movement,

in our senses again

where body

is mind.

That we enter the strange country

this presence

all around us,

escaping the deformed day

that misses


pass from those affairs

to the silent universe,

not in England

but in nature,

unowned landscape,

the hero man,

the woman heroine,

the wild that saves the world.

That we believe in forest

lake, darkness, the night,

this perfume

of trees and grasses,

the most alive the clearest,

(the cities to go past)

in the conservation

of humankind,

in the wildflower’s book,

in the freedom,

and strangeness

of pure relationship,

hidden from everything:

that we recreate the self.

Mind is a process, no thing,

a swirl of water

or cloud.

Cleanse eyes and ears

in the river,

where moonlight

happens to fall,


happens to be,

wu-shih and nothing special,

while we

polish stone for a mirror

going nowhere

in the now.

That we be speakers

for nature,

believers in woods

and meadows,

in the wildness

no civilisation

can endure.

Wild free thought


the wild and dusty


that when our world


will still ring true.


From the road

to the forest,

from human things

to silence,

that’s the way.

Cities are to walk from

into darkest nature,

into what

is secret

self and the universe.

Exercise the mind

in a mode


in action not tied,

words that liberate.

Feel what is always


unseen clear and here

silent, unspeaking

through and through.

Nothing blocks the way,

no fences

in the grass,

no barriers

in the air.

Moon of my




and shine


That Murmur

Away I know

from the particular:

it’s my intent,

(beyond the specific

hand and eye

the detailed substance)

which is not

a place

where all would go.

All’s blessed there

and direct


like bird-song

the pure existent,

the light


on the west

of every wood.

Forget the past,

its beliefs

the rites,

consider there’s no

place we can dare

to live

but in this present,

pine-boughs gables,

houses without walls.

On the track of


of intellect,

among the shining

family of trees,

the names of things

get lost,

all wider


No noise of effort,

just this humming,

in the quiet light

the marrow

of nature,

the silence

hard to hold to,

that murmur

in the mind.

With You

The heart’s on far horizons,


on the higher fields,

light snow on ridges,

January sun

the ascending light

of an emergent feeling;

out of fact

a song

of the intentionless process;

what you cannot leave

and cannot grasp,

stone walls

a mirror;

tuning the string-less


sketching emptiness.

The mind’s in far places,

with you

on distant shores.

Now there’s no one,

hear it speak

from frozen grass.

The villages

grey in the sun,

quiet roads;

half-way to the mountain

is the indistinct

the blurred,

the thing

and then within

the thing



The spirit’s in far places,

not clinging

in the void,

not striving

in the stillness,

seeking openness,

the unmarked silk


hard-won humility

lack of affectation.


comes in a flash,

no need for ritual,

nirvana is the mindless


the darkness filled

with reality.

The Bird

The bird sang

and was pure



you and I,

we heard the bird sing.

There is a past,

the bird

has forgotten.

It sings

in a present

free of purpose,

is its purpose.

Sings in a moment

past and future.

On the west side

of the hill

the bird sang,

above the square

the bridge,

the little river.

It sang

all being

and existence.

It sang

a wondering



you and I,

we heard the bird sing.

Being The Projection

Consciousness too

has no analogy,

though mind has


the anthropomorphic;

thought a breeze

a sigh in the trees,

emotion like

a river, scouring;

the process, that is,

seeks metaphor,

but consciousness,

is something else,

no thing at all.

Our world-lines tremble,

we are not

what we think we are,

but what’s below

what’s underground there


the deep discrimination

of the senses,

that blue,

that musicality of notes,

that touch, taste, perfume

through which

we project a being,

strangely other.

The every light

of each new dawn still

the unique perception,

fresh creation

of godless, soulless mind,

the free spirit


embodied spirit free,

in the senses of existence,

in the sensual flesh,

ours, ours simply

for a time,

the joy, the pain

without analogy.

Night Hawks

You, humming in the mind,

a form of night,

how does the


wait out the darkness?

Fierce storm on the hills,

wild glow

of water,

gone, through the trees,

the peoples,

absent from dales,

deep loam

in the valleys,

or under tall stones

clasping timelessness.

The night hums,

the rocks reverberate,

thoughts drum

against the flesh

and we are here.


Under the silence

are the words

the lost language,

part perhaps ourselves.

The language

of the pollen

and the caves,

of bones and shadows.

of carvings, the birds,

the fish and deer,

or horse-forms

breathless in the light.

The language of those

peoples who left


in the layered silt,

the tender footsteps

of the man

the woman

and the running child,

beside the pale spoor,

the gull-marks,

spoiled, unspoiled

by a sea of time,

sliding again forever

into darkness,

a dark

from which they signal

to our late loves and fears

their grasp

of beauty,

on a vanished shore.

Time Itself

The process, no

is not its outputs,

stability’s between

wild chance

wild flavour,

and the habitual mind:

there’s chaos there,


and the outcome

always unpredictable.

Knowing the mind

modelling the mind

is not to know

its outputs;

or where are self,

awareness, consciousness,


To replicate the mind

is to create

the uncontrollable, un-guessable,

the what will flicker

here in the darkness,


Absence of consciousness

is like the absence

of light

timeless black eternal:

the presence,

of light

is time itself.

Apropos Of An Answer

Things we create

have deeper dimensions,

the why always

more complex

than we see,

the making has its

manifold of reasons,

yes love, desire, delight

in its forming,

a claim on being,

an artefact of being,

a declaration

of the life itself.

But beyond these

a gift to eternity,

a cry of universe,

a gasp of beauty,

something passed on

down generations,

so never understood


such that life gathers life

and succeeds it,

more than wave,

more than the blue-green

repetition, sighing.

Moonlight Falls Everywhere

Returning to my

original home,

no ‘thing’ exists

for a moment

all is mind,

place without precedent,

unrepeatable instants,

every step

I took


This is the light itself,

white cloud,

dim valley,

the fog of being

the delightful


the hundred flowers;

so how would we matter,

single species

gone beyond itself?

Idling by the ash-trees

under moons,

the inconspicuous

good thought


in a world

of no reward

and no regard.

Moonlight falling everywhere,

no special place.

It Comes And Goes

This hill stands alone

in the universe,

this mind

in the silence

of its being.

Down-river, music

of white rapids

filled with

the light

of spring.

It comes and goes,

all this,

transient dimension;

nowhere in eternity

to stand.

The green, the grey

the blue

are flames

of this heatless

fire where we burn.

Gone Singing Of You

Windblown water

blowing cool,

moon on its tip

of bamboo,




The bones of these mountains

are pure

rock and metal

for half

a hundred miles

the depth it seems

of our emotions.

My ashes

will be free

as the windless light,



of you

in eternity.

Another Kind

A little green

in the gullies


our hearts free

to find the land

founded on

nothing’s hurt,

ah, where is that,

where the cool

hiss of the weir,

the flare of grass,

the sacred


All night, I dream of you,

river of pines

in the light,

fire of the moon,


deep in the dust,

scratches ten miles long

of the ancient ice,

Han River feelings,

human million years,

that weight

gone in the frosted


And the conflicts of the heart

come to this,


all our lives’

civilisation’s aim,

that one lost word,


all the plans;

awed light,

mind to mind,


another kind

of revelation.

Be There

Playing the soundless


drawing emptiness,

going nowhere

in the timeless


be my mirror

that reflects

but does not keep,

be the music

that sings here

without despair.

Silent pointing

in the glittering


flying through

the intentionless


be the mountains

with their

text of pines,

be the bright


that do not conflict.

Being Is A Turning

Those fires we named,

those planets

we called for,

turn in the night sky:

being is a turning,

and what are we

what will we be


in the universe

beyond our meaning?

We like veils,

we in the river of light

(image from Blake)

but never the light

never the light itself,

so the eye hangs

in that far nest of stars,

beyond our space

(in whom

ethics and aesthetics meet)

where the love is not

truth, where truth

is not love,

but both

are beauty.

The Human Secret

And the mind

so malleable,

we are not

stones, grass, and trees,

but the something

that began

in empathy, in nurture,

in our senses,

not this deformed world

missing paradise,

but believing in forests,

seas, night, the universe,

the conservation

of humanity,

the wild


no science


the labour-less

wind humming

round the stars,



at the root,

from which mind


the bird-song

in the veins.

Language out of



and togetherness

out of language

neither first,

but both the spiral

the gyre

in which we rise

on every wind,

until we merge.

If I truly care for you

you are part of me:

the human secret.

That Mountain-Meadow

Cities are to walk


and past to reach the wild,

out of all this human,

to the silence

of the speechless universe.

Name it, it escapes

your names,

truth not culture,

madness and freedom

of deep


a wild flower


in the grass.

Ours is not

the non-civilisation

of nature;

we, saved by the most alive,

by the empty


We must walk through

into the strangest


I must find you,


that mountain-meadow.

Sing Now Strange Life

Sing now strange life

that builds

when all erodes;

makes, as if to alter

the second law,

a bird, a flower;

makes us health,

and makes us whole,

an inexplicable murmur

and not silence,

a tremor of evening star

no star from stillness,

or a morning glow.

Because we are here

what we most need is here,

all that we needed;

because the earth bears

for us, and in us,

cradles the meaning,

touches the quiet;

because our allegiance

starts and ends

with the fabric of the planet

that we carry,

in every axon, cell, and fibre

deep within.

That we give ourselves,

to ourselves,

is the hardest,

as the creatures,

the birds, the insects

place themselves


in other spaces,

hurl themselves

into risk’s darkness

seeking light;

that we do what we need

and free ourselves,

in the uncertain

opening the possible,

in life itself, greater

than the worlds we make,

in a long flight

over a pure landscape

then coiling down

into what has the power

to alter with wind and rain

and light, Earth’s

complex peace,

where it matters what we are

no more what we do.

Let The Poem Speak Its Truth

You too love the half-light

into which shy things melt,

the silence into which

my thought retreats,

a country deeper

than our passing by,

or moons and stars

on gleaming residue.

Let the poem speak its truth,

be the guardian

be house and heart and landscape,

be what the city destroys:

the buried earth,

below all this:

lend us its clear survival,

its strength-like patience.

Dig down in your self

you’ll see it,

the glistening layer

the only past, in the present,

the ash and alder,

the leaves of their un-being,

the cry of all the creatures

still echoing.

The poem is the speaker of truth,

if we let it dare.

The speaker of love, of beauty

if what moves there

is the shadow of earth,

the living history

that slips from light

into mind’s other zone.

The Intertwining

Love, greater than the one,

is the two, the un-created,

the Self turned inside-out,

the superfluous, endless

movement of the waters,

that remains for us.

It is the landscape you pursue,

walker in my dreams,

through the rich wood

over the fallen petals,

into a deep grass meadow

where light snows.

It’s the true woman, Earth,

the finer than man,

as you, the dangerous fire

trapped in a cloud,

the uncertain mover

but the surer keeper.

The intertwining binds,

all loss, all flame, all death,

its words return on the slope,

the river gleams

beyond the fire, and here

in the only realm of being

the eternal realm,

in which your power

is grace, your conquest

your commitment,

the world a dream

dreamed in a dream,

and what’s beyond

the path’s far distance,

the wood’s surrounds,

what no longer matters

what, unknown,

cannot preclude.

What is given

returned without asking,

what is shared

is no transaction

but the Earth itself

this blue madness

wild in the un-floating,

this plant from your level

ground that my feet

touch, un-stumbling,

that silence you hold

out to me in your hands,

which is still the fragile

flower and blossom

that burns on the naked

branch, still the singing

that forms itself on my lips

and resounds with you.

The Fire Not Understood

For the poem is a fragile conquest

and no voyage won,

and the spectacle

is not ethical,

only wonder, terror,

passion, serenity,

the mystery,

the secret of human hearts

not testified to

by prying, nor that

something sentient

that seems to breathe

in created object

work of mind or hand.

Whisper of breaking

moonlight on the grass,

like the whisper of rain,

brings grace from the far fields,

an austere purity of the light,

the sense of that mystic

character of material things.

We have scathed, seared

scarified the land,

and the humblest creature’s

un-regarded, unoffending quiet

in its twilight world,

is shadowy like an image

of our dark conscience,

the unaware.

What we have forgotten

while there is time,

ask what we have


in our own lives,

the fire not understood,

when the life is fragile,

and the spectacle

not ethical;

for beauty and light

belong to the universe

but the laughter

and tears are ours.

The Only Past Is Here

The landscape as memory,

embedded here

past in present,

mist as forgetting,

the fog of dark ages,

the wild landscape

buried beneath us,

its clearer waters,

its precise peaks,

dumb outlined trees.

No prize for our cleverness,

our verbal skills,

only the truth now,


for those who wander

wild pilgrims,

under wilder cloud;

the randomness the wildness,

and the wildness the life

of the human spirit.

That Stream!

No nothing special,

not the least


just mist

wiping the surface

of the water,

just light

clearing the high


Everything trembling,

every breeze

polishing stone,

making mirrors,

pushing cloud,

blowing the dust


from the dusty


The creature’s eye,

so honest

if you

can bear it,

your discomfort

too much

lying too



Terse lines


on the mountain


if you can

see it,

that one,


in your mind.

The Process Is Not Its Meaning

Shall we say it again,

the process is not its meaning;

for the meaning

it must engage with all the world.

The process is not

the significance

of the process;

the action is not its molecules

in movement; the thought

not the words

that compose it;

nor you your mind and flesh.

The direction of the universe

is no intent;

time is self-known existence

and the lifeless timeless.

But the world moves still,

and not with us, simply,

but through us,


Extend a hand

a thought

and you become world;

it becomes you.

So don’t speak of ‘knowing’

a process

without its meaning,

or the meaning without its influence.

The light of the process

is nirvana,

if we

dare enter in.

Skies Over Mountains And Valleys

You are the unmarked silk:

its lack

of affectation.

You are the brush-stroke


the air, unformed

ending as form,

out of the eye,

of the spirit.

No we have no

souls, but we know

what spirit is.

The lightning flicker

of the loaded brush

drawing a mountain.

It is the madness

of the wild

human project,

from which we hope


never to wake.

The Theme

My theme is the light

falling from clouds,

through clouds;

that immense

tent of sky

with its lines

of beauty.

There’s the theme of juniper

a soft breeze,

spring beyond snow,

the tranquil

loss of fear,

the creatures unhidden,

freed, at rest.

My theme the green fields

of a limestone dome,

the lichened stone,

clear water

a depth

of charity

and everything living.

Stopping the eye,

looking again


till mind

catches sight,



the theme is the thorn bush

the grass the thistles,

bright stalks,

motionless reeds

in hill ponds,

ancient trails

of the other world

of those who ignore us

in their landscapes,

in the leaves,

secretly, silently


who fear our tracks

in the dark,

whose point is survival

(but who too

know joy,

simpler and deeper,


than pain)

and will outlast.

While We Are Here

No violence no


no transaction.

The empty fields

are quiet,

walls non-sentient.

The human closes

down, light

carelessly opens.

All human knowledge,


in spring rain,

can make no difference

to the essential

random drifting,

though all the links

in the green chain

were broken,

this unbroken

floating, flowing

earth beyond the senses

this sightless, touchless

tasteless, scentless


process singing,



this place of paradise


while we are here,

and the mind in paradise.


A few green stalks of grass

in the muddy lane

show signs of life,

lichen on grey bark gleams

and buds half-open,

thought half-concentrates,

incipient poems darken.

At the coming of spring

the rain at the root

moistens the rot,

new sap creates

the vision of blossom

on an empty branch

its sepals breeze-stirred.

All you know of the blue

is there in a rag of sky,

nothing of what you do not,

ghosts of the deathly;

this is the ecstasy

of the self-found

burning heart

of the wood and the flower,

which is where

the dreams of resurrection

came from, this greater

rebirth under the sun

of a greater nature,

no longer trite

but experienced in this flesh,

the flame of life

our love, our work, exhaustion,

freedom, form,

loosed to the fields,

the having-been without which

nothing seems,

and its values

meaning, vision, solitude,

without which

what is there

of us that is not


endlessly, eclipsed by spring?

Keeping The Flame

The tender footsteps


before ethics,

feet in the grass

the pale harvest,

those pure hands

stirring the water

planting the shoots,

burying seed

raising the flame.

And the tender mind


after ethics

feet in the grass

the soft harvest,

hands in the light

moving the clouds,

planting a thought,

burying the seed,

keeping the flame.


For the poem of the heart

must be without


and hide no enigma,

itself suffice

to dance like the figure

of light on a canvas of light.

The poem of the heart

has no secret

to steal

from the native wildness,

itself complete

in its voiceless ascent

to the core of mind.

The poem of the heart

is as simple

as your

acceptance of truth

of the friend,

and nothing

we must pretend.

The poem of the heart

has no word

to find or deny

more than

the hand that paints

its line of a sky

and places you there,

at the heart of the poem

and in

its beginning and end,

like the line of the hill

its complexion of light,

and the print

in the grass of the hare.

The Silent Tongue

That everything should be


and not

material for poetry.

That the human should

be human

never object for others,

and nature should be nature.

That the broken barn

in the field

should stay a ruin,

the air here run clear.

That the river

with its heron

should always

flow darkly,

and the green lane

edged by wildflowers

always glow

in the light.

That the heart should


meet heart

with grace and forgiveness.

That the private self

should be

private forever,

an inviolable space.

That because a mind

validates a mind

the silent

tongue should learn to speak.


And say the dead are living, as we are,

that we inhabit all the depths of time,

my living love, and are the deeper rhyme,

the sonnet of the river and the star.

Say that the afterlife is this one place,

eternal motion round an inner voice,

you, all the mind’s delight, the mind rejoice;

in us the dance, in us the wilds of space. 

Declare your presence in the loneliest hour,

part every darkness, shape inside my eye,

speak in the language of the move-less power,

invoke those seas in us, their helpless sigh.

Prove – that the living word returns again

beyond our light, your beauty, and death’s pain.

Hesitant Spring

Delicate prongs of bud

and offer of leaf;

spring’s blue


on the wild


the rivers:

intelligent blue,

the knowing blue

of the buzzard and lark,

it’s a kind of hidden


Paradise lost

is split

from paradise found

by the thinness of a hair,

‘no interference’,

how can I explain:

if the west had started east

or the east


the bird would be greater,

the flower,

than thought: and we’d get it.

Soft gentle blue,

blue in the rocks,

through the air,

trees brushing it,

and considerate hearts

small selves

happy to wander,

nothing more serious

than the crystal mind,

arching sky,

streams of rare water.

People here,

before laws,

had order,

cleared the grasses,

respected nature,

helped, were helped by

the land,

endured honestly,

saw truly,

made little of progress

much of beauty,

carefulness, affection.

Respect those days,


in simplicity,


in speechless doing,

the blue

of the light,

the lines of the landscape,

the thoughts

that some

find foolish.

March Winds

March winds are wild

they say, but here are quiet,

by the river;

I wander in grass,

the click and tick of time

turned here

to eternity’s

wild fruit of freedom.

It sinks deeper here, mind:

into the leaf,

into the inwardness

of the stream,

is the patience of the larva

in its womb,

is all my shadowed heart

my spirit’s room.

Oh, here is the place

of innocence

and the mad romantic,

the place of the helpless,

hopeless, the specific

fragile moment of endurance;

under the hawk’s wing

shrew’s unawareness.

Here is March mystery

and the stir

of life,

what pains the body

ache and bliss of light,

pure in the smallest,


in the insect eye.

Here is my mirrored echo,

my return

to the sheltered core

of being

to the fire

that flickers

in the roar of night,

beyond delight,

but quiet as lichen,

silent as the moss

on the split stone,

and I am nothing

I am metaphor,

the pool on the shore

where the creature

waits, tide-washed, uncertainly,

for the moon-driven wave;

or the river fish

aligned to flow,

flickering scales burning

with liquid silver,

biding its moment

water all its thought,

its form desire.

Quiet as before

the birth of season,

or the wild rose,

twined on its spiny stem,

quiet in the grass

I whisper by

and to my Self am I,

the weft of Man.

The Sunflower

Out of the wild,

in the room,

the licking petals

of the sunflower

on snaky stalk


contorting in the air,

the torque of life,

the thrust and flare;

out of the bowl the one

sure mystery,

they are dream life

those extending tongues,

sun-hair, mind-shafts,

dream journeys

as the child

dreams green slopes

and stranger mountains

or now-dark trees

where anything might

happen beyond

the world.

They override the human,

they are more,

the sunflowers.

Here, cries life, am I

the faceless form,

the nameless eye,

the unfocused

focus, mindless,

certain, deep,

greater than you,


I die in their writhe

of stalks, the whorl

of tensile blades,

die among suns,

among stars,

among galaxies

filled with dark fire,

and die in sweetness,

a sweetness of bickering

birds, or the delicate


I lie down in their light,


where we lie in our Selves;

I feel their exploration

of space

they made,

and time,

a strange felt fabric

of the twisting heart

caught in the unfelt wind

that blows from darkness.

Quietest Red

The stillness of this glow

reminds me of

the quietest red out West

the slowest sunset,

over far states then,

but here is soft,

on backs of sheep,

lights evening walls,

calmer, more tranquil

than the dust on twigs

of these still leafless ashes.

Deepening life

grips the elder heart,

we sing

in the tree to the tree of no name

no longer there

yet we still care,

our calling,

as light falls

into the voiceless calm,

the fragile slopes of air

the depths defended.

Speaking Of Which

Where there’s no language

is the furthest


where there’s no competition

it just flows.

Where the wild hums

I cease to hear the voices,


and there is only

the one simplicity.

Where the sounds fade

no need for ethics,

respecting the creatures,

feeling the land


Was our civilisation


worth the having?

In freedom

is my true self.

Unseen, All Around

We cannot twist it

to be – what we wish.

We cannot force it

to take us along.

We cannot tell it

about ourselves.

We cannot ask

for its indulgence.

We cannot see

where it starts and ends.

We cannot save

what we love forever.

Water is water

mind is mind,

but sitting here

each enters in the other.

But Why?

A crescent moon

in daylight

in the blue,

crests the tree


the limestone wall,

pure object

in the heart,

but why?

Bending arc

of frost

and dream

of starlight,

pale as stone,

holds the eye

in thrall,

commands the will,

but why?

Inner Reaches

Shy heron beats downstream

tugs at the mind,

a lone indifference

to all things human;

takes course

for river haunts

for darker pools,

for mental quiet.

Where does it rest

at night,

lancing shadows,

gathering silence

being there

waiting for eyes

that rise

from glittering depths?

How does it sleep?

In mirrors of the moon,

under the hill,

above the cauls

of leaf’s

doused fires,

in a separate world

deeper than ours?

There Is Nothing To Follow

The single tree, not many;

the wildflower

only one;

the rock,

the hill,

the cast of light,

like a dark stone

in snow,

the mind a speck,

the eye unmoving

vastness forgotten,

a soundless self


the stillness

neither water

nor cloud.


Who knows

who stands here?

The universe

falls as snow,

shines as hills,

opens as

wild flowers.

Wave is mind,

the dream,

the wind is pure,

blowing leaves

in silent valleys,

moving white cloud

in the blue.

It comes and goes

the Self,

sings in the mirrors,

restless is

a tear in the breeze,

lamenting worlds,

the unprecedented, unrepeatable.

No end

to these affections

in the heart.

Nothing to hide.

Nature shows itself

as it is.

The stones of light.


Yes, that’s it, with the lark

the invisible lark


out of the near sky,

somewhere in the light

under driven cloud,

rising with self,

the self forgotten,

falling without self,

to the depths of being.

The whole hillside’s

windblown air

those points of lark,

ascending and descending

each its field of space

its tremor

in time,

its beauty


of purpose.

How we communicate.

Not as larks,

borne on the natural


wild as streams,

or moons

the water cannot

carry away,

or grass

lifting, bowing in the night.

Build no temples,

melt the dancing gods,

and study larks,

they sing

from joy, unless

you think that is

not joy,

the fire that lifts them,

and their fall

to coolness.

Something Random

A moment’s inattention

the cup might fall,


ice on fire

the mind is steam,

and all is almost,

yet not yet.

One snowflake

after another

in spring air,


melting on


green leaves.

The world is its

potential: what is that,

a knowledge

of the process

in the mind

or something more,

the weight

of world itself,

the pressing through

of every certainty

of being,

were it not for

the little lever

of a complex chance

the moment’s


At The Dark Heart

At the dark heart of the storm

the winter lightning,

are you there, my love,

are you there?

Where the questions are denied

all answers,

the mind laid bare, my love,

mind laid bare?

On peaks of yesterday, in deep

black hollows,

in moonlit echoes wild

on living hills,

are you what the wind delivers,

what moves the spirit,

not this fire

that chills?

We cannot know

our history, remember

what time has taken

and what time now holds,

we learnt nothing

slaves to inattention,

confused a chance direction

with life’s goals.

Beauty was real, yours,

and love, but truth

was always slipping

damply from our hands,

we inhabited the alien lands

we shrank in cowardice

on harsher shores,

for an uncertain cause.

The winter lightning

lighting silent waves

is not your light my love,

the glare that saves.

What merit from it all?

Said Bodhidharma:

no merit whatsoever,

none at all.


Hills are this nature

that remains to us,

this universe

that colludes with us

in irreal form,

between self

and the horizon,

somewhere there

where Being is,

the world the mind


hills are its symbol,

green slopes

in the eye and there

outlasting eye

but frail, fragile

as a green perception,

beyond and in the self,

in space intangible

in mental time

vision but not pure vision,

imagination’s thread

to bind the heart to life.

Nature is what remains

of our wreckage,

essential light,

even in darkness

a shimmering,

nothing we take with us

nothing we leave,

out there on orbs

rotating about stars

as here on Earth,

pure though we ravage,

beyond our savagery

in a deeper wildness

forever clear and free,

as the un-purposed,

mindless, is forever

free of our intent,

absorbed, an intimacy

far from ours,

a concentrated fire

burning gently

in a stony place.

Nature is all our ethics,

nurture, all

that made us intent

on what is and how it seems

its truth, its beauty,

its hostility unmeant,

its strange beneficence

though it bears

what knows it,

the rest our failings,

and who dare touch

the living flank,

the shining eye,

unasked, who interferes

with what the spirit

feels as sacred?

Who dare claim

authority, possession

over this?

Who dare usurp

the meaning

granted us

by our inception?

The hills are what remains

to us, the light,

chiming, quivering

from dawn to night,

in a thousand hollows,

through a hundred


in the blind leap of time:

we can sleep here,

live here,

breathe here,

the grass and roots

rhyme with our hearts,

the rain is ours,

reason is never

complete understanding,

there is something else

the vein of fire

that living represents

that burns the brain,

our heritage,

the strength

that vivifies us.

Mind Filled With Scree

Blue spring on the April creek,

birds but no bees, cold

light and sifting rain,

rock pool stones

where the rock slide hits the water,

dark green depths by the shore,

Leonardo’s braids of hair

twining bubbling light,

foam in the sink-hole,

the worn shelves

hanging on darkness.

Is looking enough, will it fill

the chasm within, time

carves, inhuman form,

blood overleaps in spring;

the air flows over the spoil-heaps

caresses quarries,

snow-burnt slopes,

tumbled lines of ancient sediment

are they enough to assuage, are they

the changing writhing image

of mind’s buried deep demand?

Frail small pines in the scree

hang on like grim life

shake free of seed and frost,

a meaning spills

over the level platform of stone

into the eye

below, a feathery flow,

a string of hills

fade, purple in evening light,

this heart just might

believe enough.

The Space Between

We climbed the mountain simply to be here,

through joy of climbing,

from the volcanic base to the granite peak,

in excess of love,

and time’s defeated,

we stand where we can see.

We climbed the mountain simply from desire,

and found this vantage point,

above the skylark’s heart-beating suspense,

the fires of love above

the ash below, the perfect air beyond

our space between.

The Spectrum

In my deepest silence curlews cry.

Outward from my skin the green grass grows.

Murmurs of earth move in the lover’s mouth.

Mine is the life of serpent stone that stings.

I am the fabric of time’s skeleton.

Here the articulation of the cricket sings,

halts with the curlew’s distant bubbling.

I fall to stillness in the shadow’s cold.

Further from me the wind the star denied.

Women in gowns of glory are these suns

that countermand the winter of the heart,

a paradise imperfect as the dawn.

Out of my deepest silence curlews cry.

I am the universe in a brown wren’s eye.

The imagined presence of the real I sigh,

the spectrum of the soul’s imaginings.

Bodily Presence

The solid melted the thaw long-delayed began.

The fluid atmosphere arched, and we moved too

round the unstill darkness in a frenzy of desire

through a profligate universe we barely knew,

in which we seemed the minutest in-gathering,

pure form un-denied in an intricate dissolving.

Warped absence, distance, silence un-became;

we were the real abstract, the wilder metamorph,

a something soul-emergent and un-reclaimed,

token of what flickered and yet blew eternal

in electric presence, in indistinctness, an altered

fierceness, or the space transforming into time,

the time to space, the blue-white star to nova,

the base on which the mountain reared itself

to a green shadow disposing of its grandeur.

We were the insignia of borrowed gassy veils,

bright spectres, bones entwined, the phantasms

of being, slow eliding, vacuum, or far collision,

the clouded star-formation reared in deep blackness,

the gemlike points of nuclear abeyance, we burned

and it burned with us, in shadow and in semblance,

denying nothing, asserting everything, in the golden

deep; as much the human as the forever non-human,

but never the unfilled void, never some true non-being,

always the instance, the foreground gleam and glow

of our mangled spirits or the shrill un-yielding sight

of myriad moons, bravely turning round pallid orbs.

The Coming

And how we touch the person in each other is the thing,

and what makes us happy or unhappy, that we do not

have any understanding of, as this inability to separate

body from mind, love from contact, or inability to bring

together affection and the near presence of the other,

the complications of the past and the unremembered,

the thought that is abstraction and the bare feelings.

As how we go through this blue and green landscape,

its challenging spaces that curve beyond the point

in a delicacy or delirium of form, and seem to suggest

a meaning that is absent from the artifice of boughs

and birds in the mosaics, or the faces in the stones,

but is it meaning: or the conjuring of the magician

in the almond-tree, the blaze of nature in proximity?

How we become’s the thing, and go on becoming

despite the composition of the unwritten score,

despite our lack of substance, the irreality of us,

caught at the interpenetration of universe and mind,

to be the mirror and to see the mirror, to be the stream

and to see the stream, to be the wood, and stone, and air

of an unreal coming, that haunts our inwardness tonight.

After The Violence

The ghosts that rise in an eroded landscape

are not those of the dead,

they are the ghosts of the imagination

the phantoms of a loss,

the pits, field-fringes, margins of the marshes,

the hilltop boulders

and what’s buried underneath

the tangible skin,

the misted stillnesses also survive

the violence we have done.

The ghosts are beautiful, those blurred faces,

not simply the circumstances, the events they cried,

but the deeper real that is not

a victim of its times

but existential truth,

the love that’s hammered out between the stars,

our in-wound deaths and dearths

no one to blame

but everything to bless

that lurks in landscape and can ease the spirit.

The clouds that blow on an eroded landscape

over the ruins and relics,

the grass-grey fields, the strangely blue horizon,

bring only the old pulse,

the ancient flickering from below the soil

of nature’s unabashed insistence,

what outlasts the grinding going-on

of our particular madness,

the murmur in the veins of a country without ghosts

searching itself again.

Suggestive Form

Don’t be too precise

the blur is beautiful.

It’s not terrible, it’s joyful,

turn the world around

and from the other side

see ‘nothing’ glittering.

Too many years, too much

preciousness and perfection

of intransigent description,

the crisp phrase wistful

and the hollow echo

make fools of us,

the fools we need to be

to be pine and cloud.

Moon in an April sky

trembles in the heart

as if in the surface of the pool

but is no ghost

of long-dead moons, rather

the dimension of a universe.

Cry harmony, the leaf is green

the mountain violet

brighter for its lack of virtue,

its un-solemn purity.

Nature is not what we think.

The solitary is not alone.

Deep in the third silence

watching the elegance.

The Bright Edge

Depths and more depths are what

we should desire,

little revealed,

the self the private self

not public voice,

the right of vision to be dim

and cramped and hidden,

or burn inside

in a Bronte silence,

quiet as the flare

in the fire.

The confessional

was never clever,

we cannot frame

never mind endure much truth,

our reality

the bright edge of confusion.

And we cannot be forgiven

for what has no sentience

to know us or forgive,

our own crimes

sufficiently well understood,

the secret history is blessed

and Freud(e) means Joy

if it means anything.

Certainly none can forgive

the perpetrator

but the victim,

or a double violence is done,

though others

for their purposes would rather

a figurehead absolved

from what must pain

and should, and be worked through.

I like the lone and solitary

which is not

the lonely and abandoned,

the soft grass invades

and veils

forsaken quarries


trees seed,

the wind brings wild

flowers and wilder

perfumes of what we once were.

Depths and deeper abysses

are worth the finding

absence worth cultivating

to teach the self,

the unknown self,

what it is not.

Losing Our Way With Words

The edge is nearer

the bare lip

of the rock,

the association

of an age

with silence,

wherein grace,

and beauty.

We go

over the heights

in soft-speaking


hushed as

the creatures,

losing our way

with words.

Still Moment

Thought, fast as mind

was ever,


flames through

the vibrant air.

The speed of thought

gives never

a taste of time,

the body slows

but not the mind.

When the species


in immortal

frames of the future

it must fly

on first wings

the timeless


outside moment,

these selves still.

Se Habere Aude

Only by leaving it,

pure separation,

can the Self find itself

in reparation.

Only from distant tracks

is the way home

more than the silent fact

bred in the bone.

Fear is the test of truth,

as death of life,

beauty is what is born

under the knife.

Only when minds are free

deeply their own,

can they possess themselves

far from the known.

There where we finally

dare to become,

we can yet greet

the other as one.

Bring Me Back

Bring me back

to the blue mountain

and cloud,

to the pine on the hill

and the stone

in the stream,

bring me back

to what purifies

the heart,

and is never


Where the trail vanishes

there is the trail.

The stream


babbles with form:

bring me back.

What never

grows old

is the flower,

the most transient


Bring me back

with the spring water

to seasons,

drift in the coolness

shine in the moon,

bring me back

to the silent land

that sings,

and slowly


my singing.

Through A Dried Fern

The way is light as a feather,


crossing the blue

shining dome of air

and moving.

The flight of flocks of birds

is sweet,


pure direction,

self-sown and sure.

Snow flurries still,

buds there

break on the branch,

between March

and May.

I am still the white flame

of the hedgerow



in the emptiness,

but the dark that is free,

and free of

the names,

free of all


Oh the way is light

as a feather,

as a snow robe of light,

falling intentionless

falling indifferently

on the space it fills with beauty,

so simply, stare

at the cloud gate

through a dried fern,

simply be there.

Water, Cloud

I’ll remind you mind

is process,

self quietly goes on

behind the scenes,

amused at our


It’s empty, nothing sacred.

Nothing blessed

all blessed,

the language we


from the religions.

The intentionless void

is reality.

Mind is no-thing.

Without analysis

or purpose, let

everything be itself.

This breeze has no wish

to stir the grasses,

these grasses no wish

to feel the breeze,

but everything is light,

deep fields grow green.

I am silent like

the running river,

ungraspable, elusive

as the stream,

none of this for you

is all for me.

The pine is pointing,

the cloud is clear,

the voice is echoing,

no self

is here,

no selfishness.

Let the cities go,

chase mountain streams

in marvellous accident,

till moment’s



Let names go, let forms

ride easy

in your non-interference.

No doctrine,

no tradition:

water, cloud.

What The Dark Said

To be where the body is and not mere spirit,

to be in our senses, not in the deformed world

that misses paradise, and is lost in naming.

To be where the landscape is not owned or owning,

where the wild is this strange country always new,

where we can believe in water, meadows, forests.

To taste what civilisation cannot endure, the outer,

the most alive that flowered beneath the cities,

saved by the prospect, marsh and stones and trees.

To bend down close to a wild flower, to perceive it,

its inwardness, its benign, its unanticipated darkness

out of which all culture, truth and beauty comes.

To know the madness of a deep relationship, bound

to nothing, no-one, beyond its borders, no one’s land,

where no one sees the miracle, the private and the hidden.

To rest in the civilisation of nature, the ancient reflex,

in the intelligence no one invented, in the uncreated,

and exercise the mind beyond all knowledge, beyond

that schools perform, and rites distil, in the ignorance

before the world returns, devoid of labour except that

of love, in love of the labour that darkness told us of.

The Waste

A flash of redcurrant over the wall,

drops of crushed colour, and the butterflies

out of nowhere into nowhere


having sipped sunlight from a flower

and skimmed a stone, part of the wanton

wastefulness of nature, the floods of lives

dissolving in a night,

to leave, hanging there, the deft cocoons,

dimly uncertain of light, unpurposive

it seems, till life blindly stirring

forces emergence,

compels continuance, as though an urge

towards something, though strangely

nothing, born to brightness, conquering

space with form.

Deer Going By

The grass in the corner of the field

holds the print we left, and theirs

in their corner opposite, the deer

who move now in the coolness

of the trees, on down the slope,

gazers at everything, from eyes

of the delicate liquid primal dark.

And the breeze holds a scent of air

of new-cut hay, the world keeps us

on its tenterhooks, still conceals

any deeper meaning, but so reveals

its tangle in us, its stake in what

we are, a move of substance, deep

tremor of misunderstood awareness,

that for a moment we glimpse it there,

swollen in the light, ghostly in trees,

the pulse of what we are, the mystery,

almost the graspable, but maddening

and restless with elusive murmuring,

in fleeting presence once personified,

but now forced shapeless into thought.

The grass holds the passing of our feet,

and the clefts of deer hooves in clay,

wherever the wild darkness slithered

down that sunlit bank, and shattered

a fern or two, signalling those ways

something outside the self might go,

into the substance of what we knew.  

In The Labyrinth Of The Ear

Going gently

over gentle fields

to find

the gentle heart

is therapeutic,

to find the flying weirs

their cold sounds,

to ease the mind

with trees and stones,

to learn that nothing

is the Self,

and everything,

if thought is gentle.

No message is transmitted,

this, nature,

is the message,

this breath of life

where there are no bones,

drinking tea

on a rock

in the silence,

something enters the ear,

its labyrinth,

some stir of light

some sea-call,

gurgling cry of the birds.

You are gentle,

all that is not

world’s violence,

human conflict,

barbed words:

you are the white cloud

that comes and goes,

in the flow

of immeasurable virtue

this high azure,

and I have no need

to chant your being,

yet still do.

After School

They’ll teach you how to be

with good intention.

Though no one said we had to be here

we reached here

through the tiniest

of gradations, the slight


Native things do best here,

natural trees, original

seedlings, not attrition,

and the road we need

has undermined us,

at first without

our noticing.

What children learn, what they

teach, the good intentions

the maths and literature

can’t take us back to our geography

to simpler numbers past the history

to nameless spaces, species,

to what came before the ash.

Maddened minds are truly ours,

let us be gentle.

Show the children, not teach them

how to be, reach

for the inner silence

and be sure, before we step

across the bridge of knives.

Casual Uniqueness

A well-piled wall under flickering stars.

Do deer go by at night in silent lines?

Lichens on far-off planets seems about right,

the chances low of a second consciousness.

Through the hole the summer triangle

delineates a darkness in my brightness,

Altair in Aquila, Deneb in the Swan,

and Vega clear above me in the Lyre,

a hole where sheep might pass, but odd

stones block the gap, and tall weeds

where I lie deep in the sea of grass

taking a creature’s view of the earth.

Here’s the heart, and here’s the eye

for beauty, here’s the mind for reality,

that’s none of those. Hold out no hope

in running to the orbits of the stars,

we’ll still be there, carrying our burdens,

finding a language for the dust and glare.

Good walls are beautiful, just stone on stone,

placed one by one, the work of loving hands,

they fence these fields, they are the classics,

you can’t stay awake too long studying those.

Dust and pollen in my hair, starlight in back

shines from the far wombs of the universe,

carelessly birthing us and sheep and deer,

who pass the gates at night, with snort and sigh,

as their hoof prints indicate, the rubbed off moss,

and went down over gravel, and drank the stream.

It Couldn’t Be Simpler

Nothing twisted, nothing to hide,

Confucius said, everything declared,

the heart still, the mind a waterfall.

What we do not control, blesses us.

Against the roar of night, a gentleness

reminds of the grasslands, glades,

those cool green forests, mute deities

staring at nothing, the long gone days.

Relinquishing finding words for everything,

but everything open. Opening eyes.

Leaving the creatures alone, the trees,

the grasses, being grateful for the shade.

Nothing tarnished, everything pure as moss

or lichen, or the dark mud of after-rain,

the sky-reflecting pools on rutted trails.

It’s the getting there is hard, and then

the staying there. Nature’s performance

far too difficult for long-cultivated ways.

No Matter The Moment

And then the music plays and it’s no matter

where we came from, or where we are going,

no matter the painfulness, or the separation,

the lack of purpose, or meaning, no matter:

here the music, and there is only the music,

no matter what is before, what comes after:

here is the moment, and the music playing,

Self poised on an instant, the body calming.

And walking too, there’s a music of the mind

playing, my music and not yours and therefore

hidden, your music and not mine so secretive,

a music which remembers, cogently complete,

those spaces of intimacy, places of technique,

passages of beauty, tensions and limitations,

but still the music, as now, the music playing,

in the stillness without pain, or before or after. 

The Intentionless Has No Weight

What we wish is that the universe had a heart

where it has none:

the world is light

as a speck of pollen in my palm

or a tiny fly blown in the breeze,

the purposeless

is always impossibly light

impossibly bright with existence

unshaded by any meaning.

We grant that.

What shall we make of ourselves

and the greater spaces,

what shall we do

with a world so purposeless?

When what we wish for is not to be

generated but

must come to us from beyond,

must take us and find us, know

what we are and tell us

what we must be?

If the dark does not frighten you, it

frightens me. Be still, Pascal,

the world is light,

is that ball in a mountain stream,

is a puff of cloud or pale smoke

that may fall or

perhaps ascend, in wisps of time, or

threads of memory, likely or random

trails. What is purposeless –

is Tao, cannot be said – is Zen.

Primal Ethics

When power allows, our values

straight revert

to the gatherers’

egalitarian few,

the foragers, even quieter,

the nurturers, eyes filled

with a beauty they could not

describe or name,

in a world that worked

who could say why or how.

When power and plenty allow

our ethics remain

those of the lake-shore

by the warm embers,

bright spaces of the star-ways

where the universe hums

and whispers,

where bells of light tremor

as the world, deep below

the seas, echoes and rings.

When we are not coerced, when

we are not slaves,

our fineness of being

surfaces, our far truths,

the path of four million years

ancestral murmurings,

the places

where we were alive and free

and being was no transaction,

and the tracks were clear.


Silent in sleeping dales

we plant the trees.

Our culture still

envisages courtesies

of shade and light

in subtler tints of green.

There is refinement in

their dance I mean,

the arabesques of grace

that root the scene

and bow to nature,

humbler than they seem.

All of the beauty that we

compromise, is still

inherent in these peaceful

skies, the delicate spires

of linden, pine and ash,

though we are liars

that no truth redeems.

Our violence was late:

the peaceable who go

underneath these trees

and love them so,

share in an earlier world

with angers slow

and bird-like dreams.

Who, wood under the hand,

to ease our strangeness

shaped the utensils, tools

the blamed and blameless,

that interwove all nature

with our culture, spoke

deeply of leaves and streams.

The place is nearer than we

think to what we are,

pure reason will not bring

the mind as far

as those soft sounds,

like music, in the woods,

nor be the ghost that gleams,

the shape that is half-seen

that sophistication

half-discounts, but art

attempts in every intimation,

and science would know,

the being-in-itself of all the flow,

stranger to mind than seen

worthy of its attention. Softly

the tread of woodsmen

in the dust, the saplings lean

towards a deepening blue,

heartwood grown true

wafts towards clearer skies

an atmosphere brushed clean.

And there’s a silence intimate

as our shared silence, learned

through the patient mutinies

of hours, time’s reclamations,

the dark exchanges, and the bright,

as if a woodland moon at night

lit trees where our touch has been.

Defining The Soul

No, no confusion, what poetry makes happen is the soul,

and the material world dances attendance on those words

that conjure the spirit, the whole person, in its true being

out of the space of our familiar forging, the common lie,

declaring its utter strangeness as our own, in absurdities

and graces, the adept and the clown, beats out the time

to which we caper, where sing in a miraculous utterance

choirs of our greater vision, not this debacle of untruth,

violence, vestige of heritage, ridiculous misapplications

of rational intellect, dumb frustrations of an inner dream,

but the cooler movement under cloud-wrapped blueness,

the shared thought where the gift that was made returns

increased, to nurture, in this communion of compassions,

no, no more confusion, but the only definition of the soul.

Place Your Quiet Hand In Mine

Place your quiet hand in mine

feel the silence where we lie,

defended by transparent sky,

unclouded light, eternally

the each in each, in greater trust,

though we, the transient creature, must

vanish into time and space,

our only triumph in our grace,

our only mortal weapon this

to seal the compact with a kiss.

Then free, in our integrity,

knowing neither guilt nor sin,

with the truer life to win

godless, in this universe,

against all violence, all that masks

its Self, all that obedience asks,

oppression, stricture, limit, ends,

bless the hour that made us friends,

and in its laughter brought the One,

forever Two, when said and done.

Loyalty is deeper than

a superficial constancy,

denying us the right to be

the unrestricted, and the wild.

Our world must pass

but not that glass

in which the lover lover sees,

their manifold intricacies,

the deeper image of a thought,

that body shaped, and knowing taught.

Meaning gathers in the night,

truth, delight, affection live,

nurtured by our hands that give

and receive life multiplied,

so may you place hand in mine,

as soul in soul, though not divine,

that undivided we might be

wild lovers in eternity,

the substance of our mortal dream

burning in the midnight stream.

What Touches Us

No one owns the species:

here’s our path

down under ash trees

on the oldest trail,

here before

and here always again

in intimacy

with nature,

cut logs, pale flowers,

windflowers by walls

where deer and squirrel go,

in twenty above or ten below,

places of being,

places where love

is not in evidence

but simply there,

and moving is a joy

down slopes of scree

against the wind

to reach a valley floor

cool and solid,

wild with rain,

the pure foundation.

There is no knowing

where lanes lead,

or dales begin,

they challenge our

existence, our fragile minds

dancing in a light-shaft,

they lay down

lay out the earth,

its rough uncertain tangle,

its dense layers of life,

each corner vital, self-borne,

there, unique,

a domination by humility,

a conquest of the ant,

the empire of a wren,

the linden silence

or this hazel closeness,

drenched and sure,

the after-sexual flame

that burns in nature

deep, laughing in its freedoms,

soused in its hanging tears

from leaf-green eyelids

immortal sobbing.

Now eyes and feet must learn

familiar ways

as if we were the strangers

that we are, long gone

from here,

discovering the outcrops

logs and leaves,

the twigs and stumps

the grassy life-filled patches

the insect havens

where peace defaults,

and time arouses

to timeless practises

of drowsing and arousal,

and we no need to be

other than what we were

by lakeshore arcs

and woodland bays

the strange comers,

in the equal places

each one equal,

foraging for what

requires no foraging

being that touches us

and passes by.

Grasslands And Trees

The world in itself

is free,

being free of mind


while we are all


the ground of our being

is free.

The world that does

what it can,

the grass,

is itself spontaneous,

in itself

our unconscious mind

is free


In itself the earth is free,

the trees

and the grasslands free,

the universe is free,

and its confirmation

in being

beyond is

the unanticipated other.

The purposeless is the void

for us, who

are all intention,

life itself is intent.

Let the grass and trees return

and cover

the solid pavements,

we’ll understand the free.

The world in the mind, irreal,

is not the world

in itself,

is bound by mind

un-free, not like

the grass and trees,

the hidden flow in themselves

of nature, mindlessly.

Nature is life and death,

is hair, is bone flakes,


fragments of shell and cartilage,

the remnants

under the trees,

and in the grass,

the forms of energy,

that indicate form


all colour, or feel

of the breeze,

the taste of air, the light,

but world in itself

the hidden,

the inconceivable.

For we are bound

by mind

but the world in itself

is free, following

the flow it can,

easing the purposive heart,

in grasslands and trees

the poetry of liberation.

All Form, No Design

Where does the beauty come from,

how is it made

the power of the landscape

to move,

or anything we love

which becomes the beautiful,

that resonance of delight

where both are true?

Out of form and light,

the intentionless and free,

without design, on us,

with no authority,

unowned, possessionlessness,

out of colour and flow,

and the rich complexity

of intricate being?

Out of integrity of line,


harmony of shape and shade,


clarity and the glow,

the meaning of the leaves,

the liberty of snow,

the shared, the known, the given?

Where does beauty come from,

how was that made?

By the movements of chance

in the gradients of being,

level by level by level,

across and down,

till the trees and grasslands

sing of liberation.

Deserts Are Not Empty

Deer in the light dark clashing

with scampering

of gerbils and hamsters

over a desert scape,

laying up stores,

down in the dark,

deer in the light;

the click of antlers,

the sudden rattle of life,

and the hush

of the tiny creatures

each embodied purpose,

of which we are the excess,

excess of feeling,

excess of anticipation,

recall, too much knowledge

of death, too much

empathy with the harmed,

too bright

for our own good,

too careless about others,

a casual effort

of nature seeming

like an error,

but lacking all design:

that simply is.

The birds circle, watchful;

bear and fox,

in tandem, shuffle and slink on by;

the smallest are vulnerable,

their thought is many,

not all thought in words:

in music, colour, and line,

creative power, delight

in whatever brings each joy

we should call beauty,

there’s the something,

unconscious, of affection,

that gathers and burrows.

Mind Ideal, World Real

‘The creature has a purpose,

and its eyes are bright with it.’ John Keats

Blue light on the Peak,

whole dark shadow

of larch wood, black

cloth, stretched on the slope,

creases, bends,

wind creaks

a freezing glare;

the Other hangs

over consciousness

the planet in space,

the whirl of galaxy,

the deep fields glinting.

Haze of breath in the air

congeals on things.

Pine-tips gleam,

hard branches bend,

brush blue glows,

ways of the creatures, dens,

Earth’s private lives,

the wildflower secrets,

silent leaves;

Earth, a promise,


not understood.

Something moves,

no past or future,

vast tremor of a void,

by meteor, wild goose cry,


flares, makes trails in us,

ungraspable light,

such pain, this transience;

the ground of our being

is intentionless,


is all intent.

Somehow On Board

The world we see,

not quite all invention,

on grace, ease of the Other

floats and sighs.

There is no energy

in energy

only the effortless flow

of powerless power.

What changes is not



it returns.

The world-in-itself

is not of our invention,

the silence deep inside

it is not ours.

No way to grasp

the being here

the having been

the being gone.

Beauty, affection

are mind’s only gifts

to this universe

lacking in both.

But not in light or form.

Birds at the tide’s edge

flicker and eat,

and are themselves.

Too clever by half

cried the crow

and tipped his head:

overcome your fear.

The world-in-itself is working

we pass by.

This going nowhere

is the beautiful.

It slides the tide and sings.

It moves the wind.

Eyes dazzled,

we are healed.

Uncertain Lights

The exquisite beauty of the mirrored sky

is equally

the hard to understand

as this inside, which is

outside, here, there, or beyond.

We cannot reach the silver of the other,

the silvered ground

that makes the glass reflect

the something there

akin and alien.

You is not I not you,

and yet is

the richer meaning,

to closer find and feel,

as we penetrate the world

that penetrates us.

No glass is dead that shows us

and suffices

to light our absences

glint our returns.

What is this world

we never understand

but together echo?

This world that still creates

in us its own creation?

We are not ourselves.

In their chaos of reflections

these mirrors show us.

To love is to be confused

with someone else.

Woodland Floor

In misted moss in gleams of light

these fragments of the brittle earth,

a piece of snail-shell,

feathery tuft,

leaves in the gravel,

trickling flow

of life-bright stream

around the pebbles,

sticks, needles, litter of being,

which is also the void

purposeless therefore empty.

In the heart we bow to this,

in that part of the mind

we locate feeling,

empathy, the fear of falling

and the deep awareness

that all we are not all.

It demands respect this

living earth, greater…

all the sweet detritus it leaves

behind, all its apparatus

of existence.

Without which nothing gets by.

Yet humanly we betray

the peace, the gentleness,

the quietness of propagation,

generation, the easy

wind blowing over the ice-field,

the hot field corners,

all this flow,

and we are left

with the made not given,

with the covered-over land.

So I go here, to water

and woodland floor,

to the scatters of weed and wild,

eye-level, sit

against a stone,

feeling the tree twigs tremble

in the lightest of airs,

feeling the light

settle on dreaming eyelids,

sift and fall, fragments layering

till we are gone.

Inside, Out

No way to convey

the walk into the void

that is being,

into this universe

of sky and trees

and windblown light.

No way to convey the feeling,

the tremor

of transience

the fragile falling,

the chaos beneath the skin,

the electric mind.

And no way to convey

the uncertainty

of the other,

like sea-deeps or night-darkness

a glittering

serving to deceive.

What we touch disperses

is not ours,

what we breathe

dissolves us,

what we are shimmers

inside, out.

Being Ourselves

It is not we who are what gleams

in the uncertain emptiness star-filled

which might, might it not,

have been a simple dark

without our planetary moonshine,

without a hint of life,

without its structures of chaos

or intimacies of light.

There are no gods in the texture of things,

rather it is the human that confounds

with alien depths, not galaxies,

not silent voids or the gaseous

tremblings, never the mist whose most

subtle articulations

are simply natural involutions

of energies we strain to understand.

It is you and I who are the mystery

of an uncalled-for warmth, we

who embody values, who invent

the affection, beauty, and the truth of this,

out of the beaten heart, it is we

the wildest hostages of time

who ask an echo of these un-echoing

speechless spaces veiled in fire.

Nothing of us attaches to these flames

that scar the night’s black dome,

nothing of us moans deep in the sea

or rustles among leaves, quiescently,

they have no tongues to speak of,

part of that cold and heat

that is always a sightless motion

neither warming nor cooling.

The un-living breathes out life, the mindless

mind, the intentionless intention,

the non-human all that is human,

what is at heart neither ideal nor real,

but Is beyond all doubt,

because it shakes us, like the leaves,

in our desire, for an eternity

that is this moment too and its progression.

The Last Freedom

Not mine that theatre

that seeks to manipulate,

likes to exploit emotion;

not mine the poetry of action,

motion of things that seem

in words noiseless, fine,

in reality offensive.

Not mine the places where

I do not find myself

nor my predilections,

the social tree on which

I am no twig or leaf;

mine more the difficult,

the awkward but angled

slightly away, soundlessly,

custodianship of a music

creeping across the fields

in a distancing of light,

in the one bright star still

flaring unmoving in a void

of blue-black occasion,

this glitter in the bone.

The last freedom is to be alone.

The Hold

The world shivers, and has identities

though not its own,

our calling names that signify,

our labels for the un-anthropic mire.

But here the wind is light

on wild fruit hanging

or clustering in the fingered silence

and has your beauty.

Too much is strange and mantled,

veiled in possession,

the groping hand is baffled so,

seasons are muted in perceiving.

But here the fields are the deepest

green, in shining waves

that bring me reminiscence of your

light, easing the air.

The scholars’ metaphors, the poets’

fail, atomic meaning is no

word to us, the alien, estranged

from any root or tang of home.

But here the stones sing selves

though not selves such

as ours, their selves like yours

gracing the eye, holding the heart.

The Absent Leonine

World has no intent to return upon itself,

and no point here is central, everything

is periphery, each piece of land that seems

a boundary is also an extent, un-signified.

Where we stand is arbitrary, our beliefs

provisional, every atom a fiction, every

fiction a reality, every word public,

but its significance private, as a child

is various to the barren, blessed, bereaved,

as a pebble is a spiritual container

to the zen mind crazed with being,

as a tree’s a stick or Blake’s glimpsed paradise.

Time is not yes or no. Mind is not

the substance of the substance it projects,

that form in dream, that hiss, in the sleeping

head, of the ocean of samsara, heaving.

All the prayers kneeling, all the flowers

in the stone god’s lap were worthless then,

and all the observances. The light sang,

the universe moved without us.

Maturation In Time

Perfectly blue sky yields to a perfect

grey, the cloud un-flowing seemingly,

but forgotten flowers, the unseen angles

of the mind may be suddenly live,

this is satori,

wakening of the now ready self-sown

spontaneously fine,

so that campion burns bright

in the path’s corner,

and is present for a time

in this eternity.

When the influence has matured in silence

after that premature that early bud,

the single leaf on the fresh green stem,

then there is awareness, then all

is immanent, clear,

arrival of the style and the essence

always there

now flowing, with grace achieved,


now no longer difficult but explicit,

no more obscure.

The stream surfaces and the pool fills,

and the reflections shimmer in the pool,

which is un-shadowed, as art is,

by the partings and goodbyes,

the voiceless pains,

deep in the mind of the meaning,

is rather light

bouncing silently from the surface

of the water,

bringing the world to the inward mirror,

in an un-held grasp.

Considering Our Good-Morrow

And I wonder too what we did before we loved,

imagined the single self, dreamed

of an order laying out the stars,

where we were present naturally,

not ghosts of ourselves, the words

of a beauty not self-generated,

but capturable in the I and we.

Without souls to wake, without power to control,

afraid of every world, doomed

to create them, needing room

beyond this room of little earth

and water, this space the maps

cannot make real for us, cannot

prevent its being real and endless.

I need the calm of your eyes, the sweet silence

of your face, that quiet beyond

the winds, that dome of nights

without direction and decline,

where there’s an end to parting

like a death, and minds must fuse

or melt into the harbour of the dark.

The Woman By The Water

The seal’s a poodle in its sea of green, who said that,

and the lions stroll behind the mind;

everything we found is echoing there

in the waves of the esplanade in the woman

seated at its edge, attending to water,

who has all our history in her open eye,

and now adjusts it to conform to value,

to be the dream itself and not its shadow,

the powerless grace not the solid shore.

Softly, gently, she observes the inhuman,

which stretches also windward to the fields

and can be made unfamiliar, can be shorn

of its named assurances, its quiescence,

until its nature shimmers like the ocean.

She sees beneath the surface but the depths

she sees are no more hidden than the ebb,

when her fingers move it is not to form

any new substance out of its strange being.

Rather it is to speak imagination, with lips

warm in a mouth of air, to humanise this,

to be the gold in the fibres of the sunlight,

to unmask, to transform the brine-wet cry

into a sighing call of grace, an exaltation,

to utter from the spirit which is the mind

in empathy, the voice in the outer roads,

a fluttering of sheets, a voyage, a harbour,

a plunge of shadows, and a coil of flames.

Rather it is to be the evening planet setting,

whose mystery is solitude, an un-wavering,

so that after the green flash, when our star

dips in the sea, she might illuminate stones,

touch the restless heart, soothe the nerves,

be the flickering light off the furthest cape,

setting a path towards the wind-blown eye,

in a course of silver on a plain of darkness,

where boats toss, where their poles aligned

point at the heavens with our interrogation.

How are we not to speak her, and her stillness,

despite all her true rejections those vagaries

like ours, who is our message also to the night,

who grants pure discipline to lengthening day,

that figure in the foreground of the landscape,

round which white whirls of cloud congregate,

with an ethereal blue, with sketched-in whorls

of moving tide, ghost coils like coils of hair:

how are we not to query her deeper meaning?


Wood piled high at the crossroads,

a mind of zen

hovers between things

and their process

sliding downwind

along a dusty trail.

No one comes this way we tell

ourselves, but all

things go this way really

slipping swiftly

the old stone walls

wide tumbling.

And a mass of flowers, road

side flowers, let be

be nameless, you

imagine them

bright assertions

of endless time.

You can find them everywhere,

studiously ungiven

and not quite random,

in a random world,

no joke but deserves

our laughter.

Wood piled high waits, un-waiting,

as mind walks un-walking,

somehow feet move

through hazy hills

by waves of grass,

that glitters, really it does,

gleams and moves, is not

a metaphor, and is a sea,

where ideas drown

and single phrases sail,

downwind again,

there’s the sound in the wood

of a cut tree falling,

the human act inferred,

the world made real

though the irreal heart

insists on an emotion,

destruction’s tug

on the inanimate,

a pang, it seems.

The Signs Say Do Not

It’s a harsh world where a child

can’t pick the flowers:

though they vanish her mind lives

the flowers return.

What meaning has a world

preserved in amber?

This earth must take its chance

with all the rest,

it will.

Beyond the wire the flowers

and the creatures:

though which side is sacred

who’s to say?

And how can the deep heart live

if not with the flowers,

memories of the child

in the summer grass

in silence?

No worlds of crystal. Let the child

cull the flowers,

feel life in her fingers, touch

the un-created.

This is the way we know the world

is real, and time unreal,

where a flower glows

in the undefended realm


Two In The Wild

Wild in the field of flowers

down the valley’s slopes,

where the river breaks

in a gusher out of stone

on the dale-side, runs

over bright green grass

like a pliable mirror,

and collects the reeds,

the water-birds, the flies,

life in a moment,

time in a dipper’s eye.

My heart is light, this

is the paradise place,

the place of freedoms,

where the ache of transience

is summer beauty,

the heart a cloud,

the mind a blade

of grass, the stir

of the creatures subtle,

world no exaggeration

nor need for exaggeration.

There is nothing uncivilised

here, this

is the deeper civilisation,

its tenets are implicit

honesty, a sober truth

of landscaped light,

a form and line

which make beauty

out of the honest, love

out of honest beauty,

and fill the spirit,

till it overflows in the wild

like the dark stream

over shadowy ground

that parts the stems

and shows the fire

of what day brings you,

my acquiescing mind;

and me, your energy

of fine appreciation;

both flames of a silent

disempowered compliance,

of pure recognition.


Plant us in silicon and we will be

the same fearful creatures

if no longer creature.

Then the risk will be

eternity versus absence,

not life against age;

the fearful, we will hide

behind strong walls,

in virtual realm

to escape the real.

Plant us in metal, plastic, we will be

the same lost, lonesome

watchers of empty sky,

our thoughts trembling,

afraid still of ecstasies,

empathies, afraid

in the silver void

and in samsara,

hiding our feelings,

moving the same levers,

dead power, or mute morality,

hurt by lost kisses, burned

with the savage tears

we can no longer cry,

(for where are our bodies?)

or dark with simulation.

Plant us in silicon and metal we,

in mind that made itself, will

come to be –  the thing the tales

foretold, the desolate one.

Equal, Distinct

All these things that differ in what they are,

are open to the world’s equality,

and all these things the grace of light renders

equal, are distinct and individual selves;

stem of grass, the stone, the bird,

the cloud, the mind, the process, energies,

transient structures. Where is value

except in the moving mind?

All things at their deepest level simply equal,

all things distinct in their reality,

and all minds equal in the unconscious,

all levelled by feeling, are one

in the democracy of wild being,

each an equal individual self.

alight in eternity, each burning eye

the eye of the universe, leaf of the tree.

Be careful of one another, fear

the violence, how we destroy

one among all equal presences shining,

the single individual where life resides.


Slowly it glitters

in the shade under the tree,

in hot afternoon, the stray idea,

and I love ideas,

the root of poetry.

It moves slowly

like the distant tractor

turning the drying hay,

far enough away still

to be noiseless

but imminent, immanent.

It coruscates

in a sky of heavenly blue,

paradise Buddhist blue,

an idea in the void,

a little universe

preparing its soft expansion

not yet itself the real

in which the thought within

the mind might exist,

but being incipient,

mind premature.

It shimmers,

is a delight, there must be

something of affection there,

a gift to be given, not yet

framing itself in words,

but ready to soar across

the eternal infinite space

and time between friends,

a gleaming thought,

shaping itself so slowly

just out of the sun.


There no one goes

along the way.

The mind is empty

and the way is empty.

No way in mind

the empty way.

The empty sky

is full of cloud.

The empty mind

is full of process.

Where there’s no one there

the way is open.

When there is no way

the mind is free.

White Plume Moth (Pterophorus pentadactyla)

Appears at dusk, pale as the ghost of Banquo,

black pinhead orbs for eyes;

or comes like a shrouded crier from the Greek chorus;

or outstretched, in a strange icon,

a double-winged hovering

a pallid angel,

arms, antennae lifted, wavering

long ladder-like legs at its side, pointed down,

the head non-human

the silver carapace,

the feathered shoulders.

Or stands on bark-surface like a canopy,

all legs and arms

and birdlike pinions,

a delicate cradle

of twig-bent limbs

topped by the phantom aerilons

those chalk-white, milk-white ferns

as in one of Leonardo’s flying machines,

or a fossil print stretched on darkness,

or a weird transparent fungus

with feathery gills,

or a photographic negative

of some black tanist twin

embroidered on air

at twilight.

She/he is the intentioned and minute

resting, somewhere,

not escaping:

as the ghost

an inner-mirroring, half-expected,

signifying reluctant action,

mysterious constraint;

as the chorus

a plaintive subdued note, not tragedy

but the whiteness of absence

after the denouement,

the stillness of catharsis,

a half-lit quiet

a muffled sobbing.

Or powers through leaves

then sinks to wait

like the mythical poised hero,

cloak out-flung,

in the legend,

stilled by the silence

of the trees,

hoping for whispers

or salvation,

or glittering procession,

the land resurrected,

the earth healed,

the raised arms praising,

needing a ritual

all that makes heroes,

needing the grace,

the consummation.

Or fades, a fan opened,

among dark leaves,

pallor that takes on shadows,

blanched raggedness

of fluttering, creeping,

reaching, and retreating,

a roll of cotton,

with torn fabric pennants,

on crutches of legs;

as an angel,

one without a deity,

though perhaps transfigured by the light,

the white wasp fuselage, felt arcs,

the nest of tendrils,

muscled arms ending in braids

too small for transcendence,

too remote

from all things human,

moral, metaphor,

too uncannily science-fictional

a face yet not a face we understand,

more the Renaissance mask

in an angled corner

gazing out unreadably from a window,

far-off, and miniaturised.

The universe and she/he are of equal size.

His/her brief time is its eternity.

Ghost, shrouded Chorister, or Angel,

a visitant, in the end a Self,

nature weirder than us,

a form perfected,

not a form incomplete

in a half-way journey,

but a beginning and an end in one,

a simple hero’s arc

unaware of anything heroic.

July is flowing onwards into night,

to nullify the ghost or calm

the hero, quiet the chorus,

or relinquish angels,

with a perfumed silence



Let’s praise the things

without biographies

whose history is only

what they seem,

these water-flowers,

dark-rooted in the mire,

pale heads in blazing light,

and dumb between

the long refracted

cooling stems of green.

Praise voiceless things

desiring proper names

no more than separate identities,

by river’s run

drown in anonymity

this moving universe

where we’re forgotten,

among leaves neither

calm nor dissatisfied

through gleaming depths

that drop away to darkness.

Then climb to the slopes above,

where folk build their own,

mend walls, and farm, and trade,

and most of what they do

is shown by a direct pointing.

Here’s a solidity of effort, skills

seventy centuries old

though tools and materials

may change, even the soil,

but among this permanence of hills,

these curves of valleys,

their artefacts the outdoors visible,

their obvious work the work of hands,

of minds turned inside-out and planted

in black earth, or grassy fields

the wind must cross in waves.

Praise their reticence like the lobes

of the water-plants, their flowers

waving there above the River Lethe,

the scent a scent of things that leave no trace.

If We Are Not Careful

A sentimental mythology

will speak still of fate, of destiny.

Flowers, moons, dark rivers will

cry out aloud to the mind under the hill.

Creatures will personify, their natures

anthropomorphically primitive, their features

invoking ours, noises will seem like signs,

trees grey pillars of meaning set in lines.

All will seem sacred (as it surely is

if we name it so) and none will know

where the hush of light that encloses

seeps from, what the bright star opposes.

We will appear still raw and still primeval,

alive in this world, done with good and evil. 

Unconfused With Hawk

The I of the hawk is the eye of now,

is the eye of the past and not the future,

or only the future in instinctive skein,

unlike ours full of regret and dream.

The I of the hawk is not a thing we know,

nor will when the circuits, networks spill

their secrets, and we cry similarities.

Every mind keeps its private mysteries.

The mind of the hawk is its own perception,

alien awareness of foot or feather, stillness

in stranger trees, manners of life and death,

a beaked sub-consciousness of avian breath.

The I of the hawk is not mine, I cannot see

beginning or end to that inner complexity,

which is not for science to call. A living eye

is its own universe, Self, set on high.


Why is the long curved ledge of stone

so satisfying to the eye,

or those grey clouds and the flowers?

Do they speak to our origins, our

evolution, is it pure sensory

or the ordered chaos of identity,

where each un-made, accidentally

formed, has surface, boundary

on which light falls uniquely?

Is it a deeper juxtaposition of self

and world, the real outside us

that mirrors some shape within?

Is it an ache to be done with all this

and be still, free of the human,

unaware of time in the un-minded,

an ache that forms itself in beauty,

sounds a note, conjures a harmony

from the inharmonious chilling air?

Or is it memory it provokes, a flare

of forgotten being in the abyss there,

deepening day, longing for the night,

not of the pang of promises un-kept,

or denied compassion, but a thought

of a kind hour in a space without lies,

where open minds shared such horizon

graceful as ocean, golden with the trees

where there was no need for promises?

Masks Of The Sea

Masks glitter in the silence, masks of the sea,

not yet beached or sunk in the deep volcanoes.

Some, bony jaws, gleaming with phosphorescence,

others, bright heads of Medusa, tentacled, beckoning.

The forms of our beginnings are not like us,

they dance between atolls, decorate the gravels,

rainbow white coral reefs, dart in each crevice.

Some hide behind helmets, others trail spears,

heroes and generals out of the Protean deeps,

brief as Achilles or crusted with Nestor’s hairs

older than hills, links in the chained generations,

long spiny noses of bone or chambering spirals.

Under the midnight stones of the timeless world

the ghosts of our ancestors dance, full fathom five,

in dark blues and greens, or bob along in the foam,

where Arion rides, and Ariel casts his spells

to save us. The monstrous masks swarm scaly

undersea, and swallow moons and hulls and cloud,

the glow of monstrosity, as here, in the grass where

I dream, the insect lives express themselves in bristle,

joint, antenna, carapace, compound eye, shell and horn,

more wild than the slithering pool where we are born,

calling ourselves familiar. These are the familiars,

the familial host, weird as the crowd in Bosch’s garden,

but all of our brothers and sisters, as under the waves

our relatives flicker and swarm, the fair and unpleasant.

Out Of The Dark World

Out of the dark world

missing paradise,

from the road to the trees,

from city to universe

is a single step,

and your heart in your mouth,

or your hand,

into the nameless

is only a moment in time.

Out of the owned landscape

to the unowned, 

out of the un-adventured

into the wild, into

the meadow of night,

the forest of believed-in stars,

into the spirit

into your senses again

is only a footstep,

a scent of the meaning

the civilised cannot endure.

Out of the febrile self

into the essence of days,

the strength of the marsh,

the wood most alive,

is a simple journey,

one pace and there’s the wild flower,

truth and not culture,

freedom’s relationship

a dusky learning,

the touch of the mist

on a field of glass,

and your being

at stake.

Walker in wilderness

savour this while you can,

all of our passing,

the humming of winds,

the rays in the glade,

since this is

the ancient of ways,

nothing that we invented.

To return to that silence

we heard, and we know

when we hear,

to find that reality

beyond, to see

what we see too briefly

always, never for long,

to exercise the mind

in the strangest of ways

as nothing can teach,

as poetry cannot be taught,

as life, as compassion.

To be where we were

in the grassy place

where we were

gazing at stars.

All of our intellect there

in the rustling of light,

in the wildest of freedoms,

in the only way back

to the delicate beating heart

of the bird or the flower,

the tremor of pollen,

the bee’s dust on our feet,

the cry in our ears.

What It Is Not

The roar of the wind is not the roar

of the indifferent universe. Even

indifference supposes attitude, mind.

This is the intentionless which cannot

reach to the black roots of your unrest,

to the grasping slime-bed of the stream.

The roar is not the roar of beauty in

the flowers of the fields, no matter

it is a fact they are stirring, a wave

of their swaying, a blindness there

under a crescent moon. The universe

hears no roar, free of your turbulences. 

The roar of this wind is not a blueness

of air soaring along the walls, scouring

a limestone country, this echo of time

in your head, this pounding of morning

light, this blank white hush of the rain,

shattered branches or disinterred bones.

The roar of the wind is not truth: a roar

of what exists is never the roar of what

might not have been, is a roar of the real

in your projection, quivering meatiness

in the void of things, a shade, whatever

slowly rises eyeballs staring, to silence.

The roar of the wind is not the roar

of compassion in the human mind,

is not the sadness that makes the poet,

nor the madness, is not even an anger

unlike ours, neither the scream it seems

of its coming nor the hiss of its going-by.

The Symmetries

The symmetries are conservations, why

the maths is useful, what remains the same,

unlike love, which is always subtly changing.

The laws are conservations, the interactions

are reducible to our equations, energies

and relations, continuities or not, quantified,

unlike pity and hope which fluctuate, they are

oceans; chaotic waves beat at us and we eat

the ground of matter, drink the flow of mind.

Physics is form and state and change of form,

the transformations are the symmetries, life

deceitfully refuses to obey a formal neatness,

love is always a monster lurking in the dark,

that vulture landing or, a flower in the light,

is one more face upturned to the crescendo.

Whatever is intentionless is empty: the void

is full of strange and mindless symmetries,

as love is, life is, pain, compassion, truth.

Health Warning

Oh it’s all words, the drama and the theatre,

not truth, even though you, Reader, thought

it may be, the feelings do not fit the page,

emotion – is what mutes the self not what

impresses, least of all delights or entertains.

Your empathy is for creatures who cavorted

in a commedia of their own invention, that

deluded even them. Dante too was confused,

as to the reality of the dream he murmured,

neither a charlatan, nor visionary, but a poet,

something weirder and between. Beware,

you can invent the sexes, races, difference,

while only the self exists, and the social

is an opera full of silliness and sweetness,

mad tragedies and the modern foolishness.

Better to strip the mind of all that clothing,

accept a nakedness of irredeemable being,

leave the page blank, and stare at landscape,

where there is no mirror, where the winds,

moons scorch, scar us bare as the ash-tree

pointing its upturned spear-tips at the cloud.

Practising Being Tree

Down fields of light,

the grass now

or the tree.

So hard to become

what we are,

what are we?

Culture, like the river

made us flow

deep and green

and dark

below the bridges;

glittering with reeds.

I am the ash the elm,

I root I breathe,

I wait under

the wide-open sky,


more real than I.

Can mind ever

stop being

the maker,


the silence

like thunder,

the air of light?

Afternoon Of A Faun

It’s the promise never promised

but implicit,

a woodland gesture

something of air, leaves,

lichens, dust

under the trees,

a breeze in time;

it’s the tissue

of the world

that binds us

and unites us,

the ephemeral ones

slight as ghosts

strong as stems.

It’s the poem

at the back of the mind,

the one unwritten;

it’s the un-minded statue

in the garden expressing mind,

Petrarch, there,

scroll in hand, saying Laura,

with a mute sunlit gaze

of seeming affection;

it’s the old stone urns,

on which the satyrs dance,

the nymphs display,

the piper pipes, Venus

in her chariot attended by Amor

commands, and shepherd-lads obey,


It’s the power of mind

behind the green design

(all human)

the thousand shades,

the trickle of thought

that sinks on sand

to the great shadowed pond

and a flash of carp in the shallows;

it’s the depth

of the universe,

that elates and appals,

the darkness

behind Arcadia,

the silence

that back-cloths the pastoral.

The flautist on the grass

plays silently,

the splash of water’s silent,

the storm-cloud voiceless

not even sounding

one black note of dissonance;

it’s the small hope

and the slender movement

of the dancer

over this mottled surface

of weathered ornament,

invoking four thousand years

of mind

in the cave of light.

The Fire Is What We Remember

Vision is simple,

it is of the spirit,

therefore denies

matter supreme.

Realism is fine

and yet never is

enough to satisfy

our ravening hearts.

There is indeed

no other world

than mind makes

infinite, eternal.

Young I raged,

there are many

precedents, all

truth is crazed,

like Rimbaud

in the dark, or

sacred Blake,


Vision exhausts

time as mind

tires of matter,

but not hot life.

Everything is

holy but it takes

a while to see it

and exist there.

Sleepless and

afraid we miss

the message,

the meaning:

it’s all to do,

all to do again.

Who Sleeps?

Who sleeps under the golden

fields at evening,

the silver shores of midnight,

green grass noon seas?

Who sleeps where you sleep

in the bays of azure,

in the viridian bayous,

who sleeps there?

Who sleeps under the deserts

in the dawn light,

under the forest detritus

in moonlight?

Who sleeps under

the mirror of our dreaming,

beneath our feet

below the churning tide?

The Garden Beyond The Garden

The meaning of the Pastoral is this:

that culture is not a slave to matter,

that the naked self is root and source

of our ethics, nature the flow of form.

The essence of the Pastoral is simple:

we can’t hide from or outrun the Self,

dress it, build above it, buy or sell it,

translate our being to something else.

The metaphor of the Pastoral is potent:

embedded in the universe, mind beware

of mirroring the mind in other matter,

uprooting the spirit, who knows where.

This is the Pastoral of the human heart,

which is simply an aspect of the mind,

this joy in affection, delight in beauty,

need for truth, beyond the fleshly wear.

The meaning of the Pastoral is this:

the only human root is in the creature,

the essence of the creature is in nature,

there our emotions, senses, being rise.

How Do We?

Deserted places

where the creatures go,

on their own trails

delicately wandering,

down paths the grass erases

dust covers

the mind loses

in an ancient darkness,

trails where they go

(scattering their bones,

their cartilage, their hair)

under empty moons or fuller,

peering through blueness,

ignoring beauty,

a part of it,

noiseless or making

the inward sounds

of self-proclaimers.

Bare places of the beginning

clear houses of light,

that swept us back

or swept us on,

on sea-grass oceans,

down still valleys

up the far side dreaming,

you can imagine us

there, inside the flow

waiting by streams,

sleeping by stone,

wild in the dark

peaceful at dawn,

unspeakably slow minds

setting thought to thought,

not slow enough

to match the lightning creatures

pouncing and done,

or the careful grazers

on enchanted ridges,

whom the wind carries


through magenta trees,

to scented flowers,

by quiet pools

of reed-filled water,

no route, no end.

Still places of the empty world,

the world before us

once around us,

existence enough

and movement aimless,

gestating unbeknown

the destruction,

learning one way

but still then free

to go another,

all paths open

that the creature makes,

stepping, resting,

a contentment,

choosing all the maps

fearful finding

each hint unique

and all together

the individual the species


Wilderness country,

always its own,

with an atmosphere


impervious to art,

except the impression,

a flick of form,

a touch of shadow,

something there,

with its own mysteries

and unknowns,

its line of bedrock,

its haze of stems,

the distance, the horizon,

that makes you smile,

the liquid coolness

of the ages, the ancient smell,

the glitter and gleam:

if we came from there

how do we get back

past forty

centuries of stillness?

Index Of First Lines