Otherwise *

October 25, 2017

Delfi and crocuses Oct 17

I have met ones
Or other wise two
Who see the world
As though through
My other pair of eyes
And here dwells
The gaze-lifting might
Of moving mountains
The chasms deep blue
Of the teeming ocean
And maybe I should not
Hope to meet more
As it is the beyond-hope
That humbles us
To the edge of Now
That fierce crumbling
Patience with truth.

These forms may have
Disappeared from view
But they have
Taken a seat
Behind my lids
Lit a flame
In my heart
And every day
Another word
Makes flesh of
Their presence
Giving me courage
To keep saying this
Be unabashed
In my native wonder
Keep crafting a path
With space to each side…

Where grief joins
Hands with joy
Light whispers its
Secrets to darkness
Freedom arches brushing
Beauteous wings over
The faces of fear
Kindness offers up
Its heart to power
And love, well love!
That is what roots
The foot again
Again and again
For the other to reach
And what directs
What is lost in us
To become found.

*Poem inspired by my recent visit to ancient Olympia and Delfi, and some lines by Rilke

‘I want to know my own will
and to move with it.
And I want, in the hushed moments
when the nameless draws near,
to be among the wise ones—
or alone.’

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Unlike Me

April 11, 2017

A kind of poem, memoir and statement of an evolving feminism and poetic activism rolled into one. And today… there are some unseen peacemakers in the world who, like the artist or the healer, drink the poison (the shadow, the unlike, the toxic waste) of a place, country or culture to hopefully open our eyes, wake us up to play our part; this is for them too.

It is
Only
With
Mine
Very
Small
Eye
That
I sees
I am
Another
Statistic
Of women
And Ye men
Who will
Be (I do)
Forever
Replaceable
By an
Eternally
Younger
(Like me
Tho I do
Too) newer
Bomb
Shell
Model

 

It is the bigger broader all-seeing eye of the vast landscape of the world that likes us each in it so truthfully and sees You too just as you are greatly singled out and Me as small as the two-cells-meeting seed I began as yet as wide and free as the life I am ready to birth where we all stand to see each other just as we are held by love and with the banner of

No
More
War
Peace
Justice
Freedom
And hope
For a
Better
World
Waving in
Our hand
Hearing
Heard
At last

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poem of La Gomera

February 3, 2017

man-la-gomeraMy poem of this trip in January 2017 ended up as solid rock-like verses, attempts to convey the feeling of meeting this volcanic frontier, in the landscape and in me. From the meaning of Islas Canarias (island of the dogs), there are little echoes of poets that spirited the experience of finding my own ‘black dog’ met by the vast movement, silence, intimacy and music of nature: Manley-Hopkins, Emily Dickinson, TS Eliot, Rilke & Jung. Interestingly 8-line poems are called Octaves; resonant of order but also scale, reach and expanse. And find today the late David Bowie wrote a song called Eight Line Poem too… For audio version, see here  https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=XZ8LyAZ9of1vRHmXOynTUKpe8NdmFiplxy7

 

mountain-la-gomeraPoem of La Gomera

First the rock, then the dog,
Then the sweetened bird of gold.
An evolving face of pressed ascent;
Lava and ash, song and bark,
Light on dark and wave on crag,
Frowning forehead of memory,
Copper, black; dark then pink,
Bisected skin of haunch and wing.

me-in-truck-la-gomeraI wouldn’t say my dog is mine,
Not half as fully as my tongue,
It’s looted from my tribal chest;
It’s teeth and weight against my rib,
Was passed to me one day in time,
When milky blind spot opened up
It’s retinal cave, just long enough,
For black hound to run through.

 

boat-la-gomeraOur boat is now a shrunken raft
Before the La Gomerian shore,
This small wild Islas Canarias;
Hardened jaw of trodden fire,
Stroked by the wind, lit by the sun,
Lapped by the constant broken wave,
Whispering, sucking, salted purge,
Birds eye tears melt our approach.

i-want-to-see-you-la-gomeraIt said lie down, animal and you,
Bow before my towering growl,
I want to see you, and your pride,
Lift you to rock that’s higher than ‘I’,
Engulf you in gliding mantle blue,
Vast moving mirror at my feet;
Who is this on the other side of you?
Lift your eye, see it fluttering free.

art-la-gomeraNature, enraptured by this dance,
That carries on ‘tween shore and sea,
Meets her own lover every time
We bring our burden, our black dog,
Our unachievable task of praise,
To her heel, and humbled thus,
Our heartache can bear fruit for us,
And pour translucent light through us.

 

black-dog-la-gomeraThus so the beast will meet the bird,
Sweet music scaled by the deep,
And ah! Bright wings from bristling fur,
Will rise with freshness from the earth.

Because We Are Already Root

December 8, 2016

falling-up-into-treesThis poem is about darkness and light. The language we attach to these polarities. Actually, in the journey of the soul, to the divine, they are the same. It is the naming that divides them. The poem questions, why do we see light as ‘up’, darkness as ‘down’? And what might evolve when these ‘opposites’ come together?

 

 

 

 

 

Because We Are Already Root*

Hidden in dead leaf though we may be,
We are lifting down, down
Into the deepest of days.

A big red moon has fallen,
Through the window, tumbled
Into the blanket of blackness,
Sounding of the constant breath,
Known only in the bone-deep folds
Of the night, its bountiful skin.

Here, through doors of no evidence,
We reach into the traceless;
The travel-empty, no-bag-or-stick journey,
The you-must-rise-and-leave scent
We all must follow, come Spring, come death;
For darkness is as the light to You.

So, refugee of the turning world,
Take comfort, take thy divining rod,
And plunge into the winter waters
Of your soul, its swimming body.
For as She Was Already Root,
So you, in love, are already root.

Drowning in the river though we may be,
We are falling up, up
Into the deepest of nights.

We have lifted, burning red suns,
Into the blanket of brightness,
Sounding echoes of this constancy,
Hidden only in our skin-deep reach,
As the light slowly turns, returns
Its dear face towards us, again.

*(based on a line from Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem of Orpheus and Eurydice)

Poem of Evia II

October 14, 2016

dscn8732_master_216a5db5-f28b-471f-a3fd-2b0da551cce2Walking today, a swathe of shoreline
Sprung at me, its stalks giant tall,
And still swaying; the feathery grass
That we had watched dancing,
Brushing against the curve
Of July’s pregnant full moon.

Then we stood, two standing spoons,
Wide silvered faces upturned,
With the sea grazing at our backs,
It’s rhyming ripples mirroring
The cat and fiddle, cow-jumping
Strangeness of a fireside dream.

f-new-moon-2-40-x-34-oil-painting

 

It is the newness new moon now,
Three months on, early October
Dishing out its harvest light,
From just a slit of sickled mouth,
Whispering and licking a fulfilment
That, earth smiles, is yet to come.

 

turner-new-moonRight then, thinking fun sets only over summer,
A copper-shining dog ran, laughing, along the autumn beach.

All was saying,

Ear to Ear,
I am here.

Poem of the Pelion

August 18, 2016

Me shadow PelionIn gratitude for the friendship & beauty, and inspiration of The Moving Archetype, Anilio Centre, June-July 2016

I crossed lands to climb this mountain,
And the mountain climbed into me.
First, it’s fern shadows flickered at my forehead,
Second, it’s pines started their moan-song in my mouth,
A breath further, it’s springs were pooling silver in my chest,
It’s shoreline nudging through my hips, legs, hair,
Mountain foot wetting first my feet, then everywhere.

The mountain climbed inside me!
When it’s tune catches me and lumps rise in my throat,
Volcano fires go tunnelling for escape in my rib cage,
When belly starts echoing, dark abandoned cave,
Gut pulsing as stream gushes into gorge,
I know it is in there saying, in moon’s glisten,
“The nights are a fullness here, stay awake and listen!”

 

Natalia Anilio Chapel 2016It’s message clear as daylight spilling crystal from the cliff;
On this mountain there are places for human passage,
But there are also areas you must not trespass;
And you know full well it is time to wait,
To rest in safety, in complete and even stillness,
When Clio*, muse and gatekeeper, is hoisting up her sign,
And Calliope* holds his palms out, like an icon in a shrine.

In the emptiness, the silence, another voice circles:
“I am This and you are That.
You are This and I am That.
We are defined as we are united.
The centaur and the manifold of gathered gods has made it so.”

 

 

 

 

Martino, Sue Claire, me Pelion beach 16Between the split legs of the valley,
Where the restless water wrestles and breaks free,
The song of Echo* bounces from it’s distraction,
Bringing myriads of this-and-that together in her singing,
Saying, “I have held you here for a reason,
This mountain is your body,
and as you hide within it’s precious fold,
A world is being born anew, it’s name ’til now untold.”

Don’t only trust the mountain’s peak, it’s tablets of stone,
But also Terpsichore’s* shifting body, her dance alongside trees;
Learn faith in how light quivers
against the shade, veiled lovers,
The gurgling child, the re-beginning of sound;
Know that this This-That has re-joined, made a whole,
The mountain both the path beneath, and breathing in your soul.

 

*Clio, one of the nine muses of greek mythology, protectors of art. Clio is the protector of history and scrolls.
*Calliope, protector of poetry and writing tablets.
*Echo, rejected by Narciss, creates distraction so Zeus can evade his wife Hera and make love to the mountain nymphs, so creating new life.
*Terpsichore is protector of dance and the lyre.

Poem Of Evia

August 18, 2016

 

Evia rhodadendrons July 2016There was too much for-giving
For me to write a poem today
The sound of the lute
Is ringing in my ears
And I cannot strike a note
Of the old song I know.

What is the new love chord
That is longing to be plucked
From this tip of tongue
From my inner anger of ear?
To strum it’s footprints-in-the-sand
Along the shoreline of a soul?

Spirit, quite suddenly flocking
Seagulls, a whole circling crowd
Lifting from beach into the wind
Moving across the open sky
Landing; the soil of instinct
Lapping up its persistent waters.

Sunset & feet EviaAnd in this union, a soul is born.
It is the child that has been waiting
Limbs now freed, aloft the crevice
The mother of her innards.

I feel life, before Me
Giving birth to something
Whose mystery is enfolded
Still, in God.

Evia, Greece, July 2016

 

The Irreplaceable

June 8, 2016

Mum poem June 2016 IIMum, is it because
You have been so
Not-counting happy
To swallow your pride
And wing out of your way
For so many long long miles
That the doctor now says:
‘Your hip needs replacing’
And: ‘Your heart is too big
It’s oversized for your body’?

Mum poem June 2016 I

Mum poem June 2016 IV

Mum poem June 2016 IIIMaybe. And also to show us
There are some things
That can never be replaced
Like a mother’s courage
And, though bird-like now
Your heart is bathed
Like an English summer garden
In the light it is facing.
Lost ones flew towards its murmur
And it just kept on growing.

Achilles Heels

March 16, 2016

You’re sitting, legs askew

On the deck of a boat.

Is it the bobbing water beneath your gunnel

That is making your cling

With hands, skirt, lips,

That slightly forced smile?

And your feet,

Jammed into tight, white, backless sandals,

Like the cigarette jammed between your fingers,

Portray a woman unsure, unseen,

                                                   Grasping desperately,

                                                   Longing for dry land.

                                                   Vessel of a man?

                                                   Capture of a portrait?

                                                   A place to belong?

                                                  Not in this same boat…

                                                  Its unsettled sway finding its way

                                                  Into your knees, hips…

                                                  And the coat flung aside

                                                  Between you and the cabin below;

                                                  You’re jamming it down

                                                  With an angry heel,

                                                  Achilles fighting against the prevailing wind.

February 18, 2016

Live poetry reading at Frome Poetry Cafe, by Stina Falle

Live poetry reading at Frome Poetry Cafe, by Stina Falle

Pattern of The Heart

We were traversing the etched-out landscape of Hampsted Heath,
In the way that only old friends can;
Weathered skins, shielding yet knowing.
Maps, outdated in their story, and still showing the way.

We were talking of men and matters of love,
Delving back into patterns well-versed, as if new.
‘You always end up…’ she said of me,
In what, I guess, felt a potent and acid pitch.

It was a sweeping statement, yes,
And by now we had topped the hill, overlooking the city.
My eyes pricked rather,
And the ashen ground blurred into the Shard and the Heron Tower.

The early Spring branches rose, poker-like
Into the February sky.
I wanted to rise in defense,
But my voice felt lost.

My voice felt caught in a huge broom,
Like it was being swept up with the cinders
Of all the burnt-out words
That either prove or disprove love.

The glass slipper,
Or the worn-out shoe,
It’s all the same.
And yet, love only knows…

It was in the leathery discomfort of that day,
That my soul quivered, like a wild pony
Which in days past would have plodded this land,
And was broken in.

Only the bridled horse, after all,
Can carry the prince…Or, forgetting the prince,
Only with bit to guide the horse’s hooves
Can the messenger deliver her message.

The shoes that fit have been given to us all,
And our task is to stand in them, break them in,
And walk through the veil of where
‘You always end up…’

To find our pattern of the heart etched,
With its acid-and-line, crossing over line, crossing over line,
On the page that sees all of our passing
And says: You are loved. You are loved.