Friday, 31 May 2013


Every day our bodies separate,
explode torn and dazed.
Not understanding what we celebrate

we grope through languages and hesitate
and touch each other, speechless and amazed;
and every day our bodies separate

us further from our planned, deliberate
ironic lives. I am afraid, disphased,
not understanding what we celebrate
when our fused limbs and lips communicate
the unlettered power we have raised.
Every day our bodies' separate

routines are harder to perpetuate.
In wordless darkness we learn wordless praise,
not understanding what we celebrate;

wake to ourselves, exhausted, in the late
morning as the wind tears off the haze,
not understanding how we celebrate
our bodies. Every day we separate.

But I Can't

Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose the lions all get up and go,
And the brooks and soldiers run away;
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.


                          after Hafez

However large earth's garden, mine’s enough.
One rose and the shade of a vine's enough.

I don’t want more wealth, I don’t need more dross.
The grape has its bloom and it shines enough.

Why ask for the moon? The moon’s in your cup,
a beggar, a tramp, for whom wine’s enough.

Look at the stream as it winds out of sight.
One glance, one glimpse of a chine’s enough.

Like the sun in bazaars, streaming in shafts,
any slant on the grand design’s enough.

When you're here, my love, what more could I want?
Just mentioning love in a line's enough.

Heaven can wait. To have found, heaven knows,
a bed and a roof so divine’s enough.

I’ve no grounds for complaint. As Hafez says,
isn't a ghazal that he signs enough?

Friday, 10 May 2013


Easternight, the mind's midwinter

I stood in the big field behind the house
at the centre of all visible darkness

a brick of earth, a block of sky,
there lay a world, wedged
between its promise and its conclusion

some star let go a small sound on a thread.

almost midnight - I could feel the earth's
soaking darkness squeeze and fill its darkness,
everything spinning into the spasm of midnight

and for a moment, this high field unhorizoned
hung upon nothing, barking for its owner

burial, widowed, moonless, seeping

docks, grasses, small windflowers, weepholes, wires

Snake's Heat Organ

Description: after sun is slow burn
as eye scales darken.
                                 Water’s no-burn.
Smaller sunlives all dim slowly
to predawn invisibility
but self-digesters constantly glow-burn.
Their blood-coals fleet
                                        glimmering as I spin
lightly over textures.
                                       Passenger of my passage
I reach round upright leaf-burners, I
reach and follow under rock balances,
I gather at the drinking margin.
Across the nothing there
                                            an ardency
is lapping blank, which segments serially up
beneath the coruscating braincakes
                                                                   into the body
three skin-sheddings’ length of no-burn negatively
coiled in a guttering chamber:
                                                 a fox,
it is pedalling of now,
a scintillating melon,
                                    gamboge in its hull
                                    round a dark seed centre
and hungry as the sun.

Cell DNA

I am the singular
in free fall.
I and my doubles
carry it all:

life's slim volume
spirally bound.
It's what I'm about,
it's what I'm around.

Presence and hungers
imbue a sap mote
with the world as they spin it
I teach it by rote

but its every command
was once a miscue
that something rose to
Presence and freedom

re-wording, re-beading
strains on a strand
making I and I more different
than we could stand.

St Augustine's, Penarth

The church is like the prow
Of a smoky ship, moving
On the down channel currents
To the open sea. A stone

Figurehead, the flowing light
Streams from it. From everywhere
You can see Top Church, remote
As high church is from chapel.

Church high on the summit
Of the climbing town
Where I was a child, where rain
Runs always slantingly

On streets like tilted chutes
Of grey sliding on all sides
From the church, to sea and dock,
To shopping streets and home.

Breasting the cloud, its stone
Profile of an ancient priest 
Preaches continuity
In the face of turning tides.

in other words

The Egyptians loved the cat
were often entombed with it
instead of with the women
and never with the dog

but now
good people with 
good eyes
are very few

yet fine cats
with great style
lounge about
the alleys of
the universe

our argument tonight
whatever it was
no matter 
how unhappy 
it made us

rememember that
there is a
adjusting to the
space of itself
with a delightful 

in other words
magic persists
without us
no matter what
we may try to do
to spoil it.

Sunday, 5 May 2013


Until I wander'd through the world
I did not know
That even in Bethlehem
Falls the white soft snow.

Then I did imagine how
A morning long ago
Reflected light from all the land
Flooded through the door.

And lit the spidery rafters
Above the sleeping child
Whose eyes were lifted up to
A mother mild.

And such a radiance was around
On ass and munching cow
Some said because a child was born
And some because of snow.