Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Moment of Recognition

The moment is a charged memory
In a now-distant landscape, on a river bank of gravel & stones.

We sit in an arc of practise;
Rinpoche serious, facing us through his black eye shade,

His bell & drum by his side
Shawl looped over his left shoulder, relaxed but intense,

The guardian of  everything
We have sought on our journey, tells us of his dream.

Magic jumps into the story
Across the timelines which we think we know, but cannot really see

& this is really happening,
Not because a story became true, but because stories aren't enough,

The truth will out
In human form, as long as people seek meaning in this world.

Lama Tsultrim's face
& posture reflect the openness, stillness of her contemplation,

Her drum still in her hand,
Resting on her knee & she's silent, but she looks as if she's singing.

Dave has his eyes closed,
His bell in his left hand & resting on his lap, drum between his knees.

Carla's lips are pursed,
Smiling, as if she is about to cry or to break into joyous song.

Christine has her hands folded
As if in prayer, face full of laughter & the shine of smiling.

Anne is turning her head
Towards them with lips parted by silent words of wonder,

Barbara's face is bowed low
A strand of her hair blown free from her  hood during the earlier, auspicious rain.

I'm sitting at the back
Opposite the photographer, wearing a hat from Coventry Market,

Grinning from ear to ear.


June 2007. The Lama announced that he was convinced that Lama Tsultrim was an emanation of  Machig Labdrön herself & he paid her great honours.

Posted on the eve of our departure for another Chöd Pilgrimage, in Bhutan; in honour of Lama Tsultrim, in memory of Dave & with gratitude to you all, you know who you are.

The photo was sent to me by another pilgrim. I'm sorry that I don't recall who.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Lapis Bowl

Delicately carved into a cranial cup
Crazed with convergent
Wriggling suture lines:
A bowl that is a stone;
A stone that is a bowl, it
Needs to be held in the hands
in order to shine.

Blue as ink, it
Need not be washed clean
Never polished, nor repaired, but
It must be brought forth, displayed:
To shine it must be seen.

To hold its cool, solid power
Is to invite, yet again
The danger that is the Muse
To pour your offering
Over Her feet, to
Come out from hiding.

This deep, blue stone bowl
Was made to hold but one substance
The poet’s heart blood.

From a dream & posted here for National Poetry Day.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Everywhere is Everywhere but Some Places Seem to be More Everywhere than Others

Roll Right’s
Around & within
The circle of
Their jagged teeth
Those crazy characters,
King’s Men
In slow orbit
Without first then
In within
Grass rustle
Marching daffodils &
Bird exclamations.
This green
Of lace
Looks so delicate
Yet has so much, so many
Of sunny strength
In the shining fields
That edge the ridge
Trajectory traced
By quiet wanderers,
Human planets, who in
Trying to number
The un-measurable
Stumble into years.
Due south,
Just downspin
Of the solar gatepost
Suddenly the sky
Ceased to be a space
Became a becalmed sea-ceiling
Projection, so that we sense
A sandstone escarpment,
A dolerite dorsal fin,
A spray of dune sand
Upon the wind,
A shout of joy,
The cry of a shore bird
& the not so distant
Jurassic Sea
Are all present,
Here together
Like some kind of reunion
Except that the whole thing is
Just a flower &
We are the tiny
Circling creatures of a spring day
Basking in its light wheel
Of starry moony sunny
Revolution of our own footsteps
Upon the well worn
Path of entries.
A biker stripped off his armour
& laid down,
Head against a stone
Stone counters were reciting,
Dowsers frowned with intent,
Music was playing
& all were rejoicing,
Sweetly nested
Among the many curlicues
Of gravitation
That the cosmos is.
The piper is not mad.
The dancers however
Having abandoned themselves
To his smile
Beat of feet upon the green
Lovingly attended
By the never distant dead
Slowly settled into
The liminal rhythm.

The density
Of the texture
The busy city is
In tapestries of
Age & heritage
Flashing forth
In the shouts & smells
Of our market:
Voices, tongues
Fruits & pasties;
Shop signs
Abandoned packaging &
Concrete paving slabs
& pillars;
Food vendors
Prams & wheelchairs
Bicycles & trolleys,
When suddenly
This ancient
Winks at us
& opens, revealing
Every foot-fall
The whole seductive fractal
Leading us deeper
Into the timeless rindless
City life.
The coral reef,
The colony,
Uruk’s burnished wall
Are here
This minute;
Varanasi’s burning ghats
Statues & slums
Side by side
Situation surfaces;
Babylon’s West-end,
The shops,
The spires;
Present through
With roaring road-ring
Where hedges were where
The prehistoric
On Broadgate,
After climbing the hill up
From the central fountain,
Just before you reach
The Age of Godiva
You feel it;
That sense that
Everywhere is everywhere but
Certain places of power
Are more everywhere
Than others
& that this
City circle
Just happens
To be
One of them.

You can read this as a single poem in two halves or as two poems if you wish, in which case you are reading the columns vertically. It is also possible to read the poem horizontally, thereby integrating the two sections. Maybe the nature of reality isn't what you think it is. If so, that could be quite important.