Tuesday, 9 June 2020

The Island Boat has Crossed the Waters


 


Where are our kin?
What deep is that?
Who is that boy at the oar?
Where are the great old ones?
Who dreamed of this?
Where can she be found?
Whose voice called out?
What journey was undertaken?


We had launched ourselves onto the shearwater’s road
Of winds’ lives, the kittiwakes’ way
The towering fortress of the ever shouting birds
We mariners had left behind us,
Our hopes & prayers knotted in cords & stays
Chords of songs & masts of sails
As delicate as the gull’s white wing feathers,
Singing as we pulled on oars
With the sun of glory scooting out over our heads
& the old dark, loathings of the storm left far behind us.

Left to rage; felt sensed but not seen
We could not look back, nor return to Laurentia
So the boat of the brothers & sisters of the child-king
Fulfilled the prophecy of banded Pre-Cambrianity
Sweet granite song-lines of inspiration
Can now call to darker birds, where secret waters
Rise to the surface & we stand upon the curving shore
Almost disbelieving that this tiny island-boat
Could have crossed the millions of years of storm waves.

A reunion of ancient lands.
Another bird on the wing.
A scented strand.
A woman waiting.
A timeless tomb.
An awakening hero.
Starlight upon the wave of the deep.
That is our kin.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Newton’s Rock



Newton, your rock, alive with living forms, is much more interesting than you are
Your baroque pornography of power; biceps, triceps, trapezius & your brass dividers upstaged
By bright, wild polyps that sway upon the stone like the gorgon’s futile magic in reverse
Not a Midas’ touch this; the engineer inspired by agnostic equations cannot measure the unseen
Nor hear Elisha in his cube; laboratory acids don’t reveal things like Blake’s do, they eat them,
They oxidise them back into salt to shiver the dark ocean all around to numbers & formulae
Your lenses cannot reveal the brain’s inward astronomy of Heaven, Hell & the road to Fairyland
Nor the riotous coloured filaments of these anemones, but predict a dead & poisoned sea;
Bomb explosions like evil flowers growing where they should never be, like ragged horsemen,
Red clouds, viral pandemics, plagues of locusts & first-borns, with weeping & wailing & grinding metal teeth
Whilst all along, Soul Herself sways, sighs & pulsates; sings & flings her arms
Out into the current of the gentle moonlight waters that play about your giant feet.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Throw a Penny in the Hollow of the Stone


for Wroth Silver 2019 by Barry Patterson


We don’t really know where it all began
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

Some protection racket in Saxon times
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

But we honour all those who came before
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

When life was hard for the people of the land
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

Now Knightlow Cross is long long gone
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

& how many feet have been turned this way
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

In a thousand years of gathering
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

A thousand breakfasts on a Winter’s day
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

A thousand pipes clenched in our teeth
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

As back to the pub we make our way
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone.

In the 21st century we still pay our due
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

To those we bless & those we curse
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

While the great & the good in their folly are maligned
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

To the burden of their will we are still consigned
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

Not much has changed on this island of ours
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

Its the rich what gets the pleasure & the poor what gets to pay
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

& we become the forebears of the world that will be
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

The unwitting progenitors of future ceremonies
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

For someone will come to count our cows
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

& we’ll pull on our boots & pull up our hoods
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

We’ll be out on the road before the sun comes up
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

To stand before dawn on Martinmas Eve
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

& when the name of our town is called
Throw a penny in the hollow of the stone

We’ll clamber up the mound to pay Wroth Silver
WITH a penny in the hollow of the stone!



To read my previous Wroth Silver poems & find out more about this unique & ancient event follow these links:
2014: Martinmas
2015: The Road of Time
2016: Wheel of the Year, Wheel of the Land
2017: Eight Decades
2018: Ghosts


 

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Rebellion Haibun for Ecological Justice



In St. Jameses Park there are pelicans & parakeets, geese & dragonflies, pigeons & squirrels, crows & Crew, we are all Crew: The Warriors of the Love Rebellion; inspired & beautiful, doing all the best things that humans ever did, can do, might aspire to
.
on horseguards parade
we guarded the horse of our
highest intentions

.
Day & night we sang & played, we drummed & chanted our freedoms forth that we might wake up the world; shine out truth & imagine a future founded upon justice for all beings, that welcomes everyone with compassion & wisdom
.
like a dakini
above the police & rebels
pink haired girl dancing

.
On Millbank & Marsham Street we sat singing heart songs; shining through the rain by the river’s great grey presence; we praised the angry cyclists for choosing not to drive & every time that someone was taken away we cheered our thanks to them & joyfully celebrated their offering
.
cold, hard, wet tarmac
as it began to get dark
it was a pleasure

.
In the distance we could see the flourescent yellow kettle of the Magic Roundabout, they lasted the night; stalwart exiles of Lambeth’s Bridge of Faith, KT & George standing on a box & yes, again, a message that was, is, will always be primarily about love
.
it had just begun
much lay ahead of us, yet
I felt that we won

.
Reciting Blake by the barricade a sudden gust of wind, mighty, raised to heaven, stirred the tents & tarps & pulled furiously at our flags & signs, moaned round the Treasury, stirred the trees with spirited night airs
.
listen to your heart 

today it has the voice of
a city blackbird

.
Once we were dancing a spiral dance outside Westminster Abbey inviting the ancient guardians of the land to bless us with their wisdom & strength while tourists forced smiles to take selfies & Abbey Security peered out at us from behind their railings
.
his fiddle playing
sacred music, overtones
her voice & shruti

.
& Anne & I hold hands & she has tears in her eyes because none of this is protest, it’s an invocation; tens of thousands of rebels mad with dedication to the Earth calling sanity wisdom & the love of all existences forth into the centre
.
we shut down the heart 

of the capital city 
with our wild music 
.
It’s not violent, though it may be righteously angry sometimes grieving, it’s mostly celebratory. It doesn’t name or shame, just demands that the truth be spoken. It’s shows us a new 21st century version of Clarke’s Law: “Any sufficiently advanced rebellion is indistinguishable from magic.”



For the record: I particpated in the Love Rebellion of 2019 for three days at the start.

This piece is dedicated to those with whom I shared the experience on both sides of the line.

Tens of thousands of us closed down central London. We are not protesters. Extinction Rebellion is an international apolitical network using non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

We have three demands in the UK:

Tell the truth

Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.

Act Now
Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
   
Beyond Politics
Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.


Justice!
I am happy to tell you
That justice,
Even if it cannot be perfectly realised in this world
May be pursued & that such a pursuit
Is both worthwhile & meaningful.
It may be sought in the direction of
Harmony, peace & openness;
It is inclusive, not exclusive
& all it requires is that we embody these qualities
As living values
Rather than mythical absolutes.
(From an earlier poem.)