Friday, 2 February 2018

We Dare Not Confront the Mystery that We Are


most of what we are is blind in the unseen dark
the abyss between the cell membranes flutters
with delicate breathing forces for which we have no names
we are a mystery to ourselves

most of what we are is what we are doing right now
but we do not know it nor can we, nor can we take charge of it
the wild systems of of our deeper nature
do not recognise what we call a self

most of what we are is a sleeping ocean

that dreams of the world of thoughts & things
which it cannot understand but to which it must try to respond
it cannot distinguish between the creative & the stupid

most of what we are is dissolved in water
stacked in sheets or coiled in the forest networks
of a secret country for which there are no maps
in which there is no sense of direction

most of what we are is patterned in conversations
carried by our uncontrollable blood
& because we are so afraid of this we will do anything
to avoid looking within

so let us fixate upon celebrities, politicians & members of our family
let us fall in love, become angry & then watch TV
let us pray to imaginary gods with our clasped hands & lowered gazes:

we dare not confront the mystery that we are

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Eight Decades: Wroth Silver 2017

In 1938 it was a Friday:
The first edition of the Beano & first cricket on TV
Chamberlains famous meeting with Hitler;
“Peace for our time” said he:
While just down the road
At dawn in a corner of an English field
A group of people gathered round a stone,
& a certain young colt aged four may have been there!

War now over, in 1947 it was a Tuesday:
Princess Elizabeth got married To Philip
India & Pakistan gained independence
The first nuclear reactor in Europe was called GLEEP:
While just down the road
At dawn in a corner of an English field
A group of people gathered round a stone
At Martinmas Wroth Silver was still paid.

In 1957 it was a Monday:
Macmillan became Prime Minister in Elizabeth II’s 5th year as queen
Norwich City Council was the first to install a computer
In the Sky at Night, Sputnik was seen:
While just down the road
At dawn in a corner of an English field
A group of people gathered round a stone
With hats & wellies on.

In 1967 it was a Saturday:
The Summer of Love was come & gone in the Golan Heights & Vietnam below
De Gaul vetoed our entry into the EU
& Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band are glad you enjoyed the show:
While just down the road
At dawn in a corner of an English field
A group of people gathered round a stone
One or two may have got mud on their flares.

In 1977 it was a Friday:
Queen Elizabeth’s silver jubilee
Abba, Starwars, Saturday Night Fever
& oh joy of joys the Sex Pistols swear on TV:
While just down the road
At dawn in a corner of an English field
A group of people gathered round a stone
In the icy, frosty morn.

In 1987 it was a Wednesday:
We were still reeling from the hurricane
Thatcher called a snap election & won a third term
Peugeot began building cars at Ryton:
While just down the road
At dawn in a corner of an English field
A group of people gathered round a stone
By torchlight, a list of villages was intoned.

In 1997 it was a Tuesday:
Tony Blair moved into Number Ten
The death of Princess Di
Welsh devolution & bird flu were the talk of the town
While just down the road
At dawn in a corner of an English field
A group of people gathered round a stone
Despite the threat of rain.

In 2007 it was a Saturday, not Sunday:
That Atherstone Warehouse burned down
It was the wettest Summer ever
& the birthday of the Iphone:
While just down the road
At dawn in a corner of an English field
A group of people gathered round a stone
But we can’t smoke our pipes indoors no more.

In 2017 it was a Saturday:
Hoods & brollies deployed against the wet
Plastic banknotes, terrorist attacks &… Trump
Brexit continues to divide us
While just down the road,
At dawn in a corner of an English field
A group of people gathered round a stone
Honour to David who bore witness to it all!


This is my fourth poem celebrating Wroth Silver as it's poet laureate. This year was special because it was David Eadon's 80th year attending the ceremony. (He is the gentleman in the cap in the foreground.) Many thanks & congratulations to him!

To find out more about Wroth Silver, go here: http://www.wrothsilver.org.uk/

To read my previous Wroth silver poems follow these links:
2014: Martinmas

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.

Emaho!

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.