Breaking the Ice

If you asked me to break the ice,
I would break it not with a pick
But with a word so strained
The air would snap like a rubber band.

 


A stanza that popped into my head. It could stand alone or I could construct a larger poem from it. I’m still busy with the novel.

7 August 2018

I Cannot

body-parts

I cannot breathe,
No not because my lungs are drained of air
I lie here suffocating,
With leaves of trees enough and woods to spare
To keep me ventilating.
I just cannot breathe.

I cannot move,
No not because my body broke apart
I lie completely still,
With all these gears and pulleys of the heart
Able to keep me mobile.
I just cannot move.

I cannot see,
No not because my eyes lie lustreless
Balls, aged, smashed or pricked,
With such a planet bent round to impress
Them, blind were derelict.
I just cannot see.

I cannot taste
Nor smell, no not because my nerves lie wrenched
Loose, disconnected cables,
I just cannot pull vapours in, teeth clenched,
Body impermeable,
I can’t smell or taste.

I cannot hear
Nor touch, no not because the air’s light ripples
Fade without reaching shore,
Lying like seaweed in a world of bubbles,
Though myriads of them roar,
Just can’t touch or hear.

I cannot think
What has become of me, no not because
I lie here mindless but
Because the universe’s endless doors
Are opening on what
I just cannot think.

I cannot be
Whether everything lying pulled apart
Is I or I united,
I am what I am not, because without
Being in and of this night,
I just cannot be.

.


8 December 2016

15 February 2017

1 March 2017

This deals with the old problem of the one and the many, or how anyone can be one while being many.

One Longs

cemetery_with_flowers_184918

One longs to get the answer right,
To understand things plain,
Twisting the bolts of thought down tight,
All bound round with a chain

That tergiversation cannot
Shrug off nor lie cut through,
A cornered truth that isn’t rot
Nor ever jumps the queue,

Yet longs to set a finger’s end
Upon the pulsing ache
Of ambition going round the bend
For something immensely big’s sake,

A hero’s reason to exist
Or not, because one mustn’t
Just up and hurry for the exit
To escape an unpleasant

Story, the story that one lives
In tidy rows with others.
One longs for flowers amid graves,
Because what breaks down gathers.

 

 

.______________________________

Current draft 17 August 2016

 

 

Hero and Leander

Hero and Leander

They lived within each other’s sight across
The racing waters of the Bosporus,
A lovely maid of Sestos, Hero, and
A raw lad of Abydus, named Leander.

Home to her was a tower of stone that clung
Oyster-like to the restless shore and home
To him was any chance encounter flung
Into his path, no matter what might come

Of it. A priestess, she was sworn to Venus
And seemed as lovely as that goddess to men as
She passed by them within the temple precincts,
Her patter orisons, her perfume incense.

There it was she first reached into his eyes
And pinned his heart onto a wheel of fire
And there it was he caught her by surprise,
Lordly as an eagle skating in a gyre.

“Tonight, high in your window, hold a light
That castes a golden thread across the water,”
He said and so she did, the next night too,
And the one after that, all summer through,

Her swimmer he, she his enfolding shore.
So it went on until the winter came,
Winter that hardly knows what flesh is for,
When all is cold and all things look the same.

Still every night she hungered for the surf
Yet no wave rose beneath his elbow’s curve
As far as could be seen, the moonlight sifted
In vain, in vain her anguished eyebrows lifted.

The tower after that poured out its light
At night just for the ships to sail on by
And if a man sobbed out his desperate plight
The passing rocks returned a hollow cry.

 

 

 

.


Current edit 17 August 2016

Traditionally, Leander drowns but here it is open to question – maybe he just grew tired of Hero.

It sounds

wind chimes

It sounded like a wind
A wind trapped in a hollow place
It sounded like a wind trapped
In a hollow place

The music that I heard
That music I heard, I, some notes
Floating like leaves branched mid-air
Memoranda and notes

From the unending breath
In things for just a moment here
Somewhere where I am I am
In this very moment here

Listening to the wind
Assuming a strange shape in sounds
Worlds vibrating vacantly
Where the great bell darkness sounds.

 

.


First finished poem in a few months now, busy finishing novel. Looks good for now.

25 April 2016

 

Clouds

clouds

The structure isn’t just the shape,
The structure is the shifting shadow,
The sheets of light stretched diaphanously tight
And darkly folded over,
The bruises round the cheeks and pillows
Of silk moon lingers over,
Star-torn ribbons and summer walks
Along the shell-flung shores
Breakers bulging hurl
Aloft and eyes swim through, riding
The steep current, fluttering
Hawks hover
Along eyeing ground-bound fugitive
Pigeons and mice, dawdling
Man made in God’s image
Flawed and fallen image
Marble flung down on hailstone wings
Clattering orisons
On tin roofs and running down the gutters.
The space
Above all that space aslant the
Sky and its wreckage calls me
To tread those towers again.

I have loved the clouds since ever
I first became self-aware
And I will go on loving them till
There is nothing there.

 

 

 

 

.


I wanted something formless so clouds suggested themselves or rather I wanted to write something about clouds and formlessness suggested itself. The ending is a weak quatrain where form is so washed-out and thin it is hardly there.

25 April 2016

Doorways

VintageDoors

Doorways are all that divide the world,
Being this side or that,
On one side new, the other old,
Outside a doormat,

The space you face a faceless door,
The handle in your hand,
The turn that makes the world before
The world you left behind,

The wall that nothing can climb, the hinge
Everything moves about,
The choice between whom you let in
And who must be left out.

Doorways are all that divide the world,
The days you must get through,
The dead weight of the nights you hold
Between yourself and you.

 

.


 

Too simple?

Hmmmm

25 April 2016