Sunday, March 25, 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007

Foster's Leap

You trace the black bones up the hillsides
and you wonder why and how many men
it took to circle the wyke
and you wonder further back
at nearby Barnold and the alders
and you feel it rushing by
across the fields forever
wind -- wet -- winter breaking
its teeth on the stone trolls
of the Leap, green and loathsome
up there when it should be clean,
and the small figure hangs between
the two pillars, mid-shriek
overhead, all silhouette
with no face, coat tails whipping
in history. And urgent with entering
you lift your feet in turn
from the black mud
and place them on moss
then stone, and your fingers
grasp easily onto features
that comfort with abrasion,
and you start up
towards Foster's flapping ghost

and towards the rushing sky.

Stopping Time

Took him three years
visualising Time as a goose
beating down the Atlantic
the wind-ways, the ripped open
cloud-roads from Labrador
an arrowhead
of white and grey storm

pulling up honking in the parks
and stubble fields of the North West
and one here, nearly dead with it,
Time's greylag ticked out most
of its heart into the night
crashing in a flapping mess

at his mind's door, where he brings
it food -- bread and sardines,
anchovies and shrimp mixed
into a paste with a little gin.
Soon he carries it in, lays it out
like a near-dead bride in a cot,
and clips its big wings.

In the morning it lifts its head
over the bars and looks at him
confounded and flightless,
and the moment starts to stretch
and the clouds stop
and the heartbeats stop

and he smiles that long half smile
of a broken clock:

forever sadness
and eternal Spring.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Major Arcanum No. 23: The Black Dragon

Cheer up worse
things it could be

worse things
happen in the green troughs tomorrow is

day one I will I will another day
behind clouds survive

will at sea every cloud every tunnel
a light darkest

before the green troughs
I will my heart sink with sea

horse tresses wrack clee
shh they are tending the light

with moths and fire
flies for the brightment

I will in it face to foetal face
eyes for the fine shine

at sea worse things happen
survive so I will

wave things wavelets
creeps upon you like fingers

of photon falling this my katabasis
like rainbow troughs seaward

like all points dropping pressure
I will not now emerge that other end

of the world that could be worse...


You know from your own disturbance
that something is happening
it doesn't take the birds
going silent
or plumes of smoke
on distant hillsides stopping
and hanging, stilled --
only the catch in your own voice
tells you that a thing is here
for which you have no script
and that you are at your own edge
looking down, seeing nothing.
Devoid of options in this
you run down wrong paths
find them blocked
like forest trails
choked with drifts of leaves
and fallen limbs, find yourself
always back in that moment
of looking down
into the hole in the middle
where nothing has yet grown
that can accommodate this moment.

And when we wake in the middle
of searching, we find it, what we seek,
where we first looked and looked again,
though it cannot have been there then.

as though nothing had ever begun
and nothing ever yet ended

we see omens
with the edges of our eyes

Friday, March 16, 2007

Instructions for pyrotechnic poetry

The trick is not in sending the words in loops and spirals off the trampolines of the lexicon through the hoops of the iris unstopped down the fiery skeins of optic nerves into the brains of birds:

the trick is keeping them anchored
and bringing them back to land.
The trick is not in watching words
disappear upwards at your command,
cut loose, like feathers in a storm
of your own marvel, while spectators
lose sight of your little lost swarm.
If you want some Oohs and applause,
keep them tight and bring them back
to alight spectacularly on all fours.

Always allow some exciting slack,
but bring your barnstorming babies
safely back from the black.

Major Arcanum Below Zero: The About to Blow

Before morning’s creep down the wideways of woodland halt
the breathed haircurls aflame he came where she was wide in the wanting

and illustry, and filled with bursts and offered more mothering was --
not needed now he burst also almost upon the brinking bells his heralding

and horn, but not yet the moment not yet the foment of follis he inbreathes
for his preparation and preparates his blowout into width and dimensions other,

that like here where leaves shuffle down and steam all night there, there is it
the spiral of steam that rises there when we look away -- there he prepares his

parting like the slitting of curtains and the eye that peeps and pokes between and now
at the threshold with hands undealt but ready -- as he’ll ever -- with position and time it is

coming it awaits two damn seconds only out of reach, and already under way,
falling last and first and before first in the space where there the spiral like smoke

rises its mystery...