This is the best expression of how I feel about writing and everything now and I’m sure it’s not just me. How perfect is this poem?
A resonant and beautiful reminder to tune into the light and peace at the heart of things by Roger at rabbitlaneutah.com
In our lives, in this world, so much of what we hear screams at us; so much of what we see strains the eye; so much stimulus overwhelms our senses. So how do we sense the sublime? How do we discern the quintessential? Beauty and ugliness both surround us. To see beauty despite what is ugly requires both a choice to see, and a belief that beauty is there to be seen. For a moment, put aside religion, God, spirituality, and morality–and trust that intrinsic beauty and goodness are real. That is when you will see. My poem “Commandments” points at the difficulty of having faith in goodness, of sensing the sublime, of believing in beauty, touches on the straining effort faith requires, but affirms the reality and virtue of light, goodness, beauty, and sublimity, and their power to eclipse evil.
to hear Wren’s peep
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Slumber-dark, the room inhales, exhales,
with the shifting focus of my myopia,
to the breathing rhythm of your body-heap.
I scan the watching shadows
that see bland day-lit domestic detritus
turned to hood-cloaked guardians
of midnight’s unfamiliar realm.
I also watch.
The unblinking snake would envy
the piercing intent of my study
of your head’s side. Skin-lids shudder
as your eyes twitch and roll in pursuit
or retreat in the dreams racing
through your Tardis mind; that universe
of memories, lusts, imaginings, clustered
compactly inside that adored box of bone.
Peering at your ear,
I will myself tiny as the flea,
so to boldly journey
past embryo-curled exterior structure,
through the winding, narrowing dark
that leads perhaps,
towards the flickering kingdom
I could never dream to map.
~Polly Oliver (2017)
This! Might as well give up writing -and loving- now! “The contoured dunes, the flooded valleys…” Dark and hot.
Max Ernst-Long Live Love 1923
My love for you
Was a negative revelation
The intensity of the darkness
Where we embraced
Outshone the brilliance
Of the heavens above.
You were beyond understanding
No words I utter could delineate you,
Beyond mere comprehension;
How could I possibly define you
The meaning of your innermost being
Eluded me though I pursued you
And search for you still from place to place
Down the avenues, up the highways
And through the byways of a transformed city
I’m standing on the corner just waiting
For the moment that our paths cross
Once again in the hope of that succour
That escapes me even in my dreams
To listen to the swelling ocean inside
Avert my gaze from the dual
Suns of your blazing eyes
Inhale the scented distemper
Of your rapid breathing
Traverse the landscape of your body
The contoured dunes, the flooded valleys.
And mortality and the dream of life far better expressed than my early morning Haiku-blurting. This is from Robert at ‘O at the Edges’
Which is an Eye or a Bowl, a Dream
Or well-placed mirror in a sunburnt room, shivering through shifted
images: that hand, blackened and stout, opened like a dark peony;
the tattooed chin; shovel and torch; hook and owl. You say no one
chooses one fist over another, that bread’s rise completes its cycle
and begins anew, pressed flat and rounded. Take this heart and seal
its chambers. Note the anterior descent. Compression, lesion. Plaque.
Consequence. And your friend, who slept, never to awaken. Lying
in that strange bed, you taste salt, acknowledge change, whisper
to no one: audible house…audible tree, knowing that time’s limit
remains unclear. The air swirls and you accept this new light.
Note: “Audible house…audible tree” is from Jane Hirshfield’s “Not Moving Even One Step,” from The Lives of the Heart.
Small boy scrapes his name
With a stick in the wet sand.
I will the tide still.
~Polly Oliver (2017)
A post for St Piran’s Day, 5th March. Although I’m a willing exile from the land of my birth at the toe of Britain, the sight of the white cross on black background- a symbol of tin smelting- sometimes makes me want to hurtle in a South Westerley direction, dive into a turquoise sea and top it off with a pint of Doom Bar and a Philp’s pasty.
The Patron Saint of tin miners and Cornwall (Kernow) lent his name to numerous place names across the Duchy- Perranporth, Perranarworthal, Perranuthnoe, Perranwell, and the rest- before being laid to rest in the dunes at Perranzabuloe. Just rolling the heavy mysteriousness of these place names around my mouth inflicts a stab of what the Welsh call ‘hiraeth’. (roughly translated as ‘longing’).
Although, like all the early Saints, Piran was something of a nomad between the Celtic lands and hailed originally from Ireland. Not that he would have shared the same sense of homesickness that his day inspires in me; apparently he miraculously landed up in Cornwall having been tied to millstone and chucked in the Atlantic by his compatriots.
I’d like to have come up with a poem, but it being a rainy Sunday in Wales and kids’ rugby matches cancelled due to the weather, conditions are not conducive…
Happy St Piran’s Day one and all.