On Leaving Juneau

(from the vaults)

The darkest days are quite, ripples lap the rocks
Our faces face the weather here like stone
A gull cries out, its hunger echoes down the docks
The ferry sails to harbor, furtive and alone

The moment that we both have hated
Fast approaches, like the ferry running late
Her face is pale, her hair bright red, unfaded
Flame in darkness, angel at the gate

I’m leaving but our bodies haven’t learned this fact
It starts to rain, she hides her face against my chest,
I stroke her hair – no use to try and leave intact
No sun, no sudden breakthrough from the west

So small they grow so fast, the docks, my life, her face
A glimpse of flame, then she goes down without a trace

The Element of Earth

(from the vaults)

Two hands full of earth, too heart-full to thole
I sit by warm fire-flower, astonished and baffled

My guardian trees, mighty grove-treasures
Enter my soul’s home, tremendous tree-shamans

I feel my spine stretching, fine spinning roots touching
And push in to Terra, to pierce her taut torso

She pulls me in swiftly, pulsating and will-full
Taproot gripped firmly, trapped tight, grounded safely

I suddenly feel leaves, unfurling with love
Sprouting from fingers, springing and full-green

Light floods on my face, it lifts to the sun
Earth anchoring my spine, thinking with sap now

I fly through the seasons, flitting and sense-full
First laughing spring shouting, swift sparrows and showers

Summer is glorious, sun-rays’ glad riot
King of the forest, crowned from the first

Autumn creeps inward, to make peace in the world
Blazing with colour, while loosing clear insight

A glimpse of the end, age limping and spent
Looms deep in my heart, as leaves fall in deep drifts

Sleep now with the angels, slow winter congealing
Dreaming and icebound, dark down in soul’s deep

Was spring ever with me? Where sports her fair form now?
Alone and bare-bone branched, long barren and abashed

But feel that faint stirring? Bud fighting to surface
And sun coaxing saprise, soul’s call clearing sleep’s eyes

I laugh and my leaves dance, aloft in love’s deft wind
Rebirth in the wide world, be-robed in the wood’s weft

I am humble before them, I honour their fair forms
Life lessons they teach me, long-reaching and touching
Earth feeds them and feeds us, hearts full from her favour
We all are her bright bairns, and wildwood our brother

The Maze

(from the vaults)

green grass grows
head-high hedgerows
which way do I go
how does the wind blow
left-right-left again
find the centre before the rain
thunderous black cloud
heavy rain falls loud
still lost
paths crossed

i have come this way before
faced the same familiar door
next time i may try
but now i pass by
i feel so far
no guiding star
let my feet freely tread
follow the heart and not the head
right-left-left and straight
up the path and through the gate

in the centre in the rain
water running through my brain
mud squelching through my toes
in the air three black crows
lightning shows me all i need
a single second – future’s seed
to this point all paths converge
from the point all paths emerge
open gate, leave it ajar
through the clouds, a single star

The Wind in the Door

(from the vaults)

I am in the wind in the door
I am the glowing ember in the hearth’s heart

I am all that you seek
I am all that you fear
I am your secret heart’s desire

I am the dry leaves rattling on the ground
I am the unfurling green elder leaves
I am the lamb beneath the tree
I am the ewe giving birth to the lamb

I am the hammer that rings on the anvil
I am the bellows that fan the flames
I am the flame
I am the anvil
I am the ringing of steel on steel

I am the fever that burns you inside
I am the fever’s cure

I am the candle that burns in the window
I am the music you hear in the distance

I am the look in your lover’s eyes
As you lie warm in bed, falling asleep

Invitation to the dance

(from the vaults)

Why have you forsaken me?
Where now your fair summer form?
Where the soft kisses on my mouth,
And the swift invitation to the dance?

You hide your face in darkness,
Sheets of rain discourage me.
A single candle lights my way,
A fragile flame cupped in my hands.

A season of sleep
A season of night
A season of cold
A season of death
A season alone

Summer mead in winter,
My only memory of you.
Bone-crunching cold without,
Light a bright fire within.

Laughter, mead, a merry tune,
While outside you prowl,
Rattling the window-panes with sleet,
Crying to be heard.

I hear your voice
I feel your touch
I taste your tears
I smell your breath
I see your face

Your face is gentle and so sad,
Lines of pain are etched thereon;
Memory of light is in your eyes,
A deep spark down within your soul.

Come and dance with me again,
I hear you whisper in my heart –
I leave the mead and merry tunes
And spin into the swirling snow.

I dance with cold
I dance with dark
I dance with ice
I dance with night
I dance until I sleep

Untitled (in the Greenwood)

(from the vaults)

Light through the trees – this is the norm –
green-dappled, russet, gold;
it plays across your naked form
like divinity poured into a mold.

It can’t be just me who sees in your face
beauty, not just my moon-struck dream,
though you’d deny this evidence of grace:
your faceted reflection in a stream.

You are no dream – a woman flesh and blood –
your life so full into spills into my soul –
and lying with you in this wood,
I feel, for the first time, whole.

I am no dream either, manhood is all I claim,
and you make that enough – no irony, no shame.

For Laura on her Sick Bed

(from the vaults – Edinburgh, 1991)

A work of angels, your hair gold-filigreed
In a brushstroke of sun across my coarse-grained pillow.
Sleep Laura, sleep away your need,
Slip into the future as a Willow
Leaf rides the hidden currents of a dark pool.
The hidden spring of love flows with hidden purpose –
Look deep down, your dream like a school
Of silver minnows, now diving, now on the surface –
I see your eyes watching, can see them move,
Can see through the shuttered darkness, can hear
Your breathing, and the birds singing for sheer love
Through the unseen open window, so dark in here, so clear …
Sleep Laura, float through a day you’ve yet to see
Whilst I watch helpless, dazzled by that gold filigree.

Retiring

Hello,

I am going to be pursuing some new creative projects in the upcoming months, so I am going to retire from poetry for the time being – let’s say the turn of the year? Never say never!

I’d like to thank people who have read my poems and written lovely comments. Your kind thoughts and interaction is very deeply appreciated.

Good luck to one and all.

Paul

p.s. I have a book of handwritten poems on a shelf at home, I will be migrating a selection of them to this site in the coming months.

Poetry’s a bloody joke

Poetry’s a bloody joke
Why not just say it straight
The weight of words a heavy yoke
A mask for simple love or hate

Why not just talk plain talk
I don’t love you, life is pain
I long to see you, come, let’s walk
The earth is lovely in the rain

I feel so lonely, where is God
Why do you always turn away
When I don’t see you I feel odd
Jut how I can’t exactly say

Pretty words can only say so much
Sometimes we only need to reach, and touch

Unknown ending

Three dark objects dropped into the pot
A cauldron, bubbling
The fire beneath is burning bright and hot
The potion, troubling

First, betrayal: an ugly, rotting heart
Black twin beating
Has it always been there, from the start,
All goodness eating?

Next, neglect: a knotted length of rope
Hard and dried out
Each knot a choking stop to someone’s hope
When soul cried out

Last, fear: an animal with staring eyes
Shivering with fright
From my own living body I prise
Into the light

This fear’s the hardest thing to kill
Hold it under
I long to save it, keep it safe – still
I hold it under

It kicks and thrashes, howls and scratches
This fear is strong
I waver – until I see my face his matches
I stare long

At last it breathes its last and sinks
But not yet dead
I feel his pull, we share the same instincts
And sense of dread

But step away from the cauldron now, at last
Leave it to stew
Til twelvemonth and one day have passed
Then drink the brew

The ending of this poem is yet unknown
A tale unsure
But I must drink that bitter draught alone
To kill or cure

Long Hellos and Short Goodbyes, by Davy Steele

The other night I went to a concert in memory of the great Scottish singer/songerwriter Davy Steele who was taken from us a few years ago at the cruelly young age of 52.

This is a song he wrote for his then girlfriend (later wife) when they were both in bands on the road and only saw each other between gigs.

Makes me cry every time I hear it, so those of a sensitive disposition please consider yourself warned!

Long Hellos and Short Goodbyes

Every time I watch you go away
Like a swallow flying south
Cold feelings in my soul again
Frozen words in my mouth

Sudden burst of clumsy movement
Then I watch you slowly fade
Partings are the hardest moments
The thought of things we’ve left unsaid

Long Hellos, Short Goodbyes
In between the time just flies
It gets lonely heaven knows
Waiting for those long Hellos

Slow nights are those we spend alone
Knowing its to be this way
Counting hours counting shimmering sighs
Watching darks skies turn to grey

And those days we spend together
Feels we’re always chasing time
Goes so slow when you are everyone’s
And goes so fast when you’re just mine

Long Hellos, Short Goodbyes
In between the time just flies
It gets lonely heaven knows
Waiting for those long Hellos

If I thought I could do it all again
I wouldn’t change a single thing
For I would swim an ocean of tears
Just to hear my swallow sing

Long Hellos, Short Goodbyes
In between the time just flies
It gets lonely heaven knows
Waiting for those long Hellos

Waiting for those long Hellos

It’s Temporary

Are you feeling pure ecstasy?
It’s temporary

Are you feeling like shit?
It’s temporary

Do you love all mankind?
It’s temporary

Do you loathe all mankind?
It’s temporary

Do you feel like a sex bomb?
It’s temporary

Do you feel like a dead log?
It’s temporary

Are you at the top of your game?
It’s temporary

Are you on a losing streak?
It’s temporary

Are you feeling beatific?
It’s temporary

Are you feeling anxious?
It’s temporary

All these things, and more, shall pass away in time

Let them have their time, then let them go

Sadness is not more important or lasting than happiness

But we seem to clutch it to ourselves more tightly

No more grasping, please

Wow, I’m constantly amazed by the extremely high quality of poetry on WordPress, and this one is no exception – blows me away!

Susan Daniels Poetry

bodies blend to become
this us promised in your hands
how they open to mine
how our eyes echo feeling

this us promised in your hands
painting skin all colors with one touch
how our eyes echo feeling
the way your voice calls my spirit

painting skin all colors with one touch
you scribe alphabets of desire
the way your voice calls my spirit
there is only yes in my breathing

you scribe alphabets of desire
how they open to mine
there is only yes in my breathing
bodies blend to become

***This is my offering today for Dverse.

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