Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the unlikeliness of it all (i)

still and hardened
its seedhusks
feel like exoskeletons
brittle almost
and yet
the softness of a cottony heart
beats with gossamer tenderness
waiting to burst its playful self
about the landscape of its knowing

Monday, November 29, 2010

acts of love

i like to visit
the little close places

especially those that are filled with
the tiny beautiful details
that to me
the most gracious representations

of love


love is the crooked thing,
there is nobody wise enough
to find out all that is in it,
for he would be thinking of love
'till the stars had run away
and the shadows eaten the moon

william butler yeats (excerpted from "brown penny")

Sunday, November 28, 2010

the rootbound path

one day, in woods about forty kilometres north of here, i came across some low brush and i noticed
an opening in the brush and so of course i went inside.

memories of being a little boy and finding something very similar flooded my mind.
it's the purest magic.
to hide or to be hidden.

what was especially cool is that you could pass through this tunnel and follow its connection to others. the sun dappled the ground as it passed through little openings in the branches above my head. while beneath my feet, the soft-silvered feathery roots coiled and bent their way around each other.

i used the knowledge to my advantage later in the day while playing a game of manhunt with my class. i waited at one of the exits as one after another my boys popped out blinking into the sunlight only to be "captured"!

beneath the skin-deep beauty
of the surface of this world
in the underbrush

under the evergreen brush

is a world
of labyrinthine

that have appeared entirely by chance

and which are used
as byways and secret passageways
from one part of this world

to another

Saturday, November 27, 2010

november ride

i worked at the university today
so gift of gifts
a quiet, peaceful take-my-time
frosty afternoon bicycle ride

the temperature somewhere below freezing
the birds flutter nervously
beneath clouds skittering
across a scattered sky

i allow the bike
to find its own speed.
the slope
coming southwards
is slightly downwards -
it's an old railway line

a route that must have
and enthralled
the people who rode it

now it enchants
and enthralls the many people
who use it
to move quickly
in a human-powered manner
into the countryside

it's lined with quiet waystations

places that beckon
to you as you roll past
and if
you are at all like me

you slow down
and turn your bicycle around
and venture off the trail
into the scrub
and into
these little places

where timelessness
and goodness
are the only tickets you'll need
to travel
to lands beyond
those we know
and where we are known

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

i also write a blog called "cycles: the journey within the journey"
it's for people who ride a bike because they have to
because they love to
and especially because
for undefinable and inexplicable reasons
they need to!

Friday, November 26, 2010


in the syrupy slide
of a barely-formed moon
my thoughts
glide with her glowing body
between the ink-black branches

my heart
my life

in the floating world

Thursday, November 25, 2010

the altar

before the altar, bowed, he stands
with empty hands;
upon it perfumed offerings burn
wreathing with smoke
his sole condition
and while the moon
swings slow across the sky
he gazes:
his soul
upon the wings
of shimmering moonbeams

"for you.
into the night i toss
my offering to you"

from the altar, bathed in moonlight,
the smoke rises straight in the quiet night.

words selected and juxtaposed from amy lowell's poem "before the altar"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


while some ride the winds
and others tumble through the woods

these choose to settle and slowly drift

holding closely

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

chance encounter

this leaf travelled
some distance
before settling in the pale brown clouds
of a hydrangea

it looks like
they'll winter together

Monday, November 22, 2010

beyond the seen

nothing of the stones
could tell the story of their place
as well
and as kindly
as the tiny eyes
flashing softly
in the whispering shadows

like clouded crystal puries

sweet pale-green eyes
that peer from beneath
the tumbled grey-black bodies
of those carefully-stacked stones

that have seen the beginnings
of magic
and the passing
of the talking woods

eyes that have known
the frosted glassy smear
of a winter's morning

and the honeyed buzz
of a summer's day


and to the eyes that see beyond the seen
a narrow well-worn path appears
trodden flat
by the countless passings
of tiny shoes

shoes that have gently trodden
past the dried leaves and stalks
of a summer long past

shoes that make no sound

wait long enough
and a tiny woodfairy
will appear
dressed in the greenest leaves
no matter the season

stitched together
with the finest roots;
silky silver roots
that hum
when they're stroked

and on their feet -
tiny milkweed pods
that make the softest sound -
a tiny breathing sound
as their feet
flatten the soft seedbeds inside


listen and look
with care

know that the little part of the world
that we inhabit
and call our own
is so very much
a shared place

and you will know
so much more
of this place
when you see
with eyes
that see
beyond the seen

Sunday, November 21, 2010

line of sight

am i like you?
do you have moments of such blinding clarity
that you wonder how you've made my way through life -
with your eyes closed?

sometimes my eyes open wide and then i see
what i wish i could see

all the time.

i think that for the most part
it's like what rabindranath tagore says -

"what you are you do not see,
what you see is your shadow."

"arise the other" tissue collage karen stefano

"dectesuque" tissue collage karen stefano

Saturday, November 20, 2010

she talked through the night

she talked through the night

through the stars

through the etched
inkblot trees

through the paper-dry leaves
in their rustling passage
along empty streets

she talked through her breath
with the fumbling blind darkness
softly packed
into the doorways
and alleys
the quick sulfur bloom
of the lights

she talked
until suddenly
in the tree's

and do you know -
she lowered her voice
and whispered
an old song
about the time when the sun
and the moon
and the earth
were all one
and there was nothing else
but a wish

and even
as i stared at her
stopped there
in the spindly branches

as the thought
formed in my mouth
and shaped my lips
to ask
about the wish

the fingers of a breeze
pulled the branches apart
and she slipped free
a sky
heavy with stars
and laden with hopefulness

Friday, November 19, 2010

some blessed hope

the birds are singing as i write this
their bodies are fluffed up
to hold out the frost
and perhaps more practically -
to hold in the efforts of their hearts

a reminder to me
to always let my own heart sing
no matter the world


thomas hardy wrote of a similar moment

at once a voice arose among
the bleak twigs overhead,
in a full-hearted evensong
of joy illimited.
an aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small,
with blast-beruffled plume,
had chosen thus to fling his soul
upon the growing gloom.
so little cause for carolings
of such ecstatic sound
was written on terrestrial things
afar or nigh around,
that i could think there trembled through
his happy good-night air
some blessed hope, whereof he knew,
and i was unaware.

thomas hardy (excerpted from "the darkling thrush")

Thursday, November 18, 2010

in all her giving

my great-grandmother struggled through adversity of a sort i have never known.
i would have liked to thank her for giving birth to my mother's father who in turn
helped bring my mother into this world.
i know the very barest of her life, for knowledge of her has been filtered through my mother's father who was understandably circumspect about the terms and conditions
by which his own mother experienced this world.


she cries out
for silence
but the memory
of his absent
beer-slurred voice
cuts through the
thick hardened depths
of their candlelit room
as somewhere
in the great cold house
a clock
eleven hollow gongs
one for each of her children
still hiding behind
or clinging to
her skirt
and no chimes
for the five
who have already

for them
only the silent spaces
full rich
and mute

for her the kitchen oven
the gas already hissing
a soft doorway
to another
more beautiful world

other responses to the visual prompt for this writing can be found at
magpie tales hosted by the exceptional "willow"

thankyou - wherever you are

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

morning kiss

triangles of light;
soft fractals
of a sun
i watch
climb across
a milky blue threadbare sky

a sky
as washed-out
and thin
as old sheets

on autumn's dried husks
on the winter blue
of a river pebble

a morning kiss

for reya and jo

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

silent stories

where the autumn morning sun
passes over the pale rocks
the frosted ribbons
of summer
lie still
in their crisply-formed

Monday, November 15, 2010


dry-leafed trees
pale grey rays of light
pushing through
the envelope of a sky
not quite sealed shut

soften the day
soften the heart

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the little snow

it arrives under cover of rain
a cold thin rain
that passes through you
rather than around you

the rain passes quickly
a thin man
like myself)

then the snow
arrives -
a surreptitious
undercover movement
that sees silver streaks and white flakes
fall earthwards
until suddenly
and very obviously
there is only snow

and the kids run to the window
as if it was their
first time viewing
and i find myself right beside them
out on the playing field
my tongue out
lunging for the quick candy goodness
of its impossible
and shocking cold


i wonder at the tiny islands
of ice
clinging to the little
leafy brown rafts
sailing from autumn's shore

Saturday, November 13, 2010


this small pale blue leaf
dotted with melted snowflakes
waiting for winter

and beautiful thoughtful words from my generous friend dan

blue leaf wears water
jewels reflecting the sky
gives upside down smile

Friday, November 12, 2010

light and gold

do you know this place?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

in remembering

it is an undeniable
and sorrowful
feature of our existence
that war
and the suffering
that blooms from its presence
continues to exist
despite the efforts
of men and women
who could and can
see beyond
the characterization
of entire nations and races of people
as "good" or "bad"
"right" or "wrong"


there is no place
for war
in my life
or in the lives of anyone
who values the blessings
of this place
we so briefly inhabit

a place
to which
we should endeavour
to bring grace
and goodness
and a lasting love
that transcends
the vagaries
of our bodies and minds
likes and dislikes

a love
that embraces
and celebrates
through its very existence
the love
that connects all and everything


on this day
when we and i
honour the memories
and sacrifices
of all people
who died
for their beliefs
or for the beliefs
of someone they believed in
i also
honour the memories
of those
who worked
and are working
to undo the unnecessary sorrow
and suffering
to the human condition
as expressed through war


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

mid autumn

james thomas watts a forest glade in bettws-y-coed, north wales

falling and tumbling
like sackcloth angels
their faces
no longer turned to the sky

earthbound they glide
on dry-veined wings
eyes wide
mouth’s open
autumn’s plainsong
from branch
to forest floor

i watch their return
to the inside
of the coil
the helix
that stands outside of time
the dance
without a drummer
the coil rewound
from life to rebirth

i see their pursed ochre lips
the frosted forehead
of autumn’s becoming
as i lose my self
in the eyes
of an ice-gilded pond

edward wilkins waite the end of autumn

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

life's sky

i'm feeling
and appreciating
the gentlest
of dusk

as i pass across
the face
of my life's sky

Monday, November 8, 2010

ringing the changes

leaving in the morning
the little lights
on my bicycle
"please see me" messages
through the dark dawn fog

the day
a blur of expectations
not so many hopes
fewer wishes
and even fewer dreams

i find myself
that it's not so much about
who or what i am
as it is about
what i can do

so coming home
to this softly earnest
fully present
and wholly joyful

the crisp edges
of my own presence

such that when i look skyward
and see the great feathered clouds

and fading fast
as the autumn skies
are wont

i'm reminded
by my own
to be grateful
and to accept
without condition
or concern
even the darkest tones
of the bells
that ring the changes
of my being

Sunday, November 7, 2010

the wind

the wind
is so like a secret
heard and not seen

sometimes i feel it
like little fingers

like a great soft hand

sometimes it's warm
as grandma's baking
sometimes cold
as the flagstones
on her kitchen floor

in the autumn
it becomes a playground
for the leaves
who dance on the wind's back
and then gather
around my house

like little islands

little islands
of such colourful abundance

of such beautiful decay

i found all these leaves by my front door, swirling and eddying up little invisible vortices.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

sail with me

was never a feature
of the lexicon of my presence

-long internalized-

only now
finds a place
a voice
in the telling of
my knowing of this place

a voice akin
to the raised call
of someone passing
on a river
in a small sailboat

in their voice
the reassurance
of companionship
a shared joy
an understanding
that in the night
as you drift downriver
while you sleep alone
will meet
if nowhere else
at least
the dreamworld

"sunset glow at tone river"

Friday, November 5, 2010

the kind of rain

the almost
very last of the leaves
blowing down the street
are stuck in the glimmer
of a night rain
a november rain
a cold

the kind of rain
that arrives
on long thin strands of wind
and leaves
in the short white puffs
of slow pursed lip exhalations
that look like smoke

the kind of rain
that arrives on silver strings
and leaves
in gold flakes
that rise from the pavement

somewhere high above
the clouds are being stroked
by the moon's soft fingers

Thursday, November 4, 2010


there are
hundreds and thousands
of coloured drifters
passing through
on their way back to earth

they stop outside
my front door
in raspy little clusters


the rain pins them
to the ground
and they shine!