Saturday, April 30, 2011

divinity itself

lawren harris north shore

a solemn land of long-fulfilled desires
beyond the plain, beneath the evening star
fire-white from curtains of intensest blue

the five pearl doors open softly

like flashing fish the stars go by
the white, soft lightnings feel their way
to the boundless dark and back again

divinity itself seems slumbering there

all words excerpted from poetry written by mary webb

Friday, April 29, 2011

heaven over water

hexagram 5
hsu - waiting

heaven over water

now is the time to wait and have faith in the natural order of things.
take stock of yourself and your situation,
and work on any insecurities that cause internal imbalance



like a silk wind-ribbon
it wraps around
my licked finger
when i point it at the sky

Thursday, April 28, 2011

his heart

they run blindly along rain-softened red brick alleyways,
the breeze of their passing like so many silk threads through an ever-expanding eyelet.

rounding a corner, she stops.

her arms stretching like soft arrows from the bow of her shoulders,
she extends one leg behind her.

holding the moment, holding the pose.

she turns her head to watch
as he rounds the corner still running.

his heart races ahead of him - a kaleidoscopic candy-iced orb.

drawing her many-ringed and hennaed hand down her face,
she lets it settle on her hip.

and like a pollen-covered bee,
she gently extracts herself from the pose
and kisses him.

their mouths bloom with a sudden flowering of vanilla, cumin, and cherries.

the thin blue-grey edge of a rope of candle smoke circles their heads.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

number twenty three

twenty three

chipped and peeling clapboard
matches my memory of this place
held together by wishes
and here i am again
clinging to a wish

opening the door,
her hair falls across her face.
i remember it fell like that. like old curtains reluctantly drawn back
to let in whatever thin light was available.

she hooks two fingers into the silvered threads and pulls them back behind her ear.

at first glance, i see her eyes are older now.
more thoughtful and considering.
perhaps even wary.

she doesn't remember who i am.

the moment fills and expands and then just as suddenly collapses with recognition.
her eyes glisten for an instant, but i can see that they're just as quickly guttering
like candles in the breeze of our sudden, cluttered communion.

"you . . . here?" she asks with some kind of mid-ground voicing, half here, half elsewhere.

ever the opportunist i lunge at the opening her words provide.

"may i come in?"

her body pulls back a half-step, as she attaches this moment to the history of us, this doorway, and this house.

in her reluctant head drop, in the falling of the curtains of hair back across the window of her face,
we slide into the past.

i take my own half-step backwards suddenly seeking the present, until she says with reluctant encouragement,
"no, come on. come on in. you look tired.
are you hungry?"


thankyou very much to my friend for the visual prompt.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

both sides of the window

a leafy trellis with roses carl spitzweg

naked apples, wooly-coated peaches
swelled on the garden's wall. unbounded
odour of windless, spice-bearing trees
surrounded my lying in sacred turf,
made dense the guarded air - the forest of trees
buoyed up therein like weeds in ocean
lived without motion. i was the pearl,
mother-of-pearl my bower. milk-white the cirrhus
streaked the blue egg-shell of the distant sky,
early and distant, over the spicy forest;
wise was the fangless serpent, drowsy.
all this, indeed, I do not remember.
i remember the remembering, when first waking
i heard the golden gates behind me
fall to, shut fast. on the flinty road,
black-frosty, blown on with an eastern wind,
i found my feet. forth on journey,
gathering thin garment over aching bones,
i went. i wander still. but the world is round.

c.s. lewis, poems

Monday, April 25, 2011


anders zorn sommarnoje (summer our pleasure)

the portrait

the oars feel soft as bone in his paint-spattered hands.

through the thin wooden hull he can hear the sweet counterpoint of lapping waves.

the words of encouragement he speaks to her,
wash into the wind
as she holds her skirts closer.

fog settles in at the entrance to the bay -

his island studio is ten minutes away.

"stay tonight
we’ll watch the full moon rising
hold on tight
the sky is breaking
i don’t ever want to be alone
with all my darkest dreaming
hold me close
the sky is breaking"

italicized words by david sylvian (darkest dreaming)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

easter sunday

i've always wondered


to be in a state of wonder
as a verb: to desire or be curious to know something
as a noun: the emotion aroused by something awe-inspiring, astounding, or marvelous

they go hand-in-hand a lot of the time in the moebius strip of my own experience.

if i'm curious about something, it leads to awe and marvel.
if i am in awe and marvel at something, i am curious to know more.

this morning, i am wondering about this world - this waystation on a much longer journey than the all too brief experience of this plane of existence might suggest . . .

this place is comprised of so much surface beauty that it is simply too overwhelming
to contemplate the incredible detail of even one square metre of it.
that tells me that there is something contained in the unimaginable plethora of its extravagance . . .
a signpost to something richer and more exquisite.
perhaps even, more essential.


i am wondering about how my life would be easier and simpler if i hadn't also come to recognize this place as an opportunity for a very specialized sort of work ... but i do recognize it as that and i also recognize
that so long as i am here in this body,
i am meant to do that work . . .

in fact, it's a gift.

this skinny, slowly-getting-visibly older body
and the opportunity i have been given to use it is a gift.
it is a signpost to an opportunity to do work.

in a world that perceives work as onerous and a means to an end
- an end that is very much other than the work itself -
how did i end up seeing work as a gift, and why?

well, work is not just what i do for a living.
although i believe that the work i do by which i earn the comforts and necessities of my life is worthy work
(and 'worthy' in my own lexicon means that i have the opportunity to bring greater goodness into the world).

here's a question or three for you: where does that greater goodness come from?
how does it arrive?
how do we make ourselves available to it and moderate its passage to whomever and wherever it is needed?

in the understanding that has emerged and refined itself through the course of my almost
fifty four years of hanging on for dear life to this turning world,
work is being.

the simple act of being.

and i have come to believe that if a big part of being is work,
then that means that every little thing i do, think, wish, hope for, is one little fractal of the whole of my work which also means
(for those who know that karma is much more than a synonym for consequence),
that i must always and everywhere bring whatever goodness i can, into the actions that are my work.

that's hard work.
truly it is!

my work is about the quality of my being and my doing.
and so beneath the surface of my human existence there is the opportunity to bring goodness into this world.

that's what i know.

for now.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

the habitation of the blessed

"the spheres milky and rose, crystal and gold, clanged one against the other in the darkness,
for they were as blind as they were bright.

the sphere of heaven ground slowly through the windy pitch, and crushed against
the benevolent silver of the sphere of the moon.

all along its rose-coloured meridians, the orb of heaven cracked, and splintered, and shivered.

lines of gold like fire appeared in its great face; glass formed and bubbled in long rivers, and in the beginning of everything it cried out as the sphere of the moon passed into the sphere of heaven.
where the moon had entered, so the sun followed, and mercury lined with quicksilver, jupiter hot and moist, and all of the planetary spheres and elemental spheres, one after the other like one of ikram's poor dolls.

the crystalline heaven swelled with all it contained, and lost all its rosy colour, becoming instead the colour of black glass. thus when we look upward in the evening, we see the very furthest rim of heaven that can be seen from where we stand, on the last and smallest and best of the spheres,
the habitation of the blessed, our own dear earth."

excerpted from "the habitation of the blessed; a dirge for prester john volume one"

Friday, April 22, 2011

all knowing

an inkblot fanfare
a grey blotter of a sky

fingers and arms
every which way
her own
mirror image

Thursday, April 21, 2011

the big journey

louis aston knight view of a chateau

i have often dreamed of a life
in which i
am borne from place to place
inside the soft body of a river


passing through the waving velvet fingers
of silt-borne grasses
the current-whorled
pale-green wool of the river
knits itself around me until
emerging into the silken transparency
of a slow-falling lilac dusk
i draw in my first sweet breath
and watch
a nightingale's song spread gold and silver threads
across the violet expanse


this must be the floweriest place
that earth allows; the queenly face
of the proud mansion borrows grace for grace

italicized words excerpted from edmund blunden's "vlamertinghe passing the chateau"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

light wings

henri rousseau a carnival evening

i walk the length and breadth
of the landscape of myself
carrying a lantern
fueled by the wishes and memories
of long dead stars

i tell the stories of their wishes
with love
because each star
so needs to be remembered
that when i open my eyes
to this world
i can feel their wistful flowerings
passing through the soft mouth of my being

i speak the words
of their stories
with care
full with the knowledge
that each breath that passes my lips
and forms into sound
has not only passed through every living thing
before me
but was birthed in the body of a star

i write the words
of their stories
that each word that passes through my fingers
has been written once before
in the turbulent calligraphy
of solar winds blowing
across the far reaches
of this universe

and somehow
that wishes bloom best
in the soil of timelessness
their roots have reached deeply
into my own desires

strength and stillness

each an expression
of the knowing of my purpose

to tell the story
in fullness
of the colour and scent
of each star
as it blooms
once again
in the landscape of myself

the music i'd like to share alongside or despite these words

the piece is entitled "wave"

so much of the work i took on as a thirty three year old man began with my learning about similar work these men had taken on through their direct and indirect connection to j.g. bennett ... and then so much else.

this poem previously appeared in an almost similar form on my friend terresa's blog

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

come and gone like a dream

it's really no surprise
that today
i biked
through the feathered tickle
of gently falling snow

i felt each flake kissing my skin
much like the beginning
of a long goodbye

snow over town (unidentified artist)

blending with the wind,
snow falls;
blending with the snow,
the wind blows.
by the hearth
i stretch out my legs,
idling my time away
confined in this hut.
counting the days,
i find that february, too,
has come and gone
like a dream.


Monday, April 18, 2011

another crystal world

just a few days back i rode to school through an ice fog. hovering in the air as thick as porridge, the fog shut down visibility to about twenty metres until it slowly lifted away, leaving behind a wonderworld of crystalline beauty. the little structures were about half an inch to three quarters of an inch long (for my canadian readers - 1 to 1.5 cm.) and grew on anything that stayed still long enough.

the trees were stunning in their fragile robes.

down closer to the ground, the fenceline on the edge of the schoolyard was truly pretty and i stopped as many of the kids as i could to show them the free magic that had appeared overnight.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

and then i left

on the day of my leaving cuba, the skies were wistful and threadbare

closer to the earth the very tiny joy that is a flower
held me close

and then i left

Saturday, April 16, 2011

palm (ii)

palm leaves have so much presence
their colours and textures change according to which portion is used or exposed

Friday, April 15, 2011

palm (i)

when i was very little i remember being given a palm frond as the prime symbolic element connected to palm sunday. to the little kid who lived at the end of an alleyway, it seemed so exotic - and really when i think about it, wow! how did they get them to this little group of ragamuffins in suburban manchester?

looking into the cuban sky was so thrilling because it was often framed or filled with palm trees.
for some of my readers this is as commonplace as it is for me to see maple trees.
but i couldn't get past the thrill each time!

cuba's national tree - the royal palm

the fronds of the palms segmented the sky into little ribbons by day

and by night

at the part of the trunk where the fronds emerge there were these cool spidery features

and all sorts of cool textures in their bodies

Thursday, April 14, 2011

ocean's edge (ii)

after the earthquake that devastated haiti, the northern shoreline of cuba and especially the chain of islands i was staying on was altered such that the wave action was somewhat intensified. the thinking is that the many years of accumulation of sand along the coast shifted and was carried back out to sea. the big cycles of nature (of which this is surely one) would be incredible to see if we were able to speed up the tape of time and view the ebb and flow of the various processes that we are privileged to witness for such a relatively short span of time.

having said that, the beaches we walked on were comprised of very fine white sand - not talcum powder fine but finer than salt. in some places about two kilometres down the beach, the wave action was more intense than others, resulting in outcroppings of wave-worn rock, which if you remember my trip to prince edward island last summer, is a source of fascination for me.

i spent some time sitting here with the waves crashing around me.
a small blissful, beautiful space

i explored the rocks each time the waves pulled away - my time was understandably brief

the very little cycles of nature (of which this is surely one) would be incredible to see if we were able to speed up the tape of time and view the ebb and flow of the various processes that we are privileged to witness for such a relatively short span of time.
the scouring of little grains of sand and the insistant, purposeful swirling of water has created these little pockets and portals compelling me to move closer to see what treasures are stored inside or beyond.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

her music

her music

her music:
softly bowed
hovering fragments -
troubling the still surface of
the wine of silence

this piece uses a form suggested by anne welch who is moderating "one stop poetry" this week.
it is called a "shadorma".

i love the name instinctively.

the architecture of the piece is intriguing: the shadorma is made up of a stanza of six lines with no set rhyme scheme. it is organized around a syllabic formula of 3/5/3/3/7/5.
it can have many stanzas, as long as each follows the meter.
this is my first shadorma.

visual prompt generously provided by tess at magpie tales.
for more variations on the shadorma please visit "one stop poetry" .