Tuesday, May 31, 2011

caressing the lesser

you asked me to sew your heart
onto the soles of my feet
so i would tread more quietly
and leave a softer impression

i saw the record of my passage
as so many fallen petals
some soft blushed and full
some fading and muddied

which to love
which to look away from?

the fresh
the fallen
the sorry
the joyous
the unintentional
the weighted

not wishing to suffer the consequence
of choosing one before the other
i accepted
the ray splayed
and perfumed
the blanched
the fading
all dancing as one
in my eyes

no matter the beauty

not wishing for more

in their own wholeness

Monday, May 30, 2011


the simple equations
that i've been offered
while passing through my life
have been too formulaic for my liking

but they taste so sweet
they feel so soft
and i have felt at times
that i could easily settle back into them

but for now,
being slowly drawn in thin-veined lines
i'll stop for a while
and lie draped across
a fallen branch

and when i have danced
my subtleties to the wind of this place

i'll fall back to the earth
and begin the slow return
my slow leaving
of this place

let me see the beckoning

feel the sighs of arrival

even as i learn the next complexity
in all its fullness

Sunday, May 29, 2011

gil scott-heron

gil scott-heron died yesterday.

his music was like a match on the gasoline of a young man's emerging sense of indigination at the way the world was arranged. sitting in my suburban semi-detached house hiding behind walls covered with posters of che and miles davis, reading the whole earth catalogue, writing poems and painting and all the while listening with what could only described as hunger to whatever music i could pull my way,
gil scott-heron told some of the truth of what was happening in the bigger world.
his music filled in the spaces between my little red book and soul on ice.
his words were poetry with a purpose.

he released a new album last year after ten years of silence.
this is the title song.

you can listen to the rest of this album streamed right here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

first light

first light
then the search for constants

what map will hold the paths
of my travels

what words will tell the story
of the places i pass through

what names will name
the people i love

what spaces will open their mouths and eyes
as they draw me into their apparent emptiness
surrounding me
with their simple wealth
as a flower draws the bee closer
to its petalled realm
enveloping it in a pollen cloud

there are conditions to all things

and even the unconditional
wears clothes

what will cover the body of me
as i leave the flower of this day

Friday, May 27, 2011

a day at the beach

georges seurat evening, honfleur

they've pulled away
leaving dusk in their wake

now sitting in candled living rooms
far from the chilled stone grind

their eyes
soften with memories
behind blinded windows

Thursday, May 26, 2011

monsoon point

i use music to reflect, adjust, or sometimes even define the space i am in.
because the work i do demands and even functions best when accompanied by
a high level of creative tension which teeters into stress,
i balance my being in the space of my home
with a form of music loosely described as ambient.

filled with texture and colour, emotive and sometimes even spiritual,
it revibrates the high pitched buzz that i accumulate through the course of a day.

the effect is to allow the subtleties of sensitivity to re-emerge.

a few years ago i came across a beautiful disc of music by a musician named al gromer khan.
go here to see his paintings, read his writings, and learn about his music.

the disc featured the vocals of amelia cuni.
listening to her sing is like watching the ink flow from a fountain pen onto a vellum page,
each note tracing the curves and sudden arcs of each letter;
at first with your eyes
and then with your entire presence.

go here to learn more about amelia.

together they have created a disc of music in the dhrupad tradition.

to learn more about dhrupad, go here.

this is a long piece of music in a time when music is typically offered in three to five minute frameworks, so may i respectfully suggest that if you listen to the first three to five minutes,
you'll get a sense of the whole.
alternately, put it on in the background and continue.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


abundance pours down like rain
light and heavenly fire
in signs that are swift and sure
give way give way
to the pure
of presence
open your eyes
to the fullness
of the earth's heart
clear space
for the seeds
the sacred vessels
through which all life must pass
and become

and behold
their precision
and the careful delineation
of the one note they hold -
the song of the love
that binds all things

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

bringing down the light

nicholas tournier banquet scene with a lute player

the small opening in the ceiling
was traversed once a year by the passage of venus
the evening star

without fail
it bestowed
its cool soft-silvered kiss
on those who gathered below
the narrow aperture

to celebrate this event
each man had brought a gift

the one
another his knowledge of cookery
another his wealth of stories
in his home country

as the night sky filled the opening in the ceiling
so did the little room fill with unexpected guests

wine filled their heads and their hearts
each hoped
that with the kiss of the star
so too
would she
proffer a kiss to him

nicholas tournier réunion de buveurs

visual prompt provided by tess at magpie tales

Monday, May 23, 2011

the settling

in the tumble down evening
pieces fall into place

a slight rustling and shifting of
roots and leaves

the shadows soften
to the subtle drone of dust motes
settling into a velvet stupor

i'll sleep
and hold hope for
the gold-feathered stroke
of the morning sun

Sunday, May 22, 2011

golden hair

in the colourful histories of musicians, there is as much information and discussion about those who have fallen by the wayside as there is about those who have reason to stardom. somehow falling makes them more human or in some way their vulnerability makes them less worthy of veneration. some dismiss those
who don’t achieve and maintain fame as weak or selfish or thoughtless.

its's intriguing to me that little consideration is given to the terrible torments so many of them experienced after having been offered the key to the door of success, or talents beyond those of the ordinary only to find that the extraordinary cost of acquiring that key is beyond the abilities of most human beings to bear.

one such musician was syd barrett. before i started researching this entry, syd was a name i knew only through association with the beginnings of a band who made three albums that i admire. the band - pink floyd. the albums - meddle, the dark side of the moon, and wish you were here.

here’s syd barrett . . .

and here’s pink floyd in 1968 with syd (second from left) . . .

syd released two solo albums, one of which is entitled "the madcap laughs"

which contains a beautiful version of a james joyce poem entitled “lean out of the window”
which syd reworked as “golden hair”.

here’s james joyce’s original poem . . .

lean out of the window

lean out of the window,
i hear you singing
a merry air.

my book was closed,
i read no more,
watching the fire dance
on the floor.

i have left my book,
i have left my room,
for i heard you singing
through the gloom.

singing and singing
a merry air,
lean out of the window,

and here is syd barretts reworking of “lean out of the window” - “golden hair”.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

leaf fish

the sky

is a suspended blue ocean.

the stars are the fish

that swim.

(excerpted from "a suspended blue ocean")

Friday, May 20, 2011

faze wave

the search
is a metaphor
that begins with the need
to find
the otherness
of yourself
in someone else

past opposing
then entwining
fingers of touch
extending hands
across the breaking water of birth
then singing
through the litanies
of compression
and swimming as one
with the storm-surge
of repression
in the singularity
that the comfort of familiarity brings
each moment dances
across the screen
of the one big
unfolding moment
and in the kindness of the revelation
that is part and parcel
of letting go
you see past the steamy remnants
of a morning shower
and notice
your face in the mirror
is of interest to you
but objectively so
a place of curious investigation
not defined by its alignment
with the constituents of surface beauty
but entirely with those features
that suggest
you are other than yourself

and the search becomes more unreasonable
and demanding
and then entirely real

crank 'er up ladies and gentlemen - this is music to dance with!

the cave singers faze wave

Thursday, May 19, 2011

looking for your face

by the whispering of colourful petals

drawn lately
to the soft rustling of old leaves

i have spent much of my life
looking for your face
in the forest

in her comment, ruth refers to a poem by rumi entitled "looking for your face".
it is beautiful and insightful.
if you go here and scrool a fair way down you'll find it tucked away with other jewels that fell from rumi's pen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

finger bowl

my fingers slip
like soft knives
through its buttered glass surface

lifting them to my tongue
the sharp-edged tang of rock
cuts through
the dull earthiness
of last autumn's leaves

the trees
look on
in hushed expectancy

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

quiet twilight

quiet twilight, honfluer terrick williams

i sit on a bench on the opposite shore
and wait:
shadows dance along the street
and swing into the cafes
soft flickering yellow light
and songs burst outwards
released on a wave of warm air
heavy with wine and candle smoke
love offered and coyly rejected
a kiss
long and soft
settles on the thwarts of the lone boat
rocking softly on the ebbing tide

Monday, May 16, 2011

falling with the rain

i'm looking through windows running with rain

and thinking thoughts
up above the world so high
where silver rain feathers are gathering
before drifting earthwards

into the slender green arms and fingers
of trees and plants reaching upwards in welcome

somewhere near the earth
the white cherry blossom clouds
soften and melt
like candy floss
in the mouth of my eyes

Sunday, May 15, 2011

forms emerging

isaak levitan the moon at twilight

the pale echoes
of the passing day
rain upwards
as shadows rise to light
the dance and the dancers
turn the music inwards
into a single slender thread
the singular
of a man
under moonlight

Saturday, May 14, 2011


looking across the age of aquarius i am - for all of my own age and experience - a child of the idea of possibilities too great for anyone to hold in their hands or put up on the shelf of their understanding, i wonder, i wonder so much, and i especially wonder if that is why i feel compelled to stand and hold the railing for support and share what little i can retain and articulate.

how could this simple life have evolved into an
experiential architecture of such complexity?

Friday, May 13, 2011

moss garden

thirty seven years ago i stayed in west berlin for a little while. the city buzzed with energy. artists and musicians were being drawn once more to it as the epicentre of every sort of extravagance and one only had to pass through checkpoint charlie to enter its exact opposite in east berlin.

a couple of years later, david bowie and brian eno were residents of the same berlin.

at that time they crafted the album "heroes" on which a beautiful track entitled "moss garden" can be found.

an instrumental, “moss garden” features bowie plucking a japanese stringed instrument named a koto.

david plucks the koto over a painterly wash of sound crafted by eno that contains
elements of wind, water, and even birds.

the effect is soothing and evocative and conjures up images in my own mind of marshland in the autumn.

it has been used to interesting effect in this film shot on berlin's s-bahn. the film takes a painterly approach through its conscious blurring of the scenery that the camera is passing.
the resultant views in combination with the music are in my view very lovely.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

the qualities of light and space

martin johnson heade newburyport meadows

i give you the whole
the inestimable scale
of yourself
and ask you to compare it
with the largest space
in your experience

the expanse of a water meadow
the vast fullness of a hay field

the improbable and unlikely
details of even one moment
of your living
would flood and overwhelm these spaces
in less time than
you will take to read these words

so dance on the experiencing
of this moment
this pregnant expansion
of your seeming insignificance
into the greatest gift the universe has to bestow
on itself

which is
always has been
and forever will be
the gift of you

martin johnson heade hayfields a clear day

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


piet mondrian river view with a boat

listening to my wistful writings
(i read these posts out loud to see how they might feel
to you -
yes i try and become "you"
to know if the verity that i feel
in the moment of these word's becoming
has any substance)

what i hear are the
soft mumblings
of a man painting the words of himself
against the painterly field
of the resonant whisperings of generations
of his family before him

still searching for the seed of intuitions
that might blossom
into flowers of knowledge and understanding

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the arc of return

georgia o'keeffe red and orange streak

the birds and the wind and the rain
and the sun and the pushing
of billions
of green shooted births
through the softening soil
are the song of the arc
of return


i heard the spring wind whisper
above the brushwood fire,
"the world is made forever
of transport and desire.
"i am the breath of being,
the primal urge of things;
i am the whirl of star dust,
i am the lift of wings.
"i am the splendid impulse
that comes before the thought,
the joy and exaltation
wherein the life is caught.

excerpted from "earth voices" by bliss carman

Monday, May 9, 2011

the orange thief

john dawson watson the orange thief

i saw a small girl make her way from under the twisted arms of an orange tree.
at first, she didn’t notice me, as her eyes were entirely focussed upon the orange
which she cupped in her hands.

when she lifted her head to look around, her face opened like a pale moon.

looking into her eyes which spread around me like spilled ink,
i bent and swayed like a bed of reeds with each motion of the current of her.

the air briefly stilled. no bird sang. no insect hummed. no living creature moved.
everyone and everything slept, and yet even in sleep the air began to flutter with expectation.

i felt myself drifting like a tiny breeze, hovering towards her along the flowing ink of her gaze.
when in a voice filled with the softness of twilight, she laughed and turned away.
i felt compelled to follow.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

mother's day

this is my little bruvver david and i. a very long time ago. i can see a little bit of a skirt and a long apron behind us. i believe that's my mum's mum. a lovely lady with a chuckling laugh, she was a baker's daughter. soft and kind in my remembering. she gave me miniature chocolate bars, and glass bowls filled with vanilla ice cream and mandarin orange slices

"a mother's love liberates".
maya angelou

on this - mother's day in north america -
i honour my mother
no more than i usually do mind you

because i have a deep respect for my mother
who was difficult
when i needed a "difficult" mother
but didn't know it

easy going and supportive
when i needed
an easy going
and supportive mother
but had no clue why

was and is loving -
without condition
whether i knew it
or not
(and of course i now know!)

and somehow she knew i'd figure so much of this out
and be alright.

it's very cool
to arrive at a place
of genuine appreciation
and admiration.

happy mother's day mum!

with love from steven

Saturday, May 7, 2011


william henry margetson the amulet

for that beauty of the heart is the lasting beauty: its lips give to drink of the water of life.
truly it is both the water and the giver of drink and the drunken: all three become one
when your talisman is shattered.
that oneness you cannot know by reasoning.

excerpted from mathnawi, book II: 716-718

Friday, May 6, 2011

wave or particle

the quiet place:
entirely present in the instant
fluid in the long now

Thursday, May 5, 2011

i feel my time

caspar david friedrich mountain landscape with rainbow (detail)

soft grey fingers
cross the far hills
and glide across the gardens

i know
that soon they will hold
my own tired hands


as they
flow under the darkened house
a song tumbles from my mouth


it inches like a vine
single notes
to the inside of the window


i write by
the glow of the night-rainbow's arc
whose feeble light
settles like dust
on the leafy curtain
of my creation

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


christopher pratt half moon, bright stars

the approach of silence
is sometimes a noisy affair
heralded by the march past of
brass bands
and dancing girls
motor cars
filled with people
whose waving hands
cup vainly at the air
hoping to draw some of your attention
to their passing
while you
sit on the smooth lip
of a cold concrete curb -
craving nothing more than a moment
in which to savour the taste
of the silky sweet
hard-boiled candy
that the clown dropped in your lap

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


edward john poynter erato: muse of poetry

her eyes somewhat downcast and thoughtful,
she sits on the other side of the table
waiting for the door
to creak open and admit the guest

who will they be?
what will they say?
how long will they stay?

something in the soft compression of her mouth
casts doubt on the likelihood
that the answers to the questions
i fling into the void
won't simply resolve as little better than
the transient sparks
of a falling star
arcing across the pale-silvered brow of dawn

more on erato

Monday, May 2, 2011

this empty rowboat

the rowboat claude monet

the knot had worked its way loose
or perhaps i had pushed it away from the dock
no matter . . .
somehow it had set adrift

this empty rowboat
now turning slowly in the current

i followed its progress from the riverbank
using a well-worn path
in whose dusty script
i could read the stories
of the passage of others

long aisles of trees
ripe with the feathered green
of early summer
peered down
to read the words of my journey
each letter written in dew
on pale clustering flowers

at a widening in the river
i left the path for the purple slopes of a hill
where, safe from the world's gaze
i watched as countless rowboats
- all mirrors of my own -
bumped hollowly against each other
lost in their reflections

Sunday, May 1, 2011

down the levels

streamingwater john george naish

tumbling through the levels;
the falling
a dissonant counterpoint to my anticipation

thinking all my life
that i would rise to my place
and not fall

until i came to realize
that tumbling
isn't falling
but letting go