Blue gold

Painting by J M W Turner

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The air is blue as pale gold and blue tits’ wings and cat’s ears

reflected in ditch water sky, cloud pink as the breath of the stream,

 

rushing into twilight beneath the alders where coal smuts of

blackbirds squabble with jay and magpie.

 

Light glitters above and through this meadow-green,

rain-spangled and joyous, and such blue falls

 

in sunbeams, pools in ponds and puddles, and the robin

sings so sweetly, sadness is suddenly hard to find.

For light in obscurity

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This day breaks to dull cloud, the promise of rain (perhaps) and the promise (kept) of shooting. Even on this day when we honour those who died so that we (not they) could live this green and pleasant present, when church bells toll in remembrance, even now, dans nos campagnes men are killing for pleasure, while in the city, the streets echo with yesterday’s marching feet, to defend the right to live in the deep, dark past, wrapped in veils of otherness.

On this day of remembrance of the horror of mass murder, senseless killing, the tragedy of wasted lives, I dream that we all walk together, bare-headed, face to the one sun, not to demand the right to live in the dark, but the right to have a future and to use the mighty, explosive potential that lies in each of us, to think, create, shape our own ideas and give them wings.

Flying in her own skies

she soars high but not free

the gentle dove of peace

a target for the hunter

hiding by the hedge.

El conjuro

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In the dark alone with all that blood on one’s hands

and the pricking of conscience like a wild woman’s thumbs,

the night vibrates with feathered vengeance.

 

There is little more fearsome than the shrunken hag

that shrivels manhood with a cackle and forces him

to eat the dead fruits of his drunken sowings;

 

conscience is stifled in the black drapes of righteousness,

for man has his reasons that woman cannot know,

being an unfinished creation and lacking reason,

 

and so in the dark, alone with the tingling of the blows

showered on wife and children, and the thumbs that prick

sharp as owls’ talons, he waits for the shrunken hag.

 

Hold the light high, for the shadows are full of sins that

shriek like owls with women’s faces. Hold the light, for

night presses hard, and home is full of women with owl faces.

If I could

Photo©Ronnie Robertson

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If only I could speak in the tongue of the birds,

in leaf-whisper and stream murmur,

if I could split the air with curved beak and bent wings,

pad silent in the dark of under-earth galleries,

curl warm in the communal nest with grateful young,

if I could be the wind, the wave, the warble of life,

I would speak to you in rose,

kiss you in hummingbird,

sing to you in moonbeams,

and I would hear you reply

in the majestic, melodious mantra

of the homing geese.

Oceans of salt and tomorrows

After (or between) torrents of rain, the sun is shining. Chaffinches are cheeping outside the window and a robin is singing. This is a collaborative poem with the Oracle who always knows best.

 

There is beauty in the pinking of the sky

and in the blue diamonds of seawater,

rolling so gently towards the sun.

I lick the salt from raw lips,

slick the sticky spray from my hair

and watch the faces in the changing clouds.

 

There is beauty in the red of rose,

the smell of rain held in curved petals

and in the reflected pearl drop of my moon,

sailing in skies purpled and cleansed of mist,

where not even the black of death

can crush this rising storm of spring with you.

 

I remember brilliance in the vastness of night skies,

in the microscopic treasures in the grass

and the otter-smooth roundness

of polished stones at the water’s edge.

I remember laughter in the wilderness because there was you,

and eternity was a maybe, a perhaps.

 

That girl is a ghost now

but she still smiles at me

across an ocean of tomorrows.

Tread softly

 

Tread softly when you come by here,

Not startle with your noise the timid deer,

The hare that hides beneath the hedge,

But watch how kestrel perched upon the edge

Of his high perch now wheels away,

Transforms to grace and poise his brief affray.

 

Tread softly when you walk away,

Though blackbird’s song you never heard

Nor music from the throat of any bird;

The world sounds much the same as any day,

To one who never looks with open eyes

Upon these ever-changing, bird-filled skies.