Movement

Movement

Incoming tide, a sparkling sea,
waves dancing beneath the sun,
white-maned ponies prancing.

Summer light changing as a cloud
moves its shadow over meadows
where cows graze, their advance slow,
gentle their movements, browsing.

Autumn wind, the dry leaves
casting a red-gold rainfall
over the lawn, shuffling along,
in time to the whispered wind song.

Silent, the deer, soundless as they move
through the trees at garden’s foot,
walking the tight-rope edge
dainty, between kempt, and wild.

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Movement

Silence

Silence

Words emerge from the silence
of wood and stone. They break
that silence when they are born.

Silence, once broken, cannot
be repaired. A word once spoken
cannot be recalled.

The greatest gift is to know
how to be alone amidst the crowd,
how to sink into silence.

A world of words smothered
at birth and that world, unborn,
dismissed, forgotten, still-born.

A lost world of words whirled
on the silent wind that fans
the unborn fire within you.

The spider web of the mind
blown clear by the wind
that blows unspoken words.

The sultry silence of wood and stone,
the hush of the tadpole swimming
into its own metamorphosis.

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Silence

Wilderness

Wilderness

This wilderness wasn’t a wilderness
until they arrived and called it ‘wild’.

They constructed roads, ran boats
up and down our rivers,
built bridges, fenced fields,
built stone buildings, desecrated
the curves of the land
with square shapes and right angles,
razor sharp lines that ‘tamed it,’
they said, but we said ‘destroyed it’.

Where now the spring salmon runs?
The dam that put the river in chains
drove all those fish away.

Upstream, down stream,
towards the river and away from it,
the four cardinal points
brought ruin to our sense of direction.

Where now the land’s lost soul,
the ancient paths our people walked?

In place of the circles we built from stone,
the stones that pointed the time of sky,
that tracked the seasons,
and planting time and harvest time,
they gave us clockwork clocks.

Yes, they tamed this wilderness,
but they broke it down and we watched,
helpless, as they stole its soul.

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Wilderness

Circles

Circles

Secret and sacred,
this shadow world that walks
naked in the inner chambers
of the mysterious mind.

Here, in the valley,
surrounded by whaleback hills,
the horizon limited by fir and fin,
I live without limits
beneath a limitless sky.

Dream boats sail above me
on a sumptuous azure sea
and I am a mammal,
feet rooted in the soil, dwelling
at the bottom of a sea of air.

Mysterious, the circles
weave their cycles –
sunrise to sunset,
moonrise to moonset –
and in my dreams
a photo of the rising earth
seen from a cyclical satellite
we call the moon.

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Circles

Boats

Boats

At night the boats arrive to carry you
away to the lands in which you dream.

Each boat carries a different cargo. Each
boat means a different size and shape.

To find out what they carry, you must climb
on board, raise the hatch cover, and descend
to where the riches rest in the dark below.

Ancient maps, formed by Freud, then redone
in the symbolic imagery of Jung, point out
the perils the traveler may meet as he sails away.

“Here be monsters, here be dragons, here be
anything you wish to configure in your dreams.

And here be the spice lands, emerald isles
embedded with their scents in a turquoise sea.

But steer clear of Scylla and Charybdis,
the pool that whirls, the rocks that close and
crash to crush you with their grinding teeth.”

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Boats

A Good Friend

A Good Friend

Sitting at the kitchen table, sitting with my friend, Geoff Slater. He drove up from Bocabec to see me and help me sign some books. We have published several collections together – McAdam Railway Station, Scarecrow, Twelve Days of Cat, Tales from Tara, The Nature of Art and the Art of Nature, and The Water Tower.

Scarecrow and Twelve Days of Cat contain Geoff’s drawings and my prose and poetry, while The Water Tower is composed of Geoff’s photos, taken while completing the repainting of his wonderful mural, adorning the water tower in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea. Today we signed copies of Scarecrow, Twelve Days, and McAdam. I have been very lucky with most of my literary and artistic friendships. It always gives me great pleasure to receive my friends at home and to talk away the hours on the chiming clock.

I also enjoy cooking for them, and today I made a delicious paella with ham, chicken, and shrimp. More important, the rice – I had a packet of Bomba Spanish paella rice, and what a difference that made to the cooking of one of my favorite dishes. The socarrat, that crispy layer that coats the bottom of the frying pan or paella was simply wonderful!

Writing can be a lonely life. What a blessing is a good friend, totally creative, off whom one can bounce ideas, exchange artistic stories – our narratives as we call them – and even collaborate on the creation of more art works. Geoff Slater – line-painter extraordinaire – I salute you!

Hall of Mirrors

Hall of Mirrors

You walk up the wooden stairs
and there you are, staring at yourself
in the fairground’s distorting mirrors.

Fatter, thinner, shorter, taller, a half-
and-half version, thinner at the top,
squat at the bottom, one of those Xmas
dolls you could flick, but never roll over.

What do we see when we look in the mirror?
Do we see our selves as we really are
or do we see the wretched deformations
of our diminishment?

So depressing to think that, back then,
I might have seen myself as I am now:
hair thinning, forehead larger,
shriveled shanks and wasted muscles,
breathless, when I climb the stairs,
and a butterfly heart that sometimes
flutters and stutters as it seeks the sun.

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Hall of Mirrors

Gilt Trip

Gilt Trip

Last night, I packed up my troubles
in my old kit bag, but this morning
my back and shoulders buckle
beneath its ponderous weight.
I take care not to stumble,
especially on the stairs, for if
I stumble, I will surely fall,
and every fall is a precipice
that I will never be able to climb.

I want my feet to take root,
to sink solidly into the floor,
so that even when the wind of change
blows, it will not knock me down.
Downstairs, at my kitchen table,
the sun promises warmth and comfort.

I raise my gaze and rainbows sparkle,
dance on my eye-lashes.
I strive upwards, ever upwards,
and, turning towards the light,
its golden beauty creates in me
this morning hymn of praise.

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Gilt Trip

Sisyphus Sings Nabucco

Sisyphus Sings Nabucco

Long gone, those dead days, skeletons now,
their centers collapsed in on themselves
unable to hold fast to time’s hands
circling the clock of ages, that timeless rock.

Long days will come when light will fail
to enlighten, eyes will be dimmed, the burden
will grow heavier with life lying in wait,
to weigh us down with all those lies, each
falsehood a rock added to the daily pile.

Carrying them is one thing. Rolling them up
this hill each day, only to have them roll down,
overnight, forcing us to stoop once more,
not to conquer, but merely to live our lives,
to journey onwards, relentlessly, to endure
from the beginning of the end until the last,
and we must, we will endure to the last.

“Il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux.”
Albert Camus

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Sisyphus Sings Nabucco



Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

This new day rises
gift-glorious before me.

I untie sleep’s wrappings,
all paper and string.

Birds throng branches,
light up the yard with
rainbows of sound,
arcing and arching.

Fall colors streak trees
with overnight paint.

A woodpecker breakfasts
on the back porch.

Chipmunk and chickadee
thrive on the lawn.

Red robins, tipsy,
giving thanks for the feast.

Teeter-totter branches
alive with berries and song.

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Thanksgiving.