The Return

The Return

“You’ve been here before,” my Welsh grandmother
told me when she first held me. At least that’s what
they tell me she said. She married into a Catholic family,
but she never converted, refused to give up her own religion.

As a result, they didn’t respect her and never gave her
the treatment she deserved. I would love to ask her:
“Gran, if I was here before, where was I until I came back?”
Maybe she would know. The others wouldn’t dare ask
the question, let alone answer it. The facts of life were
forbidden things, surrounded by a silence of myth
or else spoken gently, in secret whisperings, with nothing
ever revealed to the young and curious.

Once again I have returned here and can honestly say
“yes, I’ve been here before.” This room seemed strange
the first time I visited, and yet it soon became my home from home.
As soon as I open the door, I embrace the familiar.
This room knows me, as I know it.
I walk to the writing desk, look out of the window,
and everything is at it was the last time I was here.
The sea below me sparkles as it always did.
The tower still stands at the end of the island,
and I know full well that, tomorrow morning,
dawn will flood the room with light.

Each day I am here, I will be blessed with a no sé qué
of mystic mystery that will overflow, fill the well
of my inner creativity, and allow me to fulfill
my destiny and praise those things that enlighten
the world and help to fill it with energy and verbal light.

Click here to listen to Roger’s reading.

Writing in the Red Room

Writing in the Red Room

Dawn over Kingsbrae, as seen from the writer’s desk in the Red Room in KIRA. “A poet could not but be gay, in such a jocund company.” Wordsworth, thankfully, for how words change their value as language transforms itself and old values and meanings grow wings and flit away.

Gai saber – from Old Provençal: “gay knowledge” or “gay science”, the art of composing love poetry, especially the art of Provençal troubadours as set forth in a 14th-century work called the Leys d’amors. But one doesn’t have to be gay, in any sense of the word, old or new, to write poetry, and it is difficult not to write poetry when the sun creeps over those hills and lights up the room and the bay below.

Warmth and light flood into your heart. The pen fills with words and they splash out over the page, moving the writer as the sun moves, as light moves, as light breaks where no sun shines as yet, but will, soon, so very soon, and here it comes, filling the heart once more with wonderment, the bay with light, and the page overflowing with the joy of light.

To be here is to be honored and privileged beyond words. To be able to share that joy with others is a blessing that many seek and few find, and none possess, for, like fairy gifts, such powers fade away all too swiftly. And, when all is said and done, one can only be humble, rejoice in each moment, and give thanks.

Dreamers

Dreamers

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” Oscar Wilde.

“The dreamers by day are dangerous people, for they are the ones who make their dreams come true.” T. E. Lawrence.

Two interesting and contrasting quotes on dreamers. They seem to contradict each other – but do they? How do we dream? What do we dream of when we dream? What does the word ‘dream’ really mean? How can it change, that meaning when a person announces in a sharp, sarcastic voice: “In your dreams.”? Were the Everly Brothers right when they sang their version of dream, dream, dream?

There is no right and wrong with dreams. Some dreams come at night. They rise from deep within our resting – restless minds, asking questions, answering questions, doubling down on what we did, or didn’t do. Some dreams are obsessive and occur again and again. These are individual to each sleeper and cannot be interpreted, en masse, by a dictionary of dreams. Other night dreams creep in through the bedroom window. These may not be our dreams – they may be the dreams of other people, come to disturb us as we sleep. These can be dangerous dreams, disturbing moments, and that’s why the indigenous have created dream-catchers that will snare those dreams and prevent them from entering.

Other dreams come by day. Day-dreaming is a rite of passage for many young children, trapped in boring school rooms with an ageing teacher droning on and on. “Knowledge is that which passes from my notes to your notes without going through anyone’s head.” I woke up enough from my day dream during that particular first-year lecture to note those words in my notebook. They were the only notes I took in that class and I day dreamed my way though a year of that man’s pseudo-lectures.

But the dreams we dream by day – yes, they can indeed be dangerous – because we can make them happen. One person dreams of being a doctor and, against all the odds, that person becomes one. Another visualizes – another form of day-dreaming – breaking a world record. And does so – such people fulfill their day-dream. Some, like Don Quixote, dream the impossible dream. These are fantasists whose dreams will never come true, for they are based on unrealities, and not founded on the essential truths of real life.

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight.” Much as I love this quote, I am disturbed by the adverb ‘only’. It is so limiting. Dreamers, as I have tried to show, can find their way by day as well. “His punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” This, too, I find enigmatic and disturbing. Why should dreamers be punished when they can also be rewarded? Why is seeing the dawn a punishment? Why is seeing the dawn before the rest of the world a sort of double punishment? And why does the dawn punish people? In order to answer that question, we must define the dawn! Maybe we’ll do that in another post.

A Winter Awakening

A Winter Awakening            

You hate the Christmas holidays. You always have and I expect you always will. Broken promises litter the ground like so many new year’s resolutions, made and then set aside in a jumble of wrapping paper, party hats, and empty, smelly beer bottles. So vicious, these early morning calls, your father pinching your ear or tugging your hair, then stripping back the clothes and leaving you lying there, the cold air invading your bed, shocking your toes, tweaking the small hairs on arms and legs.

You reach out to the bedside chair, grab your shirt, socks, and pants and stuff them between your legs where it’s still nice and warm.  Then you pull the bedclothes up to your chin and your day clothes lie between your thighs, a teddy bear bundle gradually warming you up again. You wriggle down into the bed, and try to go back to sleep, but it doesn’t work.  A great shout from downstairs: “Breakfast is ready!”

Now comes the tricky bit: staying under the covers, wriggling out of your pyjamas, putting on your shirt, your pants and your socks while still staying warm beneath the blankets. Then, a porpoise breaking the surface, you burst out of bed, pull on your trousers and a sweater, and you run downstairs to the kitchen the warmest room in the house, where breakfast is waiting.

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.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Circles

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.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Gilt Trip

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.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Thanksgiving.



Grey Dawns

Grey Dawns

Was it just a partial eclipse,
that morning when ash-grey horses
pulled a dustbin sun
across a drab and dirty sky?

Contorted clouds
fell from distorted horizons,
light filtered fine filaments
through to a sedimentary world.

Early morning birds,
startled by this grimness,
ceased their celebrations,
their dawn chorus choked

in doubting throats
so that strange, false notes
would not flit grit music
over garden and lawn.

Sat at my grey dawn window,
in the lull before the storm,
I watched and wondered
when my world would end.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Grey Dawns

Red Sky

Red Sky
After a long conversation
with my hero:
Travis Lane.


Red sky at night,
shepherd’s delight.
Red sky in the morning:
sailors take warning.


But I am not a sailor,
nor will I ever be one.
Nor a tinker, nor a tailor, nor
part of any nursery rhyme.

So easy to follow the sheep,
and graze where they may graze,
in safety, and the shepherd’s crook
all too close at hand, with both
hands and shoulder all too ready
to save, comfort, and carry
home to the security of a safe place.

Better by far to float along,
guided by sun, stars, and tide,
choosing your own route as you go,
or going with the eternal flow,
going where it takes you,
red skies at night, storm warnings
in the morning, and everywhere
the give and take of creating
new things, new paths, wherever
you may choose to go.

“Red car at night,
wifey’s delight.
Red car in the morning,
hubby take warning.”


Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Red Sky



Love Song

Poema de Amor (3 & 4)

3

daylight bends itself round rock and turns into shadow

we flourish in blocks of fire

dreaming new selves from roots and branches

we clasp each resurrection with greedy fingers

will we watch the moon again tonight?

dark angel bodies with butterfly wings

our shadows have eloped together

we can see them sitting side by side

bumping each other’s knees at a table in the zócalo

4

church bells gild the barrio’s rooftops

our fingers reach to the skies and hold back light

we draw blinds to shut out the day and shadows fill us

we dream ourselves together in a silent movie

closed flesh woven from cobwebs

waiting to be opened by a slash of the tongue

the neighbour’s dog watches from the azotea

he barks bright colours as dawn opens doorways on the street

can he see the flowers growing from our tangled limbs?

your fingers sew a padlock on my lips

“Listen to the crackle of the rising sun!”

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Poema de Amor