Mood Music

Mood Music

Mood music caught between brush
and paper then trapped in notes
that sing in acrylic colors.

Colored music and music
expressed in colors that dance
on the page and light up
my face and the room
with joy and light.

What figurines dance here,
before your eyes, partners,
each one different for each of us,
moving in a musical mood
that captures a moment of magic,
brush magic,
with silent colors flowing
but all too ready
to burst into song.

Click here for Roger’s reading.
Mood Music

Stumps

Stumps

Stumps, yes. Firmly planted.
Newly arrived at the wicket,
I can now take my guard.
Last man in
with everything to play for.

“Middle and off. Please.”
I hold the bat steady, upright,
and the man in white
nods his head, counts
the coins, or stones,
he has in his pocket
and wonders when he can leave
his post and go to tea.

I stand, there, right-handed,
and the field adjusts.
Then I change hands,
keep the same guard,
now middle and leg,
and stare at the square leg,
now a short leg
who glares back fiercely.

The man in the white coat
tut-tuts in despair.
I know he knows this isn’t done.
It’s just not cricket.
But then, he’s not the one
batting on a cloth untrue,
with a twisted cue,
while the bowlers bowl
with elliptical balls.

The field changes over
to a left-handed stance.
I think about changing over again,
but I’m sure there’d be an appeal:
wasting time, a nasty crime
at this stage of the game,
though many do it.

First ball, a long-hop,
and I clobber it for four.
Three runs to win,
four balls to bowl.
I block the next ball.
The one after is short.
I cut it away past gully
and call for two.
I make it home safe
but my partner is run out
at the bowler’s end.

We lose by one run.
“Serve you right,”
says the man in the white coat,
racing towards the pavilion
for a pee before tea.
“That just wasn’t cricket.”

I walk slowly back,
stiff upper lip,
ramrod straight bat,
and no time at all for this
sticky dog wicket.


Comment: I wonder how many of my followers will have understood a word of what I have written. Never mind. You can always enjoy the painting. Oh the mysteries of what used to be England’s national game and a wonderful source of metaphor and image. A double-header on the weekend. England vs the West Indies. I wonder if it will be that close?

Click here for Roger’s reading.
Stumps.

Rain Stick Magic

Nunca llueve en los bares /
it never rains in the bars.

Sympathetic Magic
aka
Rain Stick Magic

“Rain, we need rain.”
The bruja whirls her rain stick.
Rain drops patter one by one,
then fall faster and faster
until her bamboo sky fills
with the sound of rushing water.

An autumnal whirl of sun-dried cactus
beats against its wooden prison walls.
Heavenwards, zopilotes float
beneath gathering clouds.
Rain falls in a wisdom of pearls
cast now before us.

Scales fall from my eyes.
They land on the marimbas,
dry beneath the zocalo‘s arches
where wild music sounds
its half-tame rhythms,
sympathetic music released,
like this rainstorm,
by the musician’s magic hands.

Comment: Bruja: witch, witch doctor; Oro de Oaxaca: mescal, the good stuff; Zopilote: Trickster, the turkey vulture who steals fire from the gods, omnipresent in Oaxaca; Marimbas: a tuned set of bamboo instruments. But you knew all that!

Click on this link to hear Roger’s reading.
Rain!

Mindfulness

Hollyhock by Geoff Slater

Mindfulness

Gardens of Mindfulness

What is it about generic greens, their power of growth,
renewal, resurgence? In the Auberge, Moncton’s Hospice
for cancer patients, sufferers wore green clothes, shirts,
blouses, skirts, trousers. Green for recovery, for hope,
for the persistent belief that nature mattered, more,
that nature could be omnipotent, ubiquitous, everywhere
around us.  The patients planted a small garden, almost
an allotment. They walked in it, sat beside it, watched
the flowers grow, grew their own cells anew, hoped.

Exercises are easier, more fulfilling, when done in green
surroundings. Go green for improved moods, better self-
esteem, growth beyond the muscles of cold iron pumped
indoors by hot, sweating bodies. Never underestimate
the healing power of walking barefoot on grass, your toes
curling into the early-morning coolness of fresh, new dew.

Focus your attention on the here and now. Forget the past.
Let the future take care of itself. Your most important
therapeutic tool is this moment of awareness when you
and your world are one. Erase loneliness and isolation.
Don’t pander to the pandemic. Talk to your plants. You
may not think they’re listening, but they are. And you
must listen to them too. Learn the languages of tree and
shrub, of butterfly and bee, of Coneheads and Cape Daisies.
Bask in beauty: sunflowers, hollyhocks. All will be well.

“Verde, que te quiero verde. / Green, how I love you green.”
Federico García Lorca (!898-1936).

Comment: I have been discussing Mindfulness with several people recently. Whether it be the Covid-19 outbreaks or the necessity of staying apart from friends and family, some of my seem to have become more isolated and more introverted over the last couple of years. As a result, the theme of mindfulness has arisen, often spontaneously. So, this poem is dedicated to all of us who feel the need to live in the moment and to concentrate on the development of our inner growth and being. It is taken from my book The Nature of Art nd the Art of Nature (pp. 134-35), soon to be available on Amazon and at Cyberwit.net

Click on the link to hear Roger’s reading.
Gardens of Mindfulness

Heart Ache

Hope Fall

Heart Ache

My heart is an empty nest, all feelings
fledged and flown. I yearn for the warmth
St. Kevin felt when the blackbird settled,
nested in his hand, laid her clutch of eggs.

Oh, the cold dark stare of the under-earth,
growing its cold chill upwards through feet and knees,
and the winter branch stiffness of hands frozen
into concrete branches, week after week, until
the blackbird’s eggs are hatched and fledged.

No saint am I. Just a father deprived of his distant
child, of his granddaughter developing, growing
older and wiser without him there to help her
on her way, or hinder, as old men often do,
unaware of the changing times and the ferocious
pull of new ideas, new tides, the swashbuckling
effects of the new world now upon us, a world
we oldlings, so long ago fledged and flighted,
will never understand nor grasp. How could we?

And yet that hand stretches out from the window
of the cells that hold us, bind us, imprison us,
and make us realize how strong are the wings
of love that flutter in our ageing hearts.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Heart Ache

Remembrance day

Remembrance Day

Memories deceive me with their falsehoods, flashing
shadow shapes, shifting with a move of the fingers,
dog into man, shift, man into a frightened mouse,
squeaking, like the ungreased iron-rimmed wheels
on a farm-cart with its load of hay and snapping dogs.
Watch out for the horse’s sideways kick, for the sting
of the farmer’s cruel whip, for the dogs’ white teeth.

What magic lantern now slips its subtle slides
across night’s screen? Desperate I lap at salt-licks
of false hope that increase my thirst and drive me
deeper into thick, black, tumultuous clouds.

My grandfather in the trenches, drenched in a gas cloud,
groping, choking, invalided home, returning, so brave,
to face that gas grave again and again, only to cough up
the last of his tortured lungs thirty years later. I remember
him bent over the table, struggling for breath, balancing
his hesitant life against an immanent death. Today it is

so different. A pandemic storm lays waste to memories
that dog my mind. At night a black dog hounds me, sends
my head spinning, makes me chase my own tail, round
and round. It snaps at dreams, shadows, ghosts of family
members who drift, slowly fading, through my mind.

I try to track them through Ancestry, through Tarot Cards
and Tea Leaves but they are all lost in a Mad Hatter’s
illusion of a dormouse adrift in a teapot in an unkempt
nursery rhyme of a tail within a tale and hunter home
from Caer-Filthy hill, I return to find my house empty,
my deserted body devastated, my future a foretold mess.

Click on the link for Roger’s reading.
Remembrance Day

Night and Day Dreams

Winking Night Bump

Night and Day Dreams

Someone stole the nose from a sacred statue.
He placed it on his face and I watch it
as it crosses the central square.

A moving shadow: zopilote flies high above.
I talked to him once on a midnight bus.
He begged me to fold his wings
and let him sleep forever.

The balloon lady sells tins of watery soap.
Children, newly released from school,
fill my days with enchantments.
They blow soap bubbles, tiny globes,
circular rainbows, born from a magic ring.

The voices in my head slip slowly into silence.
Some nights I think they have no need of me,
these dreams that arrive in the early hours
and knock at my window.

When morning comes, I watch them fade
and then I know they cannot live without me.
When I am gone, they will go too.

Click on this link for the original poem.

https://wordpress.com/post/rogermoorepoet.com/23643

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Night and Day Dreams

Songs of Praise

Songs of Praise

Who has seen the early spring wind drifting
its thought-clouds across the grass, moving
shadows over the lawn’s green, thrusting spikes.

Sometimes, I speak my thoughts aloud, hoping
that nobody can hear or see them as they leave
migratory footsteps across my mind.

Autumn now and I watch the wind twist
leaves from the tree. Yellow and red,
they flee from me. I do not understand
their reluctance to stay, their urge to tear
away and leave. The birds must leave for they
cannot bear the cold, cannot stay without food.

At night, when I close the garage door, I sing
hymns to the trees and to him who always hears.
Each note forms like a pea in the pod of my throat
and launches itself skywards, migrating upwards,
in a feathered flock that celebrates in songs.

Words, migrant birds, their flight unplanned,
will not stay still, will neither perch, nor gather,
nor feed from the outstretched hand.

Click on link for Roger’s reading.
Songs of Praise.

Poetry or Prose?

Poetry or Prose?
Wednesday Workshop
22 September 2021
Patos de setiembre.

When I write, I do not distinguish between poetry or prose. More often than not I think in terms of the rhythm and musicality of the words I am using, if the words sound right, when read out loud, they probably are. Here is a prose poem, Cage of Flame. It is written in prose, but it’s meaning is dependent on imagery, metaphors, associative fields, and musicality. Read it as you would any piece of prose, in sentences, following the guidance of the grammar. Read it two or three times quietly to yourself then, when you have grasped the poem’s rhythms, try reading it out loud. If you want to know how I would read this poem, check my recorded readings on my blog, Spotify or SoundCloud.

Cage of Flame

Now you are a river flowing silver beneath the moon. High tide in the salt marsh: your body fills with shadow and light. I dip my hands in dappled water. Twin gulls, they float down stream, then perch on an ice-floe of half-remembered dreams. Eagle with a broken wing, why am I trapped in this cage of flame? When I turn my feathers to the sun, my back is striped with the black and white of a convict’s bars. Awake, I lie anchored by what pale visions fluttering on the horizon? White moths wing their snow storm through the night. A feathered shadow ghosts fingers towards my face. Butterflies stutter against a shuttered window. A candle flickers in the darkness and maps in runes the ruins of my heart. Eye of the peacock, can you touch what I see when my eyelids close for the night? Last night, the black rock of the midnight sun rolled up the sky. The planet quivered beneath my body as I felt each footfall of a transient god.

Clearly the above is prose because it has no line breaks. But what happens when we break that prose into shorter lines and turn it into a poem?

Cage of Flame

Now you are a river flowing
silver beneath the moon.
High tide in the salt marsh:
your body fills with shadow and light.
I dip my hands in dappled water.

Eagle with a broken wing,
why am I trapped in this cage of flame?
When I turn my feathers to the sun,
my back is striped with the black
and white of a convict’s bars.

Awake,
I lie anchored by what pale visions
fluttering on the horizon?
White moths wing their snow
storm through the night.
A feathered shadow ghosts
fingers towards my face.
Butterflies stutter against
a shuttered window.
A candle flickers in the darkness
and maps in runes the ruins of my heart.

Eye of the peacock,
can you touch what I see
when my eyelids close for the night?
The black rock of the midnight sun
rolled up the sky.

Last night, the planet quivered
beneath my body and I felt
each footfall of a transient god.

            It seems to be the same text, but is it? And what happens if we change those line breaks? It will change the external structure of prose > to poem > to new poem, but it will not alter the internal structures that survive all format changes. Does the rhythm stay the same in both cases? It certainly does when I read it, but how about you? Poetry or prose? And what’s the difference anyway if the words roll off your tongue and metaphors, mystery, and magic rule?

Comment:
Clearly poetry and prose are not interchangeable, for they both fulfill different functions. The classical difference is often said to lie between history, what actually happened, and poetry, the formal arrangements of words in song. This seemingly simple definition becomes blurred, of course, when history, written in prose, is confused with epic, the retelling of history in poetic form. Prose fiction is a much later development and it is Miguel de Cervantes who gives us, in Don Quixote, his own Renaissance solution: “La épica también puede escribire en prosa” / the epic can also be written in prose. The mingling of poetry and prose underlines the use of rhetorical tropes in writing. Later, Baudelaire will offer us us his Petits poèmes en prose thus gifting the world with prose poems. Much of what I write is prose poetry or poetry in prose. Rhythm, metaphor, allusions, alliteration, similes, intertextuality all combine to decorate my writing. And yes, I am very clear about what I am trying to do.

Message

Meditations on Messiaen
Revelations

4

Message

Six in the morning.
The phone rings,
shatters our dreams.

A skeletal voice
at the other end announces
the name of the deceased
in ritual words, ending
with my condolences.

Five in the morning here,
nine in the morning over there.
Death at a distance,
three thousand miles
and four hours between us,
yet the phone call arrives
on time, instantaneous.

Your father, your mother, her mother,
gone, their absence heralded
by the police, a lawyer, a doctor,
a nurse practitioner,
an anonymous nurse,
someone you will never meet.

That call can come anytime.
While you are out in the car,
or in the garden, digging,
or maybe shovelling the snow.

And maybe that’s how death will come,
says Seamus Heaney, by telephone,
an unexpected call
from an unexpected caller.

The phone rings and your partner listens,
then hands over the receiver:
“It’s for you, my dear.”

Click on the link below for Roger’s reading.

Message