History’s Roads

I returned to the buddha tree today,
set ablaze by the white snow of
late spring sprung with daffodils
turning in long sunsets like some
endlessly infinite, recurring movie
played out over port meadow.

All but a few of the blooms are
already gone
blown away by the bitter winds
we had last week after she left.
Just sturdy green buds remain.

It’s achingly temporary,
all of it,
the beautiful suffering lot
of bodhisattva sat under
his spring tree singing
the perfect blossom.

I found a field next to the lake,
and sat like a statue watching
the still water, small eddies
tickling the surface with each
breath of wind as I made faces
and tempted the fates.

A tree’s branches whispered
‘let the past go’.
Not erase, forget, repress,
just ‘let it go’. Why fight
for sticks and stones and
the words of long dead men?

It is my history, too,
but don’t you see?
The shit on his shoulder
is part of the monument,
a momentary release meant
crudely to memorialise

the fight for freedom
long vacant, vanquished
by whitepink men equal
before only our own laws.
Let the statues go.
I, too, need less reminders.

History has brought me here,
far away to the centre where
spring is singing, ringing, winging
through pinkwhite trees while
the heady scent of happiness
hangs light in the hazy air.

History does not live in stones
or stanzas, but in your mind
as the world’s pulsing rhythm,
so let the statues go.
Build anew a beating heart
to the blossoming birdsong,
based on humanity, humility;
on the belief that we
can be better than the
men and women
we remember once being,
in long-ago ages when
the darkness was unbroken.

Wet Windows

A quivering web of jewels,
my window lights up
as the earth rises
after a rainstorm,
spinning sunlit tendrils
that shimmer and slide,
finding and blinding
by looking too long
into the light.

The drops become
splotches on the page,
a dance of make-believe
burnt onto my eyes,
strange patterns in
all the parts I
do not look at.

Every time I read
it seems a different play,
different gems swish,
teardrop fish in
changing light
until its not words,
but sight
which makes the poem,
refracted by wet windows
and a passing, wistful wish.

Oxford Bridges

The sky is an ocean tonight,
a spotted line of white, like
washed up waves which fizz
in foamy baths of salt and air,
breaking across the sunset as
a single jet leaps from sea to sky:
shy, small fish come to sacrifice
itself on the never-ending
altar of burnished air before her,
standing on a railway bridge,
buffeted by late winterwinds,
turning its tail to speckled gold
as the fishjet tries to fly from
the red and black to come.

Dream Dolpins

He slides through the sea,
slip of a boy,
stroking his natural element
chlorine and salt sticking
in gyms and oceans,
flippers and dolphins
of his dream-world,
sand and tiles swirling,
stirring up memory:
the child he was.

The child he is,
Peter Pan of the pool
pulling pirates and
tick-tock crocs from
a wild imagination
where waves and wind,
coaches and competition,
come together chasing
his never-never land
of love and long summers.

What is to dream?
To be who we once were
way back when we won,
riding waves with
singing swimmers
on wild coastlines with
strong currents sweeping
the dreamer out to sea,
sweet surrender of a
small child’s soul.

Sing, my youth,
found in seas again,
for what are dreams
but reminders of how
to grow old with grace?
How to glimpse
who we were,
who we are:
single swimmers surfing
wild waves filled with life.

Of Foxes and Fences

I slip from shade to shadow

sniffing at the light,

tentative paw passing

shards of grass in icy sheaths,

pinpricked moonlight

as the world refracts, retracts

before my loping gait,

swift silence across

the flooded plains and

into welcome darkness.


Creature of the night,

wandering ages hence

where no wall nor fence

has ever stood and

standing, fell,

for no mending lasts

against shade and shadow

and the steady clock

tick-tock temporary line

until time is up.


The fox flows away

eyes alive to night,

returning me to I

my little sight of life.

Still, sometimes she calls,

stealthy vixen of the dark,

across flooded fields

piercing, painful, sharp:

a reminder of within

our many-voicéd kin.

“Dark Dances”

The dark depresses me,
soul hibernating in this
season of cold things
and distant love.

My self unfurls in curls
of smoke and wispy breath
to form the phrase I
have been looking for:

The milk-near word,
so close to the breast,
so far from the lips;
frozen by arctic winds.

Tomorrow comes slowly,
ends quickly,
and life goes rushing on
in underground tunnels,

subterraneous creatures
chasing wealth, warmth
and a hundred other
tired illusions.

Yet the darkness has
its own kind of clarity,
its own blind revelations
lurking in murky corners

of my manipulative mind,
where magic men
and myth meet,
where the dancing never ends.

“Wild World”

‘He was unheeded, happy,
and near to the wild heart of life’
— James Joyce

It seems so silly,
this business of living
doll-like, dull lives
soft skulls of language
with strange alliterations
building boundaries, binaries
to bind the blind masses
cheerfully chanting
their stilted slogans,
stripped and shipped
by a haunted history.

Yet wild hearts exist!
with madness enough
to let it be.
Who would rather spend
a lifetime answering
the question of
her laughter,
or measuring the
half-life of love
than getting lost

in loose alliteration,
trying in vain
to capture life:

There is only love and loss.
The rest, they tell me,
is just rust and stardust.

“Full Moon Lover”

She dances here
in clear moonlight
on a cold night,
her reflection caught
by silver clouds,
whispering waltzes
in windblown flights,
just like she danced
and the place before,
still beyond sight.

The greatest tragedies
make life beautiful,
jaunty puppets
that we are,
play-acting life,
singing ‘Fight, fight!’
in the oncoming night.

“Magical You”

I have been searching for You
all my life
on hidden paths
in secret places
long poplar avenues
where no bird sings
lonely points
where oceans meet
and spirit-trees live
on salt-strewn rocks

places with no punctuation
groundless grammar
of the unspeakable
where magic lives
I falls into the void
and all he sees
are faraway mountains
pure snow white
whole in reality

a place that the poet sings
to You
dearest friend
full of possibility
in that plunging moment
come to meet
the man who writes me
carefully arranged
in crawling signs
and yet
he dreams of magic!


Human history is the
march of atrocities
followed by the generations
of generations of scholars,
devouring dusty runes
to bury truth once more
like ink-armed cooks
keeping the masses fed,
so that the battle may be
met just over the hill,
close enough to hear,
but invisible
to the camped millions
patiently waiting.

Waiting for
to burst in,
to blow away the leaves
of lost generations,
to get at the thing itself,
sound and silence,
life and death,
being and