"We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time." (T S Eliot)
"A dark and chanted verse is what I am." (
Forough Farrokhzad)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

BY THE SEA



Walking beaches,
A wreck of someone gone,
Who ceased to be,
Apart from by the sea.
Condemned to cold shade
Where once the sun shone;
Never seen, never heard,
Blank and ghostly.
Not even a silhouette is present,
Wet sands are never stirred,
And yet it seems
The ocean talks
Loud enough to torment
With maudlin verse
And false - forsaken - dreams.


Friday, August 28, 2015

OLD RAGE

There was a realm
Of gold and bright turquoise
That flamed like fire,
Burning, but not burning
Where we once played
Like children with new toys.
We saw it fade,
Yearning and still yearning.

There was a time
Our wishes were granted.
We spent our days
Dreaming, but not dreaming
Of the harvest
From the seeds we planted,
Or its meaning,
Though it had no meaning.

No more sweet times,
No grand places remain.
We've ended up
Ageing, but not ageing
One of us in ruin,
The other in shame,
Both beyond raging,
And yet still raging.


Note: the picture is a section of a Persian miniature by Vahid Rahmanian.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

TOO MUCH NIGHTMARE

Under a stretched sky of periwinkle flame,
Rolling hills of pastel green pastures and paspalum,
Studded with stands of ironbark.
The biggest branches towered,
Tipped with crimson blossoms,
Tangs of eucalyptus in the clear air.

Knee-length grass
Swathed the gentle slopes,
Slender stems swayed
Like waves at sea
In the tender breeze.
Distant stunted mountains,
Faded into soft misty blues
Around cliff faces creamed
With scraggy sandstone bluffs.

Houses uninhabited and derelict.
Timber panels scarred by fire.
Shattered glass panes
Between stained window frames -
Ugly shards deterring visitors.
One child at a table –
A blonde waif licking a spoon,
And seated on a high chair.

Next, a disheveled work site,
Like an old factory,
Or a set of storerooms.
Sheets of corrugated iron
Nailed niggardly together,
Metal rivets rusting,
Unfastened flaps
Creaking back and forth in the wind.
Workers idle,
Dressed in tartan flannelette shirts.

Beyond the ruins
Lazed an open cut mine -
A shallow quarry –
With no remnants of wealth.
In the midst of this pit of murky rubble,
Buried up to his neck,
A black man strained and twisted
So his bloodshot eyes could focus on me.

Beside the diggings,
Tracks went up
A trivial verdant hill;
And a dreamtime voice
Called from the top of the rise:
‘Here are the dead.  This is the home of the dead.’
The words floated on the air
Like far-flung flower petals
Roused by an easy zephyr.
But at the summit
There were no marked graves.


Monday, August 17, 2015

YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE

If bitterness deserves banishment
Then
I see why
I was sentenced to exile.
Now I’m old you hate me,
Laugh at my pen,
Rejection’s your new standard,
Plumed with wile.

Bled like a sacrifice
Left to drain dry,
Betrayed,
Stabbed too many times to tally,
I know hands
That wielded blades,
So sly,
Then picked me up,
Falsely bid me rally.

I still see smiles
That spoke the lies of gain,
Invented and cemented my poverty,
Prospered from my creativity’s pain,
Signed their name for mine,
Won my lottery.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

CRY FROM COLD

Breezes freeze
Like kisses from dead lovers,
Black clouds cloak
The meekest weakest sunshine,
Grey nomads shield cars
With plastic covers,
Wavelets cross the lake,
Breaking serpentine.
Picture snitchers
Prowl the frothy foreshore
To snap the storm's beginnings
And its ends,
But their artwork won't hear
The fearsome roar,
Photos won't help us feel
The bitter blends
Of snow and sleet
That burn as if to scold,
Making brave mountain ranges
Cry from cold.

The words "cry from cold" are from Scott Walker's remarkable song, 'Montagu Terrace'.

Monday, August 10, 2015

TURQUOISE

He knew the savagery of dreams,
Nightmares with jaws and teeth like sharks,
Biting into each semblance of failure,
Chewing over any minor mistake,
Ripping open every instance of negligence
That came to be labelled gross.

Where are all the perfect people?
Why don't they have the grace to help the wounded?
In this world they dissemble and act as gods;
Like the deities of the ancient world
They are capricious and beyond challenge,
Kings and queens of excess and frivolity,
Yet worshipped nonetheless by the herd -
The mob that wields the sword that drains the heart of truth.

He died convinced he'd be forgotten;
Except that everyone would remember his errors,
And magnify them,
As if they belonged under a microscope,
Wriggling like malignant infections,
And swelling to spread their disease.
Nobody gathered to pronounce him good
By any measure of mankind.

So forgotten he was,
Even before the flames died.
His ashes mixed with the turquoise of the sea
And he was better for it.