Sunday, 30 April 2017

Breakout (Without Breakthrough)

Everywhere there is beauty
Then, from time to time
One steps into a quiet place
Where the light shines less brightly

Of course, by now
I choose not, that is, not on purpose
To visit the darkness too too often
But you know, love, love will have its way

Just as the moss grows
On the tarmacadam path
And the discarded leaves rot
Beside the forsaken branches

Could I just say, that there is room for two
On this fine, and sturdy, bench
Constructed from concrete and oak
Fixed to the floor with galvanised brackets

You may sit here, to listen to the river
Also to absorb the aircraft noise from overhead
Which may once well have transported you
Back to the place of your birth

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Rub Of The Green (Without Calling Time)

I rubbed the mint between my fingers
Then smelt the tangy aroma
I was transported 
To the gardens at Sewerby
Which of course led me to thoughts
Of the cricket field
And our walks, our sitting there
The purifying scent also reminded me
Of how I have neglected the herbs
In our own garden
For it is not enough
To simply buy the cuttings
And the contemporary containers

One, so I see now
Must gift love, and care
If one is ever to understand
How to nurture nature…
Then back into the Abbey
For Sunday's Conventual Mass
Which to my surprise, though not entirely
(For I know of the pretence for providence)
Is a full congregation, of over fifty people
All the pews populated as the Monks enter
For their main event of the week

I get a twinge in my elbow, as I write that
Part of me wants not to stay
For I don't in truth really belong
Nor do I even feel comfortable here
No, I am happier, in the early morning half-light
With the minimalist, escapologist crowd
So I do leave:
I am taking someone else's space, is how 
I justify my absenteeism, wasn't it always thus

Friday, 28 April 2017

Revitalise (Without Revision)

It is almost November
The fallen leaves
Are amusingly blown
And scattered, across the cobbles
The unsettled sky clouds drift slowly
Before  occasionally opening, to allow
The warmth of the sun to fall upon me

I am sat in the Lavender Garden
At Buckfast Abbey
And just now I have to squint
To shield my eyes from the bright sunlight
The long shadows, from the herbs
And the flowers edge towards me, they edge
Towards disappearing altogether actually

Shortly I will move into the chapel
Or maybe I will go there
After Conventual Mass
Which today will take place a little later
Because for one thing it is a Sunday
Also because, sometime during the night
Someone gifted one extra hour to my sleep

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Rest (Without Rest)

And in this way I rested
By rising early
Taking tea, and biscuits
Sharing Vigils with the Benedictine Monks
Walking to the door
Beside the one, who twirled his rosary beads

Outside, in the new day's light
A short walk
To the Physic Garden
There to read the notes
And to rub the leaves of mint between my fingers
Then to retrace my path

To climb a few stone steps
Take a photograph
Of the Abbey, and the oak tree
From a slightly raised vantage point
Before returning inside
Taking my seat, writing a few words

Of praise
Of scorn
Almost with a complete
Lack of reasoned understanding
Even with the book of Lauds
Opened, resting, in the palm of my hands

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Later (Without Being Late)

Sunday morning Vigils
Also the clocks have moved 
By one hour, into winter-time
So indeed, two extra hours sleep

And three people
On the front benches already
The calling bells have been rung
Also there is an owl, joyously hooting

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Yours (Without Hours)

A man, in a long raincoat
I guess he is here, with his wife
Here, more for the recital
Than for the Vespers

They look like a couple
Of well-to-do European 
(Did we used to say foreign)
Reasoned, and cultured tourists

The bells chime to signify
Three minutes to go
A little bit like the last call
At the Theatre Royal

Yet with only five patrons
Thus far in the congregation
I don't expect there to be
Much, of a last minute rush

Monday, 24 April 2017

Towards Brabeny (Without End)

It feels good to be on higher ground
It feels good to think of you, loving me
For now I can take in the vast horizon
I can countenance the cold wind
Ruffling my hair, and my papers
I can believe that, yes
Those rainclouds may bring rain
But not until the shafts of sunlight
On that faraway, seaward, elliptical skyline
Have lit up our day
No, neither the dull of the decaying ferns
Nor the white-death of the bramble
Can hold back the excitement
Nor the energy
Of the future
For the man who has found love

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Negative Potential (Without Power)

To put myself out there, alone
With the environmental waveforms 
Circulating and vibrating, to the tune
Of the exponentially raw passion

Such that in the search for this apparent stillness
It is the search for the unseen which is seen
It is the search for the not felt which is felt
Felt mostly by oneself

It is the beat
Of the bouncing psycho-rhythms
Which cycle through my body
Then, as one ventures, into the lower reaches

Those deeper features
Of love, of loss, of leverage, and of latitude
Criss-cross, and zig-zag their way
Over, and beyond, and before the gratitude

Such that to find a balance, in the stillness
To find a calm, in the seen, and in the unseen
To find love, felt or not felt, is one job of a thing
One job of a thing, all unto itself

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Sat (Without Silence)

There is no bench to sit upon
To look directly at the back of the Abbey
Though I am able to tell you, that

By turning slightly, and looking over my shoulder
I can see the substantial, gold-leaf, clock fingers
Which, even from this distance, I can make out

Are saying that it is just after eleven-thirty
On this, fine, one might even say exquisite
Autumnal Saturday Morning

Of course there is noise, even the great Abbeys
Need the service of stand-by-generators
In the times of power cuts

Once it might have been a water-driven turbine
Situated on the surging River Dart, which flows
Alongside fairly briskly

But then, with such propensity 
Of trees and fallen leaves
One might have thought

That a champion of bio-diversity
Could have hatched a quieter form
Of extraction, extrapolation, and exploitation

Whatever, the birds still chirp and chatter
Enquiring children
Ask their parents all manner of questions

Some of which, the Monks
Who will also have sat here
Would no doubt have been able to answer

With their very own
One hopes, well thought out
And ever more dignified, soulful responses

Friday, 21 April 2017

Nothing (Without Anything)

It is o so difficult
To remember you
When you offer nothing
Whatsoever in return

Though, as if coming here
To sit beside falling water
Would do anything, but add
To the sorrow of separation

I once was a complicated soul
Yet, right now, I don't believe
That I have ever did deny that
Although, yes, you might well say

That I have become
Even more deeply enamoured
With the effects of duplicity
In my attempts at creative writing

But, inside
I feel to be a somewhat gentler soul
You see, I am happy
To sit here beside the river

To know that, somewhere behind me
The star-shaped leaves
Are drifting, like angels, to the ground below
To let everyone know, that once

Our love touched
What o so many dreamers, today still dream of

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Gathering (Without Departing)

In that instant
Of hearing that sweet voice
Then I too
Wanted to sing

I too
Wanted to be able
To express
My joy with this life

A nun
With her iPad
She was the first person
Into Conventual Mass

I had watched her
Walk across the concourse
In the first light
Of the brand new day

The bells tolled
Close to the gathering time
And I remembered
My last time of leaving this place

I had heard then their welcoming sound
Though at quite some distance
For I loaded my car
And o, so so ignominiously departed

I did not know then that I might return
But I have, and I may do so again, and again

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Two More (Without Two To Follow)

It is just approaching five-forty in the morning
There are two Monks here already
As a short peel of bells sound
Two new visitors enter, they sit on the front row

One to either side of the walkway
Two young men; one white, one coloured
Together we waited, in stuttered silence
For the first act of the day to begin

Two latecomers joined the congregation
We were six men now
But only I, had entered from the inner quarters
Vigils proceeded, with meticulous precision

Each Monk seemingly knowing their part
Of the week-worn routines
And the seamless stepped-out sequences
Of suggestion, and response
And of further suggestion, and response
And of readings
Even one from the Book of Wisdom

And one from where I know not, but which spoke
Of God having given love in his own image
And of having gifted us Jesus, to make up
For the disobedience of Adam, and his indiscreet apple biting

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Woken (Without Painkillers)

It is 05:24 when the bells begin to call us for Vigils
I have not had the best of night's sleep
I dreamt, many times, of being confused
In the rearrangement of my poetry

And I do, quite-literally, mean, seeing the text
On the page, and trying to move it from one place to another place
Mostly it was to no avail, because more often than not
The words decided that they did not wish to be moved

I woke early, at just after 04:30 British Summer Time
I spent quite some time massaging my arm
Feeling for the aching parts, stretching out the muscles
And manipulating the tissue, as if somehow to aid the circulation

I do hope that my elbow is going to get better
At least I do have the feeling, and I am able to massage
And to write, about my visit to the Abbey at Buckfast
Or at Buckfastleigh, as many of the words deign to say

Monday, 17 April 2017

Love Is (Without Fabrication)

These bells are not
The bells of Plum Village
Not that I have yet heard
Those bells toll for myself

We have to be on our own

We have to be alone

To hear the human voices
To bathe, immensely
In the silence, in the light
Of those compounds of love

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Damage Litigation (Without Resolve)

There was a darkness
A sadness
An emptiness
To your absence
And not one word
Was spoken of you
By either of us
How could we
All three
Be damaged so
Or is it only I
I that am
So so super-sensitive
Is it only me
That senses
The aroma of decay
At this stage
Of our life
All ought to be joy
Or at least
A few certain splashes
Of that confidence
Which just might
In a certain light
Be passed off as joy
Why then
The darkness
The sadness
The absence
Gifted, by the emptiness

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Variable Frequencies (Without Discharge)

I feel a smile
Which radiates
Even with my eyes closed

As the voices sing the songs
Those, muse-filled, suggestions and responses
Of the Benedictine Monks

Which vibrate, yes they do physically bounce
And resonate exponentially
Throughout my entire body

I am also able
To sense the blood flow
As it scours and courses through my veins

Tingling on its journey
In its life-enhancing attempt
To repair my damaged physicality

I am being made ready to conduct freely
As if a battery, being re-charged
Thus able to visibly, with differential force, smile

Friday, 14 April 2017

Seat (Without Escape)

I can hear the water, cascading
I can her the birds, invading
Such is
The stillness of autumn

I can see that settled surety
In the rusted trees
In the well-trimmed hedge
In the solid oak seat, which I sit upon

I see the singular gull
Gliding, and swooping, and landing
I see the crimson-red, star-shaped leaves
Set against the grey-blue sky

I count twenty-five vertical dark windows
In the, near-distance, conference centre
There is not a soul about
But of course there are insects, and flies

Midges, and maybe even mosquitoes
Which quickly puts me on edge
As did the vertigo
On the clifftops earlier today

Thursday, 13 April 2017

White Shirt (Without Doubt)

I entered the chapel
Early on the Friday evening
And, almost immediately
I felt so so good about the next day

I had the security
Of that joy of a Saturday Morning
All clean and seriously refreshed
All of my clothes laundered, and ironed

I am in the knave now
The Monks, and the congregation
Are gradually arriving, as the calling bell tolls
I presume announcing, that it is time for Vespers

There is a beauty
To the light on his silver hair
There is a solemnity
A might of gathered assurance

A certainty also of deeper goodness
As a nun, safely, serenely, and o so silently enters
Why though, I wonder
Am I the only one sat here, on the right side

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Observation (Without Predilection)

I was moved, when my son told me of his feelings, of that night when he and his girlfriend had to walk the streets of London

He explained how he had observed, with a keen eye might I add, the behaviour of the homeless, in the early morning coffee houses, around Victoria Station

He talked of individuals using the wall sockets to re-charge the cheapest of mobile phones, of young women putting on their make-me-fabulous-make-up, with the aid of the reflective window glass; and of others, moving the previous patrons discarded cups, to then be placed in front of themselves, so as also to be considered as patrons

He was surprised, but particularly recognised their youth, and their hopelessness, for as he rightly says:

Out in the countryside one could satisfy ones basic needs, by engaging with nature; by building a shelter from branches, and twigs, and leaves, and moss; by washing, and drinking in the streams; one might even be able to swim in some places

But in the city none of that is possible, and so, for the few hours of that one evening, he felt; no, sorry, they felt, even together they felt, the real fear of becoming destitute

And he asked himself; why do the young people flock to the city, surely not, not as that young man, who had to pull his jumper over his face to sleep, to be here, alone, in one of these, some might say bleak, early morning coffee bars

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Soup (Without Predetermination)

I lifted the latch on the church door, then pushed open the imposing piece of timber

Come in, shouted the voice, but close the door behind you, keep the heat in

I did enter, and I did smell the soup, which the two workmen, sat, at a cloth covered card-table by the altar, were pouring into bowls, from their flasks

I thought to take a photograph, but chose against that, largely for privacy's sake

I thought to talk to them, but decided not to, for they were already in full flow

Instead I determined, to try and remember what a good thing this was, which I had been so so fortunate to witness

Monday, 10 April 2017

Vertigo (Without Resolution)

Lighthouse, and vertigo 
Radar-ball, and vertigo
Coastal-path, and vertigo
You get to the point
Hartland Point, and vertigo

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Frills (Without Embraces)

It would be wrong of me not to arrest the images of you, scantily clad, in the shortest of frilly skirts

You bring me close to you, and I am unable to stop the thought processes; for miles and miles I am thus absorbed

I even begin to wonder if I will ever be able to shake off these thoughts; what if they were always to stay with me, my eyes feel heavy, my head feels heady

I am driving towards you, albeit, in my own version of the truth, I am driving for a quite different purpose

Hours go by before I reach anywhere near your vicinity

The sadness is scattered to the moorland, the hurt lies on the riverbed, the immense fear, for isn't it the greatest of fears, to be fearful of oneself, is inculcated into the baron landscape

I walk the dark streets, too dark for my camera to develop the warm glow (to the naked eye) of the church clock

As I pass the bus station I make up a story, about my B&B being just behind here, behind this very place, where three times every hour the buses will arrive; to carry out their complicated, and seriously noisy, and intrinsically disturbing, reversing manoeuvres, before they accelerate, with loud aggression, to depart, on their way to who knows where; the buses are empty now, and I expect that will also be the case, many hours later

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Trepidation (Without Gratification)

Quite the opposite to Emptiness Dancing
Brought on, in part, by today's destination
And last night's early disruptive dream
Neither of which I desire to expand upon
Except to say that relationships
And their dissolution, played significant parts

Not at all the synthesis
Of the sunlight, and the leaf, and the raindrop
As enveloped
On that quiet Sunday morning in the countryside
Nor as felt

On that slow drive, along narrow, puddled lanes
With hedgerows guarding the ploughed fields
With trees sprinkling, not interfering, with the view
Quite the opposite, to the moorlands
With their exposed outcrops of rock
Where the blue, serially activates the doubt within

Friday, 7 April 2017

They Carry My Pictures

Better in the morning
Fancy shoes; your hand upon
My navel

Briefly you open your eyes
At my silent thank you
And then

Right beside the birdsong
Under the bluest of skies
Where I gave you my
New found virginity

Told you more than ever I know
More than ever
The cooing bird
Or the gentle breeze

Do you hear
They carry my pictures
My pictures

And by
The morning

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Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Private House

If you should drive
Past Cow Pasture Barns
You will see a sign for; well
Make your own mind on that

The sign says
Potatoes £4-00
Nothing more, nothing less, quite simply:
Potatoes £4-00

Before the barns
Before the private house
The private house
Which used to be a public house

You may see the old man
The old man in the big garden
I don't expect, unlike the potato sign
That he is always there

But he was there, today
In the big garden
The big garden
Before the corner

The corner with the private house
A private house
Which used to be a public house
A public house before the Cow Pasture Barns

The Cow Pasture Barns with a sign that says
Potatoes £4-00
No more, no less - ever so simple
Potatoes £4-00

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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Old House

The old house, with rectangular windows
Is empty
No one lives there now
No one has lived there for a very long time

The house is empty
The long time is empty
Death, the long time of death
The long, long time of death, is empty

There are no chintz curtains
Or modernist abstract paintings
All that you have you take with you
All that you have your friends give you

All that you have lives with you
Inside and outside
Your rectangular windows
Inside and outside your old houses

Rectangular windows
Inside and outside
Of your long time
Your long time, of death, and of dying

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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Before You Have Anything But You

All you are
Is all you are
All you have
Is all you have
All you have
Is all you are
All you are
Is all you have

Without a stitch
From the cherry and walnut
Inlaid wardrobe
Without a smudge
From the cherry and walnut
Inlaid dresser
Without a brush, without a touch
Without a crush of musk perfume

All you are
Is all you have
Before you have anything
But you
Before you have anything
But you
All you gave
Is all you give
All you give
Is all you gave
All you give
For those who gave
All you gave
For those who give

Without some hitch
From the foul
Or fair weather umbrella
Without some fudge
From the fake
Namesake storyteller
Without some hush, silence so much
Without the lush of husks presumed

All you are
Is all you have
Before you have anything
But you
All you are
Is all you have
Before you have anything
But you
All you are is all you have, before you have anything but you

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Monday, 3 April 2017

Juxtaposed Proximities

I smile
At your breath
Your easy hand
On our juxtaposition

I woke earlier
I think not then that to wake was any dare
Other than to share your morning
With the blackbird

And the fresh brewed
Blended Breakfast and Earl Grey
Warm tea

I lay in warmth
Of cotton and plumped up pillows
And the warm breath
Of the juxtaposed proximities

Of our unadorned
Of our
Of our unadorned and naked bodies

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Sunday, 2 April 2017

Kiss Stops And Lollipops

It is
That which we do not see
Or don’t take time
To connect with

Unable, unstable
My baby, my lady
I cradle you in my arms
I cradle you

Able to say love
Equal to any coincidence
By inference my
Intentions laid open

Only the clearest
My sensations caught
By shadows and sequins

Kiss stops by the bus stops
Kiss stops and lollipops
Kiss stops, lollipops, bus stops

Love, and chance, and lollipops
And by chance
She came to kiss me

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Saturday, 1 April 2017

Of Passions And Pains

The grotesque
Twixt life and death

Of loss
Lost love
Of teardrops

And teardrop bottles
They lay beneath the Lilac Tree

Stored then, as unconscious finds
Transitory minds; the last one out
Turns off the lights

More chance than coincidence
More fiction than fate, berate
The tradition, it is then to be too late

To open the unexpected box
Either to ask the deeper question
Or to swing, as the fox by the sunlit fountain

Or fall, as did the clown, out-with
Of his crown, but weighted down
By his mountains of passions and pains

He was undone
As done
By deed, or gain, or fame, or shame

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