Nothing More, or the Sound of Enough

I want to write a poem about the world with nothing fancy,
nothing more than the hum of bees,
dashing past, declaring summer,
nothing more than the rushing of the river,
the occasional plop! as water hits stone,
or a fish leaps for flies,
nothing more than the rustle of the wind,
moving through the full leaf oak
like a wave
nothing more than the percussion of familiar –
a chainsaw in the distance,
the cry of sheep,
the rumble of a tractor on the hill,
nothing more than the silent dance of
two white butterflies
turning and dancing and
caught in the music of this moment
no, nothing more than this,
the unromantic cheep of birds I do not know,
while butterflies dance to the glug of fish in water,
the hum of bees and tree crescendo
as the tractor rumbles distant on the hill.

~~~~

The piece was prompted by the first line of a poem by Mary Oliver, This World, in Why I Wake Early. (We share the first line.)

Silently Singing

sorrowful you walked
the Flaggy Shore
silent of words
bereft of poetry
sorrowful you walked
even as you lay
on the warm limestone pavement
crying love at the sea thrifts pinkly

even as you walked
cold in November rain
over and over,
cheeks wet with the cold of your tears
even as you stumbled the autumn seaweed
fell once again to lie closely with the stones
even as the skies caught fire above the swans at Loch Maree
and you cried a song of
thank you thank you
as you walked in darkness home

sorrowful it was you walked
wordless without poems
not knowing that this too was a song of worship

even as you prayed hard for the words of the poem to come
silent you stayed,
sorrowful,
even as you lay,
flat on the still warm earth
day after day
watching sea thrifts dancing madly
lost in prayer
this quiet
wordless
act of
communion.

 

 

Painted Sky

If your heart was sore, heart weary,

if your eyes were filling with the tears of the day,

with the shadows of grief still flitting around you:

I would paint you a sky.

I would dip my brush in a palette of reds:

just a hint, just a tint, just a streak on the horizon,

a brightening, a sun stroke,

a sliver of burnished gold.

I would place the buzzard waiting,

the perfect silhouette of strong, courageous heart,

outlined, unmissable, against this red painted sky.

I would set the skies rolling in clouds tinged with purple,

moving soft across this most beautiful garden of Galloway,

I would let the oystercatcher fly on the last stretch home

the final turn of the road,

the last breath of your heart,

so you’d know it was sent

straight from me.

If your heart was sore, love:

I’d paint you the sky.

guardian of the way

I am the one who stands by the roadside

I am the one who is guardian of the way

I am the one who comforts all travellers

I am the guard of the way.

I am the one who gives shelter in all seasons

I am the one who will dry you in the rain

I am the one who will shade you in the summer

I am the guardian of the way.

I am the one who will stand forever by you

Through the harshest of the snow storms and the coldest bite of winter

I am the one who will stand here by your roadside

I am the one who will watch you on your way.

I am the one whose touch you imagine

Whose touch you know from holding even if you never have

I am the one whose girth’s too broad for hugging

But will hold you iron tight iron might, come what may.

I am the face of the green man, returning

I am oak leaves madly twirling

I am acorns softly falling

I am new life every day.

I am time beyond all seasons

I am age beyond your knowing

I am the green man ay returning

I’m the guardian of your way.

I am burnished gold of autumn

I am barest bones of winter

I am here as you are passing

I am guardian of your way.

Leaving No Room

sometimes there are no words
for the way the rain might
sweep
the limestone of the glen of Columkille
taking all before it

all words
all light

nothing but your eyes
sweeping the line of the rain
dark and impossibly true
as it moves through the glen

all silver
all grey

leaving no room
for the rainbow still to crack
the skies of Galway Bay
and leave you silent

speechless

all swept away

no longer knowing

no longer knowing
what it means to pray

hallowed

i step outside
hold the words of Mary Oliver

on earth as it is

just pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate

watch the yellow flower
glowing quiet in the garden gold
even as she’s tearing

torn

all faded

shape revealed through tattered loving grace –

deliver us

Homeward Bound

My eyes fill with

the rolling fields of January,

bare, leafless,

colourless almost,

old fort hills and soft muddy farmland

falling,

breathing,

gently unexceptional.

hilltop trees mark

the place you know is home:

tears of recognition,

dotted all over the horizon.

~~~

Carved out of one of my favourite poem making techniques: writing a piece of prose (in this case, about the journey home) and then cutting the lines up (literally) and moving them around, with further chopping if necessary, to form the shape, feel and sound of a poem.

This Is Not Photography

This is not photography.
This is flower watching in sweet, soft September sunshine.
This is the smell of the lavender filling my senses.
This is the sound of the river rushing past, and the buzz of the bees going mad with abundance in the herbs.
This is earth time before office time.
This is stolen time.
This is me time.
This is all time falls away and nothing else matters.
This is the way the light falls on the petals of the flower on this softest, sweetest September morning.
This is silence.
This is all love to the flower all love from the flower.
This is being beyond thinking.
This is loving beyond judgement.

This is not photography.

This is my practice.

This is my salvation.

This is my love song.

This is my practice, and my prayer.

At the Level of the Tiny

Things are happening at the level of the tiny.
Through all grief, through the deluge of tears,
Gasping in wonder, laughing in astonishment, crying with delight,
The world reveals itself with beauty at its centre.

Through all grief, through the deluge of tears,
The wings of the butterfly are folded, still, in perfect poise.
The world reveals itself with beauty at its centre.
There is nothing beyond this: this act of worship, this act of communion.

The wings of the butterfly are folded, still, in perfect poise.
Gasping in wonder, laughing in astonishment, crying with delight,
There is nothing beyond this: this act of worship, this act of communion.
Things are happening at the level of the tiny.

butterfly on lavender

Not Yet

Everything is wind at the Solway coast, everything is.

The wind is biting, bitter from the north and everything is bleached, everything is.

Everything is salted with the winter not yet going and the spring not being here.

Not yet.

Everything is not yet.

Everything is cold, everything is biting, everything is bitter.

Everything is bleached with length.

Everything is bitter being.

Everything is.

Everything.

Everything is not yet springing.

Everything is not yet singing.

Everything is not yet singing even as the skylark sings.

Everything is song of summer, even as the spring not yet.

Everything is spring not yet.

Everything is not yet.

Everything is not.

Yet.

Even as the skylark sings.

Even as the skylark sings the sky is full of song.

Everything is full of sky and everything is song.

Everything is skylark song.

Even as the skylark sings, everything is spring and even as the spring is singing, everything is summer birds and everything is summer.

Everything is.

Everything is singing.

Everything is singing and everything is song, everything is.

Everything is singing as the skylark sings.

Even as the wind is biting, even as the bitter’s bleaching, even as the skylark’s singing, everything is.

~~~

For an audio version of this prose poem, please press the arrow on the box below.