Thursday, 20 February 2020

All we are saying

The League of Poets are producing a giant anthology on peace, widely published and available, my contribution here, slender as it is, charity starts at home:

Helen’s day bed

How calmly she lies among the olive trees
above the bay, on her mattress, 
eyes closed against the tranquil day oblivious
to canopied white fishing boats below
that ply their way through fields of rippled blue,

and all around this drift of velvet butterflies – 
unorganised in midday flight – and lizards in the sun:
an excavator’s drill’s clamour in the valley down
seems further off than it can be.

Somewhere undisturbed, she’s cushioned, sheltered,
brown body bared in quiet calm, Helen
in her peaceful mind sinks in the sand,
warm sand, on the shores of the world.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

recondite and red


My poetic year ends with a win in the inaugural free competition from Anglica Tuition Services who, awarding all due respect to the works of Milton and Shakespeare for examples in scansion and wotnot, have sorted out me to the top of their entry heap:  none other mixed precision with delight so well as [my] own Astral Scheme.   A starry meditation.   Ah, sweet! 

I’ll be at charges for a looking glass,
and entertain a score or two of tailors
to study fashions to adorn my body,
since I am crept in favour with myself
I shall maintain it at some small cost. 
Shine out, fair sun, till I have bought a glass,
that I may see my shadow where I pass.
 


Sunday, 20 October 2019

Who is this Shams of Tubriz?


I have the standard American collection of Rumi (Jalaluddin Rumi 13thC) for the spiritual bedrock that he is.  Translated into the idiom some of these poems are a bit hit or miss.  We take what we like, Isherwood’s Bhagavad Gita for instance is my favourite version so far of that illuminating manuscript. And in all the poems before me Rumi shines.  Poetry is somewhat spiritual, what more can I say, Seek and ye shall find?   
Here’s a good-natured, work-a-day version of a piece included in the Shambhala Classics text:
 
 
The Mill, the Stone and the Water

All our desire is a grain of wheat.
Our whole personality is the milling-building.
But this mill grinds without knowing about  it.

The millstone is your heavy body.
What makes the stone turn is your thought-river.
The stone says: I don’t know why we do all this, but the river has knowledge!

If you ask the river, it says,
I don’t know why I flow.
All I know is that a human opened the gate!

And if you ask the person, he says:
All I know, oh gobbler of  bread, is that if this stone
stops going around, there’ll be no bread for your bread-soup!

All this grinding goes on, and no one has any knowledge!
So just be quiet, and one day turn
to God, and say: What is this about bread-making?


(trans Robert Bly)
 

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Poetry Bus #8



Poetry Bus Magazine No 8
Out this week, or last week, produced printed and sold out.  I'm really pleased to have a poem in this strong and varied collection.  It has all sorts, some are very good and some excellent in part.  I'm happy to have a poem scrape in.  All eyes on Dublin.
PB8

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Mercury swoops


I anticipate tea will be at 4 today, in these unfriendly times.  I'm happy to have a funny old poem on wretchedness posted up Ekphrastic, that’s two published poems a piece for the boys below.  Good men in their field.

Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso


Saturday, 24 August 2019

How good is this!?!

An unearthed recording, back from the Bardic Days.


(My partners says: Bury it deep).