as the years pass

It is harder to hold to
dreams as the years
pass. They slip like
gossamer in a wind,

which teases, irritable
and disconcerting, as
if it had been planned,
for just these times;

so do we enter the
days of the mundane,
the real, the practical,
without the shawl of

fantasy, to blur the
bitter edges, soften
the hard shapes –
create possibilities

for those we love,
and all of the things
we thought we might
do and be, in this

allotted time. Does
it matter? Or is this
how it was always
meant to be in a

slow process of
waking up, before
the last true moment
of awakening?

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The crack

In that faint crack
on the far wall,
my eye rested, as
if too weary to

wander further, or
as if the break in
the facade, so fine
demanded to be

seen, called out
to be recognised
as a light tearing:
like my heart.

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Change

There were times when
we heard each other, and
loved each other, almost
understood each other;

but those days are gone,
it seems and only deep
misunderstanding lives
in you, and perhaps also

echoes in me, unknown.
It is as if we lost our way
and the knowledge we
once had, each of the

other, walking in the
same world, and yet not;
shape-shifting through
familiar places, but each

seeing with strange eyes
which would not let us
recognise the faint shape
of who we both were.

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Sown

Sown by the wind like
seeds, unseen, settling
on stony ground, with
just enough soil to

tether in place, offering
the gift of life, even as
it is unexpected, nearly
impossible, but still the

thrust of becoming is
too much and small
shoots can be seen,
promising so much.

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Clouds

Rolling in that undetermined
way, sliding through mind and
space, so the clouds of time and
thought do justify, seasons of

the heart and soul, surrendering
to rain and thundered torment,
as lightning shrieks horrendous-
denying reasoned thoughts.

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Gathering

 

It was cold the day they buried me,

the mist shrinking back

from the hump of the hill.

The crows had arrived early.

They gathered like sleek flowers

in the branches of the undressed

oaks, strangely silent, as if waiting

to welcome the mourners, as they

walked, in sombre step, to their

expected places. That’s

the thing about being dead …..

you get to see things as they really

 

were, rather than how you thought

they were. It’s not quite the same as

when you are alive but it is similar.

Death has a way of making things

 

very clear.  It forces you to see even

as it blinds you.  Don’t get me wrong,

I wasn’t completely taken unawares.

After all, Death had been my companion

 

for many years. We had walked together,

through bright nights and dark days for

longer than I cared to forget, but I had

managed, through most of that time,

 

not to look too closely. But there comes

a time when it isn’t a matter of choice,

and you have no option. That’s when

Death holds your face in her long,

 

 

burning fingers and forces you to look

deep into her eyes. You can fall into

those eyes and never find your way

back. That’s why it’s better to choose

 

 

while you can. We can change our lives,

simply by choosing. But most of us do not

know that. The milk-haired girl taught me

that truth. Her face turned toward the wind,

 

 

poised like The Fool upon the precipice,

daring all to follow her into the unknown.

Like ancient Mania’s moon-child, she

clung to the bars that separated her

 

 

from the churning sea,   as if at any

moment she might take flight and

soar through the brooding heavens,

at one with the screaming gulls.

I can still see her now, even though

 

 

it was so very long ago … the image

engraved upon memory, finely worked

with feeling. And that’s the other thing

Death taught me; it’s not enough just to

 

 

think about things, you have to feel them.

But I’m getting ahead of myself and stories

are meant to have a sequence. I’m not sure

why though, because most of the time life

 

 

doesn’t. We all like to think that it does, but

often it doesn’t. In truth it’s only something

we tell ourselves, in order to create the illusion

of certainty. But there is no certainty, never

 

 

was and never will be.  When you look back

there’s nothing much of substance either.

It’s just a collection of moments pulled

together into something we call a story.

The truth is that most of the time we

live in the bits of our lives, dropping

in and out at the whim of what we

call consciousness. It’s an erratic

 

 

 

process and it’s a wonder that we’re

not all crazy by the end of it. The story

that we make out of the dregs and

dross of our lives that is the most

 

 

important thing because that is where

we find meaning, and meaning, I’ve

come to see, is the one quality that can

make the worst of life bearable.

 

Every story lives of and through itself

and it is in the telling that the threads

are sorted and re-worked. I happen

to think that words are living, feeling

 

 

things and, like human beings,  they

breathe most deeply in the spirit of

change. And so the pattern is the same,

and yet different; the telling is true,

 

 

and yet false, and the story is timeless

and yet changed.  For it is in the changing

that we can find a place for ourselves

in the story; and in the doing, re-make

 

 

the bed in which we must lie. This story

belongs to many, but we must all find our

own place in it. For life does not have

beginnings until we look back.  There are

 

those who would say it has no future either,

only the eternal now, but it is of the future

that we dream most often, forgetting that

the past is both source and pattern of all dreams.

 

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Only for a moment

On that long day, when life breathed
out, silently, but forcefully, she saw
again, the dusty patch where the lawn
had sucked death, and scrabbled to

survive, speaking in a visionary
language, of where her marriage had
taken her, without knowing, that was
what was happening; fretted with

the dying green of possibility, so the
days sobbed in the unforgiving dirt
and the rains never came, despite all
of the promises – such was the way of

it, in that place of so many broken
hopes and perished dreams, whose
fate had been written, long before the
stage was set, the actors cast, the lines

written in that wavering scrawl, as
children make, even while they try
to get it right, forgetting they have not
yet learned who they are or what it is

they can do. Indeed, what it is they will
be allowed to do. Perhaps we know so
little because ignorance lessens pain,
until the moment of the last breath. And,

even then, when like hieroglyphics,
the etched stories of our existence, dress
the lime walls of our tomb, if only for
a moment, brilliant in their colour.

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