Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Look for the grain of truth
In everything, in every moment, everywhere;
Keep all your senses open,
And your heart alert;

Declare this search to be your mission;
Make of it your guide and staff,
And don't despair if what you find is 
Small and cold, wind-torn and bare:

The grain of truth is a survivor from the space
Preceding time; it is a trace of what once was
Whole and mighty,
Witness to the fabled good.

And if you hold this grain of truth cupped in
The hollow of your outstretched hand,
Give it air, let it breathe, taking care
Not to crush it in your grasp;

Nor yet let fear of its fragility
Beggar your belief, tempting you to hoard
Your find, to hide or fetishise it
On an altar in the dark;
But offer it instead to the rain, to the sun, 
Place it in the earth where it can sweetly
Swell and sprout and multiply
Into a head of corn, a field of wheat,

A swathe of fertile, singing green:
Be like the sages sitting lotus-like and open-palmed, 
Faithful to the knowledge of the bounty 
That a single grain can yield.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Thoughts, like things, have moods and weight, colour, shape, 
texture, movement, size.

On a clear day, thoughts can drift like clouds,
unattached, unfazed, and lazy, 
beyond reach of craving

Or they can be dark as Northern winter,
thorny anchors, onyx black, 
settling in the skull.

On days like this
my thoughts are a black hole of overthinking;
a centrifugal, shrunken mouth that sucks and swallows
every space where light and hope and grace might try to hide;

Most days thinking is a leather-booted army,
stamping its military will across every moment;
it is a crushing machine, a threshing mill,
a self-engorging cannibal,
masticating negativity, 
spawning doom.

On days like this
I try to feel for smaller thoughts,
the ones that flicker, fleeting, fragile,
magical as fairies, elusive as mist;

These are the ones to watch out for,
even if we only glimpse them in periphery.

Monday, July 23, 2018


Fear, the invader, begins as a tiny tickle
that scratches and niggles and snickers and itches

I try to find it at the source,
in my shoe? in my sock? in the gaps between my toes?
in the hairs on my shin? in the folds of my skin?

But the more I search the more the irritation spreads
Until it seems that I am allover prickled

Fear has spread its empire,
trekked across my full expanse, from head to toe
and into all the secret nooks and crannies in between
as if I’ve been—this thin-skinned barrel—roughly rolled
in a weed-infested, thistle-pocked, bindii-ridden paddock

Rash-red on an innocent-seeming carpet of green,
fear has festered,
has infested
even the edges of my shadow
and I can’t outrun its irascible gnawing
at my flesh

I change tactics
lay down in a warm bath
and try to drown, or steam to death
the colonising bastard.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Writing Life

The best time is when
the writing writes itself
each word pushing out the next
word after word clamouring for its noisy entrance

And I
like a woman in labour
am compelled to follow and push, follow and push,  and push, and push,
given over to the single-pointed moment

Yes I
become servant to the force 
that forges through me
feel myself to be 
a passage between 
inner chaos and the outer light
pregnant silence and the rhythm's singing 

Where the until-now inchoate is delivered
with a splash upon a sweat-streaked page
flapping like a silver-bellied fish 
out of water, sucking air, finding lung

And it doesn't matter what it says or means 
And you don't ask what it's all about

It's just the writing wanting to be written
Just each word wanting out
More words wanting 
to join in

To hold hands in sentences
to link arms in couplets
to stomp their their feet in choruses
to roar with applause in paragraphs
to romp and chase, twist and cartwheel,
puff and whistle

And, yes,
also to mourn 
in the company of bereft syllables like--
Oh, oh oh oh, 

To fall upon their knees finally
in exhaustion and despair
at such times gutted, breathless

And I
Can only wait and hope and keep my spirit open
for their immanent live birthing

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Weeping Wisteria

We meant this tree as a memorial.
It thrived at first, and greenly led each spring
Towards a summer lit with purple.
Now its limbs are dry, its crown is thinning.

A phoenix from ashes, defying life's debt,
The tree of hope is death's philosopher,
Promising the spirit's resurrection: yet,
In reality, resisting metaphor.
The ailing tree bears proof that, even though
The heart's investment longs to feed the roots,
Symbolic meaning cannot make them grow,
Nor renovate the fading of new shoots.

The thought brings tears that echo with old grief:
In truth the tree’s life too is only brief.

Sunday, April 02, 2017


I’m shaving winter stubble from my legs,
Slicing razor tracks across the lathered skin,
When a slick of scarlet stings my consciousness.

What do I know about my blood?
I only think about it if, as now, it oozes out of me.
Then I'm shocked into remembering

The steaming, busy world under my skin,
The me that is not me, the parts that join the whole—
Major highways, minor rivers, massive circuitry,
thermometers, alarms and guards—

And my dependence on the ceaseless, automatic processes,
The multitude of stage-hands and producers
Pushing buttons, pulling strings that let me dance.

My ignorance knows no bounds.

Saturday, April 01, 2017


You fool—

For thinking your load of pain is unique,
Mistaking your tears as proof of your truth,
Feeding your spirit with lamentations;

Crying for the moon as if it owes you
For the unjust weight of loneliness,
The grief you have to bear.

Fool, be wise—

Take comfort in knowing you're not alone:
Sorrow shares its story on the oldest maps,
Its route rehearsed by every aching cliché
Breaking in the heart of every traveller.

And though you’re lost, know too that loss
Is not the measure of your worth.