Friday, 22 January 2010

The City Sounded

The city sounded two voices
One filled with the ideal self
Questing and finding and fulfilling
All sorts of highly visible desires

The other talking only to self
The homeless man people choose not to see
Worn and weary he sits by me
Speaking over all sorts of shrouded desires

It is an incomprehensible murmur
Here is the city’s shadow
Its unacknowledged madness
Lurking within the man no one will look in the eye

Can I look backwards to see what he was
Or forwards to what he will become?
The other voice sounds over the top
Of this ever-present soundtrack

So few people hear it but it rises up
In the nightmares of the respectable
In every act of urban violence
In every instance of self-loathing

It is unconscious and so dangerous
Perpetual and so powerful
It confirms the rich in their identity
Covers the insecure in their vulnerablity

The city sounded two voices
I heard both as I sat by the man without a home
I held his gaze only for a few seconds
And was wounded by his insanity

I left him talking to himself
Drinking the coffee he purchased
That made him equal with me
I turn and see him looking through glass

Our eyes searching space
For home or a place to hide?
The city sounded two voices tonight
And as I advance into the neon light

The murmur of his words rest
Upon the swell of an inner tide
But as I walk on they slip down
Disappearing for ever into a soundless deep

Thursday, 14 January 2010

A house made of wood

there it was in the woods
a house made of the same
tree, trunk, bark, branch
cut down, sawn through
sawdust lifted up
and scattered
by the winds of every season
material of the earth taken
to make
a shelter, a resting place
in which to ignite the fire
and burn
in which to let the light in after dark
and learn

Sunday, 10 January 2010

If I were a poet ...

If I were a poet
I would press a word into your hand
As I shook it and asked: How are you?
Smiling, the truth would not be spoken:

Last summer there were many days I shivered in the noonday heat
Spring only blossomed on the very edges of my seeing
Winter froze me quietly
Autunm felled me softly
And the earth's earth buried my heart

But the song, the song went on
Gliding through the night like a ship on dark waters
Leaving golden threads in its wake
Weaving through the days that rolled on and on
Like wave after wave breaking on the silver shore

If I were a poet
I would enter the furnace of forgetfulness
And the maelstrom of memory
In order to remember and record what you would not, could not
I would let the heat of your unuttered words sear me
And the whirlwind of your storms spin me

If I were a poet
I would record your dignity as an eagle's first flight
Your hunger as a burning tree:
The charred branches of your arms reaching out to receive
This year's harvest

If I were a poet
I would write what I heard you cry, shout, speak
Whisper and whimpered before your dying breath
Misted up the window pane
What would I write with my finger?
It would be your name

If I were a poet
If I were wholly the world's possession
If my meanings were as drops of water on your parched lips
If my metaphors carried over a bundle of new life to you
If my meter caused you to fall in step with my Master
I would write and write

On through the dark contemplation
On as the dark fire burned
On as the silver and gold threaded through your soul's darkest night
On until sunrise kissed your eyes with the morning's first light