31 October 2007

beware it bites

we wade until we find we're in too deep
there's nothing more that we can wish to do
water and sun kindness of heart renew

the mountains in the distance seem so steep
but from their heights there is a lovely view
we wade until we find we're in too deep

there's nothing here that we're allowed to keep
we are not part of the exploring crew
all that's permitted is to see the blue
we wade until we find we're in too deep

pause for a moment

listen for music
from each rock and wall and tree
echoes of glory

a small memorial

we aren't the ones who'll end up with the gold
a little silver and the chance for rest
a little kindness and a little zest
a chance to grow both happy and quite old
the ending of the story's not foretold
but we may hope that all is for the best
life is for real it's not some fiendish test
we take it fiery and we take it cold
yet while we may we have to take the chance
to hear the music see the lovely sights
and smile at lichens growing on the wall
all take their place within the stately dance
enjoy the warmth of day and cool of nights
but know there comes a finish to the ball

30 October 2007

all-island rain

after a while i know the rain won't pause
so i must trudge on through the dark and wet
to get home safely is my only cause

i've always been afraid of rod or tawse
but with one purpose i am fairly set
after a while i know the rain won't pause

closing my book on subordinate clause
i look at the last street-light with regret
to get home safely is my only cause

no monsters wait to take me in their maws
until i reach my door i won't be met
after a while i know the rain won't pause

there are no tigers with their long sharp claws
in the dark forests that i half-forget
to get home safely is my only cause

i am obedient to the lesser laws
if i should drown there's not one who would fret
after a while i know the rain won't pause
to get home safely is my only cause

from field to fold

millennia of storms create a path
from gentle curve between forested hills
down to the cliff face where the water spills

the gully is the storm's true aftermath
determined flouter of mere human wills
millennia of storms create a path

we're never there when nature in her wrath
the little mice and tiny lizards kills
on rocks and trees that are her grinding mills
millennia of storms create a path

capitalism gone mad

news comes of death and fear and of great pain
we've got a world where crises never cease
and all that drives us now is hope of gain

we should not ask the nature of that stain
that sinks into the pavement unlike grease
news comes of death and fear and of great pain

we learn the facts and we learn them all plain
the terrors come without pause or surcease
and all that drives us now is hope of gain

there'll be no healing here from gentle rain
we may have come to ending of our lease
news comes of death and fear and of great pain

not one hand rises our own to sustain
no one will come our hearts and eyes to please
and all that drives us now is hope of gain

we're punished if we go against the grain
never again may we have rest or ease
news comes of death and fear and of great pain
and all that drives us now is hope of gain

lessons of history

when we've been made to speak only what's true
the shadows of the past will still hang cold
and heavy on the shoulders of the bold

the morning sun brings all things into view
but we cannot believe all that we're told
when we've been made to speak only what's true

the face we see shows a dishonest hue
the fact is clear it's really far too old
and much is hidden now in each deep fold
when we've been made to speak only what's true

life's wayang play

what memories are ruffled by the breeze
when we are least concerned with old regret
and looking upwards see in silhouette
against the rosy sky the still-dark trees
those who are standing and those on their knees
prepare to face the world with faces set
and yet they find themselves caught in the net
all become victims of the oldest wheeze
we look but cannot see the morning birds
the sun illuminates not one pale cloud
and the clear air is cold as well as dry
still we seek for the better nobler words
we'll dare to speak the truest names aloud
and hope for kindness coming from the sky

nothing to see

the rules are clear
we have no choice
there's no fresh air
no ringing voice
we have to care
but not rejoice

allow some thought
of what we need
twixt is and ought
the monsters breed
all goes for naught
when giants feed

in the deep dark
we see no stars
but still may mark
the sounds of cars
no dogs may bark
but there are jars

allow each heart
to have its say
play no loud part
but smile with day
your simple art
shows us the way

the rules are hard
and cause great pain
each road's now barred
but there's no rain
we've no regard
for those who strain

allow each mind
to search the earth
bring humankind
to better birth
teach dumb and blind
the springs of mirth

no rules are just
no gods will bless
the ones who must
achieve success
and yet their trust
was no excess

permit the true
to end their task
give what is due
without a mask
accept the new
and do not ask


29 October 2007

by long dark stream

the wind must carry sounds of ancient grief
to those who listen but can never hear
a signifier to those not so near
of what may happen to the subtle thief
or that some things are never past belief
the price of happiness may be too dear
but never so high as the cost of fear
each sigil must be clear and each word brief
what meaning's given to the flying shoe
or to the wings that lift the sluggish bird
messages may come in this cool weather
above us still the pale and cloudless blue
we wait to hear some fresh restoring word
that will give balance to phoenix feather

no need for wit

there's nothing more of us you may require
beyond the seas we've no need of your aid
there's not one thing that can withstand the fire

with you the hidden ones may well conspire
some things are best done in the evening shade
there's nothing more of us you may require

warnings will be printed on a flier
and then forgotten everything must fade
there's not one thing that can withstand the fire

the message goes to every rural shire
through many rivers your horses must wade
there's nothing more of us you may require

your hope lies in the midden and the byre
in entities that were not proper made
there's not one thing that can withstand the fire

the longest silence will confound a liar
so many want to enter the parade
there's nothing more of us you may require
there's not one thing that can withstand the fire

no distant music

we do not ever know the proper cause
of all the pains and sorrows that we face
the whole thing is not due to higher laws

the hungry tiger shows its shining claws
signs of great power and of a fiery grace
we do not ever know the proper cause

the noise continues without any pause
each is confined to a restricted space
the whole thing is not due to higher laws

spring will refresh us with its rains and thaws
but autumn plods on at a steady pace
we do not ever know the proper cause

one who would lead us never hems and haws
and shows us clear concern in smiling face
the whole thing is not due to higher laws

we are not made to bow before applause
as creatures of the fearful human race
we do not ever know the proper cause
the whole thing is not due to higher laws

28 October 2007

afloat in time

empty the soul empty the thinking mind
leave all you wish and all you might desire
there is no goal to which you could aspire

there's nothing here the questing heart to bind
no way to tell your difference from your sire
empty the soul empty the thinking mind

not much is left for trebling hand to find
not all sweet music comes from lute or lyre
not every signal kindles sacred fire
empty the soul empty the thinking mind

in the spyglass

what's to be seen
in normal eyes
is that we're keen
to realize
that what we mean
is just more lies

what we have been
is not so wise
the odds are lean
the worst despise
not worth a bean
are all their lies

nothing between
the truth and spies
what's on the scene
deserves no prize
nothing's left clean
and still one lies





willow walk

upon these sights we find that we can fall
knowledge of every rut in the rough road
fireflies flashing in their odd secret code
the casuarinas and the drystone wall

we think these mountains though not very tall
upon a rise is our nightly abode
and just below we see the cocks that crowed
the casuarinas and the drystone wall

when each goes back they find the place grown small
and very strange the paths they walked or rode
old time we find has sped instead of slowed
the casuarianas and the drystone wall

and yet not all has faded past recall
each knows the places where the sunset glowed
there was a time when magic set the mode
the casuarinas and the drystone wall

facing the music

where feeling fails to tell us what we need
there's not a lot that we can hope to know
we see the river and we note its flow
and take no notice of the nodding reed
the thing for which not one of us would plead
appears in retrospect with noble glow
our choices come either too fast or slow
the propaganda's never in the deed
we look but there's so much we cannot see
a universe of wisdom but we'll fail
to find the answers or the simple sense
we must become we cannot simply be
or else we're trapped in problem and detail
so much to do before we must go hence

the end of our exploring

a life is measured not in years but deeds
we listen to the music and are glad
what's true has meaning and is not a fad

we tell the cultivars from the hard weeds
each hillside is in autumn colours clad
a life is measured not in years but deeds

we make the step between desires and needs
not one was jealous of what others had
to truest feeling no one needs to add
a life is measured not in years but deeds

in the deep bush

there is no silence in the richest green
life makes its presence known in many ways
in memory we are what we had once been

we climb the rocks our bodies firm and lean
in the deep bush each gully seems a maze
there is no silence in the richest green

on small adventures we are very keen
all in these woods is subject to our gaze
in memory we are what we had once been

the shadowed floor is full of things that mean
but to decypher them takes many days
there is no silence in the richest green

high in the trees a hungry hawk may keen
a tiny movement fearful mouse betrays
in memory we are what we had once been

we were not then built into the machine
having so much to understand and praise
there is no silence in the richest green
in memory we are what we had once been

easy as sunday morning

beyond the trees are places much the same
as where we sit and smile and the pale light
the day and hour seem to come out just right
there is no reason now for fear or shame
in every heart we see the living flame
our one defence against the long dark night
the only gift we won't ever requite
nothing deserves either our praise or blame
beneath my window red and purple blooms
autumn's bright flowers have their time in the sun
for the bleak winter will too soon arrive
we are not trapped forever in our rooms
and have much more to say before we're done
while joying in the fact that we're alive

27 October 2007

right off the map

we sail upon the shallowest of seas
in all directions are sharp reefs and rocks
a voice from shoreline always fleers and mocks

in the far distance islands thick with trees
but howling creatures wait there on the docks
we sail upon the shallowest of seas

there's too much danger from the lightest breeze
we're trapped by nature in some sort of box
and all too eager for the noise and shocks
we sail upon the shallowest of seas

Another meme....

http://www.fightconservatives.com/images/PIQLink.gif"alt="How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments" width="50" height="50" style="border:0px;padding:0px;margin;0px;" />

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Peace Patroller, also known as an anti-war liberal or neo-hippie. You believe in putting an end to American imperial conquest, stopping wars that have already been lost, and supporting our troops by bringing them home.

renaissance music

words sung or spoken need have little sense
all that should matter is the changing tone
each of us listens for the sound alone
the night air is now with rich echoes dense
we need no meaning nor any suspense
all that must signify the wind has blown
warmth leaches down into the very bone
a moment passes of the most intense
flame that erupts in watches of the night
guiding sad traveller to distant shore
where soft and welcome hands and smiles await
we steer towards the red and happy light
not knowing what remains or what else more
will happen when we pass the shining gate

on the warm hillside

lights on the lowland in the velvet night
and further out the deeper darker sea
we find the rules are neither true nor right

there's some small comfort in the normal sight
a time exists that gives us room to be
lights on the lowland in the velvet night

the sense of wonder is not small nor slight
from this calm place each knows he has to flee
we find the rules are neither true nor right

the night's as dark as day is dazzling bright
and ghosts and spirits hang beneath each tree
lights on the lowland in the velvet night

there are no demons though for us to smite
nor beings to whom we have to bend knee
we find the rules are neither true nor right

against nostalgia we still have to fight
memory and truth will not ever agree
lights on the lowland in the velvet night
we find the rules are neither true nor right

island of pain

evening light beneath huge old mango tree
butressing roots reach far out on the ground
you want to pause and utter not a sound

my father says it comes from the unfree
that underneath it lies one who was bound
evening light beneath huge old mango tree

far in the distance the eternal sea
its presence is one we feel all around
its waves upon unholy shores still pound
evening light beneath huge old mango tree

expendable savages

what need have we for poet and his lyre
the news comes in of humankind's deep pain
of savage drought and of incessant rain
the world is caught up in enormous fire
while foolish voices echo in their choir
that we should never go against the grain
the only measure is of loss and gain
and every hero's just another liar
nothing is left after we see the flash
we're told the only safe course is obey
and while we're at it just ignore the smell
someone will gratefully take all the cash
and tell us that there was no better way
while all the time our earth turns into hell

26 October 2007

antonomasia

you are a person
in your hands i place my heart
you'll keep it safely

in the dark wood

only in shadows do we dare to dream
haste renders void with one actinic flash
we can survive without the golden beam

truth has no colour falsehood has a gleam
what glitters most is the foulest of trash
only in shadows do we dare to dream

respect what heroes a fair process deem
and never yield to baton nor to lash
we can survive without the golden beam

sewage is sold us as the finest cream
against a rigid wall we have to smash
only in shadows do we dare to dream

the angry river is no precious stream
upon its rocks the fragile boats will bash
we can survive without the golden beam

plain honest truth is just another meme
the thing that truly matters is cold cash
only in shadows do we dare to dream
we can survive without the golden beam

presage of winter

we count each cold word
the leaves turn brown red and gold
autumnal blossoms

soon sun won't warm hearts
swiftly winter approaches
stark grasping branches

wind in the pine trees
promise of frigidity
waiting for new spring

summer terrifies
with flattening waves of heat
but winter's evil

we name each second
knowing how quickly they pass
time soon reaches end

a feast of echoes

the bell we hear is not the truest bell
drums beat and violins expand the sound
music and heart in unison will swell

the joyous tympani can't sound a knell
rhythmic perfection shall old pain confound
the bell we hear is not the truest bell

the truths discovered we now must not tell
honour and justice will our words impound
music and heart in unison will swell

richness and depth our warmest thoughts impel
the greatest mountain is a gentle mound
the bell we hear is not the truest bell

we may not recollect what just befell
nor any treasures that we may have found
music and heart in unison will swell

there's not a thing that we would buy or sell
instead we'll make a stand upon our ground
the bell we hear is not the truest bell
music and heart in unison will swell

gazing upwards

pale in the east this cold morning's false glow
inky clouds hold no promise of more rain
the week is ending without loss or gain
our time may move but it moves very slow
high in the air circles the hungry crow
which sees humanity simple and plain
and bears a final answer to all pain
yet cannot tell us what we need to know
i look for shadows and i find them deep
enough to hide whole worlds and yet quite clear
that there are places where darkness won't lift
my mind insists that what i need is sleep
the clouds move swiftly through the chilly air
and through warm memories i still must sift

25 October 2007

honour without profit

we give each thing we see and sense a name
and think that gives us all the truest power
but cannot see what's real and what's a game

each hopes the rain will fail to douse the flame
but then rejoices in the longed-for shower
we give each thing we see and sense a name

the world we have is never truly tame
each of us in our shelters has to cower
but cannot see what's real and what's a game

you'd seek to blame the enemies who came
and rendered sterile what had been our dower
we give each thing we see and sense a name

each may define the proper shaping frame
and leave pain stranded in the highest tower
but cannot see what's real and what's a game

if we don't shun the glory and the fame
our deepest hopes will not last out the hour
we give each thing we see and sense a name
but cannot see what's real and what's a game

the normal realm

answers that come when you do not believe
that truths are left to find or to declare
the world seems to conspire to drive you spare
and there's not one moment in which to grieve
the ones who tried to lie and to deceive
and who discovered that life could be fair
beyond the need for service and for care
they will our hearts and minds at last relieve
accept that light comes and darkness goes
and that the pattern will in time reverse
we are now held in place by bonds of steel
we listen for the nightly wind that blows
out from the realm of the odd and perverse
and once more put our shoulders to the wheel

24 October 2007

bar the shouting

you make the trip knowing how it will end
but choices do not matter in this light
behind their faces each has to pretend

we get some things and others we must send
and then forget them when they're out of sight
you make the trip knowing how it will end

the road's not straight and hell is round the bend
our passengers are now half-dead with fright
behind their faces each has to pretend

we borrow glory but you've cannot lend
us one more thing than we would have of right
you make the trip knowing how it will end

if we attack you cannot just defend
you can't match strokes and that is the worst plight
behind their faces each has to pretend

what has been broken you can never mend
nor can you find an answer in the night
you make the trip knowing how it will end
behind their faces each has to pretend

west of black river

let each small gift become a larger sign
of what we hope and what we have to know
peace falls at last on both sides of the line

the shore is cleansed each day by foamy brine
trees take their shape from steady winds that blow
let each small gift become a larger sign

we watch the river and the sea entwine
waters move swiftly and then they move slow
peace falls at last on both sides of the line

the sand that forms the beach is sugar-fine
and in the sunset almost seems to glow
let each small gift become a larger sign

the reef ahead seems like a stony spine
and still the tides will steady ebb and flow
peace falls at last on both sides of the line

in the warm night we slowly sip our wine
and when time comes we will arise and go
let each small gift become a larger sign
peace falls at last on both sides of the line

light and shade

hope comes with duller colours and with rain
the steady drizzle soothes the aching heart
we pause and then again we have to start
some matters are best stated clear and plain
each listens to a distant warming strain
seeking to solve all problems by true art
and hit the bullseye each time with the dart
our world's much more than agony and pain
growth happens and we need to train and guide
each shoot to take its proper shining place
in the rich garden of the living mind
not to allow a bright blossom to hide
but lift to the eye its full glowing face
and make much richer all of humankind

23 October 2007

harrowing hell

the engraved letters gleam with secret fire
there's never reason to accept the night
while still there is one scintilla of light

we will not listen to the earthly choir
that counsels us to silence or to flight
the engraved letters gleam with secret fire

struggle leads us unto places higher
and we must claim the standard as our right
we cannot run and can't avoid the fight
the engraved letters gleam with secret fire

the road downhill

the answer comes to us in a great roar
the crowd is chanting and the leader smiles
we have been once more taken by his wiles
he is the one who truly knows the score
when we awaken we'll be truly sore
the lies will mount up in gigantic piles
while we're distracted by the changing styles
and then we'll find ourselves again at war
we have been trained to listen for the drum
to let the martial music guide our sense
and when we hear it played to sing and yell
we're never asked to understand the sum
of all the pains and the torments intense
that turn our little happiness to hell

what's left to master

if stories are told
on such rainy days
we might yet grow old
knowing better ways

no sort of measure
even of plain time
no hidden treasure
to fill out the rhyme

a kind of magic
we have required
it's never tragic
to see them fired

one horse and rider
galloping so fast
a crawling spider
survives the great blast

this music flowing
filling up each heart
the maples glowing
will each play their part

there is a cancer
we can't ever cure
to give the answer
means we're not pure

the gate is broken
this we remember
the lie is spoken
truth is an ember

we name the teacher
who gives us all hope
we leave the preacher
hanging on a rope

no time left to pause
no world left to choose
we suffer the laws
and we win or lose


in hope for rain

on a day like this
we hope for yet more soft rain
autumnal fullness

branches sway in breeze
clounds mass thickly above us
we still need the rain

yellow in the green
and red maples have now turned
winter is coming

a kind of epitaph

we will not leave unchanged from this sad place
no terror's left to frighten those who dare
we're not the glory of the human race

each of us wishes we could leave some trace
of who we were hanging bright in the air
we will not leave unchanged from this sad place

we shed all satin and we shed all lace
still we will not be either cold or bare
we''re not the glory of the human race

when we are gone we'll leave behind no space
nor will the world be less stark or less fair
we will not leave unchanged from this sad place

our hands are suited not to gun or mace
nor to such weapons as the great may spare
we're not the glory of the human race

the plainest truth is seen in every face
lineaments of honesty and care
we will not leave unchanged from this sad place
we're not the glory of the human race

dustbin of history

who now would mourn the elegance now past
the days of ease and music and sweet dance
all swept away by brutal truth's advance

into the maelstrom the old has been cast
no more will debs and dandies lightly prance
who now would mourn the elegance now past

the servants will keep silence till the last
and then will leave without a backward glance
leaving the masters to old change and chance
who now would mourn the elegance now past

22 October 2007

hoping for more rain

when the rules change we can't be satisfied
a moment's thought will serve to give us pause
nothing eventuates but out of pride

we can't be sure that you will not deride
all that we say each single phrase and clause
when the rules change we can't be satisfied

our urgent need will not here be denied
we see the benefits and all the flaws
nothing eventuates but out of pride

we told the truth but you just would have lied
and quickly bowed and smiled at the applause
when the rules change we can't be satisfied

we have no secrets left for you to hide
there is no one who knows the primal cause
nothing eventuates but out of pride

were we alone we just might let things slide
but once observed are subject to the laws
when the rules change we can't be satisfied
nothing eventuates but out of pride

one time long time

choices were made and life seemed very good
until we saw what lay beyond the cloud
all shattered now is hope of brotherhood

our rulers' heads are made of rock or wood
and yet they stand above us high and proud
choices were made and life seemed very good

the hangman comes frowning beneath his hood
and in his presence none dares speak too loud
all shattered now is hope of brotherhood

not one of us who did the things we could
survives to seek true shelter in the crowd
choices were made and life seemed very good

there was nothing that was not understood
yet when it happened we were swiftly cowed
all shattered now is hope of brotherhood

if we went back we know that we still would
end in the same place backs bent and heads bowed
choices were made and life seemed very good
all shattered now is hope of brotherhood

life in the tropics

we cannot hope for brotherhood or trust
one man is always at his neighbour's throat
women will fight over a meal or coat
and honesty is left out in the dust
what was once love turns out to be a bust
our future leader yet another goat
and happiness is getting on the boat
while right behind us one's killed for a crust
this is the world we thought was paradise
and so we ate the lotus and lay down
only to find what i now have to tell
that everything is valued at a price
the would-be hero is just one more clown
and we have made ourselves a living hell

rules for living

soft now the rain
under dull grey
this is the way
we turn again

all that is plain
on this good day
is that we stay
far from the strain

we see the stain
of dirt and clay
no one could say
there is no gain

and so the main
text of the play
sadly we may
account as pain

morning comes late

dark weighs upon us where there should be day
the distant voices do not ease our fear
there's not much movement in the heavy air

we have no choice whether to go or stay
and neither energy nor hope to spare
dark weighs upon us where there should be day

in such deep silence we ought not to stray
but cannot hope simply to stand and stare
there is no limit to how much we care
dark weighs upon us where there should be day

21 October 2007

quest fever

night makes the shapes that come to us in dream
each of us travels through that realm of dark
forever seeking one last noble gleam

we hold our visions in lowest esteem
that other world seems a most dreadful park
night makes the shapes that come to us in dream

we hate to watch the last fading sunbeam
fearing deep shadows and terrors most stark
forever seeking one last noble gleam

we get a message a confusing meme
facing a stern judge and an evil clerk
night makes the shapes that come to us in dream

we wake and paper fills up by the ream
with words that waking mind may truly mark
forever seeking one last noble gleam

the journey's made with neither sail nor steam
from light to light we follow the stone's arc
night makes the shape that come to us in dream
forever seeking one last noble gleam

that strain again

we cannot truly understand the past
all that we know is not enough to tell
history's a stream on which we all are cast

things happen and they happen very fast
it is all over when they ring the bell
we cannot truly understand the past

not even time to pack up the repast
before we see the ocean rise and swell
history's a stream on which we all are cast

we may recover from the sudden blast
but not accept either vision or smell
we cannot truly understand the past

our colours now hang limply from the mast
we find there is no water in the well
history's a stream on which we all are cast

the prize will be withheld until the last
we listen for that final aching knell
we cannot truly understand the past
history's a stream on which we all are cast

another face of things

the handsome prince will get the peasant lass
that is a given in each fairy tale
but no one speaks of tankards of warm ale
or priests who mumble sacred words in mass
we hear of speaking salmon not of bass
of swords and knights but not of those who quail
before the stern-faced laywers or who fail
to hide the inopportune blast of gas
stories end in promise of happiness
but do not mention in all their matter
just what that means to those like you or i
whose worlds are all one vast unholy mess
whose days are filled with bother and clatter
and have no time to look up at the sky

20 October 2007

liberty is not a dream

we do not leave a single root behind
the cords that bind us are extremely long
we take whatever givens we can find

we start our journey well and truly blind
and every turn we take we learn is wrong
we do not leave a single root behind

there is no past for which we could have pined
all our connections mean we must be strong
we take whatever givens we can find

beyond all horrors we are humankind
it is to ourselves that we most belong
we do not leave a single root behind

through annual struggle and daily grind
each is alone though always in a throng
we take whatever givens we can find

we find no answers but a questing mind
no cheery words but one heroic song
we do not leave a single root behind
we take whatever givens we can find


no duppy runner

beside the road old spirits congregate
we hear their voices twitter in night air
while cold upon our necks is urgent fate

we left our starting time until too late
this is a place where people disappear
beside the road old spirits congregate

the road we pass on never has been straight
the way to safety is far less than clear
while cold upon our necks is urgent fate

darkness of history a deadly freight
there is no sanctuary in the square
beside the road old spirits congregate

we cannot sight or sound obliviate
those who might shelter simply do not care
while cold upon our necks is urgent fate

each will forget the season and the date
there's not a drop of courage left to spare
beside the road old spirits congregate
while cold upon our necks is urgent fate

the only proper answer

where we belong is not in this old place
we tell ourselves in accents of a child
for what we have seems far too tame and mild

i search for recognition of each face
time is not yet so easily beguiled
where we belong is not in this old place

what is the world must also be the case
the fact and value shall be reconciled
and each event have been securely styled
where we belong is not in this old place

we send our messages to the new king
he does not listen to our sacred word
the line between safe and profane is blurred

yet swifter messengers are on the wing
that we should be ignored is just absurd
we send our messages to the new king

great enterprises will tomorrow bring
some other options we would have preferred
but with our choices all now have concurred
we send our messages to the new king

to rise in anger takes much more than will
folk on safe courses rarely seek to turn
even when others their goodwill may spurn

there are so many charges on the bill
more than a king could ever think to earn
to rise in anger takes much more than will

to take the castle on the final hill
cities must fall and villages shall burn
greater than us we quickly shall inurn
to rise in anger takes far more than will

regard the mighty as they face their fall
the lies they uttered better men had told
but now they face the fury and the cold

none of the great ones for now will stand tall
not one of them is either brave or bold
regard the mighty as they face their fall

the king must answer when the people call
for men and women weigh far more than gold
nor may their suffrages be bought and sold
regard the mighty as they face their fall

we regard power as one more form of grief
expect the worst of any who take rule
or you will end up face down in the pool

there is no trust in master nor in chief
they do not teach this now in any school
we regard power as one more form of grief

the truth we tell you is never too brief
we can the complex message here unspool
the one who serves is by no means a fool
we regard power as one more form of grief

at a drystone wall

framed in the evening light a mango tree
widespread and old with a huge deep dark shade
behind and under as evening parade
begins and we think ourselves truly free
of daily duties but we have paid no fee
to certify that we have made the grade
while high above us the light starts to fade
revealing worlds we were not meant to see
the sheep are full-fed and now seem content
while goats are bound for water and for sleep
and cattle ignore us while they still graze
and yet we are for distant venues bent
the sea beyond us not so wide nor deep
that it can hide the hope of other days

no map to heaven

a little space for thought in the clear light
no matter what we want we have to choose
either to struggle or else to refuse
and fall unmourned into eternal night
each ship that sets forth from the friendly bight
is one more chance we have to win or lose
to cheer the outcome or sink into blues
the words are black the paper's always white
there are strange ports that we reach in a life
through ordinary time but not plain space
where answers given are not always heard
promising increase or relief from strife
while pointing ever to a resting place
where all the power is but a simple word

autumn flowers

spring covers all in its rich coats of green
we love the warmer days and longer hours
the world seems cleaner with a brighter sheen
but still i want to speak of autumn flowers

a time will come when leaves have gone to mould
when we will daily long for warmer showers
we'll have a choice dull wet or brilliant cold
but still i want to speak of autumn flowers

the colours that i see will cheer the mind
revive good thoughts and all my native powers
leaving all sadness and sharp fear behind
but still i want to speak of autumn flowers

regard the fence in purple pink and red
the blooms stand tall not a one of them cowers
the plants seem happy in their fertile beds
and so i want to speak of autumn flowers

19 October 2007

a thrice-told tale

now truth becomes what we seek in the green
arrive too late and you have missed the flower
what matters most is what you have not seen

plain facts are told in maner most serene
no lightnings play about a gloomy tower
now truth becomes what we seek in the green

what's honest cannot ever be obscene
but prudes and puritans will always glower
what matters most is what you have not seen

we always have to show respectful mien
to those who could our hopes and loves devour
now truth becomes what we seek in the green

our own desires will matter not a bean
pasts may be sweet but futures may turn sour
what matters most is what you have not seen

the beggar girl must dream of being queen
the slave of days when in his hands lies power
now truth becomes what we seek in the green
what matters most is what you have not seen

18 October 2007

beyond the barrier

above the mountains where the wyverns hide
we watch fat clouds expand into the east
we do not wonder when we see each beast
rise from the crags and loud proclaim its pride
on unmapped oceans where sea-serpents ride
each sailor fears to attend the great feast
when every demon from chains is released
and enters places where weak humans bide
a sodden weather eases one great fear
that fiery dragons would with flame descend
seizing our sheep from hillside or from fold
we are not certain of the age or year
when light and legend would in wonder blend
and ancient mysteries again unfold
when once again nightwalkers are bold
and angry heroes have once more the care
of the defenceless and the folk who tend
the plains and valleys in both heat and cold
to keep them safe from all powers of the air
and from the goblin decent homes defend
while plotting all the while for dragon-gold
the dangers that we face of other kind
still have their origin in living mind

a dance of life

moment of clear light
branches moving gently now
waiting for rainfall

time for calm and rest
clarity in the pallor
never more than peace

allow a small time
for all the good things we love
to work their magic

no tears and no blame
familiar ways passing
new worlds being born

grasping at shadows

no saintly rule over plain human folk
we have been governed by such fools and liars
whose pleasant voices singing in their choirs
disguise the fact that we're under a yoke
we bend our necks and wait the killing stroke
watch useless bodies cast onto the byres
and lives destroyed out of old vain desires
our hopes were full but now we all are broke
there is a shadow over every leaf
all work seems fated to fade and decay
and all our efforts may have been in vain
but still we have to overcome our grief
renew our pledges and restore the way
and hope for some revival in the rain

to resist such gods

the gods who made us seem to hate us all
they make our lives all misery and pain
we always have to stand up from the fall

all human power will sicken and appall
if two men kiss we will withhold the rain
the gods who made us seem to hate us all

we will chop down the stalks that stand too tall
converting into loss all of your gain
we always have to stand up from the fall

your ventures will all sail into a squall
and if you're lucky will come out again
the gods who made us seem to hate us all

the princess will be struck down at the ball
over the kingdom comes a noisome stain
we always have to stand up from the fall

we will not listen though you have to call
we make things difficult when they are plain
the gods who made us seem to hate us all
we always have to stand up from the fall

17 October 2007

South of Eden

So much we do not learn, and think we ought,
of places where we dare to set roots down.
What is the colour of that leafy crown?
And what the bird that in the light is caught?
The things we see around us are all fraught
with meanings deep enough for minds to drown,
but ask a question and you'll get a frown
for we live in a place of is not ought.
All stories come together in the end,
and every quest, we find, turns out the same;
knowledge and mystery a single light
will shed upon all matters we intend
all human purpose is a giant game.
We say our speeches, and we say goodnight.

homecoming

we take such moments as we can
what is allowed we cannot tell
there is no central map or plan
the journey does not end in hell

nor is a heaven on the cards
for all the holy good and true
the distance is not miles nor yards
and what we find is never new

allow the words to have their time
we come we go and that is all
we tell the truth in prose or rhyme
we rise we falter and we fall

there is no sign beyond the last
we cannot bend our sight so far
we fade quite swiftly to the past
to those who come there is no bar

allow us but a moment's peace
to sing our songs and tell our tales
to stand upright behind the crease
and cry out at the falling bails

this world is neither round nor flat
but follows quite a crooked line
we have our seconds at the bat
and then we go while others dine

recovered seconds

what numbers mean and what words have to say
are only echoes of a time when pain
comes of a sudden like a summer rain

we live by light of quite another day
when things shall be familiar and plain
what numbers mean and what words have to say

we do not see ourselves within the play
for to that mirror we show much disdain
what's gone is gone and we won't see again
what numbers mean and what words have to say

no platonic shadows

when veneers crack the end comes very soon
the scent of pain cuts across every line
we think it midnight but we call it noon

though vultures gather they will never croon
not even when they watch the falling kine
when veneers crack the end comes very soon

at night we listen for the lonely loon
on lakes whose banks are thick with fir and pine
we think it midnight but we call it noon

promises made by light of the full moon
crumble to powder if we have to sign
when veneers crack the end comes very soon

we wake and then we wonder why you swoon
the greatest hopes plain life will undermine
we think it midnight but we call it noon

we ask for peace as if it were a boon
but cannot wait our metal to refine
when veneers crack the end comes very soon
we think it midnight but we call it noon

alone in timeless space

there are no shadows in the aching night
i cannot sleep for the intrusive sound
nothing seems kind or pleasant here around
i dim but cannot quite put out the light
there's much to worry at the edge of sight
where senses and desires will both compound
in shapes and figures that seek to confound
trapped at the heart of rigour and of rite
nothing that comes from any stress or strain
can quite succeed in making us take thought
for what will come when all leaves start to turn
the rule of life small pleasure and much pain
and all our efforts at last count for naught
we come from fire and our fate is to burn

15 October 2007

the law of draco

there are no shadows but we need to hide
from the long dragon in the western sky
we fear the searing glance of his bright eye
and his insouciant ominous glide
we do not dare his flames now to deride
all of our courage turns into a lie
while the winds carry our despairing cry
he is upon us in his towering pride
no swarm of heroes comes up from the sea
to save us in the depth of all our fear
we are alone and have to face our fate
there is no use to even try to flee
nor to attempt what giants would not dare
the moment that we see him is too late

the greater world

so close the sea at the same time so far
the beach is foolishness so we are told
we carry distant vision like a scar

we try so hard but can never reach par
our efforts are pathetic you will scold
so close the sea at the same time so far

a stolen hour with a superb cigar
the world seems large and i must now be bold
we carry distant vision like a scar

the honey flows from out the broken jar
the day was hot but now my skin turns cold
so close the sea at the same time so far

to open just one window of the car
and clearer moments might just then unfold
we carry distant vision like a scar

that distant house seems just another star
we know the way and followed it of old
so close the sea at the same time so far
we carry distant vision like a scar

destiny

a moment in the sun and we are lost
beyond the hope of any swift return
life smiles but every kindness has a cost

no cheque we write can easily be crossed
we end up spending more than we can earn
a moment in the sun and we are lost

like cattle we too swiftly can be bossed
and show our simple hunger at each turn
life smiles but every kindness has a cost

we see our chances in those we accost
we are too careful any odds to spurn
a moment in the sun and we are lost

into the living stream we each are tossed
there's so much that we swiftly have to learn
life smiles but every kindness has a cost

we have to withstand both the heat and frost
to overcome the different sorts of burn
a moment in the sun and we are lost
life smiles but every kindness has a cost



journey not destination

this road leads us to no secret places
the map shows clear just where we have to go
we do not move with haste beneath the glow
nor are our feet ready for the races
at times we will be led to shadowed spaces
and learn things that are never good to know
others will pass us since feet move too slow
but will miss the less important graces
the lethargy that serves to hold you back
may in the end allow you to see more
than those who rush right on to their far goal
you have good reason to see all the track
to note with pleasure each welcoming door
and reach your destination sane and whole

14 October 2007

normal day of obligation

for what may suffice
we do not thank distant stars
our hands do the work

our minds will require
proper food in due season
for each of our tasks

in the longer nights
we wait for angry morning
and do our duty

the word is not flesh
but is moved by carnal need
for every substance

owl that patient waits
on the high branches for prey
gazes long at us

retrieval

a later light reveals no horrid signs
fear to its old power is not yet restored
nor is the pain become its own reward

truth does not come defined in rigid lines
nor can fuzzy boundaries be ignored
a later light reveals no horrid signs

honour arrives to stiffen all our spines
our precious ox is not the one that's gored
nor can we justly claim to have been bored
a later light reveals no horrid signs

all that is true

what beings shuffle up from unknown deeps
to ruin worlds from anger or from hope
we cannot see them in the telescope
but hear them chewing hungry on raw neaps
what is not sold at once the monster keeps
in its dank cavern high on mountain slope
or else ties up in a coil of coarse rope
to moulder patiently while the god sleeps
a noise not heard by any now alive
will serve to indicate the proper time
when the dread beings will at last arise
we fear that moment will too soon arrive
when all the world becomes a single crime
and fire awakens from inhuman eyes

a lesser light

some clarity is more than we desire
the weight of sky bears down on every head
we end in water or we end in fire

to what high regions might we not aspire
were it not for our constant sense of dread
some clarity is more than we desire

the one who falsifies is not the liar
what truly matters sinks faster than lead
we end in water or we end in fire

the race continues right down to the wire
we cannot ever tell just who's ahead
some clarity is more than we desire

could we from this long contest now retire
others would rush to pull the heavy sled
we end in water or we end in fire

the virtues all end up on a bonfire
nothing could ever matter more than bread
some clarity is more than we desire
we end in water or we end in fire

sunday morning buckhead

against clear azure these fresh happy towers
announce a city rising from the green
in autumn when the air is pretty clean
and there is leisure for some shining hours
before the monster once again devours
all that we take to become and to mean
and chews us up and sends us from the scene
having exhausted all our working powers
wealth is concrete and also wood and brick
the cars all gleam in the atlanta sun
and nature is divided by straight lines
we cannot learn just how to pull this trick
but wonder at just what has been begun
to put in shadow all these leafy pines

13 October 2007

the old magics

the creatures of the other world all died
when we arrived at the first age of reason
before that time old magic held seizin
the world we had was fully occupied
by fascinating entities that eyed
all that we did in and out of season
eager to aid as eager for treason
and then all of them scuttled off to hide
there is not reason we should not have seen
in those far times a gleam among the leaves
but now all seems in natural order
we cannot reach what once so real had been
every one who claims it simply deceives
and there is silence on that ancient border

portolan

the seas we cross are never very strange
we follow closely all the ancient charts
the three dimensions play their proper parts

a sort of recompense we might arrange
in places where the dolphin swiftly darts
the seas we cross are never very strange

we abhor constancy and desire change
after so many errors and false starts
but do not value only modern arts
the seas we cross are never very strange

roi de mes douleurs

against the coming day is no defence
we take what we are given and we smile
there's never reason for hurrying hence

we add together all the pounds and pence
that does not ever take us a long while
against the coming day is no defence

there isn't any green past the last fence
and we all reach that place in the same style
there's never reason for hurrying hence

nor do we have much reason for suspense
nothing remains once you have crossed the stile
against the coming day is no defence

no need for sacrifice or burnt incense
there is no angel at the last defile
there's never reason for hurrying hence

we can't expect the whole thing to make sense
from the last injury we won't resile
against the coming day is no defence
there's never reason for hurrying hence

reading student essays

too many words piled thick and very dense
with little order hardly any fact
and ignorance remains wholly intact

of conviction there is no real pretense
no understanding of what they have lacked
too many words piled thick and very dense

thought must require an effort too intense
and so they substitute with trivial fact
and passages plagiarised intact
too many words piled thick and very dense

a dancing blossom

one slice of time that's all we can expect
for flowers to blow and raise their happy heads
covering ground with pinks and even reds
the fated changes they seem to reject
with our tired souls they have to connect
to raise us every morning from our beds
and make us smile and so forget our dreads
the beauty and the day must intersect
autumn is clarity it does not fool
our eyes with anything but honest light
although we know the year is speeding hence
it takes us for a while to a new school
where for a moment we may learn delight
and so refresh the haughty fading sense

12 October 2007

not in bright armour


voice of the dragon that so loudly calls
we hear it and we do not understand
what sort of creature comes upon the land

the king drinks deeply in his ancient halls
around him still carouse a noble band
voice of the dragon that so loudly calls

before next summer winter's horror falls
against the firedrake not a man will stand
for all his armour and his boastings grand
voice of the dragon that so loudly calls

the knight who would have ridden to the cave
answered the riddle and retrieved the gold
his bones are scattered on the mountain cold

and all of us from king right down to slave
know what the price has been for acting bold
the knight who would have ridden to the care

in such a time would any rise to save
the fearful land and in honour grow old
you know what tale has many times been told
the knight who would have ridden to the cave

the final hero is of humbler kind
the one who's chosen as the expert thief
in whose sharp eyes few seem to have belief

the keepers of the land are in a bind
they fear that there will not come swift relief
the final hero is of humbler kind

so many options but none come to mind
all might have ended with another grief
but fortune spoke and we have crowned a chief
the final hero is of humbler kind

others may tell the story in their way
gilding the truth and shining up the fact
reciting verse with heady action packed

just how the hero did the dragon slay
while hard with pains and horrors he was racked
others may tell the story in their way

the climax comes on just such a bright day
as when we saw the citadel attacked
but we are overcome with decent tact
others may tell the story in their way

looking at the city

the distant skyline
proclaims this a human place
under autumn blue

southwards migrant birds
fly into better weather
all year is one spring

trees green with summer
all still stand boldly cheerful
in their defiance

soon their bare branches
will quail under bitter cold
in the stark winter

for gail -- iii

we check the rules and understand the lines
a medium that does not give us pause
defined by paragraph and driest clause
but the best sense and wisdom still refines
like juice of grapes turned into the best wines
we undertake our task for no applause
and must obey the most sacred of laws
waiting for neither messages nor signs
ah what a worthy purpose has been set
for minds that cannot ever be controlled
except by forces so awesome and grand
that before them a world has been unrolled
and beauty brought conveniently to hand

distracted by externals

the blue looks warm but that is just a lie
we are not fooled by this day's cheery glow
no clouds to soften the starkness of sky

into the meanings of some truths we pry
driven by the relentless urge to know
the blue looks warm but that is just a lie

our thoughts like this long year are awful dry
we see the river falter in its flow
no clouds to soften the starkness of sky

all subtlety and meaning we'll supply
we'll laugh until it's time for us to go
the blue looks warm but that is just a lie

we listen for the day-bird's hungry cry
to tell us what is and what isn't so
no clouds to soften the starkness of sky

truth is not what we understand by eye
some things move fast but others are too slow
the blue looks warm but that is just a lie
no clouds to soften the starkness of sky

The idiots' guide to the villanelle

I haven't any sense, but I can jaw
as well as any idiot out here --
my writing is the Underworld, not law.

My spelling's bad, you try it with a claw,
but writing is to me the thing most dear;
I haven't any sense, but I can jaw.

I have no dog, yet I am a cat's paw,
and now you have me weeping in my beer:
my writing is the Underworld, not law.

You are such beasts, my nerves are now quite raw
and I am feeling very odd and queer --
I haven't any sense, but I can jaw.

The words keep sticking in my witchy craw,
I'm trying to behave stern and austere,
my writing is the Underworld, not law.

My feelings have been rubbed completely raw,
you people set my mind all out of gear.
I haven't any sense, but I can jaw;
my writing is the Underworld, not law.

11 October 2007

The ancient way

It seems to me, though I'm not the best player,
we treat the world of dragons as a game.
For their attacks and hungers we don't blame
but celebrate, as if we did not care,
for vanished village or for mountain bare
the beast that desolated with a flame
the marvellous places we had sought to tame.
We praise the dragon, curse the dragonslayer.
Of Perseus we seem to say the least
although we know that upon alien strand
his spear straight-pierced the monster's horrid gorge;
instead we sing of the great hungry beast,
and in our narrow, comfortable land,
do execrate the hated name of George.

for gail -- ii

let us remember what the best times are
hold fast to them though winds blow hard and cold
you are my morning and my evening star

between us i am glad there is no bar
coming together makes us both seem bold
let us remember what the best times are

our journey takes us both to places far
this is our story and it shall be told
you are my morning and my evening star

the light you shed will never burn nor char
of you i sing and of you shall i hold
let us remember what the best times are

we seal our feelings in a magic jar
they are for us our silver and our gold
you are my morning and my evening star

there is no trade in market or bazaar
of what in this small space we shall enfold
let us remember what the best times are
you are my morning and my evening star

inside out

we left a scar where forest once had stood
our actions driven by a sort of pride
and so we let erode the mountainside
and let scrub grow in place of the great wood

allow us not a moment to deride
the ones who thought that they were doing good
and did those things they had not understood
letting the mountain and the spirit slide

the moment that we acted that was crime
we knew it yet we did it at that time

the ones who told us knew well in advance
that good would not come of so hard a choice
but left all in the hands of horrid chance
keeping full silence we did not give voice

deontological understanding

there's sense enough to make the structure work
in ways the framers would have thought bizarre
our aim is ever the most distant star

we will not fail we will not seek to shirk
our duties though realities may jar
our aim is ever the most distant star

the day is clear but even through the murk
we would have seen our target from afar
our aim is ever the most distant star

we won't let dragons of suspicion lurk
the results of our efforts none shall mar
our aim is ever the most distant star

none of us pause for quiddity or quirk
past failures and disasters are no bar
our aim is ever the most distant star

we'll let the fool and liar go berserk
our obligation's to go beyond par
our aim is ever the most distant star

we have no fear or bomb or gun or dirk
honour is gained not lost with any scar
our aim is ever the most distant star
that is our duty that is all our work

10 October 2007

sonnet for gail -- i

a word or two and we cross the last edge
between the world and our own proper place
we build ourselves a fine and secret space
and rest awhile upon convenient ledge
hidden from all mankind by a tall hedge
allowing both of us the sober grace
to watch each other with an open face
and recollect our own most solemn pledge
let there be time for words and more than words
what we require is music in the soul
and time beyond the scope of normal night
in this one room we're freer than any birds
we hold each other and so become whole
and dread return to duty with first light
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beyond the fluorosphere

dangerous monster or strong kindly friend
dragons are both and fill our universe
though barred from normal vision by a curse
into the background they most subtly blend
still if by gentle force our authors rend
the veil that our illusions serves to nurse
the sight of dragons leaves us none the worse
but we our thanks to segoy ought to send
and dragons aren't the only beasts we seek
to populate our world with magic joys
there are so many beings we could name
to set alurk on distant mountain peak
to teach us that all creatures are not toys
and make the world more noble and less tame

pondside legend

we have our own atlantis had we known
that this tale would appear in such a guise
a better attitude we might have shown

a salty wind upon this ground has blown
the ones who lurk might just as well be spies
we have our own atlantis had we known

the sky above bright and hostile has grown
while the blue sea is seething with surprise
a better attitude we might have shown

a village vanishes without a groan
the angry sea for a moment would rise
we have our own atlantis had we known

into the pond we dare not drop a stone
don't wonder at persistence of the flies
a better attitude we might have shown

nothing is left behind not flesh nor bone
just quiet water appears to our eyes
we have our own atlantis had we known
a better attitude we might have shown

from concrete stairs

seeing drunken birds
staggering round the farmyard
you learn a lesson

fermented berries
signs of declining summer
tropic september

so great a distance
here in these other mountains
still you remember

blaze like meteors

we see no gods in darkness or in light
but there are devils hiding in the cracks
ready to dump us all in their huge sacks
and draw us down into the realm of night
they act for no good reason just for spite
dark batwings quiver on their aching backs
but they dare not step from the narrow tracks
since all their kingdom requires fear and fright
against deep blue only the trembling green
of summer that has lasted far too long
while silence is the power of these skies
a better life would make a duller scene
we listen but we cannot hear the song
all that will happen leads us to the prize

still distant blue

we know they were and where on earth they went
these are not matters that we'll ever learn
we let the days and nights in cycle turn

from some far citadel a message sent
to others makes the inner child still yearn
we know they were and where on earth they went

the light that reaches us was long-time bent
by heavy nut and fire-consuming kern
but only hearts will for such long time burn
we know they were and where on earth they went

what can be known

there's no significance in all these signs
we do not gather what we ought to know
not one of us can stay between the lines

we serve the terms or else we pay the fines
the motion of the planets seems too slow
there's no significance in all these signs

within no boundaries nor small confines
we find the place where rivers start to flow
not one of us can stay between the lines

the truest ore is not found in the mines
the stoutest pillar crumbles at a blow
there's no significance in all these signs

never elegant nor dressed to the nines
but still not capable to wield a hoe
not one of us can stay between the lines

the choices are not of spirits or wines
but of a vision that should truly glow
there's no significance in all these signs
not one of us can stay between the lines

the same old story

a gleam in shadow tells us of full day
but there are darknesses that will not leave
powers that threaten ever to bereave
us of all hope and lead us from the way
the truth is that no part of this is play
but even open sunlight may deceive
it clarifies but it does not relieve
we still remain beneath the nightly sway
i sit in quiet waiting for the spark
that will transform my mind and waiting heart
and draw light out of shadows of the trees
in such a manner must i make my mark
ensuring knowledge remains as my art
and i spend life afoot and not on knees

silhouettes

the world arrives in more than black and white
our eyes can catch of all of this but part
another day has conquered awful night

we cannot see the future that's our plight
to be so wise but still not to be smart
the world arrives in more than black and white

the chains that bind us still cannot unite
we all of us were different from the start
another day has conquered awful night

the victory won't always go to might
into some crevices the agile dart
the world arrives in more than black and white

no answer comes to us through proper rite
we throw the carcass onto waiting cart
another day has conquered awful night

the monster cannot take a single bite
the skin is safer than the trembling heart
the world arrives in more than black and white
another day has conquered awful night

Errantry

I am a knight, my bearings a dragon
proper (indeed) on barry wavy field,
a sign that land or sea I do not yield.
Still I'm happier with leather flagon
(not being the sort who'd go on the waggon),
that sort of weapon's easier to wield
but none would dare to limn it upon shield,
but truly all my fortune comes from lagan.
Now, tellers of romances all agree
that dragons far from eating ladies fair
are gentle creatures, always kind and sweet;
an awful state, this one that's come to be,
when dragons fly unhindered through the air,
and never knight and monster come to meet.

09 October 2007

between the voids

we come from nowhere and that's where we end
what's in between is all of human joy
and all the pain that one life can deploy

facing the wind we either break or bend
the powers see each of us as one more toy
we come from nowhere and that's where we end

there is a message each of us must send
all that shall happen is no evil ploy
each overcomes those things that would annoy
we come from nowhere and that's where we end

Beyond the dragon hoard

We dig the ground to find diamonds and gold
but not for what they look like or they feel;
we judge the orange by more than its peel
and every story by the ones you've told.
Our love is not for stones or metals cold,
but things made new. Not iron ore but steel,
not fruit on tree, but as part of a meal;
to make the world is where we have been bold.
Not nature do we praise, but only art
that takes the raw and turns it ever true.
Then we won't whisper, we shall simply shout:
Release the power that hides within the heart,
give the old masters their fine, proper due,
and take good note before numbers run out.

fullest understanding

beyond the shadow
unnumbered worlds for taking
but so little time

experience speaks

we've come out now from under all that cloud
endurance and survival leave us proud
that after such a time we're still unbowed
above us in the night are strange new stars

we paid no heed to passages of time
to focus all our efforts is no crime
and yet we heard no ticking and no chime
above us in the night are strange new stars

we've struggled for our livings every pound
has been invested in a manner sound
and we have mapped out every bit of ground
above us in the night are strange new stars

we're not yet ready to receive the shroud
you give us reasons and we'll give you rhyme
our fates and yours are ever closely bound
above us in the night are strange new stars

now we've survived the anguish of long wars
and told our story in a thousand bars
we thought ourselves past all dangers and jars
above us in the night are strange new stars

evading grasp

too long a silence scarifies the heart
we dread the abyss that we know is there
after we've stripped the onion layer by layer
having been told that was our proper part
there's no way back down to the very start
our feet seem planted firmly in the air
with not an obligation are we square
and yet we seem to think we master art
the cloudy sky is pregnant with no rain
beneath us wells of justice have run dry
in autumn every tree is stubborn green
we lack a proper measure for the pain
that we have caused with every little lie
nor can we analyse what we have seen

sodden slime harmonious

there is no darker ground than this
we listen to the wind's wet hiss
a river rushes under trees
it goes in time to unknown seas
not one of us will pay the cost
of resurrecting what's been lost
hour after hour we face the stress
once there were giants now we're less
our hope is not to find the path
but just to reach the aftermath
the fields are stubble that we know
and like our hopes are lying low
upon our feet the heavy shoes
remind us that we're bound to lose
we look at time and think it daft
that success comes from work not craft
honour and decency are nice
but those who try them pay the price
good sense and all your sparkling wit
turn in the end to so much shit
we try to honour all the rules
while others laugh and call us fools
we do the work they call it luck
when with our futures they will fuck
we speak our minds they send out spies
to make us listen to their lies
now they've polluted every well
and turned our hope into a hell


awaking early looking east

the comet hanging over distant hills
presages nothing that we want to see
a dream of terror that won't ever be

the narrow scope of normal human wills
cannot find roots beneath the mystic tree
the comet hanging over distant hills

we do not know just what in power and skills
we'll need in those strange lands beyond the sea
there stands a sign commanding that we flee
the comet hanging over distant hills

we're irrelevant

we cannot tell the white cord from the black
all of our hope has gone into the fire
we're still constrained to stay right at the back

if you are honest you'll just get the sack
the one who wins is the outrageous liar
we cannot tell the white cord from the black

no winds are left to lurk within the sack
the statue cannot stand upon the spire
we're still constrained to stay right at the back

the truth is never what's told by the flack
nor what is sung by the most sweet-voiced choir
we cannot tell the white cord from the black

what once was profit now turns into lack
what once we hated now we most desire
we're still constrainted to stay right at the back

through densest bush a way we have to hack
only to find we've fallen in the mire
we cannot tell the white cord from the black
we're still constrained to stay right at the back

too late the dawn

we wait but cannot see the promised light
nights are so cold and the stars are so far
beyond our reach so our hands cannot mar
their icy beauty yet they're still in sight
our hope of reaching them is less than slight
we know that we can never cross the bar
we need the sun for neither moon nor star
can give us hope that what we see is right
it's summer-warm but i still feel the cold
above me malign shadows hold their place
the bomb goes off just as you light the fuse
once i have shivered i'll not feel so bold
as to believe i'll finish out the race
but cannot act as if i know i'll lose

08 October 2007

so simple a gift

flowers in the median make me smile
their simple dance in the soft afternoon
seems like a special kindness or a boon

this memory i'll cherish a long while
for every winter arrives far too soon
flowers in the median make me smile

nature provides us all her grace and style
inside each heart a happy bird shall croon
and nectar pours out from a golden spoon
flowers in the median make me smile

the lessons of history

we think of justice as a simple matter
but then we lose all sense of proper cause
we see the diamond as nothing but flaws
and fear a single blow will make it shatter
yet fall quick prey to those who lie and flatter
giving them all our will without a pause
not giving thought to discipline or laws
then wonder why we're madder than a hatter
our thought does not move out on golden wings
nor are we of the human race the peak
but are compelled to do those things we must
we lack the reason of the fallen kings
cannot withstand the weapons of the weak
and in our turn will vanish into dust

steered by the thunderbolt

a river flows and doesn't ever pause
the principle's as subtle as rich life
all forward motion's a result of strife

inanimate and animate the laws
set out the rhythm like a drum and fife
a river flows and doesn't ever pause

doesn't matter how truly just the cause
reasons for failure always will be rife
success may come down to the naked knife
a river flows and doesn't ever pause

through a plain lens

behind the wall no hidden magics lurk
just other folk whose tasks are much the same
as those that drew you into the long game
there is no difference between wood and work
there are no monsters hiding in the murk
we make them up from our own guilt and shame
we do the crime and give others the blame
our hands are tight upon the secret dirk
a time will come when honesty and ruth
combine to force us to surrender tact
and face the consequence of each old lie
nothing can hurt as much as the plain truth
but there's no way to hide from simple fact
and fate's no tyrant underneath the sky

behind the cloud

we tell ourselves the most beguiling lies
while step by step we head towards the brink
the world's not real enough for our old eyes

no cavalry will ride down from the skies
and none of us remembers how to think
we tell ourselves the most beguiling lies

we blame all crime on saboteurs and spies
our minds cannot compass the missing link
the world's not real enough for our old eyes

we will not even praise the one who tries
to draw the message from the opaque ink
we tell ourselves the most beguiling lies

the one who answers is not one who buys
the silence and the knowing little wink
the world's not real enough for our old eyes

we cannot hearken to the one who cries
instead we bow our heads and sip our drink
we tell ourselves the most beguiling lies
the world's not real enough for our old eyes

07 October 2007

profit or honour

beneath the hill the old kings still asleep
are waiting for a time that cannot come
are listening for a certain note of drum

that will at the same time be high and deep
meanwhile the forest turns into a slum
beneath the hill the old kings still asleep

we do not see the hungry monsters creep
nor do we hear their sullen quiet hum
instead we wait till we can add the sum
beneath the hill the old kings still asleep

seeking the self

you take a number but don't lose your name
and so you think you have in some way gained
the fear that i have cannot but be feigned

as far as you can see it's all the same
the world remains clean whole and unstained
you take a number but don't lose your name

you want to think that it's another game
the meaning of which may sometimes be strained
for in one box the whole thing is contained
you take a number but don't lose your name

a single leaf

a single leaf is history in green
our knowledge does not vanish into past
we are the sum of all that we have seen

there are some places where we have not been
nor have we served for years before the mast
a single leaf is history in green

once each of us hoped to be king or queen
not knowing into what streams we'd be cast
we are the sum of all that we have seen

in memory still bright we find the scene
when thought transfixed us making us stand fast
a single leaf is history in green

that moment when a single branch would lean
to show just where dramatic breeze had passed
we are the sum of all that we have seen

the world is still made up of things that mean
but nothing that we want can hope to last
a single leaf is history in green
we are the sum of all that we have seen

hitting the wall

there are bright words that come right off the tongue
but growing older they're so hard to find
those magics that expand the willing mind

the world's a simple place when you are young
your greatest fear is to be left behind
there are bright words that come right off the tongue

no one you think has sungof what you've sung
you're in a world of the lame halt and blind
and then too late you find yourself confined
there are bright words that come right off the tongue

what ought to happen

within the forest are no magic folk
we walk for hours and find no sign of elves
only the sounds of leaves and the odd croak

rain makes the past into the humus soak
more than bent backs reward the one who delves
within the forest are no magic folk

you'll soon turn out an ordinary bloke
no magic axe-heads will fly off the helves
only the sounds of leaves and the odd croak

no nĂºmenor nor wizard isle of roke
just the plain schools for ordinary selves
within the forest are no magic folk

we may incant and the dim fires stoke
but have no means of transcending ourselves
only the sounds of leaves and the odd croak

and so each head will bend under the yoke
the mystic trees turn into walls and shelves
within the forest are no magic folk
only the sound of leaves and the odd croak

how it goes on

i hear the voices of the noisy birds
they're at the old and truly magic dance
communication requires less than words

were they to congregate in flocks or herds
how else would each its pleasant cause advance
i hear the voices of the noisy birds

this principle the one that undergirds
all of our movements is not simple chance
communication requires less than words

we ask these questions seeming to be nerds
whose focus is on meaning not romance
i hear the voices of the noisy birds

life draws significance from all these surds
so much expressed in fractions of a glance
communication requires less than words

to get the truth of milk we need the curds
and so we need to watch these creatures prance
i hear the voices of the noisy birds
communication requires less than words