Slow. So very, very, slow.
There, I’ve said it
and not just as passive audience
but as player, French Horn, back row.
The notes drag out like chewing gum
shoe-stuck and freshly chewed.
I lean into them but
they lean on back
until I am balanced on the edge
with nowhere to fall.
Passing rain cloud solemn and weighted,
music for memory and remembrance.
Do you hear the annual pomp and circumstance
of the young man’s Cenotaph or
an old man dragging himself
forwards towards death?
The hunter hunted.
The outcome as inevitable
as the swell of the sea,
rising and falling, retreating
and flowing back
without end. Inescapable
So monumentally unhurried.
LIFE STILLED – JAR WITH FLOWERS
(in response to a painting by Christopher Wood)
It was spring, allegedly.
Anemones and daffodils
thrust into a glass jar
of lightly browned water,
but the red and yellow
painting their petals
flared with autumn
just gone, or yet to come.
The flowers, pulled
crudely from their growing time
and caught between seasons,
towards the future.
Cloud-sky may be anything,
can be anything you can think of
fact and fantasy.
Mind paints in imagination as
pale lavender mountains drift
in Japanese washes, high
above the inked-in conifer line.
Grey-blue dragons chase themselves
across brand new heaven-raised Alps,
Light pours down revelations
through lacunae, the Cloudverse opens
and closes again
on a whim,
on a wish,
in answer to a breath-hung prayer
because sometimes life beats
to the rhythm of your heart
and sometimes it doesn’t
because the wind has changed
You take for granted
your toe bone’s connected to the
foot bone. Never doubt that, in turn,
your foot’s wedded, ball and chain,
to the ankle bone and upwards
through the leg bone’s marrow
as these dry bones strut around,
a God-given pair.
How to feel then, when they are not?
When the sturdy architecture of the foot,
with its pyramid bone pile
and load-bearing arch,
turns into a frail fan,
the foot’s own delicate skeleton
cut off from the parent leg’s
still yearning flesh.
When the fern fronds of
Phalange and Metatarsal
are a memory within leaf mould,
only the Calcaneus peaking out
naked, because rotting flesh
How do you relinquish
such bone and sinew knowledge
of those twenty-six osseous pieces,
their thirty-three supple joints,
without obsessively enumerating their absence?
And what of the smooth ribboned tendons and ligaments,
satin sheened muscles and soft tissue flexing
for dancer to pirouette and trace
the vigorously pounding pulse
of life’s connecting patterns,
the runner to sprint beside
the world’s flowing rush,
the walker to ambulate
from day to day?
The self as functioning biped
dem bones have divorced
the useless foot for good,
outcast to the shadowland of the Sciapod,
leaving the loss of false echoes
and those with traditional dual foundations
to count both their blessings
and to two compulsively
for reassurance’s fragile sake.