Wednesday, April 25, 2012

they also serve..*

  (a sonnet for Anzac Day)

With all the rest you stand and wave,
and from your summer dress your arm
exalts and lifts your brave
heart too, as striding down the palm-
strewn avenue they come to raise
you up.  With fluttered hand you bring
them on;  your fingers writing praise
and lifting voices up to sing.

You raise your arm to wave,
and in its secret hollow:  blue.
Still smooth from your last shave -
and this so very mortal part of you

just in this moment makes things good.  It makes things well,
and makes a lighter journey of the heavy steps from hell.

*from John Milton's sonnet   "On His Blindness"  

Friday, April 13, 2012

three sonnets on a theme

Lost (game, set, and match)

The games we seem to need to play,
with their profusion of costumes and tools,
do not raise us above the beasts, as some might say.
Beasts, when they play at all, abide by their few rules
of engagement, without recourse to the referee.
It’s we folk, in our queerness (as they say up north)
Who resort to the sly dig when no-one can see;
our disregard of fairness calling forth
a matched response from our opposition;
cries of ‘foul!’, and ‘just try that again…’,
inevitable recourse to greater ammunition,
and ignoring the ball, in pursuit of the pain.

Even the language of ‘lose’ and ‘win’
echoes the concepts of ’grace’ and ‘sin‘.

Lost (in translation)

All the edifices are erected:  neat,
with their separate garden plots and motley doors.
Terraced houses on suburban street,
and each frank face, each one implores
us look!  And look again - these are my eyes.
And there, disclosed behind the curtain-net,
this one irons and that one plans goodbyes,
these drink their wine, and others frig, or fret.

And in each room a television glows,
and on each screen a disembodied face.
And in each mind suspicion slowly grows
That by our separate-ness we’ve lost all trace -
All trace of individuation
lost.  Lost in the translation.

Lost (for words)

I don’t have a poem for her.  Words
like love, bled out in lead-hot shower
long ago.  Limbs severed by swords,
lives scythed down;  red poppies in the flower
of their youth, terminated.
Wounds picked at by clacking crows.
Life and Love and Breath abated,
yet still the cold blood somehow flows.

Oh, but I loved her.
To the depth and breadth that my soul
could reach*.  Lost her
and my self.  Stranded, drown-ded, beached, dead-cold.

We Enemies, hearing voices in the mist,
took aim, gave shot, and…  missed.

*with thanks to W.S.  If one must steal, steal from the rich…

Sunday, April 8, 2012

foucault's pendulum

the Huma bird
(may its shadow touch us)
      it is said, once it has
taken to flight
      will not


     until at last it must

        the rocks which bore it.

no perch
no roost
no tuck of


foucault's pendulum

completes no circles
it is the earth that moves.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


listen, she says:
this is important.
there is no border between the countries
of lost and found.
what gets sandwiched
between two plates of glass


he says from now on i’ll only do
the things that could kill me:  not
the things that hurt.
it’s a form of cowardice.


a syringe of tongues
driving each hypodermic word


it all goes down
like whiskey in a cyclone
the virga in the eye


this is a kind of aphasia:
that momentary silent
blinking self-assessment which follows
the soft collisions
of small children