Friday, 20 December 2013

On Christmas Day

He entered the wide-open doors,
open as the arms of God, or
the Mother Superior.

The spires were obnoxious
as the ribbed horns of Satan,
taller than mountains of Gold.

In his rags, he entered this temple,
hungry for a meal, asking
for some small sparing charity,

but those inside turned a blind eye,
the filth and squalor of poverty
something putrid - alien - to them,

as they went about their silent squirming
before God: their, 'I beseech thine grace
and forgiveness; O, Lord! I am couched in sin.'

This man could have been anyone
on Christmas Day: the son of God -
not just some soul to be saved.

                        ***

The babe was born on Christmas Day,
loosed through the doors of
the Heavenly Mother, only

this mother was nineteen and homeless:
Latino, black, white, Chinese - who cares?
All her life she's been climbing stairs.

She hid her swollen stomach well
beneath loose-fitting clothes, the folks
at the soup kitchen had given double helpings.

And now, in the Shelter, in her very own room,
on a bed that is not hers, in the candle-split
gloom, the wonder of God begins to stir

and from somewhere deep inside of her,
her baby decides it's time to join
this world so ruled by crown and coin;

and this baby could be anyone
on Christmas Day: the son of God,
his blue eyes marbled like the Milky Way.

                                 ***

I am walking now down some wide street
and on both sides tramp myriad feet:
so many faces under the sun,

colours and voices all merge into one.
Before me a young man who sells his body
for money, whose name was once David

but now is Honey. And a man in a turban
passes me by: some Muslim man with
a tear in his eye. And down the street

is a man filled with hate, because that's all
that ever filled his plate. And driving by,
a man with no hope, who counts the days

in yards of rope. And above me in
some tenement room, a young woman
putting on the night's perfume.

But they are all the Children of God.
I am no different: we are all one. And so
I sleep on the streets; I am born every day,
Only to remind you you're holy: light the way.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Arrival

I remember the first time
I ever figured out
that coldness
is merely the absence of heat.

I was seventeen.

Now, I have realised
that flesh consumed
is but tarted up murder.

That blame
is but a lack of responsibility.

That anger directed outwards
comes from an inward source.

That biting the tongue
in turn bites down 
on the serpent inside.

And now, I am twenty-four,

and I realise that darkness 
is merely the absence of light.
But light is far hungrier, far more exact,
than the jawless maw of toothless night.

Autumn is on Fire

Autumn is on fire
and now the trees
burn with a slow radiance
crackling like the leaves
of the sun, 

spilling open
like lava nectar
from the core
of an orange,
the wind spiced with bark 
and quiet.

Autumn is on fire
raging against winter's quench.
The paths and endless rows
of park benches, the old
clad walls, the towering

bastions of hills,
the ancient forests on fire,
burning without flame.
A fire swaying, stationary,
curling branches like tongues,
whispering your name.

Autumn is on fire
within you, burning the year
before your renew.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Winter Moon (Three Voices)

Underneath the winter-stricken trees
with their ragged claws
is where I lost my heart,
is where -

Hush, my love. Let me
kiss those words from your lips,
leaving just the bulbs, that spring 
might finger into a promulgation.

Besides, can't you hear
the moon? It says,

Can you hear what I say?
I say nothing. Come be here with me
in this nothing. You can call me skull,
pallid husk, pregnant egg; but I
am just old. I am so old,
and I know that love lives but briefly.

                        ***

Beside the bird-emptied lake,
reflecting the bird-emptied sky,
is where I saw the lone
crane fly, and that was I, and I -

But hush, my love: you're not
bereft of your feathers, you're not
some barren woman. You're a winter bird;
and I? I am just your perch.

And besides, can't you hear
the moon? It says,

Can you not hear what I say?
I say nothing. Come dwell here
in nothing - have everything.
You can call me pale and I won't
blush; or a bird's egg waiting to be crushed.
But I am old; and I know love chiefly.

                        ***

Now, on the cottage bed, I am
spread out like a sacrifice. Come
whittle away your whittling knife.
Unperch me, devour me. Moon and scour me.

Into your life I am come,
but not to bring a hunter's gun;
but I shall bring my whittling knife, and 
lay with you - weave me a sky, be my wife.

But besides, can't you hear
the moon? It says nothing.

                 ***

I am here with you now,
in this nothing, the still
of our breathing.

And we
are everything.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

She: a Prayer for the Future

She believes in 
the existence of angels,
and her breasts are soft
as an all-enveloping kiss.

But she is the only angel
in which I believe,

her head hung in modesty,
her beauty both in body and spirit,
her grace as naked
as the day she was born:

I throw this poem up
to the sky,
like an offering of grain -

like a hallowed dove, released
from the quick white
of my bird-like soul.