OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES AND SUCKLINGS

The pure cry of the uncomplicated child
before it has been trained
in the verbalisations of this world
is the Voice of the Eternal.

Learn from it:
that the way back to God
lies backwards beyond
naming
and identifying
blaming
and mentifying;
that the Tree of Knowledge
shares the One Root
with the Tree of Life
but bears a very different fruit.

Taste the fruit of the Tree of Life:

For except ye be converted
and become as little children
you can by no means enter
the Kingdom of Heaven.

(Gnomonic Verses)

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PURITY

In the dark tabernacle,
a shaft of sunlight
illumines the heart
and shines through
a million years of dust.

Clouds and clouds of swirling
dust
spiralling
through the light
which spills in a golden pool
on damp, grey stone and iron rust.

When the light moves
it does not take the dust there to it.
When the dust slides into darkness,
the light does not pursue it.

Why then does the heart invent
heart bruising burdens to shoulder?
(Why does the heart consent
to the illusion of growing older?)

 

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GREAT MEN

But really you see there weren’t any great at all.
Those may not have stumbled,
heads high, walked tall,
filling the silence where others mumbled.
But words fail
skulls fall.

And before?
Before, they could taste, smell,
see, tell,
bore.
No different from you and me.
This is the way the world comes in
– unless you see the blood spilt
it’s only hearsay.

Greatness.
We have held a glass
over the antics
of a certain class
driven frantic
by thinking that what you cannot see
can in some way still be yours.
We have magnified their lunacy.

If we hold the glass elsewhere,
So long as we have never been there,
we might uncover,
rediscover,
happiness.

You should not wait
to be great.
It’s bad enough you’ve got the wrong direction.
Don’t add an ulcer
to a bad digestion.

 

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HOW MANY ANGELS CAN STAND ON THE POINT OF A PIN

Although the Two Worlds
are so intimately linked,
how is it that they are
completely distinct?

See!
A ten-ton elephant
and a thousand soldiers
reflected in a single mirror!

Why doesn’t the glass shatter
under the weight of such an elephant?
Why does not the frame splinter
beneath the boots of such an army?

 

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11th HOUR, 11th DAY, 11th MONTH

November Rose.
Pink and white and mauve.
Solitary, still,
among the rosemary and late autumnal gorse.

Sea winds have blown.
The first frosts have frozen the short grass.

Spring and summer are memories,
midwinter an echo in reverse.

November Rose for the dying.
November Poppies for the dead,
who cannot sleep
but stream towards new birth;
whose pain outlasts
the bitter Flanders earth.

 

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REQUIEM: ARMISTICE DAY

This year
the dead are blind
and do not seem to hear
our prayers.
Nor do they seem to mind
that we now own
what they once thought was theirs.

Here
they shed no tear
at all the pain
they left behind.

Now,
when they come again,
they only find
echoes of the long-ago,
and landscapes that they hardly know;
deserted buildings, unpeopled streets,
lonely corridors, empty rooms,
where each his own image meets
in every shape it now assumes.

 

 

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THE SUDDENLY SEPARATE SPIDER SENTRY

STILLNESS is
the space between movements
the crack in the universe
the gloved hand
with the art
to pull apart
two thin life stitches
and let a stab of nothing in.
An eye
with sky behind
for mind,
a face blind,
a sunflower petal falling
stamen to earth;
or bird-song-bird calling
either side of the path.
No eye to meet your eye.

FACES are petals falling
(bird-song-bird),
tongue shapes are
spaces to be heard.
Behind lip and fall
nothing at all.
Only this petal or that
to choose
to lose
to stare at.

FORGIVE a pronoun’s entry
along a spine,
a suddenly separate spider sentry
wanting to define
his continent of cells,
wanting another
a more than mother brother.
Like whispering shells
sharing a spark
the sun let fall into their dark.

NOTHING will keep nothing warm,
Form alone contents with Form.
And so put out the need
for the note scrawled on the music page,
the cricket in the icicle.

THE FRUIT is in the stone
already grown.
The cells
group to fill already forming shells
to keep out out.
This is where lion lies down with lamb:
in dried skin
dried blood
powdered edges
broken flame
particles on particles the same,
and again
in the bone clutch of the brain,
groupings, twitchings, pullings, tame.
Slippings and slidings on a wet palette.

LEAVE the child to his darkness.

 

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