The Stone Dance

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The Stone Dance
Follows the tides
Follows the Moon
For nineteen years
The Pipers piped
The spheres sang out

The music freed the Maidens
From the stones
They flowed like grass
Following the tin
Following the Moon

For nineteen years
The Stone Dance lasted
The Maiden’s movements
Rounded and wind-blown
Flowing like grass

Until the Moon’s Medusa face
Turned around in the sky
Turned them back
Into stone

Terms of Engagement

raven

I fly free
I belong to me
Body
Heart
Soul

And if you think
That what I gift you
That I let you in
Gives you rights
Over me
You’re wrong

And if you think
That what you gave back
That what you want
Gives you rights
Over me
You’re wrong

Coz I fly free
In the sky
I made
For myself

River school

I began this pome a while ago, wandering around in a wood. I think the spirit of the Romantics had taken me over that day. I was overdressed, full hair and make-up, ‘sensible’* in the sense in which Jane Austen used that word; bemused families passed as I stood engrossed on the riverbank, immersed in listening to the water and scribbling free-form lines of verse. I enjoyed it very much. I think the mood comes across: it’s some deep Zen Taoist hippy stuff.

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At the place that was our last place

I went to visit my river; it had been a year

This spring she is full of pace, of spirit

Rushing on towards the future

‘Come, follow me!’, she sings

I hug the banks and follow, keen to see

What she will do next

As we slip and slide and run along together

She grows in glittering confidence and majesty

She makes me feel like: yes, you can weather storms

Yes, you can absorb floods

Yes, life is possible, a new life

Here is all the energy that you will ever need

 

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Ever changing but always the same

Carrying me away, carrying all before her

Flowing flooding fleeting on she runs

‘Til I find myself at a confluence,

Surrounded on all sides by streams and culverts

Joyfully her sisters run to meet her

Singing their journeys in their various voices

The water leaps, it’s thrown into the air

It falls upon the earth, the banks

But it knows its way home, it trusts its journey

All journeys lead to the same place, after all

Why should I fear, any more than the spray of the waterfall does,

That I will lose my way?

 

In quieter moments, she gets deep

By the bends of the riverbed

She slows down, murmurs

Thoughts swirl like bubbles within her

The only clues to her inner life

The ever-changing patterns on her surface

Presented with an obstacle, a drama

She just says, ‘Is that so?’

She flows around, over, under and through

She changes shape, speed, pitch as required

But she is always the same river

 

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And yes, it’s very different here this year

Things have moved; things have gone

Here, a beach where she rested in years past

Has been swept away or submerged

And there, she needed propping up,

Supporting by her kindly friends

It all looks changed and new, but it will be okay

She is determined. She is choiceless

She deals. She never stops

The river is still teaching me how to live

 

 

Video at: https://youtu.be/3-OJgM4Nq-E

A deep thought strikes the poet

*sensibility

capacity for sensation or feeling; responsiveness or susceptibility to sensory stimuli.

mental susceptibility or responsiveness; quickness and acuteness of apprehension or feeling.keen consciousness or appreciation.

Wonder Woman

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I met my amazing friend Sonia on her 18th birthday at an awkward party that she didn’t want. Somehow she forgave me for being part of that and we have been fast friends, family, ever since, and shared the kinds of crazy formative experiences throughout our lives that can’t be unwoven – we are part of the weft and weave, part of the integral pattern, of each other’s existence. Sonia has been undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and the recovery from that treatment, for well over a year. During that time she has channelled her feelings into these incredible patterns and mandalas. What a thing of beauty to create out of darkness!

On World Poetry Day yesterday, I recited this poem written in her honour. Since she loves comics and Wonder Woman particularly, I made the natural connection to Amazons, and this is an attempt at the epic oral poetry form of the ancient Greeks, with a nod to Anglo-Saxon epics too. There are references to Greek myths woven into it. It is designed to be read aloud, to be told. I hope it also speaks to anyone’s battle with cancer and the terrible terrible treatments that people undergo in the fight for life. I admire all of you so much.

 

Wonder Woman

A woman is raging, high in the mountains –
The great-hearted daughter of concord and war
She fights for her life and the lives of her sisters
She cut off her breast for to shoot her sharp arrows

Her enemy’s slipp’ry and hard to take hold of –
Again and again as the seasons slip by,
With a spear made of ash from her own mother’s body,
She rides into battle with blood-curdling cries.

The enemy grips her with its crab-like pincers
And tumbles her into the dark vale of death.
Down in the underworld cold reigns supremely;
The beast it is clamouring: ‘Let go of life!’

Her body so heavy, a deadly weight drowning her.
She sinks into sorrow as into black mire,
She closes her eyes, but just for a moment –
She’s tired, the brave woman fears she may fail.

Jolted awake: she has landed in Hades.
She opens her eyes and sees clear through her fear.
A hard road ahead, but the sole path to vict’ry
She cut off her breast in order to
fight!

Deep in the darkness she swallows a poison
The deadliest potion the witches can brew.
The great-hearted daughter of concord and war
Cannot be conquered by this creeping cancer!

Sucking the strength from her bones and her marrow,
The monster comes daily to feast on her flesh.
It burrows its beak and its tentacles into her
But rather than gaining, it’s losing its strength.

It’s baffled, attacking her more and more fiercely,
And daily it’s weakening, fighting for breath.
The monster falls silent, the woman begins to
Regain some strength for the journey back home.

Battling the monsters, the giants and gorgons,
She claws her way free of the moist clinging earth.
Back in the light and the air she lays panting,
Hoping the hideous creature is vanquished.

She returns to us scarred and weary with battle,
Parts of her missing, parts made more whole.
She fights for her life and the lives of her sisters
The true wonder-woman, the bright-burning torch.

Check out Sonia’s article, and support her if you can by buying from secretbean.com
or employing her talents as a designer soyabean.com

pissoff

No eggs today

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Been working on my peoms and a longer post so nothing to publish for a few days. Got a peom reading tonight! Trying to gather material that is free of heartbreak and nihilism as it is Valentine’s Day, and I know other people care about that, and I’m assuming a lot of single folk will be there tonight and I don’t want to make everyone cry.

So… (actually about the sea but can pass for a romantic verse):

MEDITERRANEO

Your beauty is so searing bright
It causes my brain and heart to melt
Into a sea of feeling I must express

But the words washed up
By the waving of my tongue
Are like the foam that’s left upon the shore

Tracing the lines where beauty has been
And melting at your next touch

 

Synaesthete

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Try to see again
with the eyes of an infant
Try to remember
when you did not know
the names of things
and so you could not judge them
good or bad

When everything was novel –
a leaf, a cat, the pattern in the carpet
a dandelion clock in microscopic detail
And when your mother blew it
you were astounded!
Delighted by the floating fluff
released upon the air

Try to remember
when to touch was instinctive
Your sensitive fingertips
could see as well, or better
than your short-sighted eyes
and you could taste colours
on your tongue

You reached out for the world
you pulled it in close
You took in tiny details
with curious wonder
That world is still out there
it’s just waiting for you
to remember to look with the eyes of an infant

 

www.uksynaesthesia.com

Geology

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I am a rock

I am not steady nor unchanging

My form speaks of a deep time

Time to ripen

Time to grow riches

Time for the precious

To develop from the mundane

Sit with me a hour, look at my face

I am somewhere to meditate

Something to contemplate

 

I am made up of layers

That life has laid on me

Tiny motes of life and time

Drifting downward,

Collecting, compressing,

And floods of material –

Erratics and foreign soils –

All solidify into my strata

Some harder, some softer,

In fine laminations

 

I am a rock

I am shaped by uplifts

Deformed by subductions

Folded back upon myself

Time and again

I develop faults, I suffer falls

Cracks form within me

Pieces break off

And fall far, far down

Into the sea

 

My folds and creases

Map my life and experience

Into my crevices

Creep subtile fluids

They precipitate rare substances

And bright veins of crystal

Because I am worn

Life can cling to me

The gaps in me give room

For gems to germinate