Posts Tagged time
There’s too much sunlight.
The sky’s too deep blue.
Air sits still and glutinous
and the birds have gone quiet.
Passing tourists are briefly loud though.
Towels worn like cloaks and
obligatory American baseball caps.
Their swearing spoils my contemplation
of the pale blue painted beams
of my ceiling. Cracked old powdery paint.
The tourists pass and that barking dog
and buzzing hedge trimmer
also fade to far away abstractions.
In this extended space I swap the universe
for a calmer place where sounds are
distant and soothing sleep creeps over me
like hot fog.
When your parents die
the movie ends.
Now you’re not playing a part.
You can sit back in your chair,
the one with your name on it,
and watch the action played back.
See the part you played.
Sit uncomfortable beside others,
self-conscious as your playing is reviewed.
And the silence closes in about you
as you see your failings,
and the quiet of those around
falls away into the distance.
Your life and the stuff that is you
comes into focus.
A real tearjerker is this.
Who wrote this script?
How could, who would, did I?
They were just people.
Life’s timeline compresses.
Your streaming curve cuts across theirs
and streams away to curve back.
You with your guns firing.
Your stupid guns.
We should have talked more.
Because now I don’t see you
by way of a mirror.
Now I can look straight at you.
And I have to hang my head.
So what am I really?
Now I’m in the mirror.
You stayed for a while after.
I felt you and I heard your thoughts.
Now it’s quieter.
But one day I may
have to have that talk.
About how we all made mistakes.
Mine feel so much greater
and I wonder where I’ll sit
between you and my sons.
Warm air rang chilled,
hammer on a bell.
Church steeple still
in pleasant landscape.
Stopped to look
at small life given.
Sleepy world glancing
his way for once
as simmering summer
sultry birdsong sang
So little England carried on
and one who came to pass
and had lived their way
no longer had a choice.
All we can see of ourselves,
that tells our tale,
is our hands.
Smooth and then
suddenly not so.
This process of
the compression of one’s life
cannot be seen by seeing yourself.
That would be to try
to describe your face
without a mirror.
But you can see
the hands that lie there
looking back at you,
and they tell no lies.
Wrinkled a little now,
they represent your life.
Its good and bad
and ultimately tired understanding.
Through that one small window pane
Looking out onto a black garden
On the darkest of nights,
I saw so many children
Running in the sunshine
Made sparkling by hosepipe rain.
And dogs and barbeques.
And the oak tree leaning over
To whisper smiling praise
For the children’s snowman.
And that battered and sun faded deckchair
That never got put away.
And the rose bush that ran wild.
And the garden shed that came to sag sadly.
And that forgotten glass in the flowerbed
That grew pale green with time.
And the memory of you.
Clear as daylight. Sitting there.
And that crumbling vision of a life
That drained away into the earth
As though it had never been.
I weep for that now,
Seeing it through my mean window pane.
I weep for that in the eternal now.
Standing on the Chain Bridge
Over Budapest’s Danube,
Watching the water flow by.
Gellert Hill stands in the background,
Where the Nazis had their headquarters
In the second world war.
How many Stukas lie buried in river mud?
Bleached skulls gazing up at passing pleasure boats now,
Wondering what it was for.
The cigarette smoke world curls around me,
changing shape and fading away.
The present I see includes the past
as well as imagined futures.
The trees are bare now.
They had leaves and will have again.
The whorls and whirls of the wind
swirl remnants of the past year,
as beady squirrel eyes watch
the world move on.
Earth spins and moves and does its thing.
Fox and Owl make their noises in dark woods,
Jaguar prowls and Bat flits.
In some African savannah,
Kudu is eaten alive by lions.
Nearby, self obsessed termites
build webbed cities.
In the middle of this maelstrom
of whirling world things,
weather and wind and life passing,
I stand bewildered by the pace
and irresistible process
of which I’m a part with no control.
But mostly I’m amazed
by humanity’s contempt.
And I play my part,
and wait to see the consequences.
May my sons forgive us.
Amongst the Autumn tawny leaved trees
With the oily, boiling Danube coursing by each side,
I came across the ruins of a Franciscan church.
Placing my hand on a stone embedded in one ancient wall,
My mind’s eye saw what the monk who built it saw.
Autumn tawny leaves with the Danube boiling by.
Things of real value don’t change.
The rest is ephemeral distraction.
Dad was further up the bus queue
He caught one just now.
I’m still waiting.
Some wait in front of me
And some wait behind.
Number 37 or some such.
Don’t know where it goes
Or why it’s called that.
But we’re all waiting for it.
In a queue.
I didn’t see that he’d caught his bus
Until just now when the phone rang.
But then it is a long queue
And he was right up at the front of it.
I remember when he stood
Kicking the dirt right back here
Where I now stand.
Looking about him
And wondering what and why.
Bright sun life today.
Dark cloud news arrived by post.
Bright star died by noon.
So slow life seemed then.
But as life’s integers pass,
Each becomes smaller.
I knew a life once that rang true I think.
I know a life now that rings true I think.
I will know a life that’s true when
I know a view that advises me well.
I know a life that’s passing me by
Like a river carrying blossom
That I’ll never see again.
Looking out of the rear window I saw
The world receding in integers of white lines.
Each passing at rapid rhythm.
I turned and looked forward
And saw the same moments approaching me
At the same speed and with the same rhythm.
Then I looked at the place I was in now
And saw things at a speed I understood
As time passed unseen beneath me.
The only moment that mattered then
Was when I saw the look in her eyes.
Sometimes slow ponder
Is needed to understand
Stop to consider
The sighing life around you.
Instead hear its song.
Then the shell that you made,
Flexible as far you could make it,
Burst suddenly and the yolk
Sprang forth as a bird
And flew away.
Broken shells are your reward,
And you ponder why and question your virtue,
As the air that filled the volume of your life escapes,
And you scramble to find something
To bind your essential elements together.
Synthesising a new mode from remnants that seem stale.
To find a new world is hard.
Especially as there’s so little time.
The potential frame of reference is more confined.
Regardless of your best intentions,
You’ve yet again
Passed the big questions on to the next generation.
You just didn’t have time.
Where is the art in our lives?
Where is the sensitivity
That prompts pondering and reflection?
That delicate aspect that tinges everything
With a coloured halo
That puts understanding just slightly out of reach.
Where has time gone?
Time to reflect.
Where is the room to be alive?
Where is the space to place rhythm
Between the hard facts?
Where has room to live gone?
Sitting ankle deep and trying to resist
The slide downhill through
Sticky clay forming itself to my shape,
I watched muddy water race past.
Seething surface curving up and down again.
Currents that take goggle eyed flotsam,
Astonished and watching down into depths
As blue sky blurs to swirling death.
This river flowed past me so sure.
With its bulging swells and pretty whirlpools.
Sitting in mud and bent grass,
Watching the inevitability of it all.
And so I stood up and wiped the clinging mud
From my legs.
And I plunged headlong into the writhing river,
And was carried away.
Gasping and striving for the hot blue sky.
Then the green and grey cold swirl
That carried me away
Swept across my face looking upwards
And watching glassy eyed birds watch me
With blank acceptance
I washed up then on a stony shore,
Where I was able to turn aching and see
The seething thing that had spawned me,
For what it was.
A brown green heaving thing
Born of the context that fed it,
Guided by the landscape that led it.
I was a by product.
At a certain age and sitting
On a mouldy wooden park bench watching
Children swinging in the wind pushed
By smiling mothers in short skirts.
The old oak tree sighed as a cool breeze blew
Through my memories of being there,
Where I was watching.
And all the stages in between
Folded in on each other,
The same mistakes touching across the years
And chuckling at the irony
Of each other.
I walked a path
Through the heather yellow and spiked
And dripping with the dawn dew of a new day.
But one path through heather
Looks much like another.
Whether the view be of hillside
Or arid plain and gasping scrub,
The questions remain the same.
There’s the rub.
‘Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer…’
It doesn’t matter.
Do what you feel with due regard
For what makes you content.
As worlds whirl past you
In fluid current
That heaves and seethes,
Quiet at both start and end
But loud and turbulent in the moment
That demands you listen.
‘Tis nobler in the heart sometimes.
Standing between two mirrors.
Looking over my shoulder,
Looking into the past,
I see behind me many times.
Looking forwards into my future
I see me ahead many times.
Both are illusory.
I knew you once too.
You saw me through a mirror.
I think it was you.
Clock slowly ticking.
People walk past my window.
Clock slowly ticking.
In the far distance lay a particularly spiky part of Switzerland, where there stood a magnificent mountain. This mountain was so huge that it wore the clouds around its shoulders like a scarf, and it’s peak was like a nose on a face forever pointed upwards and staring at the icy stars.
Part way down this mountain was a cave. It sat dark and forbidding like an empty eye socket, just above the tops of the clouds. No one had yet been there, partly because most didn’t know it existed, and partly because those that did know couldn’t scale the thousand feet of sheer cliff face to get to it.
There was no other way.
But if someone had indeed made the effort, they would have found themselves standing in a dark cavern that opened up wide behind its entrance. They’d have marvelled at the smooth, almost glassy, walls. And if they’d stood very still and quiet, the blood would have run cold in their veins because they would have heard not one but two things. There would be the steady and resonant plip plop of water dripping for ever into puddles that never filled, and there would have been something else. A regular breathing noise, with an impossibly long cycle. A thirty second long noise that whistled sibilantly from the dark cave depths, followed by a shorter wheeze, but a wheeze way down in the bass notes.
It would have taken this adventurer no more than a minute to turn and run, like the wind, towards the edge of the cave, whereupon one can only hope he would have had the presence of mind to lower himself down the cliff face in an orderly manner, rather than simply jumping into the void.
But of course, this never happened. It’s mere conjecture, because no one had ever been there. No human anyway.
One bleak day in early Spring, the sound of the breathing in the cave started to change. It became less deep. And shorter, mimicking the quickening pace of the sound of the dripping water. And eventually it became irregular and was punctuated by an occasional grunting sound.
Sixenz, as he’d been named, although he didn’t know that yet, was very young. He lay curled in a corner, with the point of his fiery red tail stabbed deep into a rock nearby, so it didn’t flail about in his dreams, and cut him.
This was only his thirty fifth year in this world. Equivalent to a mere toddler in human terms. But he was already as aware of the world as any adult human. His parents had prided him with this cave shortly after his birth and then left him there, as Dragons do.
That was almost twenty five years ago. And as baby Dragons do, he’d leaned to kill and eat and survive, as baby Dragons do. Far below him lay a thickly wooded forest. And when the clouds decided to sink to earth, as they sometimes did, and the forest there lay deeply swathed in fog, Sixenz would slither forward in his cave and peer down at the fog below, that lay like an undulating, gossamer blanket over the world.
He knew that his food lay there somewhere. A rogue deer that had strayed from the herd. Or a bleating foal, whose mother would bleat and squeak and huff great clouds of steam into the air as she ran about helplessly watching Sixenz crush her child alive with his huge, beak like jaws.
This was to be one of those days. As Sixenz stirred slowly, the sides of the tunnel that he saw as he opened his eyes shimmered in reflected sunlight, for here up above the clouds, the sun always shone. He’d been asleep for nine long months, and he was hungry.
In the usual way, he heaved and squirmed his way down the tunnel towards the dazzling cave entrance, the spines on his back grating into the groove that ran the length of the cave, worn into the rock by thousands of Dragons before him, going back to a time before mankind.
He reached the edge and, eyes narrowed against the bright light, he gazed down below. There lay the fog. Like a slow motion river in languid, silky flow across the gentle, hidden hills.
Sixenz longed to stretch his wings, which hadn’t unfurled in more than nine months. He didn’t look up. He didn’t need to as he knew there was no one up higher then he was. Dragons ruled this world, although the world didn’t realise it. So he just looked down, to make sure all was safe before he launched himself from the cave mouth, and shot like an arrow downwards, eight hundred feet to the fog wherein he slipped and vanished silently.
The forest was still and grey. Monotone shades from pale grey like bloodless skin, to dark shadows within shadows. All creatures stayed still and waiting for sun.
Leaves on trees were deathly still and dripped gently. Except some, that quivered momentarily as though something had passed that way, disturbing the tense air.
A lone stag stood still as a statue, his antlers gleaming wet and his dark eyes watching. But he didn’t see enough. For him, the air moved suddenly, a blur to his right and the agony as his rig cage was crushed between two halves of a hooked beak three times his length.
Sixenz had enjoyed the hunt. It was good to feel the cold pressure of the wind under his wings again. And the taste of warm blood brought him alive. Concluded his slumber. The fragile body of the deer collapsed in his mouth.
And then he looked up. Stood not thirty feet away was a man. Watching him. Stood stock still like a statue, eyes wide.
Stillness returned to the forest for a full half a minute, as each looked at the other.
Sixenz saw a man stood there in the wood. But something happened to him then. Then at that point, he grew up and became what he was meant to be. Sixenz wasn’t like any other Dragon. In fact, he wasn’t like any other creature in the world, this one or any of the others. Sixenz came to realise this within the first five seconds of having seen the man.
Sixenz realised with a shock that he could remember his past life, in every detail. All in one moment, he not only acquired this knowledge of a different world in a different form, but he also acquired the ability to process it. All at once. And a mere babe-in-arms Dragon, barely out of the nest, suddenly faced a world with the comprehension of a human man some seventeen times his age, in human-dragon years.
Actually, now Sixenz had seen enough, he saw that it wasn’t a man, it was a woman.
But what Sixenz saw in front of him was no longer a beast called a woman. What he saw was both what he saw normally, as a Dragon, plus what the woman saw. As a woman and also as a Dragon, with warm blood running down its iron hard chin, and warm blood curdling in the other.
Ten seconds had passed.
The woman turned to run and started to scream. Sixenz saw prey and death simultaneously. Sixenz understood the world in a much wider sense. He, in a moment, came to understand the perspective of everyone and every thing. And he knew that he had once been a woman. He lived the life of a human female, before he was born as a Dragon.
As the woman turned and ran headlong away into the disinterested fog, Sixenz reflected. He remembered hating his/her life. He remembered a life of angst, and doubt, and anger at the powerlessness.
He remembered a life of servitude and cleaning and being quietly but obviously afraid of her next lodger. She had to run this hotel and so she was going to have to face down threat with threat.
In the woods, Sixenz lay, dead deer in his jaws. In another world that’s supposed to be past us, a lonely soul lived her life imagining herself defending herself, and never doing anything else.
Everyone down at the local village pub, busiest on Fridays, thought she was a right old dragon.
Reflection is a dangerous thing.
It sits like a sack full of scatter bombs
Around our shoulders.
Now is the only truth.
Born of the past
And frightened of the future
If we consider too much.
But the frozen moment that we live
Holds all that we need to know.
Sadness is gone now
And hope is yet to be born.
Live now and see that life is form
And our soul can sit
In judgement and make
This life to be our own.
As we will one day be judged
By ourselves or someone
Outside of the rush that distracts
And makes us weep.
Permanent sleep is
Outside of the dream.
It sees what we know
If only we knew.
But it really is there
For us to see and to know.
Just deal with the moment
And its richness will sow
The seeds of wisdom
And calm being.
I took him back and he looked at me.
His eyes spoke loud and I sighed and went away.
Nothing I could say.
I live in this garden now.
But he still plays and races and laughs
And I can see him.
Is reality a product of my eyes?
Or is my mind the true source
Of all mankind and all is what I need it to be.
Is time a process that belies the truth?
That my son still plays here?
My eyes lie but my mind knows better.
Time is just a trick designed to fetter
Our hopes and desires.
I choose to live when things were better.
Open space sense
Washed my weary mind
Of city crowd dust.
Focus flew to join the clouds
And drift soar
Over endless blue.
Sweet song of nature
Flowed through to
Calm and quiet and sooth.
This real is now.
Vague future no more
Lost to some hazy horizon.
There’s reason to be glad
I looked at the night sky and I wondered why
The sphere of human experience only reaches out so far.
That star that I’m seeing
Is being what it was
Hundreds of years ago.
And then I saw that
Each thing lives in its own time.