Evening prayerI am a sandpit in the parkWhere children shout and digTo please their little selves.
"Which we ought to have done"
I am a flashing neon signWhich only does proclaimAn ersatz happiness.
"There is no health in us"
I am a bale or so of clothWhich seamstresses do cutFor clothing those in need.
"Thy will be done on earth"
I am a piece of sculptor's clayOn which my fellow menImpress their images.
"That trespass against us"
I am a man of all choicesWho by these my choosingsHas hidden other selves.
Pax in terraThis couple dig their garden.She watches as he wields the fork,Presses in the new bought roots,So pleased to be admired.She claims a kiss as he's done:Freely given. Both glance at the pramStanding, with it's burdenPeacefully asleep.
These simple actions,Full of blessed harmony,Wisdom of practical humility,Speak eloquently againstAll vilely forced ambition:The nastiness of taking.Oh, give me always peaceful folk,They should the earth inherit.
Choosing audio equipmentThis shop, that, show off their wares with noise.Enveloped so, we jostle withA host of ernest audio buffs,Questing for perfect sound production.
Audio, stereo, quad and solid state:—An offertory to the greater good,The comfort brought by high technology:"I'll feel better with a music centre."
You rubbing multitudes, fill the air,Blot out with pulsing trivia the soundsOf blood imperfect in the veins,And thoughts of oh-so-human frailty.
At least if personal reproductionFails to give the sought completion,A more expensive record deckCompensates with dead perfection.
Do not feed the werewolfDo not feed the werewolfFor he does not knowThe hand of human kindness.
When you do not know himHe'll charm you with his tongue,Delight you with his wit.
He'll not show you blood lust,Anger at the worldWhich fails to be like him.
If he says he loves youSchool your feelings well:That word is not what he means.
Know him what he is,Wearing human clothing,Aping human customs,
Sating feral lustsWhen his careful cunningEstimates escape.
Know him and he'll show youCrocodile contrition,Simulated sorrow,
After his last furyFor being what you're not,From which you just escaped.
Do not feed the werewolf,Or next time he's in passionHe'll savage you again.
Lonely lightyears voyagingI weary of lonely lightyears voyagingTo the far edge of imaginationIn search of reality in truthsWhich did not touch me.
In payment is the priceOf re-entry to the human race;For all the loss of shared experience,And the ways of touching 'strangers'—all our kin.
Ask then shall we, from these unlooked for crossingsOf our orbits in this, life's galaxy(Each high parabola overcharged)Careen away, decay?
Or, greatly fearing,Suffer the sliding turning moment,The terrible slingshot seizing us fastWhich hurls us to ourselves, and to each other?
Avebury, autumn, late afternoonStanding on this rough mound,The greensward mossing in the turning sun,The hills beyond diffusing in the light,I overtop this bounded coomb:Certain, settled, mandalic place.Who dared to build a village at the cross?
Below, small figures stand, and turn:Equivocal acolytes; timepassers; children.
Here one stands before a stone Uncertain of the courtesiesOwed to such antiquity:There another, dumb and pensiveAmid the gew-gaw chatter of his party,Spewed from a coach.
Behind me, outside this wall,
A tractor, ant-like, cuts
The boundary between two browns.
So there did oxen, yoked to oaken plough;
Before them, folk with hand tools, rough clad.
In this still evening light
The trees reverence with immobility
Their ancient massy elders.
Even the children, unashamed,
Leaping in the ditch,
Have ceased their joyful cries.
Moving round the circuit,
The stones gyrate for me, or I for them:
My slow circumambulation
A distanced, secular courtesy.
I suggest to this photographer
He moves downslope, hides in trees,
A secret, shadowed, hidden view,
Where perhaps our forebears watched in fear.
Salute to you, antique men,
You watched a celebration:
Do we build large patterns in the land
To shelter cows?
This is a grove of saints.
Three Hokku on timeEnfolded time isAt the moment of embrace:So ageless both be.
Unending time isAt the facing of yourself:So agéd all be.
Unheeded time isAt the last calm acceptance:Enough just to be.
1993: these CJ set to music in 2007. A sample can be heard from this page.
InvocationMay this garden*Again, and againSoften to the presence of children,Who may lie under these trees,Gazing up at the intricate lacy patternsAgainst the sky,And dream slow dreams.
1995 *substitute 'woodland' if preferred.
The Night Sea crossingPlunged with the Sun-god, beneath the western sea;
Stretched by the Sky-god, illimitably far;
Frighted by the Fecund Hag, fooled by the Pooka.
Drowning - O ache of loss!
Wafting - O forgetting!
Drifting - stardust, scatterings, flotsam.
O remember me
Who now I am.
1999. Written for inclusion in CJs multi-author extended song cycle The Night Sea: fragments of an ordinary life. See 'dissertation' in this website for a full discussion of the composition.
Sparkbrook in the spring'Sick, tired I am by this God-awful rain'Said Irish, face by life's failed struggle etched,Buying smokes in the Asian general store.'In my country, the rain, it does not come'Responds Proprietor, gently, un-protesting.
Homeward: traffic noise and smell; broken roads;Last night's hurled glass; dark sky but lifting damp;And the blessed ordinariness of folk—Asians, Blacks, Whites: private griefs, public hurtsConstrained in daily, saintly, keeping on.
Through the park, fresh greened trees gleam startlingly,New cleansed against the grey but opening sky.Wet new-cut grass glistens in spreading light;Spectral drops shimmer; birds begin to sing.Such beauty! New born, piercing to the heart.
O God, send this to those dry, hot placesWhere cattle die while folk despair of rain.
Invocations to archangelsUriel, Uriel, Uriel, Fire of God,
Aid us at our waking and at our rising up:
Fill us with your fire that we may face our day
And live our lives, Uriel.
Gabriel, O messenger, O man of God,
Flow through us at the noontide
That we may feel, and hope.
As you protect all sleeping babes
Nurture with your loving care
Our unawakened selves, O Gabriel, Gabriel.
Angel of the spirit of Man, namèd 'God heals',
Mediate at our eventides (Raphael, Raphael)
Resting from our journey.
Raphael, help us as we strive
To weigh up day and night,
To balance all our lives.
O Raphael, breathe into us,
O Raphael, the healing breath of God.
Leader of the Heavenly hosts,
Guardian of the faithful,
Be with us at our sleeping.
Míchäel, in this your era, grant us dreams
That we may wake to use our thoughts
With wisdom and with care,
In harmony with all humanity.
With all your angel hosts,
Your healing work through us
That we may dedicate our lives in this sad world,
To healing hates and fears.
2002. Written specifically for the composition of the same name. A sample can be heard from this page.