Saturday, February 12, 2011

Embracing Chinks


’Tis heartening, the thought. . .
this scratch on my still new dive-watch —
or mark of personality,
endearing it the more, making it uniquely
susceptible —

to the singing warmth pulsing under the skin of the universe —

like the bashfully o’ersize crusty hermit shambling among calcareous lodgings,
(for now the old quarters inadequately hide that disgraceful behind)
scuttling cautiously from light freedom into wee-larger shell.

Yet isn’t it after all
that nakedness that love can touch?
love, light as sun on skin, love, intensely burning?
isn’t it in crannied walls that mysterious flowers bloom?
isn’t it that vulnerability —

uneven slope of the hermit’s brow
sapient glint of grey in wild beard-bouquet
newspaper scattered table
shirt worn inside out
spilt tea and tears
tattered hat brimming with smell of wearer’s head
smiling crow’s feet —

that makes so much dearer a soul wearing reassuring imperfections
than unyielding loveliness of a marble god?

Glassy perfection, having six months flawlessly resisted my loving abruptness,
allowed a blemish on its lustrous face
accepting the flaw of my gaucherie,
accepting me.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Because he was Irish

My heart sobbed out a poem
’bout the place that in dream stole my wits away,
as Arabia stole de la Mare’s.
It emptied itself, shaking out some of the dearest,
tenderest corners glowing secretly within.
And I dared show it to a fellow poet—
for he was Irish.

He dismissed it
as one does a cobweb,
blind to the silken glints;
as if it wasn’t allowed a stranger
to feel for his motherland. As if
all that really counted
was not soul, but stark reality. Novelty at the cost of spirit.
He was coolly harsh, and it felt all the harsher
because he was Irish.

Bleeding within, I stared out the window,
stared at that stabbing, aching yellow of the new-sprung hotel across the street
looking as if all the mangoes on the dark-awake tree before it
had splashed out their inmost selves over those new
brightly indifferent walls.

A friend sighs: It’s just an opinion, silly girl.
—Cold, you say? . . .Another point of view.
But smile! An Irishman took the time to judge your work.
True enough.
It took a while, but I finally saw
he was just trying to help; he wasn’t a bit cruel. Only
it seemed so at first, because he was Irish.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Musty Light


Dream-grey afternoon in the ballroom of a French colonial mansion
turned library. I sit in dim cloud-light, draped in musty silence,
feet on marble-cool floor, hemmed in by knowledge—termite-riddled,
reposing in the hall’s glooming arms; snatches of wisdom tucked into its long-frayed sleeves—

drowsing over a book, fingers slow-slipping through my hair, ‘til suddenly
a moth—and my heart—flutter up in sleepy surprise.
It had been napping in my hair, the moth. Having flickered
out of dark corners of history, of adventure perhaps, and settled,
still sleepy, in the fragrant-flowing dampness of my washed hair.

A moth in my hair? —I panic. Perpetually afraid of growing into a mouldy derelict, scarfed
with a sleepy whiff of history, perfumed with shadows of oblivion
for a ghost moth to haunt. . .
No. Perhaps it mistook the gloom for nightfall, venturing out to the sole tender light in the hall?
Glimmering insight of a youthful mind?

Light of wisdom comes to age, they say; as do moths.
Couldn’t the glow of infant wisdom draw moths and age, I wonder?
But it’s sombre here, and musty; stray thoughts too dreamy to mean.

Friday, July 23, 2010



Don’t you cry, love. Tomorrow
you shall rise naked and wild and strong
and fiercely brilliant
and make the world your home!
O’erspill wall-boxes, brim over into the storm.
Mould yourself to awkward spaces, flow into the unknown,
become the new, let strangeness become you,
teach your spine to fit all trees,
forget yourself to yourSelf.

What? Still clinging to an old pile of bricks? Why, ’tis but
sandy clay slapped round the Spirit and baked, hugging you,
a little too tight perhaps, leaving you frantic, gasping.
No need to lug it about as do those slumber-shelled garden gypsies.
Fly instead with the intense world-winds, led by that fine silken thread
Unravelling from within.

Pat Life on the back, prop your legs across its lap, pillow yourself upon
its breath, breathe.
Learn it consciously, casually,
like secret places of your body and cosy family smells,
the intimate taste of a lover’s drowsy breath
and your own bizarre thoughts (that see a kinship between the number nine
and your mother’s lips);
stray notions bobbling about your mind, holding water (just for you)
yet not quite sinking.

Uncork your Soul, let it foam out in a sparkling whisper
of Truth, immutably unbound, even
while all sleeps in the dreaming, teeming earth.
Turn your roots within.

Friday, June 11, 2010



There’s a magic isle inside o’ me,
A magic isle that’s home.
Deep, deep, deep within, yet
Not quite within reach.
’Tis an isle where rain and sunshine play
Rainbow games, as on the shell of a Nautilus—
Feel like one turned outside in;
One of those little personal treasures so well-hid,
Can’t quite remember where I put it. Or like
A pearl oyster with lockjaw.
There’s a not-quite feel to it,
Like the not-quite feel of magic yarns;
Something like the eluding earthy taste of rain-soaked earth,
The scintillatingly frustrating rhythms of unwritten poetry
Pattering a path through the twisting, snaking maze
Of the helpless brain,
The romantic scent of unopened letters, and memories…
Memories of having been there, but not quite.
And all my senses, they stretch out,
Outwards, seeking the isle within.

Sitting on the rocks before the Bay of Bengal
On a rainy day, that dreamy greyness is
Almost it. I inhale the wild sea-spray, and listen,
As I wander off, listen
For the laughing lilt of voices as I pass foreign tourists by the beach…
Catching but echoes; inebriated echoes staggering out
From within. My feet perhaps will take me there some day,
There, to the echo of the isle within.

Don’t know why, but I call it homesickness. And now,
Now, I must leave, leave all and dwell with that heavy dream
’Til we’ve drunk each other into oneness.
Something deep within, deep, deep within, sighs:
‘Here.’ But don’t want to listen. Must go, must look, must breathe,
And listen, and feel, taste, and love.
A fever, a frenzy, a burning will to soar, to seek.
Must brave the earthly seas before endeavouring
The seas within.
Something, some sort of hope says it’s out there
Somewhere—that Em’rald Isle. Perhaps not, but once there,
And if still unslaked, I might at least consider
Looking within.

Friday, April 30, 2010

From my Window: to the Nocturnal Sweepers


Sweep, sweep, sweep, ye maids
’Neath streetlights glowing warm,
Sweep out the eventide which fades
Before the looming storm.

The owl is silent in the tree
That prays with knotted arm,
Keep, keep thy spirit free!
Keep the world from harm.
Feel our lives’ nocturnal plight
The cricket’s trilling—hark!
Leap, leap into the light,
Lone minstrel of the dark!

Sweep, sweep, sweep, ye maids,
Away with monstrous might;
Sweep out Desire’s dripping blades
And her hissing sister—Spite!

All human hearts have shut their doors
And Truth and Courage hide
Deep, deep on darkling floors
Where blind sea serpents glide.

Hope is now an ebbing art
But few for it do pine;
Weep, weep, weep oh heart!
On Love’s forsaken shrine.

Sweep, sweep, sweep, ye maids,
Sweep me into sleep
Sweep away these weary shades
My dreams but let me keep.

The souls that seek the light are few,
Lord, wash away their fears!
Steep, steep the night in dew –
In Sorrow’s saving tears.
’Tis time for thee to sleep, oh mind,
To sleep, and thou my heart –
Sleep, sleep, for soon thou’lt find
The soul shall play its part.

Sweep, sweep, sweep ye maids,
Sweep me off my feet,
Sweep, sweep—the midnight fades…
The dawn we soon shall meet.

Tryst in Eire (a ballad)


In one year or ten, in time uncertain
She’ll follow her heart’s desire,
An Aryan maiden will leave her brethren
To find her dream-love in Eire.

As in ancient tales, she’ll set her sails,
Breasting the dangers dire
Of squalls and gales and banshees’ wails,
For the Isle of Emerald Eire.

She’ll seek him o’er hill, by brook and by rill,
At every hearth enquire,
She’ll follow with skill, with passionate will,
The dream-scented music of Eire.

At last on a rock by laughing loch
She’ll glimpse a lone lad with a lyre;
No need for talk, heart in heart they shall walk
‘Cross mysterious meadows of Eire.

In dell and in dingle, two beings made single
Will tune into Nature’s choir,
Their feelings will mingle, their hearts be a-tingle
In the song-filled swales of Eire.

In sun and in shade, in glen and in glade
They’ll burn in a breathing fire;
And in each other fade, like the rose and the jade
In the dreamlit dusk of Eire.

In one year or ten, in time uncertain
She’ll follow her heart’s desire;
But often ere then, she’ll meet in dream-ken
Her dream-love in faraway Eire.