kindle

in the cold of morning,
before light breaks the sky and
stars return to the dark
where they are born,
i break the kindling
set the logs
conjure flame from a matchbox –

and all the while
two owls speak close
their words smooth round
like pebbles in deep water.
i open the doors to listen,
lean in to the dark
frozen fingers on the latch –

and the forest comes in cold moist and
brimming with the voices of the living –
and the fire leaps to life
in the hearth.

 

WhatsApp Image 2019-04-17 at 09.55.17

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quench

we fetched water together
from the spring
on that other mountain,
wind flattened and
blooming almost familiar.
i carried it with me,
drove the 450km from her home
through places with soil
so rich in iron that ploughing
has bled red furrows across quiet hills.
past fields of wind turbines slow
on the flat lands. marching on endless
under a changing sky
until our mountains reached
out long arms towards us
and roads cut deep
through rock valleys
tight with cliffs
that were carved
by glaciers
in a story of this earth
older than words,
but younger than this water,
three bottles on my desk
catching light.

for three days i drink
this water from the spring
so that the memory of
the rocks and roots of that place,
her home, become clear streams
that pool and well within me
so that i re-member the mountain
remembering me.

 

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go now

do i have to
remember the wheres and
how of every meeting –
the which lifetime
of every word
that’s been spoke
between us.

beyond the shadows
morning light still spills
touching equally both
your face and mine.
birds still gather
joyous on cool branches
weaving the day with song.

this unravelling of us
was always inevitable.
much as the ball of yarn
unravels
to make the cloth.

return

there is no waiting
for the sky to wrench open,
to see the black nothing of space
and the promised land beyond.
there is no reaching
between trees where
lichen grows light – no sideward slip
into a world epiphanic.
you are needed here now,
both feet fresh from dream –
walking firm soft on the earth.

there is no touching
this long held breath,
our world waits
for the wind
to speak you.

 

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photo by allan glogauer

solace

we wake before the day now,
switch on lights to rouse the sleepers
drink tea while the sky forms above the hill
and darkness becomes forest and home.

outside the air,
damp-cool as frogskin,
is shaking with song,
in trees and hedges
small birds grow fat
on autumn”s bounty.

the goats, pungent
for rutting season,
sleep in – heads lolling
in woolly piles of breath –
listening for the quiet of new life
to be carried through the coming cold.

driving to meet the bus,
road sides strung with dew
and trapdoor webs,
stray egrets catch my breath –
sky shadows turned bird
bright in morning light.

today i season the hearth
dry the clay with kindling
until the flame burns
warm and steady.

this is the consolation
of the darkening days
and the turning
and the turning
of the seasons.

 

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origin

 

 

if i walked my DNA
back like a path
worn and traveled,
gathering the dust
of here
on my feet –
crossing oceans and high seas,
the long flat warmth of the equator
and further still.
green valleys where
rivers slow and quiet,
gentle their way to the sea –
across mountains touched with snow
to places that live nowhere anymore
but in the twisting spiral code
floating in the cytoplasmic soup
of every cell.

if we walk back and back
through the ice and fur
and long dark nights
of perpetual winter,
further back still to forests
and lagoons older
than our understanding of time –
does it matter, in the end,
whether we were made of stars or mud?
matter any more than it matters
that we are made of these places
we have walked –
we made these paths as they made us.
we have eaten and been eaten.
our bones are buried and burned –
turned to soil and tree
only to be born again
as human
as ant
as bat –
and any being that ate the fruit
of the tree that grew from the soil
that was us
for a while.