tree

The Circle

We caught a bus out of the city near dawn
and crossed the wet football fields into the park
after a night of reading and talking and no sleep;
thin psyches, sensitive eyes, amazed by simple things -
oaks and crocuses, birds, breath vapour in the morning air.

February sunlight on the sycamores and chestnuts;
flickering on the spinning edge of a boomerang
bought in a music shop, thrown in a ritual circle.
A dog grabbed it, chewed it up and ran out of sight
over the lip of the hill. The horizon's circle placed us
at the centre of a world that moved with us like an aura.

We squinted when the sun would break the tree cover
and catch us talking about the four elements and the spirit;
about friends and past lives and drugs and spiced tea;
water spraying from a dog's wet fur, geese croaking
over the flat lake water, street lights flicking off on the waking roads.

Everything became concentrated in the ritual of the walk -
up the oak and beech slopes to the edge of the golf course,
along the river gully and past the tall, scarred tree,
around the edges of the lake; our conversation
fusing our experiences and memories with this reality:
the alchemy of the elements. Lake, sky, sun, mud, and us.

Once in a while, something notices how scattered we've become,
and decides to bring us together again: poetry, pub stories,
sharing sandwiches on a cold bench, kissing under a crumbling wall.
We collect what we can, and offer it to the other for blessing:
an oak twig, shaved and sanded for the altar; the names and shapes
of seeds and leaves; feelings summoned into the material world,
like the perfect oak, alive in space and time until the final storm.

Rushing Like A Ripple

you can't
write a poem
in the shape of a spiral
curling down
out of the blue
like an aircrash jetstream
like the myth of the boy
who beat a giant
in a contest of strength
because he threw a sparrow -
they both were silent,
watching it curve out of sight -
you can't
write down a tree as it really is -
luminous monochrome in moonlight,
careless colour carousel in sunlight -
you can't
find any words for loving her,
the unbearable emptiness
and fullness of it,
a scream and a tear and a smile

cast together into crystal,
kissed into clear glass
for warping light and time

rushing like a ripple in a river

Sycamore Sunday

She's a time machine
in the shape of a sycamore,
her leaves glowing emerald in the sun.

Twisted branches like swimming pythons:
near the ground, a deep crook
where I straddled and stayed for an hour.

Midges spiralled through shining air,
sounds of the city dulled into distance -
footsteps, voices, wind in the leaves, all silent –

my breath and heartbeat slowed
as she told me I had no need of anything,
nor any reason for fear.

While the sun flickered through her hair,
I laid my journey aside
for this moment. Our bargain,

that she gives me shelter and peace,
and I give her what I can: a life
immortal in the realm of the mind.