Reduction

her gesture
was the first moment,

a first step,
soon parted by death

recalling the shock,
altered and shattered
his world

never look back
as Orpheus did

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Butterflies Wings (Afternoon with Macbeth)

Time passes,
time drags,
time repeats,
time snags,

Time ticks by.
There he lays.
The room is dark.
The room is cold.
Childrens’ voices pierce the veil.
Here is the killing of a King.
Lady Macbeth reaches out.
No-one grasps her bloodied hand.

Time rolls round
and time rolls round.
The end is set
by moments marked on a digital clock.
Death marks the walls with fast drawn chalk.
This is the circle ambition brings.
Generations repeat the sin.

In the street outside,
with early signs of April rain,
the swan bends down and folds its wings.

In the cafe down the road,
by the window where light falls
on polished wood, the books are glued,
their pages shut, their words unknown.
An old man shuffles by alone.

On every table in the room,
the yellow rose is in full bloom.
Shakespeare’s lips are butterflies wings.
Four friends meet and seal a bond.
They all know the plays the thing.

The Saddest Lines

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Escribir, por ejemplo: ” La noche está estrellada,
y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos”.

El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta.

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Yo la quise, y a veces ella también me quiso.

Tonight I can write the saddest of lines.
But these words above never were mine.

I encountered death as an infant.
I created myself as someone I’m not.
I wasted my gifts and took the wrong turnings.
All that I loved most faded away.
Sometimes it’s hard to put food on the table.
Each day is a struggle. I think I might break.
Are these tired words sad enough for you yet?

Let’s step up the horror, in case we forget.
Seven million people died of cancer last year.
Five thousand people sleep rough every night.
One hundred elephants are slaughtered each day
They hack out their jaws to trade in the ivory.
The ocean’s polluted and forests are dying.
The politicians are lying.
No one takes action.
Everyone’s looking for things they can’t have.

Don’t speak to me of her love you once had
or play with the thought of her infinite eyes
and the way that you lost her love and ask why.
Pablo Neruda I hear you complaining.
Pablo Neruda silence your cries.
Each moment of love is a gift. Don’t expect it.
There’s perspective above,
in those trembling blue stars.

 

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~~~~~~~~~~~

The quote in Spanish is from “Poema 20” and is part of “Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desesperada” (twenty love poems and a desperate song) from Pablo Neruda that was published in Santiago de Chile in 1924.

Knight at the Crossroads

Tired, he came to the crossroads,

to the place where his own dead were buried.

His horse halted without his command,

its head bowed down to the bone dry dust of the arid hostile earth.

Even the birds were silenced.

No water was here to be found.

 

His life had no purpose now they were gone

but still he must travel on,

seeking the grail as he always had,

for the grail was his last long hope.

Here, On the Shore

there is nothing to lose here
and nothing to win
out here by the ocean
cast up on the shore

grains of salt
in damp sand
fragments of shell
bubbles keep rising
to break in the air

nothing more
nothing more
nothing more
nothing more

briefly cupped in a hand
the water of life
soaks back to sand

we go and we go
and we go and we go
we go, we go
we go into the flow

spiral and helix constantly spin
it’s part of a vision
too vast to explore
I’ve seen this before
and before and before

From Acorns, Oaks (a haibun)

I was an acorn, many years ago,fallen from an ancient tree to the earth below.
One day Arthur came, dreaming of the land and his ambitious plans. Absent-mindedly he stooped, bowed down to me, reaching out a hand.

with heavy footsteps
men will come, their battle plan
disturbs the forests

He held me in his palm. I saw him softly smile. He placed me in his pocket
where it was dark and warm. He was not a king to me, he was just a man. I stayed with him throughout his golden age.

here amongst blossoms
they sit and speak of glory
petals softy fall

When Arthur fell,I fell too. He fell into his long sleep of death. I fell to my birth, pressed into the earth by a careless foot, an unwitting gardener pushed me into mud. I was cradled by the earth while the country still mourned.

cradled by the earth
in knowledge of high branches
I reached up to light

I reached up to light and became a sturdy oak. Now we are a forest. We whisper this old story as wind sighs through our leaves. My children tell the tale.

The Circle II

Though we see their faces no more
those who have left us speak to us still
and always will. We hear their wise words,
when we are left far behind on the shore.
Recalled by the friends and family
and all who love them before
we can hear their voices speak in our hearts.
We do not part. They speak from our Ancestors halls.

Where one season ends another begins
as nature shows us again and again.
We pass through our spring and our summer
and the golden gathering time of the Fall.
Winter is not an endless cold season.
There is a journey ahead. No end at all.