Passion’s wasted on the incontrovertible,
who cares who did what or when;
too many feel that the sensual nerve
has value, but learn to embrace restriction
We are rational; it is our history, our condition
yet here we are lacking compassion’ scheming,
acceding to the desires that exclude our shame
tolerant of lies, torture, even death.
We stand at the margins having thrown
out seasoned morality, religion’s certainties,
substituting reason, acerbic ratiocination
that should sunder us from superstition.
But who calls out there? We hear no gods:
gone their rituals that once clinched
that natural world we grasped with wonder
before we let our reason plough us under.
Large Garden With Chime
Chinese, it’s supposed to be
more likely Hong Kong, Taiwan,
but it does not matter.
Suspended from the pear tree
It has chattered for years;
rebuilt twice after winter storms,
its original lucky red fading,
still hints of the gold I sprayed
it once. Now the top pipes
are greened with mosses
as it waits for another winter;
I expect it will fail again
if so I’ll splint it with
wooden skewers altering
once more its habitual clack.
It’s aging well; still keeps
its friendly call and overall design;
but how long before the pipes crack
and fall and I have to substitute
with another wood, altering
its familiar sound for good?
To make farewells at last
putting aside a past that fixed
so many years. The joys
multiplied in its rich heat.
I travel North now away
from the cicadas’ noise,
the bread and sweet oil,
a landscape that held me
with dry air, tatters of romance,
moistureless earth, fecund
dust. I leave at last its trust
in thin wines, its blood-fed fields.
Here at the edge of things
the quarry’s rim, a turn of trees,
with you below calling out.
The susurrus through branches
dumbs you, your arms flail
as you semaphore some meaning.
The sun deadens my interest,
the wind’s whisper is intriguing
I am oblivious to your gestures.
Once they would have set me
running down the perilous track
enticed and bewildered.
Neither time nor space
have altered; rather the changes
are appropriate to us
who seldom understood the clues,
those connections that snap,
a tightness embraced
this is where we have reached,
resigned to small delights.
Fistral Bay Thrity Years On
Hearing and smelling again that surf,
recalling thirty years ago when I rode
these waves, careless of rocks, sure in my skill;
returning I wonder whether I could do it still
Screams of gulls, the sea’s dark roaring,
then I knew how to paddle out and wait;
also her, she who taught me more than surfing,
marked my life, our brief affair never forgotten.
This bay so important then, its sands and sounds.
the waiting for the right wave, the exact moment
to work, thrust, catch and slide sharply forward
to grasp, hoping to stand tall and swerve
into the bay’s curving and the adulation;
that camaraderie then, the talk, drinks, girls,
acceptance of the timeless, our constant present
and now in my later life do I strive for it.?
Too old now, no doubt, to accept those thrills, risks;
have I the strength to fight currents, swim under
to reveal my presence, to make that elemental call?
No longer a part of it; unequipped, I hire a board.