Monday, October 1, 2007

Roland John


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?

Leaving Provence

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.

Love Song

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,

beached, contented,

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.

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