Friday, August 7, 2009


Before this
Hope was an upside down teacup with nothing spilt
And words were the talisman that bound your heart to mine
And love was the night
And eternity was possible as was living
And dying was for the swallows
And the salmon who swim up stream
And the poets who ran out of words
And the artists who painted themselves out of the picture.

Before this
Promise was the sword in the stone
Immortality a hop skip and a jump from tomorrow
And war the failure of love
Light was the truth
Eternal light
Cast on every living thing
No place for shade or shadow
I had clipped the wings of those impossible butterflies

Before this
Day was the prelude to night
And the eternal moon gives birth to her hosts
As they twinkle for all eternity in the forgotten sky
Even the seasons pining for one another- forced to come as another one goes
And the rapture that is you
Knots in my heart

A daisy chain at the lion’s door
A key in the latch of our contentment
A birthday song for a loved one lost
The letters I wrote but never sent
Lessons learned through the aftermath
The elegy of time

Before this
The song was sung
And I knew every word
And the leaves on the doorstep carried the breath of autumn
And every riddle was understood
And every dream came true
And every night promised day
And every year promised June
And every part of myself
Promised you
An open palm
A sip of water
A grand overture
An apology
A declaration
A shelter
A rose
A tear


I catch myself on the stair
At your door
On the 5pm bus
Outside the City Hall
Beside the park
In the cathedral
Upon the stone bridge
Amongst the brambles
Impossibly afraid that
I have lost you
And you will never be found

The Greater Good

It was atonement
And peace we were after
It was a thousand times the distance to the furthest sun
And the planets spun off their axis and crashed into the sea
And the world forgot herself in a mirror
And I wore a red dress and drank my coffee black
And spoke Spanish to the pigeons in Trafalgar Square
And shook Gandhi’s hand at the station
Tally Ho – down that long train track
And made love to Sartre behind Simone’s back
Forging fast beyond the forests
I promised Goldilocks a spoon
And ripe pomegranates stained my dress black
And you were an afterthought
Like Tuesday
Or the stranger on the corner
Or the last rose in the bunch that lives and burns still brightly while all the others have died
Yet still ends up on the rubbish heap
This was our last grand gesture
Before falling fast
Like Dirty Harry
Like Sylvia Plath
Like Frieda Kahlo
And her broken back
Vanity and prosperity
No space for light or truth
God forbid
The collapse of the World Bank
Or the silent passing of another dictator
History's constant loop
Same story different day
The rivers run with blood
And oil
The stinking, sludge of our contempt
We were looking for Elysium
But it wasn’t what we’d hoped
Or it wasn’t in the right place – too third world
Or it failed us
Or we failed it
Or it didn’t exist
Or we were barred entry and ended up in purgatory
Or didn’t find absolution
Or found it too late
Or tried to steal it from the devil
Or offered Jesus a bribe
Or took the wrong train, bus, car, plane
Or didn’t believe
Or believed too much
It was atonement and peace we were after
And the glory and the fame
And the wealth and the knowledge
And the truth
But how it cut is
Clean in two
I became myself
And lost you
And then we were just strangers
Who look for recognition
But never find it
Or find it and hate it
Because it would mean
We were cut from that same brilliant cloth
And that would mean
I’d have to respect you
Because I would demand nothing less for myself
And so I wouldn’t tie you up in some sweatshop
Stitching labels to bags you could never afford
And I would never crucify you for your convictions
Or debase your superstitions
Or trade your ammunition
Or buy into those suspicions
That suggest so eloquently
The opposition
The them
The we
Us and them
You and me
I would have walked on eggshells
For all eternity to find the beginning
The big bang
Or Eden
Or that snake that tempted Eve
Or that magic word
Or that first prayer
Or seed
Planted and forged on organic soil
Or in the bones of dinosaurs
The notion
That set it all in motion
This, my devotion
And then I would do the kind thing
The humane thing
And switch