Inner Landscape 1
Inner Landscape 2
Outer Landscape 1
Pierce the situation even deeper,
Push back surrounding fronds and branches,
Do not rest until you have seen it all,
Found a place to sit at the heart of things.
Your rock is there and your pool of water,
Look carefully and do not be afraid
Of your own reflection mirrored in it,
Stay there for a while but then walk away,
Pursue your own paths as they appear to you,
And do not consent to be turned aside.
Along a winding road lined with coarse shrubs,
Trees grew sideways away from the wind,
The air was tinged with salt, the sky open to forever.
My passenger put the map aside,
Preferring to stare southwards and navigate by the sun,
As if something had stirred an old deep-seated memory.
Sinking into thick upholstery, wide blue seats with black patterns,
Settling into an environment of strip lighting, plastic, aluminium and steel,
With an atmosphere of unreality, detachment from nature, from the outside world.
As the train leaves the station I drift into drowsiness verging on sleep.
We glide past office blocks, old brick buildings and a brick chimney struggling towards the sky,
And dingy backs of embankment houses,
With windows and gardens that seem dark and cramped when viewed from a train.
We reach the suburbs, where the gardens look almost geometric,
They are followed by fields, then tree after tree flashes past as the train gathers speed,
With a high-pitched rattle and a strong pull; earthbound, rooted in rails.
Station after station goes by like a flashing banner as I try to catch each name,
But this is a fast train.
Then a voice penetrates my dreams asking to see my ticket,
The stupor is broken, I return fuzzily to life.
Eventually we stop; fresh air and bird songs enter the open slit of window,
I stare at disused sidings where coarse grass pushes through the lines,
And buddleia grows between rusty tracks.
We are in another county, and the differences are clear,
And yet blurred over by some sense of continuity
Binding this corner of the world together with red brick and gables
And a gentle, subdued quality of light.
Only a few stations to go now and the distance between them is short,
I doze and wake, noting the familiar scenery, anticipating fresh sea air,
Then the final jolt brings me round, I am awake,
First I have to face the barrier.
The bus stop is a landmark,
A bus comes,
I step onto it and I pass many more landmarks
As the bus moves on with its familiar stops and starts,
I sit and drift.
The bell rings.
As I step off the bus,
The world re-envelops me
In a sac of sounds, mysterious sighs and greyish light,
High walls enclose me,
And windows you can scarcely see through.
I walk and keep on walking,
And keep passing more landmarks
Until I reach my destination and the world becomes stationary again.
When I called you a captive icon on my shelf,
You called it an illusion, which I knew was true,
You told me I could pin you down in images,
But no matter what I did to try and keep you there,
You’d still escape from dream into reality,
I’d be the one imprisoned in the photograph.
I don’t know if I should stay there forever,
Safe but keeping to the background shadows or if
I should let my thoughts wander imagine I’m free.
So it’s time to talk in plain end rhymes,
End this episode then begin again,
Turn mysteries into nothing more than lines,
Separate every verse from its refrain,
Release the animus hope the friend is mine.
my mood is grey,
Has summer gone,
Or will the sky be blue again
Some day soon?
is what I see,
running in the sky,
fast and free
then jolts in patches
as winds catch it
and lift it high
and take it low.
From the ground
we watch it
you and me
with upturned eyes
seeing the beauty of the skies,
And our thoughts combine
and are free
as winds and sea
No-one can bind us.
Strange the way the season has been,
Never have we seen such cold and rain,
But now September’s here again,
And as can be the case,
Strong winds have chased the grey clouds away,
Leaving sunny days,
A final blast of summer weather,
And starry nights we can gaze at together,
Wherever we are.
Inner Landscape 1
The flames are spent now life smoulders,
Like the aftermath of celebrations
Viewed in a wistful early morning light,
Laid so low I am denying the fire,
No litter or scorched grass or bushes in sight,
In their place are fragmented white pathways,
I cannot thread my way through the hills
To where the clouds are, all is so patchy,
All too unreal, nowhere to rest my feet.
So let the scene be one of misty pieces,
And scattered images of mixed days past,
No way is shown to rekindle bright sparks,
No vibrant sign of life reveals itself
As a way forward or a beaten path,
Nor is there a hint of wind or water,
Or colourful flowers or gentle music,
Or re-grown grass as now the flames are spent.
Inner Landscape 2
Free as a traveller on a hill where trefoil and harebells grow,
Caressed by the breeze and warmed by the sun,
Air full of lark songs, chalk and turf underneath your feet,
You head for the hilltop road,
Where you could walk for miles and never notice time passing.
Such familiar places are alive,
None of their memories have faded or been buried yet,
When you visit them you are free again,
Even though the birds, flowers and soft breezes are long gone,
There is pavement beneath your feet, and the sun touches nothing but your soul.
Outer Landscape 1
A quiet street on the outskirts,
With flats in front and flats behind,
Places formed of pale brick and oblong shapes,
Black iron railings and flat white window frames.
From one day to the next little changes,
Outside the door grit and grime prevail,
Sunshine stifles on the hottest days,
Such bare modern shapes are defenceless against its glare.
But sometimes trees sigh; rain breaks the silence,
And there is a soft roar, rumble and swish like a backcloth of sound.
Some evenings in the light of street lamps,
You appear like airy patchwork,
Fusing together pieces of time
that got lost in some determined forward march.
Then the cityscape is quietly distanced,
It is softened; all harsh lines become melted down,
The soul of the place feels mended,
There is hope of true tranquillity
Among iron, brick, metal, plastic, wood and plaster,
Among the dust and frail shadows of all that went before.
You remind us that the street is from another era,
The flats a replacement for what might have been,
But for the explosion flattening the dream and changing things forever.