Chapter 1: Three Dreams
Before the sun rises today I will have three dreams. I dream first of gold. The corn in the field is swaying, so softly, in the autumn breeze, and your body is covered like a king's. This rich cloth is no silent witness, but I trust it to keep its secrets, buried like the seeds that spring to life as the seasons pass. I am not afraid. I dream next of incense. My mind is clouded by its fragrance: I float unheeding of the cries. The swelling tides of the thrashing sea drown the screams of the gulls, sharp beaked though they may be. What am I if not free? I am not afraid. I dream last of darkness. Space is the final frontier, they say, but beyond the stars is no one and nothing. Here I lie, anchored by you to a place none may reach, except perhaps in dreams. Confused; I am not dreaming, but dying. Am I? I am not afraid. And so I gasp, and wake, and forget; As the sun rises today I will lose three dreams, and you.
Before the sun rises today I will have three dreams.
I dream first of gold. The corn in the field is swaying, so softly, in the autumn breeze, and your body is covered like a king's. This rich cloth is no silent witness, but I trust it to keep its secrets, buried like the seeds that spring to life as the seasons pass. I am not afraid.
I dream next of incense. My mind is clouded by its fragrance: I float unheeding of the cries. The swelling tides of the thrashing sea drown the screams of the gulls, sharp beaked though they may be. What am I if not free? I am not afraid.
I dream last of darkness. Space is the final frontier, they say, but beyond the stars is no one and nothing. Here I lie, anchored by you to a place none may reach, except perhaps in dreams. Confused; I am not dreaming, but dying. Am I? I am not afraid.
And so I gasp, and wake, and forget;
As the sun rises today I will lose three dreams, and you.
Chapter 2: gathering dust
empty and cold
like a hermit crab shell, abandoned
outgrown like an old shoe
grass grows over and I am sucked into the ground
shaken and old
like a wizened old man, blown
in the storm like a torn autumn leaf
the wind tastes my hair and I am ripped by the roots
scolded and told
like a child, like a fool, whipped
with your words like a thief like a slave
the sand bites my toes and my pyramid falls
given and sold
like sorry and please, used
in careless abandon like a scribbling pad
fragments of thought in my head, on my lips
a word, please; a sign
a signal, a note
that I am now yours and no longer
alone in my head with these things with these truths
with these old lives;
for I am empty, and cold.
Chapter 3: Watch Me
I am no ordinary image
I am no flitting in the dark shadow
Sunbeam through slit windows am I
Last light filtered dust in shade and tone
Seeping like water drops through the air of the room
I am yours for the taking
I am the answer in whole and nothing but
Nothing other than what I appear to be
And unchanging; life in waking and dreaming
Quelled not by fallen tree or flooded path
Listen to the music of water
Listen to the music of living beating breathing hearts
In blood rush am I whole and live in you
Take me hesitating only in gentleness
I do not want you to leave me
Watch me, for I cannot take my eyes away from you.
Chapter 4: Answers to Questions - a poem in four parts
And the glass of the house is open and empty
And the eyes on the ceiling are staring and wild
And the lover's embrace is of ashes and embers
And the stones of the path are the teeth of a child
And my mother is often alone in the daytime
And the answer is given and gladly received
And the scream in the woods does not break when you squeeze it
Although you may squeeze it as hard as you please
And the nightmare of blood is not over when waking
And the sun is in bloom from the dawn to the dusk
And the sweet scented swift seeking stream in the garden
Ambles over the gate like a bird with a crust
And my father is right that I'm glad to be lazy
And the fox on the grass is a stranger in flight
And the chances they took on the heath after sunset
Are the only escape for the bewildered tonight.
Chapter 5: A Song of Life, and What May Be
I have not grieved, nor breathed my last
The coldest stone is yet the coldest
And past, and time, and war, and blood
Are concepts still not grey with age
I've seen mist hang heavy in the glen
A watercolour blur, damp on my cheek
So I am spared deepest despair
And desolation, and fear, and hunger and thirst
And the small grey church is still a home of sorts
And the open fields are bleak and free
The wind snaps at my cold-appled cheeks
I close my book, climb down the wall, and walk the long hard road and leave.
Chapter 6: The Aldwych on Whale Day
Aldwych on whale day
Look not, speak not, stop not,
Black-suited armour against uncaring world
Greetings at the newsstand
Pennies for a world-connection
Crossword for the lunch-rush
A whale under the bridge brings the crowds together
The ordinary man is a hero and the unusual breaks reality
Death ends the spell
Stopgap evening pub time
One more city-given talking point
Light-pooled doorways breathe drink-fuelled wobblers
Sleeping-bag street corners passed
See not, stop not, give not
City sleeps for new beetle morning-haste
Chapter 7: Love
Some emotion given received
I've wanted longtime
Sometime objects of devotion faded and whispered away into the ether
Fear strikes the heart
Lightening bolt fast
Interlocked eternally with love
I cannot separate these feelings so close and yet so far
Apart in nature
In your arms the only place I am safe from demons and devils of darkening desolation
Alone thinking is like a glass too many times washed
Fractured reflections mirror in myself
Do not let me fall
I have suspended myself far over the abyss at your encouragement
And I do not know how strong my rope is
Coloured dancing floating beauty light sparks around me but lose myself too long and I could slip
Any accidental cut could leave me hanging by a thread and that I do not wish to even contemplate my life in pieces shatteredonthefloorandIama
Chapter 8: A Letter to C.
Tell me to smile
Hold me and tell me it will be alright
I don't need much
I just want to fall into your embrace
Stay there for a while
And pretend that you love me
I don't mind that you don't want me
Or at least, not like that
But I wish
Once in a while
You would let me believe
Just a few moments
Is that too much to ask?
I've written songs for you
Spilled my heart to you
Asked your advice
And not once have you complained
And not once have you told me you felt anything for me
So it's a no, then
I'll back off
But just once more
Just as a friend
Won't you please hold me?
Chapter 9: Memorial
I walk in darkness
Step by step
The grass beneath my feet shines silver in the twilight
Behind me, a trail of broken leaves extends across the field
Like a snail's path;
I tread onwards.
The air is cool on my face
A whispering wind brushes my cheek
Busy; it does not notice me, invader in its night-time territory.
Trees rustle a response to its gentle persuasions,
Disturbing small creatures.
If I stop and listen, I can hear them
A snuffle, a squeak, a shriek
The patter of mouse-feet
Close enough to my toes to feel the shiver of a tiny life crossing my path
I tread onwards still.
I reach my aim and run my fingers across the trunk
I read it like Braille
I am a nightly visitor here
Each ridge tells me something new –
An insect has been here.
And there –
That stump – a twig has gone.
Every night I lay my cheek here
My memory tree, this.
Eyes closed, I breath in its scent
We are old friends, tree and I
Time is still, here.
I turn, and do not glance back
And walk across the lightening field
And leave your memorial to the night and the breeze and the creatures
And I tread onwards, still.
Chapter 10: Ode to Life's Small Wonders
I have never looked up at a full moon
Laid on the soft grey-lit grass
My back damp but still warm
Your comfortable presence by my side.
But I have loved with such intensity
That all else pales
And life seems but a shadow
And I can't help my heart singing with joy
I have never known what it is to hunger
Never known the dry earth to crack and crumble
Beneath worn out, famine-shrivelled toes
Nor walked miles for a single drop of muddied water
But I have thirsted for knowledge
Like a grey old scholar
Found solace in the words of others
Had my mind forced open and broken down
I have never seen total darkness
Had my hopes crushed inescapably
Known the despair that comes
When there is nothing that can be done
But I have stood in blackness ringed with light
Seen the sun be hidden and yet still live
The sea spray shining suddenly no more
Tasting sweet ever-after on my lips
I have never floated over myself
Died and risen again
The choice between now and then
Has never been laid at my feet
But I have opened my eyes to see bright light
Streaming through a window
And wondered at the way it highlights the dust
So they become prisms falling slowly.
I have never believed in war
Felt the hard cold blood-lust rise beneath my skin
Needed to tear apart the earth
Simply to see that I could do it
But I have seen the light-dappled earth
Leaf-littered beneath green-sprouting branches
Each ray a water droplet staining the ground
Warming my skin, a dry forest shower.
So many frozen moments I have still to know
And memories of things I've had
Tinged with feelings past, like old inks
And some still fresh and new, drying in my mind.
Chapter 11: After Telling Him
I notice things in detail
Even something small;
Like the way my cheeks feel have worn away, like sandpaper
Unlike their usual softness
Like the way my fingers shake
Like the way my breath catches in my throat
There is a rock in the way of the air
Like the way my hair stands on end along my arms
And it feels like each one is quivering, individually
Sodden tissues are strewn around me and now I feel heavy
At least I told him.
Chapter 12: Melancholy
A state of blueness
A pensive mood
A swirling maelstrom
A distant, high-drifting cloud
An overwhelming sense of not-right
A tiredness in my bones
A dreamlike floating state whilst waking
A heavy dragging
An impending sense of doom
A surrounding darkness
A lack of care
A blackout of emotion
And in my hours alone I feel and yet do not, and still am whole.
Chapter 13: growing up
escalating into control
I wind down from my peak
in spirals falling leaf-like
the ground taking my fall
soft soft a surprise
intensely, like tin roof raindrops
I am serious
glory dizzy heights behind me
cold hard earth underfoot
vision still-lake clear
Chapter 14: Introspection
When the time came, she knew she would do nothing.
There was nothing she could do.
When she was a small child
her fatheralways read her stories of
brave knights and damsels in distress and
she had wanted to be the knight
shining armour and all and
she had been the child in the corner
who had to be saved
from the bigger children's taunts
When she grew up
she read tales of the wars
of the French resistance
of brave souls winning against all the odds and
fighting down pressure from those around them
to ride to victory
she had been the one
who kept her head down and
did not stand out above the crowd
it made life easier for herself
no matter what she really thought.
She was never going to live up to her own aspirations of bravery and renown.
When the time came, she knew she would do nothing.