“For Adam” – What price, a word?

 

What price, a glass of wine? What price a word?

How does one measure weight, or wait for measure.

The currency of curses never heard,

All worthless treasure:

 

But kindness is a ruby-sweet device,

An unstopped vintage, poured without design.

So tell me then the worth of words: what price

A glass of wine?

 

 

This is another poem I wrote for a patron of mine, the only remuneration I sought being a single glass of wine. He was very kind enough to provide a bottle. In some respects, I think it’s much more civilised than writing for money. 

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“For Steve” – Unseen Colour

 

 

In any other colour, you would be

a shade too swift:

the way the shadows of birds shake

across the window, gone long before

you raise you eyes to see. In any

other colour, you would be black.

But by the time my dreamy eyes

lift from my page, all I see of you

is an absence, sky as blue.

 

 

I have been asking whether people would offer me a glass of wine, for a poem. One of my patrons, Steve, kindly offered me a bottle for a poem. This was my piece to him. 

Handheld Deities 3 – Thunder God

 

 

However you read this: there is before your eyes

Imprisoned thunder, spelling out her light.

They trapped her in a circle, in a circuit,

Bound to a black mirror in the hand, or

Mirrored in your libraries, at home.

 

You look right through her violent magnetism.

But honour, time and oversight are worship.

And worship only feeds a prisoned god.

Leave your offerings to her, but sparingly:

Her fire was first. Her hold will be the last.

 

 

I have written three short poems on the theme of gods. Each one takes an ancient religious archetype, and returns it to a mundane, earthly setting, where its symbolism may be overlooked but remains entirely relevant. My final piece in this short trilogy might well have been a mercurial messenger god: but we are reminded often enough of the wonders of mass media and communications. We more readily forget that we are holding thunder in our hands. 

Handheld Deities 2 – Glass God

 

To look upon the face of God, is death.

And seeing one’s own face in that pale mirror,

As oracles must have seen their wide-eyed fear

In every deathly water’s prophecy –

That too must be a reflection on an end.

 

How precious, this worthless diamond surface,

A mere shadow, hardly seeing in itself

The god it cannot worship: for it is worship.

It is a lack of god, reflecting god,

And to look upon it is to look on death.

 

 

I have written three short poems on the theme of gods. Each one takes an ancient religious archetype, and returns it to a mundane, earthly setting, where its symbolism may be overlooked but remains entirely relevant. Here, my focus is the mirror: a device of divination, soothsaying, witchcraft and various mysteries, associated with misfortune, vanity, the imprisonment of souls, introspection and madness. We are now so accustomed to them, we hardly pass them without a careless glance at our reflections: often forgetting their symbolic baggage. 

Handheld Deities 1 – Clay God

 

 

I take one grasp of earth: in the palm,

She is both water and soil. It is everything,

A handful of mother. When I press her tight

In two cupped hands, I become her vessel,

Her protector. Cool, pure and fecund.

 

Now, as my fingers open, like the petals

Of her floral offering, I see her

Thick waist, her fullness, her appetite,

Marked by lines of the human fingerprint.

I fashion the clay god’s formless archetype.

 

 

I have written three short poems on the theme of gods. Each one takes an ancient religious archetype, and returns it to a mundane, earthly setting, where its symbolism may be overlooked but remains entirely relevant. Here, I have taken the motif of earth goddesses – symbols of fruitfulness, fertility, soil, nature, birth, life and motherhood, often worshipped or depicted as voluptuous clay dolls – in the hand of a curious, messy child. 

My Boy

 

 

As close as winter, I hold my lover close.

His aspect is a smiling reliquary,

Its porcelain cut out in gentle lines.

 

I love his lips, his head I eulogize.

It is a subtle, sweet delight to me

That such a pretty thing is made of bones.

 

 

The Last Rose

 

 

Who holds roses, and can hold the rose:

Who talks in petals, and has lips of petals.

He whose briars hold him, crowned in briars,

Who falls as autumn falls, as autumn settles.

 

His wine is warm, and by his wine is warmed,

And in his heart there beats a heart of love.

He is the rose of roses, thorn of thorns.

He is my garden, golden, and alive.