In this place rain has fallen forever – a mist, the monsoon downpour and white noise. Then the forest, the edge of a forest where blackbirds call meekly and woodpigeons shelter on the curved branch.
Lightning cracks through everything in vanishingly small moments. And thunder unites.
Spaced along the eternal border are houses, backing on to the woods and in each, the back door is open and swings slowly since the wind is slow. Raindrops fleck the glass, and wet the mat.
In the centre of each garden, one of the risen stands, staring into the swaying woods which shifts with the intensity of the rain. It is warm, and their clothes are wet. They never look away. They want nothing except to continue to look. This they are granted.
The lord’s prayer dances on their lips, but it changes nothing, and means nothing. Still they call it, whisper it, softly. Its sound is completely lost in the rain.
They seem still, and at peace. And they might be
This book is an empty
room – on the walls are myths
carved in an ancient hand
the depth of the rock-line
is inch deep. Shadows seep
and diffuse light beckons.
As it happens – it makes
a perfect home for them;
spiders surge in a tide
of grey – babbling softly
build a web on this rock
til tall vault lines hang down.
At the door, sand blows in.
The longer you spend here
The deeper afraid you feel.
The way the grains’ pattern
ignores you – this scatter
Of faint theologies
Author, Do You Pray?
Do not ask if I pray.
There is no need – for life
life is a joke, like this:
You laugh until it hurts
then, as often happens, cry
because you needed to.
and then because all life –
like late Turner – is filled
with a steaming light – so,
hardly moving my hands
I am towed into joy
by rusty old tugboats.
Hurling through the misted landscape –
while Christian voices, here and there pray
like whispers of torque and warm rubber
Buffeted by frosty wind in the night
snow erases the web of the tarmac
but the national anthem plays – deathless
rousing scraps of grey paper to stand
Shadow eats the roads of the world
We visit holy places, facing the casket bone –
we bear an old vector, surrounded by stone,
shadows and the teeth which carry the thing –
silence, mark of the stars which are so thin
What vaults, and well lit
and the gloaming cross, witness
the infidelity of the throng.
They fill the looming vaults with talk:
the talk of the street, and the dining hall.
The many silent signs, supplicant, are passed
like beggars on the street are passed –
“I don’t have any cash” – lied to, ignored.
Wasn’t this worth more, I think, than that?
Then, they don’t have the time to be quiet,
to waste away on an unspoken diet.
It’s a husk, inhabited by so many worms
eating, slowly, the pews
and drinking the holy water
which was only water after all, after queues
like that in their plastic bottles.
But what vaults, and well lit.
Couldn’t they just be quiet?
Just for a little bit?