Thursday, December 6, 2012


Mostly, when my spirits plummet,
words desert me, which means no poems.
So I have decided to practise words
like scales on a piano,
major, minor and arpeggios.
I'll find an image and play with it.

        The music is frenetic,
        jangling all the nerves.
        Its a suitable symbol
        for flinching families
        in Gaza and Tel Aviv.

        The last movement is peaceful,
        like my tree-enclosed garden,
        which has survived
        thousands of earthquakes;
        a fitting symbol
        of continuity against the world.

      War and gardens are simultaneous;
      the music gives a linear response,
      wisely not attempting

There, here is today's practice.

Families are a memory bank.
When my brother told me he had cancer,
I should have bombarded him,
not with compassion but with questions.
Since he has died, I have no one else
to fill in my past.
I know who I am now
but I don't know who I was then.
I'm like a book with the first chapters missing.

My practice has reached a stalemate:
day after day of C major scales.
It seems I haven't the motivation
to shift to a minor key,
which would require only
the lowering of one note.
That would open out a new possibility
and a new ending.

But to speak truth, its not the key
which is the culprit, its the sameness:
the endless repetition of routine;
spontaneity long, long vanished.

I am condemned, like Sisyphus;
And, like Sisyphus I have two options:
I can either wallow in the absurd, always
on the lookout for the fast-track to death; or,
acknowledge I am but a tiny speck
in the immensity of life,
a speck with a heart that can respond
to love and beauty and joy.

1 comment:

  1. I was going to say you need to post a photo of your tree-enclosed garden, but then I realised you probably don't, as that would take away the tree-enclosed garden we each bring to reading your poems.

    For writing 'exercises' you make me envious :) Some great lines, thoughts and images here. And then of course there's that middle stanza of iii ...

    I hope Christmas might break the routine for you a little.