Astonished into bud


Fritillaria sewerzowii Green_15-2 [1024x768]

Flower by Mike Flemming.Copyright 2015


The journey to the heart is  graced by love.
And those who need to seek obey their call.
Though virtue and her graces smile above,
We see steep paths ahead   with  risky falls

With willingness to cross  fields deep in mud,
To struggle through the tangled  windbent wood.
Our soul within knows when there’s latent good;
Recalls old trees astonished into bud.

As flowers spring up  to gently grace our toes
Encouragement is with much joy received;
And as we smell the fragrance of the rose,
At last we know our souls were not deceived.

For Virgil,fortune favours steadfast feet.
The journey may be long,the end is sweet.


Trying to glimpse another through their veil.

I embraced  the ambiguity like a bride
Who fears  disclosing that her face is fake
And while we’re on the subject, I take pride
In stealing water colours  from the lake

Ambiguous  in intentions we don’t know
We send out signals full of first class news
If this rebounds  an artist might then show
Our vision rests  upon our point of view

Seventeen types of clarity are mine
Fifteen from my  mind and two from pride
From this glass I make a view divine
Though Sunday someone said they thought I lied.

Ambiguously ,we hover by the scales
Trying to glimpse another through their veil.

But now it is what McCall Smith calls “late”

Sometimes when bereft  I’d love a snail
Though it might wet my bed with silvery trails
Would  snails be lonely  living in my house?
Shall I be but fit to  love some  louse?

I  hugged a rowan tree  and now it’s dead
The council said they’ll give me oak instead
It stood upon the pavement by the gate
But now it is what McCall Smith calls “late”

I  wonder  if self massage is the   thing
Some perfumed lotion stolen on the wing.
I    stroked my arms with Cream E45
Now they say I’m not allowed to drive!

I was sad but now I am at peace
All I needed was a plate of eggs and grease.

But shall I help the blind to lose their creeds?

I empathise  with   ladies  in great need
Though I prefer a cape   where  they like coats
But I have got a crutch and cannot  speed
Nor can I with my smartphone  walk and read
But shall I  help the blind to  lose their creeds?
In my hand I carry a large tote
Full of silken scarves and  hearts that bleed

As I ran off and thousands were in chase

I can’t buy any clothes for I’ve no space
Yet in the autumn women like new coats
I wonder should I transform my pale face
And wear a golden necklace for its grace
Though it might prick a lover in embrace
At least it would sort out  the men  from goats
As I ran off and thousands were in chase

When we feel

I do not wish to feel this sadness now
But who decides,who chooses what we feel?
If I were strong I might use a  large plough
To knock my feelings level  when they grow
Bur  that is not allowed by God and co.
Yet who denies his  measuring  the real?
I do not wish to feel this sadness now
Think, who derides,who cackles when we feel?

Why a poet writes




The possibility of suffering being redeemed by art, being made meaningful and thus real (as opposed to merely actual, something that happens to exist, happens to occur), is still vital to me. Art reminds us of the uniqueness, particularity, and intrinsic value of things, including ourselves. I sometimes have little sense of myself as existing in the world in any significant way outside of my poetry. That’s where my real life is, the only life that’s actually mine. So there’s also the wish to rescue myself from my own quotidian existence, which is me but is at the same time not me at all. I am its, but it’s not mine. For most of us most of the time, life is a succession of empty moments. You’re born, you go through x experiences, you die, and then you’re gone. No one always burns with Pater’s hard, gem-like flame. There’s a certain emptiness to existence that I look to poetry, my own poetry and the poetry of others, to fulfill or transcend. I have a strong sense of things going out of existence at every second, fading away at the very moment of their coming into bloom: in the midst of life we are in death, as the Book of Common Prayer puts it.

In that sense everyone is drowning, everything is drowning, every moment of living is a moment of drowning. I have a strong sense of the fragility of the things we shore up against the ruin which is life: the fragility of natural beauty but also of artistic beauty, which is meant to arrest death but embodies death in that very arrest. Goethe’s Faust is damned when he says, “Oh moment, stay.”

Daniel Hoffman, 1923 – 2013


This is where it is published

Arriving at last

It has stumbled across the harsh
Stones, the black marshes.

True to itself, by what craft
And strength it has, it has come
As a sole survivor returns

From the steep pass.
Carved on memory’s staff
The legend is nearly decipherable.
It has lived up to its vows

If it endures
The journey through the dark places
To bear witness,
Casting its message
In a sort of singing.

From Beyond Silence: Selected Shorter Poems, 1948-2003 by Daniel Hoffman. Copyright © 2003 by Daniel Hoffman. Reproduced with permission

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