The burning stubble , earth’s deep fires

  1. Oh,doctor I  have a brought a sample
    I hope you will find it ample
    There is no coffee left today
    Drink my sample, then we’ll pray

    If I’ve got a new infection
    Can’t you give me more protection?
    My immune system’s  gone on away
    And I have to write a Play

    No Shakespeare  am I as yet
    No bookmaker’s taking bets
    But if I write a sonnet new
    What will all the critics do?

    Meantime I get up at night
    Stumble to the bathroom bright
    I don’t know why my pee’s  so green
    Now it is aquamarine

    Green the sea at Hythe in Kent
    Down the Saxon cliffs we went
    The burning stubble , earth’s deep fires
    The inner work  that purifies

    Steep,steep road in our old car
    Smoke around us  where we were
    From the depths my soul cries out
    The cry is answered , do we  doubt?

    As we reach the lowness deep
    In our conscious mind we weep
    When we touch the lowest place
    We will    feel, angelic grace

    So the symbol  of  deep fires
    Filled my mind as we drove by
    Glory , for the Burning Bush
    Burned again  as stubble’s crushed


Destruction  of all our intent
Is itself a  sacrament
For it makes an empty space
Where  new creation can take place

Symbols in literature

Excerpts from “More Poems”
by A. E. Housman


Crossing alone the nighted ferry
With the one coin for fee,
Whom, on the wharf of Lethe waiting,
Count you to find? Not me.

The brisk fond lackey to fetch and carry,
The true, sick-hearted slave,
Expect him not in the just city
And free land of the grave.

Charon’s ferry symbolizes the transition from life to death, or dying. The “one coin” is the obulus, which symbolizes death: the ultimate cost of mortal life. The river Lethe symbolizes forgetfulness, oblivion and concealment, as the dead are concealed from the living, and vice versa. The grave is also symbolic of death. In this poem the river Styx symbolizes death; although it is not explicitly named, we can infer it. In Greek mythology, Charon’s ferry carried the newly dead from the land of the living across the River Styx to Hades, the realm of the dead. It may interest Christians to know that Hades was not “hell,” as Hades incorporated heavenly regions such as the Elysian Fields and the Blessed Isles. Y

Sonnet 147
by William Shakespeare

My love is as a fever, longing still [1]
For that which longer nurseth the disease,
Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill,
The uncertain sickly appetite to please.
My reason, the physician to my love,
Angry that his prescriptions are not kept,
Hath left me, and I desperate now approve
Desire is death, which physic did except.
Past cure I am, now reason is past care,
And frantic-mad with evermore unrest.
My thoughts and my discourse as madmen’s are, [11]
At random from the truth vainly expressed,
For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,
Who art as black as Hell, as dark as night. [14]

This is one of Shakespeare’s famous “Dark Lady” sonnets. It employs simile, a type of metaphor in which comparisons are introduced by “like” or “as” (please refer to lines one, eleven and fourteen).

Being alive unchosen may be worse

If you think of Auschwitz think of this

Your children will not die by means of gas

All of us will walk that final path

But we have lived our lives so on we pass

The Jews of Europe killed without a word.

The death of God no longer feels absurd

What they might have given forever lost.

Prescription murder,there will be a cost.

As we walk around in obscene dress

The rational and objective caused this mess

Be thankful that our God did not choose us.

Yet being unchosen and alive is worse.

Who commands these viruses like flu?

 Who commands these viruses  like flu?
Consternation makes our hearts feel blue
Do we have a lifeboat or an Ark?
The situation does feel rather stark

Who  decided we could work while sick?
Our energy depleted , brains feel think
Decisions  so important  need clear minds
Not one both  unravelling and blind

We  travel  round the globe, a virus ride
Our garments are as louche as fratricide
We snap some photos of the Golden Dome
Then jump on a plane and turn to Rome

Why not stay in Britain  or in France?
The piper plays but  only demons dance

The ladder

I fear  to stand up  tall on this new earth
One hand is on the ground,  my back is bent
Shivering fear, excitement, what’s  this birth?

I climbed , like Wittgenstein, a ladder’s worth
Then threw the ladder down   as my assent
I fear  to stand up  tall on this new earth

Far away, so far, the time of mirth
For sometime a lover I was lent
Shivering fear, excitement, what’s  this birth?

I wonder can I walk ,this step the first
 Love may die and who shall then repent?
I fear  to stand up  tall on this new earth

I see myself in black, the window’s bust
A man climbs out  uncut by accident
Shivering wonder, what allures  such birth?

I see in my mind’s eye  the incident
I  learn to balance  gravity with  sense
I desire  to stand on this new earth
Shivering, wonder, is it birth or curse?

When after death I lie deep in the earth

O happy worm that of  my flesh might eat
When after death I lie in deep in the earth
My bosom,hands and eyes  become your meat

You have no sun as you enjoy your feast
And none is  chosen as we were at birth
O happy worm that of  my flesh might eat

All of us are equal in defeat
None are high or low , what are we worth?
My brain,my hands,my eyes  become worms’ meat

In the soil, we rest  in comfort sweet
Let us all be blessed,God  make no curse
You made the happy worms who   will  us  eat

O  remember the deep  ash from Auschwitz’ heat
The little children killed without Kaddish
Those  hearts ,those hands, those eyes   no worm   could eat

Why should we  be satisfied by wish

When  people burn or starve  beside our dish
O Godly worm that of  my flesh might eat
Let my very self  become your meat

Praise these creatures in the grime

Winter weather, frost, grey sky,
See white geese and silver stars.
Two cooing doves with collars red,
Are watching out for seeded bread.

From the sun, low in the sky,
Light falls slantwise to my eyes.
Trees bud, though invisibly,
Nothing that our eyes can see.

Bulbs shoot up from dark cold soil
Where worms and beetles quietly toil.
We take for granted air and sky,
Love the birds we see fly by.

But who can love the worms and slugs
And those creatures we call bugs?
So in our dark cold winter time,
Praise these creatures in the grime.

Without these worms, our crops would die.
No cornfields for us to lie,
Amidst the poppies’   wild red  blooms.
So we forget all winter’s gloom

Praise the snails and bees and ants
For these and spiders, let’s give thanks.
As the lightness needs the dark,
From darkness come life-giving sparks.

Enrich darkness with our gifts.
Look not always to the swift.
Slow and patient like these worms,
Nature’s lowness is my theme

Wild Geese

Leaves have gone so suddenly
Small birds float on the wind
Like boats astride a choppy sea.
Their swaying soothes my mind.

Wild geese fly past at dusk again,
They head towards the North.
The holly berries glow in sun,
Nature gives joy birth.

I gaze intently at the sky,
The clouds hang dark and low.
If I too were a mere wild goose
I’d know which way to go

But I am left with only words
To find my destination.
Yet words do carry down to us
Wisdom from past generations

We use old words in unique ways.
We structure them to form
A new design not seen before
A new sentence is born

I send my words with love to you
I hope you safely catch them.
Give me answers from your heart
And I’ll do my best to match them.

Geese fly by

I like this old poem I wrote 10 years ago when I had no idea what I was doing.The last two lines surprised me.I reaised
that poetry is not logic

brown and white goose on clear water
Photo by Denis Linine on

 It’s Autumn weather, geese fly by;
Autumn rust,red,gold,so gay.

Drystone walls, edging fields,

Apples gathered,holly berries

Flash so brightly

Look like flowers

Sun shines sideways,shadows long

Of trees appear I dwell among

Woods of gentle beeches sing

Swaying with the sideward wind.

See their roots, all intertwined.

Feel their geometry in the mind.

Look up now into the sky,

See the V formation high.

Geese fly home at end of day.

My heart is moved by patterned dance

In this peace and great silence

My mind opens like the sky

And in this moment I would die,

So I could stay with this still vision

Of geese set out on autumn mission.

Snails in rain pools slither near

My feet upon the terrace here

And look,upon their whorled backs

All the sense of life is packed.

And yet so easily Life’s destroyed,

When blind foot steps into the void.

Love’s victory

Turn back, live again, he asked of me
Do not wander in this darkness anymore
One false step might give death victory

We are each connected to that tree
The sunlit top, the roots hid in earth’s floor
Come back, live again, he asked of me

While we live, we’ll live with dignity
Not scrabbling for the gold in blood and gore
One false step will give death victory

The kindness of the golden light was clear
And left an image in my mind’s deep core
Come back, live your life, he then soothed me

Do not wonder now why you are here
We’re here to live and living shall restore
What our suffering self has found so dear

I had never seen the Light before
Only Christ the Tyger with his roar
Come back, live through pain, he asked of me
One right step will give love victory

Love will need no trick

In my despair I felt that I was stuck
Paralysed by  grief and guilt I failed
By the end I had tried every trick

From prayer unthought to deeps of logic black
My  life, my engine ,juddered off the  rails
I hated God and of “his” Church was  sick

Starving  and alone I was in shock
The death of one I loved   had made me frail
By the end I had tried every trick

I felt  Love’s arms around me,  death was blocked
I knew   this goodness,  why else would I wail?
I   thought I hated God  but Love had struck

Warm and golden light  that  did me hold
Where are you now when Evil has grown bold?
Kind despair  that  made me long time sit
By the end I learned Love needs no trick

Oh, gentle Light

I ‘ll try to get it right just one more time
You did not converse with me in words
You were simply present with your Light

Nowhere did I feel your power and might
You were no eagle, but a little bird
I ‘ll try to get it right just one more time.

Who made our language with its subtle rhymes?
The ancient people  had their well trained Scribes
You were always there,oh gentle Light

You  gave me warmth, you  changed my too fixed sight
A comforter , a Spirit, how describe?
I ‘ll try to get it right a final time.

The agony inside me lost its bite
I wanted to go on, to be alive
You  do not always show your golden Light

We do not know  when we at last arrive
We do not reach this  meeting place by strife
I ‘ve tried to get it right this final time
I never saw such  Gold until that night