I’ll follow where love leads

I heard the thud our cat made on the stair
But when I looked there was no creature there
Can our longing make us hear strange sounds;
Delusions,wish-fulfilment, breaking bounds?

I heard the wrens sing by the kitchen door
At least there is no cat to  make them fewer
I want to make some tea but I feel stuck
I’ll fill the pan, while love my heart strings plucks

For aeons I feel I’m paralysed by grief
The caterpillars gnaw upon  green leaves
I judge myself incompetent,too  slow.
Yet would I judge another, wound with blows?

I  feel half-way between the real, the dream
In reverie I’ll follow where love leads

Fiery air

Autumn time in Essex  where we drove
When farmers burned the stubble of the corn
The earth itself was  fiery  like young love
The smokey air rose like a  cloud  new born

The Kentish  landlocked   cliffs  are  wide and steep
The farmers grow  their grain on land beneath
And there too we  have seen the holy fire
The flames  and smoke arrest me with desire

The earth and soil, the  harvest  we find there
Give me joy  both full of wheat or bare
Why did burning stubble   make me glow?
These images affect the heart’s deep core

Now  fires are banned., they damage our pure air
And I   did not like the murder of the hare

Connections,maps and roads

Roman roads connected in straight lines
The cities they had built in wealthy times
The remains of one  goes past my garden gate
Do ghosts of Roman legions pass at night?

I like to see connections,maps and roads
Others  love  old cities ,walls and moats
My road ran to Lincoln  near the Wash
Migrating birds and swans  go there to rest

Going South, there is the Pilgrim’s Way
Canterbury, Becket,murder, prayer
Julius Caesar, Deal,  the Roman hordes
Boudicea,  and her fighting Lords

Layers of history, meaning,love and death
Still we argue  what should be our path

In honour of Paul Tillich

Paul Tillich gave our spirit proper place.

He showed us courage as a  space to dwell.

He wrote for us and left us with   his  grace

With hope he might  well speak and he might tell.

So many people ignored Fascist speech

And lived with mind cut off from  their own soul

With pen in hand he wrote his soul to reach

And touch us as we strive towards the whole.

Expelled from his own country, he wrote on

Continuing during  tortuous war long years

He lived, he loved ,he wrote, he died and then

His books continue to dispatch our fears.

For many men have lived and have destroyed.
 Tillich showed  us how to face the  void

 

My first attempt: wind and eye

An ancient one roomed building was  once home
Lit and warmed by fire,heat upward flowed
The smoke escaped  through one small  hole or “eye”
The winter wind  would fight to get inside.

Like a human eye, it was a breach
The bones of head and face allow this reach
We must see out and not live all within
Wolves, those metaphors. might  bite our skin

Enclosed spaces need  selected gaps
Few would enjoy choking in a trap.
We need a way to breath, to see, to touch
Sophisticated means, this eye  to watch

Sitting round the fire we hear  Wind howl
Through the eye, we see the moon,our jewel

 

Entertainment,sadism, power

On a hilltop not so far from Rhyl
Mother took us to the Zoo as Mothers will
The wind was strong and cold, the air was harsh
Although it was in August, not in March

Vultures  in enclosures   chained by leg
Like convicts in a prison   full of dread
When they vainly  tried to  get away
I felt their faith and hope dismayed

Who had chosen birds like these to show?
Even God himself would never know
Entertainment,sadism, power
Making people pay  and  children cower

When we got back  to the station I was sick
What cruel minds  played such a trick?

We’re burnt by love and loss

You smiled at me and then you disappeared
Flying skyward with no hint of fear
Stunned and left behind,I wept  with shock
Deprived by death of one last lingering look

No kiss, no word of love,no last embrace
No  colour and no pinkness in your face
I saw you fly as fast as hawks at prey
I held you in my heart ,I felt dismay

How could you leave me when I need you so
Could you not remain till I too must go?

Death is sad,mysterious,unknown
Once lovers   all complete and now alone

Silently at last we take the pain
We’re burnt by love and loss, that dual frame

In the dark

No goods nor gold can cross the Styx
The boat is small, by water crushed
The boatman’s ready with his hand
He has no use for such dry land

The woman wrapped in winter clothes
Hindered by the mist that rose
She weeps, she leaves her home and man
The dark mind  showed her where to come

Her  husband  stood beside her bones
In his loss, he softly groaned
He wept and wept and did not eat
His world  entranced by ice and sleet

Nothing’s quite as sad a sight
As old men crying  in the dark

Shielded

The clouds hang out together like bored girls
Until they form a shield with  greasy curls
The radio mumbles on about  the old
As if we are  unable to be bold

Do we not have courage as we age
When we have laid our dear ones in their grave?
We edge our way downstairs to make the tea
Sit in bed,imagine we’re at sea

Children play their games and so may we
The bed a boat,the sky as wide as eyes
Where is the navigator, do we drift?
Eclipsed our passage  through  the soft  soft mist

If life’s a Play then we may take our part
To hypnotise  the audience and their hearts

His  eyes were  silent,still, and very black

The day his mother died he’d cut his arms 
With bits of pointed glass like frosty nails
The blood  had stained his shirt, yet made him calm
He did not like to  make a scene or wail.

The day his mother died he sat alone
Wondering what  to eat or who to call
Above him was hot sky, a blue, blue dome
Below the earth where very soon she’d fall

The day his mother died he hugged his cat
She alone gave comfort without blame

His  eyes were  silent,still and very black
What hope, what help, where is the nameless Name?

The day his mother died he went to sleep
To dream and wander in the deepness deep

We  do not want to hear their their poignant calls

Everything is whirling round my mind,
The lack of government ,  the words unkind
That the poor are  short of food and  clothes
We deny it, everybody knows

Sudden gusts of wind  mock  these old trees
Does the  lure of nature  disappear
When  the butterflies have gone away
Yet the stinging wasps are here to stay?

Once tortured  now abandoned refugees
Can’t make phone calls,  have no mental ease
We make our own defences into walls
We  do not want to hear their their poignant calls

Oh,Lord God take the beam from out my eye
I want to know the  worst before I die

 

S

 

 

The fire of orange leaves me with a glow

The sun sinks but it burns like a great fire;
All the sky’s aflame with fierce intent;
Who thinks of death as weakness, is a liar
Before the end our glory must be spent.

The graphics of the branches look Chinese
As blackened brush is drawn across red silk
Infinite yet countable my days
Running like a river without silt

Thus I am not transcendent in myself
But joined to all that lives I feel I am.
In conjunction we will find our health
Ambivalence contains both lion and lamb.

The fire of orange leaves me with a glow
As into night I with all creatures go

Every time I see yor face I smile

Every time I see yor face I smile
It’s just a dream,I am not reconciled
When I waken up  the tears run by
Remembering or forgetting  where you are

Now you have come back to pick up me
We have  an  newer house down by the sea
Shall we take our books and music there?
I gave away your clothes but you’re not bare

I’ve found it freezing cold  outside your gaze
Without  those conversations every day
Can’t  you stay here for a few more years?
In the dream I  never seem to cry

We seem to be  the actors in this Play
You are calm and dignified, oh stay

For a moment everything was still

Religion has been privatised like gas
I know in church we still can hear the Mass
Yet  no Chaplain comes to dying men
I did my best alone without a plan.

Inside the  holy sanctuary  bare
I became the priest and comforter
I sang the sacred songs and  gathered crowds
Outside our little cubicle they bowed

I saw a canopy of golden cloth
Hanging down from heaven, as it does
It came nearer till it touched his soul
I was silent, love can’t take control

For a moment everything was still
A little bird sat on the windowsill
Then the cloth of gold was lifted high
I wept  the precious tears for those who die.

That one eternal moment gave us grace
I see your  deep blue eyes, your smiling face

Carnation, orchid, daffodil and rose

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How softly sweetly,gently flowers pose
Carnation,orchid ,daffodil and rose.
Their complex petals form a  living shield
Yet bees with much striped force shall make them yield

Appearances,both natural and contrived,
Mixed with the wiles of human nature thrive.

As, knowing not, we pluck the apple rare
And bite its flesh,with teeth we have to bare

.We too deceive the innocent who pass
Not seeing watchers hid behind the glass.
The windows break,the deep earth quakes;
Seized is the maiden ,  he her virtue takes.

Beneath the surface, force and fierceness thrive.
What fearsome, burning God enjoys our lives?

Copyright © Katherine

The Catherine wheel, the longing, the desire

Oh, my brother, I have said goodbye
Once my little playmate, you must die
Your voice is very weak as there you rest
I wish that life were not a  cruel test

I told you  of the see saw and the swings
I will not argue, this is what life brings
Remembered  fireworks and the  blazing fire
The Catherine wheel, the longing, the desire

How can a boy so strong soon turn to dust?
Where has gone the liveliness, the lust?
Weak but uncomplaining you lie there
On my face I feel a film of tears

You’ll never die, you’ll live on in my mind
I forgive your acts,  for you were  blind

On stinging nettles

On stinging nettles butterflies lay eggs
Not on blankets or upholstered beds
The over careful gardener lays waste
To Nature’s order  and to Nature’s grace

Holly leaves are sharper than a fist
But in those fierce conditions birds  make nests
The sharp edged leaves the stinging pains have use
To make some creature safe from our abuse

We grumble at the rain and wild west wind
As if we’re being punished for  some sin
Better be a wild flower or a weed
Trodden underfoot  by human needs

The little weeds have their resilience
They do not ruminate, they are not tense
To be a humble plant is perhaps the best
They at least will have eternal rest

The  beautiful, the plain have got their place
All   life in the end will be effaced

For love  seeks not to prey

Soft corns,blisters,hard corns and toe nails
Ankle socks and stockings, tights and  boots
Cover up the wounds with dressings white
Put  your feet up, rest  by  doing nought

Skin so thin it frightens me  to think
All I am  finds boundary just here
Yet our heart and soul can  contain  more
Spreading like a shawl on loved ones dear

We cast our love like fishers cast their  rods
Not too sure  of what will take the bait
A   simile  so poor I blush bright pink
For love  seeks not to prey but rather waits

Across the entire world the hate runs wild
 Bleach your brain , don’t poison  with  your smile

Touching them and keeping them at peace

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The photo is by Mike Flemming 2020
Thank you,Mike

 

We can cast our body like a cloak
Around the loved one when they cannot speak
Hold them like an infant  when at  rest
Sleeping softly on a mother’s breast

Touching them and keeping them at peace
Until they  can accept death and its release
They seem to concentrate  on unknown tasks
Till their minds are happy and they pass

They come first but afterwards   we  fall
Into  an abyss where  we just crawl
Seeing shapes and visions, feeling sore
Aching for the one we  see no more

A paradox , we  give  and nothing  gain
The suffering of the heart, the searing pains

Who sieves earth?

When we think of God, we see an eye
Watching us like some abhorrent spy
What of his touch, his hearing, his   small voice?
What his  taste conveys and  how employed

Larger  than the total of  sand grains
That  form all  ocean shores  by  moon arranged
Smaller than  the eyes of ladybirds
And insects humble without   spoken words

What is size  compared to tangled roots?
What is loud compared to army boots?
What the colour, what the perfect form
To ripple through my eyes with no alarm

What do you here, what  vision do you flee?
Who  sieves earth and whose the face you see?