The scattered clouds are high and white,
a younger sun comes breaking through.
It feels like home; the breeze reminds
of all the things I didn't do.
I used to think that life was mine,
a climbing kite in search of flight,
and all I needed was the time
to find a path, to gain the heights.
But time was such a spilling thing,
and soon the years were buried deep
beneath the grinding dross we churn;
and now I wonder: why this need
to find that vital thing I seek?
A frantic spaniel sniffing wild
I hunt the hedgerows of a dream,
the stored detritus of a life?
It might be just a word or glimpse
a face across the railway track
in Singer station years ago;
a turning missed and no way back;
or name I blanked but can't forget,
that draws me like a precious stone
imagined in a childhood book,
now lost amongst the undergrowth.
Or maybe I'm just looking for
a clue that lights the road to grace,
or better still a painless way
to crumble into usefulness.
Our journey seems so very vast
and yet we've hardly moved at all,
with every answer mere mirage;
that's maybe how it always was.
Though all that seethes within these hearts,
and seems impossible to say,
was maybe never meant for words;
some truths will always go astray.
It's true I never gave enough
or dared enough when fate came through.
I bolted from that blazing love
when we were ripe in swarming June,
when passion was a wilder force;
but out of sync and fluster struck,
I never dreamt the chance might come
to hold the willing hand I spurned.
And now these wasteful hours and years
spent chipping at the ice of self,
or shoring up the flooding walls,
or recollecting moments fled:
I'm kneeling down by Africa
with all the awe of innocence
when atlases were vivid things
with spreads of red where blood was shed.
They conjured worlds that used to be;
my father's father on his knees,
we travelled down the tracks and streams,
across the seas and into dreams
and glory drenched in older wrongs.
A 'better world' and all that jazz
soon sprung from that awakening,
but not a sliver came to pass.
Those transformations we foresaw
were only tiny waves on sand,
just nibbling at some dark expanse;
and even nibbling's much too grand.
I watch a stranger in his car,
enclosed within his own cocoon;
a universe inside his head:
his sparks of spring, his waning moon.
He's in a tale that writes itself,
a simple player with a role,
directed by some cunning force,
whose goals he seems obliged to own.
But pressing matters press right in:
my hair's a mess and growing thin;
the fence we built is falling down,
and thirsty cows are breaking out.
Yet all my thoughts are on a fox
I shot across a thick green field.
it caught my eye before it dropped
and held its gaze there fifty years.
I didn't think of fairness then:
I never fought and never bled.
Now every way I turn I'm caught,
for all I've done and all I've not.
(adapted from A Dream Reflects)
11 03 21