Monday, 11 May 2009

sonnet xvii

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

(Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda)

a much loved and respected co-worker unexpectedly lost his wife last night. the size and impact of the ripples of her loss - the void her departure has left, and his grief - were so hard to comprehend or size up today.

what was plainer - and strangely shocking - to see instead, was the disbelief, the shadow of an as yet uncomprehended grief that slowly crept across co-workers throughout the day.

two co-workers in particular - strong, positive women i respect and look up to - separately confided how determined they were to maintain their exteriors and power-through the day, as we softly worked out the practicalities of our leader's absence... as tears welled up in their wide, searching eyes...

there are so many memories, so many times, that flooded my mind today. times when he fondly regaled us with stories of his wife from their long and very happy marriage; all those countless times when the phone would ring around 5pm and we knew it was his wife, calling on cue; he'd ask "so what's for dinner" and we'd quietly chuckle at their endearing old married banter...

she'll not call again.
i'll not wave him out of a meeting again for that call.
we'll not hear him ask "so what's for dinner tonight, then?" again.
or "how's the boy?"

we'll miss someone we've never met.

we already do.

we'll tenderly mind and console a dear co-worker - distanced by the rungs of the career ladder - finding ways to deliver the impact of a hug through the mundanity of greyed, everyday, officed, achingly English gestures.

thinking about it, grief seems an ambiguous beast. where does it begin? how does it end? what ends does it serve? what profit from grief? where does that brutal curve lead?

i honestly think the only certain thing - as in everything in life - is love. and that only love can help. it soothes, slows, eases, wraps.

love; from one creature to another.

maybe not a silver bullet, but a slow, steady, purposed course through the bleakest, most brutal terrains.

(i wanted to post this as a mark of respect to someone who i'd barely brushed paths with. just a small, quiet post, to mark a moment, to send my small, anonymous love into the void, charted to those reeling from this loss.

i read this poem at the wedding of two dear friends a few years ago, at the beginning of their life together. once it came to mind tonight, it struck me as being just as fitting to mark the end of what seemed to be a very happy and long relationship; a marriage that was a quiet celebration of solid, understated love.)

Saturday, 9 May 2009

multi-media instrumental

i've been playing with this tune for the last few hours. it's still very raw, messy and not yet fully formed.

for once, i'm at a complete loss for lyrics that suit it.

you know when you're writing and you can feel 'something' coming, 'something' brewing, but you don't know what; because 'it' doesn't know what 'it' is itself yet?

same thing.

and that's half the fun.

anyway, for some reason - maybe an aching for narrative - i decided to try dragging it into imovie and dropping random photos in.

i think it works.

sort of.


it's my first (maybe last) attempt.

thought i might as well share.

seemed a shame to just leave it sitting on the hard drive.


(you can see it a bit bigger here, if you really want to.)

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

the game

Rolling out of London
On a cold November night
Yeah, I'm leaving the old town
To start a better life

Packed my bags months ago
And then saved up for the flight
Some say I'm running - no -
I've finally made up my mind

Someone once told me
You can make your dreams come true
But no one warned me
They'll haunt ya 'til you do

So I find myself on the open road
With a guitar on my back
Yeah - you laugh - it's the oldest joke
'til you try to live like that

I don't want fame or gold
I just need some peace of mind
I'm just trying to save my soul
From slipping farther down the line

Every man has ghosts to pay
And demons he must face
But in the end it's just a game -
We're all hurtling through space...

(a very old song, but one that haunts me. probably 'til i obey. i'm gonna have to turn and face this one someday soon.)

Monday, 4 May 2009

thank you

every now and then
something will remind me
of how you came and saved me
caught my fall, behind me

every once in a while
i'll see a mouth shaped like yours
my breath will catch in my throat
my feet will slow under me

every day a random thought
will take me back - like soul remote
inches from your face, i feel
your breath warm and sweet and almost real

every night i wonder if
our paths might cross like corny ships
i'd send a ship hand with a note
just to say thanks for keeping me afloat

so wherever you might be tonight
still so far away, or returned from flight
i send you this will thanks and love
and hope you found what you were in search of

(a song whisked me back 12 years tonight, straight out of the blue, as songs do. the above was a poor & clumsy attempt to exhale some of the warm summer memories it swept back. and also to send out my love and gratitude for the gifts those few brief weeks brought. they are happy memories, but there's always an ache with the smile they bring. and that's ok. there's a great story here, but now's not the time.)

Sunday, 3 May 2009

clouds over babel

The Rosicrucians held that, all things visible and invisible having been produced by the contention of light and darkness, the earth has denseness in its innumerable heavy concomitants downwards, and they contain less and less of the original divine light as they thicken and solidify the grosser and heavier in matter.

They taught, nevertheless, that every object, however stifled or delayed in its operation, and darkened and thickened in the solid blackness at the base, yet contains a certain possible deposit, or jewel, of light - which light, although by natural process it may take ages to evolve, as light will tend at last by its own native, irresistible force upward (when it has opportunity), can be liberated; that dead matter will yield this spirit in a space more or less expeditious by the art of the alchemist.

There are worlds within worlds - we, human organisms, only living in a deceiving, or Bhuddistic, 'dreamlike phase' of the grand panorama. Unseen and unsuspected (because in it lies magic), there is an inner magnetism, or divine aura, or ethereal spirit, or possible eager fire, shut and confined, as in a prison, in the body, or in all sensible solid objects, which have more or less of spiritually sensitive life as they can more successfully free themselves from this ponderable, material obstruction.

From "The Rosicrucians: Their Rites and Mysteries" (1870) written by Hargrave Jennings (1817-1890). (Googling him now, it seems unclear whether he was a reverend or secretary to Col. Mapleson, the operatic manager, or both. Mutually exclusive? Maybe not, to the Victorians. It has been said that he was also a practicing Rosicrucian and Freemason. And also that he was not. Victorians, eh? Talk about coy.)

The legendary A.E. Waite didn't seem to rate the book. At all. In fact, he wrote "The Real History Of The Rosicrucians" as a 'correction' to it. And it does look like one hell of a read.

However, i find Jenning's efforts (or not - there are people who say it's little more than stream-of conciousness drivel) endearing, for all the reasons Waite slammed it.

It isn't definitive.

It reveals very few (if any) 'secrets'. Right the way through, Jennings practically winks from the ancient ink, insinuating that *maybe* he does know more than he reveals. Or even admits. And this is after flat-out saying he was not an initiate.
(Reminds me of more recent emphatic denials. Can you see where I'm going with this?)

And in other quarters, you can still smell the smoke from the trail this book (shoulda? coulda?) blazed. It is still visionary and inspirational in its forward-marching message regarding gender, sexual equality; the balance and co-importance of the sexes and indeed, the forces they wield and are wielded by. In essence, he meant well, obviously driven (maybe too fast?) in his search for confirmation and coordinates to an ever elusive spiritual zenith.

The World will always scoff at those not thumping their chest from atop their professional mountain. But, I suspect, it is better to be cutting a path through the shadows of the idolized; it is quieter, less pressure and there are always diamonds in the flotsam & wake of the puffed & proclaimed.

But then, that's just me. (Mixed metaphorical mountains and swells and all.)

So, why this picture? why this extract? Why here? Why now?

This is a view I enjoy from outside my new front door. It makes me smile every morning. It reminds me how much i love this city.

It also reminds me how much mankind baffles me. Is money, power - the very ripping, raping and renting of the sky by money - is this what mankind is about in the 21st century?
I had secretly (and even I know with what futility) hoped we'd be able to take a tip from those cultures and religions who say that after a certain age, we should turn our minds and hearts to learning; having made our contributions to the material world.

We have built, we have worked, we have laboured.

Surely now is the time to heal, to learn, to repair, to protect?

Saturday, 2 May 2009

where once

where once there was light
a shadow crawls in tight
whitewashed in slight relief
silent, blind to the street