Blue smoke belches, hidden fire blown
ragged and spurting
by a wind that cannot enter-in
this high-windowed room ...
at my left hand my washing 
at my left hand my bread
one cup clean and ready
for wine warm and red.

There is no mouth to form a vowel
no words strung, no airborne
thoughts to surge, to disturb
the sanctity of silence ...
at my left hand my washing 
at my left hand my bread
no owner's bone well-formed
to trap it in, for I am one
and one alone

freed by suffering 
when suffering is silence and alone 
silence and the dark ... 
there are recesses down there 
cage the pain the loss the fear 
and facing outward one blank stare 
uncomprehending all the living 
doing things out there.
at my left hand my washing 
at my left hand my bread

is a sinking thing we drink
like dry earth doused
in colours, sights, sounds,
watering the cracks that run
     east of the moon
     west of the sun
watering the land between
in one long filling, one long hydration
till our souls end where they began
clean linen
clean linen
like this wine warm and red 
that human hands have made 
full wells brimming, cupped 
liquid flushing in the veins 
spread abroad in light and pain.

clean white linen
clean white linen
Time soothes all cries 
nullifies our compromise 
the numbing feel of dirt and deeds 
becomes clean seeds.
at my right hand the wine
at my right hand the wine

Our journey done, our soaking eyes
we raise towards the sun
breathe the air, wash our hands
burn the stubble in our fields
for we are clean
with daily washing, daily bread
the life that human hands have made
the dirt and deeds all done and said
the flame become
   clean linen
     red wine
     fresh bread.
Collected Works
Return to Collections all
next poem