I hear the unknown woman downstairs moan
at the loss of her mother, at the silence in
her heart - there is grief and pain, it lives
and is abroad.

I measure out the liquid moments of my life
with stealth and great care - transferring a
droplet of water from one pan to the other
to maintain the precious balance and allow
them not to spill.

I weigh people in my heart, against my
feather, and I find them heavy, wanting.

I am always disappointed.

Men: the brief, hot suns, rise and set -
bring me light, leave me in darkness,
but they help my garden grow whilst they
travel their allotted arc, before
disappearing below the rim to shine on
other worlds.

I am the moon, my face in light and
shadow, I am pitted, barren, frozen
at my poles, my soft grey dust
silted over years of cosmic life
but steadfast and resolute I turn
inexorably on my course, riven by

I am the wheeling universe, the spirit
abroad and in all things, I think, I
breathe, I live and cannot die - all
is change, we live chamelion lives
daily, slowly, changing until we
become something other than what we were.

My cupped hands are empty but I
remember the touch of many days,
when I was full and round, undamaged.

I deflect with words, when poison 
is near; I abjure infection.

The hardness of my heart, my calloused
body, are real images of me - I hide
my softness with tough skin.

My water within is deep and wide,
huge caverns cut from living rock
contain it, it sways with its own
weight, is heavy water, dark with
gain.  I have birthed again and
again, spilling fresh springs.

I am, despite everything, and the
silence in my heart speaks of living
presence gone, scraped clean, until
I am what is left.

I must keep to my slow course,
carrying, weighing, deflecting, ensuring
that all strikes and blows
do not prevent my progress from
being true.

And then there is you: my new sun:
hot, beautiful, rising, and I
bask in your focussed smile, my
flowers grow, my garden flourishes,
but my back is cold
and winter waits in the wings.

I must find my place again,
I must count my coin.  I must
know where is best to bow down,
and turn my battered body
each new day towards its goal.

I carry my own bright, single, soul
and I have learned many things.
I am cautious in my turnings
my dealings and my palmings -
each dawn is difficult in rain

and frost and cold winds.  I have
met angels and known God, and
my small heart is the tiny bird that sings.
Collected Works
Return to Collections all
next poem