Recent Drafts

and read as such—

Changed regularly
(last addition 10th March 2010)


I can’t go back

I can’t go back.
Elasticity of time’s
one-way. Can’t undo,
can only do. Can’t reach
for the faith of pasts.

One day it will be:
can’t stay, can only go.
And so the possibles
are in the mind, so few
they are, and all the rest

is memory, of what,
of vagrant pasts; none of it
stands wholly true. The soul
is outside time
and unpossessed,

needs no flares
of eyes to see nor drums
to hear, does not look
back, nor to the dark,
sees without examining,

hears languageless,
and, mute, in quiet understood.


7th March 2010

How can I perceive a now?

How can I perceive a now
Beyond my own peculiar?
Tenses are immediate;
Cannot re-iterate.

23rd August 2006

Best the pristine

A daylit clause within
The lifetime sentence-
Best to let the syntax voice
An innocence. A second viewing
Comes to change the little
Of the literal; sometimes a third
To show there is no choice.

9th October 2005

The alley takes the only way

The alley takes the only way
between the builded brick
of wall or house; you'd know
the place by dog-leg, echo,
hour-changed shadow of a roof.
A system is akin to this; all
that we believe hangs here
for all that it perforce must go
save that we re-find it so.


31st May 2005


The Criterion

The criterion always troubles
By its tense; its place in time
A minor guess at best. Long
Horizons show their sheaves

Of green and grey at either end
Of day; and they have something
We can understand. What perturbs
Are shorter shadows, midday's heat.


5th July 2004

Even in our diffidence

All through life we keep the wells
of holy waters from our talk,
Lest they be touched by those
Who would not like to understand.

Even in our diffidence we know,
Without belief, the holy places
Of the springs and giving waters
Rising from the rounded stones.

13th September 2003

What is touch?

What is touch? Everything
by which I came to be, and now
a pristine sky, a moon
in elms above a fallow field.


24th February 2003



A day without a mordant
is lost; take this; look finally
at today, for all the promise
of the sunrise, and the evening

presage in the sky. Without
a mordant, days are dark
and undetained. Maybe
it is better that they go.


20th December 2002



Two givens

Pupillary voids allow
a two-way passage;
two givens,
neither certain:
other senses, similar.


9th November 2002


Available for recall

Light comes, mordant
on the day. The long
prerogatives shift,
under a use of words,

unspeaking, but hours
only partially detain.
They pass through lives.
Mordancies remain,

biting on smooth time:
the great remainder
swallowed by the night,
repetitious, lacking sight.

16th August 2002


A street

A street, part in the sun, part in shade
allows a multitude of days, a generation
in a sequestration of the years, movement

of lives unamplified: the demolition
at the further end, at the final line of sight,
equivocal against the turning light.

16th July 2002

Soon enough the long conjunction ends

Soon enough the long conjunction ends;
best to speak a tongue that takes
thought with a soft mouth, lets go
unmemorable words. And that's
the future cared for, and, the past—
that's the instinct in the grammar where
he dwells upon the long days' mind.

Alive to all the lesser qualities of days,
subtlenesses turning every seasons' edge,
retreating tides at every senses' rim,
he allows the age which is complete
to go, without recall, to be perfèct upon
the dispensation of its form. One night,
death and conception, under a frosty moon.

11th June 2002

Sky as mind

Sky as mind, day-new
At the coming of the light:
Unseen intensity of sight—
Shared qualities of sense's
Surface through the depth
Beyond the frame of tense:

The past seen in all time to come:
The future in the past's sensorium.

15, 16th March 2002


Unworded Insights

In a moment's moving depth
Identity is endlessly deferred.
Outside, the hawthorn holds
The beads of rain, whose river
Runs out into night, where
Hours to come are unsecured.

Certainties were pared away
Early: at first with pain— taut
Voids appalled: now, they fall
Away unurged. Here, pertain
Unworded insights, deep
To all-transforming thought.

17th February 2002


I hear still an echo

I hear still an echo
of the severance:
but shall never know
what has cut, nor what gave
way beneath the strain:
knife, weight, or scissored
time: or—maybe—this
is severance itself—
this rising sun, this

slow-eroding mist, this
light upon the coigns,
brick and stone. Only
now I know and hear
the necessary sound
at hearing's threshold
and feel in my deep
the birthcord's cutting
and the soul's forgetting.

9th January, 2002



Holding on to something which has lapsed


Holding on to something which has lapsed,
or suitor to the clay which might have been,
a stillborn cry within the heart which feels
the element configured in an unknown past:

the scan of city-faces open to uncandid sky,
my own amongst them— unsaid emotion,
day-delivered, moulds my dialect. My self
would seem to stand beyond, where I am not:

these eyes not mine, that see along the strait's
steep-sided day. I am holding on, to something
which has lapsed. I am the suitor, to the clay
which might have been. I am the figured past.

9th, 10th December 2001

How days come to be


One day which might have been,
one unthinking sun unheard
from daybreak through to dark

transfigures this particular
with unshaped hope, and makes
completeness without voice.

Days which shall not be weigh down
upon this little which is less a day
deprived than time unearned:
askance, it must be learned.

28 November 2001


Moonless night

Pattern on the field, in the mind,
on the surface of the sky-reflecting flood,
pattern holding day, and day now gone.
So, pattern in the small hour of the dark,
unstressed, aside the dim momentum
of the flooding tide and turning earth.

One day it will change and I will be
no more. In the dark the meanings
rub away, leaving the face beneath:
the charge will leave the golden leaf
and sheaf of days within the arms
and the priming of the final breath.

6 July 2001


The Net

The road unpicked, some ravel of it
ever in the mind, the rift of night
paid out between the stars. The deep
intensity falls across the moment
and the parsed identity remains, now,
incomplete. You'd know it only
by the background seen beyond
the mesh. The thing in mind you think
you recognize returns no light.

12 October; revised 15 October 2001



A consensual story seems remote,
and yet the layered sky contracts
in order at the close of day, as,
if memory serves, it opened wide
in bands of vast and perspective light
as though the skies within were just
in their apportioned space. Only now
there is this flying weight of overcast
upon the tops of huddled towers;
only now the blinded windows
and the long ineloquent hours.

24 June 2001


Alliteration with the past

Alliteration with the past
is in the leap: the gulf spanned
by no bridge, yet in the dark a day,
the misty trees, a wet street rising
to the sky before a daybreak
and a cloud-plain lit up by a sun
as yet below the skyline. One day:
one sun long gone. And the time
that hangs between us, that is void.
The code that draws the past is dark,
as dark as vision in the midst of days.
A time-drawn day is fetched so dark
before the eye for all its lucency.

Best to be the dark that is the light
within a time that darkly stood.
The hand upon the hollow wall
of night might feel. The path beneath
all paths comes rising to the sight.
The intellect evicts the truth of night
to hold the little of the day and still
the night draws on. When the sun
has gone the banks of layered cloud
are lit from underneath. The skyline
holds the thread of blood. The line
is dark, and dark for all its lucency.

(Begun 30 Nov, 1 Dec 1999, revised 29 July 2000)

a reading (1.2MB wav file)



I am awake

I am awake, and, beyond the glass,
see frosty fields beneath the moon:
a moment has been smoothed—
a state of mind uncrumpled, where
silence can be read.
Would that it
could pause, this parseless age.

Perhaps within another slant of mind,
unreachable, it does—
not memoried
and imperfect, in the lost familiarity,
a past's contrivance which I say
I am. No: unpaged, unwritten-on,
unspoilable by everything the world

screws up in the cold and first-light
of a day: a perspectival road: a sight.


(3 Sept 2001)



Late home-goer

Broken depth, the unstarred sky
over street-lamps; an overcast
struck yellow from beneath. Eclogue
of two o'clock, announcing dawn

as I might introduce a life
whose face I ought to recognise,
but whose name I do not know.
That's about the truth, drawn

from where words do not cast
their shade; stone-mute poignancy
is poised in air. The heart-beat
of the pavement in the footstep,

and the echoing of alley walls.
Past the corner, nothing's known:
night-time's pulse just dies away
in the silence of one night alone.

(4 Sept 2001)



Dry as grasses in the summer wall

Dry as grasses in the summer wall,
worded dryness in the speaking
and the hearing, lapidary phrase
of unthought tongue and ear, all
an hour’s sand a shore to breaking
heat, bleaching out so long the days
of colour, meaning from the word;
those two walk beside the summer wall
long-legged, naked-footed, talking
where a wilful language does not gaze
but sleeps in heat and what words fall
lead deep into the wood. Slow walking
from the heat to shade and in the maze
the long accommodation’s every sense
each by each so willingly immured.

(begun 5 June 1999; revised 25 Sept 2000)





updated 16th October 2004