Friday, 14 November 2008

the dark isn't dark of course

the dark isn't dark of course
just absence of light
as death isn't death
just the absence of life
and in that distinction lies a world of difference

there is nothing to fear in nothing
nothing to shrink from in mere absence

there is no dark
there is no death

breathe in the magic of darkness
the wonder of death

Saturday, 8 November 2008

clouds float on the moon

within rampaging fire

within rampaging fire
nothing real
falling leaves

dewy grass
sleeping slumbers
hears only the cuckoo

open up winter
i wish to breathe my last
though i do not die

clouds float on the moon
cherry trees bloom
one leaf takes the wind

the power that splits mountains
will take my body to the earth
shrouded by a sudden frost

rain clouds disappear
i don't want eternity
come for me when you will

no free will
only delusion of choice
i accept this charming charade

make your interventions now
turn the wheels around
if they care for turning
and if they don't?
it was programmed to be so

my father like the fresh spring wind

my father, like the fresh spring wind
blew the cobwebs from our lives
and heralded an end to winter's dead hand

but like the strongest of storms
eventually he too will blow out
leaving a hollow calm
and a memory of what had come before

seven melodies

the tightening flood
thanks to you
our hearts impure

accept the change
keep in the air
bounded by books

approaching the coast
as a ghost

stupendous powers
need pay no lip service
save callous and cowardly words

dust must prevail
said MacDermid
nonsensical trash!

i have exhausted
the rainbow
sweet, sour, wild it was

cease to be
the wise society
protect living material

i landed on a grain of sand

i found myself on a grain of sand
and set off exploring it in the dark
with my torch

it had such deep craters, zapping meteors
volcanic eruptions, strange creatures
unlike anything i'd ever seen on Earth

i spent many decades investigating
the flora and fauna
instincts and cultures
climate patterns
and spiritual mythologies

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

is there tomorrow?

is there tomorrow she said
i don't know for sure i said
but i hope
if it comes
i'll see you

is tomorrow she said
i'm not sure i said
but i wish
if it comes
it comes for you too

tomorrow she said
tomorrow i said

Sunday, 2 November 2008


on the bbc news today
was the story of Henry Allingham
the last British survivor of World War 1
Age 112 he was born in 1896
and still attends the Armistice Memorial
each November

i watched him with sadness
how strange to be alive at 112
My grandfather Wladyslaw, had he survived
would have been 115
a bit too much to ask of any man

But had he not died at fifty
but say at ninety
not in 1943 in Zakopane
but in 1983 in Hamilton
brought over by my father
during one of Poland's periods
of liberalisation
I'd have known him until I was 24

He could have told me a few things
how he got captured by the Tsarist Russians
how he tried to turn the locals against their emperor
how he met Janina and what the in-laws were really like
how he cheated death - instead of dying -
and how he found his wife and children again
alive after 1945 and war's end

And what of my grandmother Janina?
Imagine if she had survived the starving months on 1941-42
Got well in Teheran like my dad did
She's younger than Henry Allingham
Born in 1902
why she's practically a kid compared to him
at only 106.
She could have told me how she felt
having to be cared for by her teenage children
who helped her when and how
what it was like to be in the new reborn Poland of 1918

and maybe I'd have found out what my Polish grandparents
were really like
for myself
instead of through aged memories
of my father and my aunts
or through old letters, photos.

I envy Henry Allingham's family
i hope they make the most of the old man's longevity
but i am happy for them
as i am unhappy for myself
and my dad and my aunt danka and zofia

that Wladyslaw and Janina
did not live to 112
or even just 100.