Absent Friends.

Ghosts will come if you stand by an autumn bonfire. They will slip along the edges of your perceptions – those you know that you have and the others – and stand, just beyond touching distance behind your shoulder. It is not alarming; they are friendly now as they have always been. While the flames do their burning thing: throwing sparks at the sky trapped stars and smoke to the winds. Crayon the lawn, the hedges, the walls of the wash house in blazes of shifting colour and darknesses. Warm the side of you that is turned towards it, while the turned away half gets colder.

And it is not that the ghosts are summoned by the fire. It has absolutely no power over them. Maybe they do not even notice the flames and shadows that turn and twist: who knows? If it helps you can believe they are called by your memories (though this is not the case). And they are not just in your imagination: you are really not that good!

But, to keep them there,  you have to concentrate on the flames, the heart of the burning. Glance them only from the corners of your eyes, at the edges of your understanding, where your senses run to haze and recognise nothing other than blurred images. If you turn to look closely, fully at them, they just will not be there. As if they had never made that first approach. For they do not crave your undivided attention.

… and you cannot communicate with them. It is not important for you to do so and they cannot talk, they cannot hear and will not answer your questions. Why should they? Why would they?

But their presence, if you allow it , can be mutually reassuring. Be its own reward. You clearly need that company; why else would they come? And they too take something from the encounter. They understand that they are not neglected; that they remain unforgotten and still play a part, however small in the rituals you carry on.

Metamorphosis

comet

On a March-frost night when

A comet nobody has ever seen before

Will change the skies, alter science;

After the horizon wide

Heaven-sunset-bonfire ride:

A little to the left of the moon

And just above the hills

There’s a story nobody’s ever heard

In which a star turns into an urchin.

 

“Who are you?”

The caterpillar asked … and

Alice made another mistake –

Thinking she was being questioned –

When in fact the creature

Was talking to itselves

(All the ones it had already been,

The final one it was yet to be).

 

Because maybe what you are

Used to seeing in the mirror

Is not your true form.

There are un-numbered swarms

Of shock-to-the system forms

Behind the familiar mask …

If you but dared to ask the

Carroll-caterpillar question;

Dared to remind your self how wantonly,

Disrespectfully you took so very,

Very much for granted;

Dared to remember

All that you have lost.

 

13/3/2013

 

Photo source: en.wikipedia.org

December is …

.. a sturdy-looking bridge,

Promising support and safe passage

To further sanctuary bank,

But trips you with secret ice traps,

Throws you down and

Chills your heart and soul …

 

… a magnificent horizon-wide bonfire:

Wholesome company, delightful magic and

Warm soup camaraderie –

All long gone by the time you get there:

Just the distant mocking stars

Looking down, sneering…

 

… a fierce-barbed fence, you knew

Had to be there, but which surprised you, anyway;

Bringing you up sharply,

Making you pause to think,

Forcing decision’s risky dice throws:

Go back?

Climb over?

Go round?

 

… a frameless window with high, wide views

That, while you watch,

Becomes a mirror:

Throws you back,

Unexpectedly, violently

Against yourself …

 

… a one way, northbound nose bleed ticket

For deck space on a dark-light

Iceberg clipper, heading for the

January border, so near, yet so far away.

Sleep well skipper;

Fare well fellow passengers,

We’re all in this together.

 

30/11/2012