Saturday, 8 November 2014

Autumn update 2014

After a long absence from the blog I'm back with an update of what has been going on in my poetry world. The break has been spent re-writing material from Testimony which I "completed" in mid 2010. Rather than making radical changes it has been a case of refining what was there and then testing the same out at meetings of our local poetry group SKOPT before putting together a set of material for performance.

The opportunity finally came on 26th October at the Sunday Matinee held at Slack Space in Colchester. My thanks to those concerned for the chance to read and making the whole event happen. I've appended the set below; if you were there you'll have a chance to revisit the material if you wish and if you weren't you can have a read  if you'd like to. Going forwards I aim to complete the Testimony re-write, some sixty poems in all and work on some new material that I've got typed up in "rough form" at the moment. 

I don't think a poem necessarily gets "frozen" for ever, an ossified work set in tablets of stone that can never be revised but some are at a point where I can't do much more than tweak them here and there. I guess I'm happy with them as they stand and in the final analysis that is enough for me going forwards. Poetry is a very personal thing. 

I hope you like the set, in the end it is all about the poems, they articulate what I want and need to say..... 


Do you remember when we started our journey, took off that first brittle outer shell and bared a second layer of ourselves?

My sweet Matryoshka, did you think I would reveal myself all at once?

You were guarded the same as me after all.

It was like diving in the beginning, swooping to a different level and getting a glimpse before

Soaring back up again.

Do you remember those first kisses, the delicate touches of reverent explorers?

When we opened another level like a brightly wrapped present and I felt your intimate touch.

It was then we lost control and first spoke of love.

The thrill of loosing ourselves to exhaustion like an ebbing tide will stay with me forever.

Do you remember my sweet doll, the next layer, when we became real and showed our faults?

To one another, like growth rings.

We sometimes cried together, always making up with tea and kind words.

The levels got smaller but more intense, deeper as each unfurled like the petals of a flower

Kissed by the sun.

Each time we split in the middle we opened ourselves anew in an intimate shrinking

Our worlds melting together like chocolate.

Still looking for the kernel of who we are, we fooled ourselves that we could ever know what one another thought.

We carried on our quest into an inner universe where everything became increasingly compressed.

It got harder to breathe then sweet Matryoshka, the very act of filling my lungs began to hurt.

I’m not sure who panicked first as we fell into smaller and smaller spaces, until we realised we’d gone too far, could never extricate ourselves from one another.

We hunted each other relentlessly to the last atom trying to satisfy our thirst to know.

You’d long since fused with my very life essence but my sweet doll, it was never enough, you had to possess all of me and I fell into you head first.

Others heard me crying and wistfully remembered who I’d been, as I span ever more quickly, caressing your inner space until I’d disappeared into you altogether and only a faint echo remained.
I thought by hinting hard enough you’d read me
Thought if I wished with all my soul you’d need me
Thought if I launched prayers on tears God would hear me
Thought if I could curve time I’d bring you near me
I hoped against all hope you’d kiss and feed me
Hoped beyond desire you’d heed my pleading
Hoped I could give all that wasn’t mine
Hoped, sincerely, I could curve time
I wanted to be the centre of your universe
Wanted to rapture you in sweetest verse
Wanted a magic hour when you’d be mine
And set with all my heart to curving time
Love has many layers, multi-coloured shades
A hundred different moods, filled with falling thoughts.
I sent my love to guard you, protect you from all ill
Life tried to turn the flame away but love keeps vigil still.
Some have tried to tame love, lulling it to sleep
But I gave mine to peacocks, as guardians, to keep.
When they fan their feathers on mornings clear and chill
A hundred eyes are keeping watch, a triumph of my will.
Songs can echo sentiments, hope be a substitute for words
Patterned thoughts make butterflies, build nests like bower birds.
Love has many aspects, will you heed the clarion call?
I await your only answer, before the Cherry Blossom falls.
Carnegiea Gigantea
Driving my car across Arizona,
Or somewhere, vast and empty, flat as forever
Thinking you'd be by my side
I swear I can see your face
Peeping at me from behind a saguaro.
It was fun whilst it lasted, giving me something to hope for,
Even to live for.
I remember how you tipped your head to face the sun
And when it kissed you in return, thinking I saw a halo.
You were my angel.....
What to do now?
An empty seat, so many miles ahead, endless hours to pass.... 
Perhaps I'll drive naked into the sunset, there’s nobody here to mind after all.....
You’ll see where I’ve been from the trail of clothes
Like the shirt I discarded fifty miles ago
I’m heading for the border: destination Teotihuacan.....

Once I'm there, atop of the pyramid of the sun, I’ll tip my head as you once did
Look along the avenue of the dead and allow myself a smile
Always knowing, in my heart
I’m walking in the footsteps
Of those who have travelled the road to the Gods.
In a different way of looking at things, it’s the moment of sublime perfection
Where beauty stretches its fragile fingers as cherry blossom fronds
That instant is the one to die, the passing in itself a supreme majesty.
Nothing is permanent and they know this, with their ancient wisdom
They celebrate the moment that the blossoms fall, flutter down
Settle on the water, thin pink droplets like fragrant tears.
I shed myself the same for you. Lay upon your still waters for a moment
Passing a torrent of myself, like blossom, through a needle gate

That instant is the one to die, the passing in itself a supreme majesty.

Junk Mail
I waited for the fall of your card upon the doormat

Ached to hear a sound that said you cared

Strained my ears for the fall of envelope on carpet

A hope of thoughts you might have kindly spared.

I waited through that cold, grey, winter morning

For those words to light me, like your smile

Daydreamed in colour of our door step conversation

When your toes playfully gripped the carpet pile.

I waited through hours that slowly turned to days

Sat forgotten under a covering of dust

Motionless as spiders weaved their webs around me

Warmed only by false memories of “us”.

Do you know the pain that your omission brought me?

As emotionally I turned into a ghost

Silence only broken by the shattering of hope

No love, just junk mail through the post.
Growth Rings
Read me with your finger tips
Trace the rings of years
Feel when I was young and strong
Wipe away my tears
Run your finger round my lips
I’ll whisper you my thoughts
Feel when I withheld myself
And when I gave my all
Smooth your palm across my spine
Feel when you came to me
Touch the painful curvature
Caused when you set me free
The ache of passing tracts of time
Have left their bitter mark
Run hands across my ageing skin
It's wrinkles feel like bark
A chill wind blows across the fields
And sooths the tree that weeps
Let’s relive the moments that we spent
Swap secrets that we'll keep
Let’s spread our arms in sunshine
Live in daylight not the dark
Place a lover’s hand upon my chest
And feel a beating heart.
Walking the cold of a winter’s morning
Emulating the desolation of skeletal forms
I too have shed myself
Stride spindly and wind chilled
Time removes us with every pace
And sadness reins within

You have delivered
Your parting overture

What now as I walk the valley
And silence sings from the hillside?

Nothing but this:

Leafless trees and stones on the top of an icy lake
Where I tried to skip them
Or a word blowing through me
Like a falling leaf

Whispering it’s over
Wire Walking
The fibres of my heart are stretched to breaking point between twin towers forming a wire,
Taut and ready to break. Carefully I test the tension, throat tightening with anticipation. 
Once committed I know I can never look back, can never turn around or roll back time 
Yet I take a deep breath and step out, remembering the words of a wise man who
Said we’re born with only two fears, loud noises and tumbling into the abyss.
The journey is an imperative.
Suspended amid the clouds between earth and sky I apply the principle of moments,
Performing a delicate balancing act between East and West between love and love.
I daren't look down or allow myself to contemplate the chasm that yawns beneath me
High above the birds I make careful adjustments, risking it all, knowing one mistake separates
Me from spinning, helplessly, like a sycamore seed. Up here I understand the seagull’s lonely
Call, a cry birthed between loss and tension.
Borne on wings of sweat, I'm buffeted by the storm, shaking with the fear of love,
Until I hear gentle soothing notes, the tiny singularities of Trois Gymniopedies.
The beauty of the moment stills my wind-blown soul. Suddenly none of it matters any more. 
I lay down on the wire, smile at the sky and touch the face of God
Zvyozdochkin’s Children
The geese came early this year, covering our steppes like snow, heralds of the cold to come
First flakes falling yesterday, slowly at first, soon painting the endless fields in brilliant white
Stretching far away into a cloud kissed horizon.
It’s hard to imagine summer’s sea of flowers, nodding their heads in fragrant agreement
With gentle breezes
Now Mother Russia’s icy breath is upon us, it settles in hoar frost flakes on your eye lashes
Glistening like jewels on your furs.
We too had our day in the sun, lying by the lakeside, watching swifts wheeling above us
Their shrill cries of delight filled the air, mixing with our own.
What became of you my dearest girl?
We played Russian dolls you and I, each reduction revealing a different hidden personality.
How we loved losing those layers, running hand in hand through air filled with seed!
I knew your every need before you’d even asked.
Your voice echoes in my memory clear as ice, the white of your smile still lights my mind’s eye.
Promise you’ll return my sweet Matryoshka, light my world with the songs of spring
Paint my sunsets red again with the fire of your kisses.
Mark Harris has asserted his right under
Section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
To be identified as the author of this work.


1 comment:

  1. Bravo Mr Harris. Bravo indeed. Fine words. More please....