poetry diary

Poetry is just the evidence of your life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. (Leonard Cohen)

March in Tokyo

No cherry blossom
yet – in Shinjuku a girl
smiles at her lover.

******************

Inspired by Basho (translated):

Behind the virgins’
quarters.
one blossoming plum.

Arriving in Tokyo

Neon characters
compete against winter rain.
The bus door opens.

**************

I haven’t written a haiku for a while, but as I find myself in Japan (somewhat unexpectedly and for the first time) it seems appropriate.

Almost

It almost snowed this morning;
odd flakes distracted in the air,
like girls with secret crushes
blushing in his sideways stare.

I almost loved a woman;
odd moments that connected,
like snowflakes sparkling in her hair –
yet which, as courage, later melted.

We almost spoke of feelings;
unsaid, not settling; but biding,
baying – like wolves in winter
from mountains with dusk falling.

Lives almost changing daily,
and landscapes almost smothered
by almost snow and almost love:
almost makes us days to covet.

*******

Actually from a week ago – it’s got warmer since then.

Posted on dVerse open link  night

Autumn Evening II

That curiosity of light
which seeks in newly empty space
bold reds and golds – proud last salutes –
of yesterday’s defiant trees,
finds today pale memories.

Her colours now are yearnings –
damp efforts washing evening streets,
night-black branches and waiting clouds
that weigh like crows on half-known tracks,
and turn all thoughts to home.

Below, dark stains of subdued leaves
crushed and trampled underfoot,
like rebels ruined by rain and tanks,
can only wait in hope and death
to feed the seeds of spring.

Glorious and glowing yet, this light,
like embers of a dying fire;
only holding, holding, holding back –
holding back the coming lonely winter nights.

******

This is a revisited version of a poem I wrote three months ago with a few corrections and an added verse. I was accused of being a bit ‘domestic’ in the last version, so this is a gently politicised one.

New Year 2017

This New Year starts with rain,
each raindrop concentrating space
and time into a sphere;
a perfect, silent world that falls,
and dampens all that’s gone before.

And out of darkness, lights
(etched faces on surrounding stones,
all passion-drained and thin)
draw all of last year’s energy
to promise a renewing sun.

*********

Written to post on www.dversepoets.com later this month. It has been that kind of New Year break this year.

The Nutcracker

From open hand extending –
music;
from quiet music rising –
one step;
from patterned steps entrancing,
dancing;
from one dancer emerging –
new lines;
from shapes attention flowing –
outward.

To draw in the floating corps
of miracled ballerinas
as swans or roses perfect
and precise: lost on the edge
of human possibility, each
balanced between woman
and flower – precariously
safe in beauty; patterned numbers.

And in music, which fades now too
as this dancing, moving, tender
world; like a shoal of fishes,
turns with the tide to a brilliant sea.

*********

We went to see the opening night of the Nutcracker, performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet, last night. It was a wonderful classic ballet. It’s fifteen years since I last saw a ballet, but they seem to get easier to appreciate the older I get.

Autumn evening

That curiosity of light
which seeks in newly empty space
bold reds and gold of yesterday’s
wistful, playful and unhurried leaves –
finds today pale memories.

Her colours now are yearnings –
damp efforts washing evening streets,
night-black branches and waiting clouds,
foreboding contemplative dusk.

Glorious and glowing yet,
no matter how she tries,
only holding, holding, holding back –
holding back the coming lonely winter nights.

***********

We get wonderful late afternoon light sometimes at this time of year. On Friday as I drove home it was particularly good, although this was also the week when all the trees seemed to lose their leaves and the autumn displays ended.

Posted on https://dversepoets.com

Autumn

A chestnut leaf floats
gently through November skies,
spiralling like smoke.

******

Thinking of haiku today.

At Baddesley Clinton

Through centuries of Octobers’
windless days; quiet leaf falls
kiss and hold the ageing ground
like hands, that bind the earth and lake;
ancient lovers tired now, and still –
recalling (not yet awaiting)
Spring.

Trees like memories hold
this latest year a few days yet;
caught between times, now and past –
softening under autumn light
and silent as prophets.

Footsteps and words, like bricks
and lily pads – uncounted
but complete, and bringing shelter
these six hundred years, to priests
and artists, and now to you and me;
stirring gentle eddies in the air.

********

Baddesley Clinton is a moated late medieval manor house in Warwickshire, England. It has beautiful informal and human-scale grounds.

Summer morning in Leamington

Rising gently like the sun,
a quiet murmur amongst leaves;
unlike the wind, somehow
digital, and wet?

And from the road a soft squashed,
receding, sound of moving wheels
escaping unseen, but
serious and set.

Then, through rising consciousness
a harder, wetter, foreground brings
the interrupted dream
of a rivulet.

I draw back the bathroom blind,
predicting summer rain, and find
quiet satisfaction –
I can listen, yet.

*********

I awoke to light rain this morning.