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Dark Ocean

I escape then to the boat

away from the lull of food and wine

and small after-lunch conversation

out, out to the cold rasp and lash of salt air

gulping in the clean, clear air in mouthfuls

hungry for horizon

for moments without reasons

for motion without walls, for unfolding

for the happening that happens

because of itself and for itself

like the great plumed cirrus reclining

self-content, like Buddha, over the Var.

 

Opening the sails

i plunge Vanessa into the black troughs

she comes back head up like a dolphin diving

a free and singular mind

a roaring spirit shunting and nuzzling the water

as city and culture fall behind

my heart soars in sea and sky

exhulting, invigorated, redeemed:

sailing, like love-making, is full of the love of god

like love, it is the the art of being.

 

Rounding Saint Honorat

the tide is deep in the stern, cleaving in the bows

she takes me with her, rolls to one side

and i let her over as far as she wants, straining for sea

then reign her in, pulling hard, she braces

turning and comes around head down;

the sea is fighting us hard now

I keep the touch light

she responds, thrusting deep into the swell

groaning, ready, i sense the moment coming

and suddenly she sinks down into perfect rhythm

riding flat out, leading the cavalry of white horses

charging the thin line of horizon

and all becomes harmony, rhythmicity, union;

close your eyes, close your eyes

God is here, close your eyes, be still…

 

Now, full in the open sea

the Mistral heaves her

as i set her down into the black swell

coaxing her firmly westward

toward St. Tropez.

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   MISTRAL

CANNES

2004

Holding Soil

.

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   TO MY FATHER        PLOUGHING

LIMERICK

1985

Lunar Eclipse

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   MANUELA

GALWAY

2007

Fictional Character

Grey October rain

washes down dawn Parisian jungles

from interior darkness of train

sun wages war on tenemental widows

scratches to bleeding the elemental pane

and the blood of black rain

crushed from cloud-grape

spits in my veins

my mind, wide eyed with incomprehensions

crumbles under the flailing walls

as the sky caves in

black notes rise like crows from the Underground:

u danced while i, cataleptic Idiot,

convulsed and bled on your bed 

among the graffitti on red-blue walls

i see the puzzle in a child’s hand scrawled:

‘Why did you die on me Sevaelle?’

in a skidding jet make notes

on the runway at Malaga

I wake with your name inside me,

full of the peaceful insanity of dreams

knowing that I can’t replace you,

nor the mandalas you have called into being

there is a moment without compassion

when the matador drives the sword

between the shoulders of Taurus

and the air is horrible with the slow dance of dying;

but you spilt more blood

than anything i’ve seen in Spain

towns flicker by; St. Germaine, Richelieu, Saumur

becoming visual, then graphic, then memory

i try to scream but no sound comes

only my heart beating like a base

to the wheels of a long train

pouring down south

in the darkening of evening, red-bleu

‘Where are you Sevaelle, where are you?’

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   ZUM TODE

PARIS

1980

Church Altar

.

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   CHALICE

MADRID

1995

Sky

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   HUSHED LOVE

AIRSPACE

1994

Fire

In the blue-pink sky

the bamboo trees bend

so you can almost see your life

spirit-forms fleeting in an aching sky.

 

in the free-fall of near-death

out at the edge of yourself

you kiss deeply again

kiss like a song

full-throated

and with all of your body.

 

and wonder why have they come to you now

in this shadowed, fractured world

that you perceive the truths that shape 

the still-quiet of trees at evening

froth on a pouring stream

ancient sunlights

all colours warm.

 

and the doubts you doubt

are just the Underworld hissing as you rise

hating with its hatred

of all things free and wild and clear

and sending out the Dark Beings of anti-love

to poison and crush you

and the truths you’ve wed.

 

and deep inside the firestorm

the Muses call ancient prayers over you

and the gods that live in all things that love

whisper in you

”This is good my child, this is good”.

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   FIRESTORM

DUBLIN

1989

Forest Scene

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   FOREST

ENGLAND

2002

Desert

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   DESERT

DUBAI

2018