Poetry - Volume 2

(October 1986 - September 1987)

(200) Singing Softly (For R.K.)

There comes a time,
when the silent voice inside
will be stilled no more.
It escapes from my hand and,
rejoicing in its freedom,
sings softly to you.

Very softly.
In case you might hear.

And sometimes I wonder if you do hear,
my softly sung song.
And sometimes I look in the mirror,
to see what you might see.
But always I am disappointed.

So only in my dreams
lives the hope you will reach out for me.
Because, awake, I know what I am to you.
And I realise that you could never love me,
Just as a diamond,
could never love a stone.

I would change things if I could.
But time and time again
I've found I can't.

So I sing softly,
and I cry inside,
as I die inside.

But until the end
I ask for nothing more than a smile.
And the small vanity
that you will remember my name
years from now.

(Highly commended - Harold Kestevan Poetry Prize

(163) It all Went Away

There was a time when we were friends.
There was a time when we shared
All the things we thought mattered.
There was a time we cared.

But it all went away.
We stopped talking and we stopped being there
When we needed each other.
It all went away.
We stopped dreaming and we stopped making plans
With the mind of a lover.

There was a time when we were free.
There was a time when we made
Every night just like the first.
There was a time we stayed.

But it all went away.
We stopped touching and we stopped making sure
The other always came first.
It all went away.
We stopped learning and we stopped having trust
In the best and in the worst.

There was a time when we were friends.
There was a time when every kiss
Was the promise of forever.
That was a time I miss.

But it all went away.

(146) Perfect Strangers

When the winter storms roll in from the sea,
I go walking down along the beach.
The angry waves try to snatch me away,
But I'm always that bit out of reach.

(And who's just that bit out of reach?)

And each time they fall back to try again,
As if asking me to trust in them.
But I know the ways of the sea too well,
Better than I know the ways of men.

(And who knows the way of men?)

But knowing someone's ways is never like
Lighting up their soul with your own.
Watching mountains rising on the horizon,
Is never like touching a stone.

(And who was most like a stone?)

You were so like me and I, the waves.
Except you were never in danger.
I tried to climb inside your soul with mine,
But you were the perfect stranger.

(And who was more the stranger?)

(136) The Eagle and the Hawk

And there was a Lady Hawk,
with crushed wings, wanting to fly.
With golden feathers turning brown,
dreaming of a cloudless sky.

And the eagle in his way,
soaring high above the ground,
offered hope to the Hawk below,
who, blind, only heard the sound.

Then fate or a laughing god,
brought the Eagle gliding down.
But the King once on his throne,
never wants to loose his crown.

Still, the Hawk with aching wings,
waited for her wounds to heal.
But the Eagle as was his way,
wouldn't bring himself to feel.

So the Lady Hawk built a nest -
a patchwork quilt of things.
But the Eagle tore it apart,
each time he stretched his wings.

Still, she'd build it up again,
with sweat and blood, tears and pain.
Still, he'd tear it down again,
never hearing the distant rain.

For the eagle with his strength,
was a stranger to his fears.
He never saw the danger,
that reflected in her tears.

The hands of time mended flesh,
but hardened a gentle breast.
The Hawk rose to meet the sky,
leaving now the shattered nest.

And to her cry of freedom,
came an echo from her kind.
And the sun's rays lifted her,
towards a peace she would find.

And there in a bloodstained nest,
the Eagle lay very still.
His sightless eyes never saw,
so it is they never will

(187) Emu Park Dreaming

One word reminds,
another redefines,
past tense to present,
rich man to peasant,
desperate scheming
to Emu Park dreaming.

A place inside,
to deeply hide,
lost hopes and causes,
clay pots and horses,
unfinished cleaning,
in Emu Park dreaming.

A face so near,
another too clear.
Names joined to pictures,
hidden in niches,
forever seeming,
Emu Park dreaming.

(142) Don't Blame the Ferryman

With fear in your heart and knives in your back,
You ask questions of the dancers.
But they only hear the sound of their own truth,
Placing no value in your answers.
For the solution to your problem hides so well,
Where you least expect it to be.
The faster you run, the farther you get,
While your accusations tumble free.

So don't blame the Ferryman,
Just because you say he knew.
Don't blame the watching crowd,
Who were just passing through.
No, don't blame your yesterdays,
Or tomorrows overdue...
Blame the reflection you see,
Looking back at you.

But then, it's so easy to lie to what's inside,
When you're eager to be believed.
Because instead of you, it's always someone else,
Who has to admit they were deceived.
But time's running out like blood from a cut,
Your excuses are growing old.
There's a voice inside that you refuse to hear,
Telling you what you won't be told.

(167) And Still...

I've lived the life of a thief,
Reformed and then repented.
I've killed the child inside me,
And matured when I relented.
I've sacrificed my own desires,
And hidden my dreams from sight.
I've civilised the beast within,
And walked away from the fight.

And still, no-one has understood me.
And still no-one can see.
And still...

I've given you your freedom,
Chained you against your will.
I've tried to drown you in the sea,
And climbed with you up your hill.
I've criticised and cursed at you,
Then kissed away your tears.
I've made you question your beliefs,
Then explained away your tears.

I've lived this lifetime before.
I'll live it many times more.
I've tried to explain all this to you.
I've tried to draw what I saw.

And still, no-one has understood me.
And still no-one can see.
And still...

(154) The Falcon and the Hawk

And there was the Lady Hawk,
once more soaring in the skies.
The blood dried on her claws,
cold steel hiding in her eyes.

But higher above her still,
a Falcon had seen her flight.
And like all those of his kind,
felt the need to offer fight.

For the Falcon wished to die,
every breath caused him sorrow.
Lost and lonely days behind,
set the stage for tomorrow.

So the Falcon with this need,
cried with pity that was fake.
All his scars were made himself,
out of boredom, not mistake.

But the Hawk had grown wiser,
her lessons had taught her well.
She had seen the Falcon first,
safe inside her hard won shell.

So with much sound and fury,
the Falcon and the Hawk clawed.
He was shaken by her strength,
she found her shell was flawed.

And how would it have ended,
if they had both fought to kill?
But they each made the mistake,
of testing each other's will.

And the Hawk saw in his eyes,
a strangeness she always knew.
While the Falcon saw in hers,
that sky of a cloudless blue.

So before the fatal blows,
what they saw forced them apart.
But in the time that had been,
a trust had joined their hearts.

Now across the setting sun,
the Falcon and the Hawk fly.
Free at last to soar and glide,
forever in a cloudless sky.

(169) The Hundredth Monkey

When no-one else listened to the voice of reason,
I stood alone against their deadly silence.
When no-one else would give peace a chance,
I refused to accept their violence.
And I waited, bruised and bloody,
For the Hundredth Monkey,
To turn the tide,
From inside.

When so-called friends vanished without goodbye,
I made friends with my solitude.
When thoughtless remarks cut me to the bone,
I staunched the blood with fortitude.
And I waited, bruised and bloody,
For the Hundredth Monkey,
To turn the tide,
From inside.

And when even you showed yourself as my assassin,
I bared my breast to you without fear.
Poisoned words may kill me, but not my dreams.
The shattered glass remains still clear.
And I'll wait, bruised and bloody,
For the Hundredth Monkey,
To turn the tide,
From inside.

(172) Ascending Descent

Around midnight, with a childish scream,
the sunlight splashed into my dream.
Sweet voices painted inside my head.
The flowers on the wall bled and bled.

And Amazon women with emerald eyes,
manacled my hands with schizoid lies.
The drummer boy beat a marching tune,
as wall-clocks chimed the hour of noon.

The salamander, he just laughed at me,
when I broke his cage to set him free.
And with a smile, the shy little mouse,
said: Please oh please, come see my house.

The wallpaper yawned and stripped itself,
as the Buddha got down from his shelf.
A flamingo planted one red rose,
somewhere to the left between my toes.

Then the whole world walked through my door,
The unicorn and the black-dressed Whore.
They all danced on the end of my bed,
as Death dined on sweet corn and bread.

And the little Mouse, with a candid glance,
said: Please oh please come and dance.
But my feet were outside walking,
so we had to sit there just talking.

Then a coloured man with one white hand,
started playing on a baby Grand.
The moon exploded and Jesus screamed,
but no-one heard him, so it seemed.

Then Reality called out my name,
and reached through to make its claim.
But the Mouse, with a tear in her eye,
said: Please, oh, please don't say goodbye

So I cupped my hands and we stepped in,
safe from the world and the insane din.
And white was black and the rainbow too,
because you were me and I was you

(185) I am Kept Awake

I am kept awake by the noise of the world turning,
and the sound of soil on a thousand coffin lids.
I am kept awake by the light of countries burning,
and those who sleep as I once did...

I am kept in pain by the sound of a butcher's knife,
and the smell of flesh on a thousand civil fires.
I am kept in pain by the cause of a lover's strife,
and those who fall victim to liars...

I am kept insane by the bars of my conscious mind,
and the look of hate on a thousand friendly faces.
I am kept insane by the death of another kind,
and those who run these rat races...

I am kept alive by the dream of my human side,
and the morning sun on a thousand days in sight.
I am kept alive by my trust in the rising tide,
and those who cannot sleep at night...

 (189) Waiting for the Flower to Die

Final notes in Wintergardens,
when the music fades away.
Pleasant penguins offer goodbye,
virgin morning blushes grey.

A plucked flower clutched in hand,
still damp from bridal weeping.
Exchanged in unspoken consent,
through destiny so keeping.

A purpose in rose tint petals,
unknown to all who appear.
A sentence repeated next day,
to one who didn't hear.

Strange answer to simple question,
confusing to all but one.
Waiting for the flower to die,
waiting for the end to come

(198) In the Gallery

In the gallery I often walk,
through dead artistic legacies.
Left as reminders to men,
of life's little ecstasies.

In the gallery I find myself,
as a twisted metal sculpture.
Born in the mind of another,
from a long lost culture.

In the gallery I fall in love,
with the face in a picture frame,
of a rosy cheeked young maiden,
forever without a name.

In the gallery I see the world,
through the eyes of painter souls,
weaving their distemper magic,
through time distorted holes.

In the gallery I am at home,
far from the external danger
of destructive intentions,
residing in cruel strangers.

(173) Cuticle Intrusion

Whispering pines welcome me into their lives,
Filled with unrepentant delicate sounds.
A desperate fleeing vixen seeks asylum,
From the breeze-borne noise of baying hounds.

The sky is congested with shadowless clouds,
Deflecting and diffusing the rainbow's course.
Hawks and doves locked in everlasting battle,
Pass through the eye of a nonexistent horse.

The frightened fox gnaws at my receding mind,
(only to remind me of the pursuing death).
The icy finger of a razor-sharp blade,
Embeds itself in my memory and breadth.

Congealing blood dribbles from between my lips,
Transforming into butterflies and white sails.
The trembling vixen shrinks to vanishing point,
which inserts itself beneath my nails.

The savage hounds emerge from tangled brush,
Hanging their heads in mute brutish confusion.
I imitate the poise of the soaring pines,
Fooling the beasts with this simple delusion.

The pack of curs retreat with tails between legs,
Drawn by the distant sound of hunting horns.
My laughter rides on their disappearing backs,
Cursing all their offspring yet still unborn.

The vixen reappears, exploding from my mind.
Pauses once and flashes into the background.
I'm left holding pieces of a question mark,
And impossible answers now somehow found