December 2017

labyrinthine cloud . . .
yesterday's is
becomes its was

a blackbird close by
all the more

passing stranger
are my eyes
your way station
or are yours mine?

in another life
I grasp the insubstantial
in a dream's last gasp

mob rally
a why nowhere
to be heard

dead silence alone knows why

a sentence faithful to its end.

a sea view
filled with countless flaws
missing the point

sprung rhythms . . .
the poems the maker
of the poet

bees too fail
to recreate the scent
of grapefruit blossoms

peony bloom
an idea of order
beyond reason

a nightmare
of falling awake
fledgeling owl

beatific vision
through clouds of unknowing
spring cataract

a balmy night
and my brain barely
processing words

inside preternatural nature walk

what luck!
the scent of freesias
while longing for them

La Niña
I feel ya
tropical heat

a reed of itself in sound

time to sleep through when

all ages fantail beyond knowing

asleep within a parabolic reflection

When Yosa Buson painted the "butterfly sleeping on the temple bell" haiku, he implicitly alludes to the Heike Monogatari tale of the demise of the Taira clan who, under Kiyomori's leadership, took a butterfly for their crest. In one visually appealing image the poet brings together a clear allusion to Chuang Tzu's dream that he was a butterfly and also to the Heike Monogatari's opening gong - "The sound of the bell of Gion Shōja echoes the impermanence of all things. The hue of the flowers of the teak tree declares that they who flourish must be brought low. Yea, the proud ones are but for a moment, like an evening dream in springtime. The mighty are destroyed at the last, they are but as the dust before the wind."

Some eighteen centuries earlier a pregnant virgin, overshadowed by the Tao, retraced the way that had lead the Ark of the Covenant to a house in the hill country of Judea. In response to the enthusiastic joy of her pregnant cousin's greeting, the virgin humbly proclaimed her Magnificat declaring the greatness of and her delight in God while foreseeing the reversals in store for the proud, the powerful, and the rich. Already the most sublime of all human tragedies, that would culminate in her coming child's cry of absolute despair - "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani!", was seeded within her womb.

Of his 1926 sculpture, The Visitation, Jacob Epstein described the one single figure that he had completed as expressing "a humility so profound as to shame the beholder who comes to my sculpture expecting rhetoric or splendour of gesture".

Twenty-one years later Simone Weil would write in Gravity and Grace, "Humility is the refusal to exist outside God".

Reeling under the realisation that all creation "is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere, but its circumference nowhere", Blaise Pascal focuses in on the imperceptibly small noting that "who will not be astounded at the fact that our body, which a little while ago was imperceptible in the universe, itself imperceptible in the bosom of the whole, is now a colossus, a world, or rather a whole, in respect of the nothingness which we cannot reach? He who regards himself in this light will be afraid of himself, and observing himself sustained in the body given him by nature between those two abysses of the Infinite and Nothing, will tremble at the sight of these marvels".


with dewfall
a mite swims
the vault of heaven

in settled wandering


i experience a gradual decay through my seventh decade in an irresistible process of detachment from the world that will end when i end.

with first light i first-person myself into the I you resurrect before Thou.

O self-revelatory encounter!

wordless at first there springs an attentiveness that mines from paleolithic shadows an endless moment's willing suspension of disbelief until once more I am wordless at last.

this and this
I bless each absence

into nothing
the words

reading aloud
my tongue brings to life
a mother tongue

saint's day


am i here or are all my other moments of being here penetrating the present? am i processing what i am sensing or am i also in the overlaps of presents? if memory is the mother of the muses is her grandchild the alchemy of my history of nows in the crucible of the heated ecstasy of being here now?

the fire
of birdsong
in a day's embers

December 26
On this day 58 years ago my paternal grandmother visited me in hospital giving me a book about early Christian martyrs with my 2 patron saints bookmarked.
The day before, while carrying a kettle of still boiling water to the dining room to make a pot of tea for our adult guests, the handle detached itself from the body causing the entire contents to cascade down the front of my body.
Being Christmas Day, an ambulance could not be despatched, so a neighbour drove my father and I to meet the ambulance half-way to the hospital. Once there I had to wait in an otherwise empty emergency waiting room, trying my best to endure the pain for a further hour or two before medical staff could tend to me. Long threads of skin hung down from the raw, partly cooked flesh of my torso.
Our next door neighbour's canary died of fright at the moment I let out my almighty scream.
percussive sun
must get stoned

at year's end
new year cicadas begin
to tune up

dromedaries sail inland seas

wholly innocence

desert lament
no comfort is there — none
for they are no more

my feet crack open
with the pain of the earth

the year ends
i step out from
my shadow

ending time . . .
the universe folds back
into itself

in summer light
in the present tense
on an empty page


earthly dream
seasonal progression of

turning into myself
the one when i was
before i was

windy shore
my word prints wash away
as I make them

dead sea scrolls
the accumulation of words
w/o this out

in an almost
of the moment
a baby's smile

lone tree effigy of a former self

an image fades
beyond belief
into being

unfinished with a little

a river of life
lies in a bed
of its own making

left alone
the child becomes
a winter sky

feeding off
the sacred mysteries

presidential tweet
all and sundry
pee their pants

a mayfly
fasting from the dream
of forever

face to face
with my reflection
on mercy

ta moko
a koru unfurls
though my blood

post mortem
the hedonist hits
his dead-end

my lineage
weathers into my face
autumn testament

solstice dusk
a kitten silences
the cicada

southern star
a procession of monks
through the abbey

at the end
of all my wandering
clear cascades

po marie
I bury my words
in te reo

the fire
of birdsong
in a day's embers

percussive sun
must get stoned

ill at ease
my eyes continue to roam
my dreaming mind

face to face
desolate beaches
laid bare

old gargoyle
her eyes give away
what croaks hide

karaoke bars
a drunken muse

past its peak
Taranaki loses
its last snow

stone cold light on a feather

conclave smoke
rising from a cardinal's

frog haiku torn open to suggestion

new year's eve . . .
a caterpillar lingers
over its food

clear water rises 
on the other side of shadow 
the reflection                         CB

cows idle home for milking 
under herringbone clouds     HT

about to burst 
with bells and whistles 
plum blossoms                      JB 

the wind slowly strips  
paint from the fence              CB 

on her phone 
the tweenie moons over        
a boy band                           HT 

beyond a reasonable doubt 
his paramour's ring tone      JB 

articles of a faith  
overrun with brambles 
chapel swallows                  CB 

flies swarm across my timeline 
in the heat of the moment    HT 

on the gridiron 
a streaker 
trips and falls                        JB 

honkytonk sunset 
the drifter sips his rye          CB 

russet tones 
gather at the edges 
of ripeness                          HT 

hooked on opioids 
fish pond moon                   JB 

the tide's withdrawal 
a lifeless reef                      CB 

a dot hangs about 
without an i                         HT 

watch your Ps and Qs 
on that first date 
#metoo                               JB  

a single drop of blood 
adorns the cactus spine    CB 

beauty sleeps 
deep under the mud 
ashen rose                         HT 

departing geese 
muddy streaks across the sky JB 

a trail of ants 
Coltrane's solo flies 
off the page                        CB 

apple blossoms fall upon
a serpentine advent