The year of Paralysis

In the year of paralysis

where the world is reduced,

there is one endless winter

that stunts the common growth,

it freezes the known paths

and subsumes the old currents,

not just halting new life

but the seasoned one, too.


In that year of paralysis

where meaning is seduced,

there is one endless night

that closes the horizon,

it saps space of its colour

and shuts out all perspective,

not just starving time now

but the one to come, too.


In this year of paralysis

when our hope was traduced,

the summer and the day

did not come from without

but from those we clung to

who in turn clung to us,

which was all that was left:

the core of what we are.


So, the year of renewal

when the world starts to thaw

and the roots spread again

the light have other sources

and clocks can count more,

let none of that forget

the darkness of this year

and how it was all fought.


For Mum, Dad and Nick, who will

forever be at the centre of

my existence

Natural Weather

Where the sun lifts the world like a flower-builder

which is to say an impression-grower

The clouds come and go as contrast-breakers

like doubt-creators

When the rain drops, soup-filler

and runs, route-divider

The wind, from breezy to fiendishly tropical, a plain-sweeper

and over water wave-sweller

with all the force of a coastline-to-beach-converter

Storms being a bit of most of these combined, awe-inducers

and when absolutely electric, apocalypse-teasers

then the temperatures, an all-weather phenomenon, season-dependent home-conceivers

in winter, armchair-by-the-fireside-philosophers

summer, all-night-dancing-in-the-streetlight-lovers

How would you describe sadness?

Sadness is the mistake

I make when

the unknown

smiles at me:


I avert my gaze


It scares me

because I know myself too well:


and in that knowledge

and also because of it

I know that I do not know the same capacity to smile.


A smile is like a beautiful lie

it not only stares from the unknown

but because of the unknown


If it knew itself, it would surely not exist

because to know existence is to know that the smile does not exist:

at least not more than its inexistence, anyway


for it is no smiling matter

that there is

not more to smile about

than less


and if this smile at me knew me, its U-shaped happiness would soon bend straight

it would forget its own capacity to smile

and if it did not, I would distrust its capacity to exist.


My fear

and sadness

come as much

from the things

that do exist

as those that do not


they come because I do not know what I want

because there is not enough world for all of my want


because my want

makes this world

too small

and me


smaller within it;


a smile looks happy with that

because it does not know

or because it does not want more

does not know more

and does not want that


it invites me

under those terms

every time

from the unknown


it tells me that this is enough…


will I


give in

to it?


Looking back across, once more,

in search of my answer

holding my gaze more steadily since

privy to the meantime vision

of all this quiet acknowledgement


perhaps it is

me who

for the smile

at least

and its distant chance

stands, really,

most Unknown?


Sadness, then

would be

the mistake

of seeing-through.


Ever since I was of age enough to desire truly

I have not been able to bring myself through words and time

To the meeting place where the daydream of seduction sparks

Without rerouting unforewarned to a safer address

Or screaming soonest what a timely speech later reveal


The years have been many and the occasions almost countless

The approach to trying to approach always breaks the same

The intensity of the desire burns from hope to shame

A belief in the new, the will to the unknown, take root

Then yanked by the des-pair that cannot self and love together


I have asked myself why, rethought the cold story of cause

Also told myself off, let myself off, sworn on, sworn off

The role I play in the stale theatre of my head holds

The wreckage just ahead awaits with a sinister smile

Rehearsed to death: the chasm in my expedition with desire.


If the meaning of desire is a want that needs whole

Putting the end of the self at the start of something else

Where the meeting point would time a rebirth in a full person

The self half of something before, and after if unmet,

How does a thing grow twice its size if not enough already?


Maybe it is time to reflect on a new truth of feeling

The thirst of wanting, the task of willing, build on a castle

It is ruined, empty, out of time but still stands in spite

Repeating like an unfinished death, an unbanished ghost

Suspended in desire for life-or-death absolution.


Now that I am of age enough to expect myself truly

I have not been able to encounter through words and time

The solemn place where the nightmare of desire returns

Without looking at myself wanting more than what I see

Or trying to call the desired more than ruined “me”.


The meeting, to work, therefore, must be two halves kept so

No transcendental transactions of flesh, mind or spirit

No hot exorcisms or holy revivifications

But a mutual seduction set on shared revelations:

That halves cannot fulfil desire and Love is acceptance.


I make statues of what I love

Which are stood free of my corruption

On the mantles of other worlds,

Beacons to the art of the ever there.


They are cast in the ore of wintered rock

Beaten to form in the weathers

That outlast the will of the skin

To dress time’s dancers tomorrow.


They are set against brief Intention

Beyond the sea change of most answers

Unpressed by the moist fog of touch,

On the plinth of a lawless dream.


These statues which come of my love

Resist the elements and all the arts

That have to be shared, or tested;

The mute flames of my failed contact.

I hadn’t yet seen your face, but it was You…

October saw you shadow-side first;

That is how it was known to be you

Because there You were, full, full

And still properly to sun, at all.


From this shade of the winter solstice

approach, Had glimpses of your greater

summer, Beaming from the sides of an

equatorial curtain teasing forth.


So, it had to come as no surprise when

The grasses of June stood plated green

Which stirred by the gold fields of July

Were laid bare in the sands of August:


Stayed in wait of your sunniest embrace

Seen it clear in its half-year absence

Because it was You there, full and full

Now turn around and light it all up.

Your tiny being

Your tiny being


through the closing of my hand

over the prints of my feet

in the flexion of my joints

below the weather of my experience

on the mantle of my shoulders

around the going of my lips

above the clouds of my head

amid the daydream of my thoughts

down the straws of my throat

within the ventricles of my heart

along the detours of my spine

across the difference of my need

under the ring of my arms

inside the frame of my standing

against the cushion of my shape

before the sea of my horizon


Your tiny being fits despite:

the echoes of my doubt

the age of my love

the heat of my impatience

the shadow of my loss

the limp of my distance

and           the creases of my time


Your tiny being


is the Greatest presence I have ever known