Friday, 31 August 2012

I looked above and wondered

Observe the sky, the time of day is not
important. Whether morning, noon, or night,
direct your gaze above the tops of trees,
above those hills, and listen to the notes
of nature with your eyes. Observe the sky.

Select each shape, each line, each tiny dot
in turn, and contemplate the voice of doubt
which asks, “Is any of this real?” then seize
that question; make it look with open eyes.
                                                Observe the sky.

Of course it’s real, as real as any “What?”
or “Who?” or “When?” or “Why?” Or maybe not.
Accepting life is just illusion frees
us for a while. “It’s real” becomes a phrase
of dust. We never stop. We will not wait.
                                                Observe the sky.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Stopping Time

It seems that stopping clocks cannot stop time.
I tried it just this morning. Tick, then tock
(you know what’s coming next: another tick,
another tock; repeat until the end
of time). ‘Remove the battery’, said a thought.
‘Stop time’. The irritating din I thus
un-dinned, allowing me some silence. Tick,
then tock. Another ticking clock to stop?
‘Remove the battery’, said a thought. ‘Again?’
I thought. The irritating din I thus
un-dinned, allowing me some silence. Tick,
then tock. ‘How many clocks does one room need?’
I thought. Not three (you might imagine three
was quite sufficient; you’d be wrong), but six.

How many ticks and tocks will leak from
not just one but six clocks? Five too many; five.
I’ll spare you all the details, save to say
that some time later, all the clocks were stopped.

Returning to the task in hand (a poem),
I sat in clockless silence; tickless, tockless
tranquillity. The poem wrote itself,
as poems often do, and when that final
impression on the paper had been made,
I looked towards the mess of clocks upon
the dresser. Tick, they didn’t go, nor tock;
and though I had forgotten all about
the time, forgotten every second, let
each minute pass, unnoticed, into hours,
until a morning had been lost to writing,
I saw that time had quite forgotten all
those clocks, and moved towards its destination,
regardless of the absence of clock motion.

It seems that stopping clocks cannot stop time,
‘though writing makes it vanish altogether
(if only for a morning). You should try it.

Thursday, 2 August 2012


The Sistine Chapel is, more or less, stunning,
Helen of Troy’s face was known to set heart-rates running,
Many a Mozart ditty
Has previously been called quite pretty,
And the Taj Mahal looks rather splendid,
As does a broken Ming vase (once it’s been mended).

The majesty of a sunset can seemingly stop time,
There’s even a certain elegance in a well… placed… rhyme,
A Steinway Grand still looks cool, even if you upend it,
The phrase “And then things got ugly” has little to recommend it.

Most people would agree
That the first time you catch sight of the sea
After driving with a carful of children for several hours
Couldn’t be more beautiful if the horizon was made of flowers,
Which, in turn, were being watered by multi-coloured rainbow showers.

Beauty is all around us:
In nature, in life, and in art, Beauty is on hand to constantly astound us.
If a poetic defining of Beauty is what you’re after, for my money, nobody 
John Keats:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness.

Which does make me wonder
About the linguistic competence of people who will insist on using this 
   monstrously inaccurate blunder:

“The Beautiful Game”?

Thank you Mr Pele,
For coining this ridiculous and inaccurate epithet to describe what is little 
   more than a ninety-minute melee.

Football? Beautiful? Really?
Not even nearly.

Twenty-two dim-witted thugs, all abnormally fit,
Run around a field doing one of two things: play with a ball, or spit.
“Did you see Wayne Rooney’s perfect lob?”
“No, mate; I was too busy watching David Beckham gob.”
“Yeah, his free spits are amazing; talk about Expectorate it Like 
   Beckham…what a shot!”
As another square inch of the hallowed Wembley turf is covered in 
   mucus and snot.
Some players, like Zola, may only be little,
But look at the things which they do with their spittle.
“And Ashley Young shows us why he has a reputation as a diver.”
“Oi Ashley, your shirt’s all covered in saliva.”
“The referee’s booked him; he’s not about to quibble.
It’s one thing to spit, but to stand there and dribble… without a ball?”

I’ve never been to a pre-match talk,
But I imagine the coach stands next to a blackboard, holding some chalk,
Which he uses to write just one word: Hawk.

They probably don’t do a FIFA coaching badge in aesthetics.