Revelations of the Night

mystic night, image

Beyond the wind, beyond the seas, beyond the dawn, they went,

by land and sail, by horse, by ship, the open sky their tent,

always east they journeyed on, this caravan of eight,

two by two, or four by four, towards their common fate,

through ocean storms, through desert winds,

through hunger’s grip, they passed,

and always had the same reply for those who sometimes asked,

the reasons for their travel, the meaning of their path,

to illuminate their ignorance or flee a tyrant’s wrath,

‘we’ve heard a tale of lands far-off where peace and justice reign,

it’s that we’ve searched for far and wide but fear we search in vain,

for all we’ve found is misery, leavened with despair,

and among the dispossessed are few who dare,

to see what’s right before their eyes,

or defy with angry questions the lies that swarm like flies,’

and so they passed, in times of old, hunter, farmer, engineer,

the weaver, and the poet, with songs of woe and cheer,

the doctor and the star-man, round the world they went,

learning all they ever could, how flowers made their scent,

until one day they found a place that filled their very need,

a land where people led themselves and all had time to read,

where wars were long forgotten, for they had the best defence,

walls of wisdom, moats of tears, and arms of common sense,

where making love was still an art, and art exposed their soul,

where learning, and not riches was the only worthy goal,

and so astonished were they, at all they witnessed there,

that soon they spoke of passage home for this they had to share,

but just before the dawn appeared, in gown of rosy sky,

they all awoke from deep in sleep, and began to wonder why,

the things they’d seen were nowhere round their dying fire’s light,

and wondered who would listen to revelations of the night.

 

 

 

 

 

The World The Right Way Up

 

foodsofengland 1647upsidedown

It was a day ago, a week, perhaps,

while strolling past a market stall,

there stepped out to the front of me,

a brazen looking boy,

who in a strangely whispered voice

did shyly ask my name

and with his blue eyes locked on mine

calmly blocked my way

to ask me where I journeyed,

and what I had to say,

but while searching for the answers,

in thoughts so strange to me,

I heard an old and damning voice

speak ghostly in my ear,

‘leave him and his sinning,

the dead have had their say,’

as somewhere in the distance

old priests began to wail,

for gods long gone forever

their wailing all in vain,

so on I went past whispers,

past shabby streets and shops,

past all the bourgeois hopes they sell,

wrapped up with despair,

and found myself on boulevards

like a well-off, well-to-do,

but when the pocket’s empty,

desire’s a heavy chain,

so burdened, bitter, broken,

lost in lonely gloom,

I wandered sordid saddened streets

until I saw a shadowed door,

in an alley in a quarter

where kings are still unknown,

on which in glowing letters gold,

were writ three words,

“the common right,’

that made me open wide the door

to find within a place of light

where Justice was by Peace embraced,

while Reason played guitar,

that truly seemed a world apart,

a world turned upside down,

and so I came to tell you,

a message old yet strong,

the door’s not locked, it’s open,

and we only have to dare,

to turn the world the right way up,

and bring the wrong side down.

 

 

They Cut Down The Trees

trees sad

 

They cut down the trees,

one hot summer’s day,

to save us from squirrels

or maybe the snow,

or was it to widen

those old fashioned paths,

for questions drew silence,

and they never were clear,

they marked them with red,

with their crosses of blood,

then cut down the beauty,

and destroyed all the shade,

and left us a wasteland

they thought rather grand.

That Sweet Serenade

peaceful scene

Where is the silence, that sweet serenade,

to bring me some peace, with a soft calming air,

to heal me, to soothe me; a sun-dappled glade,

where gentleness sits in an old rocking chair,

for long is the journey, the path hard to find,

shaded by shadows, illusions of light,

this stumbling forward, this walk of the blind,

endlessly seeking a way towards sight,

in lands full of troubles that fall like the rain,

and flow by black streams to plutonium seas,

while we struggle, alone, with Time’s heavy chain,

each of us damned by the loss of the keys,

but I’m tired of asking, the asking a plea,

for silence, for peace, some rest for my head,

so to hell with it all, I’m up for some tea,

or whisky, or stronger, to ward off the dead.

 

Jupiter Rising

 

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To see Jupiter rising in a May evening sky,

an arcing bright light among shivering leaves

and early white blossoms of an old cherry tree,

caused me to think of my brief passage through time

as the rise and the fall of a lone shooting star,

a wanderer, from nowhere, whose gone in a flash,

while the planet, unchanged, moves still on its path,

and the leaves, from bright green, turn to autumnal gold,

then fall, and decay, yet with spring are reborn,

while the blaze that was me is now just smoke and dark dust.

 

The Exile

 

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Der_Wanderer_über_dem_Nebelmeer

I’m now just an exile from a disappeared land,

whose path has been set by an unseen hand,

unloved, and unsung, and unknown to these

who walk through their lives on bloody bent knees,

shameful and broken, or hang from tall trees,

where love is for sale and hatred is free,

served with the news over coffee or tea,

where all are mad once for madness is all

when few mourn lost Virtue or Reason’s long fall,

and the wind in the grass, once a sweet breath,

brings darkness, brings storms, brings trouble and death,

yet Spring makes me sing and play my guitar,

for the notes are my dreams of a happiness far,

to be found on the maps of that ancient lost land,

that lies somewhere, they say, near old Samarkand.

 

 

The Living We Love, The Dead That We Mourn

 

Goya, man-war

For the living we love,

the dead that we mourn,

a question long-asked,

without answer remains;

why men kill for money,

in crimes they call wars,

arranged over dinner,

and the finest Chablis.

 

You hear what they say,

‘it’s what has to be’,

‘they’re evil you know’,

‘there’s no other way’,

chanted like prayers

on the video screens,

by those artful with lies,

it’s not what it seems,

who solemnly state,

‘it’s for justice, dear friends’

“for liberty, for freedom,

‘by god, for your life,’

so no answer comes,

so it’s little I know,

but behold, I see Justice

now rides a pale horse

and carries her banner,

bloodied,

upside turned down.