FIVE UNFINISHED CANVASSES

waterscape:
on the riverbank
the cold autumn chill coming in
from over the water
splashing endlessly, wet and thunderous
over the jagged rocks.
time stops: as if waiting for moments long gone or never coming.
in the shadowed haze of overcast daylight
(with soft fine spray blowing in the icy wind
of the dull, shivering, timeless day),
the moment shocks the frozen soul with its unquestionable truth,
its unbearable silence, echoes
the infinite darkness of midday,
the infinite silence of wind
screaming through frees, leaves wet with tiny droplets
blown from the tumultuous river
turned to ice crystals by the winter gusts,
asking startling questions of frozen, weary hearts,
demanding no answers,
giving only the cold realization of utter solitude,
of unbearable loneliness,
of touching an infinite, unanswerable mystery.

study in green and grey:
the warm, wet, silent air whispers
death; the cat
running up towards me
in the dead silence
the dry grass rustling beneath its feet like hay,
purrs madly, fluffy and soft persian
all colours,
and is gone, incongruous, like the
ice-cream bell
sterile vitality
in a world of lost, sad eyes.
cries of lonely owls
faded dark green trees
against the motionless grey sky
silent and dark and dry,
a world of no energy,
so little wind that distant cries and barks
are heard in the vacuum,
so little motion that the children playing,
the dark, small birds against the hazy sky
exist only as landscapes of unreality…
/-/-/-/-/
but always there are the dark green, rough grey
sharp-contoured trees against
the wandering, unfocussable clouds:
form against the formless
frozen in time.

mid-night snow:
have you ever seen fresh snowfall sparkling under the streetlights
in the middle of a
windless night with no sounds and nothing moving except
the endless snow and
occasionally a car spinning its tires as it moves anonymously by
and the snow lands on your eyelashes
and you look up and try to catch the snowflakes on your tongue
and the snow above you seems to go
on forever
/-/-/-/-/
there is a sparrow flying from branch to branch of a bare elm
in the park beside the frozen duckpond
on a sunday afternoon and
there is an old man sitting on the park bench throwing crumbs
to the birds and the pavilion in the background is silhouetted
against the stark winter sky
and in front of it are patterns of footprints in the snow
and by the side of the road are two imprints of
fallen angels

wilderland rites:
At night the forest is not what it seems,
The wolf, in the shadows of half-sleep, evolves into a dragonfly,
the fire into a clown, the owl into a junkie, the lady into a child inrags.
The forest becomes a desert, then a city. The clown offers a balloon tothe child,
watches it rise into the crimson sky,
pulsing with ventricular booms.
The junkie becomes a priest.
Child becomes a surgeon.
Clown becomes a voodoo magician, laughs the laugh of birth and death.
Dragonfly into hypodermic, into the arm of the Patient Lover.
In the heart of the night come the mating calls.
The rapturous moans of the opium den.
On the beach of no footprints,
by the night lit by lightning,
is a scorpion with wolf’s tattered claws.
Becomes a sea-snake
rising to the song of a flute
played by a woman clothed in strips of ragged fur.
Tben the shadow of a vulture,
wearing the cloth of last rites,
and the snake?s devoured.

elegy for the sixties:
we are the flowers that bore no fruit,
cactic children, scions of extraordinary promise
never realized. on a distant embankment
we sit, wide-eyed execrable hybrids
of the years entre deux doctrines,
broken twigs still standing in infertile ground,
staring at the lush vineyards and orchards
that grew, as they were supposed to,
beyond the road that leads to the greenhouse, and the laboratory,
and the conservatory, where the best strains are kept,
and other places we will never know,
while here we wait, without anticipation, forgotten
in the rain.
/-/-/-/
Ignorance has won: our meagre forces collapsed before the war could begin,when we confirmed our suspicion that most of our people were fighting forthe other side. The leaders to whom we looked for inspiration turned outto be wrong; not evil men, merely fools, so we were not even stirred to outrage,simply reduced to despair. We have become numbed and lethargic as many ofour people have tired of the endless waiting and, in anger or indifference,gone over to the other side. Our arguments have lost their meaning and theirdefinition, and the ensuing silence has lulled us into routine, a routinewhich we share with the other side, and which further blurs the line betweenus. Now only a handful of us remain, with nothing left to say, believingin nothing. We would have disbanded and returned to the world of the otherside, but to declare our intention to do so would suggest that we are readyto make a decision, and we are not. So we wait; our last traces of prideand stubbornness prevail. At any rate, we now have nothing left to lose.Nothing, except the comfort of the routine, which amounts to nothing.
/-/-/-/
there is a girl in the garden:
she has eyes that are not of this time.
they shine in the sunlight, reflect
the deep green of the forest,
the magic of learning without fear.
she is the child in all of us.
/-/-/-/
there is a ghost that walks beside her: its image
grows stronger with the twilight.
its pace is heavier, and in place of eyes
it bears two gaping holes, wooden and vacant
sightless and unreflecting.
within them, the knowledge of what must be done
and cannot be done.
it carries a bottle
and speaks with the calcium in its bones.