Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Panic and pain

This is the second poem about ideas from David Henschel's Heres and Nows.

The metaphor of seeing ideas like races to be run suggests to me a distance between myself and the ideas, as though I could watch them from a little way away.

This is reminds me of the pool of thought in the poem Thought water. Once again, thoughts are not me, they are something separate, that one bathes in or watches.

Normally we are what we think, what we emote, what we feel. But the body and the heart are no more us than the thoughts that think in us.

Yet the poet gives thoughts, ideas, words a special value. Perhaps these are touchstone words of truth. Then there is yearning to pass this truth on to others before it is lost.

Panic and pain

Of course lifelong I had been finding
thoughts, or they found me.
But suddenly
it seemed I crossed a frontier to a land
as rich as spring with newnesses and
no more frontiers.
ideas like races to be run tore
open panic lest they should be lost
and beat like tides about the swiftening blood.

This is no land of milk and honey quiet.
Only the restless searchers come
here drawing words like water from
deep wells below their spirits’ hills:
to whom the printed page becomes
a joy too much like pain
yearning to be given
in others
birth again.

Thursday, 17 March 2011


This month and next I shall be presenting two poems about ideas from David Henschel's Heres and Nows.

This will lead me to considering silence, the absence of ideas, thoughts or mind activity, which I shall argue is an accompaniment to the state of presence itself.

Then in May we shall have the whole poem Here and Now, which deals with being joyfully in the present. Perhaps later I shall post my own poem, In memoriam David Henschel, which discusses the same thing in relation to what lives on.

That is, we shall talk about the idea of eternity in relation to presence.

We have already touched on the question of what lives on and you can see all these blog entries together on one page by clicking the tag eternity at the foot of this blog entry.

For now, I shall quote a Sufi saying:
Ideas can lead you to the door but they can't take you through.


Sometimes they come unexpected –
Ideas as clean as blessings:
Phrases, sentences, clues; keys
To doors to corridors with doors
And suddenly by passages of sight
To halls of understanding
Sunshot domes of light.

I never know why. Wherefrom
Puzzles me infinitely.
They come like birds with beaks of
Olive branches to my ark
From lands of hope and guesswork.

(If shot - an albatross of words
It may be or may seem no more
However others find it gives rewards;
If not – a flake from flying snows
That crystal came but shapeless goes.
How rare the bird which nestles, branch that grows.)

I don’t expect to reach their shore
But I can send their signal from my ark
Into the dark.

Thursday, 3 March 2011


Here's something interesting - a place where you can upload your novel or short story or poetry book for others to download to their computers or e-readers and read free.

www.iliterati.com - I understand this is supposed to be pronounced i-literati (as in iPad, iPhone, Ford Escort XR3i etc.) not as in 'illiterate.'

Anyway, I wish it well.

Maybe I'll upload something free for people to read in due course - perhaps my first very slim volume.