Myth and mystery: poets can be a very philosophical lot. Here are some lively and subtle interpretations of ever present questions, by poets Mark Carson, Frank Joussen, John B. Lee, Pauline Prior-Pitt and Leela Soma.
I might add that these poems were particularly murderous to find illustrations for: as Liz Lochhead recently said, you cannot illustrate poetry, it should do its own illustrating. But I enjoy looking for something related to it to lead the eye into a poem, and to make the page interesting enough for ordinary sane people who are not poets, to give it a go.
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Where did all the anti-matter go?
Dirac said it must be somewhere. So,
God must have grabbed it, in his big fist.
And he’s got it yet, grips it fit to bust.
Soon the tendons in his thumb will seize,
he’ll stretch, relax his fingers to the breeze
and there will be a god-awful cosmos-terminating atchoof
as it annihilates all the conventional stuff.
I’m positing an anti-God by super-symmetry,
reviving Albigensian dualism and thereby
expect to qualify for a Heresy and Mystification
Award from the Blessed Templeton Foundation.
How can I compete with
the cicada-encircled depths
of your first romantic summer pools
in the omnipresent
faraway and longago?
How can I possibly beat
the bat-like hauntings
of the forbidden tropical fruit
you were about to pick in
the neverever but alwaysalmost
I am nothing but
the spider of the drybuttry
waterspout of love in real time
waiting for you to touch my web
and be stung till you want me.
First published in Pulsar, Poems from Ligden Poetry Society, June 2004, edition 0/04 (38 – then still a print publication), editor: David Pike.
‘He is never born, and never dies.
He is in Eternity:…
He does not die when the body dies’
The Bhagavad-Gita (c.500 BC)
A road, an unknown path, a familiar quest
In the inroads of our being, not in rest
Still night, words unspoken, sobs, mark
Flesh, bone, cremated ashes, from dust to dust.
Reincarnating life anew, Maya releases the shadow
All that remains is a gossamer reflection of yesterday’s lives.
In darkest sorrow we desire, the impression of life
A mother, father, a child, a soul remembers
By material things are memories made
A sari, a thumbed book, an unopened satchel
A life unfulfilled in our mind’s eye.
While bright consciousness, the Light Eternal
Moves on to the ether world
Maya = unreal, illusion.
Published in Gutter Magazine 05, 2011.
I Too Can Show the Way
Where would you lead me friend?
into what future
and from what past
and by what light guide
and for what purpose go Show the Way
and to what end
and with what faith …
for if I follow
where the hills are hard
and if I cross cruel rivers
on the way
stepping stone by stone
between the foams and froths
that break the water’s voice
and if I look to see
who comes behind
by my example then
we share a path
and breathe to climb
and step against the slope
to see the valley’s hard green ease
beyond a blind horizon’s call
and if you’ d named the dangers
one by one
and sent those glories free before
to temper knowing
if I do not touch the stones the rivers touch
how then to look upon the map
see there, we went together
I too can show
First published in The Echo of Your Words Has Reached Me, Mekler and Deahl 1998
This book of poems was written in the Canadian Arctic.
They walk with you
Some skip along in front
some walk beside
some, like naughty children,
Others walk on top of you
crush you into nothing
or demand to be carried
A few slip like loose change
And one or two
lie curled together,
stitched into the lining of your heart.
First published in the author’s collection HOLDING CLOSE, Spike Press, 2005. Has since been used in several serious books about death and dying and has been read at funerals