See the centre, feel the heartbeat Chance encounter on the street Quiet moment, stop and eat Here a station on a bridge Here a roofer on a ridge. Jewelry shops, quiet streets Little cafes, people meet. A cyclist has a little dog In a basket – just fantastic. Bearded men, well-dressed ladies, Electric cars and tenements. Leafy streets and Asian grocers Seedy dentists, Boris bikes. Students walking through to lectures Old facades and building sites Just one policeman standing watch A vaulted station roof, A hotchpotch: Different buildings, places, people. This is London, Dr Johnson’s London.
He remembered autumn in the garden. Autumn’s smell of woodsmoke. The small boy feels valued, of worth, in helping his father: A much flawed man, but his father nonetheless. His father did much in those brief days, Showed the boy how to be. And now whenever he smells woodsmoke Or thinks of brown-leaved autumn He remembers those times, And sometimes cries in secret.
For I also am flawed. And each time, my Father above, Who is not flawed but perfect, without fault, Pours pure gold into my own flaws And polishes me up.
What is it in the heart of the fire That calls us to stand and watch? Why do the flames draw us nigh To stare in the dark at the flickering light? In the red of the glowing embers, Something inside us is moved Fire! From primeval past, some remembrance Of flame and warmth, life and truth. What truth is there, in the heart of the fire?
At lands end, the booming sea and strand The cliff edge and the crumbled coast. What yearning draws us there? Why do we listen as we stand Gazing out at ocean’s edge? Why does the sea-sound sooth The troubled heart? What beauty is there, in the sound of the sea?
At the start of time we came Out of the forest into the light, Onto the sun-baked plain. Out from the safety and the gloom To where we could be seen Where one mistake was doom. And today the woodland scene Remains a place of shelter. What shelter is there, in the shade of the trees?
Who should not be charmed By the face of the smallest child? A baby grins in innocence, free of art or guile, and the world smiles. When babies laugh, the angels dance. No-one looks askance When a little baby gurgles. Who would ever tire of such? What joy is there, in the face of a baby?
The deepest peace is found In silence. Order is rounded And rightness renewed, in quiet. As dreams order our troubled thoughts So silence prepares us for the onslaught, For the next task, for the din of daily life. At the centre, at the hub, nothing moves, and all is still and quiet. What voice will we hear, in the time of quiet?
The road over this blasted heath Across this windswept hill at the edge of the east, Has been a place of peace A kind of pilgrimage for me.
Once in crisp autumnal airs, Once in bitter cold, Car tracks through A dust of freshly settled snow White across the tarmac.
Today: a rain-filled murky dusk. Water sluicing over the road Wind buffeting the roof of the car The wiper’s wup-wup only adds To the deepest sense of peace.
Here one talks with the Most High Like he was sat in the passenger seat Listening to what I say, Nodding sagely, making mental note, To fix this situation, bless that person. I am, He says, the God who hears.
Red tail lights
Vanish into the night
In the mist and the rain,
They vanish from sight.
Friends move on
To life elsewhere.
Bringing much to our lives
While they were here.
They are gone:
There’s no need to fear.
We’ll bring light to others
We’ll take up the cloak
Do what we can,
Live always in hope.
Spring appears just like that
Almost like the turning of a card
Maybe there are such cards
Four suits – Winter, Spring, Summer and
Perhaps the gods themselves have such a pack.
Maybe they play for keeps
At certain times of year,
And perhaps the seasons turn
On whoever wins the game.
What would be your favourite card?
Perhaps the Jack of Spring, all mischief:
Loki, or the great god Pan.
There’d be a terrible Queen of Winter
Black Maria, or maybe
Just Tilda Swinton in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”.
The Nine of Autumn,
Brown leaves and woodsmoke.
New England Fall would be the King of that suit.
Or the Two of Spring – the first snowdrops, daffodils.
The Queen of Spring,
Surely Bluebell woods.
The Ace of Summer,
The best is yet to come.
And maybe a Joker too…
Especially for the English. Musn’t grumble:
Snow on Buxton cricket ground in June, or
February sunshine, unlooked for.
The sun balances
On the edge of the hillside
And is gone
In an instant
All colour drains from the landscape.
Rich and vibrant,
Of only moments before
Turns to dust in our fingers
Glorious gold, orange and brown
Fade to Autumn gloom
And all becomes grey
Only the sky benefits when the sun goes down
All the colour that slipped through our fingers
Will soon reappear
In pink-edged clouds
And the day is done.