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Clearer now

Clearer now,
and nearer as I write
to knowing what it means...

As I write,
my loving heart
betrays my cold emotion.
I can no more put you aside
than cast away my latter eye.
Yours are the eyes through which I see,
your soul is the very depth of me,
the seat of my devotion.

There are those we love because we need,
like those whose need becomes our own.
We passed a season thus and thus,
chose with care the ways we trod
and smelled the flower's scent, breeze-blown.

Then springtime passed, and with it brought
a newer kiss, of comfort this,
spring's urgence gone, summer's warmth drawing on,
till we woke one day and found we loved
because we loved, the need for need now gone.

Letters counted out in drops of desperation
can't be counted on to solve a situation.

Thinking back to former days
and the struggle to prove the worth
of one's own existence -
even then
I promised myself
that whatever would make you happy
that much would I give you.
I did not realise then
the gift was beyond man's price
or ability to pay.
I could not buy you things,
so I gave love instead -
a poor substitute.

Later - still lacking money -
I gave myself.
It was the last gift I had.
Then, a spoilt child once-chided in life's birthday party,
I asked for my gift back,
not knowing it was without value
without that you used it.
It was new when I first gave it you.
But please accept it back,
tarnished a trifle though it seems to me.

Perhaps if you polish it,
it may yet shine again.

 

Ere Your Song

Do I love you?
Or do I love nothing more
than the comfort that you bore
me that day
when you came along.
Was it that smile
trapped me awhile,
held me up,
built me up
into more than what I was
ere your song?

 

f r a g m e n t

i got your letter today -
should I tell you that i cried
when I came to the bit
where you said
you loved me?

that the words
swept away
this cobweb world of shadows
where I dwelled for so long,
a world
where my face
was beginning to fade
when i looked in the mirror,
where i could hear talk
but no people around me;
where I would walk
but my feet slip
through the ground.

golden autumn
would fall from the trees
but all those leaves
just melted through
my outstretched hands.

and yes,
i had sensed slip those sands

 

It's no use (sonnet)

It's no use; no matter how I try
to use that difference between us two
to force a break, to make a clean goodbye,
again I come back to the thought of you
and turn, and know in turning reasons why
I turn, the reasons why I cannot go.

The golden thread that links us both in love
serves double duty, keeping us apart;
the very fact of so much love has proved
a bridge between and wall around our hearts.
We run, how hard we run, yet only move
to find each other back there at the start.

It's thoughts like these run while at night we lie.
And then you stir beside me, and they fly.

 

l o v i n g    y o u

loving you
is my reference point
for all other love,
the centre
around which i turn,
the lighthouse
through whom i shine
for others

 

Man to Woman

We lay side by side, many a time did we not?
Touching, yet as much in mind as in body locked.
We spoke past a thousand neon-flicker glows
from the Dunlop sign overlording the roof-top rows.
And yes, we kissed a time, and a gentle time again
as I tried my best to 'suade you 'gainst that attitude to men.
And something was born

I remember those nights well, sometimes the days,
that the world was just two, an intricate maze
of growing relationship still finding its feet;
stumbling, and fumbling, yet always replete
in the foreknowledge that it was only a matter
of accepting an ending from a limitless platter.
The first signs of life.

Those days in a maelstrom were a gaunt testing ground,
the foundation for all that had yet to be found.
We know from the first night of meeting (that night!)
it was to be so. (Well, I admit that perhaps I might
have thought twice if I'd known what then lay ahead),
though looking back now, I'd sooner be dead
than have missed all the fun.

And it's now as I leave that I find hard the words.
Has it all come to this: just memories heard
in the back of a room, like an echo from time -
a lesson in velvet, if you know what to find.
But I refuse to define, rationalise every kiss,
or paint out a portrait delineating this.
Let the child live.

 

Promise

I promised myself
that whatever would make you happy
that much would I give you.
I did not realise then
the gift was beyond man's price
or ability to pay.
I could not buy you things,
so I gave love instead --
a poor substitute, I thought.
Later, still lacking money,
I gave myself.
It was the last gift I had.
Then,
a spoilt child once-chided
in life's birthday party,
I asked for my gift back,
not knowing it was without value
without that you used it.
It was new when I first gave it to you,
but please accept it back,
tarnished a trifle
though it seems tome.
Perhaps if you polish it
it may yet shine again.

 

Metamorphosis

I suppose there must be words
to describe that meeting,
but I for one do not know them.

Certainly

there are the words of all the experiences
occasioned by man
gathered and carefully nurtured
down through the countless years
he had to make those feelings last,
but how can the same sum total
of even all these
approach what really happened
that day?

Instead let me talk
of all the things that happened in the world
while for a brief moment in time
ours stood still.

I will talk
of the slow mellowing of a summer
not yet seen
and the golden promise
hidden within its lips,
better for the long wait
had in coming.
A warm coming it was
and doubly welcome,
the earth tempered
by the deep bite
of the rain,
and the longing even deeper
of which a rain
could scarce touch the meaning,
except to show beginnings of a satisfaction.

And I will tell you of the sight that day
when Spring unloosed her bonds,
the thongs of a winter long spent.
And the sweetness revealed
made man kneel
in wonder at the song she could sing.
If a cloud passed that day
it was not a cloud such as men know
in their moments of reason -
more a moment of softness
filtering into full flame:
a wave of colour,
whirl-colour corona
that flashed to the core of the world
in a stab of such sweetness
that reason had no reference
nor wakening.

And a song I will sing
of the surge of a wave,
and the depth of its pull
and the strength of its need,
for the hold of that wave
on such day as I knew
never called such a depth,
nor described such a view.
But it warmed and it lulled,
and its energy freed
all the bonds of an age
bound in linkage indeed -
though links, too, it forged
as the sheer salty taste
gave a new kind of bond,
born in fathoms embraced.
And on down through the depths,
filled with sheer, surging swell,
plunged the current of life,
learning lesson too well,
to a bottom so broad
that all knowledge could scarce
take realisation
there's yet end to the race.

And I'll tell you, my love,
of the bird which fled free
from those waves -
in spirals he rose
like a song to the skies,
sheer-song-silkened wings
of fabulous prize -
and he rose.
The sun drew him upwards
in circling song,
as if all earthy cares
and the worries of years
had been holding him back
for too long, far too long.
Ever up he still climbed
as he sought the white heat
of the glaring, bright sun
in his seat of the skies.
Great daggers of flame
flung from far out in time,
in ecstasy's grasp
caught at the divine
bird-like form
and it burst -
no form can bear so long sweet pain
and stay the same.

Down he tumbled many miles,
in long-swinging sweeps
and far-falling spirals
to the sea whence he came.
And his face hung with joy,
head flung back at the sky,
rolled,
and surged,
and sighing sank
with the lull and the suck of the sea on the shore,
and was still.

They say the world turned on its way
just the same that day
as it always did.
That all these things were no more than that:
just its usual wont to sing
or reason to chat,
and the sum of all this day's happenings
are life, in its way;
no more nor no less than that.
But I for one don't believe what they say.
For among these events
we met that day.

................................

(c) Copyright John McNeil, all rights reserved. Apart from the purposes of fair review, this work may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form, physical or electronic, without the express permission in writing of the author. He may be contacted at jandhmcneil<a>paradise.net.nz