white cross on sea

          white cross on sea*

για ο,τι μου δόθηκε απο την καρδιά αυτο του λαού,
απο τον ήλιο τους, άσπρη
  καρδιά της θάλασσας
for what was given to me by the heart of this people,
by their sun, white heart of the sea

they
had it hard
as any land’s lot
ever was
forced to mouth
an unaccepted peace
for centuries under
another’s sword
the ottoman yoke
to fight hand-to-hand
scuffling in snow
with mussolini’s merry
men ‘blood brothers’
he said of the olive
and grape*
when any hatred had
frozen hard and spent
as emptied cartridges
dropping away down
the goat-steps of
winter mountains
the killing just a job
known to the ancients
that had to be done
signed now to the
brutalist enemy of all
under strict agreement
and empty purse*
yet the worn heart of
any one man or woman
of them will show you
a sun that can split
marble histories
apart and
their church
of wine and island
flower a flag
that shall ever
be white cross
on sea
white cross
on summer
sea

ware place, pakuranga heights
20 september 2015
*the greek flag
*the Italian invasion of Greece via Albania; w
hat Mussolini actually said was “Una faccia, una razza”, meaning ‘one face, one people’, a saying in Italy that expresses the shared origin of the mediterannean peoples
*reference to the german dictated agreement to the so-called economic ‘bail-out’

 

      dancing crazy

in the supermarket
carpark he had the
radio up to the roof
the car door open
and was dancing
hasapiko, zembekiko,
tsifteteli* beside
the car whatever
the greek rhythm was
the staggered beat
he danced to that
in the dusk cooling
off like a stone
in a westerly sydney
suburb he danced like
this was the earth of
his possession to
stamp upon to
stamp his heel
mark upon the
gazes of the shoppers
fluttered toward
him like grey
moths around a
summer evening
bulb yet their bodies
never budged
an inch from
their trundlers to
tip the everyday
garbage out
shove it
and
dance
to the
glowing
sky

20 may 2015

*various types of greek dance

        on andros

            to Keith & Rachel, let the retsina flow in honour
            of good meetings on the road

on andros
a village
of the basics
coffee burnt meat
and cross
stakes it out
on the hill
stakes it all
on the hill
turning its back
to that long fall
to the sea
that long fall
of wind of
low walls of
stone dividing
stones into
grazing fields
for stones
the wind
the white towers
the doves swing
around in flight
the sea is always
taking a piece
of the view
wherever
you stand
silently afar
in storm
paved in
moonlight
dashed in
sun scoured
under the wind
there except
when closed off
in the valleys of
night the leaves
of the olive
freezing the
air in silver
drifts
the sea
a hard pillow
of dream
we’ve
yet to lay
our heads
upon

november, 2014

 

The Road West

The road here slants west,

carving to the hill,

past the tender tumble down homes,

past the crouching thatched cottage

in its frozen secret place;

beyond the flinty corner whose face bends the wind.

It is a place of endless shadow, prickled frost.

Time has put an edge on this land – hardened it

and let it spread and spread until it beggars the eye.

Few pass this way: the lizard, wary eye circling,

the trudging trudging sheep, the woman

who looked at the sweeping blue sky and who

turned and turned until her mind shut down

and little cries caught in her throat.

Then the birds rose and called and flew west,

past the point where the road bled into the dun earth

 

Ode

Was the manuscript going to be a hoax or a codex cipher
He was appointed to the imperial distillery
Then placed to take charge of the botanical gardens and be a personal physician
Linguistic patterns of language
Contextual arrangements of notes and words
The words broken down into letter by letter character cipher
Awkward to explain except as an attempt to hide information
He couldn’t give a hoax to his country origins
Verbose cipher perpetually throughout it must be
He enjoyed being a chief of the imperial distillery
He loved to study plants throughout his walks in the gardens
He would make notes and draw sketches
Agenda fuelled by a moral desire to make good on the deal
The arrangements others had made
He felt somewhat indebted
Like a Greek shorthand creating a second level of cipher
Giving an authentic cultural voice.

Sweet Music

Trees in Ranui 012Quite florescent mist lingers after the rain

our mounts are quaking about the wind

The breeze when it blows is full of the salt of tears

They sense the incoming storm

Tenderfoot I feed them carrots pat them calm

Sweet music wills me towards you

Your stare transparent in my eyes

Me an urchin in your mirrors reflection

Dark and peaceful among the dream

The land is cracked and dried like the heart of wicked

I saddle my horse ready to ride

I shiver at the night’s air

You got me scattered in pieces

shining like stars and screaming

lighting me up like Venus

Playing your same sized violin.

when I think

when i think
in the style of an old lament

 

when i think of
the friends
the few i have
that touch a distant
part of me where
the mystery of self
a flicker amongst
flickers in a vastness
is rolled back
a little
like a walk out along
a low-tide shore
when i think of
these friends
a hand across your
shoulder to lift
the yoke a little
more than enough
those friends you
sit back against like
that place where
trunk meets branch
with your feet
dangling clear of
the rip below
when i think of
these friends, death
pushing their face
into awful accident
or breaking them
down on the
bedrock of pain
clumsily slowly
as if it’s never done
the job before
when i think of
my friends, death
with its brand new
knife at their backs
i would weep
when i think of
the friends the
few i still
have.
 

september 2012
howick domain

no other weather

     no other weather

raining
as if
there had
never been
any other kind
of weather
just this rain
settled in on
the volcanic hill
cloud right down
to the foot
as if it had rained
for a million years
before there
was grass there
ever was a hill
rain falling
out of the sky
since the sky’s
first making
falling since
that first
ever
dawn
brimming
in grey

5 august 2015
panmure

oranges and lemons

        oranges and lemons

‘oranges and lemons
say the bells of st clements,
oranges and lemons
say the bells of st clements
oranges and lemons…‘*
a low sung afternoon
i learnt that round
on that concrete driveway
now in rain a stone’s
quick throw from the sea
we held each other’s
hands as someone stood in
the middle between
our linked arms we swung
up and over them and
the bells rang in
our voices and
we never grew old
and we grew old
and we never forgot
and we forgot
and we were bright
and hard to catch as
sun in rain and were
dark in the going down
of the tide and on
the full and we
smelt the oranges
and lemons on
each other
and that
was
true.

30 august 2014
bucklands beach, picton st, nelson st, howick

*From the children’s sung rhyme, one version which is (approximating to the one I remember) as follows:

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle
to light you to bed,

And here comes a chopper
to chop off your head

 

The Attic (first poem posted)

 

My mind

attic to my house,
cluttered with antique furniture, paintings, books, boxes of pads of scribbled poetry, a grammar phone to listen to a collection of vinyls.

 

Dank and dusty

yet nothing to fear

of the memories embedded there

 

when its time

I can escape ambulance chasers,

attention seeking bible sellers

carpet baggers banging on the front door

news broadcasting tragedy dealers

 

doing their best to poison my soul

 

nonchalant

turning off,

pulling the curtains,

locking the doors

 

I unlatch the step ladder

ascending

to the garden of my temple

 

lighting a torch

to illuminate the verse

versing itself to the beat

of the sweet music

playing itself as background sound

 

meeting myself

I ignite my pen

seed it from opposite ends

joining it in the middle

 

feeling the glow

resonating from my heart

 

the attic becomes

my mandala

a sacred space

invoking

these lines