Dance (1)

‘Human beings, vegetable, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.’ Einstein, Saturday Evening Post, 1929

‘…the atoms march in tune;/ Rhyme the pipe, and Time the warder…these grey crags/ Not on crags are hung,/ But beads are of a rosary/ On prayer and music strung…’ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Monadnoc, 1803-82

‘Along comes a love-sick, perfume-footed/ Music of the wild earth’ Ted Hughes, In the Likeness of a Grasshopper

‘If life begins in carbon’s dancing atoms/ Moving in quadrilles of light/ To the music of pure numbers,/ Death is the stately measure/ Of Time made plausible/ By carbon’s slow procession/ Out of the shifting structure/ Of crumbling flesh and bone.’ AM Sullivan, Atomic Architecture

‘Behold the World…. In whose large volume many rules are found/ Of this new Art, which it doth fairly show;/ For your quick eyes in wandring too and fro/ From East to West, on no one thing can glaunce,/ But if you mark it well, it seemes to daunce.’ Sir John Davies, 1569-1626, Orchestra: A Poem of Dancing, The Cosmic Dance

Children hear the music

Children maintain their stardust;

celestial molecular roots - still

smelling of earth, sea and light;

eyes shining with original love,

gradually dimming into points -

despite every effort, fresh heart,

under the world’s learned injustice,

in society’s unnecessary darkness.

Children hear the same music of the world

lambs hear, and cherry blossom; screeching

green wheat storming the field,

hysterically singing of spring -

that tunes moving water to the endless tides,

rocks the breathing waves to golden shores;

dances the flexible trees constantly,

ballet dancer arms always raised -

until exhausted, they hang limp

on yellow September evenings,

crying burned red leaves

into searing blue graves.

That buzzes dumpy bees lumbering

to mathematical honey factories -

makes druggy sunflowers smile,

nodding, black-eyed, to the beat;

electrifies this Corps de Flies performing

three dimensionally in sticky summer air,

opens dark, singing mouths of flowers -

on flexible hinges moves the butterflies.

Look at that child dancing with wind;

what star-notes whistling in his ears -

as dogs hear what we have lost -

how wild that music, pagan, free;

which is the creative hand of God

expressed in Nature, the art of life.

Every molecule must dance,

for music, writing, painting,

thus combine; are needed

to articulate the world -

the music at her heart.

Nothing can be static

expressing life - even worms,

amoebae, fungi, dance death;

the mouth of earth sings

creatures back to dust -

filletting their light, script,

as chapter in the one book.

All her dances in time are recorded,

child hand to hand with golden leaf,

vibrational shine of green palm in light,

understanding the royalty of that leaf -

nod of a forgotten flower

in time with passing cars;

dry kissing of morning lips to tea spirals,

bonding manic brown caffeine molecules.

Look how this dust around my head

still dances, hearing the same music;

each part of this galaxy shed,

dead satellite snow of me -

every cell is still dancing

with script and chemistry;

now wandering the far Universe,

for new music to set it in motion.

‘Of course/ you’re tired. Every atom in you/ has been dancing the shimmy in silver shoes/ non stop from mitosis to now./ Quit tapping your feet. They’ll dance/ inside themselves without you. Go to sleep.’ Albert Goldbarth, The Sciences Sing a Lullabye

‘Not Artists’ skill, nor Poet’s lyre,/ though genius’ self the chords inspire,/ And matchless taste impart;/ Suffice with all their powers to shew,/ Thy iridescent splendid glow,/ Bright as the tints in Iris’ bow,/ Or paint thee as thou art.’ Sarah Hoare, 1777-1856, Poems on Conchology and Botany

Difficult Highland Landscape

This difficult landscape, wild as a cat in a bag,

paralyses the divining rod of twitching pen –

might as well use a few exhausted clichés

if I can’t get at the thing; it won’t let me –

of kingly constitution, imperious - but pagan,

peasant, savage as it comes - proud, haughty,

but humble as dirt. Unfarmed, free – untrodden;

it will close over your softie clomping footsteps,

broken stems you make, the smell of green blood,

before you can say - ‘Nature Rules Here - Intrude

at Your Peril’. I’m trying to tame a tiger, pat

a leopard, domesticate it with balls of string -

her systems are stitched to first universal threads;

her earth is a total brown animal - left untouched,

untrammeled, untamed - a gorgeous savage

evolving her own dark heart, medicines, art.

Her clutch of tough flowers are Presbyterian

in pinched bloom; so parsimonious her warm

seasons - but like Edinburgh during the Festival,

her personality is flipped, becomes the opposite;

her green summer furs are decadent, luxurious -

bluebell mobs riot; profuse, dizzying, profligate.

She allows herself to be seen - a glass of wine

is all it takes; a rest, sitting still, one good day,

and she is here - whatever makes this landscape sing;

goddess/land-spirits, elemental first force - early God.

Wolf-eyed animals look from impenetrable gorse -

rare birds, undisturbed, have unnatural intelligence;

even the starry moss is filled with presence, identity -

primitive ferns have grown what we would call faces,

but is the plant’s interpretation of the environmental

and personal genes - marking her as one green frond.

But you cannot touch her, just approximate with press

of tender flower-skin, star-moss pillow - lips on black

berry-skin, tongue crushing sweet purple guts -

such is her tough blood, taste and smell of her.

When her face is painted Wallace-blue for the odd

summer day, you must smile, she is now accessible;

she is in your blood, injected by sun - dares you to dance,

hold up your arms, spread scrawny arm-wings, hollering;

the closest you’ll get to capturing her, her wild words -

nor should you dare more, like caging a Golden Eagle.

Beauty always struggles against the dark

Beauty always struggles against the dark -

the butterfly will always die by a window,

struggling until the last bright scale scatters,

killing shimmering principles of iridescence.

But men’s prints are turning black -

their feet as bruises on planet Earth;

stamping the shining marks

of colossal, terrestrial art -

blotting Nature’s continuous creativity,

original process from which they came;

inking the light of Evolution -

ripping the paper of her prints.

Aberrant children - alienated,

disconnected and destructive;

melting the Poles -

felling the forests;

spoiling the embroideries of existence,

the animals and green, rivers and seas.

This is the catastrophic return of darkness,

burning of the genetic books of the world,

written over four billennia -

stored only in living volumes.

‘Or in the month of blossoms, at mild eve,/ Wandering with desultory feet inhaled/ The wafted perfumes, and the flocks and woods/ And many-tinted streams and setting sun/ With all his gorgeous company of clouds/ Ecstatic gazed! then homeward as they strayed/ Cast the sad eye to earth, and inly mused/ Why there was misery in a world so fair.’ Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1850, Religious Musings

The Sky is Crying

Sky’s billion united eyes have cried all their blue

into swallowing loch; go on weeping, clingfilming

thoughts under fine, shining skins - each ghosted still,

falling, with the bright light of an eye, seamless gleam;

bursting into black pocks, as star-fires suck into space-

holes. A flying Excalibur salmon, silver, dream-rising,

plunges muscled rainbow in the deep and never was;

fizzled Sun lumps huffy somewhere like a gold coal

coddled slowly in molten lead cloud, now refusing

to offer light - showing me how some tear species

do not end, cannot end; even as the green child grass

they feed - water inoculation allowing flowers; earth

laying down her own body - drinking for manic cabin-

fever seed, feels every one like fingers on a drum; fish

opening collagened model-mouths to kiss each -

sky’s enormous sadness. Each tear from our eye

is counted, clear pools written, labelled with our name -

gleaming like the capture of a full moon; triangle notes

as silver drops ripple. Every tear has its story written -

each tear from a suffering child is honoured, fossilised

with love, is polished into shining stuff; metaphorical

diamonds, where sorrow becomes solid light, morphed

by alchemising angels whose only job is to mourn this;

never forgetting a single word, to the very last syllable

of a child’s story - see how they have set the children’s

tears like stars on the altar of night sky, so no-one can

be blind, ignore their untold stories any more; not one

child scavenging, hungry, sick, abused, hurt - unloved.

When did we look up to the sky and learn to cry,

creating water from our eyes in perfect imitation;

did the sky learn such compassion from an empathetic God;

or reflective sky learn such wet processes from us - for us.

Tell me how to live

Tell me how to live, when even the sound of myself

existing in the world, my beehive of genes, disturbs.

That low thud - blood, blood, blood - repetitious, pressured

beat; irritating symbol of terrible dependency, endless lesson

in careless time - unknown measurement of alarm clock

heart. My dodgy stomach plumbing - rubbed-sand scalp;

creaky knee hinge. As I work, my undisciplined feet

in bewitched slippers dance twitchily, playing footsie

with my fat chair’s ham legs - keep knocking on the floor

like a wooden door; I’m glad nobody answers - Borrower,

Earth-bogey, lingering spirit of murdered tree, because

the floor has dark golden eyes that open by candlelight.

My breath is louder than the whole of the rest of the world -

my lungs are bellows oxygenating Earth, keeping everything

rosy before evening’s severe anaemia; scheming night’s

silent black pashmina embroidered with freezing stars –

I am breathing stars from winter nostrils like two sparklers;

burning water and gas, making new light, life’s living print -

even if I hold my breath, bluish stars leak like passive cigarette

smoke, ever-rising; neuron spiders spinning imaginary pictures

in haphazard sky, fishing black pools, hooking, sewing words

into stories - all for comfort of the living, who are bewildered.

Fat Summer

Fat yellow summer spills lushly

into September’s golden arms -

fug-drunk on her overripe perfumes;

heavily overhanging walls, borders,

hedgerows - bulging encrypted poetry

in swollen seeds, pods; loose, sagging,

jowly flowers still slavering lustily for bees,

opening throat on tunnel throat to siren goo -

coloured lips singing something we cannot

quite discern, like the sound of a silver dew-

drop falling helter-skelter through a plant’s

embrace; star evanescing on a frosty night –

rising to that particular crackless china blue,

Autumn dusts from Nature’s colour store –

polishing every last fluffy, summer-buttery,

smeared lint-cloud away; her stupefied haze.

Soon her blowsy, over-perfumed,

lion-gold bulk – lazing catishly

under ripe, yolky, bulbous suns -

lounging through stretched days,

will turn exotically tiger-striped,

roaring the beauty of the season;

but thin until her ribs show -

her branch and rock, earth

skeleton; her orange hair burn

and fall as starry red remnants - 

the rowan already has blood

oozing at skewer fingertips.

For now, shrubs ignore their rusty knees -

keep on shooting green hallelujah crowns,

more and more active green verbs;

acting as if there were no seasons.

And I feel no shadow,

nothing in my bones -

just her warm, golden, soporific paws

lying furrily, so heavy upon my eyes -

bury my face in her blazing mane,

smiling like a child’s Sun; simply.

My little bit city garden

Here I nurse Earth’s abundant spirit -

humming still under tarmac, concrete;

bursting through little green dandelion

grenades bursting into yellow flames,

(I leave burning on the broken path).

Her messages survive solid walls,

towerblocks, black acres, fumes -

Spring is energy felt by the blood,

wired to the animal and plant heart,

energising this revolutionary talk -

of sunlight, warmth; colour exploded,

unleashed on volleys of fresh shoots -

the crawling of inexhaustible, leggy

green spirit - considering no corner

too humble to colonise with flowers.

And my little bit city garden listens;

my cell of earth - trellis, seat, wine-

spot, bird-bath, belly-pots, sundial -

crammed, pathetic, Nature watering

hole for one or two human animals.

I cannot believe this covenant

between myself and old Earth -

into her I bury cheap purchased

seed; it’s impossible from these

dead black specks, brown beads,

anything should come - but a flower! -

a flower is incomprehensible, ludicrous - 

so preposterously magical, no-one would

believe it, if they hadn’t seen it so happen

with their own eyes – just like any miracle. 

‘Scientists are now using Gaian ideas (not always under that name) to investigate how the earth’s maintenance system’s work, and no doubt they will reveal new factors. But the main picture is before us alrealdy. It centres on global warming. The earth is suffering from a dangerous fever while the most powerful people on it keep piling on more and more blankets of greenhouse gas – the very stuff that life has had so much trouble keeping under control for so many centuries – thus making the fever worse…Of course it is understandable that we do not see the planetary danger. Other, more immediate evils constantly demand our attention. Conditions on the terrestrial ship are bad in a thousand ways and endless things need to be done about them. But if the ship sinks, surviving those evils will not be much help. The message is not that we should value the health of the earth above human needs. It is that these are not alternatives. Without a healthy earth, humans cannot survive anyway.’ Mary Midgley, Science and Poetry, Routeledge, 2003

Why do birds go on singing

Why do the little birds go on singing

to the heart, when the world is shit -

when the sky is crying; every leaf

weeps absolutely - wetly, noisily,

as a child; and will never ever stop,

even usurping my own cheek-beds.

The cheerful bumblebee is drowning,

fat fallen windsurfer, wildly sizzling

in a puddle; his urgent struggling

burns my pisshole, hot white eyes.

This dark occurrence has hurt you, happened;

and I cannot undo this wrong, unholy chapter

in the world’s whole story - rewrite the pages,

this wicked script, right again for an innocent.

Why do birds go on singing -

when hypodermic spires prickle

the open face of heaven’s skin,

irritate and pierce; but no light

descends like ethereal blood,

even disguised as bright rain; 

no helter-skelter angels fall,

poulticed down by prayer -

like leaves fluttering from heaven,

to put eagle-wings white about me,

dry me with such pure light

as makes haloes and candles;

re-opening the page to be erased,

re-written - typesetting new text.

My blood could be the ink – willingly;

my own bone stripped to revising quill,

but there is only the frustrating nothing

that answers the cry for justice; a holy

revenge for some alteration to the poem

that was once perfect, now besmirched.

Where is the hand that originated the words -

in this world, why do little birds go on singing.

Note from the author
exploring the project

    Gene Zoo
    Gene Garden
    Earth Poems
        Mass Extinction
        Nature & Science notes
        Goddess Visions

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