Sunday, 18 November 2018

More than

Across the summer grasses' fattened heads,
the wild herbs' yellow blooms -
two pigeons at the bird-bath,
sipping in turn.

They spot me pretending
not to be watching. I can see
they don't totally mistrust, nor do they trust me.

It's a healthy state of being
for pigeons and humans - that state
of being neither one
nor the other, but between,
between two poles of feeling.

Are we the only species on two legs -
obliged to hold those poles
in balance? It could be.

It could be some humans
are birds more than mammals,
and Darwin and Linnaeus' wondrous achievements
perhaps need updating.

Anyway. So across the big-headed grasses and blooms
I sit, noting the segments of cloud
in the sky, and how they resemble
an insect's belly. Remember Foucault
and his 'Age of Similitude'.
Is my thinking that archaic?

For those of you suckling babes,
or welding gates, or taking bookings
from holidaymakers - the Age of Similitude
refers to the Renaissance, when people found
resemblances, connections between things.

Whereas Darwin-and-them thought
in categories, you know - like lists,
and generally linear systems.

It's all of it useful
to us, more or less.

Anyway, the fat-headed grasses.
The birds so full of summer
they can't stop twittering.
All that
is so much older
than the baby humanity -
Nature's most recent invention,
God's last contribution.

Suddenly a pigeon hurtles
gurglingly out of the Dogwoods
and, like a flustered arrow,
shoots by at the level of my ear,

soon followed by his partner,
equally absurd: a metre off the ground,
wings spread, chest out -

as if she were some joke
on Virgin Mary
finally beyond the blues.

I cannot help but laugh.
I laugh as if I were
in company, with fellows
of my ilk.

And I am that: yellow flowers,
seed-plump stalks; the Robin practising.

Nature talks more than I can say
in one poem
at the end
of a day.

- Silke Heiss, 16th November 2018

Thursday, 15 November 2018

An extract from what is at this stage the opening poem of Section 6, 'Shaman', of Greater Matter


Bumbling through the house
looking for
my next task

I turn
a corner
at a door, and almost

fall –
find my face just short of stuck in the paunch
of a giant –

the ogre
my Experience!

He glowers down at me.
Lucky the house
has such a high ceiling

(you can’t reach the spider webs
even with the longest
feather duster).

My heart is in my throat
and his huge, rough hand
is round my throat

squeezing tight –
what to do?
But before he squashes me completely

he says
I want your attention,
where do you have your dreams?

I point him to the bedroom
and nimble as a baboon
he ducks, moves slowly through the doors,

lumbers around all the corners
and then drops me,
sits beside me,

heavies my eyes
with his rough palm
and all

is darkness.
Days, weeks, months
the monster holds me hostage

his dreams,
and when I blink sometimes between his fingers when they shift

I see him changing –
blue and horned,
gold and maned, black and sleek

he myths the creatures
who once populated places
preceding Eden, even;

but again, again
he makes me
sleep ...


- Silke Heiss

Monday, 12 November 2018

Perfectly Present - title poem from Section 5 of Greater Matter

The tortoise of me is making slow, but steady progress. Here's the title poem from the fifth section of Greater Matter.

Perfectly Present

I spent time with fellow-widow Gwyneth
our regular weekly keeping tabs
on our days, work,
thoughts, experiences –

she too’d been mugged
by the mugginess dragging down the sky;
that it wasn’t only me who was dof  was reassuring.

Over tea and cake and talk
there was a cooling,
we discussed the blessing of thoughts that appear as beings,
intentions that catch you in motion
before you’ve thought –

our obedience to intuition
makes us a port

I came home to the sunflung polka dots of white roses dancing
in the hedge beside the garage door;

and writing this now

not in the obligatory present tense
(which many modern writers use for no better reason than to hog an effect)
but in the elegiac mood
of reverence that holds in faith
that which we can’t
grasp –

I am certain
that what is past
is perfectly present.

- Silke Heiss