Fall of the Rebel Angels

'We are living in times that might perhaps
be called "The Dark Ages with Irony".'
Bill Talen ('I'm the Reverend Billy', The Ecologist)

Life used to be a string of lazy Sundays,
but the heyday doesn't last long, does it?
we sit drink wine and talk to fill the void
now the subtle differences between
solitude & loneliness have vanished.
We have become as strangers to ourselves,
wearing our opinions & beliefs;
grand theories slung across the shoulders
like wings. But they can be frail, as if hung
with a peg on a line - a tissue covering -
to distract us from the task of listening.
Life is so tentative a proposition, it bears
away the little that we know, like winds
tearing off a clutch of leaves; a blossom.

A Golden Ball
after Ron Padgett

The sun my secretary wakes me -
at last, exuberance in the air!
Here are decaying facades, yes,
but also new gilding on chimneys
and she, illuminator of it all.
Now I can paint with my eyes
all I can think of is wild honey!
She stops, pauses, turns to glance
at us (a moment of doubt perhaps?)
and, then, with a juggler's ease,
leads us out through the milling,
everyone on mobile phones, why,
even our insides are modernized!
O sentinel in your tranquil posture,
how you lope like transcendental
music, whilst we, we are flat beer;
simple balls of modeling clay.
Do not turn from us in disappointment
as we skim around like water beetles,
talking as if we had potatoes in our mouths.
The most important single thing you do
today might turn out to simply be this.
How could we have missed so many things?
as if there would ever be another
golden golden ball.

Crossing the Sound

Memory is a strange and graceful town:
a comic-opera capital at times,
and other times a busy working port
as migrant terns & plovers see it -
ordered its dry docks; wild its beaches...

but on beaches, the idea of Yesterday
never happened: twice daily the tides
renew the pristine banks of sand,
pulled by the carapace full moon.
The horizon hovers like a possibility:
how to get there, we think; to see ourselves
safe against the tide, asking questions
of the pleated wilderness of sea.
The sea says a change is in order,
the marker buoys clanking bells
softly;   yet we remain rooted,
startled by our own footprints
where before there were none.
Ahead, a sliver of light rises
from the lip of darkness, making us
relinquish all we can't retain; retain
the kick we find in remembering
the island's moods & rhythms
before they vanish in a flicker of wind.

The River and the Cathedral

It's certainly a melancholy life;
no joy without an equal ounce of grief,
for what flows through us is ours only
      momentarily -
a reflection caught in an endless plane
of mirrors - like light on a frozen leat,
making it appear our journey's aim
might be the great bend in the oxbow's heart
where sunlight nibbles at the lingering ice
in the overhang - that irresistible tug of how
young rivers used to run, fast & cold
as we welcome the passing of winter,
like toads caught on a frozen pond;

and yet it also seems that, up ahead,
it might be the city that calls; the city
full of people who would rather be
                 Didn't we notice it,
the horizontal text of the river?   Sure,
we had seen a misted scene take shape,
but that was all compounded of frustration
& desire, wasn't it; our need to run ahead
in spirals, up the steps and banging at the door,
in search of sanctuary; a simple peace?

            Andy Brown 2005