How Time Flies

Out of Time, Jay Ramsay
(201pp, 12.00, PS Avalon)

Before I get down to brass tacks, I hope I will be forgiven for indulging in a favourite poetry pastime of quoting memorable lines from poems - of which there are many examples in Out Of Time:

     ...Where the birds, like you, are all zest and eyes.

           [from  'From  the Dead']

     As the song on the coach proclaims

     "If you want to move your mind, move your body,

     Move your body..."

     And then it's verdant

                                    a green song

                                                          all the way down.'
          [from 'Round Trip']

     ...The Second Coming that is air.

            [from 'Inside the Wind']

      ...Love is what we make.

         [from 'Pearls']

In his first book, Psychic Poetry, Jay Ramsay argued 'for poetry as a heightened experience through which the '"return of, and the return to VISION" is grasped as fundamental, not only to the meaning of poetry, but also to its continuation.'

More than 30 books later, Out Of Time continues the theme of 'the real reality',  that is 'poetry not just as something written on paper, but alive in the living air all around us.'

Out Of Time, Ramsay suggests, also confronts both 'timeless', 'running out of time' and 'the End of Time' when 'to stop, pause and linger (which is also the practice of poetry) is to enter and re-enter this state that we might simply call Present Time.'

In addition, I came to Ramsay's new collection with this from Psychic Poetry - 'the notion of poetry being something directly applicable on a personal, spiritual - and as a result - political level.'

The selection of poems to serve as examples of these thoughts is, as usual, irrevocably subjective. I am sure other readers will find as many alternatives as there are poems in the book:

     "Lie back and look up at the sky", you say

      after we've finally climbed the hill

      where tears of frustration stalled you

      enfolded in my arms, aching to be strong;

       ...and spread above us, on the cool autumn grass

       with winter closening, as gold turns to twilight

       a giant V of cloud, its two branches diverging

       but joined in a thickening bole at its base

       so as they seemed to be two, they are one

       speaking and not speaking, in the silence, at ease

       strung like two bow strings, two parentheses in space,

       yet from one deep stem, despite everything/ our becoming, that only God knows

       and we can only know in as clear a place

       that is the space between us where we breathe

       and the closeness of our surrender -

       so that even as we lie side by side,

       back to back, or face to face

       even as we live or die

       we are still, as secretly, one.

                   [from 'The Sky']

And finally:


        I love you - sleep.

        I love you to the core of your being, sleep.

        Little one, sleep.

        Listen to the wind.

        The wind in the leaves, sleep.

        Let the wind breathe, sleep.

        Let these arms hold you.

        The everlasting arms. Beneath.

        And all that the air is, loves you

        and all that the wind breathes

        whispers to you...

         Beloved, child of the spirit, sleep.

         Beloved, queen of your heartbeat, sleep.

         Beloved, from your head to feet -

         Let your mind be sleep.

As the memorable proclamation has it: 'love is the morning and the evening star', a rush of feelings that Ramsay has nurtured and recorded with accomplishment from at least 1985 when Psychic Poetry was published.

Which also goes to show 'Time Flies!' without our really knowing how.

       Geoffrey Godbert 2008