Dorset Doublet
 

Easter Saturday

Never in a day has sun-death seemed so sad,
A perfection of transparencies that promist eternity.
I lived it as it became: a dolphin swimming to sea:
A lengthening of shadows over the badgers' lair - ash smoke
Filling the car, with rock, with future, with narcotics. 

Dumb and trapt within defeat I watched the girls swim
And felt the drugs destroying my body - and didnt care:
For once I was the laughter in the distance, the careless
Innocence that drove to the summit / obstructed at the last
By the certainty that achievement wouldve disappointed.

And I saw -spread over the moulded hills- that churches
Were a dream not a reality; and that attachment to the soil
Was an intellectual wish for irrecoverable purity;
And I sighed that my mind was not my body / as the graphic shadows
Sprayed a resistless spine of blackened elms along the ridge. 

 

That golden carpet to the sun is a million miles long
And Ive traveled as far as where the water changes colour:
It was okay - good of its kind - but finding myself
No nearer there than here, a wind sprang up sharply
And I listened to voices that doubted the merit of my voyage. 

Im fairly sure if it was 'in my head', Id know by now.
Am I the only one blinded by starlight / sole survivor
Of a martini raid on the abandoned earthwork where I shelter?
You flew over one casual afternoon, and I waved /
But the plane turned slowly eastward, its harness swinging lazily. 

Charmouth, Dorset, Easter 1980

To My Younger Self

I sit beside the Dorset coastline 28 years on,
seeking once more to find a path throu present difficulties –
and see myself as then I was, the age my son now is,
beginning a journey whose dark paths have formed in me discovery
of who I am, and quality of energy I carry.

Whether it was deeply buried, or others were simply impercipient
I do not know – but it took decades to learn to trust it.
It was as if there’d always been the faintest outline there
of who I must become, but not the slightest indication
of the way or means to realise it in my life.

All I had was my walking boots and a set of mirrors, provided
by the responses of other people to experimental
situations where they were unaware participants.
The only way for me to learn what becoming human meant
demanded that I prove myself as beautiful to strangers.

 

And so the golden wind of youthfulness swept on and past,
by growing force erasing beauty's comforting delusions –
the topsoil blown away, exposing my native rock formation,
I saw at last my substrate consciousness, a cataclysmic
ring of fire stripping me naked in Job-like confrontation.

Thus in the wilderness I heard the still small voice within;
the native ego, pared to a membrane, allowing some radiant otherness
to project the patterns not of personal needs and aspirations
revealing, as-it-were on a flickering wall, the symmetries
by which we’ve always figured out our ultimate belonging.

Osmington Mills, Dorset, Autumn 2008
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