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The Lightkeeper

There was a moment when the bony man
came across the southern sea to scale again,
to light again, his abandoned beacon
gone dark with time's digital career - there
south of the southernmost place, where
for a solitary eight years of his luminous life,
he had primed the flame that threw the fire into the deep.

And there was a moment at a silent point
upon which the flinty keeper stopped, and slumping
on the stairs of his disused lighthouse he wept: "It's all gone!"
Outside the waves rushed against the rocks,
a gale furious in the iron railings;
the moon, with no sail, scudded by.

Apologising for his tears, the old man sat capsized
on the winding stairs; though, in his involute descent
I sensed a crossing - a place where light loves the darkness.




Soft thunderclouds
spill a rainbow
across sandstone cliffs.

Swifts weave circles
in the trackless sky:
evening before time.




Tilted back against the seat
she draws a lengthy drag
beside her pram, and, with narrowed eyes,
scrutinises commuters.

She raises her foot and
crosses her legs:
her thong drops - thwap!

In the pram, under a hood of piled disposies,
her child springs up, wide-eyed.




City street's adrizzle.
Silently we ride a leaky bus.

When an old lady
in the third row
puts up her umbrella,

conversations break out,
warmth flows on the 428.




A woman -
       reading some photos
she steps

      an imaginary object
across her path.




"What time is it?"
he asked over again,
shifting his pain in the wheelchair.

I searched for an answer,
sensing clock time isn't time at all -
his bony feet of now in my hands.

"I don't know."
(Time in the morning, I breathe,
and stretch, and enjoy the grass).

"It's a very spiritual thing,"
he said then,
"to massage someone's feet."

he looked seventy.
Little to massage.

(Tai-chi firmness of feet,
ground supportive,
a time of birdsong.)

"Scary" he said, "this not knowing -
what's going to happen, I mean."
He didn't say what,

but we wondered together.
"What time is it?" he asked over.
"I don't know." The curtains, a breeze.

Hands' firm contact;
I massaged pink soles,
the sun splashed the white ward wall.

Time to forget time.
Facing our flesh,
I said, "How about I do your shoulders?"




An unkempt man
shuffles on a path,
sees two people coming -
a he and she.

Averting his eyes, he skirts them.
The he, the she, impeccably dressed:
he bends and pecks her -
goodbye. She turns.

And as she strikes her precise way
to work, he wipes his lips.




On an incline,
stopping, stooping,
they greet -  they hail -  admire
each other's canes.

They exchange, weigh and balance, and hand
them back with a short word.

Passing on.




The cormorant dives,
the only sign is the spread of rings.

Ripples fade -  all is equal
across green waters.

Cormorant emerges:
a glint of sunlight in its beak.




Simple, she said.
Uncomplicated, we found.
Accessible, she meant.
        Ah! Open, I suggested.

        Not in Spanish!, she laughed.
        Nor in English, easy, I laughed.

But, open like the sky
is accessible.
Yes. Yes, she said,

for: a heart in a mind.




Settling down for the night
in a cave on the seashore,
a long still gaze of stars,

before the eyes

In the night,
            the earth has turned!




The night turns us in herself -
            our sharings, and gentle proddings,
borne on night air:

All these years, not a drop -
            tonight, drunk with dew:
under a hazy moon.



"Nothing exists, yet fascinating
The ants scurry in the moonlight."
                            -   Shinkichi Takahashi

flower's light gives to the sun;
                a bee intensely stumbles
  about these anthers,
                her legs spanning curved oceans.

we glean our meanings
from prior seemings     to mean:
old English, maenan, intend;
                             to lean toward the

and bee, collecting. bee, a lifespan enjoying no measure,
gathering sun's rays from the galaxy of an anther,
    stuffs them in sacs.

she slips;
            into the flower's well
pollen grains fall.


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Christopher McLean    The Dreaming Dog -  a Renga     Haiku