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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.

 

 

SWIFTS

Soft thunderclouds
swirl,
spill a rainbow
across sandstone cliffs.

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

 

 

PLATFORM 19

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.

 

 

ROUTE 428

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.

 

 

PORTRAIT

A woman -
       reading some photos
she steps

over
      an imaginary object
across her path.

 

 

THE BONY FACT OF TIME

"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."

Thirty-three,
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?"

 

 

THE MORNING KISS

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.

 

 

OLD MEN

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.

 

 

CORMORANT

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.

 

 

TRANSLATING

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.

 

 

A GAZE OF STARS

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

before the eyes
                        close.

In the night,
waking:
            the earth has turned!

 

 

LATE TALKING

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.


 

BEE

"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
light.

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