Monday, 11 February 2013

The Stuff of Souls

My soul, if I have a soul, is like a camel
Bearing baggage that will surely break its back,
Lodged between twin humps of past and future
Present of quicksand, futile, heroic, another Joan of Arc.
The menace of prayer, a double-edged sword
Recital of misery to give birth to misery more.
Create a life to shield from life the truth
Delirium and half-dream stranded on dreamings shore.

Sheltered ambling from noon to dusk
Wreck of a man, ripe, or onset of decay.
Eyes, lashless and bloodshot, half conviction in a glance
Stretching life’s allowance, boughs and branches, no leaves today.
Older than my years, no sap reaching my roots
Conscience sleeps fitfully, soul’s door ajar
Waiting the stress test of time
Higher office beckons, surely a bridge too far.

And the Lord might say, if He exists,
What’s your pleasure”?
I couldn’t answer, wouldn’t know
The magic of such measure.
Can moral disease be fought by human means?
Or is the concept futile and absurd
Why is man less finite than hoar frost?
Why is God a household word?

Florid faith, in flesh filled collar white,
Martyrdom in cassock, routine religion overdrawn still,
The problem of all flesh is self-inflicted
The bigger problem, problem of Gods will.
The sea of pain laps ever, ever spewing
Time never stops, looks sideways or forgives
Conclusion, no conclusion, vanity appeased for now
What does it matter to our dead for whom the past alone lives.

Where are the million others who aspire to do better?
Hell of human longing stamped on each brow,
Stripped trees, grey mossy lawn, relics of summer
Bloom and blossom, colour and scent, where are they now?
How can we find a way to see the working of each other?
Mock manliness and bravery, repose in bed the same,
Lend me your eyes and I’ll see you as might your mother
Rabbit and rook hail the keeper; they know they are the game.


  1. Unflinching self-honesty, and yet . . . if I am to write the words that truly come to me, they are: Take care that the great mind doesn't bury itself. There is still light.

  2. Of course Turquoise, there is always light. How incisive the comment, but the words were written in another sphere when the outlook was a little different. Thanks again.