Turn Left

I take the dipped fork
of near-identical width
but this left path is falling
and narrowed in breadth

It follows the slope
of the redundant stream
where the hills ran off –
once-washed – bare reached

But now drainage and driveways
have altered old flows
above ancient rights
there is no such urge

I pass standing iron –
a fence absorbed in a tree –
it needs no hard posts
in that adopted place

There’s a weighted trade
in these heavy woods –
between man’s intervention
and her constant response

A Diversion on the Road to the Dead Sea

We drove due east
past the concrete wall –
by the older stones
which marked the fall

of carved-up gods
honed by man’s cold sword –
through the broken centre
of this confusing world –

here restricted Jews
and Muslims had bled
under scythed prayers
of crusading men –

Rose water was scrubbed
to reclaim the rock –
to wash from the slabs
the foul tread of a god –

When the mosque was burnt
in a war on the dome
a madness was found –
Jerusalem Syndrome

Hopes raise and implode
back to rubble and dust –
Forty centuries of walls
have never been lost


E170119

Under Buxted House

The gouged stream ran more loudly
than on our last slogged hike –
that rush was the first signpost
on this Sunday-worn path –

I had chosen the wrong boots
for the rain-slip and clay-stick
of the surface which had changed
after the previous day’s storm

Here the invasion of knotweed
was secure in these conditions
unlike my own slid footings
over roots and low branches

The moss sides of tree trunks
were theatrically intricate –
as if that last heavy downpour
had instructed them to thicken

I was thankful for my dog –
and my walking stick – both found
ways amongst the cake mix mud
to routes left unaffected overnight

I do not have names for all that I saw
Nature does not care for me
and refuses to give up her confusion
for us walkers of man-made breeds

The Bared Craters

Here under the canopy are exploded craters
where fickle nature has fought a short war
pitting her one-sided strengths to uproot
in an onslaught against these ancient woods

She reins victoriously with the long surrender
and now directs those flaking birch to fill the gaps
and for brambles and fern to hide the fallen
with their late summer re-sized leaves

When we walk here in the scowling winter
there will be no hiding her raged brutality
as the tipped roots are again exposed
and her brutal battlefield is uncovered

Meanings

For each life to have significance
it needs to be led by awareness

Do not stand off from others
like those diffident observers

You must embrace loved moments
as you move through slowed days

of small actions and interactions
so your short time is truly valued

There is an art to such attention
which is not taught at any school

Let your magnifying glass pause –
learn from the immodest instances

Tie the loose laces of another’s shoe
into the tight knot that they prefer

Become versed in their fingered turns –
how their interactions are directed

You should not steal their thoughts
as you stumble in their taken steps

Only consider how they measure
from their own eyes looking back

And live without your own thoughts
colliding in this time with inner fictions

Then you can walk at your own pace
with – or without – others