Skip to content

Posts from the ‘travel’ Category

Pompeii

Sun warming fresh ground after rain
Scent of cypress, earth and ancient stone
Above the old city the volcano steams divertedly
While tourists wielding selfie sticks
Search for a piece of the past to place in the present
I am in my head, not feeling
Only the grooves of cartwheels on huge cobbles
The oddly familiar frescoes
Mosaic floors
Tiled counters and gardens made for beauty and refreshment
Theatres inviting grand gestures
The smell of Autumn fires
And the wind in the tall trees
Tell me that I am human like so many before me
Trying to lead a good life
Making mistakes
Enjoying the simple pleasures of light and cool water
Bathing in public
Food, friends, noise, geometry,
Silence
Reclining away from the crowds with a lover
In red rooms with painted birds
So soon to grow old
Searching for meaning
Or its absence
In the body of another
Shadowed by green mountains
Temples honour the unseen magic of gods
Pillars piercing sky
Breeding acorns, marble, ivy
And always the faint taste of the sea

Wandsworth

On the eve of my big trip to the States I take a walk to my beloved common to say goodbye to the ducks, and feel genuine sad joy at leaving them, knowing that if I return there are some reliable sources of happiness awaiting me.

Back home ostensibly packing, sifting through notebooks decorated with unsent letters to old non-boyfriends, inexplicable cartoons and provocative notes from dharma talks, I find a poem I must have written by the pond in Winter.

I just keep breaking through
more walls
falling through floors
a hard no becomes
soft gel mush
weeping waterfall
proximity of dogs is bewildering
missing you
in the perfection of a duck’s beak
the cold clear evening
never to be shared
and still believing
in love like a wise warrior fool
clinging to the skimpy
edge of a crescent moon
reclining into dusk

Wandsworth Common

Longing in Berlin

Longing in Berlin
In some strange way, belonging
to my longing
In Berlin
Ich verliere mich
auf den Strassen, am Ufer,
durch Baustelle
Hey miss, one kiss! Kennst du
was ist bisou?
Yes I know, und ich warte
auf den Kuss eines anderen
Bis dann I am
Running in Berlin
Half an hour, cross the Treptower
Into the Plantenwald
Peace, says the guru,
Cannot be found but through love
Und bei dir hatt’ich beide
Deswegen bin ich hier
Diving in Berlin
Into the deep blue green unknown
of the present moment
Dirty and profound
That’s where I make my home
just now
Thrown out of my own story
Strung out by the search for
paper glory
Suddenly am Fluss
Wide, wet, open, growing
to the sound of my overflowing
heart, I am singing in Berlin
That’s my thing after all
We are creating, he says,
This world we are living in
Breath by breath by word by step
by look by text by laugh, my love
I am dancing in Berlin
I’ve found a place
I can be myself
Broken open genuine
Living breathing laughing
Crying waking loving dying
Losing bruising
Choosing to be here
with everything that brings
The joyful sad belonging
To this endless crazy
Longing in Berlin

Gatwick

Lost at sea in a bright cavern

Preparing to be airborne

Along with fellow members of my species

We wander confused in a desert of gaudy shops

Eat tasteless food and look at screens, endlessly

It’s not so bad

When I think of you I am a queen of unknowing

When where how if – all out of reach like the clouds

I will dive through to get to you

Ground is unnecessary in the sky

And the space inside and out is filled with tender heart

Soft sad joyful brave strong lonely

Released from its chains of command

Permitted to fly

Drowning Cone/Glowing Cone

I’d like to share with you my latest work, Drowning Cone/Glowing Cone. It deals with impermanence and the fragility of existence: glowing one minute, drowning the next. Nor is this phenomenon limited to cones. The work could also be experienced as a metaphor. As part of National Cone Week I am giving away a mystery prize to anyone who can name the original location of each cone.

Findhorn

Findhorn

I still have your sand on my boots as I touch down in London
Your smell lingers in my hair like sweet cologne of a gentle lover
Age-old and asking nothing in particular
Your shore reaches out
Into the perimeters of my mind toward the mountains beyond

In the day the dark light bathes the bay as the wind ruffles the waves
And we walk entranced as if on the surface of the moon
At night we feel our feet on the stones, our hands in each other’s
As we gather beneath the cold stars and dance
To the tune of our own beautiful bones

Everything we asked for is right here and we know it
Across the island seals lounge with soft black eyes and tails
Inclined in smiling non-confirmation
There is nothing to be lost or won; ghostly boats swim
Drunk on the horizon, journeying like us into the wild unknown

This land of dreams has held me; what might come to be
If we could learn to hold ourselves? I am alone now
And my loneliness knows no company save the songs we have shared
That ring on in the universal body like a warning from afar
Be here, be love, be free: wo re ra, wo re rosha, wa ra da

Man on Train

sea

He is watching me watching the sea
Drinking Strongbow from a can
While I write erotic poetry
Across the table
And try not to judge him
For the same things I despise in myself
His phone rings
It’s a silly tone
And we get talking
He’s nice
Of course he’s nice, I judge myself
For judging him, my shiny
Blade of aggression
Always closest to hand
Well worn and bloody
Well not this time
I’m done with hacking bits off myself
And the nice man on his way to Aberdeen
Is just the beginning

Groundless

things come together and fall apart

heart full, heart empty

sad longing pierces the dawn of open space

dawn

Snow

I am up to something in Poland, it’s true. Things are going on there. I can’t say what yet exactly, but I can share this – a new song and a video, called ‘Snow.’ The song was recorded partly in London and partly in Psychosound Studios, Krakow. It’s not for release, it’s still an early version of the song, and I love it for its energy and freshness. The best time to record a song is always now, and both the piano and vocals and the drums in this version were recorded at the moment of their conception.

The video was made later, on a trip to Jaworze, a village in the Beskida mountains of Southern Poland. We were somewhat exhausted after a week in the studio and had no intention of shooting a music video – but then we were not expecting the impressive snowfall that Jaworze had in store for us. It was too good to resist! So here it is – written in London in snowy January – filmed in Poland in snowy April – enjoy!

Snow

Little signs of life come from the ground
It’s so peaceful and calm
Weatherman says it’s gonna be a cold front
We should stay home till it’s done

But it only snows in January now
Long time ago it used to snow
All year round

Little birds shiver on bare trees
They don’t sing they just hold their sad hearts
Another year begins and we are in the dark
What do we bring, where do we start?

And it only snows in January now
Long time ago it used to snow
All year round

In a little time it’s all going
With a little faith it’s all growing
In a little time it’s all growing

Little rays of light come from the clouds
We just stand outside and open our mouths
You and I are all it takes
It’s the best time to make new mistakes

Cause it only snows in January now
And snow will come and white the darkness out
White the darkness out
WHite the darkness out
White the darkness out
White the darkness out
White the darkness out

Visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau, 5 January 2013

The end of the line

Bent trees emerge like painful growths from brown earth
Where patches of snow still lie
In proof that this is
Winter

What I thought of as my self
Vanishes to a cloud
In the grey sky
A mystery

This is true emptiness
Sucked out from the inside
Hollow, faceless
Blank

The crimes that were committed here are horrors
For which I have no words
Nor understanding

The true miracle
Is that any living being survived

And yet some defied
The lice
The rats
The cold
Starvation
Diarrhoea
Sleeplessness
Overwork
Torture
Humiliation
Gas
Mass extermination

And some escaped

Who were these people
Of whom remains
A pile of shoes
Combs
A heap of hair
Baby clothes
Suitcases carefully inscribed
With addresses
To which few would ever return?

Stand still and you can feel the beating hearts
Of all who lived and died here
In the dark chamber
Breathe in the walls
Where thousands found their final moments
Without air
A fear that chokes

And the ovens

Deprived of basic human rights
Beaten, bullied
Butchered like animals
In this functional hell

Still seeds of resilience were sown
Watered with tears, sweat
Blood
Flowers of courage flourished

And some escaped

Hope was felt
Love was felt
And sometimes, excruciating joy
Like a knife between the ribs

Even with so much force
They could not break everyone –
A monument to us all to live proud,
Be kind, stand strong

And so this person I once knew as I
Dissolves again into a modern world
Of mobile phones, coloured lights and shopping centres
History has never seemed so far

And yet the mind is quiet, still
Massive
As the grave
Thoughts come and go
The body, heavy
Moves more slowly than before

Outside a fresh wind hits my face like a welcome smile

I am alive
You are alive
We are alive

Monument