Sonnet 01

A wounded Pride will not rest ere Revenge,
The cold, the savage, the bitter to taste,
Has pressed its cracked lips to a smiling face
And felt such soft skin- from the broken- cringe,
As that of petals hoping to bloom again.
Those broken lips rip holes through petal-space,
like nightmares through a young dreamer’s rib-cage,
And Pride lets slip its control of Vengeance.
So, if flowers are prey to chasm kisses,
Then Hope is a soil for fleurs to steep in
And Revenge can kiss like a strong pesticide,
But for all blackhole and nightmarish threats
There is a garden, with a dream growing
Of Love and of lip-balm and a healed Pride.

Shiver

My friend, look at me.
I feel brave enough to say,
out loud to you and to a world of strangers,
that I found more than just peace
in the seconds I used to pass in your presence.
Friendship wasn’t all I saw when I looked at you.
what I saw when I looked at you
were the five things in your eyes that excited me,
the ways that your stare made me shiver.
when I looked at you
our eyes met and my world was jolted a little
by way of consequence.
I call our time together providence,
you may call it what you like.
When I looked at you I saw
your eyes,
those eyes.
I saw so much
in those eyes,
your eyes.

The very first time my eyes ventured to find yours
I thought,
Daym…
I like the way you look,
the way you view.
I imagined your root-like irises
stretching to touch that cholesterol hula-hoop
that pens them in- the colour of wood.
-Of warm wood,
-like cedar-meets-Walnut warm wood,
with a wood-fire gaze.
Do you remember when you would thaw me with that hearth?
Your blaze refreshed me.
It felt like the glacier enclosing my spirit
dared to kiss a flame
and instead of dying,
transformed into a puddle of peace.
So puddle and flame would sit for hours,
side by side
and our hidden heart’s desires would pepper the night
like stars,
never touching
for fear that we would amount to little more
than a steam-trail rising against a burnt sky.
The embers in your eyes delighted me
and I found home in that familiar flicker of your face,
the one that invited me
to be all of me
with you.
Whenever life chilled,
I knew that I could always return
to you,
my fireplace.

Eventually I noticed that you were like the weather.
you began to look at me in a way
that made hurricanes germinate between us.
In my memory of that squall,
you were the wind
and I, the rain.
I wanted only to fall through you, but you blew me away
choosing hail instead.
Those stones could not be blown
so they tore holes instead.
She, the hail,
you, the tattered wind.
The destruction looked beautiful to me,
so I fell through a breeze instead.
A gentle breath of air that loved me for a drizzle.
In my attempt to love him for a wind, I flooded him.
He the breeze,
I, the fickle rain.
your gale found me shivering as
I felt your tempest absorb me
and thought,
if bad weather could be beautiful,
I need only return your gaze to understand why.
My raindrops yearned for a blizzard to form that beauty of a storm with
and your hurricane gaze enthralled me,
crawled beneath my skin.
So I thought,
you could be my monsoon
and I, your deluge.
I fell in love with a tornado,
not yet having learned that swirling clouds are something to run away from.
I trusted you,
my perfect storm.

I found a voyage in your regard;
a curious glint-of-a-ship
in your eye,
traversing across seas of knowledge.
Vessel-you challenged the billows,
dropped anchor in the most violent swells
and drank-
never satiated by the thirst-inducing waves.
Your boldness was fascinating.
It seemed to me that this ocean of truths
revealed to you its secrets,
transfixed- as I was-
by your maverick pupils.
With every blink,
a gust of wind puffed out your eager sails
in search of the next thing that you might find interesting.
I found you interesting.
So, my vessel challenged yours until
yours became a part of who I wanted to be.
I loved the explorer in you.
Some days you kept me from drifting, so
I put my faith
in you,
my anchor.

At your touch, I thought,
inhale me.
Breathe me in.
Make me crave you and I’ll be back
before you’ve doubled back
to ask me back.
I closed my eyes
and shivered.
It felt like an explosion;
heating our skin,
clawing its way in,
compensating for something.
Lack of love?
maybe,
but I remember the way I fit into the space
between your arm and your side
perfectly.
I remember tracing
your lips
with my teeth
and your teeth
with my tongue
and how your lips gently closed around the tip of my thumb.
It tasted like Dom Pedro.
I remember everything.
If we had been flavours,
you were the sugar and I, the spice;
because your kiss tasted sweet and mine was rough,
because you wanted me,
had acquired a taste for me,
but only so much,
because as much as I desired you,
you posed a threat to my pre-diabetic love.
Sugar, you made me shiver,
charged me with eyes like forgotten-gold dropped in a jaded river,
pulled me into your whisper and advised me not to fall for you,
but held me like I was made for you anyway.
Any day, we could’ve lost it.
You told me not to think about it as your kiss enveloped my fingertips
and then, In little more than a look said,
this is all I want from you.
I’ve never felt so cold.
I couldn’t have imagined such cruelty
from you,
my heartbreak.

So, look at me
my friend and fireplace,
my perfect storm,
my anchor,
my love and heartbreak.
Give me one last look at that fifth thing
the one I can’t bring myself to immortalise here
in this poem,
because then I lose that too.
I’ll look for something of a whisper
of those eyes I once loved.
I’ll search your tangled roots,
until my palms are lathered in scratches,
for that familiar warmth,
but find no dancing embers.
I’ll finally learn to run from swirling clouds,
though I suspect a storm of a man will still wreak havoc in my dreams.
When that happens, I’ll ignore the shivers, and think,
maybe your hurricane was just not right for me,
maybe wind and rain only ever tatter hearts
and flood friendships with pain.
Maybe the only one made to love with a storm-like beauty
is Jesus,
then all unforeseen kisses would be heavenly.
In my searching, I’ll discover that
I should have seen the suffocation coming;
Those tidal-wave eyes needed something to crash into,
to crush and tumble and drown.
tug-boat-me was just in the wrong place at the wrong time-
an accidental casualty of your curiosity.
I’ll decide never to call you anchor again,
then stop searching as it dawns on me
that there isn’t any love left for me to find.
Those eyes will be like foreign orbs.
So I’ll let the memories flood instead:
I wanted to kiss you
I’ll remember, you said.
And so, you did.
The act meant nothing more and not a thing less.
I’ll remember realising when this particular flavour of pain
tasted just like the words of John Greenleaf Whittier:
For all sad words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are these, ‘It might have been’.
I’ll remember loving you only as much as hating you,
and missing you only as much as loathing to be around you.
I’ll remember everything.

Finally, I’ll let it all go, but treasure that fifth thing,
the one I couldn’t bear to immortalise here,
because it has only ever been beautiful
and this is a story of pain.
If reading it hurts you too, know that my motive goes no further than this:
Pain needs to breathe.
My love, I breathe in poetry.

The wind is rising

“Le vent se lève! . . . il faut tenter de vivre!
L’air immense ouvre et referme mon livre,
La vague en poudre ose jaillir des rocs!
Envolez-vous, pages tout éblouies!
Rompez, vagues! Rompez d’eaux rejouies
Ce toit tranquille où picoraient des focs!”
– Paul Valéry, Le Cimetière marin

The above is an extract from an incredibly beautiful poem which, although it is extremely complicated and peppered with ambiguous imagery, resonates strongly with me. I feel that it speaks of choice; to live, or to die; to mourn, or to celebrate; to be blown by the wind, or to run with it. I love the story it tells, of a ‘climb to revelation’ and what it reveals to the narrator about himself. I found this poem when I endeavored to track down the line; “Le vent se lève! . . . il faut tenter de vivre!”  which features in the film The Wind Rises, by Hayao Miyazaki. it means the wind is rising! . . . we must try to live! This film resonates as profoundly with me as the poem does, but why? I’ve explained to most people, with whom I’ve had the conversation, that it has to do with simplicity, but now I think there might be more  to it than that. The film follows the life of an aeronautical engineer, as he pursues his passion in his career. There is not much about the story that excites awe, or fear, or the combining reverence, yet it is beautiful and inspiring to me.

Put that thought aside.

Throughout my life, I have been labelled a “day-dreamer”and justifiably so; my mind has wondered through as many worlds that exist, as worlds that do not, with a common goal for both: To make sense of my world, where sense is lacking, or to create nonsense where there is too little of it to properly get lost in. I recognised that without sense, my world would function in a way that rendered me almost entirely passive, as I would never know what to expect, or how to prepare for it, or what to do when it was upon me. I recognised too, that with only sense to govern my world, life would never hold a mystery to excite my passions. All would be expected and prepared for, so that wouldn’t do either. All my days of daydreaming served to develop a keen understanding of the importance of both sense and nonsense in the world.

Put that thought aside too.

Charlotte Brontë writes, in Jane Eyre, of a plain girl’s journey to womanhood. Throughout the novel, the reader enjoys the thrill of being directly addressed by the heroine of the story, as she recounts her journey from her own perspective. This style of narration results in so many social roles, that society feeds off, to be cast under the most scrutinising gaze of the young miss Eyre. Simultaneously, miss Eyre’s ability to be so reserved and courteous in her scrutiny, forces the reader to revisit his/her own ideas of the potential of plainness v beauty. In short, plainness wins and by the time it does, one finds oneself rooting for that very outcome.

Hold that thought.

So, a poem, a movie, a dream and a book; what does it all add up to? It’s a sort of life philosophy that explores what it means to fully live. The combination teaches of rising above the situation you find yourself in; pain is inevitable, but you have some say in what hurts you and the only say in how you choose to react to that pain. Life moves forward whether we want it to, or not so, will you be blown by the wind, or run with it? I’m choosing to run with it, but that requires a measure of belief in the nonsensical because I can’t see where I’m going and I have no idea what to expect when I get there- but I can prepare myself for it.

And now to put it all together…

What better kind of preparation for a life that runs with the wind than to wholeheartedly trust and commit all desires and fears to Jesus? That’s the sense in my world, where I’ve learned that even the most sturdy of friendships can change over night. Placing your hope in anything that relies on human beings- in all our imperfection- is a mistake and that’s what I see in every one of the fore-mentioned art forms (yes, day-dreaming is an art). I think what moves me in Valéry’s poem, is the recognition from the narrator that he is flawed. In Miyazaki’s film, I find a breath-holding thrill in watching a life pass, knowing that how it passes (only) is in the main character’s power, but he has no power over the fact that it does pass. In the case of Jane Eyre, It’s her ability to remain faithful to God that fascinates me. Too often, when happiness has offered to enter my life, at some small cost to my integrity or self-respect, I have thought myself blessed and gratefully welcomed it, but Jane does not. Instead, she runs from what she recognises as temptation in the guise of blessing (ie, a wolf in sheep’s clothing) and for her faith, she is rewarded with true blessings, ones that don’t hold a bitter after-taste. The beauty of Jane’s faith puts all other offered concepts of beauty to shame, because hers is the only kind of beauty (in the novel) that matters. I want to be like Jane.

I think it’s time that we recognise our potential to do great things. Imagine living a life where you know that where you are right now is exactly where you should be, that you couldn’t be worth more doing anything anywhere else, than doing what you’re doing now and here. That’s the kind of life that God calls us to- He calls us to run with the wind, so get up and go.

What are you waiting for?