CANTERBURY BELLS, A CARILLON OF THE SORROWS WITHIN ME
Canterbury bells, a carillon of the sorrows within me.
Something beautiful growing out of a garden-plot of pain.
The dark so deeply wounded, it brings forth stars.
And the river runs by the willow as time speeds up
to a standstill, nothing in sight as far as the eye can see
as it evaporates like a crystal ball with all its visions,
a wraith in the mist, a breath on a winter night
when you’re looking for your shadow cast by Venus
just to say you’ve seen it and somehow that’s significant.
No will of its own the abyss is inexorable,
and you feel so ageless and alone you can’t help
but know this is the image of divinity you were created in
like a hidden secret that wanted to be known,
a black hole peopling its inconceivability
with familiar dream figures it can relate to
its own estrangement through by looking
through your eyes like a snakepit of oracular telescopes
trying to read their own bones. Canterbury bells,
violet as a touch of sad genius, flowering.
Hard to know who’s making who up when
you’re collaborating on a dream together
with everything else that substantiates your existence.
As you, theirs. It might well be an empty lifeboat
full of moonlight drifting without a star on the horizon
anywhere, and though you can reasonably unexplain it,
your understanding, grown inclusive as the nightsky
inevitably glows like a pilot light of compassion
for every sentient thing, and don’t think the rocks
are any less animate than the starmud you’re made of,
lost on this great nightsea in a squall of awareness
that sometimes sees you scuttled on the moon
in the Sea of Tranquillity, and others, shipwrecked in the Pleiades.
Canterbury bells on nightwatch, greyed by
the tungsten lamp post as somebody sleeps
they’re looking out for like a tower of delicate mouths
with no secrets left to disclose, except for
the green clappers of their pendulous capstones
still in bud. And I could go on like the widening wake
of a simulacrum trying to circumscribe
a sense of identity encompassing all the god-particles
and the wavelengths they inspire in the imagination’s
passage through time until the waterclocks of our mindstream
don’t know what hour it is for any of us anymore except it’s dark.
But my presence has caught the attention of a star
taking a bird bath in the foliage of a well-plumed elm
standing like an imposing fountain in the ocean of itself,
its roots as deep as its crown is high as I sense
an intelligent resonance, indigenously wise and aristocratic,
an earthly excellence it’s kept alive in its heartwood
after all these lightyears of quotidian profusion
like a secret aspiration to reach out for the moon like a river
beginning to shed its leaves like waves, a long road
worth the walk, a ghost dance of smoke around
the homeless evanescence of an underground root fire,
that speaks as one for many tongues, breath by breath,
aspire beyond yourself like a shadow of the inconceivable
when you’re wandering alone at night through the heritage life
of a small town, intrigued, in passing, by how unbelievable
extraordinary, ordinary things are when you show them your solitude
like the scar of a bond with the moon that remains unbroken.