POETRY

Michael began to write poetry in 1993 after returning from his first visit to China. Like the making of small scale sculptures, modelled by hand in wax or clay, or the act of drawing on paper with charcoal, poetry is an intimate form; the distillation of an idea. Michael’s poems weave colours, images and sounds, drawn from and exploring his purpose as an artist.

 

Heart’s Flight

 

Hold the lamp above the map so creased and faded

for alligators’ eyes are watching every gesture

their ears hear every sound

be wary, yes, that’s prudent

but do not be afraid

listen to the thunder of the waterfalls

and the cry of the monkeys leaping.

 

The captain holds the windlass hard

firm on the silver sea

Its surface smooth as glass

is shattered by the beating rain

the swell of the tall waves rising

lightening strikes across the sky

tearing through the rigging.

He turns his eyes to the ghostly moon

and sees the wild clouds rolling.

The dark ship rose and rode the storm

like a gull upon the ocean.

 

Jumbled images of exasperation,

fall into the chalice of reconciliation

and retribution,

if water should envelope

and the lungs take their last breath

cling to raft and timbers – do not cry out again.

 

The rocks of the sea,

like the rocks of the mind, jut out

collide and clash together like the Symplegades

of mythology

the Argonauts furious oars cut deep into the current.

What message of hope does the white dove bring

its feathers all damaged and bloody?

 

The rocks of the land

tear open the flesh of the earth

exposing its innards like the entrails of the martyr

pulled by cart to Tyburn Tree

then hung drawn and quartered

or like the Aztec priest, his obsidian sacrifice complete

holding high a living heart

for crowds at the Templo Major

the ‘Flowery Wars’ are over

a hungry sun appeased

 

 

The heart’s flight traced along the mainstays of the stars

ignites the silent lake below, inspiring and forbidding

its white – hot glare impossible to watch,

the heat unbearable

Yet, that molten lake

with its leaping tongues of Pentecostal fire

conceals the heart of ecstasy at its core,

which will rise, one day,

like a phoenix from the ashes.

 

hearts

 

 


 

Siren Song

 

and the owl cries

sweeping along the hedgerow

wings disturbing the warm air

caressing the softness

of the June night

holding secrets in his doleful eyes

illicit words of love

 

mask deeper meanings

flowing in torrents

over stones rubbed smooth

in the abyss of forgotten memories

 

and you with your silken skin

tongue coiled like a snake

in the chamber

of your cherub’s mouth

let sweet obscenities fall

decaying like apples on the orchard’s bed

 

what will you tell me

Queen of the Night

what liquid testimonies

born of the bee’s song

prostrate on the altar of your sacrifice

thunderbolts shatter the stillness of our souls

 

show me the coup de gras

the siren song of your fathomless intensity

where is the viper’s kiss

my heart is hanging from the eucalyptus tree

flayed like Marsyas in the forest

 siren