from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

seven for dharma

In my 2005 collection Looking For Icarus I had a sequence of poems dedicated to that great Dharma Bum, Jack Kerouac. It was called 'Three For Dharma'. On my Mac I've found an ancient appleworks file with the early version of that poem – I'd completely forgotten it. Though I think that the later pared-down published version was stronger, it's always interesting to revisit first drafts and in this case my much younger writing self.

Seven For Dharma

On The Road
for Jack Kerouac

You died just before I met you.
Not much changes. America, Vietnam. America, Iraq.
Sadism, ‘cleansings’, Rwanda, Kosovo.

Here we are still sitting,
still praying, those of us who are alive,
like Desolation Angels at the hem of apocalypse

as the earth spins in its dance through space in this
accelerating universe of stars and black holes.
Same diet: hopes, dreams, fears.

Tending the fires. What else is there to do?

You ask why I live where I do

Seeking freedom
we still live in chains
civilisation gets in the way
fills up the cracks where it
might slip through, sweeps
it all too clean.

What liberate
are these correspondences:
ocean mind, heart speaking to heart,
to be intimate with
To travel
beyond the names of things.

A morning for

talking all night
in love with everything

a morning for being up high
tracking the flight of birds

letting it all run off you
back into the sweet dark earth.


Mapping our geologies, scrawling stories
through the fluid galactic brew where this star globe
sails onward, serene with its circling moths of debris,
its cargo of volts, spilling light into gloom
as unimaginable as forever

that we should be here at all
shipwrecked on the shores of our separate selves
each saving our lives each day by just a thread.

Where the moment detonates

All these go-between miles
and the sea like a question
never quite answered

Where you’re beached
with these half-shaped words
that never quite make your lips.

Back into the sweet earth

All night voices, the lapping of water
and when dawn comes striding
across your wild garden
it breaches an ancient tideline –

ancestral memories, or promises not yet come to form
calling like snow geese, come in
after their long migration
shuffling the air with their sighs.

That we should be here at all

That we dare to cross these divides -
all that stands between us -
risk shipwreck, falling, drowning
over and over to save these separate selves
from separateness.
        That we dare.

Tending the fires. What else is there to do?

Roselle Angwin

1 comment:

  1. Oh, keep tending those fire, Roselle. I love this! Full of imagery and motion and a sense of something more, just beyond...


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