When I was a kid
I didn’t think there was anything there
where air reigns,
just the space between shapes and lives.
I didn’t think space mattered.
I didn’t see that I wouldn’t see
anything at all
if not held by space,
there would be no square or round or prism,
no place for love to grow between,
no words or songs or might have been,
I didn’t know
that air was so full
when it looked so empty,
that it carried chemicals
for our breath, our plants, our fire,
that it held up planes and slowed down cars,
that it pushed without weighing
anything at all,
that it moved to give wind
and rippled to bring sound
to my ear.
I didn’t understand
that air invisibly enables
Can words burn?
Can a written voice be lost?
Once lit do they melt back into
the passion that pronounced them
ready to form new sounds
like a caterpillar preparing to fly?
Or are they still there,
a silent memory in the air
holding their shape like a
still carrying their flavour, their feeling,
their texture, their meaning?
Does the flame launch them onto the wind
to carry invisible poems
to every doorstep?
Do they hover near ears that might hear,
bobbing like corks on a
waiting to be caught?
Are they owned by their authors
or are they free,
a gift of sudden beauty for you and me
like a piece of coral
washed up on the sands,
like volcanic glass
rescued from the fire?
Water falls in intimate, clinging caresses,
shape shifting to cover each surface
so you don’t notice how heavy it is
when lying pooled and still
(though always ready to tip and slide
like mercury, like something alive)
singing the song of the oceans inside our bodies,
carrying our blood, our tears, our heat;
or out there holding
the weight of the world and its moon
in a courtship flow of dance.
from the air as rain,
from the ground as seeping, splashing springs,
from our bodies and houses and works as waste,
flowing from one to another in anonymity,
transferring allegiance and load
then starting all over again
as if virgin, as essence of pure,
as source of cleansing.
Take me to your drink,
to your magic of everywhere invisible power
(except the oceans
where we see you storm and spray
and lift liners, and smooth sand,
and know that underneath you
tickle the tongues of mussels
and feather the fins of fish).
Take me to the fullness of holding
in wet dissolving
and of letting go, and of moving on.