Defiant Light

The Japanese art of Kintsugi. Photo: Wikipedia

Grey armour shot through
with shades of blue
punctured by defiant light
turning the old world upside down,
it confronts the eyes
with a blinding night
Defiant light,
can’t you see
the strangers
on the balcony?

I know you,
I know you.
We are bound
by the God Between us.
The strangers on the balcony
sing their songs and free us:
they’d wilfully,
so happily,
shed their wings
to be us!
Defiant light,
quiet might,
are the strangers are glad to see us?

I know you,
I know you,
Rebel Blue,
is it true?
Can this light,
quiet might,
can it live
in me too?
O, relief!
Sweet relief!
Help me in my unbelief!
Defiant light
I can see
the angels on the balcony.



Hebrews 1979
A Letter to Hebrews (Colin McCahon, 1979)

Let us not mock God with metaphor1,

analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;

making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the

faded credulity of earlier ages:

let us walk through the door.

-from Seven Stanzas at Easter (John Updike, 1960)

1 Yes, and…

Let us not fashion our stories,

our buildings, our books

into blunt instruments.

Let us not value a lower form of Knowing

over a Higher Learning.

Let us not re-crucify the Wild God

and venerate his toothless corpse.

Let us leave our words

with The Word,

and search for soft-spoken Spirit,

its Word unbroken,

and its own words unheard.

True to form, I can’t stop riffing on TS Eliot (even when I’m writing about Updike)

Praise Bee!

Beekeeper (Ivan Kramskoy, 1872)

A Monarch in the wind,

torn and tossed

by the waves of the second sea.


Oh, thank God for the humble honey bee!

It defiantly flies,

stubbornly survives,

and makes its home among the crumbling hives!

Is this the last principled prophet?

Praise Be for the pollen-bearing pilgrim!

Its golden, gaudy coat of kings

is borne by the beat of impossible wings.



Untitled (Zdzislaw Beksinski, 2000). It reminds me of ‘The Valley of the Dry Bones’.

Caught in mid-air,



above the old, Unformed Divide:

You reach out, with punctured hands,

and to draw me into your open side,

You reach out,

and your weeping hands

grasp, snatch,

ensnare my hip:

we dance as One

on the Unformed edge

and I cannot escape your grip.


I want to know You.

I want You to talk.

I want You to teach me how to walk,

and I won’t let go ‘til You bless me.

I won’t relent

or tire,

I’ll patch my every open wound

with ink,

and pulp,

and wire.

I won’t let go ‘til You bless me-


We fall

from the arcane, Unformed edge,

past every




as angels, mid-flight, observe our fight

and continue trudging through the air.


The sword protrudes from your open mouth,

cuts down my Self, my heart, my pride.

Calling me


into Your side

You ask,

“Don’t these bones speak?

Don’t these bones sing?”

I can’t hear anything.

I can’t hear anything.

I just want to know You.

I just want You to talk.

I want You to teach me how to walk,

and I will not let go

until You bless me.





Reaching for Memory


From Strange Tales #138 (art by Steve Ditko, copyright Marvel)

I reach for Memory,
the volumes on the shelf,
to scrounge a meal
for my Self

I feel

Sensation   without stimulation

Force          without form

Smell          without source

Noise          without vibration


Where are these colours coming from?

Is there a story


in the changing shade?

Are there connections waiting,


wanting to be made?


Where are these colours coming from?

Powers? Principalities?

suggested realities?

Powers, Principalities,

and suggested realities,

sit ‘round The Fire

telling stories,

creating Selves,

devouring Memories

from the old bookshelves.

Where are these colours coming from?


Raumati Beach, New Zealand (28/10/2018)

I collected shells as memories

of the silent, shrinking shore

and I crushed their lesser brothers

into the sinking floor.

Am I killing time that I could redeem?

I’m wary of the Law

that divides the world

into bodies of blue…


These bones begin to thaw.


I collected shells as memories

of the Selves that I used to be:

the first was deaf,

the second was mute,

and the third could barely see.

I wanted to bind that trinity,

bind them,

and set them free.

I wanted to redeem the time,

and the Selves that I used to be.


I collected shells as memories

of the Golden Silhouette:

its blazing hands

have scared my mind,

but I will not forget

that its long reign is over,

and I am not at war

with all this time that I could redeem…


These bones begin to thaw.

This poem can be seen as an optimistic counterpoint to one of my older pieces (Created).

Three Dispatches from Silence

Related image
The Tree of Life (dir. Terence Malick, 2011)


I. God

We talk around The Word

by building baroque barricades

on the edges of the Known,

and pouring pails of paint into the pit.


II. Ground

The clatter and clank

of burnished bronze feet

create a quaking, comforting rhythm.


III. Mind

Every echo

is its own reply:

an aberration

on the surface,

a mutation

of Intention.