Tag Archives: reincarnation

How nature her moves


Bhagawhandi P. was an Indian girl

whose brain a malignant tumour’d swirl.

Admitted to hospice in seventy-eight

the time-bomb ticking ‘it’s getting late’.


At nineteen she’d lived her life to the full

cheerful resisting (a bright girl) the pull

of seizures becoming more frequent and stranger

a dreamy state, to her not a danger.


Going from vague to concrete visions,

a passage to India and an admission

free from them both, medication and rain,

back to her loved ones and fields so plain.


She does not believe in time as decaying,

dances down sweet hills, forever surveying,

as nurses their hands on her forehead place,

how nature her moves in mysterious ways.


It’s no dream-madness but phantasms, all

clear memories turning of spring and of fall.

Not charged with passion or driving her mad

but paintings, tone poems, happy and sad.


As if in a trance, eyes open, unseeing,

her faint, mysterious smile not fleeing.

Just once Sacks asked his Bhagawhandi

‘What is happening please can you not tell me?’


‘I am dying, dear Doctor’ the answer came

‘Or call it returning, it is all the same’.

Another week and she did not respond

to external stimuli or to the fond


remarks from staff, and then she died

or as they called it, ‘at last arrived’.

They wonder now and one asked a friend

‘Does dying mean being born again?’


I provide no answer, just a feeling detect

that I neither wish to indulge nor reject.

Instead I tell you now I am done with this ballad

and will go down to compose me a salad.


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Soft stones

Strawberries sitting on hillsides, it is

just after a train crash and

all is silent when they meet

a phone rings but he does not pick it up.


She de-ices winter also, claims

nothing but that it does not matter if

to him The Milky Way leads nowhere

and bells sound mornings in.


Heaps are growing on ground, again,

and somewhere mid-air

silvery shades dance as she puts his hands

to span her stretched navel.


All the distances he ever walked join

one another and two-quarters

of a circle further down he takes

pictures of a scream, emerging skull.


Suns still set and toilets still flushed

as she made waves, again and again,

squeezing sand through an hourglass

the mother became.


It had nothing to do with them then;

Crashes and Quakes and Faint

suggestions in creamy bathroom mirrors

he never mentioned, and she

never told him about pebbles

screaming to her from beaches,

curling up between them in bed.


Now growing a stubble he leaves for days.

And she sits around in a big gown

listening … as the paperboy makes his round.

It might have got something to do with

the circles in which we stand, helpless.


The last breath of a child,  the two

of them there, left behind.

He closes his dental practice.

She goes back on the pill.

He misses the pain he causes

more than the teeth to fill.

She wishes there was something

else than time to kill.


She puts her hand to the radiator

but it is always cold.

She tries to call him

who does not answer

ignoring her breath

like the ice ferns.

In her dreams he is a stone.


She stays inside, fills a thermos

to see her through the winter

watches millions of flakes fall

yet fail to cover ground.

His hibernation is in skin

that razors can not touch.

Trembling under cherry trees

his memories refined.


She used to pose to make turbans turn

and flip flop across any market

in no time to embrace him in words

about mangoes, cardamom and

wherever next to go.


Autumn leaves fall again, paint vivid

premonitions, touch faces as they pass

not picking up on such simple clues

with disarranged hair, dishpan hands.

His bike is in the shed.

All needed is some air.

She is still, there.

Only the cupboards are talking

helped by a perfect Johnny Walker

to her head against the table.


His head turns at the traffic lights

where a woman in a pink over-coat

crosses the street, slowly

before through the cold she floats.

He is frozen, feeling sick,

and starts to melt

then and there

In another part of town

white sheets wave the winds

to move on by.


They are nearly there

(time is a ring, an oval)

Two ice-cubes sliding down

the slow unlearning-curve of life.

In the midst of it all

she is shaken

fumbling through the debris

looking up, on her floor

stands not the paperboy.

He takes her hand and leads her

(with thermos and two cups and saucers)

up steep narrow stairs.

Outside, lifting his chin to the air

he throws the question out –

Where does heaven begin?

But is already there.


The sound of dainty china

She says I am only starting to fathom

then lets out a laughter to share.

A child is walking now, slowly,

along a beach, zigzag

between stones that are orange

then throws one in the air.

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In the chapel of lost and found

She tries to lean her face against
a silky velvet chiffon scarf
but it is taken by the wind, although

there is no breeze no more
for this face, this flame. For this face
needs no breeze no more,
nor chewed almond kisses.

With bleeding hands she scrawls
hymns on the black board whilst
the cross stands silent witness.

She writes: When I return as a man
you might mistake me for a woman,
then sings that song before
wooden empty benches.

And the silence then, the silence
is so lonesome, longing
in all nights for a fragrance.

And the fragrance is the closest then,
so closed and silent.

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Life in-between

Like a stone, solid
By the brim of the sea
If there is more to it?
Only waves beat me.

Fragment, segment, ligament
Meet bone, rock, meat.
I was an excavated sphere
Conquered, emptied, forgotten.

Now I lay bare and
only the sun licks me whilst
dried grass pricks my skin and
I remember that face smeared

with marmalade and smiles
but my blood
will not
make rivers here
this is not
my final resting place.

I just want to memorise the skies
sculpt the clouds on my skull
their complex pattern of catacombs
the way a swallow flies.

It makes no sense to wonder
so I lie still and pray
not to close my eye, encircled
by fossils wanderings and a gliding vulture.

The spread of my wings, their weight on the ground
my ear to the earth and the ticking of time.
If anything can be known
it is out of the mind.

Porous, dissolving
I am at home
but will be going back.

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