Sonnets of Sky (Complete)



Aug 2012




The Early Days                       

Sonnets of Sky                        






The Early Days



The sun is

Dipping in the sea

It loves to bathe

Once a day

And does so all year long

As day ends you’ll find it there

Experiencing the ocean

Sometimes it takes a dive

That lasts from noon till evening

Which to us is slow

But to the sun is all it needs

To reach the cool water



Two blues

The pale blue sky

The dark blue water

Twins who still like

Each other’s company



The great silence of the afternoon

From hill to hill

From bay to sky

The emptiness of slowly circling air



The clouds are lying in rows

On the lightest of mattresses

Taking an afternoon nap

The trees slowly dance to a minimal music

Of occasional insects and breeze

And the perfectly placed birdcall

Which having lost the spontaneity of dawn

Has the sure touch of experience



The silver leaves are now gold

But sometimes turn back to green

As the sun retreats behind a cloud



I flowered on the earth

For a short time

The season changed

The wind has come



A field of golden gums

The last testament of day



Night the great nothingness

A river of lights

On the motorway

None in the opaque sky

I am one of those

Lights on the motorway

Driving into night




Does day emerge from night or night from day

A long silence gives birth to life

And life is womb to eternity

Blackness becomes white

But white fades again into blackness

Are both separate worlds

A night lives and then withdraws as day comes

And day retreats before advancing night

When one is in the heart of either one can barely imagine the other

Such diverse beings inhabiting the same place

But at different times

Or are they two different worlds that we alternately travel into

The measurement of time in each is somehow different

The day’s timepiece is the sun

We quickly learn its language

But the night’s is far slower

And more mysterious

It has complex cycles of constellations

Often poorly perceived

And the slow motion shadow of the sun

The moon

Night takes its time

And gives it more generously

That’s why we can slow down and sleep

But at certain times of the day

Like mid afternoon when the sun seems to pause

And a silence comes over the land

Day shares more with its cousin night

As life at times does with its infinite double




I cannot be as you

Giving the morning dew

And night the star

And spring the flower

And every hour

The power to be


But can you be as I

My flesh is born to die

My light to be

The night my spring

The passing of

A shooting star


I cannot be as you

I give to men their due

And fight the star

Of Satan’s power

That every hour

Men cower before


But you can be as I

Searching the evening sky

To long till dawn

To find the one

Beyond the sun

I’ve come to be




A day

Begins a


Dove its


Finds the




I too

Join them

Keeping vigil a







My eyes open to see the sky

A sunlit cloud is passing by

I close them now and see a night

Always with me but for sight


I look again the cloud is gone

A grey sky where the sun had shone

Is all that’s left but I continue

Lit by life in every sinew



A tree emerges from the earth

As does the grass

But light rests on a leaf upon the ground

From far away the clouds hang from the sky

And yellow wattle from the tree

And wind blows leaves and shadows

Later the trees sink in darkness as the sky flares



A blue window

Rimmed by white

A yellow flower

Hangs near



Emerging trunks with

Power like a whale’s

Tail have pushed out

Of the earth and grown

And grown in both

Height and girth

It is a slow motion

Slower than glaciers

But we can feel this

Power motionless

Before our eyes

What forces lie

In the ground

Underneath us



The earth’s upward power

Seeds become towers

Deserts a weight of flowers



The sky is heavy with stars

And water

And light

And brilliance

And darkness

And meaning



And two oceans meet

Two waves with the power

Of two oceans

The earth

And sky

And as they collide

The trees are covered

With flowers



On the second day

Was separation and clarity

On the third day

Was distinction and fecundity

On the fourth day

Were seasons and galaxies

On the fifth day

Was water and flight

On the sixth day

Was a mirror of light



The clouds move in a polyphony

Like a sixteenth century master

Would have composed

High and exalted and

Full of light



The softest and lightest is above

While my feet keep falling to the earth


A shadow lies weightless on the road

While the tree’s boughs spread out into the sky



The world is a cup half full

One half empty with sky



The queen bee rests in the centre of the hive

As a thousand workers pass by her



Silver leaves

Are like tiny clouds




The lattice of shadows

On the front steps

Is as old as the world




Of places in the universe

Why are we given a

Perspective of blue



A heavier cloud rolls past

A galleon amongst the

White sloops


The galleon was intent on war

It let out a broadside of

Grey rain



A wall of light

I walk beside


A wall of night


A wall of night

I walk beside


A wall of light




The cloud of night

Has crossed the day

I cannot say

What might have been


What might have been

I cannot say

The face of night

Has crossed today



The clouds all softly

Travel through the air

Towards the hills and

Take little time to reach

Them before the sky

Turns red and they

Transcend and

Trails of fire


The west

Till night has

Taken all




A lone tree silhouetted by sky

Its silver leaves blown in the wind

Are sparkling the distant clouds

Begin to shine as the sun approaches

Its destiny as all living things sweep

To the west to be surrounded by the

Upsurge of light that marks the coming

Of night and lines of trees stand silent

Beside the darkening road






Man came after

The light was here

Before him

And the sea and sky

And stars and moon

And fish and birds

And animals


And God

Although the

Seventh day is his

Was there before

All other things


Including man



But our minds

They leap through

Time and space

To try to take the

Measure of before

And after and sound

The depths







One by one the candles were extinguished

Like the breathe of the choristers completing

Each measure as the music burnt down like a



And the clouds disappeared


And the day disappeared


And what had begun sank into the hills








Sonnets of Sky





The tide of day began to turn again

as light desired to seek its distant home,

to farewell honour and embrace the shame,

the price of finding what is once had known

beyond the gates of day. And now the west

is glowing as the sun returns to claim

a glory known before the dawn possessed

the day. I too am searching for the rain

that fell when long ago I knew the power

of Christ enlivening me throughout my frame,

and nothing seemed impossible, as showers

of greatness fell – his life was in my grain,

and even night was filled with light, and day

was found in darkness when I knew this way.








The distant hills are covered by the sun

as day begins, the fields are white with frost.

Who can conceive what will be when you come

or understand the depth of what is lost

when light reveals all things for what they are?

And so what might have been becomes the shadow

of what is, forever like a star,

a testament to how all life could flow

if we had let the torrents of your love

spread out into each valley here on earth.

What’s done is done; and now the sun above

the fields is thawing out the grass; new birth

of day is welcomed by a singing bird,

and what is lost forgotten in what’s heard.









The angle of the sun upon the glass

inclines towards the sky. The light’s beginnings

in a room embraced with warmth soon pass.

When winter wanes and in its place the spring

appears, we all rejoice, and radiance

is in the trees. But soon the seasons turn

and summer waves break on the shores that once

had welcomed spring. Born into love we learn

that its embrace is not always what we

experience here. But still its light is in

our room, and by its rising sun we see

a beauty in all things. A place within

the soul is lit and, as the day descends,

again this love will find us at our end.









The light of the seven bright candles was shining, and near

it, new heaven and earth. It lit up the sky and the trees

and the fields rejoiced as it shone on the earth. To be

where it shines is fullness of joy. Completeness is here

in its light. We look through our tears, O where is the place

to see its radiance now? Here darkness is law,

and suffering marks the lives of the rich and the poor.

And near us the sounds of grief can be heard, and faces

are mirrors of sorrow. The candle still shines, its branches

stretch out in the sky. And every day a new light

is seen, arising where darkness once reigned. It’s right

to be glad. We see only part, there’s seven wide branches

that burn. A light that is greater than sight will come soon –

in this sky the whole tree will come into bloom.









The flow of water underground is music

to my mind as walking by I hear it

on a sunny day. What cloud filled skies

had gifted it to flow here in a drain

that takes the water back to sea and thence

to start again, in cycles with beginnings

but no end? Beneath our feet the waters

flow – beneath our lives a river that

began when life began on earth and flows

until its end. And my life too is in

in hearing of this water flowing fast

beneath my feet, that rushing to its distant

home and rising up in clouds, will be

the sunlit path on which he walks with me.









Today I found a gold coin by my door

as dew began to melt upon the grass.

I reached to touch it on the wooden floor

and found the coin had travelled through the glass

from heights above, the window pane unshattered

by the force that sent the coin from heaven

to the earth. For here – the uncreated

light that fell upon the world unbidden,

when the risen Lord of glory took

his throne and asked the Father of the lights

to share his gifts with us, and thresholds shook

and every heart who saw was turned from night

to brightest day – this sunbeam in my room,

is coinage of a day that’s coming soon.









When banks of cloud traverse the evening sky,

all rolling like a river to the sea,

they hold their course as light begins to die,

while knowing that each one no more will be.

Man meets his end in many different ways,

and hills and fields are cluttered with his tombs,

in each a life that once was here to stay

until the river’s flood broke in its room

and lifted it upon the silent wave

that bring all men to foreign shores, they know

perhaps in dreams. It only is the bravest

ones who calmly, like the clouds that grow

in power in eastern air while floating on

the breezes, enter where the light has gone.








As mountains can be seen upon the moon

from which to view the floating globe of earth,

the mountains here are sites to view the moon

which floats above the world that gave it birth.

Does distance make our hearts grow fond of hills

and sky, a presence that’s beyond our reach,

the simple forms of peaks and clouds that fill

our line of sight, like waves upon a beach

whose sound is soothing to our minds, a sign

of unseen hands that move the universe?

No viewing of the moon through mountain pines

compares to seeing the priceless sphere of earth

above the lunar hills, blue watered, living home

of all that we hold dear, our flesh and bone.









Today I woke before the dawn, and rose

to see the desert sky, all white with stars.

I walked for miles, and prayed, like him who chose

in ancient times to wander where the far

off stars were near. Here in the everlasting

night the day is a forgotten world.

I walk awake in realms of dreams where, growing

in the blackened soil where light is curled

in galaxies of fire, and tendrils of

the starry vines extend towards the darkness

on the road, all prayers are dreams because

all other words are words of day. Awake,

I dream this day before it comes to be;

asleep, I find the one that once was me.









When we all go to sleep the moon awakes,

with silent steps it prowls around our garden.

The stars are witness to its light that rakes

the fallen leaves in search of something hidden.

It is the sun that through the day had watched

our passing world, and could not find the heart

of it; so now it sends the moon to search,

perhaps to find while we’re asleep, the secret.

The eye of God in conscious man is hindered.

It needs the night to search for us, to find

us in our dreams. O love that came and searched

for me, I welcome your bright eye; my mind

lies still between the trees, walk here, uncover

all the leaves and find your hidden treasure.










Upon antipodean shores I write

in words that formerly were found in mouths

of kings, but long migration, like a bird

that flies the length of seas, has brought them to

this foreign land to find a place to nest.

Its ancient rocks are full of words, its sky

is full of stars that for a million years

have watched the seasons change in cycles

of a different time. I write now in

my mother tongue and listen to the cries

of birds and watch the sun sweep through the sky

and let the million years of life and times

more ancient than the earth inscribe my waking

mind with words to speak its loneliness.









The blue sky and the yellow sun were partners

in the day. Assisted by ten thousand

clouds, each one as white as snow, they garner

light and distribute it to the lands

below, a jubilee of radiance

we witness day by day. At night the sky

escorts the stars into a courtly dance

that circles long in complex turns that try

the skill of all. The moon appears, the quiet

one, alone, from neighbouring rooms, and makes

his entry cautiously, each step with silent

grace, until, all ravished by his wake

of glorious beams, we watch the lights spin

round and round this curious world we’re in.







The passage of the clouds across the sky

is like a mighty fleet of ships in sail,

triumphant on the sea, their banners high

upon their masts, their hulls like gleaming mail.

No one can know their destiny or whence

they came. Their stately presence in the blue,

above them and below, is evidence

of things unseen, a world whose silent hue

is painted in the atmosphere that daily

all men breathe, a world of triumphs and

defeats that measure those on earth, for tiny

movements of that air can turn to sand

the castles made by boastful human hands,

and rainy skies make deserts fruitful lands.









Across the page the sonnet moves then down

a line. It flows there like a broad old stream,

meandering, accustomed to the sound

of thoughts that pass between its banks. So dreams

have found in human minds the place to rest

their wings, and like a swan upon a lake

they follow currents eddying there, a nest

of water far from home, and then take wing

and fly, the deeper currents of the air

soon take their soaring forms to where the clouds

all silently are drifting by. Despairing –

words are only words and dreams like clods

of earth within our minds will never sing –

departs when we can hear their music ring.







Upon the lake the first calls of the birds

emerged from darkness. Standing near I listened

to the sounds of dawn – for few have heard

such music by a lake where night still glistened.

I could not see their shapes behind the reeds

but knew they saw a world I longed to see.

Their haunting songs expressed to me my need

and called me to a place where I would be

as still as they, and faithful too, to wait

for birth of day. For thirty years I’ve kept

a memory of the morning light that breaks

before the dawn, awake as night still slept –

the sounds of day before it comes to be,

the songs of birds upon an inland sea.









I look far out to sea where waves conceived

in storms begin their marathon, each sweeping

to the distant shores, from which they leave,

returning to their origin of weeping

sky. The coasts they visit, weathered by

their countless multitudes, like heaven’s halls

by sounds of praise, familiar with the cry

of surf, are temples filled with mighty calls.

I wonder as I view the sea about

another storm, conceived by man, that sends

its waves towards the shore, but who can shout

to silence it, a storm we all defend,

made from our long neglect of all that’s good –

the world, its rhythms, humbly understood.









I stand here in the centre of a field.

Above me in the centre of the sky

the sun is there, another I I feel

I am an echo of. Or is the I

a more pervasive term, the language of

our consciousness, the single eye through which

the universe is seen? Here all that was

is new in individual view. How rich

a thing we share with whales and dolphins, cows

and bees! I do not think the sun can think,

but when I see its sphere, its unique power

that reigns alone upon the air, I drink

another consciousness from which I come,

and every other mind beneath the sun.









A flock of cockatoos is flying, sunlit

wings are flickering, a single motion

like a school of fish that are as one.

To empathize is built within. We know

that dogs are not our kin yet they will often

yawn in harmony with us, and geese

in straight formation fly, each knowing when

to flap their wings together in the breeze.

How is it then that men deny this gene

that carries us like rivers to the sea –

a single mind, an effortless regime

of common purpose? May we come to be

united, as when cockatoos in flight,

in sympathy, as one, are drenched in light.









The city’s streets were paved with purest gold,

translucent in the light of seven suns.

But here the heart is black as it is old –

redemption’s work has only just begun.

At evening all the circling stars appear,

the rising moon in ghostly splendour shines –

so darkness has foreshadows of the years

of light, that only humbled hearts can find.

The time has come to learn the ways of day

before the day begins, and let the sight

of heaven waken us – redemption’s rays

that penetrate the dark. The heart may fight –

for ancient powers grasp humanity –

as light keeps shining from the golden city.









I’m tired now. I’ve wrestled with my poems

all the day, and now a sleep would do

me good. But still the music of these rhymes

is echoing in my head. I should be through –

another seed has broken in my mind –

I start again to see what it may be –

And so another tree, alike in kind

to those before; but always hopeful, free

and awed, to let the meaning slowly rise

from soil within to light outside, I smell

the scent of new formed leaves, and note the size

of swaying boughs, and soon the story tell

of how our God created being, that swiftly

seeds of heaven grow into a tree.








I waste your time and waste your space, I said

to God one day. He said to me, look at

the tree that’s growing in the field. I fed

it with the sun and rain, its soil is fat

with life, its boughs are strong, above,

its canopy is glistening in the air.

A tiny seed borne by the wind, in love,

began it there, and watch – without a care

the tree is giving life – a million seeds

that grew within are pouring from its flowers.

O see the love I have for it, its needs

are met, I pour on it my showers,

that life began may carry on, and he

I bless should blessing be eternally.








I lie here in this silent room, outside

the dawn is coming soon, and in the silence

birds begin to sing. And if I died,

and lay as still inside my tomb, this sense

of God here with me, would be there. The one

here now transcends all time; his thoughts have entered

into mine – for when he came the day begun –

humanity, his silent room, his centre

now till every lonely tomb in which

he lies is witness to the singing birds.

And so I welcome this new day, so rich

in him who with me lay, whose voice I’ve heard

today in birds, whose song outside I find

is joined by these thoughts singing in my mind.








The sun surrounded by six clouds is hanging

on a stalk; three other suns are near,

a tiny galaxy amongst the swaying

green. What planets circle near? I fear

they may be none, for like the great expanse

whose every space seems filled with sparkling suns,

the planets there are few compared to this.

And even then to find a circling one

where signs of life are in its atmosphere

is like the search for green in barren desert

lands. The beauty of these flowers here

that glow above the vase, four suns alert

upon their stalks, with petals soft as clouds,

is all I need and all I am allowed.








A gate is blowing in the wind and clouds

are rolling by. My garden hosts the winter

sun, whose silent feet the shadows shroud

at times this afternoon. I feel warmth enter

then depart, then enter in again,

as blades of grass stand shivering, a nearby

palm tree quivering, and high, the rain

clouds drawing nearer in the darkening sky.

A distant cloud that caught the sun releases

it again, its healing rays make every leaf

a glistening green. What life exists as ceaseless

as the sun? We leave, it seems as briefly

here as grass that basks beneath the sun,

and shivers when the winter clouds have come.









A tower of loneliness, this mountain peak

immersed in cloud; a shrouded mystery

emerging from the earth below, that speaks

the mystery of being. All comes to be

and is as this. We rest upon a hidden

realm like swans upon a lake, their bended

necks obeying the opaque depths. Unbidden,

things have come to be; they have no end.

A mirror can reflect a face, the person

seen continues down the hall. I pass,

but being, like ripples in a pond that race

towards the edge, continues. Ships have masts

to carry sails, the peaks in cloud are gliding

things, like swans about to lift their wings









It’s prophesied. His flaming eyes shall light

the skies and bring renewal to the earth.

A Lamb was seen as in a dream, his mighty

power in seven horns. Those near cried worthy,

and began a song as new as morning.

Now as thousands sang the heavens rang

and all who heard were filled with joy. I sing

here too; he came as dew – all being began

to be again when God’s own Son had shed

his blood and risen high had filled the sky,

with seven horns like crowns upon his head,

and seven eyes, each like a sun that flies

above the clouds and makes creation green –

the Spirit pours out from these eyes, unseen.









Some mornings are without the birds, we wake

as day begins and note an emptiness.

The night, which left before the day, has taken

all our joy away. But hearts from rest

are meant to sing. Has night the right to keep

the heritage of dawn? The stars already

own our winter, weeping in the deep

above with silent tears eternally.

But we are people of the light, who rise

from sleep to welcome the new day, and open

eyed survey the depth of summer skies.

Night – you have your emptiness – I owe

no due to you. The heritage of dawn

is mine to freely give this lovely morning.








I cannot speak of love to you today

because my love has drifted like a cloud

to other lands. I said my love would stay

here anchored like a ship, but look, I’ve found

the winds have blown it far away. Reverse

the winds – the skies are yours – may you

command the breeze, and let this cloud outburst

and fall as rain where once my love was new,

and make a paradise where desert is.

You hold the anchor of my heart, I cannot

drift away, for I recall your kiss

that pulls at my desires. So I can

be as steadfast as your love for me – my heart,

your anchor, holds. How can we ever part?








A tree marks life, its circles within circles

are memorials of time, internal

orbits of the sun, a chronicle

of storms and heat, the passions of external

things, recorded in its living being.

The night is marked by rings of fire, signs

of ancient times, whose history is seen

long after stars have passed to dust. My

past is written in my genes, a spiral

history of my family and of man.

The circles within circles of the tides

of time were written before time began –

the prophet saw them in the sky, the tree

rings of the world the universe will be.








The light is fading on the wick, the candle

setting like the sun. The golden flower

dipped its head, and sank as time ran out

into the sea, and light returned that hour

to where it comes from. I think, where is

the home of light? It disappears from sight.

I see the wick has sunk into the wax –

but light had always risen in the night.

I sometimes fear the hour of my death.

I wonder – does my living flame arise

and disappear into the night as breathe

returning to the air? Windswept skies

are bright as they are clear, a pure blue,

the light is everywhere, so all is true.









And so my thoughts all slowly rise as from

a distant valley where the smoke ascends.

A glorious blue sky is there, a common

sight; below, the open fields where men

are burning off. The smoke is pluming in the

air above the smouldering fires, men

stand near and tend the burning centre.

But from here I only see the pensive

incense of each fire arising like an

offering to the sky. In deep green forests

near a thousand trees are drinking

air and growing. So the thinking hearts

of men, that drink their days of light,

ascend again as smoke before the night.








The sun hung from the ceiling and the room

was blue, a wooden table set with silver

leaves and river glasses poured, the moon

the unlit candle – all prepared to give her

guests the welcome of her home. We sit

and eat and share her view – the curtain pulled

aside – the lights of fireflies that glisten

there outside. We cannot hope, until

the world has hastened to its end, to find

a host as kind and good – the furnishings

of precious wood, the water poured through finest

sand, a candle never lit by man;

these are the blessings of her home, our host,

with earth and sun and sky – the Holy Ghost.









At the creation of the world the sun

and moon were set in place, the greater light

to rule the day, the lesser light the night;

and this was all before our time began.

A tree has circles in its trunk the sun

and moon have set in place, the passing years

and times have their memorial circling there;

and this was all before our time began.

And when the earth the sixth time faced the sun

a tree of life, ringed by eternal time,

a branch produced – that branch is mine, and this

was when our time began, and man the son

of God, upon a branch of darkest wood

our destiny and his, we understood.








Three thousand years between your birth and mine.

I stand here in the place where you began,

and see the moon that measures all that time

has measured here, Jerusalem.

Men’s lives have passed you in its ancient stream,

the kingdoms of this world have come and gone,

yet like the moon that wanes, as in a dream

you are reborn and wax again. The sun

is ruler of the day and night – men’s chance

of life that never can return; the moon,

however, constantly renews, a dance

of mystery – the one whose open tomb

is witness: rocks may hold your ancient dead,

beneath the moon they’ll rise from stony beds.








Stars never take the road of suffering.

They sparkle without hearts and view a world

of sorrow unmoved. The Good Samaritan

who saw a broken man beside the road

at once crossed over, changing all his plans

to be with him. But not the stars, their courses

in the sky were set before our cries of need,

and nothing moves them from their path.

But when a man is full of tears, or child

afraid, to see them sparkling in the sky,

and wonder at their glorious light and note

their constancy, gives heart to man and quiets

children’s tears – up above the world

so high, like a diamond in the sky.









How beautiful you were the day I saw you,

sitting on a table, swinging your long

legs. You didn’t know what lay before you

as the world swung round the sun. The song

of birds that welcomes day and without sorrow

greets the night was yours to sing; and like

the bells refract the ocean’s call of sorrow,

formed anew in sounds of joy and light,

you heard the music of the heart and sought

to make it bright. How beautiful you are

to me – the song of birds at dawn I sought,

the cry of gulls that seek the sea. The star

at night, the sun by day, accompany

the life that you and I together see.









I cannot hold the water in my hands.

It pours and pours through gaps between my fingers.

And when I think its flow will cease, as sand

contains the ocean’s power that quenched still lingers

at the shore, the water pours again

down from the sky. What is this motion in our

hearts that causes love? Is it the same

reaction that empowers the sun, whose flower

of heat and light has shone on everything?

O holy love within a star, that turns

existence into gold, empowers the flowering

of the world and warms the coldest bones –

I cannot hold you in my hands, O pour

and pour and pour through open doors.









The buoyant air keeps lifting us, and lifted

up we feel it lifting everywhere

to be another place, a different place

than that is was before it felt the air.

An ocean deep keeps drawing us, and drawing

us it seeks to draw all human life

into its depths, an ocean deep of love

where we have ceased to be as once we were.

And all the sky is calling me, and hearing

it I feel its beauty near, the beauty

of the buoyant air, the air around

me everywhere that wants me to be me,

but lifted to another place, to be

another, like a seed becomes a tree.









I hear a dove. Its call is clear at this

time in the afternoon. Above, the sun

descends so slowly. Those who hear must listen

well to know what it is saying – One

sun is floating in the air, I sing

to it without a care although I know

the evening air is flowing. Shadows resting

on the wall advance as silent snow

that falls without our knowing. Quickly children

come from school to play and watch the sinking

day with eyes as bright as doves, all filled

with shear delight that happiness should ring

each day with afternoons so light that suns

could float above the trees as night began.









I sat beneath the blackened sky where all

that is will cease, where even stars descend

within. I contemplate the night that falls,

and like a hand, erases all, that tends

the fire of our destruction. Black was there

before our birth and black remains to meet us.

Some fish break the waves and fly through air

above the ocean. Falling back, they sleep

again beneath the surface deep within,

their flight a distant dream. Is all the air

we breathe like this, a sky that’s paper thin,

a blue mirage that even stars are careful

not to lift from us? They say that night

is day and darkness light before your sight.








Across the lake the distant lights of houses,

nestled close to shore, began to shine.

The lake itself had been a mirror housing

day within its silver water, shining

presence of the sky both far and near.

But now the houses have their turn to host

the silence that the purity of night

provides to all; for here the simplest boast,

the simplest houses shine the most, their single

light an image of the sun. The distant

sight of single lights, each nestled, mingled

by the lake, evokes a truth so distant

from our lives. The stillest lake contains

the day, a simple heart a sun sustains.









Two faces are to me my richest treasure –

the face of sky, the face of women. In one

I see the other. A woman’s face contains

the day, a woman’s face contains the night.

And strangely in the changing sky, in blue

and white, and glistening night, I see a woman’s

face. I travel in the early morning.

I find my eyes are drawn to see the sky.

The perfect blue beneath the clouds, so soft

its hue, a colour that words can’t describe.

And this is what I strangely see in women

here beneath that sea. I think that my

first sight on earth has mingled with the sky

and see the face of love within her eyes.









We live on the shores of a sea so great and vast.

Today I sit with a friend in a café outside.

It overlooks the sea. We sit at a table,

sip coffee and talk, and the ocean is there before us.

The water is pure and soft, stretching so far in the

distance. A gentle wind blows and our faces are touched

by the sunshine. How many days could we sit here and talk,

or just silently take in the ocean? Around us are people,

busy with work, a young man is hurrying past

with a trolley, so healthy and strong with a spring in his step.

And who cannot notice the sea? Its presence is here

everywhere. It’s here in the air. In fact, the air is

part of the sea. For the sea is the air, the sky all

around, the kingdom of heaven we see.









I will return to where I once began

to welcome dawn before the dawn began,

to see a sky within. The sky was light

far east of here where God began to shine.

Before the dawn was when I once began

to welcome day before the day began,

to see a light within. The sky was bright

far east of there when God began to shine.

Within my room as day begins I sing

to light of day, for I have heard a singing,

dawning deep within. The sky was night

far west of there, for God had ceased to shine,

and all was silent on the earth, when He

who gave all things their birth had ceased to be.









Two white birds traverse the sky from west to east.

The half moon slowly follows them. And everything is

travelling round the sun that is within the sky they

travel in. I walk across the grass from west

to east, and then return and watch a single silent

plane flying near the moon until the moment

it is gone and only blue is there. And then

I watch as two white clouds are blown by wind, and see

them slowly swallowed by the air. A pine tree near

is swaying, its leaves are washed by light. Existence is

what is in the blue air. The canopies of gums

are tossed, a swallow darts, all shiver in the wind.

The sky is one, it has no end, I cannot find

where it began, and I am lost within its blue.







And All I Am


And all I am is pouring out to sea,

into the sea above the earth, where clouds

are waves, and I the sun that’s drifting in the

sea. And all the sea is drifting to

the sun, the eye in which the sea began –

the consciousness of living things – that floats

with other boats into a sea where every

eye is drifting in the infinite sky

of stars adrift upon eternity.










Onions are amazing things – rings

enclosed by rings within a sphere, and so

it is – the day rings night and even death,

enclosing life, is ringed again with light.

You ask from where do onions spring? Where they

begin is in the dark, beneath the surface

of the world. And there they grow, while high

above their tall leaves reach into the blue.

Each journey to the sky creates a ring

that circles round the ring that was before.

My history is rings enclosing rings,

and yours, and the whole universe, where sun

and stars and light and dark all circle round

the flaming heart that reaches into all.









How can a face migrate – for sometimes I

can see a face I knew now in another.

Is this one way a family line

remains? A sea of time may separate

but genes dictate a likeness stays. And now

I see your face in mine. Your face becomes

a frame of me, and mine where your identity

is hanging on the wall. For this

is what two people know when love begins a

line that branches from the one

great human tree. But still it is a great

surprise to see someone in other’s eyes,

and find the face of God is mirrored there,

and every I is seen in every you.









When I began to love you, you were barely born,

a tiny face appearing where no face had been.

How can it be, your life is here in this new morning’s

light, when yesterday no one could be seen?

I’ve seen the silver leaves all glistening in the light,

I’ve heard the blackbird singing, calling in the spring.

What was not, now my sunshine here, is what this night

has given me – the light of day, this little thing.

And when my days are fading like the evening light,

your orbit of the sun, begun well after mine

will be your joy, and other’s too will you delight.

For every face that turns towards your sun will find

a gentle light is falling on their mind

from your identity, so true and kind.










And when a candle sinks towards its home

and when its light ascends into the air,

the radiance of being is sometimes shown

and common things become so very rare.

A glory, like a glint seen in the eye

or smile that flashed across a face, is always

there for those who’ll learn to recognise

its face and grow familiar with its ways.

And being can also slowly come to mind

in things we treasure; light may silently

arise, like faces known, that with us shine

with love, for though familiar, history

has brought an empathy, as in a candle’s

sinking light we see a face that’s bright.









I see a radiance everywhere in things that are,

a wind arising from their heart that terrifies.

Who made this world, simplicity that’s like a star

that shines in brief eternity in darkened sky?

I fear the One who said infinity would dwell

within a seed, and made a forest sing with trees

outstretched across the ages of the earth. A shell

that’s found upon the sand contains the open sea.

My hand has patterns of the mind, a wide expanse

of thoughts upon a journey to their destiny;

and in your palms the plans of God, engraved by man

with murderous hands, were all fulfilled; and from that tree

I hear the winds of heaven. Of winds that blow within,

without, that cross the sea, that call to me, I sing.









My days all float on days, an outstretched lake

where water birds alight. And in the lake

I see the sky. The birds make journeys to

and from these mirror worlds. On one they float,

on one they fly. I also travel in

these worlds. In one I live, in one I die.

And like the water birds I too have wings.

Sometimes when I see the mountains sleeping

in the lake, I think I should depart

from here and fly into the sky. Accept

my wings are only dreams, the mountains reached

are only those reflected. Like a swan,

content for now, I look within the water;

watching it, she waits, its loyal daughter.









When you were born I thought about the bells.

They ring on special days, on marriages

and deaths, and weekly for the resurrection.

They ring in cycles of the mind, in slow

unfolding patterns, where each bell, a number

in a chain, is moved in shifting sequence

till it finds its place again, to settle

at the end where it began. At times

our life is like a cork that bobs upon

the sea, and days appear as numbered strokes

of nameless destiny. But in the music

of the bells we hear another sound –

of numbers settling into ceaseless praise,

and sweetness rising up to fill our days.







Birds return the day to its beginning.

Their singing fills the emptying trees. Light

that fell for hours past is lifting from

the ground, the gravity that kept it there

is weakening. As flames ascend then disappear,

vanished from our sight, the gathered

birds are witness to that holy moment

as the light departs. The day had travelled

from so far; to see its end upon these

hills, a place from which it never will

return, has caused them all to sing a requiem.

Lux Aeterna. Light returning,

shining on its home, surrounded, welcomed

by the stars awaiting in their tombs.









One gum tree on a hill next to a road,

it’s mostly dead although some leaves are there.

It measured time, its shadow always showed

the passing of the light through the pure air.

The tree has stood there for a hundred years,

a second hand of an eternal clock.

It soon will fall to mark what we should fear,

the passing of the light upon a rock.

Is time alone the measurement it keeps,

lonely on a hill accept for sky?

A hundred epic cycles in it sleep,

written in a soul that unseen flies

to reach towards a meaning yet untold,

the measurement of things beyond this world.









Time is made of shadows upon shadows,

a darkness, thick and deep, through which we age.

One layer folds upon another, flowing

as deep curtains drawn across a stage.

A rose has many petals, overlapped

in swirling curves, they grow around a centre

hid within, like flames of dawn. Perhaps

all time is centred, and we have entered

within these walls. Our memories are veiled

in silence, a translucent screen, and time’s

thick darkness takes our presence, so to shade

us in a dream. Eternity is its fine

centre, wrapped in petals’ deepest red,

all life is found within it, where it bled.









A stone falls in a pond, the ripples carry

echoes of that moment to the rim

in circle after circle, marrying

origin to end. At the beginning

of the universe, when time and space

were one, a moment birthed the multitude

of things, expanding in concentric arcs

of power. So the world has been renewed,

the face of time pierced by the One. His sign –

a cross, an empty tomb, a hurricane

within a room – we feel it realign

our inner being. What was, ever the same

shall be, the centre of eternity,

has reached our shore like ripples on the sea.








The trees are lifting from the world, so softly

growing there, upon a rise of land.

Their silver shapes with sky behind them often

speak. Their languages are slowly formed,

each individual, although they share

a common root. I listen to their ancient

tongue, which like Chinese, has pictures where

a stroke would be, a landscape’s essence painted

in a word. But here the words are in the

breeze, the letters formed by trees have risen

in a gentle flight, moved by the thinnest

air. The passing time, the days unbidden

given there, the circling life from root

to leaf and sun to earth, all upwards shoot.









The night is a consuming fire, refining

days that pass in search of purer gold.

As evening falls the silent earth, still shining

from the sun’s embrace, is grasped by oldest

hands of all – the hands of night – and thrown

into the blackest flames. All that we knew,

familiar things we treasured – all are on loan,

the darkness flares, consuming all. Few

welcome night’s embrace – those burnt by light,

those weary of the hours that stretch between a birth

and death – but from this furnace far from sight

the tested heart, knowing now the worth

of what it served by day, refined by night’s

clear purity, emerges chastened and bright.









Time stood still, the world had ceased to be;

the consciousness of two became as one,

a mystery unveiled, humanity,

two separate beings, united as one sun.

Our world is one of singularity,

we see from a perspective like the sun,

except that sun’s perspective is entirely

that of me – since the I began.

The sky is thin around the world, the coming

of the night is all it takes for stars

to be, and in the moment two are one,

the unity of I is cracked, and far

above the sun is bright, for we who entered

night are light, and all we are, is centred.









A dog barks at the moon. He lifts his head

and howls with the intensity of night.

What strength is in his paws? What force has led

him, from within, to cry towards the light?

Upon this night a cycle is concluded.

The moon has risen from the dead – three days

it spent in darkness. Wakened from its lunar

night, it slowly fills again with praise

until the sky is brightened by its rays.

And here on earth the ocean tides grow stronger

by the hour, and madmen feel their souls

are pulled as in a river. Suffering long,

the earth lets out a cry, the power of

auspicious hours, expressed by howling dogs.









And when I see a curtain fall, and night

has come, concluding all, I wonder, how

will I depart the day? When we delight

in human things – the sight of objects now

in view, to touch what’s here inside our room,

to feel the sun upon our face – these things

belong to all of us. From birth we soon

can see the purity with which they sing.

And as things end simplicity again

is near, the world seen in our human sphere

which no one ever leaves, and in our pain

to say farewell we treasure what is here.

And night concludes the play, and tears like rain

fall on this day that no one could explain.









What is this thing I feel that causes me

to sing, and sometimes sends a living shoot

of power from within? I see the blossoms

on a tree, is this same force at work

in me? The love that moves the sun and other

stars. A sprig of it there within

my bowels! A leaf of green that spring has brought

and tender rain and light have taught to flourish

there. For feeling’s home is deep within,

and in the darkness of our souls the truth

begins to sing – our God is light, no darkness

dwells within his soul, there light and love

are lovers evermore – which like a seed

borne by the wind takes root within our need.







Above the hills the clouds are like a patterned

tablecloth that’s shining in the dark,

a tessellated pavement, glowing satin

in the dawn. The hills are in an arc

to hold the light. A tablecloth is set

on summer days for special gatherings;

the pavement is a path that’s laid for greeting

welcome guests upon; the arc a ring

that’s only seen in part, upon the finger

of the day, that marries light to us.

Above the distant hills in clouds that linger

there – the pavement of the morning rushing

through the air – I see a brightness resting

on a table set for many guests.









On bright days, when the air is still, the ocean

is so clear that we can see within.

There’s little fish and seaweed in slow motion,

bright anemones upon the sea floor.

Above us, in the clear night sky, are stars

in depths, that if our eyes were capable,

we all would see – the galaxies that far

in blackness swirl, the hosts of stars all nobly

formed, the shapes and wonders on the night’s

deep sandy floor. O God, you live in hidden

realms where angels whirl, your eyes like lightening

brighten every world, may you look in

the depths of me and shine upon this golden

floor that I your wonders may behold.








Is life a mirror of itself? Beginning

in simplicity it rises like a

bird in flight, surveys the world, and turning,

flies into simplicity of night.

Before we were the world was as it is,

the sea and clouds and stars and hills where there,

and when we go they will be still. I listen

to the wind, invisible as air

to all who see. It blows from here to there

and there to here. It drops and then it lifts

again, so unpredictable. But here

my life a mirror is, I once exist,

I once did not, and so my life returns,

I once exist and then I don’t, I learn.







Emotions are the strangest things, they burn

us like a fire. Some last for days like soaking

rain, and some are fields of flowers. They turn

as swift as wind, and are as words unspoken –

silent in the air around, but real

as day and night within our bones. We sail

upon a glorious sea, adrift in feeling.

Who can show us the way home, we fail

to see it here? In passion we are not

alone, emotion is eternal. God

is moved by love – a loving world cannot

but be. A tide had been released, why should

we not feel? Carried on infinite waves,

to know and feel and be as love behaves.








Wonderful openness is in the human

form, it stands to greet the world, it welcomes

all before it, looking out upon

a landscape, arms free by the side, the ground

below, the face clear. Walking in a dual

rhythm, in a symmetry of form

and motion, distances come into view.

The human face is meant to see a morning

dawn in other human eyes, and walk

in brightness under human skies. Our arms

are free to recreate the world. A stalk

has heads, all full of many seeds; they calmly

face the east in fields of swaying wheat,

their seeds are harvested for food to eat.









When Jesus died his arms were stretched out wide.

The sun from east to west had crossed the sky.

Is this the reason the Messiah died,

as those around witnessed his parting cries?

How could those near him know the plans that Jesus

had in mind? They could but wonder, are

they good? The blue sky seems to speak a yes,

but clouds appear across its face, and stars

give night a beauty that is cold. His face

too lost its warmth in agonies of death,

and coldness slept within his bones. To trace

the waft of air that was his final breath,

that disappeared into the evening sky –

none could – but see his arms outstretching wide!








And who in heaven thought their home was there?

Eternal time had an eternal pressure

that, like a cellar full of bottled beer,

awaited fullness of another measure.

Not the measure of the liquid in the

bottle, but the volume of the gas

to be released. The pressure builds within

until the cellar full explodes. Alas,

the ancient halls of heaven are being shattered

by the cries of the Messiah as he

dies upon a cross, and it matters

not they crumble and they fall, for see

the rain is pouring, ceaseless from the sky,

and heaven has come down here where he died.









The candles are extinguished one by one,

like light that fades on faces we have known,

and days that circle past us like the sun,

and birds departing, flying to their homes.

The room once full of light is poorer now,

as sky is poorer after rain has gone,

and dawn is when the stars all fade like flowers,

and people when a bird completes its song.

The earth once full of faces is bereft –

where have they gone, the ones who once walked here?

The light of ninety billion suns has set,

that hosted singing birds for their short years.

And in the room the final candle ceased,

and darkness settled till the coming feast.









In a humble piece of wood a sculptor

finds another form lying hidden there.

He works so patiently, his carving calls

what lay within into the morning air.

The grain inside the heart is meant to feel

the sculptor’s hands. We need his skill to find

us there – his eye to see what lies concealed –

and match us to the image in his mind.

All that exists is one majestic tree.

Its roots are sunk into eternity.

Its branches stretch into the world to be.

Within its form he sees both you and me.

What is this beauty in our grain?

What God has placed there shall remain.

For on a single piece of wood

the universe was understood.








The final candle is extinguished,

now the hall is filled with night,

every watching face has faded,

drifting there beyond our sight.

The prince of life has from us parted,

earth receives his broken form,

all that watch are broken hearted,

hope shall never be reborn.

The final candle, it was hidden

near the altar, far from view,

though the hall is dark, now listen

books are slammed against the pew:

Christ is risen, not forsaken,

life forever is renewed.









I wake up from my sleep and it is there –

simplicity – my consciousness is drinking

air; the canvas of a masterpiece

where all is painted with such care I think

he must be very great to balance it,

as light is balanced, perfect in the air.

I watch the dancing motion of the leaves,

high up in clumps on gums; behind, the slowly

moving light filled clouds. So much of earth

and sky is filled with light and wind. Earth drifts

to sky, the sky to stars, the stars to night.

I hear the sounds of leaves outside – I wake –

a dream? No, in simplicity of things

complexity is weightless, like the air.







A sculptor from a single piece of wood

creates a being that was not there before.

Its shape was somehow there to be, but none could

see it, till he used another law.

Within the grain of human being a life

is waiting to be born that needs the touch

of skilful hands, to loosen innate strife

and knots, and carve into being so much more.

The law by which the sculptor works is love,

we all are structured by its rules, and bend

when it is called to play. This law, above

what’s common here, is our true calling. Send

your Spirit, melt our iron wills in fire,

release and recreate our heart’s desires.









The horizontal sweep of clouds is balanced

by the sun’s trajectory. They move from

north to south or east to west, or turn

again the other way. The sun, however,

rises and then sets. It seems there are

two principles at work within the sky.

The one is that of how all being emerges

and recedes, the flight of our existence

above nothingness, a bird upon

a breeze. The other is the path that heaven

takes, a radiance that is within,

that reaches down the roots of trees to start

where they begin and rise through trunk to leaf

to sky. Both are – in glorious harmony.







The Earth


Within the earth there is a molten core

Where rocks have liquefied

The surface of the world is clothed in green and blue

And here and there its flesh can be seen

Its breath surrounds it

The blue air

And often you can see it in the clouds

Like breath is seen on a cold day

Or mist on a window

All around the earth the deepest night

Goes on and on

An endless ocean

It is alone

It sees a presence in the sky

Every day it turns to look at it

As it journeys through the night

It finds a force is pulling it

And as days turn into years

It finds it is circling the sun

And finds that other worlds are too

And comes to see a burning core

Is what they all share







And Jesus, when you came to live here in

this world you made, you took the form of us.

And so the world began to be a single

place where everything that lives is touched

by light, as when the sun has come to make

all being bright. But Jesus, when I see

your face in all, I see I am mistaken –

what shall be shall be the radiance

of what is now. For as the world that you

had made became the egg from which you came,

the world to be shall be sky in which the two

of us shall fly – the uncreated son

and we who were created here to share

the liberty of uncreated air.










Joseph, Heli, Matthat, Levi, Melki,

Jannai, Joseph, Mattathias, Amos, Nahum,

Esli, Naggai, Maath, Mattathias, Semein,

Josek, Joda, Joanan, Rhesa, Zerabbabel,

Shealtiel, Neri, Melki, Addi, Cosam,

Elmadam, Er, Joshua, Eliezer, Jorim,

Mathat, Levi, Simeon, Judah, Joseph,

Jonam, Eliakim, Melea, Menna, Mattatha,

Nathan, David, Jesse, Obed, Boaz,

Salmon, Nahshon, Amminadab, Ram, Hezron,

Perez, Judah, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham,

Terah, Nahor, Serug, Reu, Peleg,

Eber, Shelah, Cainan, Arphaxad, Shem,

Noah, Lamech, Methuselah, Enoch, Jared,

Mahalalel, Kenan, Enosh, Seth, Adam,











Fourteen from the call of Abram to

the kingdom in Jerusalem and fourteen

more until the exile – like the moon

that waxes and then wanes. Darkness seems

to often triumph, men delay the good

that God intends. But see, the moon was only

sleeping, soon it waxes strong again,

and none can hide it, night itself is bathed

in light – fourteen generations more,

and the Messiah comes. The moon is full,

the morning star appears and God arises

in men’s night. Luke records the family

line in seven more than seventy –

the names that ring the ancient tree of life.









The tree grows backwards in Luke’s gospel, like

a stone thrown in a lake – ripples circle

outwards from the centre, from Messiah

back to God; from the present, here

recorded, to eternity before.

God the hidden outer circle that

the ripples move towards, and the One

who threw the pebble in the distant lake

of time. And like the ripples circling outwards,

I am carried on the wave that Jesus

set in motion – from Jerusalem,

Judea, through Samaria, beyond

unto the end of time – where the waves

are breaking on the shores from which they came.`









From the fabric of the stars we men

are made. Each element, each part of us

was formed within a star. The humblest twig

upon a tree was once the dust of galaxies.

We have a royalty in our bones.

And mankind too an image bears of times

before we were, a mirror in whose crystal

glass the features of another world

can still be seen. And in the eye within

our souls we sometimes see eternity.

For from the dust of human beings a future

world, once made of dreams, is soon to be.

And from the ashes in our graves eternal

stars will spring in countless galaxies.










A tiny tadpole in a pond that swims

around both night and day and maybe sees

with tiny eyes the great expanse they call

the sky how can it know what it will be

when like a seed beneath a tree that sends

its roots into the soil and finds a tiny

shoot uncurls mysteriously from deep

within it also finds its body grows

to be what tadpoles ought to be but

knew not as they swam around both night

and day beneath the sun and stars that came

across the pond in which they came one day

to be and grew as seeds beneath a tree

to be a frog as we become as he.










When I see a soaring bird that spirals

in the sky, I wonder at the way

the bird began. A sphere of shell was all

it knew, a world inside a world, where maybe

it could here the wind or catch the rhythm

of its mother’s call. But now its shell

is the great hemisphere of sky, a hidden

realm beyond it lies and through that shell

it flies. I watch below and wonder as it breaks

the surface of the air and reaches into

space beyond my sight, and my heart aches

to see it leave. It found an open window

as it once had found before – and broke

the shell around and saw what was unspoken.










How can it be that I should lie beneath

the ground like roots of trees? The roots of me

are sunk within my mother’s womb and through

that veil into my mother’s and my father’s

lives, and into wombs from which they came.

And so like you, my roots are sunk through all

of time into eternity. How can

it be that I should lie beneath the ground

like roots of trees? I see your roots pass through

the grave, an open tomb the morning gave

to you the day that you arose, and in

another world of trees you bloom, a fragrance

in the air, an orchard filled with humming

bees, my roots outstretch to there.











What is the reason we are here on earth?

Some live beneath the sun a million hours.

Why did a word decree our time of birth,

beginning days that fall like summer showers?

I see no reason in the sky above,

although its steady face is new each day.

I’m told it is the steady face of love

that holds the secret, come what may. But I

am looking to the flowers that fill the planet

with their light, the winter left the sky

so bare, a bleakness settled everywhere,

but in those tiny shapes I see the secret

of their birth and ours, from holy deaths

emerging there, the holy face of love.












And in the cloudbursts of the sky I hear

the future calling out. I stand beneath

the pouring rain and find there is no fear,

the thunder joy, the lightening is relief,

for God is greater far than any can

conceive, and from his hand all goodness comes,

he never will run dry, a hurricane

of love is pouring from the sky, and running

down the eaves, and bending all the trees,

and filling empty buckets, sending rivers

past my feet, and I cannot believe

how good he is to us who once sent rivers

of his blood to earth, with lightening strike

of spear, released a holy rain of tears.











Farewell, my name included in that tree,

upon a branch perhaps, whose knotted birth

is seen in cross sections of wood, whose rings

are like the rings within the trunk, the mark

of years of orbit round the sun, the life

of each who learn to walk with God like Enoch,

then no longer be, my name is now

a memorial within the wood, to simply

be a part of one great tree, whose root

is God and canopy the crown of Christ’s

eternity, whose girth is wide, and branches

stretch from every side, and now the tree

that stood in Eden, planted by the four

great rivers, rises high to fill the heavens.






Some days I get so little done,

the light fades, I have just begun

to do what I would do.

The moon has risen over trees,

the night completes what day began,

and only dreams can raise the sun,

and here I am to wake a day

that night has taken far away.

Our life, as little as the day that’s past,

needs another, better than the last.







Some of the poems in this collection refer to the Tenebrae service. This is held on the Thursday evening before Easter. The church is lit by many candles. As each reading is completed – or sung in a choral setting – a candle is extinguished. At the end the church is in darkness – although secretly the final candle, representing Christ, has been hidden behind the altar. The hymnbooks are slammed shut and banged against the pews – echoing the earthquake after the crucifixion – and the Christ candle again raised.


Many churches use fifteen candles, although there is a record from Mediaeval times of a church using seventy-two.


The last sonnet sequence reproduces the genealogy found in the third chapter of Luke – the Messiah came at the fullness of time.