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Thursday, 23 February 2012

the first man and the last


I drop in on an Autumn night
and catch the cold wind in my fingers as it blows
before it blows the last dreams from the trees.
The dreams are dying, anyway, so any way you save them
is alright by me. Deep drifts of them,
the like of which I've never seen before,
lie piled against the ever-open kitchen door.

Some dreams are mine, have fallen from our trees,
but most are blown, have come here from our neighbours' grounds.
it's difficult to recognise them, which are which. I dream
my neighbours' dreams. No doubt my neighbours will dream mine.

I pick up one that lies beneath two cherry trees from which
the fruit is falling and in which there is a God-like shape that now
throws dreams into the air. I see him catch and throw them back
where there are birds that swoop and dive towards,
but never make it to the dreams, which in a moment
also become birds, black birds that fly towards the moon from which
no light has come, no light will ever come except in dream.

This is the orchard Adam knew where dreams are made accessible to those
who do not dream, who watch and wait and keep their minds awake.
And so the dreams still fall, and anyone can read the dreams. They are
like shadows on the mounting piles of snow. No need to enter in,
just wait for them to come and - in a moment - go.

The last dream comes and always is the same. The distant church
is dressed in snow which falls. Large sheets of it slide off,
slide down the walls, hang for a moment on the buttresses,
then slide some more, reminding me of how a woman might
undress. She leaves the garments where they fall. But yet,
what's changed is this: there is no wall. The church, divested
of its snow, becomes a prison. Locked within, the clergy are at prayers.

A monkey comes and puts a lighted match to this last dream.
The church goes up in flames, but in the way you know things in a dream,
I know that God is there, but cannot tell his form. A thousand shapes
are fluttering. They merge and part again. Some slide or leap and others
merely relocate, and one of them is God, but no man knows the which -
except, perhaps the monkey-man with match - the only light I've seen
this night, this day, this dream, which ever one is right. Dolls, I see,
both male and female, broken, on the floor, heads smashed or off.
Yet as the flames die down new dreams are born. I see them pile
against the ever-open, dream-caught, dream-catching kitchen door.

14 comments:

Mary said...

" This is the orchard Adam knew where dreams are made accessible to those
who do not dream, who watch and wait and keep their minds awake. "

This poem is composed of many images that enrich my imagination!

And who can ever really know what form God will take...and where He will appear!

Kat Mortensen said...

"I dream
my neighbours' dreams. No doubt my neighbours will dream mine."

To coin a popular 1960s line, you've
"blown my mind" with this one, Dave.

I need to read it again, and again, ad infinitum.

(By the way, thanks so much for your comment on my photography. I treasure those words!)

Tabor said...

This poem has so many word images I need to re-read it. But our dreams becoming birds themselves and flying away...interesting.

Gerry Snape said...

so many images there I had to read through a few times.i love the first stanza in particular the first two linwes and then that lovely last line...where dreams lie in piles up against the kitchen door. Wonderful imagery...have to go back and have another go!

Brian Miller said...

dude...that last stanza rocks...the monkey putting flame to the church...i know what that means...smiles...we muck and muck...great piece...

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Vivid and visionary and yes, God is powerfully hidden, this poem has something in common with one by Elisabeth Bishop I am strongly tempted to put in my blog.

There's again a strong hint of a parable and images that get instantly chiselled in the mind.

jabblog said...

I've read this several times and each time find something new. Reading it aloud brings something else to it.

Windsmoke. said...

There are so many images going on here its mind boggling and most enjoyable :-).

The Elephant's Child said...

Thank you. Many thoughts are now rattling round in the cavern within my head.

Cloudia said...

"Any way you save them is allright with me."


I like your colloquial ease that gives your intellect room to breathe, Dave.


Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

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zongrik said...

nice story telling

sunny said...

Hi Mr Dave,beautiful post,like it very much.

haricot said...

I like one of your style that depicts long long span of our history( story)like this poem.
I shut my eyes and dream for a while when my dream was also my heighbour's, and open my eys to be widly aware of myself.

Dave King said...

Mary
Thank you for this and yes, you have picked on the salient point, that the form of God is forever unknown. Thanks.

Kat
I'm not sure whether to thank you or apologise. I didn't mean to go blowing minds!

Tabor
Thank you for this. It was one of those occasions when images came to surprise me as well - but they did all make sense, at the time anyway.

Gerry
Thank you so much for these comments. They do mean a lot.

Brian
Yup, we do muck, but sometimes the phoenix flies from the ashes. Thanks, a really useful response.

Tommaso
Elisabeth Bishop, eh? Can't get much higher than that, can I? Yes, I agree there is a hint of parable. I would suggest there is one, but if so it is - was - not consciously contrived.

jabblog
Well, thanks for that. Incredibly, I have not tried reading it aloud. That must be my next task. Grateful thanks.

Windsmoke
Thanks greatly - on both counts.

The Elephant's Child
Mmmm, thanks for this - I think!

Cloudia
Thank you very much for saying this. I did have a qualm but I wrote the whole poem at a quite high spedd and just sped on by the danger of a scruple raising it's ugly head.

Zongrik
Thanks for this.

sunny
Good to know this. Thanks.