Monday, 29 November 2010

Beyond Reaction

When I react I cannot really feel.
When I respond I scratch the surface
of an undernourished part of me
that connects with what is real.
When I think from the heart
and my body is at peace
I reconnect each disparate part
of that thing we call the psyche.
Sometimes I know and feel
that all that ever was and is and will be
is present here in the Eternal Now
and every note of music born
in fury or in scorn
will reach an end and die
and change its form and live and breathe
in pastures new and pastures old
where there are bridges
that renew, revitalise
and reconnect the active and the passive forces
which fuse and give new birth
to a creation cleansed of lies
and the cul-de-sac of inner dialogue.
There, where heaven and earth
are of no account,
is that realm beyond the two
where neither superstition nor cold logic
come close to what is True.

© Geoff Davis 2010

Friday, 19 November 2010

What is God?

I was partly inspired to write this poem after reading this blogpost What is God? from Professor Jacob Needleman (he has also written a book with the same title which, as yet, I have not read), Professor of Philosophy at  San Francisco State University. Not only did I find his writing intellectually satisfying but it also had a profoundly calming effect on my solar plexus. (Since writing the above I have read the aforementioned book which I found both thought-provoking and uplifting. It has a measured tone and intelligence which is rare in most writing on this subject.)

What is God?

God is where
the ego has no voice,
where Conscience has an objectivity
beyond a culturally or religiously conditioned conscience,
where humility has confidence and innocence and insight
and belongs to everyone and no one.

God is where
every violent thought and feeling and movement
falls away into Silence,
where there is no argument nor explanation nor analysis.

God is where
words and numbers dance
exchanging clothes and meaning
in a Universe that both confuses and delights.

God is where
the labels that we attach to others and to ourselves
have no value
and where we people
are trying to Understand and to Be
in as much as our limitations will allow.

God is where
the thoughts, that turn around in circles and torment,
surrender and acknowledge their own impotence,
where reaction is replaced by reflection.

God is where
the personal and the abstract,
the allegorical and the actual

© Geoff Davis 2010

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Three Weeks Later

This morning I was thinking of a conversation I had with my father three weeks before he died, seven and a half years ago, and I remembered I wrote a poem about it. Strange how you speak straight from the heart, without thinking anything out beforehand, when someone you love is dying.

Three Weeks Later

"Something’s come over me," he said.
Three weeks later he was dead.
"I don’t believe in anything," he said.
Three weeks later he was dead.
"I don’t want to do anything," he said.
Three weeks later he was dead.
"I don’t think anything matters," he said.
Three weeks later he was dead.
"You think things matter," he said
And I paused and scratched my head.
"Most of the things that we think matter," I replied
Just three weeks before he died
"Don’t matter in the least," I sighed
Just three weeks before he died.
"But some things matter," I replied
Just three weeks before he died.
"And there is never nothing," I replied
Just three weeks before he died
"There is always something," I replied
Just three weeks before he died
"So I believe in something," I sighed
Just three weeks before he died
"Even if I don’t know what that something is," I said.
Three weeks later he was dead.
"Yes," he said. "There’s always that."
And that concluded our little chat
And I like to think that discourse gave
Something he took with him to the grave.

© Geoff Davis 2003

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

A Dedication To The Sea (A translation of one of Raimondo Selenu's poems along with the Italian original)

A Dedication To The Sea
by Raimondo Selenu

I sit silently beside you
between the memories
of an old sailing boat
and the future hopes
of a speedy motorboat.

I feel
like a small child
who listens attentively
to what it is you have to say.

Your way of speaking impresses me.

I am the sand that loves the waves
and lives in the immensity of your breath,
listening to the song
of the reef.

Alongside you I appear so small
amongst the pebbles
smooth with age
and shells
that dwell within you.

I curl myself up like a small child
finding nourishment
in fairy tales and adventure stories.

I adore your way of speaking.

© Raimondo Selenu (Trans. from the Italian by Geoff Davis)

And this is the Italian original:-

      Dedicato Al Mare

Mi siedo silenzioso accanto a te,
                 tra i ricordi
  di una vecchia barca a vela
             e le speranze
     di un motore fuoribordo.

                Mi sento
     come un piccolo bambino,
                che ascolta
          ciĆ² che hai da dire.

Mi impressiona il tuo modo di parlare.

     Sono sabbia che ama le tue onde
        e vive nell'immenso tuo respiro
            nell'ascolto del tuo canto
                   alla scogliera.

     Mi faccio piccolino accanto a te
                      tra i sassi
               levigati dai tuoi anni
                      e conchiglie
                 che abitano in te.

Mi accuccio come un piccolo bambino
                     per nutrirmi
             di fiabe e di avventure.

        Adoro il tuo modo di parlare.

© Raimondo Selenu

You can read more of my translations of Raimondo's poems here

Thursday, 22 July 2010


So here I am in Nuoro,
this untidy mess of a town
which is nonetheless endearing.
"Il comune non fa niente!"*
is what I keep on hearing.
Sun scorched scruffy weeds
and dirt and litter adorn
the uneven pavement
while some have sought
to see to feline needs
with a plate or two of fish-heads
left out for the strays;
the buildings blighted by graffiti,
beautiful and ugly in equal measure
and cars parked curiously
at strange angles from the kerb.
And then the gems, the treasure:
the stunning vista of the mountains
from Via Aspromonte
and the valley between Mt Ortobene
and the edge of town;
how Via Corso Garibaldi
comes to life on summer evenings,
the bars packed and thriving,
the Nuorese of every generation
walking up and down
with youth, beautiful and tanned,
showing its propensity
for elegance and style;
the museums displaying
the cultural heritage of a town
that gave us Nobel Prize winning writer
Grazia Deledda and poet Sebastiano Satta
and artists and sculptors
whose charming works beguile.
Nuoro is like a woman
whose potential beauty sometimes delights,
occasionally astounds and also frustrates
wrapped up in the frumpy clothing
of habit and convenience
that draw attention to
the lines upon her face
but seldom have I known
people of such warmth and generosity
inhabit any other place.

Geoff Davis © 2010

* The council do nothing!

View from Via Aspromonte

Dear Father (After Your Passing On March 5th 2003)

Despite my grief, bereavement and my pain,
And how your passing left me so distressed,
Perhaps in passing when you did, dear father,
You were blessed.

And although I miss your ego-less humility,
Now you’ve shuffled off this mortal coil,
You never witnessed the killing that had no connection
With oil.

You were spared the horrors on the TV screen,
The splintered skull with brains poured out
And Iraqi children discovering there were limbs
They were without.

You were too sensitive, too kind for such a time,
Your keen intelligence never drove you where
Your ambition and "integrity" almost forced you
Not to care.

And driven are those men who authorised
The use of force to deal with Iraq
Who dared to trade its oil in Euros. "Impertinent!

"Weapons of mass destruction." " Sexed up dossiers!"
You never used such hyperbolic terms.
You lived for painting and the garden that you shared
With worms.

And now another man of simple dignity, like you,
A scientist almost thirty years your junior, has died
Because we do not value the sacrifice of vanity
And pride.

Nearly forty years ago, dear father, you wrote a play
In which there were no actors playing any dark games.
We children then, perhaps, were sheltered from their cruelties
And aims.

No more.

 Geoff Davis © 2003

Monday, 7 June 2010

The Day My Father Died

The day my father died
The staff nurse from the hospital telephoned to let us know
"Your father passed away," she said, "ten minutes ago"
And I cried.
The day my father died
I walked to the Post Office and back
And every voice and sound
And revving car engine
Seemed to lack
Any sort of Conscious Life;
And I wondered if this world
I’m passing through
Is the real world of death,
Driven by a restless energy
Possessing and controlling us
In contrast to the peace and stillness
Of my father’s face
After drawing his last breath.
The day my father died
I lay awake upon my bed
At some mid-evening hour
And my tiny room was host
To an energy of such
Rare quality and power
That I could sense
The circulation of my blood
And every ounce of flesh
From head to toe.
Something so immense,
An in-pouring of love and gratitude
Which fast became a flood.
The Comforter was there,
Whatever you perceive
The Comforter to be,
Turning my bereavement
And my sorrow
Into an other-worldly ecstasy.
The day my father died
I hated you, Professor Dawkins
And then I laughed
At that proud intellect
So one-dimensional and unintelligent
In a wider sense
And blind enough to say
That any extraordinary experience,
Which ordinary language
And scientific formulas
Cannot convey,
Is illusory.
Professor Dawkins,
My father knew
He was no Pythagoras
And nor are you.
© Geoff Davis 2003