Saturday, 2 July 2011

Che cos'è Dio?

(This is a translation into Italian of my poem What Is God?)

Che cos'è Dio?

Dio è dove
l'ego non ha voce,
dove la Coscienza ha una oggettività
più di una coscienza
culturalmente o religiosamente condizionata,
dove l'umiltà ha confidenza e innocenza e perspicacia
che appartiene a tutti e a nessuno.

Dio è dove
ogni pensiero, sentimento e movimento violento
sparisce in Silenzio,
dove non c'e polemica
nè spiegazione nè analisi.

Dio è dove
le parole e i numeri ballano,
si scambiano i vestiti e i significati
in un Universo che insieme confonde e delizia.

Dio è dove
le etichette che affibbiamo agli altri
e a noi stessi
non hanno valore,
è dove noi persone
stiamo provando a Capire e a Essere
tanto quanto le nostre limitazioni permettono.

Dio è dove
i pensieri che girano in circolo,
e ci tormentano,
rinunciano e ammettono la loro propria impotenza,
dove la reazione è sostituita dalla riflessione.

Dio è dove
il personale e l'astratto,
l'allegorico e l'attuale
si uniscono.

© Geoff Davis. (Translated from the English by the author and M R Selenu)

Monday, 27 June 2011

You Are A Gift

 Three years ago this very day a lovely Italian lady from Sardinia stepped off a plane from Olbia at Bristol Airport and Maria Rita and I met for the first time. It was a meeting that has completely changed the course of my life and something for which I will be eternally grateful. This is a poem I wrote for her a few days ago.

You Are A Gift

You are a gift.
I had resigned myself
to such a gift eluding me
and then I witnessed
a miracle unfold,
an alchemical process
turning base metals into gold.
You are that gold,
it emanates from every pore
and illuminates your face
every time you smile,
every time I catch those eyes
that lighten every burden
real or imagined,
every time I feel humbled
before your generosity.
What have I done
to merit being brought
to such a perfect place?
My expectations did not run
to thinking I could meet
with such a blessing.
How could I ask for more?

© Geoff Davis 2011


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Distance Our Reason Has Travelled

We should question the distance
our reason has travelled
when our reason cannot contain
the force and the speed
of negative emotional reaction
afflicting us again and again
with its often cruel expression;
cannot divert its energy
and enable us to feel
more consciously, more objectively.

We should question the distance
our reason has travelled
when our reason may lead
to the smug self-satisfaction
with which we justify our arrogance,
confusing it with clarity,
mistaking passivity for action.
No clear thinking oasis can
arise from the pitiless indifference
of a universe or man
shorn of conscience and compassion.
We can only be intelligent
when we feel what we reason.
I have a long way to travel.
You have a long way to travel.
We have a long way to travel.

Geoff Davis © 2011

Monday, 13 June 2011

Just After Mum Had Had A Stroke

It's four years ago today that my mother died aged 90. So to honour her memory here's a poem I wrote about her just after she had had the stroke which eventually led to her death.

Just After Mum Had Had A Stroke

Where has that voice and smile gone?
The delight at Stephen Gerrard scoring
Or hearing a Joni Mitchell song like
Marcie or Both Sides Now?
She is old, I know, but how unkind
That such a sudden fall should take away
The speech which she relied upon
At a stroke.

Clearly visible, behind
The near fruitless efforts to communicate,
Is the fierce intelligence I knew last week,
The sum total of ninety years of life. 
The years of cooking recipes and tending roses,
Of reading Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse,
Of being a mother and a wife
Who always cared and showed an interest
And was obsessed with never being late!
Already I miss her voice
And the woman that she was
And will never be again
Or so the pessimist in me supposes.

It is a son's duty to honour and cherish his mother
So Gurdjieff reminded us.
Well, I felt a sense of obligation
And I have tried, I have tried
I had no other choice.

© Geoff Davis   2007

From the Voice of a Machine to the Quality of Being

I was fascinated to read recently how a central part of Native American culture is to exercise care and economy in their use of language. This is a poem on that theme.

From the Voice of a Machine to the Quality of Being

"We must sharpen our barbs
to the point where it really hurts"
came from the voice of a machine
which displays a lack of quality,
no quality of feeling,
no quality of thinking,
no quality of any kind.

The energy of hostility and contempt
touches whatever labels
the machine attaches itself to
through whatever hollow victories
its violence may find.

The Native American likened words
to beautiful stones
which when lifted
should be viewed from every side
before their use
and that tossing them around
without thinking or respect
needlessly hurts
irrespective of the artificial pride
that claims the wounded
got their just deserts.

He was no fool.
The fool is he
who is dismissive of
honour and nobility
and whose mechanistic logic
claims as palpably false
the Great Spirit of
a culture and mythology
he does not understand.
I repeat,
the Great Spirit of
a culture and mythology
he does not understand.
He is stupid who is clever
when the cleverness
is blind to seeing
the quality of Being.

© Geoff Davis

Saturday, 11 June 2011

My Slavery

How I am drawn to my slavery!
How I almost welcome
its magnetic attraction,
its sweet taste of familiarity;
but the sweetness contained therein
is free from any nutrients.
I am disconnected, partial, dispersed
until confronted by discomfort
at how a certain quality of feeling,
that my heart wishes to embrace,
is lost in theory and thinking,
imagination and sleep.
There are too many words
which serve as an obstruction
to the realisation of Conscience,
a Conscience not limited
to the petty certainties
of mechanistic logic
and its veiled subjectivity,
a Conscience which says:
"I wish to Be,
I wish to reconnect
those disparate parts within
which are dividing me."

© Geoff Davis

Friday, 10 June 2011

Empty Vessels

To win a friendship back
Lost through the tangled overgrowth
Of motives misunderstood and feared
It is difficult, it is difficult
But not impossible.
The faith which moves mountains
Does not move mountains,
It merely watches them slide away
Clear the decks, round the vision,
Answer to the soul
With a curious precision
For longing and wanting
Are symptomatic of division
And Being is beyond
Where conflict has no hold
And empty vessels
Carry gold.

© Geoff Davis

(Previously published in the anthology Poetry Now South West.)

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Some Other Kinds of Poems - Songs by Geoff Davis

Web music player

Stay Around

Can you lift me from this coldness
This indifference, this distance?
I've hurt too long and hard
And I'm needing your assistance.
Haggling and legal fees,
The chill of bitter memories,
Blackmail, its counterparts,
Memorial to broken hearts.
Can you help me open out again?

Can you take this resignation,
Can you help it gather rust?
Can you show me a different way,
A different world where there is trust?
With cynicism outward bound
Is tenderness what we've both found?
Is it a kind of peace which starts
And says goodbye to frozen hearts?
Can you help me open out again?

Can you lift me, pick me up, dust me down,
dust me down?
Can you take me, give me hope, stay around,
stay around?

Guitar solo

Repeat of Verse One and Chorus

Who Are Your Tears For?

Persuasive and so erudite
You bully in an argument
As worthless as a fistfight,
Catching votes is your intent.
Armed with statistics which
Deceive but never lie
The fixed ideas you ought to ditch
Will once again apply
So who are your tears for now it's over?
For the schizos on the streets
Whom every policy defeats
Who are your tears for now it's over?

Paraphrase and cliche rules
The press must have its say
And language thus the tool of fools
Where truth can't find a way.
You hypnotize with rhetoric
Which reinforces prejudice
The ad campaign is oh so slick
Though substance it will miss.
So who are your tears for now it's over?
Can you hear the thousands sob
Who have also lost a job?
Who are your tears for now it's over?

We must interrupt, assert ourselves so
Cause ours is the view you must know.

Imagination seems to be
An excess of desire
Over one's ability
And so will feed the liar
Who knows not where the secret lies
With his vouchsafed monopoly
On truth and all its alibis
Which smack of slavery.
So who are your tears for now it's over?
For all those you take for fools
Who would question all your rules?
Who are your tears for now it's over?
Who are your tears for now it's over?
Who are your tears for now it's over?
Who are your tears for now it's over?


Psychotic's Lament

It seems as though the chips are down
You feel you wear a madman's crown
And all your so-called friends are out of town.
No phone calls or no letters come
And everyone you know looks dumb
Or could it be just you they wish to shun?

And they say you're crazy
Cause you've been away
To a farmyard hazy
So fun to stay.

The lady in the upstairs flat
You wonder what she's staring at
You've never seen a look as strange as that.
And every job that you may seek
You've been refused before you speak
Your history has branded you as weak.


Instrumental and chorus

So ostracized you may be sore
As each one drops the mask he wore
The pose of being friendly and mature.
And then you find someone like you
Whose misconceptions are as few
You know your world of dream is largely through.

Chorus three times

Carrie's Song

You talk as though nobody could
need somebody like you
Why is it not understood
that some of us can see
Heart and affection
Giving kindness some direction
Let it show and you'll know
who loves you.

You're looking to a stranger
who one day will entrance you
But remember the danger
of the devil you don't know
Who won't let you grow
Friends maybe see there
The you who wants to be there
Let it show and you'll know
who loves you

I've always felt that you were one
who had lots going for you
When all the tears and brooding's done
you sparkle and you glow
And then I find you so
So much fun to be with
And it's something I agree with
Let it show and you'll know
who loves you

Now I cannot deny
that you do something for me
Sometimes I wonder why
you back off like you do
When I aspire to
Strength and understanding
Without being too demanding
Let it show and you'll know
who loves you

Message From The Other Side

It's so sad when you act and play the fool
The thoughtless and unconscious things you do which are so cruel
It's so sad when you act and play the fool

It's so sad when you cause another pain
Through agitated feelings which you sometimes must restrain
It's so sad when you cause another pain

Can you find yourself forgiving me?
Can you see just who I am?
What moves and what inspires me,
Please look at if you can

It's so sad when there's someone turns away
Because of all those crazy things you didn't have to say
It's so sad when there's someone turns away

It's so sad when you're reaching out to touch
But can't give unconditionally you find you ask too much
It's so sad when you're reaching out to touch.


Instrumental break


Somebody's Leaving

All that irritation is looking for release
So the fooling and the teasing, maybe it has to cease
Well, light-hearted banter is fair enough I know
But offending sensibilities, that's what has to go

And now somebody's leaving
Who has sometimes done us proud
So cry a little, yes, cry a little
Some tears they are allowed.

We have to remember not to give what we can't take
And not push some poor child to the point where they will break
And if we're friends together we can rise above in trust
And show the force of friendship means we're here in more than dust


Some things can't be forgotten but are maybe best ignored
If we hammer vulnerability calamity is assured
So maybe we'll remember more the content of the heart
Where it's pure and open is the point where we should start


If You Need A Friend

It's so hard to trust, so hard to trust
We scrutinise intentions, is it tenderness or lust
It's so hard to know, so hard to know
If someone's caring spirit is a pose about to go

But if you need a friend
Who'll make you feel at ease
I'll talk and share a coffee with you
Any time you please
If you need a friend
Who doesn't want to take
I'll always do my best to soothe
Wherever you may ache.

It's so hard to break, so hard to break
Away from those who've hurt us with our foolish pride at stake
It's so hard to see, so hard to see
How feelings are ephemeral and they feed our vanity


It's so hard to win, so hard to win
When we've let somebody get right under our skin
It's so hard to let, so hard to let
Go of something precious which we never could forget.


The Eagle And The Scorpion

The eagle and the scorpion
comes out to share a drink
Her teasing eyes maybe don't see
as much as she might think
The yin and yang are muddled
but they're sure to balance out
We have to savour what
so many others are without.

So look at the way through
the hills and the valleys
The open roads and
the concealed alleys
And listen to the voice
which hails from within
Cause God knows you can win.

A smile so slight and yet so sweet
may hint at what she knows
Her guarded sensibility
occasionally shows
But now is all there is so now
we might as well relax
And deal the joker and the ace
from our respective packs.


The whisky and the dry white wine
were speaking at the time
Discussing the significance
of the number nine
But still it seems there's such a large
and unexplored domain
The joy is in the gathering of
the harvest from the grain


All lyrics © Geoff Davis

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

There Is A Gentleness/C'è una gentilezza

There Is A Gentleness

There is a gentleness
Which is neither soft nor sweet
But emanates from strength.

There is a gentleness
Which stills the storms and violence,
The anger and the lashing out,
The search for scapegoats and excuses.
And when the all familiar folly
Shapes to repeat

There is a gentleness
Which silences the neurotic
And silences the lout.
Even if in some strange context
They both can have their uses.

There is a gentleness
Which works from inner silence,
Soothing and hypnotic,
The inner chattering falls away
And then

There is a gentleness
Which is reflective in the face of loss,
Allows a real Conscience
To speak.
It is only when violence and frustration
Come into play
That I should ask myself
"Why am I so weak?"

© Geoff Davis 2004

C'è una Gentilezza 

C'è una gentilezza
che non è debole nè dolce
ma viene dalla forza.

C'è una gentilezza
che calma le tempeste e la violenza,
la rabbia e l'agitazione,
la ricerca di capri espiatori e scuse
è quando tutta la familiare follia
comincia a ripetersi

C'è una gentilezza
che zittisce il nevrotico
e zittisce lo zoticone
anche se in qualche strano contesto
entrambi possono avere la loro utilità.

C'è una gentilezza
che viene dal silenzio interiore,
rassicurante e ipnotica.
I pensieri rumorosi vanno via
e poi

C'è una gentilezza
che si riflette in un senso di vuoto,
permette alla vera Coscienza
di parlare.
E' solo quando la violenza e la frustrazione
di nuovo
che devo chiedere a me stesso:
"Perchè sono cosi debole?"

(Translated into Italian by the author and M R Selenu - 2011)

Friday, 4 February 2011

Let No Man Say There is an End

'A poor poet imitates, a good poet steals' said T S Eliot. I have to confess that I 'stole' a line or two of this short piece from T.S. Eliot himself (from 'Little Gidding' one of 'The Four Quartets') in the full knowledge that I was doing so.

Let No Man Say There Is An End

Let no man say there is an end
For no end fails to mark a new beginning.
Mankind, bacteria of the Universal Mind,
Subject to decay and death and re-creation
Running through a river of relentless change.
Expose the secret of vibration
Then there is no end, and no beginning;
There is everything.

© Geoff Davis

from Behind The Mask (Outposts Publications) 1981