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.)