Category Archives: the sky

drawing breath

Trees can be very big, and some of them are very old. Their character and way of life is complex, in many ways hidden, and very different from our own. They can make us pause and they can make us gasp.

drawing breath is a collection of twelve poems arising from a collaboration with visual artist Tansy Lee Moir.

I’ve made booklet with the poems, some photographs, and some of Tansy’s drawings, and I’ve also made a series of recordings of readings.  Hope you like them!

You can find links to all of these and more about our collaboration here.

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Curlew

An echoed note bends from my
throated whisper to pipe your name.

In the morning I will see
A curlew fly with purpose, horizon
Perpendicular to the driven path.

His bill less hooked than remembered,
His flight as strong as I recall,
His ghost cry stilled in passage.

RSPB’d data beats decreasing,
Awaits a weirder silent season,
As we glance shivers when you sing.

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The extramundane

Plate Ri-0 THE GREAT NEBULA OF ORION: This is a digital print of a photographic plate from the Ritchey 60-inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory, made in 1908. from the archive of the Carnegie Observatories, in Pasadena, California. more about this http://nautil.us/issue/32/space/these-astronomical-glass-plates-made-history

Plate Ri-0
THE GREAT NEBULA OF ORION: A digital print of a photographic plate from the Ritchey 60-inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory, made in 1908. from the archive of the Carnegie Observatories, in Pasadena, California.
more about this

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The extramundane

Not all spaces weigh the same.
There are variations. The depths and darknesses,
Volume, lightness, and quintessences, of
Every emptiness’s chiaroscuro.

Not all spaces are devoid of presence, some
Harbour unstated substance in subtle doubt,
Pass trembling semaphores of existence,
Harmonise plainsung intimations of light.

Not all spaces are rendered on our charts, still
Undiscovered emptier places may await. Nulls of
Colder, quieter, unexpressed embraces. Voids as
Void as only absence might surrender.

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Swift touches

Prowling baton points
Rifling air in appetite,
Yaw sickle curves,
Feathering down
Sinewed barley scallops,
Tipping perception,
As light and sure
As questioning
Fingertips.

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Whiteout

IMG_1872

Whiteout

Land’s stationary surface
Squeaking like meringue
To grip my marks,
Becomes a sudden sky.

I sense the edge.
I can’t see it,
But my stomach gives
A predictive lurch.

Ahead an uncreased page
Sweeps away, her seamless
Laid quite unperturbed
By marginal horizons.

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Go-around

On the crosswind leg of my circuit
I’m skirting iliotibial discomfort,
Navigating my cranky knees
Over the shoulders of the grey-green hill.

When at thirty-five hundred feet
The flying fish rise in silence,
Wind shielded in a near gale,
Until they skein by my side.

Condensing like a myth
Born from Maol’s upland ocean,
In crisp naval monochromes,
Three dozen barnacles bank as one.

They vee downwind southerly,
Leaving me grinning like a loon.
It’s only a practice ring around,
For their pinions sing of Svalbard.


Ellipsis

ellipis blinterBetween Tolmount and a hidden line,
I measure an unmarked phrasing of
Moor enfolded in highland sky,
Punctuating the alban laid,
As slow as still, but not quite.

Three hares birl a bonny dancer’s arc,
Lofting at an uncertain range to
Gaze unfazed through spindrift blinter.
They outflank my wallows with
Feral graces as quick as magic.

From waypoint stone to snow moled mark,
Steady as a better man’s faith,
I will hold my bearing true.
I will dot-n-dot-n-dot this beloved in-between,
Until the passage returns to ground.
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