3. The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage


Jericho’s strange, throbbing with life at its heart –
people are drawn together, simultaneously torn apart….
Foundations are shattered in the city
inside the barricaded doors;
hiding behind their walls, lonely as night falls,
maybe the people are waiting for trumpets.

Babylon’s strange, seventh wonder of the earth –
gardens ablaze in colour, slowly rotting in the dirt
and, with your head on fire, you can’t really see.
The hanging gardens sing,
but with a hollow ring :
the life is false, it’s killing me….

Don’t look back or you’ll turn to stone;
look around before your life is overgrown
with concrete slabs.
On your back the searching eyes that stab
between chintz curtains, glinting,
but never owning to a name…
like the inmates of asylums
all the citizens are contagiously insane….

Atlantis is strange, the explosion of an age –
no-one really knows what to do,
and the city is a cage.
It traps in ashen hours and concrete towers,
imprisons in the social order.
The city’s lost its way,
madness takes hold today…
I can’t live under water.


Willie, what can I say to you
to hold true in your changing life?
You’ve come into a cruel world;
little girls can lose their way in the growing night…
I hope you’ll be alright.

Willie, try to stay a child sometime,
for as long as you feel you can learn.
Babies all turn to people
and people can really be strange;
they change and, changing, bring pain.

Try to treat your parents well because they care,
and what more can you do?
When you find your lovers, be good to them
as you hope they’ll be to you –
be honest,
be true.

Willie, you are the future;
all our lives, in the end are in your hands.
Life’s hard now; you know it gets harder
and hope is but a single strand:
we pass it on and hope you’ll understand….

We know that we do it wrong,
we’re not so strong and not so sure at all;
groping in our blindness,
we may seem big now but, really, we’re so
small and alone and searching for a home
in the night.

Meanwhile you’re still a baby;
you’ll be a lady soon enough
and then you will feel the burn.
So hold my words: people all turn to children,
spiteful children, and they’re really so cruel,
cruel fools!

Just follow your own rules…
don’t think that I’m silly, Willie,
if I say I hope that there is hope for you.

The Lie (Bernini’s St. Theresa)

Genuflection, erection in church.
Sacristy cloth, moth-eaten shroud.
Secret silence, sacred secrets
accumulate dust, aggravate the eye.

Incautious laughter after confession.
Benediction, fictional fear.
Hidden faces…Grace is a name,
like Chastity, like Lucifer, like mine.

You took me through the window-stain,
drowned in image, incense,
choir-refrain and slow ecstasy.
I’d embrace you if I only knew your name.

The silent corner haunts my shadow prayers.
ice-cold statue, rapture divine,
unconscious eyes, the open mouth,
the wound of love,
the Lie.

You took me, gave me reasons for
saints and missals, vigils,
all the more holy martyrs.
I’d embrace you and walk through
the one-way door.
I’d embrace you, but it would be
just another lie.

Forsaken Gardens

Where are all the joys of yesterday?
Where, now, is the happiness and laughter that we shared?
Gone, like our childhood dreams, aspirations and beliefs;
time is a thief, and he ravages our gardens,
stripping saplings, felling trees,
trampling on our flowers, sucking sap and drying seeds.
In the midnight candle-light of experience
all colour fades, green fingers grey.

Time, alone, shall murder all the flowers,
still, there’s time to share our plots and all that we call 'ours’.
How much worse, then, if we all deny each others’ needs
and keep our gardens privately?

Its getting colder, wind and rain leave gashes;
looking back, I only see the friends I’ve lost.
Fires smoulder, raking through the ashes
my hands are dirty, my mind is numb,
I count the cost of 'I’:
„I need to get on, I’ve got to tend my garden;
got to shut you out, no time to crave your pardon now”.

Now I see the garden that I’ve grown is
just the same as those outside;
the fences that, erected to protect, simply divide….
There’s ruination everywhere,
the weather has played havoc with the grass…
does anyone believe his garden’s really going to last?
In the time allotted us, can any man keep miserly his own?
Is there any pleasure in a solitary growth?

Come and see my garden if you wil,
I’d like someone to see it all before each root is killed.
Surely now its time to open up each life to all,
tear down the walls, if it’s not too late!

There is so much sorrow in the world,
there is so much emptiness and heartbreak and pain.
Somewhere on the road we have all taken a wrong turn…
how can we build the right path again?

Through the grief, through the pain,
our flowers need each other’srain….

Red Shift

Once, all the stars in the sky were bright,
now they’re red and fading
and all the colours we wore, the shades that we bore
have moved.
And the gold turns to red with no time for changes.
Red Shift, all moving away from we.

Once, constellations were holy, now darkness
pervades all the older ones
and in the brunt of implosion, all yesterday’s golden
now reddened suns
and hope is a word with no space for blame in.
Red Shift, displaced now in time and relativity,
Red Shift, all moving away from we.

So here I am, though I might well be with me,
I’m falling down deep to the rim of the wheel.
Is it sham?
Does the world have a meaning?
The more that we know , the greater confusion grows:
stars are like atoms, and atoms are patterns
and probably in the end
maybe its all been a dream ….

Time locked in negative matter,
all theories shatter beneath the weight.
Happy is the man who believes that the world
is a dream and all reason, fate.
And time moves on with no time,
the eye moves on with no rhyme,
and I’m a song in the depth of the galaxies.
Red Shift is taking away my sanity,
Red Shift, all moving away from we ….


I lay down beside you:
I am a unicorn, you a virginal maid,
and I come in laughing play
but, maybe, to be saved.

Peer through the backcloth:
I am a character in the play.
The words I slur are pre-ordained,
we know them anyway.

Don’t change your mind, don’t be a fickle friend;
don’t change your mind, don’t pretend
to something false.

Open the toy-box :
ou are Pandora, I am the World.
If you cross the stream, you never can return;
If you stay, you’ll surely burn.

Don’t change your mind, don’t come all orchid eyes;
don’t change your mind, don’t disguise the fear you feel,
it’s real, and you must
guard your castle well,
for I am the lone wolf and the boar at bay.
Grant me your Pax, you know we only live today,
and on, and on, and into
„So long”
It takes so long to drown,
it takes so very long to choke on the taste you’d spurned.
If you cross the stream you never can return,
If you stay you’ll surely burn.

A Louse is not a Home Przekład

Sometimes it’s very scary here, sometimes it’s very sad,
sometimes I think I’ll disappear; betimes I think I have.
There’s a line snaking down my mirror,
splintered glass distorts my face
and though the light is strong and strange
it can’t illuminate the musty corners of this place.
There is a lofty, lonely, Lohengrenic castle in the clouds;
I draw my murky meanings there
but seven years’ dark luck is just around the corner
and in the shadows lurks the spectre of Despair.

A cracked mirror 'mid the drapes of the landing:
split image, labored understanding…
I’m only trying to find a place to hide my home.

I’ve lived in houses composed of glass
where every movement is charted
but now the monitor screens are dark
and I can’t tell if silent eyes are there.
My words are spiders upon the page,
they spin out faith, hope and reason –
but are they meet and just, or only dust
gathering about my chair?
Sometimes I get the feeling
that there’s someone else there:
the faceless watcher makes me uneasy;
I can feel him through the floorboards,
and His presence is creepy.
He informs me that I shall be expelled.
What is that but out of and into?
I don’t know the nature of the door that I’d go through,
I don’t know the nature of the nature
that I am inside ….

I’ve lived in houses of brick and lead
where all emotion is sacred
and if you want to devour the fruit
you must first sniff at the fragrance
and lay your body before the shrine
with poems and posies and papers
or, if you catch the ruse, you’ll have to choose
to stay, a monk, or leave, a vagrant.
What is this place you call home?
Is it a sermon or a confession?
Is it the chalice that you use for protection?
Is it really only somewhere you can stay?
Is it a rule-book or a lecture?
Is it a beating at the hands of your Protector?
Does the idol have feet of clay?

Home is what you make it,
so my friends all say,
but I rarely see their homes in these dark days.
Some of them are snails
and carry houses on their backs;
others live in monuments
which, one day, will be racks.
I keep my home in place
with sellotape and tin-tacks;
but I still feel there’s some other Force here….

He who cracks the mirrors and moves the walls
keeps staring through
the eye-slits of the portraits in my hall.
He ravages my library and taps the telephone.
I’ve never actually seen Him,
but I know He’s in my home
and if he goes away,
I can’t stay here either.
I believe…er …I think…
well, I don’t know ……

I only live in one room at a time,
but all of the walls are ears and all the windows, eyes.
Everything else is foreign,
'Home’ is my wordless chant :
Give it a chance!

I am surrounded by flesh and bone,
I am a temple of living,
I am a hermit, I am a drone,
and I am boring out a place to be.
With secret garlands about my head
unearthly silence is broke,
the room is growing dark, and in the stark light
I see a face I know.
Could this be the guy who never shows
the cracked mirror what he’s feeling,
merely mumbles prayers to the ground where
he’s kneeling:
„Home is home is home is home is home is home is me!”?
All you people looking for your houses,
don’t throw your weight around,
you might break your glasses
and if you do, you know you just can’t see,
and then how are you to find
the dawning of the day?
Day is just a word I use
to keep the dark at bay
and people are imaginary, nothing else exists
except the room I’m sitting in,
and, of course, the all-pervading mist –
sometimes I wonder if even that’s real.

Maybe I should de-louse this place,
maybe I should de-place this louse,
maybe I’ll maybe my life away
in the confines of this silent house.

Sometimes it’s very scary here, sometimes it’s very sad,
sometimes I think I’ll disappear, sometimes I think ….. I….

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