Sunday, 7 November 2010

36. Al-‘Ali – Life at its Peak

Suggests grand, exalted, Yes --- 'Have I not
stood, amazed, as I consider the perfection of the
morning star above the peaks of the houses' Mary Oliver

Ageless, as all children who
love and smile at evening
Andrew reaches outward to
women in the country, or
men within a township, or
pensioners in a café

asking us to be happy,
seize an instant of pleasure
(not to dream of the future,
long for ancient history) but
radiate outward smiling
presently and intensely

particle wave and heartbeat;
‘why not?’ he simply asks.

Did you ever do the same
as Andrew on that Christmas morning?
Sit up in bed, mouth dry from sleep,
holding a forelock of hair,
looking and feeling, slow, long and deep
for an old inner recess – gap between worlds –
so hard to access, where pulse can be felt,
and gaze out, blast
a song by the (eighty year old)
Sondheim – loud, discordant,
‘Being Alive! Beeeeeing Arrrliiiive!’
and scan round the room
awake with that sound now – and now with a question
profoundly Socratic, imp
of a stoat newly woken in Winter,
‘What’s Next?’ he asks and looks with intent
to urge out his question ‘What’s Next!?”
Well – did you ever?
Ping Pong
I kid you not. I once was in the Utah
desert when a middle aged lady
looked at a skunk woofing her pizza,
not daring to stop it because of
the pong. A line of toothmarks shrunk her dinner
to D, a half-zero, a part open tin,
like a button broken or a knob of lemon
bobbing about in a tonic and gin.

But that isn’t my motive here;
it’s more that, when the shaman suggested
we stay up all night guarding our circles
with fire and ritual to stop foxes and wolves,
the lady saw moons in the sky. Somber,
no alcohol, two moons, no kidding.

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