Lives of them Saints

i: Beautiful Death

Can a tree become a Saint?
Even a frail old elm beset
With auto fuel unburned
Cable rollout, and blight?
And was it a Saint as a sapling?
Or did it wildly sway
Care less, if it grew crookedly
Where its leaves might be falling
If its roots gripped right?

Its Miracle we believe we know:
Stone and light and water Grow
Sweet relief its dappled Shadow
(For gull as well as helpful crow)
An April Glow –
It’s just a tree
It does nothing intentionally;
Cathedral but not holy
No eyes to pluck or see
Freedom but not free;
It cannot praise a god
Nor can it suffer for a god
Nor merit fire from a god
Nor intercede –

Saving it might prove my own sainthood
Were I pure in my regard
But I’d be a fickle angel, I do not care
If it’s disembowelled, when twigs are bare.

ii: Loving Death

Alien chocolate is a civilised way to go
As I pass that way the chocolatier will know:
A melting moment, passion of compassion
Gentle fair trade cream of passing
A taste of what I was transmitted
I can’t use it and the chocolatier collects it
Regret, relief, and fear alike, made easy
Swapped, for a sugar posy of me.

The light still pours down Footscray way
And we exalted still warble hearts out
Flung wide to the great whatever
Still stumble, swoon, and sway
Fall drunk on bitter arses, and spout
Bullshit, without being a believer.

Love survives death, whose shadow is more powerful;
Chocolate might smooth one and coat the other, will
Not give you life or a love to come or a perfect world –
It’s confectionery, but for the moment trumps it all.

Grace in my breast where I had thrilled at what I dread
Seeping into off times where once I held my head
Grace, where only opiates and singing soothed my heart –
I can at last succumb to chocolate and, with grace, depart.

iii: St Cão, patron Saint of return

You know what’s good, you are stung by lies:
Even the Lord when He tells you He will Be Back Soon
And you’ll have a run and play ball or frisbees
Is off to a tragic aftermath or a summit in Cancun
And then the credit ceiling talks go on all night
And you and She have your things and even throw
But She won’t require advice on things of State
Like that malevolent thrush or crow.
Without a tongue, with too much tongue
Your drooling torment at the Door of Light
Of smells and scraps and rapt attention:
You may not move but neck stretched tight
May know bliss and might not miss His blessed
Charity when it descends and floor is messed.

He bears it so our hymn to him is a sigh
We turn as we sing it slowly seeking rest
And a tune would only cock his head awry
So for solace huff the one that smells best.
If cats though scornful hold the mysteries
It is in grass and poles and trees we read signs
Where he adds his own humble commentaries
And steaming green votary beneath pines.
If vaulting speed is the ecstasy of nature,
Our dismay over odour adoration is error:
Communion is immersion in wriggling ordure,
And fight, chase, and rough song, wholly warrior.
Mud the baptism and street water wine
This bone is the bread is the body divine.

Makeshift Hearts

Makeshift Heart IX: upon the decay and death of Thatcher

My beloved gave me a nutcase bell with a glowing green brain on it
The damn thing broke within a couple of days but I cannot remove it
And so as I go pedalling for my life I cannot help it my brain tinkles:
Synapses alight with chemical connection in creative destruction
Neural Darwin makes up my mind. By fits and by starts I love everybody
And such is my heaven, my humanist hell. I fly down the road, ringing.

We all tinkle along the high way feeling individual, checking the backdrop
Holding the stage and at once making shift the trees, buffeted by crosswinds
And making a little breeze. Internal to a fault and when we finally raise the head
It’s a mystery how we let the situation get so out of hand. And it shall so remain
It’s bigger than me or you, larger than intention, than community – but not a brain. Yet
Joy is bigger than my skull and fear and pain as well, but is all of it bigger, and what about

Surprise, and what do we mean when we love as a nation, a tribe, or a village?
Can the Commonwealth fear falling when iron and coal take a plunge? Fear incontinent death?
Its balls do not shrink nor can it get giddy nor hoarse with lust; undone with grief does it hold its head
Bawling in its pillow although it despised the prick or stagger fist first down the high street hoping
For relief? Can it stand outside her window hollering through snot risibly humiliated by trust?
Would it assault with a Hoover if that was to hand or chug whatever till it heaved its guts?

Surely not. The Baroness is a shadow, just like The Eternal General Secretary, Dear Leader,
And she steams to war the way my sister doesn’t, for one harsh word will halt our kind
But she, flickering storyboard, just gets rewritten and tested off off Broadway. Still steams
Her complications elsewhere, death-soft voice pealing Family but knocking Grandma
Down in the street going from office to office to bloody with a lie in her Gorbachev and Putin
Lying well in her future safely forgotten at a stroke. The trick is having a character, any

So delineated you may be the animal venal crushing the bones of small warm things
For fun and profit and them shitting beneath the footfall of sundry public in the broad way
As long as the act may be charitably read and without upchuck or adipose tears O repeated until
Glory, within the confines of your shadow. All it takes is a charade of consistency within
Your form to, upon your miserable passage to as daft oblivion as anyone’s, be considered,
With only boldness and rehearsal to your credit, our misery forgotten and history yours,

Great. Both sides use infallible bullshit detectors and both sides perfectly right
And we, we are bitter discovering the function of a gut is digestion not
Election. Baked goodness goes down a way our leaders do not, but both in the end turn
To shit. If we cannot string together thoughts of a minute how can the Commonwealth?
Leaves dashing against my north window have a better chance of collective wisdom
Meerkats at least alert. We prattle for years and now drone for billions, hysteria not even
Functional anymore. It was the making of us – some clarity could make it again.

I gave my beloved a ring to join us; my beloved gave one to me
And as part of that I am amazed how gentle I can be
And forced outside to tinkle and inside tinkle more
And captured by a thinking love which ties me to the law
And law in turn makes outlaws of whom love admits its truth
And outlaws public servants if they outlive their youth
And public servants influence as they grasp the way things fall
The green brain needs no cogs replaced: its tinkle tinkles all.