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.