Author Archives: Chris York

What Happened on St. David’s Day

What Happened on St. David’s Day

In school, we sang:
“Oh, great St David, still we hear thee call us,
unto a life that knows no fear of death”.

It was a life which celebrated song, music, dance
and above all the power and the art of poetry.
Poems were written to exacting form
and the best awarded the highest of honours.
They were learnt by heart by children
who recited them in unison in front of an audience.

We sang about the mountains and the rivers
of the land we loved,
of the blackbird, the thrush, and the cuckoo,
of David of the White Rock,
of idle days in summertime
that lovers spent together,
and lullabies for babies.
We even celebrated the privy at the end of the garden
where the wind blew cold through the cracks,
every morning. ‘The little house ‘we called it.

We sang about loving and living life to the full
and the sound of the Golden Harp
that would sweeten our deaths.
We surrounded ourselves with daffodils
and we laughed a lot.

Sacred Love

Sacred Love

Once I dreamt
that I was a photon
travelling from the sun to the earth
and being drawn into a green leaf.

How happy I was
to be passed along
a membrane in a thylakoid
from one phospholipid to another;
a heavenly chain in a chloroplast.

The mechanism was divine.

I was ecstatic
to be part of the amazing energy capture
the splitting of carbon dioxide and water
the production of oxygen, ATP and food.

St Theresa of Avila’s visions
paled beside the stupendous significance
of my encounter with creation.

It was love of the most sublime kind.
And still I feel it when the trees
open their leaves in spring.

Recycling

Recycling 

 

The blue bag is where we put the paper,
scrunched up drafts, drawings of cats.  Bad poems.
We shred our details, deny any I.D. caper.

We have the council rules written down verbatim.
The big white bag to fill with plastic bottles
of a certain size. To go against the ruling is grim.

The whys and why nots would confuse Aristotle.
I’m not saying that the recycling men like to nag,
to be cost effective they have to work full throttle.

We are provided with four different bags.
They like us to wash and remove the paper from the tins.
The food is squelchy and the green bag sags.

Fish dish, offish squish, sluggish rubbish, in
largish smallish, fiendish frumpish, cherish perish, and grin.

Going Nowhere

Going Nowhere 

My parents marched me along a straight road
through the city
with signposts to church, to school
and to the bank.

Left to myself,
I followed the animal tracks on paths
zigzagging through the countryside,
inscribed on ancient maps.

Among Twenty Snowy Mountains

Among Twenty Snowy Mountains. 

 

Big-bellied ogres curled up in the sunlight
repel the terrors of the night.

Crossing a single bridge into a village
shall far out pass the power of human telling

of any misery in the sound of the wind
when disappointment, grief and fear are gone

in a repetitiousness of men and flies
grant heaven’s joy to me, O bright heaven’s sun.

Yet (in) the absence of the imagination
days of man are like grass as the wind passes over, it goes.

They were those that would have wept to step barefoot into reality
when in strange and awful strife met together, death and life.

They were those from the wilderness of stars that had expected more
and their glad hearts with holy rapture burn(ed).

The leaf that has fallen from the branches of the forsythia
tell(s) the world the good news story.

At the edge of the shadow
awake and rise from the dead.

I know no magic trees, no balmy boughs
by whom the work of truth is done.

And I reach to the shore of the sea,
grant us to live, from death set free

the luscious and impeccable fruit of life;
the stars shine only in darkness.

The honey of heaven, may or may not come
when life away is flying.

Lines from Wallace Stevens ‘The Palm at the End of the Mind’ and ‘Collected Poems’
and from early 19th century and earlier, ‘Hymns – Old and New ed. by Kevin Mayhew et al.

Two Bags

Two Bags 

Mine is black leather, many pockets,
full of tubes and shampoos, just in case medicines and plasters,
phone chargers, cardis, panties in corners,
clothes rolled tightly to avoid creases.
An ark for various shoes.

His is brown leather, and still roomy,
shirts and trousers ready for hanging,
pyjamas and underpants
toilet bag, little else.

And if there are no hangers in the hotel wardrobe
it is the worst hotel on the planet.

 

Futurisms

Futurisms

 

If she can do it, I can do it
if I buy it, try it, I’ll be it.
Like the model on the advert:
young and lithe.  No anxiety.

I might be the one in two,
the one in four, or the one in ten,
or I might live on horrendously,
to a grand old, sightless immobility.

Tomorrow I could read a book,
forsake my nook,
become a warrior and look
at life from a different epoch.

Read Me

Read Me 

It’s not that I think I’m right
It’s not that I want to present the facts
It’s not that I think you are wrong
It’s not that I want to change anyone.

I just want you to see it
how I see it
and spend time with me.
With this.

Out to Pasture

Out to Pasture

 

Restless, flexing and kicking,
rebellious and un-coordinated;
slowly I reigned you into my needs.

You became two white steeds
pulling this carriage up and down the days.
I promoted you to a position of highest trust:
relied on you completely.
Showed you off to my advantage.

It’s not that I thought you would go on forever,
it’s just that you never warned me,
buckled under me
on a sunny day
in Cardiff Bay.