1. after a metalcut by Maxine Relton
Dusky gold on mountains
mirrored in their view
bathed in moonlight--
You have come to the final passage of night.
To close your eyes and find yourself
in a heaven of mountains
all made of a lava-flow of gold.
And depth and height are one,
and depth and height were one.
Tell us the name of these mountains,
they are the Midnight Sun.
And walking on air, on cloud
and walking on ground are
one dream of the sun.
The other is being one
with everything you see now,
all senses tuned to luminous night
when even the tip of your tongue turns to gold
your radiant smile not of this world
but of a world you've always known.
Sudden inversion, savage separation
when you withdraw, then use the knife
Your explanation, what keeps you intact
with all you say you don't like
despite all that was good
you have succumbed to black and white.
Fire frightens you. You hide
and the blackness beckons...
What else is it
that can so take you over
inside from your distance
so you can no longer see ?
It must be the light that has no eyes
and no mercy
Do you remember ? The glassy pond
behind the old mill house with its stream
there among the fields, in a cleft
between rising bank and fence...
It had been raining as we walked
then as we climbed to its edge
looking among the overhanging trees
to where the little boat is moored
the sun came out, as the raindrops
began to drip from the branches
onto the meniscus of the water
and as they fall, sparkling
catching fire with the light !
Each one flaring firefly-like
then its bubble bursting--
as soon as seen, gone...and we
held our breath standing there
in the beauty of it, and the light
that shone back through the gunnera
veined, transparent, touched you too
as the raindrops went on falling, igniting
and the light that made us ache
to see it, in its blazing truth
pressed up against our hearts for an answer.
The dark illuminates the light
as you tell me he said
with his brushes strapped to his hands
in the last days of his life
thinking he was just starting to understand
And you, with your black dyed hair
careworn face and blue-deep eyes
with the light within you, as invisibly
breaking through in your hidden smile
under your lips and their dark red gloss
like a sun within a sun
And the mystery, that all your suffering
could have made you shine like this
made you or broken you, since you are
tall and white, bare-legged, angelic
in your short skirt and silver sports car
Angel with nothing but your art ?
Do we know what shining is ?
If we can tell false light from true
then we've begun (just begun) to see
along a road that leads into darkness
where the reasons of our lives are concealed
revealed, tenuous as invisible ink
sweated through each pore of our skins,
only as we live them.
Years of nothing
as if nothing could ever happen, you say
and then imagine, a wooden hut
down off the beaten track
he's suddenly walking towards
as you all follow after him;
a platform outside, two hundred of you,
twenty invited to sit with him:
crowding slowly in, shoulder to shoulder,
he announcing simply that this is Sitting Still Hut
and then, closing your eyes, feeling him that close
going inside out
through your heart
your heart your only awakening, this
and now however dark it seems (and is)
you know a love that goes beyond all breaking
the only thing you'd want
if your house was burning
your own heart his eyes shine back to you
as other, and yet One...a liquid sun.
Meanwhile, in the Land of the Midnight Sun
(two hours ahead, at the present time)
it is also orange neon, in Anywhere City
One World in the world's night
All its illustrious pyramid-past, a fragment
an endlessly drawn-out treasure hunt
for the worship of gold
that will never save us
until we realize it is only
a symbol and substitute
for the light of the spirit.
© Jay Ramsay 2004