After Bill Viola’s 'Tiny Deaths'

Flock of flags in prayer
            run the imagined edge
                        of a brick-backed
                                    Portobello council flat.

In colour faded by wind and rain
            spelling out a story
                        of grass and granite,
                                    beach and the spring

of salt-water spray,
            the thin line between
                        earth and rock.
                                    No I shall not

call that music; it is more
            the cry of a foghorn,
                        the nights when the
                                    rain is a mist of wet air.

The keenings and the darkness.
            When the figures come,
                        their bodies just visible
                                    before stepping out into light.

I am blinded by what
            they saw.  Shadows moving
                        on a wall of
and a car passing by.

Under Construction

Walk around with me; it is a small town exploding.
Everywhere, the next & the next & the next cycle ad infinitum -

It is a town wrapped in the space of concrete;
blocks cluster in-between.

I want breath for I have seen hills & swamps,
a thousand towers rise and split into air.

I have seen air and want to remember it.

Do not think about place; it is an idea.
Do not think about absence; it is here.

Here by the shore I must rest and wait for red lanterns to rise like red love hearts.
In the dark water I see their reflections as ripples & stars,

like an explosion of hearts; like stars exploding into moon.

Sounds I

In the noise of everyday things, comes speech
of the kind that tries to talk in repeated motion;
mulch to the grounds of thought, 
the grist and grind of machines on the whir.

They whisper in your dreams and, when you wake,
have cleaned the dishes, washed the clothes,
carried you down past canal boats and cars,
past mechanism, into a digital age.

Where things hum an alien, unknowable language
of binary and buzz.

Wood Land

A truck grunts and heaves up the hill
beyond Vigeland Park. Far off hammering
carries on the winter’s air.

Nestled in the wood, the leaves
cut under trees an arc
round open ground of glacier and ice.

A beech dreams of new life and flings
its arms to the sky.

The leaf is a microcosm;
its fringes are fjords
rounding the top of an undiscovered headland.

The sides fold over,
parchment in prayer of russet and vein;

what it whispers is as untranslatable
as a winter’s day.