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The other side of religious zealotry

  • 07 April 2015

Libation   To the earth my ancestors Offered the best or the first— Hindquarter, sheaf of wheat, blood— Respect for those spirits felt In tree, stream, stone, mystery: How and why sun and moon dance, How creatures and crops follow The seasons, where the dead go.   In my childhood, taught and blessed By revelation dogma, I gave thanks to that one god I soon judged didn’t exist, The bounty at our table Not his to bestow, but ours— The marvel of jump-stump ploughs, The charge of superphosphates, The chain gears in abattoirs— Man’s inventions helping man.   This full moon night I open A bottle of Welsh whisky, Pour some on the rooted earth Of our apple tree, listen To the wind jostle the leaves Of my thoughts. I have watched man Land on the moon and track signs For alpha and omega In the folds of particles And the spiral attractions Of galaxies, flowers, shells. Have heard reasons for murder In common streets, holy sites, The control of hierarchies. Have felt the chaos designs Of weather and human touch.   Though I can never be sure Of anything, life itself A mask out of mystery, I have once or twice found grace In meditation and out Of the corner of an eye, In forest, at sea-shore, With lover or new-born, A scintillation, a keen trace, Unplucked string resonating To a distant rare music, One part ceremony, one part dance, Presence that encourages And deserves honour, some chance For alliance—planet, self, Winds that rattle, disappear.  

Little Wattlebird   When I open the front door He has arrived at last, Swinging on the telephone wire Above the pink Camellia bush.   After each May Day, whenever Buds goose-bump its branches, I await his appearance, gold-winged, Advance scout for a family   Come to breed Generation after generation, This bush their nest barricade, Their nectar restaurant.   And each day he broadcasts Any one of nine sounds— The soft throaty Yekkop yekkop, That shnairt! of alarm,   Those squeaky trill-flourishes— Here I am, Keep clear, This is mine, The sun is shining— Often rousing us to our day,   His and theirs already started: Build a nest, feed a family, Teach fledglings to trust feathers, Perch on wire or branch, watching,   Till the nectar runs dry, The weather changes tune, The fledglings preen for mating— Time come for nomads