Glint

The wash of the moon

dream-limned

from a million eyes

streamed in

and brushed

against my face.

Awakened, I asked,

What is it that

you came to visit?

The moon replied,

This is not a love song.

I’ve brought you this:

It’s the dust

God shook off

his great coat

after he had stopped

arguing with

his younger self.

It’s the particles

of worlds

that vanished

before time

had a face

recognisable.

It’s the numbers

of the universe

broken up

by the tremor

of a bird’s

beating wing.

It’s the grain

that floats

among the stars

come to rest

as the glint and grit

in your eyes.

These things

are the fading

and the thrum,

the shadow

and the light of life.

Listen, see, speak.

Warwick McFadyen

The Wake

 
The surface breaks and in the parting
lines of ripples slip away.
They crest then fade into the fold
that swirls and sleeps under the spray.

This is the lapping of each moment
from rock of cradle to silent grave,
this is the voice that no longer travels
but for what it left and what it gave.

This is the widening wake, carrying
the echo and call of a life now past
to my shore-bound days. The water
runs through my hands. I hold it fast.

God’s Memory

The stars of the Large Magellanic Cloud

By Warwick McFadyen

The robber of your free will does not exist.

                                                     Epictetus

A fleck of dust

floating

in a stream of pale light,

a gleam that catches

the turning eye

then vanishes until the next turning.

The unfolding of a forgotten caress;

shadow in the crease of an hour;

first wrench of death;

last grasp of life;

these are all new, eternally new,

to you.

 

How many voices have risen,

still rise, to you?

Yes, you listened

didn’t you to every whisper and roar.

The air swirling around the trees

was your breathing,

your gasps, your quick inhalations,

and, let’s be honest,

in the muffled breeze

your yawns.

How easy it is, rising to you.

Are we not doing it now?

Silence becomes you.

 

It settles in the shape of a plateau;

rim to the horizon

from where all things fall.

Here’s the hard truth:

you touch no one.

We are the noisy ones,

roaring and screeching.

We say it is to you, but it is to us.

Everything is to us,

Even you.

We were never the hollow men

stuffed with straw.

We were, we are, we will

always be the shadow men

fading in and out of the day

as the day fades

in and out of the night.

Grey suits us.

It is the colour of the eye

that has forgotten its past.

Yet we say we see you

and you us:

if we were you, what would

be better because of us?

 

Have you noticed the veins

in the skeletal leaves

as they, too, bow to earth

in the rustle of the windblown?

We take more from the rose

than we can ever give back.

The green stem stretches to the sun,

the petal unfolds from the darkness,

Yet we expect more of it

than it is its nature to give.

We understand nothing.

It lives despite us, and yet

we wish it to grow within our world

as our creation, and our memory.

What vanity becomes a creature

more than it does us?

Our words brush against your skin,

sweeping the surface

with dulled ambition.

We imagine you as only we can:

for if we don’t who would?

That scar on your right cheek

do you remember how it happened?

No matter, it fades in certain light

and really, it’s nothing to do with us.

You’re old enough to look after yourself.

 

A dream once lived within us

that we had met on a staircase.

Or more precisely, you were waiting

at the top of the landing

while we tried to climb the impossibly

narrow steps as they rose in

circles to you. And here’s

the thing, Dante, hell is up

concentrically,

vertically.

Up.

You could have at least let it be known

that the higher we climbed

the smaller the horizon.

But that’s not your way.

We have to think of everything.

Even death.

The multitudes of death

that reside behind the eye

clinging to the socket.

The clawed death that rots

without name or owner.

These things cross our mind

as we climb.

 

And, with each step, we pass

the glints of light

beneath us and store the memory within.

Waiting, till we reach the top,

so that we might give it to you.

Warwick McFadyen (From The Life and Times of Mr Agio)