Stifled – A Voice For The Animals

(inspired by the film ‘Earthlings’)

Our lives have been stifled
We’re rife with tension.
Our children are condemned.
Our cries don’t get much mention.

What wild dream did you have for your life?
What fanciful fantasy did you feel you possessed?
What hope for a good life did you feel you had lost
Been left bereft of, dispossessed?

We’ve been held back, held down, bound and gagged.
We’ve been stripped of what’s legit,
Throttled, bottled …and bagged.
We’ve been packaged and labelled,
We’ve been set upon the table.
The fat cats have gathered,
They’ve got the gravy boats and ladles.

We’ve been used and abused,
Mis-used and bruised.
Misunderstood, trod underfoot, and misconstrued.

The big washing machine’s
passed us through the mangle.
We’ve been wrung out by the wringer,
We’ve been strung out and strangled.

What wild dream did you have for your life?
What fanciful fantasy did you feel you possessed?
What hope for a good life did you feel you had lost
Been left bereft of, dispossessed?

We’ve been caged and chained,
Maimed and made lame.
We’ve been twisted and wrenched, strained and sprained
We’ve been arranged and tamed, contained and constrained.
We’ve been estranged from our kin, cut off from our land,
Cut down in our prime, cut out of our hand.

We’ve been locked up and knocked up,
We’ve been docked and shocked.
We’ve been shut off from sunlight and chained to blocks.
We’ve been jammed in, rammed in, hemmed in and slammed in.
We’ve been managed and damaged, sandwiched in and crushed.

We’ve been force-fed and force-bled,
Medicated and sedated,
Pumped, plumped, and dumped with a diet of lead.

We’ve been shoved down and shackled and shunted along
They’ve put shutters on our minds
They shut up our songs.
They’ve shat upon and crapped upon us,
Zapped and sapped us of strength.
Hacked at us and wrapped us up on the butcher’s bench.

We’ve been corralled off and held off
And walled off in stalls.
We’ve been hauled off to the slaughterhouse
While we called out and bawled.

We’ve been rounded up and hounded, thrown around and knocked down.
We’ve been goaded and railroaded and loaded on trucks bound for town.
We’ve been towed and mowed under and snowed under with stress.
We’ve been stowed on the road where some are crushed to their death.
We’ve been jerked around and jarred, jostled and jammed.
We’ve been nabbed, grabbed and stabbed, jabbed and slammed.
We’ve been bullied and sullied, worried and hurried.
We’ve been harangued and hampered, clamped and penned.
We’ve been left perturbed and disturbed, in turmoil and trouble.
We’ve been seized with disease, left confused and muddled.
We’ve been left needing medicine, food and water.
We’ve been mauled and tortured, slaughtered and quartered.
We’ve been knocked and socked, clocked, bopped, whopped, and dropped.
We’ve been topped and lopped, sliced up and chopped.
Our blood been mopped up, our bodies sent to the shops.

What wild dream did you have for your life?
What fanciful fantasy did you feel you possessed?
What hope for a good life did you feel you had lost
Been left bereft of, dispossessed?

We’ve been herded and bewildered, murdered and killed.
Stabbed and skewered, flamed and grilled.
We’ve been bludgeoned and bashed, lashed, broken and thrashed.
Smashed and gashed open, lives and hopes dashed.
We’ve been robbed and ransacked, ravaged and ruined.
Fleeced and plucked, sent to our doom.

We’ve been presumed and imposed upon
Opposed, and suppressed,
Deposed, dispossessed, truly oppressed.

While you’re inundated with inanity,
Your sanity seems more like vanity.
How can you call yourselves humanity?

29 – 1 -2011

Rest My Tired Soul

Rest, my tired soul
At the foot of this falling water.
See the wide arms of softened rock
Woven again into moss and bush
Welcome my small body on this opposite bank.

Hush, my climbing thoughts.
Let the rustle and the lisp of lacy water
Brush my mind away, and listen
For the gulp and the swallow under this
Where bass notes on rocky chambers play.

Sing, my worn-out senses.
See the beak of blackbird dipping
And the scuttling, skipping of his feet
Take a rising path through leaves and moss
All the way up this wet-soaked bank.

Feel, my frozen clay of skin.
Count the waves of ripples swaying
Folding the light towards my feet
The sweep of breeze and green fronds nodding
Yes, I’m related to this scene.

Pause, my moving life.
Study the constancy of this waterfall
The left, the right, the middle paths white
Of milk of Mother Nature’s dream
Casting small boats of fleck and bubble before me.

Warm, my tired heart and mind.
This course of life-renewing kindness
Is written within me too, my body’s tides
Of falling and rising waves of energy
Are held by earth and stream and sun.

19 – 11 – 2010

A Dream About Counselling Work

My brother, Steve, and I, talking to a guy.
There’s some work he wants to offer us.
(Steve’s been struggling around work issues too).
The guy’s a brilliant young biologist.

He’s been working with trout, growing them large,
He says, up to eighty kilos.
Wow, that’s one heavy lifting job, I joke,
Imagining giving them the heave-ho.

The guy knows my joke, but knows me better,
The cap-tipping banter of one anxious about work.
Of course, I’m working with them when they’re lighter,
He says, and I, in a sudden realization, know my quirk
Of finding in images the heart of the matter.
I look inside again to what my soul calls me to.

And sunlight flashes on scales of silver,
As I lift heavy fishes and pour them on through,
To slip into streams from their large holding tanks,
And I know this is the work I will do.


The Child of Hills

Walk in the child of hills with legs that shine like apples
In pockets open to sunlight with daffodils holding the air.
Look to paper planes catching from leaves that green the blinking eyes
To butterflies lifting from waterfalls spreading fingers on the stairs.
Take chimneys dressed at daybreak passing shadows off the fields
Caught in waves at grassy ridges growing warm clouds off clear blue.
Wait near old brown bridges for shoes that hang like coloured fishes
And hide near branches folding out for worms in borrowed suits.
Show candles roaming under stars past roads that whistles turn to view
While seeds shy under fallen logs down past grey crickets hicupping.
Embrace long days at childhood’s end in meadows facing head downwind
And wrap full coats at owl’s long note in hair flung puddle-jumping.
13 – 3 – 05


Archaeopteryx, Metempsychosis

Surely the arbitrary cannot be so arbitrary,
determined by chance or caprice?

Archaeopteryx, metempsychosis.
Ancient bird of the Jurassic era,
The transmigration of the soul.
One actual, one abstract.

The half reptile, half bird, one of the earliest flying animals.
A creature living one hundred fifty million years ago,
A creature now dead, now extinct.
Ah, but did you ever really live for many millions of years?

A prototype.
A transitional form beween reptiles and birds.
Jawed teeth & a long lizard tail: feather & wing.
A form between demons & angels, a collage of concepts.

Archaeo-logy, Encyclo-paedia.
Etymology. From the Greek etumologia, ‘the word of the true or real’.
‘Archaeopteryx’. New Latin. ‘Ancient bird’.
We took pteryx from pterux from pteron, the Ancient Greek, up from Eden.
Pterux – ‘bird’, from pteron – ‘feather’, via ‘wing’.
Ah, but did you ever come from feather via wing?

I see the fossilized imprint of your body.
An encyclopaedia encircled, a cycle, a circle, a final stage for your breath.
A footprint on the path of time, your fossil wings visible as feathery lines.
Radiations from your spinal column.
And your feathers radiated out from these.
Ah, but was it ever that feathers grew first on your body?
Did you ever feel your skin feel like feathers, for the feathery very first time?

Feather to wing to bird. Flying as a finer degree of feeling. Metempsychosis.
The passing of a soul into another body or form of existence.
A physics of flying, a metaphysics of dying. Metaphor.
Ah, had you flown on the wing of the flow, thrown by the throw of the dice?

Words form into rhyme, their meanings divined from the signs.
Archaeopteryx, metempsychosis.
Arbitrary existence & an A to XYZ of time.


Great White Shark Flight

The eye the blanched meat of an acorn pressed into flesh.
The nostrils the triangular gouge of a knife flicked suddenly.
The nose as hard as the indentation – the punt – at the base of a broken bottle.
But around the mouth, the rim of folded skin as white as cooked chicken or tripe

Is loose, wrapped like a shroud around its prey,
While sea water surges from runnels between the rows of its two hundred teeth,
Now hidden from view. The force of its pursuit has lifted the beast
Clear from the surface of the ocean, and exposed the great white breast to the sunlight

Like an ancient albescent albatross launched into the heavens above,
Its ragged-edged pelvic fins two wide wedges of dark-tipped wings.
A rough line runs the length of its five metre body, marking like ripped paper
The threshhold of underbelly, white like soft pastry, and the broad dark back, crooking

Left and right where the missile cone head becomes the body, and the body
Narrows like a twisted torpedo end, such that a saddle of silvered black flanks
The vertical force of the dorsal fin’s arching pirate’s sail. And the great fish tail
Sealed like a secret, a thick rubber sweep of fierce water, catches the light

Like a batwing caught by the moon at midnight.
20 – 11 -07