I love the sea, so I have always been very fond of this Norse myth
of red monkeys under the ocean feeding iron bars to the serpent. They
did this because when the world was made it was too heavy, so the serpent
was given the task of coiling around it to keep it together. However, the
serpent would get hungry so the red monkeys were given the chore of
feeding it iron bars to stop it uncoiling in search of food, as that would
have been disastrous!
SAIL AWAY TO NOWHERE
Little boat On the horizon Sailing away to nowhere
Rough winds Send you skirling Across impatient waters
Fiery suns Smash colour rainbows Into the roaring silence
Darkening skies Threaten spiteful rain To savage and to sink you
Under the ocean Red monkeys feed iron bars To the world’s serpent
Respect the serpent Whose coils save the world From abrupt and violent ending
Little boat, come home Steer quietly into safe harbour Where I am always waiting
When I was a girl, I was sent away to Kent, to a kind of hospital school to make me better. I was only there a year yet that year has given me memories for a lifetime, good and bad. The Kentish woods helped me settle because they formed a link to my much loved woods of home.
I walked the spine of morning Whilst the birds slept. Their little feathered bodies Absorbing the melody of leaves, The quiet breathing of grass, Waking to the delicate sounds of light changing, Their tiny anthems gathering strength Enough to fill the woods with song. Drowning these cool Kentish pathways With joy and praise.
Where, last night, a falling star Tumbled through the trembling leaves Shoring up this world’s quiet beauty.
I saw it fall. The little wren and the robin at my shoulder, The nightingale singing into the morning light. Our eyes clinging to the long radiance Of Jupiter and Mars shining briefly Onto that star ridden path.
Setting that quiet Kentish wood ablaze With the glory of falling stars, Of little birds singing.
When it’s all over bar the shouting, When the last tear has fallen And the shocked heart has settled Once more to its beating. When the requiem for the lost Has played its final bleak murmuring And sorrow brings the broken to their knees, That is when all that is left is love, Love is all that is left.
But what good is left-over love To the shattered heart? What good is hope Lying broken in the darkness?
Out of the darkness come the rains To fill the dry beds of rivers With water moving silky as young women sleeping, Rolling and twisting, twisting and turning, Their long bony feet stretching thinly behind them; When trees come to leaf like young men leaping Up branches to touch the first floor of heaven, Strong hands full of leaves, now full of flowerings And dry deserts blooming.
So when all is said and done, The requiem over and silence soft fallen. That is when all that is left is love And love is all.
There they all are, one after the other, Herons going home. Black shapes against a fading sky, Beautiful and prehistoric, None of them looking At the shadowed trees below them.
Until one crashes the dark branches To land in moon touched mud At the side of the silent river. Looking a bit like a witch On a wicked broomstick, Scratchy twigs sweeping All the little creatures Out of its imperious way.
Now the trees in the heronry Are heavy with sleeping birds, Each quietly contained, All wrapped up in themselves.
The first stars pricking the sky, The long dark fish in the water Flashing a sudden brief silver, Sharp eyes promising To eat them in the morning.
Whilst, we, made of earth and sky, Fold into the stars. Fold into the trees. And, at the last, fold into the heron.