… used to write observational ditties.
Sunrise anecdotes, as they rose to view.
High-rise moments that could tickle and tease.
Bric-a-brac messages from me to you.
Kept them in a folder, tattered and torn:
My Complete Book of Unfinished Works.
A mixed anthology of statements, sworn
to the master of truth; where danger lurks.
It’s a people watcher’s compendium,
an unbound collection of clever quips:
“slivers of silver – soft as cerium.”
“the tighter one grips – the faster one slips.”
. Life is just a series of thoughts condensed,
. cryptic adages, over days dispensed.
© Tim Grace, 21 December 2014
To the reader: Snapshots of life in passing are soon lost to memory. Short-term moments that catch your interest but quickly fade from view. These are the ingredients of doodles and ditties. My notebooks are full of sketchy lines and idle jots; half capturing a fleeting thought. And there’s the problem; at some point, do these bits and pieces make collective sense? Unlike entries in a diary or journal these snippets have a weak relationship with a string of time.
To the poet: Side-by-side two poems will often reflect a shared relationship with the poet’s current experience. As often as not they might also reflect the poet’s quick shift of focus. Some poems make reference to past or recurring interests and therefore resemble poems written in a distant period. In poetry chronology and sequence are quite separate issues… two threads; one rope.
Do we discover purpose, or is that
a given; that through life, we must fulfil?
To what extent are we determined, at
what point do we grip that moment still?
Is life just another conversation,
a string of thoughts? Ruminated verbiage
that connects two points upon occasion.
A life-span, that builds a virtual bridge
from here to eternity; quite a stretch.
A void, can’t be leapt in a single bound;
can’t be fathomed; a forward passing fetch,
caught on the fly – wrestled and brought to ground.
. Life’s narrative is given spin and span,
. just enough to scuttle the ‘best of’ plan.
© Tim Grace, 29 September 2014
To the reader: The ‘universal givens’ are built into the fabric of our design. Therefore, our solutions to some extent conform to a pre-determined brief. Within bounds there’s plenty of room to be creative but as nature so regularly displays, there are some basic patterns that warrant repeat: the beautiful helix, the golden ratio and fibonacci’s spiral; to name a few.
To the poet: Our purpose; a universal mystery, that asks: “Why are we here?”. Without certainty of purpose we have no option but to explore the potential of an uncertain existence. To chronicle that collective journey, the Arts provide an open ended narrative. Without apology, the Arts interpret uncertainty using imagination as its tool of choice. To search is our purpose… the mission is unclear.
Once again, death rejoices a new grave,
a soiled-over body, a buried soul;
welcomes The Dead (Le Mort) to Hades’ cave;
adds a fresh bag of bones to its countless toll.
The spoils of victory entombed, encased
in a casket of clay, in wet mud drenched,
dispirited, disposed of, laid to waste,
laid to rest in pieces; so long entrenched.
‘So Long’ farewelled, given back; dust to dust…
But listen, through the dirge, the Angels sing.
‘Hark’ the Angels sing (as so the Angels must)
“Where, Oh Death, is your victory, your sting?”
. Through nothingness Death must surrender all,
. beyond nothingness – Eternity’s call.
© Tim Grace, 22 March 2013
To the reader: He was 94 at death. An Uncle. An only son. An alcoholic… a troubled soul… a widower with children… a mechanic… a reformed alcoholic… a preacher; a man who found redemption. At life’s end, a man who had travelled a long and arduous journey of self-discovery. An adored father… a revered brother… a soul at rest; freed of Death’s sting, for “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11: 25-26).
To the poet: This sonnet is a layered interpretation of one man’s passage through, and beyond, the doors of death towards eternal peace. To begin with, words rattle with visual references, “but listen” (at line 10) calls upon a new register of interpretation: “Hark the Angels sing”. The dismissal of Death as an ending in itself (1 Corinthians 15:55) takes the sting out of life’s terminal destination. At Death we join the countless dead and become at last united with one collective spirit… so the story goes.
Sadly, one certainty of life is death.
And so, it is for all of us to end.
Somewhere, there awaits our final breath.
Inhaled, not for exchange, but to expend.
This breath, of all breaths, is to be remorsed.
It’s the breath most wasted and least returned.
Consumed for the purpose of life’s exhaust;
of continuation, it’s least concerned.
Somewhere, then, this final breath sits in wait…
to be swallowed deep but not ingested.
This breath has destiny; a half-used fate;
incomplete, resolute, uncontested.
. But for one-breath, we have life’s abundance.
. It’s through this-breath, that we meet redundance.
© Tim Grace, 3 February 2013
To the reader: Not breathless, simply exhausted of life. It’s the last breath taken and not returned. Delivers a terminal solution. The act of living is respiration. Recycled air; a generous spirit. Acts of goodness get taken for granted. We begin and end our lives with a gasp. Air is a rich and abundant resource. Not a trivial keep-worthy trinket. Not to be held for longer than needed. Its living purpose is spent and renewed.
To the poet: In ‘to the reader’ I collected together eleven sentences loosely connected to the topic of breath. Each sentence is ten-syllables long and follows on from the previous; but it’s not poetry. The difference has something to do with a missing thread of consciousness. The thread of poetry is tied by the poet and un-ravelled by the reader; one gives the other receives … together we breathe the spirit of art.
A sunlit jetty, jutting out to sea;
a wall of rocks resist the lapping tide;
the Water’s Edge cafe is serving tea;
two tethered yachts are dancing side-by-side.
Waves absorb the jetty, drink to the bar;
it’s an all-day breakfast, a seafood quiche;
jelly-fish, tangled nets and caviar;
loose jib on the Cactus Wren breaks its leash;
a docile doberman lounges at large,
waitress brings him water in a blue dish;
father and son wave to a passing barge;
a day without limits… just as you’d wish.
. Today’s consumption will be time well spent,
. awash with moments, as were sort of meant.
© Tim Grace, 15 September 2012
To the reader: To the sound of gently lapping water I wander the coastal promenade; find an outdoor table; it’s perched at the end of a short jetty. With the morning sun’s warmth on my back I open my eyes to the scenery at large. At water’s edge, a cafe has delivered the first of many all-day breakfasts. Behind me two yachts acknowledge as passing wave. Eyes shift, a waitress is delivering a blue bowl of water to a black dog. Scene closes with a father and his young son greeting the black dog with a ‘good morning’ pat-and-chat.
To the poet: Light extends a poet’s vision into the realms of colour and movement. The crisp light of dawn is by nature poetic. With fresh aspect it exposes familiar forms to new interpretation. Dawn’s crisp exposure, fleeting as it is, delivers a lasting impression. Beyond an hour or so of rising its particular beauty is diffused to a general sense of mundane utility. The day is best seized by the touch of dawn.
You’d better contemplate your journey now.
Talk as you would walk with a natural gait.
Learn to wait, stand your ground, take a bow.
Be patient, be present … anticipate.
By all means stride out, by all means leap forth.
But do take care, know when enough’s enough.
This is the stuff of immeasurable worth;
the fortitude you need when things get tough.
You are where are, for good purpose; there
not to stagnate, not to stop, you’re there to make
the most of moments (rehearse and prepare)
and then, when you’re ready, release the brake.
. As a general rule, what’s far becomes near.
. Life, as is our school, renders most things clear.
© Tim Grace, 18 July 2012
To the reader: Effectively managing the erratic pace of life takes wisdom. Going with the flow is one technique; perilous when that pace is frantic, stultifying when things grind to a halt. No, we can do better than that. Finding your own natural rhythm is the trick. Live life in a relaxed state of readiness… poised; as in ‘having a composed and self-assured manner.’
To the poet: Adjusting a suit can be a simple matter… hems up or down. On the other hand the process can be laboured and intensive; costly and expensive. The same can be said of editing a sonnet. Like its predecessor, this sonnet fought tooth and nail not be adjusted. Every line took umbrage at the mere suggestion of change or alteration. In the end we were both exhausted.