The golden bees are making sweet honey
From all my old failures
—Antonio Machado, transl. Robert Bly
In a rough grass patch by a leaning silver birch
these boxes left as if in mid-move
two raised on a wooden frame, two down beside
half-abandoned to the rain, private, unnoticed—
bees hovering at the lip landing and crawling
in at each box’s tiny post box aperture;
and all the air between wild hedge, and landing
trailing with bees constantly arriving…
each secret hive of honey massed
each box like dynamite running sweet inside
as they ferry their pollen; all knowing
their being and purpose, no doubting
all in their community, their meaning
to be the honey they are making…
as we drift apart in our separate lives
dreaming, desolate, violent, unsatisfied.
(First published in the collection Monuments, Waterloo Press, Hove, 2014)
Daily Mirror, 26.2.15
With his slit-eyed view of the universe
in a malevolent burqua: knife raised
poised for the camera
his baptism is blood, not water
revenge, not love: on Obama, on anyone
who is fodder for the cause
of the Anti-Isis, Christ.
No river where he stands
no wild honey either
and no Word: only sanctified murder.
Believe it: Emwazi, an ordinary guy
only slightly tall, playing football
then cyberspace before the guillotine falls
for Terror’s Reign of Now.
And he’s one of us:
he’s your rage that rages
your judgement without mercy
—he may even have your Christian name.
(He has mine).
John the Loveless: he’s our lovelessness
John the Hate-Filled: he’s our blindness
with no woman by his side to honour,
only the rape of himself.
Believe it: he’s been destroyed by an archetype
an idea that cannot be human or realized
but he will die for it—
Muhammad Thanatos who only expects
a bullet one day between his eyes
to punctuate his petrol mind.
Objectified, once a person
wakes in hell as a person
stripped of all disguise
ready for the taste of immortal fire—
his soul disgorged, a wound
that nothing on earth can heal.
Meanwhile, Herodias wants his head on a plate
an eye for ten eyes. You can understand why.
But can our hatred die with him?
What can we sacrifice ?
(First published at International Times)
Shift one thing
stop the whirling.
Take a moment to take back
what is taking you in hand.
So much in our minds.
So much that is wrong.
Light is just beyond
inviting…but not forcing…ever.
Light speaks without words, saying
take a moment to take back
what is taking you in hand.
See it again.
Is it true?
Do you know it is?
What can you choose?
Light says love
puts a spark in your heart
that’s travelled from the furthest star.
We are One, my friend.
What I do to you, I do to me.
So I can choose again.
What we do echoes through the galaxies
and the veins of the world which hold us
in one heartstream.
I will not be ruled by fear
I will not be conned by hate
I will look into your face
and see you are another me
all the world over.
We know what is really real.
And we listen, we listen
The light, our hearts, the planet, calling.
Storm cry and dolphin cry
come home to Creation: come home again.
One World, there is no other
no anaesthetized Paradise.
This world goes on and on.
One love beyond the sun.
And here is where it is…shining.
I stand in the light
And I choose one thing
One step at a time.
I choose in freedom.
I pick up the litter.
I write you the letter.
I buy you the ring.
(Originally commissioned by Nicolya Christi for Worldshift, 2010)
THREE POEMS FOR PUSSY RIOT
‘Mother of God—Cast Putin Out!’
Thirty seconds to detention
a nanosecond to speak the truth
(the can-can in multicoloured balaclavas…)
that lands through the roof like a lightning flash—
You can’t do that in a church
that’s been kidnapped for political sham
while Christ is barefoot in the street, now can you?
In the flashlight
Putin and all the plaster saints
standing as the dust settles
unable to open their eyes
unless they tell another lie.
The saints gaze on, and the angels
unable to say a word
pillars of salt, turned into orthodox stone.
Meanwhile the Angel of Lightning stands back
knowing this will be difficult—
but the pussy riot has begun.
No stopping it now, whatever the court decides.
Even the lawyers are tripping over their tongues.
Angels everywhere transmitting…
Peaches is petitioning, even Madonna is singing
Music knows it is the free world
and if music dies, what do we have?
Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Ratushinkaya
Shelley, Whitman, Blake, Thoreau
vulnerable people, hardly immortal in their lifetime
men and women who have never stopped trying
to remind us of our dignity and freedom—
join the Chariot of Pussy Riot.
Tarkovsky, Lorca, Carson, Bly—all aboard.
Now you and I.
for Rosie Jackson
Atheist? I don’t think so
What is more atheist than allowing
a church to be misused by power?
It only proves its Christlessness.
Wrong place at the wrong time?
When has it ever been right
to speak a truth no one wants to see?
Luther, nailing his apologies?
Shelley pointing out the Necessity
because the Spirit is not free.
We’re talking spirituality
and the Love it takes to stand for it.
Politics is for people who think they can operate
in the absence of it.
History is their grave
being dug every day.
David vs. Goliath—pussy rioter.
And while you raise your fist in homage
don’t forget three lovely lambs
sent as far away for two years
of invisible torture ?
Pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of our death
for we know what we have done.
Forgive us our cowardice
as we condemn
for we know not right from wrong.
Rip it up!
Pussy is powerful
pussy is serpentine
everywhere in the world now
Pussy is dancing, pussy is jaywalkin’
pussy is reclining, pussy observing
pussy is the deep throat
singing this song
Pussy won’t be suppressed
this pussy won’t be slapped down
pussy don’t need her buttocks teased
to leap into fire, now—
Pussy vs. Patriarch
lovely student vs. incense swinging greybeard
it’s no match—
even at the stake.
Pussy witch, pussy Magdalene
(the fifth horseman in disguise)
will lead us to the dawn
and a new demise
But first there’s a constitution
no woman ever signed
no living woman ever breathed,
and it’s time to Mexican-wave it goodbye.
Come on, you Kremlin thugs
you hideous godforsaken militia thugs
you canny Conservative manipulative thugs
—R.I.P. it up !
SICKLE MOON AND STAR
Perfect sickle moon aligned
with its star beneath like a flung arrow
clear in the pale blue evening sky—
as we linger on the garden bench…
‘It’s like a banana. I’ve seen it!’, you shrug.
I tell you the difference
between seeing and poetry seeing
‘Yup’—you get it.
And as sickle becomes scythe
in its clear sweep of the purest air—
I know I’m passing on something
beyond this moment, beyond my life
(far beyond the clouds passing beneath them
echoing the smoke of next door’s woodburner…)
where it may shine in you for as long
before it passes, on and on.
‘Haytor View’, 21.2.2015
CANTICO DELLA CREATURE/SONG OF THE CREATURES
San Francesco/St. Francis
version by Jay Ramsay
Greatest, strongest, loveliest Lord
All praise to you, all honour and glory
And the one blessing above all.
They are yours, Highest One, and only yours
No one is worthy to claim Your Name.
Praise to you, my Lord
With all your created ones
And especially for Master Brother Sun
Who is the day he lights up for us!
Beautiful, radiant, shimmering, splendid
Like you, Highest One, gesturing your meaning…
Praise to you, my Lord
For Sister Moon and the stars
Made in heaven translucent as jewels…
Praise to you My Lord for Brother Wind
For the air and the clouds, the calm and all weathers
You sustain Your Creation through
Praise to you my Lord for Sister Water
Who is so flexible and lowly
Precious and white-pure
Praise to you my Lord for Brother Fire
Burning in the heart of the night
Lovely and laughing, wild and strong
Praise to you my Lord
For our Sister Mother Earth
Who feeds and rules us all
Birthing all fruits
And the spectrum of flowers and herbs
Praise to you my Lord
For all who forgive because they love you
Suffering illness and every difficulty—
Blessed are those who live in peace
For they shall be honoured with you…
Praise to you my Lord
For our Sister Physical Death
No living being can escape from;
Grief to those who die lost, missing the mark—
But blessing to all of us who are found
Living in the sanctuary of Your Will:
This second death can’t harm us.
Oh praise and bless my Lord
Thank him, serve him from the deepest ground of all.
Campello Alto, Umbria, Sept 1994
Jay Ramsay, born in 1958, has been described as «England’s foremost transformation poet» (Caduceus magazine, 2007). He has been a singular and influential presence on the poetry scene over the last 25 years and has increasingly come into his own as a voice for transformative spiritual, political and psychological awareness.
Founder of Angels of Fire in London in the early 1980’s, with its immediate success in establishing poetry as an inclusive and community-based activity through its festivals, Jay has contributed to many other festivals and literary events, at home and abroad. An experienced reader and performer, he is a powerful and lyrical presence, inspiring, uplifting, challenging and entertaining. He has often worked with musicians and dancers in addition.
He has written several poetry collections, two books of prose about alchemy and has edited five anthologies of New British Poetry. He was poet-in-residence at St James’ Church, Piccadilly in London (2005-6). More recently he has completed a residency in the Sinai desert for the Makhad Trust (March 2010) with a sequence of poems and photographs which will be published and exhibited.
He has been a regular tutor at Hawkwood College, the Adult Education College near Stroud in the Cotswolds, his homebase since 1993, offering workshops in poetry and personal development. He is also now a UKCP accredited psychosynthesis therapist and healer, in private practice in Stroud & London.
Jay Ramsay’s Monuments on Amazon
Short review of Monuments