avebury

At different times
we came to this place,
to this circle of stone,
and we both felt the
mystery was our own.

There was no choice –
we could do nothing,
but reach out –
and lay our hands upon the stone,
reach out –
and hold the stone,
as if embracing.

Who are we,
that we can slip through time,
touch the past,
and be so moved?

Who are we
if we cannot?

© Claire Griffin 2016

(One of several pieces written over twenty years ago (!)
Looking back now I think that I was trying to create in writing
a connection to someone that perhaps I couldn’t find in any other way.
Still – I like some of these as poems in their own right –
and can read the “we” in a more universal sense,
extending beyond my intentions at the time)

walking alone

walking alone
on the empty beach
through driftwood
piled up on the sand
sea-worn skeletons
of storm-torn trees

and the footprints of past visitors
crossing and re-crossing
disordered, cryptic pathways
indecipherable
and leading nowhere

it could be easy to start
worrying about purpose and meaning
to become lost in memories
and regrets

but I revel in places like this
the emptiness gives me space to breathe
I can expand into it
I feel lighter, pressure lifts

there is a change in perspective
as the natural world
goes about its business
and I am irrelevant
my worries are nothing

there is a calm excitement
anticipation
as if at any moment the whole world
could shift and become something new

I feel the past
the timeline of history
in every scrap of wood and sand
and dog-print and shell
and I sink into it
and becoming absorbed by it all is affirming and healing

a bird flies right past me
shoulder-height
I look up
sea birds fill the beach and sky

I watch one
repeatedly flying up
then down again
to the low tide line

I realise it is dropping
a shellfish
over and over
persisting until it breaks open
and it can feed on the sweet flesh

that’s life really

we keep going
until the work of living
reveals its secrets and rewards

and on days like this
in places like this
I have no doubt
my footprints join the rest
my pathway just as hidden
my dreams fly with the birds
my intentions just as clear

 

© Claire Griffin 2016

attention brings connection : part III

I was leaving
and just as I drew away
three girls dressed in black walked past
and you approached them
in the same way
you came to me
head forward
purposeful

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they take your photo
discussing how to make you turn
so they can get a better angle

somewhere, sometime
you learnt to approach people
and now you still do it
even when we have nothing
to give you
though perhaps we do
is it too much to think –
is it our attention you seek?

I wonder if your curiosity
will be respected

I worry for you now
you have entered my mind
I carry knowledge of you
you inhabit me

you gave me your attention

I am not disappointed

I am not alone

 

© Claire Griffin 2016

attention brings connection : part II

coming back
from walking alone
on the empty beach

 
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I see you you there on the bank
settled, quiet, resting
and beside you
stands one of your own, watching
there is difference
in its black head and neck
and soft grey brown body
I am happy for you
that you rest in company

IMG_2303

and then you see me
you walk toward me
quickly, confidently
no fear, perhaps only expectation
that I might be like other people
with a pocketful of crumbs
do I disappoint you?

I have nothing
but my observations to give you
your blue-grey eye looks into mine

I see your rounded, white-feathered body
your sturdy legs
your wide-webbed feet
your solid beak
and orange like the sunset – legs and feet and beak
and the orange ring around your eyes

I’m that close

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I watch as you nuzzle
between your feathers
shaking your head, releasing fluff

you stay long enough
for me to see all this
to start feeling like you want me
to know you

and then
your companion moves nearby
looks at me sideways – as most birds do
a glint of suspicion in those dark eyes

I move away
I give you space

I do not feel alone

I am not disappointed

attention brings connection : part I

from a distance
one white swan swims among the black

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but as it draws nearer
I begin to notice
the thicker neck
the shorter beak
the up-tilted tail
head up while others feed

swimming from one group
to another
do I imagine its confusion
its anxiety
as it searches for its own kin?

strong feet drive it forward through the water
kicking one, two, glide
one, two, glide

it is not turned away
nor accepted
but space is made
tolerated with calm disinterest
as it passes by

no choice but to continue searching

alone

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© Claire Griffin 2016