Spring Day on Dartmoor

Into my gasp, into my covered-up face,
the freezing flung slush:
the icy attack of a sleet-traced spring.
Sense is capsized;
I’m thrown out here on a storming sea.

Where struggle is vital – under layers of cloth
and animal fibre, and pulsing skin.
Bundled within my densest wraps –
a wintered softness, my buried life,
staggers in the shove and the fight to be born.

Steely whips lash the moor's back.
But the gorse holds. Splattered by snow,
it shelters the hag-bitter blast close to its spines.
Its yellow blazes into the rawness,
like the mercy that cuts through flesh and bone

to haul me out: to be peeled by this.
As the mother-wind thrusts and grinds,
my reluctant flame kicks back.
Its birth-curse wakes and rages,
feels for the heat within the crushed land...

Then the cold squelching grasses break under my stride;
and my reach claws through soft finger-tips
to scrabble over the lichen-scabbed granite.
I lock into the wind. Like dogs in a tussle,
our struggle. It will kill me,

but today I snatch breath-threads
out of the freezing grey vortex;
clutch them into flesh and throw the line back.
Like a gale-bucking crow’s croak,
my spring. It spits out consequence,

cuts the ties and strings of purpose;
just gives back how it feels today
to be a warmth bursting out naked;
to be the inside of a circle of worlds
holding their passion, and know it.

And how this feels, this marvel,
that as sense skewers in again and again,
its charge spins a prayer-wheel through me;
and my whirl holds the world’s emerging –
and it comes out wet and glittering and green.

From: Travels in the Middle Land, Dhamma Moon, 2013.

Posted: Tue 17 Nov, 2009