香港龍躍頭天后宮 Lung Yeuk Tau Tin Hau Temple, Hong Kong
Incense lit in honour of the Earth God
rings round me. Here I sit —
smoked — on a crude stone bench,
catching my breath, as awareness spins
through simple cycles
In the sky-painted forecourt,
a humble tap drips deep in the hush,
and a fern, deeper,
squarely on one wall,
grows in recognition of the part
chance and disorderly vegetable life
play in this world.
Two pygmy demons, wild
dogs’ eyes goggling,
brandish serrated swords
as protectors of the Sea Goddess —
a stern empress — serene, unworldly
in her sombre cave. Electric
and a neat building of oranges
glow from the altar
through gloom, but still
this faceless atmosphere puzzles prayer:
I have nothing of my own
worth adding. What can I do
but align the straying needle
of my noise patiently
to the temple’s faint magnetism
and hope it strikes root in dark’s —
deeper — indirection?
Miscellaneous Objects, Macau (Photograph by Evette Kwok, 2019)
In Other words
you stumble Unwittingly across
the unasked, unmasked Face —
in English —
of another Language,
more than any token;
Sterling — like the star
that Shoots and Shines
a Semiquaver of Night;
Idiom — too intense for names,
but one that Braves
and Takes on names
to prove its Power — merely —
Only No One breathes
the Razor air.
Those — whose Young Lungs
belong to Kinder atmospheres —
Respire — they cannot Help it —
at a Gulp.
The Daily oxygen — barely So-so;
Thunder ratchets up Degree
a Notch or two;
but only at the Cursive lightning Stage
does Slowcoach — Gasping at her letter page
attain — at last — that Speed of Overture
and manage — no, It does not last — to Shear
one Fluent outer edge.
There — Imperative — No One somehow Is.
I was a poor marbles player and always lost. Freddie had a Milky Really worth a bob and he gave it to me so that I could play ‘Reallies Up’. Each boy competing placed a Really in the ring but only the best players would risk such valuable marbles.
— Alan Marshall, I Can Jump Puddles
Here in this playground
I sit much like Saturn, ringed
with boys itching for treasure.
I feed on admiration
in eager faces blinded by prowess,
(Once! Twice! Away!)
Peewees, cat’s eyes, sparklers
and Jupiter tombolas lie forgotten
for the moment, while popeye patches,
spiral corkscrews, green slags,
red comets and wasp rainbows
are leached of both glamour
They can’t take their eyes off me.
What these children don’t know is that,
before they are old enough to listen
with themselves, I teach them
the poetry you can never ever win —
(Once! Twice! Away!)
greater than shooter shipwrecks,
than latticinio core swirls,
than oxblood transitionals,
the only truly out of this world:
their own unsuspecting
steep diamond present.
Stormen sätter sin mun till huset
och blåser för att få ton.
Jag sover oroligt, vänder mig, läser
blundande stormens text.
The storm puts its lips to the house and blows to make a note. I sleep, fitful, tossing and turning, reading the storm’s text with my eyes closed.
Men barnets ögon är stora i mörkret
och stormen den gnyr för barnet.
Båda tycker om lampor som svänger,
Båda är halvvägs mot språket.
But the child’s eyes grow wide in the darkness and the storm, it roars for her. Both are fond of lamps when they sway and both are half-way to language.
Stormen har barnsliga händer och vingar.
Karavanen skenar mot Lappland.
Och huset känner sin stjärnbild av spikar
som håller väggarna samman.
The storm has the hands and wings of a child. The caravan takes off in the direction of Lappland. And the house feels its constellations of nails, which hold the walls fastened together.
Natten är stilla över vårt golv
(där alla förklingade steg
vilar som sjunkna löv i en damm)
men därute är natten vild!
The night is calm over our floor (where all footsteps rest like leaves sunk to the bottom of a pond when they fade away), but out there, the night runs wild!
Över världen går en mer allvarlig storm,
Den sätter sin mun till vår själ
och blåser för att få ton. Vi räds
att stormen blåser oss tomma.
A more critical storm passes over the world. It puts its lips to our soul and blows to make a note. We fear that blast will leave us completely hollowed out.