A Finnish word I learned today,
Dead leaves, or perhaps vegetative souls in a crimson Purgatory.
I was on a plane once,
Flying home [whatever that might be],
And the sky was all reddish-brown, orange-yellow, bright pink and phosphorescent blue.
I reckoned that there, floating in the sky, human souls were gathering.
Former people of all shapes and sizes.
It made me think about Angels in America, Tony Kushner.
Probably one of the most beautiful things ever written.
‘Night flight to San Francisco; chase the moon across America. God, it’s been years since I was on a plane. When we hit thirty-five thousand feet, we’ll have reached the tropopause, the great belt of calm air, as close as I’ll ever get to the ozone. I dreamed we were there (…) I saw something only I could see because of my astonishing ability to see such things. Souls were rising from the earth far below, souls of the dead, of people who had perished, from famine, from war, from the plague, and they floated up, like skydivers in reverse, limbs all akimbo, wheeling and spinning. And the souls of these departed joined hands, clasped ankles and formed a web, a great net of souls, and the souls were three-atom oxygen molecules of the stuff of ozone, and the outer rim absorbed them and was repaired. Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there is a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind and dreaming ahead. At least I think that’s so.’
No one has probably ever quoted prose in a poem.
A kind of painful progress,
Always longing for someone or something we’ve left behind.
A Town, a lost feeling, somewhere in between acting and delaying,
That famous Waiting Place,
‘…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.’
No one has probably ever quoted Dr. Seuss in a poem.
And together with it,
The colour of the North Sea in Edinburgh,
A sea so unfriendly, cold, and dark,
Mysterious fish in its depths.
The colour of the redbrick houses in the Surrogate-Country,
So welcoming from the outside,
So cold and formal on the inside,
Nothing like the rustic, homely, simple houses from my Mother-Country,
So unwelcoming from the outside,
So warm on the inside.
A dark yellow-orange,
The colour of antique stones,
A kind reminiscence of a lost world.
That vivid yellow that leaves tend to take just before they die.
The colour of an offensive sin,
One we’re all guilty of.
‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.’
Book of Isaiah
No one has probably ever quoted the Scripture in a poem.
Deep purplish reds,
Crimson and carmine,
‘Though your sins be red like crimson, they shall be as wool’.
Book of Isaiah,
A raging crimson tempest,
An autumn wind taking revenge on the ephemeral summer,
No one has probably ever quoted Shakespeare in a poem.
The colour of chestnuts,
Those collected by children accompanied by their grandmas,
On a peaceful autumn afternoon,
When the wind has settled.
The colour of Jamie’s hair,
The colour of diseased skin,
The colour of my mother’s skin the past few months,
Since she’s been ill.
A reddish-orange brownish red,
The colour of a layer in one of my neighbour’s cakes,
One that only children from my Mother-Country know of.
I’ve never known its name,
Souls of the dead,
A longing that’s always been there,
And a new-old book
About a Town.