Czeslaw Milosz’s Battle for Truth | The New Yorker

I discovered Milosz in the late 80s. Reading him completely changed my perception and poetic style. I still turn to him when I want to fall into the beauty of the written word.

Milosz’s Battle for Truth

Dreaming of New Orleans, Vampires and Other Ghosts

I used to walk
down dark streets
where vampire ghosts
would congregate

just out of of sight
a step or two
away from murky
yellow street lamps

Their presence would leave
a kind of rich, dark
perfume in the air

My heart would beat
just a little bit faster
as I walked by
fingers crossed
against disaster

Until I looked up
into your dark eyes
slowly watching you
slowly watch me

Your spell was always
so much greater
than the rich, dark perfume
of congregating vampire ghosts

You’re gone now

But some nights
a yellow street lamp
will make my breath catch
my eyes close

and I can feel your hand
on my throat
Your breath
in my ear

The prelude
to my destruction

Those hellish, fiery,
divine moments
before my resurrection

I was remembering living in the French Quarter. I used to work the late shift at a book store. My shift ended at midnight. I would walk down Decatur to Esplanade where my boyfriend managed a bar called “Checkpoint Charlie’s.” A snifter of Gran Marnier was always waiting for me. More than once I thought I sensed a dark, seductive, alien presence. I’ve been back there so many times since then. I think he’s still waiting for me.

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Nights Like This

Nights like this
I lie restless
Close my eyes
And feel the fear
Like drops of sweat
Dripping, dropping

I always wanted
To be one of the
Cool girls
The hair never out of place

The girls who never sweat

But I hungered
And I wanted
Too much

And still
I want
Too much

So nights
Like this
Steal my soul
Capture my breath

While I wait for you.

Waiting for Illumination (c) Robin Dalton
Waiting for Illumination (c) Robin Dalton

The Summer Is Slipping Away

The summer is slipping away
Some days I think you are too
Until I stop and listen to your heart
It’s steady beat inside my heart
A reminder that we are made of magic
You and I, no simple rules of Physics
Time or Space has ever held us

The gentle hum of the ceiling fan
Is distracting and calming
I lift my hand up in the dark night
To reach for the safety of you
and just as I close my eyes
I feel the soft spark, a tingle
as your finger tips touch mine
And your voice whispering in my ear
Voodoo, baby. Show me your magic.
And the soft exhalation of my breath
Makes me dizzy and the night is made
Of falling stars and cosmic promises
And memories of lips touching lips

The present is distracting
and not calming
I want to be strong for you, for us
Not lose myself in my darkness
In hopelessness and so much despair
But mostly I don’t want to take you down
So I wait and listen for your heart beat
And wonder at the whimsical nature of seasons

I wonder
will I always think of this as
The Summer of my discontent
Or will this be the Summer
I fell so hard I tripped myself up
Skinned my knees on life
One too many times
Reaching for falling stars
Reaching for you

I let myself sink into
The comfort of
Cosmic promises
And I wonder if you
And your voodoo magic
Can help me
Make them come true

I want Autumn to slip inside
Turning everything golden
As I climb onto your lap
Bury my face in your neck
And let your arms encircle
My trembling body until
We are just two hearts

Soundcloud audio recording

Summer Solstice, Avebury 2014
Summer Solstice, Avebury 2014

Something Beautiful [a drabble]

I am looking out to sea with the sound of a mournful train whistle fading in the distance.

There are crushed flowers beneath my feet.

He said, “Watch closely. The humpbacks are migrating south. If you’re lucky you’ll see powerful exhalations of breath escape through the tops of their heads..”

I think that now he is gone all breath, all breathing, all signs of life are grand miracles.

I have been holding my breath. Just as I let go to live again, I see it.

Far off in the distance a whale blessing me with the sight of his breathing.


Christopher Marlowe Is Baptised

Today in 1564 Christopher Marlowe was baptised.

Christopher Marlowe


The Passionate Shepherd To His Love

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant poises,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherd’s swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

~ Christopher Marlowe

Merlin’s Cave

Tintagel, Cornwall, England ~ Photography by me


The dream
of Arthur
in a cave.
in crumbling ruins.
His song
heard on the wind.
My heart,