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Michael Bennett -- Poems
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two new poems from Michael ...

Hwaet

‘Hwaet! Ic swefna cyst secgan wylle’:
Thus began a tale of a tree’s tale,
Old in the telling, and one of wonder,
Of what it had seen, and on it befell.

And when we dream, do we wait
For that dreamt, to wake an un-dreaming,
That we would wake to a wonder
Unheard by the world, or its ears?

This tree stood, before the world was,
And became in a dreaming: Wisdom its name.
This is Yggdrassil, and this is Asvatta,
Whose leaves were fair, and a shelter for all;

And for a moment, Cherubin, swords sheathed,
Stood and wondered, and the night’s coming
Was dispelled by the light, brighter than day,
And out of that pain came the gentling rain.

Such things are a sign and a wonder,
To those who can see because they believe;
This is not Somnium; this is Oraculum;
This is a sun shining through evergreen leaves.

This is Mimameidr, of the unnamed root,
Which cannot be sundered; one became three,
With the three worlds, undreamt in the dreaming;
One as they are, when the tale is set free.

‘Hwaet! Ic swefna cyst secgan wylle’
Thus began a tale of a tree’s tale,
Old beyond telling, and of wonder,
Of things seen and heard, which on it befell.

MB (23.04.2015)


Before the Gods

Before the gods were
What was?

Some say Chaos
But Chaos
Is only absence of order,
Or the Deep
Which implies surface
And above and below,
But what then
Is the boundary?

Order is only
The absence of chaos.

Before the gods were
What was?
What was
Before order and chaos?
What was
Before above and below,
And within and without,
And contains them both?

Before the gods were
What was?
What was before
Absence and presence
And contains them both?

Was it Night
The source of night,
Or Light,
The source of day,
For day and night were not.

Before the gods were
What was?
What was before
Light and Dark,
And the known
And the unknown
And yet contains them both?

Before the gods were
What was?
What was before Fullness
And Emptiness,
Before the gods were,
Before Speech was?
Before speaking
And listening were?

Before the gods were
What was?

If the gods are now, and
If chaos and order are now,
Then what was before the gods
And chaos and order
Is also now.

What presence
Was before presence and absence,
For if they can be now,
What was before
Is also now.

What Light
Was before light and dark,
For if they be now,
What was before
Is also now.

What fullness
Was before
Fullness and emptiness,
And contains them both,
For if they be now
What was before
Is also now.

If the gods are now, and
If chaos and order are now,
Then what was before the gods
And chaos and order
Is also now.

What presence
Was before presence and absence,
For if they can be now,
What was before
Is also now.

What Light
Was before light and dark,
For if they be now,
What was before
Is also now.

What fullness
Was before
Fullness and emptiness,
And contains them both,
For if they be now
What was before
Is also now.

What was before the gods
Is now.

MB (27-04-2015)
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The story of the Magi is told in The Gospel according to Matthew Chapter Two (Verses 1 to 12). T. S. Eliot retells the story in his poem The Journey of the Magi. Here, Michael Bennett reflects on that telling and re-telling …

The Journey of the Magi (after TS Eliot)

They came in a cold coming end
Of the year, not one suited for journeys,
For the journey was long. How long is not said;
Nor what led them –apart from the star in the east,
Nor the gifts they brought for a king,
Which time made, prophetic, in purpose and import.
It was others who later, told us such things.

They travelled by night, Avoiding, without knowing why,
The day’s dead distractions, and the voices of the many
Who had no interest in who they were, or where they were going.
Somehow, such things, seemed hostile to intent, and purpose,
In ways that offered no shelter or calm;
While the star-light and silence, did guide them.

When they returned they knew of no difference
In truth, between a birth, and a dieing,
For in birth something must die.
And when they returned they, found an unease:
In things so familiar, what they had left was unchanged,
But something had changed in the way that they saw it,
For it was as the journey travelled by night,
High in the mountains, led by the star, to descend
To an earth, that a birth had made different,
In a way that all of their wisdom, was rendered alien,
Like the world, to which it belonged.

Did they later hear of the weeping in Rehab?
What was the import of pieces of silver,
And the horizon’s three trees, that they saw?
And one wonders, did they, with their wisdom
And their view, of the ways of the world,
And all things that had been, wonder
That this was now being challenged?

There was a regret, a wish to return to another death,
They had not seen forthcoming.
They had had but one taste, and the moment was gone

Leaving a question.

(MB 16-05-2015)
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two recent poems from Michael. They take inspiration from observation of the world and from reflection upon the Enneads of (the neoplatonic philosopher) Plotinus - and they concern secondly forgetting and remembrance, and firstly ...


Otherness

‘The One has no otherness.’ En. 6.9.9-34

There was a tree, with yellow leaves
Brilliant in the sun, and eloquent
In its stillness, and in its silence.
I could not take a photograph of it,
Because that point from where it had been seen
In all its glory, and glorifying,
Was not a physical place –
It was a different kind of place,
Free of time and in location,
Which was why it could not be found.

Marble Hill Park, and the sun
It the flowers on the ground,
Yet small things in themselves,
But they harmonized with the expanse
Of late Spring green, in the grass,
And in the sunlight on the trees
Which gave them form, and pattern.
The path turned, and the feet followed
The left hand path, and not the right,
Was taken; a cafeteria,
Full of activity, and yet strangely still;
A tree, with patterned bark
Unique to that tree.
Comments arose in the mind,
And were allowed to go,
For they added nothing,
For nothing could be added.

A long building in the distance,
Framed by trees on either side,
Walls bedecked with ivy.
The white house only marked one comment,
Like the ice house passed,
That only the rich could have afforded,
Built for a king’s mistress, the notice said.
The whims of women succumbed to,
A comment, allowed to pass.

Mixed children, boys and girls,
Playing football. It was difficult to see
Where one field, or one game ended
And the next one started.
But a deposit of clothes, and bags,
Strewn upon the grass,
With one guardian mum
Looking after the lot.
It was so familiar,
And so heart warming.
A boy attempting to tackle
A bigger boy and falling over;
No judgement, no criticism –
The game continued, no break for comment,
A girl determined to show
She was as good as the boys,
And the goalkeeper with spare balls
In the net, equally without comment
That redirected attention.
The care for all could not have been captured
By a single image, but it was all seen,
And it was known, in a way
That it was being blessed.

Then the church, waiting for the bus,
And the beauty in the stonework above the door,
Asymmetry, not symmetry;
And it was suddenly known,
Without comment, that the two
Worked as one, without otherness.

(28th May 2015)

Ennead V 1

What is our forgetting that we do not remember,
For some memories are as foam upon the sea,
Here and then gone; while others are as the waves
Which break upon the shore,
We can see them form as if recalled by the shore,
And then break their form,
And the crest of the wave is oh so transitory.

What is our forgetting that we forget a sea
Free of a shoreline, and the only limit
Is the eye’s horizon and the unfathomable sky,
Like a mirror, a dual mirror,
Each, reflecting the others substance, in colour
But not form, only the wind can touch both.

What is our forgetting when we no longer marvel
Or stand in awe at the night sky,
Or stand in awe in the same place
When the white flower blooms.

What is our forgetting when we do not say to the tree,
In its autumn clothes: Here is majesty?
Or when the birds sleep at our feet,
Secure in something we have forgotten
But which they somehow still know.

What is our forgetting, when we do not say
To our soul, when humbled,
Remember?

(24th October 2015)
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A third recent poem from Michael, again taking inspiration from observation of the world, and in particular from ...


A Pigeon

Today, a pigeon taught me, that there was a different way,
To look at pigeons.

It is not uncommon to find notices of warning:
Do not feed the pigeons, which often seems to be totally ignored,
For when some natural creature comes to us for food,
We seem in some strange way to feel flattered,
And yet these notices explain that pigeons are a pest,
That they are dirty, and they spread disease,
And this labeling is then applied to all pigeons,
Not just, the urban ones.

Today, I saw one looking at me through the kitchen window,
Sitting quite still, on a branch of the magnolia tree. Other birds
Hurried to and fro, with quick fluttering of wings to pick the fruit
On nearby shrubs, some birds only as big as this, particular pigeons head.
He seemed totally undisturbed, Occasionally turning his head
To look at what I could not see with his pigeon eyes.

On a branch on the Euculyptus tree at the bottom of the garden,
His mate waited, waiting it seemed as all wives seem to have to wait
For an action from their spouse. It was his lack of concern
For movement of any other bird,
Or squirrel with their quick clambering up and down.

He looked content, and quite well fed - though they eat
Anything they find, urban flying pigs perhaps,
But his feathers were clean, and his breast,
A soft brown spotless down.

I was pleased that he had come,
For there was a beauty there I had not seen before, and one
Which challenged older, staler views. Yes,
I was pleased that he had come.

(13th September 2015)
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Alan Edward Roberts



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 188
Location: Twickenham, London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A new reflection from Michael on one of the Enneads of Plotinus ...


‘Wake to another way of seeing.’ (Ennead I 6:8)

‘Let him who can, follow and come within,
And leave outside the sight of his eyes,’
And let the light of your soul
Leave such things in the light of the sun,
Where they are in their changing:
And the sun will not mind.


‘Let him who can, follow and come within,
And leave outside the sight of his eyes,’
And let the light of your soul
Be returned to the light of your soul,
Leave the world and its turning
Seek this on which that depends.


‘Let him who can, follow and come within,
And leave outside the sight of his eyes,’
T’is easy to follow, what
Never left soul, alone, in its light,
For the light always stays
It’s constant companion.


‘Let him who can, follow and come within,
And leave outside the sight of his eyes,’
Leave outside thought and its’ moving,
Leave outside one’s knowing, and not,
Leave outside change,
Leave outside all that is not.


24-12-2015
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