introduction

 

 

 

Poems for Hazel was written over a period of five and a half years, certainly among the most intensely felt of my life. I think I have to give some biographical information to make clear what otherwise may be obscure references.

 

Hazel is a widow (hence no.ís 12, 15 & 16), her husband and father of her children, who I never met, died in hospital of cancer. She was very reluctant to get involved with me, (and who can blame her?), it took two or three years from our first meeting for me to get close to her, whereupon I promptly left to do a Ph.D. in Birmingham (hence no.ís 5, 7, 9, 13, Half, Other Half, etc.).

 

We had a stormy, passionate relationship, the ending of which (though I acknowledge it could not have continued), nevertheless causes me profound regret. We seemed to split up every couple of months, which was always the end of the world, but had many happy, exciting, wonderful times as well. If there is a concentration on the misery of things in the poems that is because when I was with her and we were happy there was neither any need to write anything, nor any time to do so.

 

 

Between sections two and three I had a car crash and fractured my spine (hence (a), and see Medical Notes and Hospital Poems) rendering me useless: unable to walk without sticks Ė even to sit Ė impotent, and dependent on others for simple things like shopping. There was never any thought in my mind that Hazel should have been made to nurse and look after me, a notion utterly unjust and impractical. Hazel herself must (I know) have suffered intensely from my condition, which, in a sense, has proved me unworthy of her: I am too reckless. To visit me in hospital must have been too reminiscent of visiting her lost husband. I felt so sorry for her (and myself!) and so guilty. It must have seemed that she was cursed, condemned to endless repetition.

 

I am making a gradual recovery from my broken back and broken heart. I hope Hazel cannot be identified from the details I have given, she is a respectable, professional and private woman, apart from her equally important secret life as the sexiest, most playful and passionate of beings.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

part one

 

 

 

 

beginnings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


one

 

 

 

 

I would like to arrange it

††††††††††††††††††††††††† - and feel it would please you -

that I should be one of the manifold pleasures

which life can afford you

and are yours to call upon

brought to your door

by the pull of your tide.

 

 

nevertheless,

I too must subsist

in the world of desires and of mundane profanities

I need a life which supports such a luxury -

my life is ragged with glittering holes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

two

 

 

 

 

She seems as wild and gentle as the sea,

a woman soft and subtle,

†††††††††††††††††††††††† strong and sweet;

assured,

††††††††††† uncertain,

†††††††††††††††††††††††† poised above a puzzle,

somewhere in her something fugitive.

 

(she has the main road and the hidden track)

we skirt the precipice...........

 

I know we travel where there is no turning back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

three

 

 

 

 

 

Bound within unbounded contradictions,

 

a field of energies,

††††††††††††††††††††††† a net of nerves,

 

a consciousness that's conscious of its searching,

 

 

arcing

††††††††††††††††††† across

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† possibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

four

 

 

 

 

I feel so stretched,

there's no time left but time,

my life is winding into you

and is this coil clean, clean within the creature?

 

I'm a whore, but no, or something flattered,

tickled like a trout,

I am, I'm doubt;

I might be somehow faulty,

are you twisted?

 

No force ever pushes unresisted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

five

 

 

 

 

I found your note, which is of course

the sort of thing I would have said, for good or worse,

I almost fear for us who find such force

connecting us across the distances.

 

 

I laughed out loud, and in this attic now

there is a cloud of love around my head

which colours the faint greyness of the walls

and lets me squint at joy through my resistances.

 

 

A memory collapses space and time,

blossoming the light, unfolds within,

uniting what is separated, so

my laugh is love's lone consummation.

 

 

But this is all in me, were I in you

I'd need no memory, I'd need no thoughts

since there's no need of anything at all

but integration and disintegration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

six

 

 

 

 

LOVEto see you

††††††††††††††††††† (woman like a dream)

I'd love to send you something marvellous

but there is nothing marvellous, my love

except you, and the feelings that I have.

 

 

Seems like nothing, as I offer it -

so why should nothing seem so perilous ?

It's personal, to open up and show

the intricate intensities below.

 

 

I offer me, whatever I might be;

the lurching tendencies, the tenderness,

this I tender in return for who

exceeds all measure and all balance :you.

 

 

Of course I cannot cope, do not deserve,

deceive myself and others,make a mess,

all this and worse I offer you, just so

that we may find how tenderness may grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

††† seven

 

 

 

 

 

I reach for words, but words are nothing like.

The secret of the moment's in a kiss, a smile, a gesture,

in your hair,

it's not in anything that I retain.

 

 

The secret in the movement of a kiss

that leads from under softness to desire

and then subsides in gentleness again

is only known in action and is gone.

 

 

Life's a flame,

its simple ruthlesness

bypasses and recycles everything

our memory is memory of living

now completely stilled

and thus of loss.

 

 

I think of you and wish that we could trace

the patterns that my memory's effaced

a passion which has dazzled with a taste

which cannot be remembered or erased.

 

 

I think of you and wish that we could trace/the patterns that my memory's effaced/a passion which has dazzled with a taste/which cannot be remembered or erased.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

plus

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could not recreate it from a paste, or manufacture it in cyberspace, or reconstruct it like a 'crimewatch' case, the evidence is HAZEL;I'm displaced, myrecollection hazy, on the face of it my statement may be perjury or worse, it does not seem convincing in the least."ARREST THAT MAN"(they cry),"CALL THE POLICE."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

eight

 

 

 

 

Like a shipwreck,

wild storm on deep water,

 

hurl

 

the gasping elements together,

gathered in a rending tenderness.

 

 

Steer a course to now

on††††††††††††† out†††††††††††††† over

under

currents of disaster,

grasping claws;

all beauty in an urge

 

 

the instant of unending.....

 

in a wave,

a boiling peak;

the land's unhinged,

rocks

pounding into sand

 

 

 

 

BURN ALL THE BOATS

now we are landed

 

 

we

 

 

lie still like fish

that clambered out the sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nine

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I could still smell you, feel your back.

 

I wish that I could fall back on your bed.

 

You feel so good, like ice-cream, only warm,

 

"That's because I'm melting."my love said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ten

 

 

 

 

 

impossible

electric

charged past thought,

filled up with sympathy, burst with concern,

and terrible gentleness restraining some dark beast

which could not be regretted, if released.

 

Come, drink this well

- i think this well of you -

this swell of us, the well is within us,

is in us, in between us, is of us

is ours is ow is ow is in us,

is between us is in us

is in between us, is us, during us

my darling

and love smells of us

as Hazel makes amazement my new gaze.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

eleven

 

 

 

 

I shall not forget

you in your green dress,

wild, but no wilderness;

 

 

you are the green hill

and the open hill

you are the door

the door that opens in the secret hill

†† - the light in the doorway -

the pale gold and the faint strain of strange music,

and yet more :

 

 

you are the wild light that will make me still,

the secret that I live towards.

 

 

You are the question I was looking for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

twelve

 

 

 

 

You place your life on hold.

 

You hold your life in care for other's lives,

with careful hands you cup the life you have,

protecting it in trust, you husband it.

 

 

 

 

but i have begged admittance to your loft;

but i have put my wishes at your feet;

and i have found some places you are soft;

and you have found some places i am sweet.

 

 

 

 

Does this stir up the spirits ?

 

In all senses;

††††† summoning the saddest memories,

burning us with elemental essences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

thirteen

 

 

 

blurred with love i stumble into cloud,

a rock that would not roll for anyone,

i do not know what's real, or what's allowed,

i did not want control, now it is gone.

 

 

if there were such a door, i would walk through,

if there were such a place then it is here,

if there is such a hill then it is you,

and all the world but you will disappear.

 

 

 

but you will disappear, as blurred with love

i hazard up the road the devil drives

are my illusions true, or true enough

to witness separation and survive ?

 

 

 

A wilderness of tarmac, litter, loss,

a winter born in darkness, clothed in wind,

a city that just couldnít give a toss,

no pilgrim and no context and no sin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fourteen

 

 

 

 

My mind mists up with tears :

 

the thought of you

- as if there had not been enough -

tears are all I offer, and my life

could not redeem one touch of suffering.

 

 

 

 

The past's a burden we cannot ignore;

it shapes the future, wraps the present, holds

the threads from which our fabric looms

and all our lives unfurl from out its folds.

 

 

 

 

I offer nothing but the soul of me,

a brittle light that flickers and remains

that seems to burn more brightly in your air,

that gleams towards you

 

out across the ruins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fifteen

 

 

 

 

Enjoy for now the flowers of this hard earth

make breath come sudden in the frosted air

if we are born for nothing, still our birth

is not unvalued, we find value there.

 

No point outside time can weigh it up,

we have to cope; our duty and our fate,

our lives seem punctuated by full stops,

we don't know they are coming till too late.

 

Necessity is duty, all these words

have somehow bled together in the wash,

we seek a resting-place, like truth or beauty,

an Apple-Mac, an apple, or a mackintosh.

 

Truth's not beauty, beauty can be seen,

necessity's mere force, and guilt is duty,

a ministry of mirrors in the mind

is all we find, of course, is all we mean.

 

There's nothing left to cling to in this flood,

the blind onrushing to oblivion

the pitiless wide ocean, and the aimless blood;

all things turn to darkness in this vision.

 

We can't go forward without going back;

the things we did we have to do again,

but itís not empty which we fill with sparks;

we're justified if we survive our pain;

 

Where's our freedom, where's the joy, where's hope ?

(there's only words in poems, as we know)

I haven't got them on a bit of string,

you'd best make up your meanings as you go.

 

 

I can't help thinking (though I wish I'd stop)

I can't help feeling there is something here,

something nearly madness, nearly true,

something satisfying and unclear.

 

A game that has no winning, no replays,

just the darkness past all explanation

breached and lived, made momentarily

a perch, a place; a habitation.

 

Lives are what they make us, and our thoughts

are merely catalogues of our behaving.

Weíre already blessed, already doomed,

a sort of miracle past sense or craving.

 

Well?So what's the point then?Aimless sparks?

(you say it's an illusion, and it is,)

which as they burn illuminate the dark

and torture us with possibilities.

 

I wouldn't hurt you if I knew a way,

flowers wither, but they bud again,

we could enjoy the flowers for a day

were we not stopped by reason of our suffering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sixteen

 

 

 

 

 

I touch a wound that will not heal or scar

and offer suffering, it's all that I can do.

If so, enough; I hope for your recovery,

I would not stop for anyone but you.

 

You touch me in some tender inward place

that makes me shudder, squirm, and does all this to me

and yet you tell me that no warm embrace

could ever be a cure for your dark history.

 

I've nothing more, nor anything to give

and love's the only language I have access to

I'm asking you, my beauty, just to live,

which is the hardest option I could put to you.

 

I don't believe you: love's the only cure for it,

my guarantees are forged but I still honour them

if happiness is stolen, I'm a murderer :-

donít put that on me as another burden.

 

I touch a wound that neither heals nor scars,

if I bring only pain, then here's an end of it;

I threaten spring, I know I threaten everything,

I'm down at the deep end, depend on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

more hazel poems

 

 

 

 

 

back to front†††††††††

 

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