TOM ACTON

SINGER - SONGWRITER - STORYTELLER

Poetry

I have always seen poetry as an open window, blowing fresh air into my life. Poetry is what I turn to; "when the world beats its way too close to my door". So here, I invite you to join me in looking through that open window.

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THE HEALING

Today we crossed the river
The soft plains of west Mayo spread out to the left
All you tell me, is weighted in meaning
Your rushed words spilling into my pool
Over the edges of memory they pass

As I take in each one, but can’t promise/ I’ll remember
For there is no order to memory
Unlike, the large river stones/ that glisten/ And are smooth from age
We sew the jagged edges of healing together, as best we can

Now with the shore beneath our feet
And pulling towards the damp grass
I feel your feminine mind seeking assurance, a continuation
Yet all I possess is, your hand in mine
The sketched out-line of these hills
The moving towards..feeling..
Your company

There is nothing we can take away from this landscape
Nothing to give back
We are what we have become, for the change has already occured
Passing through the quietness
The gift is in noticing, all that is given
The holding of each second in still life


THE HILL OF WOMEN

There are no answers  here, only history
 Distance, clefted stone/
moss on a green bed of ritual

A priest in earthly attire
Places two bones respectfully
Side by side
No one moves in the faint light
All watch quietly
The flat stone hacked from the mountain
Will serve as an alter

The man bending over it
Reaches for grass, animal fat, straw,
Far off in a forest a hunted creature calls
Another echo’s in return
The priest beckons
And the crowd make way
A figure is carried forward on two heavy wet branches. 
 
Later, she will be buried in the hill of women
A journey over water to Omey Island
It is said, should a man be placed in the ground
The earth would reject his body
But her place will be the damp earth
A chambers to fold its arms around her life


THE BOG OF CEIDE

 Here the nights are truly clear
And the stars alive and burning
Above the black  water
And the ice  real, crackling
Beneath my boots

In this wide open land,
Cold and silent,  as secerative as a distant hill

I move  as a thief must,
Over the red brown skin of the bog

The freezing  air coats the ground 
And a white mist hangs suspended
Like a wet cloth hung out to dry

Low flying Geese skirt noisily over the bog
As they have for centuries
Followed by hunters, taking them down one by one..
I imagine a dwelling close by
The bleating of animals,
The slaughtered hanging over a pail.
Children shivering, huddled around a fire.
Their smoke-filled eyes alert to every sound

A horde rampages through the hills
Then sits down to gorge on fresh meat
Huts burn, and the last remaining people
Are herded  into the bog.
Till quietness returns with the dark
 

This bog was once a holy place, both functional and burial ground
An underworld deity, that swallowed up the living
And dead alike
Here, I will pass with respect, knowing,
That strenght lies, not only with endurance
But in the ability to keep faith with the unseen


April

April came and with it the promise of things to come
Children playing in the park/ an over-heated city
The crush of the shopping crowds/ and yet the first
crop of spring brought a restless season in
Of relentless waves breaking/ and then rebreaking
The shreding of solitude/the old familiar gestures
A glimse of a passing face. ..

As we walked out towards the coast
The sea before us, the city behind
edging towards each other silently.
I saw you smile, in your knowing way
A soft rain blew across the strand
As we passed in the days of April


WINTER

Winter has set in
And the swallows have long gone south
There is a quietness about the house
We feel it in our bones
The air is thick with it
Our conversation suffers from it
Logs burn in the hearth
Smoke hisses down
Outside it is raining
Wind roughens up the trees
Silver stiffened leaves
Hurry about the garden
And brush against the glass
It is night
Night breathes on the house
Like winter
We turn our eyes to eachother
Then towards the crackling fire and stare


THE CHASE

As a woman/ on the run
After love
You refused to give ground on regained freedom
So I took you among the briars and placeed oak leaves in your hair
Leaned warm breath on your face
Cleared a bed with Alder branches
And pulled you towards the cold earth
But you were unresponsive
As a stone.
As a soul during transmigration
You hissed hollow voiced at me
Your vow upset the trees that listened
And caused thrushes to find the air
We stayed awake both night and day
Waiting for the other to drop guard and sleep
You bound your ankle to a root and said:
it's growing will keep me awake
My pulse is beating with it's pulse
So keep away, least its tongue should strike you 

All texts (c) 2014 - Tom Acton