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JOHN MINGAY lives in Scotland. Parts of this poem appeared in Slope #3.



From the eloquence of a sweeping rhetoric
to the curiosity of a silent comment,
the tangible calm of before, alone, acts
as the history each moment answers.

Of all accepted burdens,
the simple and certain truth of happiness
belongs to humanity.


Words are the beginning
of the end of the race towards
from where utter stillness
immortalises the tribe.

Never will time stifle this one fixed truth.

In the present, everything follows -
no-one has the innocence
to taste the calm these days can only whisper.


Only so much can be slowed
that is soiled, save in dreaming,
and can be twisted to give life reason.

Vision is the voice of silence:

through its language
it shelters each soul from the bedlam
and gives birth to words
that echo with passion.


No fragment can be enough
in the midst of circumstances
bowing to conformity, determined by faith,
blind to the flesh, however furrowed or fettered,
of the dawning glow as time unfolds.

The genesis may reveal acid desire,
but none shall know it by name,
each, in his own way, untainted
by being bound by ambition.


No-one can be disparaged
by virtue of his thoughts
if their telling ends the chaos:

the welcome caress of inspiration
is as the fragile echo
of another moment to be grasped;

sanctuary seized,
direction assured.


A conceded possibility
is the prison for the mind
this virginal restraint awaits;

every emotion a true likeness of sacrifice.

To know
is to decipher the symmetry
of succession, of change, of space.


To tempt an allegory of time
is to veneer creation, is to purify sorrow
in whatever guise it may have been before.



The echoing fragment
of the abstract of age,
that this confession concedes,
will drift forever beyond this day:

sensed at any one moment
in everything each musing can embellish;

reflected in the simple but certain belief
in consciousness in calm as the destination to seek.


Remnants are revealed as symmetry quivering,
familiar and forgiving, found in the awareness
of seeing as the freeing of inherited time,
in withstanding the deafening enthusiasm of the tribe.

No flesh nor remnant
can follow any one god
who wrongs the rite life demands -

those who listen, share the world.


Deeds are transcendent
insofar as nothing is sacred
in anything heard by way of truth.

Words are equally marked by purity
and, all told, their capacity absolves defeat.


Anyone can be expected
to veil the sky in fear.

Anyone can be excused.

But anyone exposed to life
will bow to time as long as
permanence induces wrath.


Change may contribute to inevitability,
but blinding desire will be nameless from the start:

forever deemed to be shallow;

considered needless in the knowing of being.


Symmetry, still quivering, unfurls the moment further
and is relentless in becoming a gnawing history,
answerable only to time,
home to the mortal whims of one and all -

the narrow verge of those assured.


A familiar relief is spread in measure
for the pain of time this hunger seldom gathers in.

To expect anyone to choose their jury
while the dawn splinters
is to make symmetry the way of judgement
and of confronting the chaos of sacrifice.

To ache for common drudgery
is to calm the pulse of spirits witnessed.


...and now,
no-one need be hesitant alone
where shared finality
can follow the echo its flesh reveals.