Mozart at Greenbelt, 27.08.01
for Niki and Sarah
We lie upon the grass on God’s good earth
and listen to the Requiem’s intense,
long, love-laden keening, calling forth
echoes of Eden, blessing every sense
with brimming blisses, every death with birth,
until all passion passes into praise.
I bless the winding paths that brought us here,
I bless this day, distinct amidst our days,
I bless the light, the music-laden air,
I bless the interweaving of our ways,
the lifting of the burdens that we bear,
I bless the broken body that we share
Sanctus the heart, Sanctus the spirit cries,
Sanctus the flesh in every touch replies.
Saying the Names
Dawn over Amble, and along the coast
light on the tide flows to Northumberland,
silvers the scales of herring freshly caught
and glowing in their boxes on the dock,
shivers the rainbow sheen on drops of diesel,
and lights, at last, the North Sea fishing fleet.
Tucked into harbour here, their buoyant lines
lift to the light on plated prows their names,
the ancient names picked out in this year’s paint:
Providence, Bold Venture, Star Divine
are first along the quay-side. Fruitful Bough
has stemmed the tides to bring her harvest in,
Orcadian Mist and Sacred Heart, Aspire,
their names are numinous, a found poem.
Those Bible-burnished phrases live and lift
into the brightening tide of morning light
and beg to be recited, chanted out,
for names are incantations, mysteries
made manifest like ships on the horizon.
Eastward their long line tapers towards dawn
and ends at last with Freedom, Radiant Morn.
These poems are part of a booklet called “Saying the Names,” available for purchase at