A piece that has been a few years in the thinking-for AH.
Where safe, riotous fans of rugby pass:
Haymarket in Edinburgh, aye busy
A nexus of city, country, leaving, arriving.
This time some anti-Semitic bile given
As casually as you would press the Pedestrian Crossing
My friend more Scot and native than many a bigot
Was guilty, just standing
Black hair and the gift o the gab*.
Abstracts like Scottish, nation, civic nationalism exist
On the same plane as hame-grown hatred
We are not special, nor that different
Fail that test
Then welcome that Eton brigade in.
*Aye-always; Gift o the gab= can speak well and/or eloquently
Karate Goes Beyond the Dojo
The objective of karate-do is to polish and nurture both mind and body.
Shotokan in part means pine waves.
Beyond this kata of text
My window trailing with tiny rain silver-beads
Real pines, wind-boned legerity
Trunks in mild sway, branch arms waving.
Easy to give in to the body’s power
Take the body’s ability to nihilism
Away from awareness, caring or best.
Weapons must be forged, loved then forgotten
Spirit given over to integrity, forgiveness
Or we-them-the baseless, money-driven instructors
Are violent, criminal.
The void beyond the tiny kata detail
Is that in all spheres: the essence of things
The doing of it has that line of time stretching
To make a mockery of your rush.
How many years to see it, feel it?
You think as another learning point
Glistens like Ness water still chilled in high summer.
They are the seeds of our green fringe-
The pine trees, slivers of essence
They are winged micros
Pared elliptical spirals into here:
The square concrete and steel of human nests.
They mark another cycle:
Death, renewal, birth and awakening
As their girth grows, ours weakens.
The August sun splits the early evening
As a grey squirrel dashes over the fence
Like an office worker in Adidas trainers
He is all frenetic energy and need.
Menuki 目貫 [めぬき] are the ornaments that are found under the handle wrap on katana and wakizashi. They define the character of the sword and can tie the owner to the sword. The Menuki can be replaced when the tsuka (handle) is re-wrapped.
Hardly the placing of a katana or its menuki near violets
Not here in the clarity and bone-brittle spring sunshine
No ancient murmur in step and pulse like Okinawa.
Yet the placing of a pad near red-skinned herbaceous fingers
The noticing of the bare silver birch, the opening applause of blossoms
It harkens a speed to the toil and labour of stance, strike
Breathe and breath to give life to kata, pattern
In the pause afore the gnarl and bite
Of a winter reluctant to feast upon us
The kestrel lands gossamer air light
Pensive between fence and morsel of wood.
Spitfire cousin of the buzzard
A filament of wing and feather
Braided into the undergrowth.
Any reward is unseen
Measured in slower time in larger beats.
(A quick game of football in Malawi-bare feet, sugar cane and big smiles: thanks ST :))
‘Calamity Springs From Carelessness’
Just as the slightest undulation
On rough ground destroys balance
So any slight give or fade can lose
Conflicts in or out your gi.
As seasons create growth
They hide that decay in tending actions
Weed out the poverty of thought or deed
Usher in like illuminati clear gaze
Both with een* shut and eyes open.