POEM OF LA GOMERA
My poem of this trip in January 2017 ended up as solid rock-like verses, attempts to convey the feeling of meeting this volcanic frontier, in the landscape and in me. From the meaning of Islas Canarias (island of the dogs), there are little echoes of poets that spirited the experience of ﬁnding my own ‘black dog’ met by the vast movement, silence, intimacy and music of nature: Manley-Hopkins, Emily Dickinson, TS Eliot, Rilke & Jung. Interestingly 8-line poems are called Octaves; resonant of order but also scale, reach and expanse. And ﬁnd today the late David Bowie wrote a song called Eight Line Poem too…
I wouldn’t say my dog is mine,
Not half as fully as my tongue,
It’s looted from my tribal chest;
It’s teeth and weight against my rib,
Was passed to me one day in time,
When milky blind spot opened up
It’s retinal cave, just long enough,
For black hound to run through.
Our boat is now a shrunken raft
Before the La Gomerian shore,
This small wild Islas Canarias;
Hardened jaw of trodden ﬁre,
Stroked by the wind, lit by the sun,
Lapped by the constant broken wave,
Whispering, sucking, salted purge,
Birds eye tears melt our approach.
It said lie down, animal and you,
Bow before my towering growl,
I want to see you, and your pride,
Lift you to rock that’s higher than ‘I’,
Engulf you in gliding mantle blue,
Vast moving mirror at my feet;
Who is this on the other side of you?
Lift your eye, see it ﬂuttering free
Nature, enraptured by this dance,
That carries on ‘tween shore and sea,
Meets her own lover every time
We bring our burden, our black dog,
Our unachievable task of praise,
To her heel, and humbled thus,
Our heartache can bear fruit for us,
And pour translucent light through us.
Thus so the beast will meet the bird,
Sweet music scaled by the deep,
And ah! Bright wings from bristling fur,
Will rise with freshness from the earth.