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March 19, 2011
The quest of the red hart
The robin flutters east to choir his team,
Through sunset’s rose and night-denying dream.
The Sunday School turns East to praise a word
That weeps in blood between the lines that seem.
The nun retreats to heart-denying cell
And turns to God her blushes and her beam.
The King St lover walks where lights are red
But will not stop him daring for his Queen.
The rhyming market trader sells his soul
And scarlet ribbons to a lonely teen.
The cat scales down the great sun’s glowing fire
To purring window’s perfect-bedded dream.
The hart pursues her navel’s heaven scent
To hell and back to where she’s always been.
Oh Bard, don’t preach the way to go to Sea
When home is where each hart is, by the stream.
Notes: On Monday I drove 45 Norfolk miles to Norwich to watch a football match (Bristol City - the Robins - lost 3-1, though that's not how I saw it.) For most people that would be it and it was certainly more than enough. Not me. I carry this poem around like a headache all week and finally locate the ache somewhere nearer the bottom - of my heart - and write the thing by the light of an amazing full moon in the early hours of Saturday morning. It's not easy being a poet you know. The form, for those who care about such things, is the Persian ghazal, a highly disciplined yet intoxicating Urdu love lyric much used by Hafiz and with pretensions - in Hafiz's case real aspirations - to the Divine. The 'message' is based on a Meher Baba discourse called The Deeper Aspects of Sadhana. This includes the tale of the Kasturi-mriga (the deer whose navel yields musk) fatally pursuing the divine scent thinking it was outside herself and whose realisation of its true location on dying brought 'inexpressible peace.' So Mr Calway's day/night out in Norwich as seen through the prism of the story of the Kasturi-mriga.