H  A  I  K  U     S  P  I  R  I  T
Ken Jones

by the moon
in the bog

going out
to kick stones
last of the day

My thin veined hands
by the long summer

Dead lamb
the wind
flickers its ears

Lined up
outside the meditation door
forty worn and silent shoes

on my open diary

as the frozen pond
the plastic duck

Mountain wind
through my ribcage

leaning on a gate
long shadows of thistles
this sixty-seven year heart

Beside the hedge ~
a person!
crow's wing flutter

"Nobody about!"
says the stride of the hunter
entering my yard

Old ant hills, tumbled stones
this pasture of the ancient dead
my lunch stop

No moon
to guide me off the mountain
only the flaring comet trail


Jet setting monk
laptop and begging bowl
the air hostess bows

(Spring 1997, Kyoto and Kamakura)

On my black robe
grey and listless
flies of autumn

hay bales
dumped across the golden stubble
lengthening shadows

Scoving in West Cork

Famine cabin
its apple tree
still blooming

Stones I've placed
to mark the only safe descent
the mist thickens

the lough
each islet
in its place

Between the Atlantic
and all that rock and bog
dozing by the fire

(In Cork dialect "to scove" is to wander about the land)

The headstone
alive with flies

Sitting the long retreat
geese at dawn
geese at sundown

Ram lambs
pressed against the mountain gate
one more evening

First day of spring
has time to spare

Lighting the stove
I wake up my companion
a sleepy fly

Through the mist
the drumming of little hooves
on frozen pasture

Long beams of roaring light
beneath the dawn moon
the big trucks

Heavy coils of smoke
from new-lit fires
slowly the day begins

Paving stones
those that go clunk!
and those that don't

Oil lamp in each hand
unable to reach the switch
that isn't there

Widower's dead
his furniture burnt
only his woodstack left

Fleece bedecked
with cherry leaves
she chews her curd

Between Kingdom
and Republic
a silent pot holed road

the clapperless wake-up bell

Broken man
all day long
splitting oak

Desolation -
for my wife's boot prints

Dismasted pines
their riven branches
point in all directions

Weeks of rain
quiet beasts
stand in fields

Darkening morning
husband and wife
keep closer

back and forth
through the wood
the bark
the echo

No spring
stone saucer of rain
rippled by the wind

In moonlight -
split ash
its smooth white flesh

New diary
seven days a page
my life now

Where two streams meet
my wife cast a spell
her grey hair

the livid blue horizon of the bay

Unsteadied by saké
in my pocket
the corner of my passport

"Green Activist"
standing upright
in the waste bin

Out of the brightly lit house
off to the brightly lit meeting
the moon at the gate

Out of darkness
wind chimes
made of bones

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