Dissecting a Cloud

No words, saved up thoughts
Can answer true –
Only tiptoe around
The most obvious truth
Yet never set foot on that ground –
Dissecting a cloud
And finding nothing in his hands
The scholar despairs
Yet it is self-evident I stood the sternest test
Without the need for thoughts, or words
Or rather they took their places as servants
To greater cause
Before the event they fell over each other
To show me the way
And so I erred and stumbled
Or worried about stumbling and so fell
Until the moment came for the test
And eyes fixed ahead, thoughts had no choice
But to follow the narrow avenue offered them
And under sweat and toil a thoughtless place was born
A simple switch of focus and hysteria became calm
Instinct took over and honesty –
Without compromise for bending truths
Or looking one’s best
Showed them all what I could do, and cannot
And being the best that I could be
Who would not be happy with that?
When the road unplanned offers up such un-guessed at wonders
Such gifts not wrought by my hands
And you few who understand these words
Can share the joke
That I have no other way to tell this story
But with words!
So off with you, no more philosophies
And see this place for yourself


A holiday from life

Why is it always time to return
When the waves are highest?
There on the tip of the breaker
I feel close to something remarkable
Beyond the reach of sight or light
In a place, a holiday from life
Where mum and dad make a family still
With this childhood mind that has not moved on
Yet challenges me still
In the hours of night


We know we are in peril
Behind the short span of light
Beyond the passing of memory
Making us less than we were

Paths in the dark

What if: consciousness is software,
and the unconscious is the brain’s hardware?
Then the legacy of all our repeated thoughts
Would be laid down like pathways in the dark
Condemning us to follow
The structure of selfish, self centered ego, long ago assumed to be true.
What then of the path less travelled
Out there waiting
ever undiscovered?

Conscious Understanding

Conscious understanding:
Concepts on the threshold of understanding,
Dancing beyond the grasp of he who reaches –
Boats on a river, cars between the white lines;
A small, compact man, completely competent,
Until he steps beyond his doorstep,
And finds he has forgotten his boots.

Out Beyond the Wall

My thanks again to Jenny Matlock’s Saturday Centus, this prompt was way too good to resist…

This wall was built long ago…
Too much life for the straight and narrow way,
Great and crashing waves of existence,
Too strong for the emerging mind of man.
And so a wall was built deep and high
To keep out the night of unconsciousness,
To hold back the forgotten dread,
That sneaks  in through quiet times
To take us unawares,
Or breaks over ramparts,
And soak us in the icy brine of prehistoric life.
What am I, who am I and what does the wall hold back? we might ask,
It protects us from too much life,
It contains the other side we cannot abide,
But now like all good adventurers I must go out,
Out beyond the wall,
Into the camp of night , into winter’s shadowy grip,
And bring back that jewel of the hidden north,
Bring back myself: whole and full.
Pray that I return-
Pray that The Wall lets me pass,
Back to warmth and comforts of the mundane…
Or on moonlit nights look out for me;
A knot of night in the passing gloom,
Forever calling you…
Out beyond the wall.

The Seven Races of Man

In addition to poetry and other writings on the subject of Zen, I have also been known to dabble in writing fantasy novels. Here in the UK however Fantasy has entered a somewhat serious phase. With the novels of Steven Erikson and others it now seems that fantasy can no longer be about beautiful elves, treacherous goblins and blood thirsty orcs. In this brave new world the forests are burning and the elves are all now in brothels, the goblins have opened casinos and are making a packet, and the bloodthirsty orcs are in fact a muddy reflection of ourselves; sadly out-competed and forced by desperation to pillage. Steven Erikson is probably my favourite fantasy author of the last ten years so this is certainly not a criticism of his or subsequent fantasy, yet part of me thinks something has been lost. The well-worn clichés of fantasy, or tropes as Sonia Medeiros of Doing the Write Thing calls them, have something archetypal about them. There is a stubborn magic in such tales, a magic that talks to our unconscious. We have come so far, this human race, but in our journeying have we left one half of ourselves behind? So in response to Sonia’s May Challenge to give old fantasy tropes new life, and to attempt to reinvent and redirect my own faltering fantasy novel-in-progress, I present the following poem-stories. Imagine a world where not one but seven races of man still walked, each striving for dominance of the earth. Such a place is where my story is told. See if you can spot where my races come from in traditional Tolkien Fantasy, and where they have taken their own, new paths. (Apologies the word count Sonia is 588 – editing was never my strong point!)

Seven races of man were born,
Grown from void filled with earth licked by flame,
Each made in dark to strive,
For the light of lasting dominance,
Each in turn to taste victory and ashes,
As time grinds its hoed furrow on the world,
This is their story.


First came the Camlock,
Lizard skin, bleached eyes unblinking,
Sinuous and cold,
Their mastery long as forgotten eons,
As they are now forgotten,
By those once enslaved.


Across the seas they came,
As if the waves could not
Fill them up with cold forgetfulness,
With whip and fire they came amongst us,
As if with heavy brows and strong limbs slow to strike,
We were no more than chickens
Cuckolded to their frigid care,
With our seeds mixed down to nothing,
Held in chains beyond where sea meets sky,
Yet the blood still flows,
Where Burmid eyes rise with fire,
And brutish hands long to strike and tear,
Long forgiven yoke upon his neck,
From then till now rage shall become us,
Until we find ourselves once more in clear meadows,
On the other side of the sea.

Old ones,
Fast ones,
Childar blood ages like wine
In the deep forests of the world,
We who are of one mind
With nature’s covenant,
The childless-
One born for every lost,
But if we brew for war,
The world brews with us,
And if our coven grows dark,
A most unpleasant broth for the world over
To swallow,
Let them know our peace,
Or let them know our end.


The Runtar run
With fire cupped hands,
The gift of life and blood
To the long legged hunters with seeking spear,
May this plain never end,
Until the lightning laces with fire
The long grasses,
And it is time once more-
To run.


Sharp toothed,
Sharp eared,
Fox minded,
Let mine be mine and yours be mine,
Gamster country over,
And if in back stabbing,
I do stab around the world,
To my own back,
So be it-
Let the games go on.

We the little people,
The tunneling, hiding, laughing people,
Let us be or see us disappear-
Between the blink of an over-large eye,
The grasp of an overreaching hand,
We own the corners of the world,
There are more of us than can be guessed,
But what Dareen build none shall know.
Humanus knows not what he knows,
Orphaned child of disowned parents,
Glistening eyes for future only,
Mind like the edge of a blade,
Blood that wets the world with endless strife,
The possessed people,
Behind the castle walls the darkness growing,
Ambition to topple the gods,
Heedless of the ticking of the clock,
And chapters written by foreign hand.


There comes a final reckoning,
As each generation proclaims their feted years,
Yet on these times is placed the weight of centuries,
Drawn from well of worlds yet to come,
When the players of games shall cast their die upon all the lands,
When those slow to anger will be brought to frothing rage,
When the lost coven will burst like a boil in the midst of peaceful nature,
When the tall wanderers will wander no longer and plant their spears in city streets,
When the hidden ones shall have no sanctuary,
When the orphaned ones shall dream the memory of chains,
When the forgotten shall be remembered in the flames of vengeance,
Then in chaos shall reign the perfect storm,
And even the gods shall be as motes of dust,
About the seven crossed roads of destiny.


A world so strange and yet so familiar: old friends and distant voyages. And the greatest voyage of all is the journey home. From childhood to wakefulness along a narrow promontory from France to ole England, between and betwixt the radioactivity of history sending our mobile phones and computer games haywire. If this magic touches us will we be contaminated with the truth? The truth that we are not who we think we are? The only way to find out is to carry on dreaming…

Image Credit: salvador dalí

The Red Fox Runs…


The light that shines too bright is no light at all,
Harsh, controlling, knife to the eyes that would see;
Negative, overexposed, a tyrant,
But deep in the wood a red fox runs,
Evading stumbling hunters
Who would rend it, shoot it,
Hang its dead carcass on the wall.
But ever its secret wisdom will evade them,
Down the rabbit hole to the deepest place,
Until the hunters woo their quarry he shall not be caught,
They must seek the fox within,
Now they hunt themselves.


(C) Copyright Mark B Williams 2014
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