Gravity (Subspace #8)

Let me cling to the earth a while longer,

Bring my centre of gravity down.

I’ll weigh soaring through oblivion

With sitting in this groove

And learn to love the dreams where I can fly;

Let me ground myself:

Feet to earth,

Dance back my power

‘Ere I disintegrate,

My gravity shattered into something new.

Watch me and be elevated

Brought low



And we are the moment of conception,

The birth of stars stretched out through time:

Your touch the creation of atom,

My gravity to bring you home.

The person within me (a.k.a Yin Yang)

The person within me is often without:

Lame with certainty sometimes, sometimes crippled with doubt.

Sometimes kicking and hitting and scratching and biting,

Forging out from within, she will come out fighting.

She is fractal, atomic, galactic, ecstatic;

Expansive, whilst infinitesimally small.

She can be fractious, acidic, chaotic, quixotic,

She endures for the squall that will signal the fall.

She endures for destruction, the chaos of growing;

The patterns pervasive, the sowing of knowing.

You can’t squash her, she is the root of a tree,

The drip-drip in a cave, the slow surge of the sea

That wears at the shoreline, languid, unhurried,

High-tidal-low-tide, she will worry, unworried.

She will rip off your hand while she gives you a heart;

She is maths, she is music, she is science and art.

She is everything you are, in fact, she is you:

She thinks just as you think, she does as you do.

She’s down with the in-crowd, she’s out on a limb;

She is cavernous, empty, and full to the brim.

Undeniably, she is more tortoise than hare…

Which seems fair.

A sky burial / Elements

Note: This little ditty is the beginning of what I thought might eventually turn into a book. I suppose it still might, but the initial idea has changed and evolved so much over the last couple of years as to be virtually unrecognisable. I am currently in the ‘research and note-taking’ phase (read: ‘procrastination and noodling about’) of the book it will now become. That said, it began as a story about balance, and it will end as one.

A sky burial

The circling shadows ripple across the sparse scrub of the mountain top. The air is thin here, and cool. The five figures stand loosely gathered, each looking out in a different direction across the bluff, where the light paints a late afternoon, bordering on dusk. It is fitting, given their purpose.

As the sun dips and grows, and dips and grows, the five stretch upturned hands in the direction they each are facing before lowering their arms and reaching out to the sides. Rather than joining hands, as you might be expecting, each person takes a light hold of their neighbour’s left wrist, until a circle is made. If you are listening, you will have begun to imagine the drone of a low hum as it undulates in the space – swelling, intoxicating. If you are observant, you will have spotted the not-quite-discernible bundle, wrapped in a blanket that fades through elemental colours, interrupting the ground within the ring of five.

The stillness of the scene is sharply highlighted by the flick and wave of the gusted grass, the thrum and roll of the low, low tone that seems to come up through the ground and collect in the throats of the five. If you find you have been there a lifetime, it is because the sound of the receding day has had a way of stopping thoughts in their tracks; make of that what you will.

When the sun kisses the distant summit the sound abruptly stops and hands once again fall to sides. Wordlessly, the five drop into a crouch and begin to shuck the blanket from what it shrouds.

And there you are. And me; except it isn’t really you or me but it might have been you and one day it will be me – we are all connected.

The body may have been man, or woman, or neither, but it doesn’t really matter as it all comes from the same place it will go back to: a memory that morphs over time.

The five stand back from their charge and once again turn to face outwards. Each one of them with gaze relaxed to encompass all in their periphery. You see them solemn, but clear-eyed and open. They stand still a long moment more, and before they disband each one touches fingertips to the forehead of every companion. Then they break into broad smiles and depart, each stepping lightly in a different direction. One waves the blanket-shroud jauntily in time with every step. By the time they are twenty yards away, the first vulture has landed amid a great beating of wings.



Days and nights pass in stillness on the mountain top, weaving in and around the tempestuous grass and the carrion birds that circle and hop. There is nothing to be done now but wait for life to creep forward in that inevitable way it has; we might call it la via vita. Laviavita, rolling inexorably on.

After a few days exposed to the elements, our disconnected sibling reconnects; only this time the signal is clearer, stronger, faster. No data is sidelined, or siphoned off to become tangled in a web of our own making. There is no different perspective now.

Its hair flows in quiet symphony with the grass; it is naked, and unashamed when the birds begin to tease meat from bone in strips that stretch and snap as they are plucked. A simultaneous exchange goes on unnoticed below. Something – memory, experience, perspective – reaches down and noses its way between stone and root and earth, the one enriching the other as they pass by, eternally osmotic. It joins with the sweat of the earth to become religiously one with it.

Religion, from religare; to bind together. Take a moment to wonder what happened.

xx + xy = αω (Subspace #4)

Spirit and strength

Thought and shape

Pollen and sting


Expressing algebraic divinity

Where you are god

And I am god






Because God is she

And God is he

Made brown earth and bright star


And there transmute


A-washing, a-washing

A-rolling me over into







On the distant hill

Years past remembering she had lived there in that simple house – free, but not free; alone, but not lonely. It hadn’t always been just her, but she’d never married, never had children; although she would happily have done the one without the other and still had the temerity to hold her head high, even there, even then.

The house was clapboard: unpainted, with a wide verandah where she would sit a while when the day was fine and sometimes when it blustered. Unsheltered from the elements, it sat alone in the corner of a large meadow, which itself nestled snugly in the crook of a deciduous wood: sweet chestnut and oak and beech. Like those trees, she was lean and lithe and strong, kept the house in good repair and could pass for a woman twenty, even thirty years her junior. In the nearby town, most of those who had been there when she was young were either dead or moved to a kinder climate. She went in but occasionally, always arriving either on foot, or riding an ancient, black bicycle fitted with panniers, basket and bell. There, as she bought those necessities which she could not grow or gather or butcher or sew herself, she was greeted with their piqued curiosity borne out of the apparent mystery that shrouded her existence there – among them, but not of them.

In spite of her years, her days began and ended much as they ever had, so that it seemed to the town’s people that she lived in the bubble of a sometime-day. From sunrise to sundown her toil was constant and steady. She didn’t rush or fret the days to end, rather taking time to acknowledge every moment – giving every task, however small, the fullness of her attention. She was at all times, had always been, surrounded by lives in the meadow. She never sought them but they found her all the same. They would stay with her as long as they could before she released them to the distant hills without attachment or heartache, as she knew she would herself be released upon a day. Until that time, she was mindful to arise each dawn with eyes wide, to revel in the newness of the world. In this way, her every day was fresh and vibrant, though to those outside the bubble, it may have seemed repetitive, monotonous. To them it seemed unnatural for one, a woman, of her advanced years to lead a life of such vigour and independence; rather than lauding her vitality, they considered it suspect, unnatural. Those ones saw only her iron grey hair, not the lustre of it; her translucent skin, not the straightness of her back or the clarity of her gaze. They saw in her only what they themselves expected to become.

The children of the town were admonished not to trespass on her meadow, and of course there were whispered stories, but the truth was that she welcomed the sight of them, the more because it was rare. And so when she would hear them scattering hens on their wild dash through a corner of her meadow, she would stop what she was doing and go out on to the porch to catch a breath of their exuberance before their laughter disappeared into the sunlit coppice beyond the house. On those days she could see the shimmer of them long after they had skipped home, and it seemed to her that the meadow held on to the life that it had touched as though it recognised its ephemeral nature in a way that people rarely did. She knew as well as the grass that their time as draiads would be over as soon as selfconsciousness and conformity pulled them into that world which she gently refused to join.

There was one child among them, a boy, whose light was more diffuse than the others’. His connection to the world had not begun to dissipate and in him she recognised her end and her beginning. From the moment when she first saw his light reaching calmly into the world, the old woman knew that he would never lose his spark. She didn’t grieve in her knowledge for she knew that the shortness of time was subjective and in youth the summers are long. Although they never exchanged more than a look, they were inextricably linked, bound by their common fate as two eternal creatures being stalked by cool, impassive death. Only she and the meadow knew to whom it would catch up first. Only she and the meadow could confront that moment with calm acceptance.

The boy died of a slow-creeping illness one day, one summer. As his body drew its last breath, the fractal field vibrated and shivered and was permeated with a glow that lingered on and on, immersing the woman and her surroundings, allowing them to breathe it in. The town’s people were oblivious to it, even as the old woman welcomed and absorbed it. Their only desire was to cling to the body that was no more, to shape and contain it within a cage made of words. Although she had long since relinquished personal desire, the woman knew that if she wanted to find the boy, she need only split a piece of wood, or lift a stone. She only had to breathe.


With the ebb and flow of her companions in the meadow, the woman’s life went on, more the same than ever. Their being together was neither symbiotic nor parasitic; it simply was, until it wasn’t. The townspeople talked, the children ran and the world around her shimmered and hummed in a state of joyous flux. Her eyes were as bright as any bird’s who has denied the bars of his cage and flown instead to the distant hill, the better to silently sing.