Two Poems – Tom Burgess

A Celebration (BC)(A Sestina)

I cherish the imprint of that day at the beach when we gathered together
Before duty solidified and we understood our new reality
When the spread of disease was a tremor on another shore
Still we greeted each other awkwardly, the usual embraces blocked
Our gaggle of friendship both bonded and stretched by uncertainty
Sense of time stalling, future oblique, for some work already lost

Walking in pairs there is speculation over what more will be lost
The footstep rhythm gives traction, we are drawing strength together
Learning from one another what our response can be to uncertainty
We have met to be held by the landscape, the ground of reality
Outside wide open, our community will not remain blocked
Tracing the glorious flourishes of a slow river to the shore

Shoes off now, warm soles, dirt turns to sand on the shore
Sunlight thrashes over a new horizon, it finds us lost
This global concern so intimate our collective future blocked
Radiating heat and truth the earth is holding us together
So many in danger of falling through the cracks, this is the reality
The fault lines were already there, let there be no uncertainty

Wind whips through my hair, clarity replaces uncertainty
The glance and drag pattern of the sea strokes a glistening shore
Ripples rush off packed sand, it is an iridescent reality
In a totally new way I am in this moment, lost
Our smiles touch and this fresh presence we all share together
Hushed conversation gives way to laughter we are no longer blocked

Somewhere certain elite scramble to profit from disaster, they are blocked
I have a fleeting hope they will change, or listen, or melt into uncertainty
Meanwhile clothes are abandoned, the gentle waves call us together
Swimming is life, we breathe in a cleansing, inhale the shore
Sand falling through time, a groaning system forever lost
Perhaps we are in the birth pains of a new reality

We dance to warm up, born is a playful reality
May this world wide tragedy flush out all that is blocked
Let us struggle and dream for what might be gained as well as lost
Where there is wisdom let it be claimed by submitting to uncertainty
We dash off dunes, rejoice in the sun, give thanks to a cartwheeling shore
Devising games, sharing and innovating this is how we are together

That day we were not lost but present with reality
In lockdown may we be alone together and not remain blocked
Remembering the stability of our shared uncertainty on the pristine shore

Another Now

My imagination is in a wild dance with reality
Feral thoughts collide and
populate new territories of the brain
Iodine stains creep across the
stretch of a prostrated mind
Dark tinges leak
Pollute innocence
Create dissonance

I divert the creeping advance with movement
In my body
One foot forward and twist and shake
Rhythm and breath transfer to stillness
Shook silent

Seeking the quiet creases of
this pickled fist of panic
Where all that is good swirls
I pay attention there
Grasping hold of precious fluid
White matter dashes with light
and waits for the dark

Ascending to a higher place
Look outward
Feel this moment
Follow the fissures
to hope which waits in
Another Now

Tom Burgess bio: ‘I am a Poet living in Bristol, UK. My day job concerns play, nature and adventure for young people. This influences my poetry in the sense that I am interested in transformation. I have poetry collections titled ‘Paint Yourself’ and ‘Tangled Yet coiled’ both available from Arkbound, a local charity publisher.’ I have a blog – Tom uses twitter sporadically – @opal_tomburgess.

Art Banner: Flowers for a Pandemic. A visual poem by Robert Frede Kenter (c) (2023). Twitter: @frede_kenter. IG: r.f.k.vispocityshuffle.

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