Cantor’s echo

There’s a mossy dampness
and the cloistered echoes
carry the plainsong of the
great cantors of the past

I AM, I said

and my young feet padded
along beneath ancient
memorial tablets keenly
whilst my young nose
registered that mossy
and dampness were for me
happy conditions to be gladly
returned to serenely, mustily

I AM, I said

the Ancient of Days and the
young exploring modern
and I belong here and
long here and love the
heavy creaking of this
old oak door and I want
more of this mossy
musty dampness and

I AM, I said

in the vibrancy of the
cantor’s echoing I AM, I said
the Ancient of Days and the
young solitary in search
of the Mothering Spirit
and the profundity of quietness

I AM, I said

and came upon a tiny
oak-framed illuminated
cobweb whereon is tenderly
painted the Mother and the
Child and lest the grace-filled
softness of her speech be not
fully heard another illuminated
frame stands soft guide for
a child:

Go placidly amid the noise and
haste and remember what peace
there may be in silence

Desiderata – a cantor’s echo:

I am, I said



Small square photograph
in the instamatic days of
pale colours brings to mind
vivacity and vividness
that the processing couldn’t
quite describe

Tall and lean with tousled
red brown wiry hair
my father reclines in the
bough of a tiny white boat –
I could draw the exact spot
of a hole in the varnished
plywood half-deck now

I’m terrified in the stern
and laughing-proud as for
the first time at five my
hand guides the tiller of a
spluttering petroleum scented
Seagull outboard engine

Orange mackerel lines trailed
fresh baked ham-filled
morning rolls were the
necessary presence for me
of my mother – and keenly
anticipated even in the midst
of navigating concentration

and sea-sunlight warmed
this small son’s soul
as we rode the mighty waves
and my relaxed and Old Spiced
beaming Dad called ‘good boy’
‘grand lad’ above the labouring
racket and tumult

and in the cottage on Y Fron
at evening, patting my mother’s
hand – ‘you know, our lad’s
not bad!’