Archives for December 2007

Silver Salmon

Silver Salmon

O good song,
drop down my throat
into my heart of sound
and dangle my soul
over my dark vibrato.
Crack my armour,
melt my stones,
down in that dark heart
I’ll sing my way home.

I cough and I hack
what’s holding me back
then the air rushes into my lungs.
The bones in my back
go crickety-crack
then my guts they come unstrung.
When the rock in my crux
is wracked and wrung,
when the tremoling has begun,
then the knots in my soul come loose;
ropes running writhing,
swinging fists of pain,
striking and striking my heart bell again and again,
and then I’m ringing, I’m ringing, I’m ringing,
then I’m a black bell singing, singing, singing.

O good song
you breathe into
my whole body

O good song
you breathe me into
a clanging, knelling,
temple gong.

O good song:
your sounding dives down
to find the elusive silver salmon.
Find it with your singing,
find it with your ringing,
chase it down with your dark vibrato,
a bright silver flashing,
a shaft of light flick’ring,
a ripple, a glimpse of muscle
flexing in the deep.
No catching, no latching,
no holding, no grasping,
wily, slipperish, she must always run free.

O good song,
you brave dive down
soul hoping only to ride
the wild fish wild;
no reins, no bit, no bridle,
she’ll only let you ride her
if you give, if you give, if you give,
all of you,

She is onely,
she is whole,
complete, unbroken,
and you own
only one thing to her worth heeding,
only one thing, maybe, she’s needing,
your pain, your fears,
your secret tears,
your terrors and taboos,
your screws come loose,
your trembling gashes
which are always bleeding.

She is onely;
ever unbroken, ever wild,
and the only way she’ll let you ride
is if you show her all you hide,
only let you know her name
if you display your most crippling shame.
She’ll let you near
if you expose your most dear fear.
You win by losing, pay out your victory dues,
Maybe you’ll succeed, seduce, if you offer up your wounds;
your scars, your cracks, your tears,
Your grooves’ll groove her.
Bare the throat of your being
and there, here, now she is,
wild and bare, loosed hair,
but don’t stare.
Nor even look.
‘Cause everything wild either freezes or flees before man’s rapacious glare;
snake’s alive,
she’ll eat your flesh, your bones,
turn you into stone.

O good song
breathe me into
my whole body

O good song
breathe me into
a clanging, knelling,
temple gong.

You wish only to ride
the wild fish wild
for then you know
your song sings true.
Only when you ride
the wild fish wild,
only when you ride
the wild fish free
will your song sing true.


There was a ‘wake’ recently for a marvelous and brilliant artist who has been an influence on me since my teens. Norval Morrisseau died, passed over into the spirit world, a world which, it seems, he already dwelled in, bringing its astonishing, shocking and vivid messages to us in the world of the living. I remember being deeply moved, and magnetised, by the explosive energy of the colours he used, and by the magical themas which he dwelled in: the transforming and transfiguring shamans, the manimals, the codes of connecting forces of energy.

I am thrilled by the use of the word ‘wake’.
The gathering of people; friends, family, loved ones, after someone has left.
Ain’t it true that when something, someone, dies we ourselves are presented a door by which to ‘wake’ up. A slap in the face, a kick in the ass, a shot straight into the diaphragm of your being which leaves you gasping for breath.
‘Waking’ requires the death of the dream we’ve been living in. That dream being precisely everything we know and understand and trust about ourselves.

So, I’m thrilled that there is a deep embed of the word ‘wake’ into the language and experience of death. Wisely wrestled, bravely battled, death becomes a pry bar, a lever, to awakening.

‘Wake’ : a most valuable addition to any useful lexicon.

soul whole

“There’s something like a hole in all of us,
and it’s in the approximate shape of a soul.”

Stephen Jenkinson