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The Vase

Did you hear the crash?
It wasn’t too loud.
Besides, it happens often,
And blends so well
With the ambient noises around,
It is hardly audible.

I pick up the pieces
And glue them back
A little faster each time,
Almost without thinking.
The cracks on the vase

Are constant reminders –
Things that fall apart
Can come together again,
Although perhaps
A little differently each time.

The fractures don’t matter
If the vase can still be
What it is meant to be –
A sanctuary
For flowers in exile.

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Seeing

An apple on my chopping board,
A dry shrunken leaf on the stem,

A tree, serenaded by swirling winds
Singing songs from distant lands,

A tree heavy with fruit still green,
Stealing the morning sun’s blush,

Fallen fruit in the undergrowth,
A shriek of joy, a juicy bite,

Red fruit plucked, cleaned, weighed
And packed, untouched, unseen,

Two siblings holding on – the leaf
And the apple on my chopping board.

I see you now. The crimson from the sun,
The nectar from the earth. I see you.

How many worlds thrive unseen
Beneath the dull labels our eyes

Make do with; the invisible choreography
To produce a perfect piece of fruit.

The Last Morning in Oslo

She had
A heart – how shall I say – too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed;
– My Last Duchess, Robert Browning

Two cups of black coffee
For morning fuel,
The refill an unexpected bonus
For the last of our kroner,
A smiling bearded barista
In a café oozing warmth,
Lit candles on every table,
Heather, dragon plant and pothos
Between mason jars on shelves on the wall,
A painting or two,
Copper vessels displayed at random,
Gleaming in the muted light,
The air vibrant with Buena Vista
Social Club, old memories of Rennes
Wrapped in cheery voices from Cuba
Unfurling with each song;
All the senses refreshed
As a wave of contentment
Washed over the heart
And the elusive sense
Of the all-rightness of the world
Took root.

Highlights of the previous days
Huddled in the background –
Walking along the Aker Brygge,
The dark brooding fjord under grey skies,
Heavy winds laden with the aroma
Of hot reindeer burgers,
Bergen with its red and yellow houses,
The dazzling garbs of the landscape
As the train meandered
Through autumn-kissed forests,
The occasional mist on water,
Little rivulets, patches of snow,
Solitary houses perched on hills –
All the memories briefly displaced
By a cup of coffee in a cosy café.

Letting in the Light

Moonlight sliced through the fog
To kiss the white amaryllis
Slumbering wide-eyed on my table
On a pallid December dawn.

The mellow light fell upon me,
Piercing the nebulous ring
Gathering around my heart.
It took but a moment

To dispel the darkness
Of days; no fog thick enough
To resist the steady gaze
Of compassionate light,

No heart invulnerable
To bursts of beauty and love.
The flowers and I glowed
In the sweet release of surrender.

Unfurl

What a delightful word.
Unfurl. I like what the tongue does
To say it. It curls into the little fold
In the centre of a rose.

Petals unfurl,
A sense of delicious mystery,
Half-revealed secrets,
A slow unveiling of something fresh and tender,
A gentle build-up of anticipation
One can almost taste.

A flag unfurls.
Something that cowered and crouched
Suddenly rises, head held high;
The gradual release of pent-up pride
And faith in the nation.

A sail unfurls
To catch the winds,
To set dreams in motion,
To propel the yearning
To flee safe harbours.

Life unfurls in moments,
Every dawn with its closed fist,
Fingers open hour by hour,
Revealing promise, purpose
And abundant joy.

Pontsteigergebouw

They are building the Pontsteigergebouw
On land that was water when we moved in,
Tall cranes reach into the skies,
Once the sole domain of soaring gulls.
The music of the building site has faded with time,
Heavy percussion to tap your feet to.
The work advances fast,
Concrete pillars are in place.
He says they are like children or plants,
They grow a little when we look away.
We look into the space between the cranes and say –
These are the clouds we will no longer see,
This gossamer moon and this tangerine sun,
Swallowed by the gaping yawn
Of the Pontsteigergebouw.