In the Embrace of the Silence and other poems

In the embrace of the silence

Silence fits me
like a well-worn glove:
I unfurl inside its
allow it to cloak me.

Only in its embrace
can I hear
the distant tapping,
a patient knock
on a door
to be opened. 

Spring evening, Mont Fleur

The evening falls
lush and dense
over the departing
cicadas and bullfrogs sing irreverent hymns
to the moon. 

Going within

When the mountain-top
is shrouded in mist
and the heavens pour out
endless buckets
of rain,
we must travel
for our pilgrimage. 

A break in the downpour

Up the slippery
mountain track,
shoes soaked,
spirit soaring;
the burst of King Proteas
in bloom,
tiny purple and
yellow flowers
close to the ground,
crenellated hilltops and expanses
of inviting green,
the big and the small,
the near and far,
the unmissable
and the almost-impossible-to-spot:
all these are available
if you will only walk slowly
and permit yourself
to be astonished.

The key to all those doors

I keep expecting
some door to unlock
at any moment,
but the key to all
those doors
is to drop

Defences, dropping

A distant dog barks
alert to, likely, nothing.
Here, we’re warmed by fire. 

Sonnet on impermanence 

When feelings to the surface fail to rise
and words collide, and stutter on the page,
there’s solace in the flames that mesmerise,
and dance, and warm the room while cold storms rage;
for in this fire, if you look close, you’ll see
that ancient law you’ve often stumbled on:
Impermanence, in all its majesty,
first wood, then flame, then embers, and then gone.
Though oft this seems a long and gruelling race,
in truth, it’s but a moment, by design,
and then we’re vanish’d, gone without a trace.
save mem’ries in those whom we’ve left behind.
So know this pain shall pass, while your heart’s beating,
and savour life’s delights, for they are fleeting. 

Find a good rock

Find a good rock
on which to sit.

Meditate on the murmur
of the tumbling waterfall,
fat with winter rain.

Drink of its spring bounty;
taste the clarity
of this world above the clouds.

Allow every sense
to soak in the vista
of nearby mountain green
and distant ocean blue:

Two bays bookending
that other range of rock
that holds
a piece of your heart.


Downstream, to the ocean

It is a slippery eel,
this thing we call trust,
eluding my grasp
in the shallows of the river
but leading me ever
(if I can believe
the stories of the old ones)
I too,
like the river,

will meet the great ocean.


Two hooded strangers

I saw two hooded strangers
moving silently across
the forest floor
at night.

One, the wind murmured to me,
was called Trust;
the other, Impermanence.

they whispered to the forest
to be still,
for there is nothing to defend
and still less to fear,
and the forest returned
to its contented slumber.

Though they disturbed not a leaf
as they passed through,
yet nothing was left

Dave Strugnell
Mont Fleur, September 2020

© Dave Strugnell