the spaces between

green leaves

The heart nests in the bone tree.
She chatters idly, then sings
when the sun touches her. In Spring
she seeks a mate, peeping
from behind a complex foliage
of words and silences.

(An old poem posted because the photo reminded me of the ‘complex foliage’. Having found it, I thought I’d try and remember something about how and why I wrote it.)
It was Castaneda’s Don Juan who talked of not seeing the shapes of the tree and its leaves, but instead looking at the spaces between them.

The idea of the heart in the bone tree came from a mis-reading of R S Thomas. His poem Two begins:

So you have to think
of the bone hearth where love
was kindled, […].

I thought I remembered the moment of inspiration for the image very clearly – waiting on the platform at Cuatro Caminos metro station, Madrid, reading a tiny pocket-sized book of RST’s love poems – but when I skimmed the book to find the exact quotation, I came across this line in Fugue for Anne Griffiths

the spirit sang on a bone bough

I can’t deny I might have read that at some point, too, although I had no memory of it. Perhaps, even when we think we’re sure of our influences and inspirations, there are other subliminal connections being made.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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