Mark Tarren

Mark Tarren is a poet and writer who lives on remote Norfolk Island in the South Pacific.

His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary journals including The New Verse News, The Blue Nib, Poets Reading The News, Street Light Press, Spillwords Press, Tuck Magazine and Impspired Magazine. He is currently working on a collection of poetry and a novel.

Clouds Hill      for T.E. Lawrence

When did things fall away from beneath your hand?
Was it when love fell deeply from your brow
towards the brass heaven?
 
When all things intimate were lost,
cast away in your gold.
 
Inside your little fortress of freedom,
curled around the edges of your life,
your archaeology of tenderness
sung the hymn of discovery.
 
Of finding your face
held in memory’s hands,
inside the delicate fire
of yourself.
 
Where a book imprisoned you
for such a time
in the sleeping betrayal
of your bed.
 
The glorious import of such
militant quietness
will not escape from the shores
of your sleeves.
 
Where, once again your name
must change
against the relentless tide of
the world.
 
Beneath the eyes
of your forgotten star
you rode into the light of
your last campaign —
 
into the light of Clouds Hill,
 
gently crafted
away from man’s unkind wing.
 
Where all your little gods died,
in the fall of your last leaf
 
away from the searching sands.

Paper Bird

In this space between
the other,
where the hand holds
the shape of a year
 
is the valley and mountain folds of the
kami
 
the quiet room
that sinks under palm,
then springs from finger
 
to paper
to spirit
to the small gods
that we hold in this place
of pleated white,
 
that fall through the cherry blossoms,
the petals of
Sakura
away from the creases in our lives.
Here we are —
from square to swan
to rose to crane
 
the Orizuru
 
crafted from the air
inside
the folds of our shared year.
In the space outside —
man and woman
mother and son
father and child
husband and wife
priest and confessor.
 
Here we are seated —
safely together beneath our
fragile wing
 
 
The New Papyrus
 
without words,
 
where the silence has
hands to hold us
in the shapes between;
the folds of love.

The Floating World

a mother’s body
swims inside
the womb of Fukushima
the small stones
of her children
underwater with her
circling beneath her breath
and closed eyes
 
as the waters return to itself
formless and void
 
a piano is recovered floating
in the formless waters
the music of a mother’s life
out of tune
 
the broken chords are the music of
 
the wood returning to itself
the first symphony of
water, bark, leaf
 
swimming in the formless waters of
 
The Sorrowful World
 
a trombone is drowning
its throat filled and bloated
dying in the arms of
 
a child
 
returning to itself
swimming out past its mother’s body
 
past
the nuclear dreaming
 
out past the sounds of
ash and bone
 
past the winds of Nagasaki
the atomic Wound of Heaven
 
returning to itself
swept out to sea
below the watermark of history,
 
the hands of white men.

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