After midnight when the still streets

drip from the trees audibly soft leaves

and I smile to hear sleepy voices

silenced by a closing window's sound

I take a match to an incense stick

and set bright a dark candle in this private shrine.


With six slow breaths the pillared flame

sets this brooding throne aglow

where pivoted upon some silent thought

the golden face spans inwardly the space

between the symbol and the seen.


Coming close with eyes as camera

I trace the perfections of a latent shot

moment immortalised perhaps or trapped

perceive half hidden under downcast lids

those open eyes fixed yet flexible

still point focussing quiet room

and grateful heart with the peculiar quality

of the street - space between windows

softly treading over couchant forms.



October 1969. Revised December 1992