Harlequin Solstice

Harlequin solstice

St John Kin

A picture in the fading sun

A race of fingers, digits

Of solstice long earned

Short departed

How little

How sadly

You are understood

Your music the struggle

Of madness

Made harmony

Until this moment

When kings detach your strings

When single song


Towards the dark arms

But brighter eyes

Of St Stephen

©Stephen Tanham

The kiss of summer

Orkney Sun for blogAA

Against the heat, I have to climb

To drink the air so soft and fine

That my sore feet and too hot dog

Seek, daily in these fleeting months

For she who hides the winter in the wine


In heady breaths of fragrant fire

My lungs draw deep the hotter bliss

Now fading like the summer’s arc

Will shortly start to downward curve

And ask me did you drink my summer kiss?

Where this is known alone endure

The keepers of the summer kind

As, stolen, held, orgasmic joy

Is folded over in-breath’s heart

To lie, concealed, in winter mind

©Stephen Tanham

The Morning of the Eye of God

He never thought that on his last Solstice run
He would be chosen
Never dreamed that leagues could fall behind
Leaving the others, younger mostly,
In the dust of his tracks, farther, now, than his hearing.

Ahead, the great rock soars up, black and massive
Its winding path, dark strip in the pre-dawn light
His feet, belonging to something else,
Thunder like heartbeats along the steepening trail

His breathing, earlier ragged, now like the circle
That in his mind, is edging closer,
Forms a perfect symmetry of air drawn in and out
And the song begins . . . .

The ancient song, given to the first
Never elsewhen sung, almost forgotten
Except on this day
As the feet thunder like hooves
And the cleaved air combines with blood
And the harmony is born, again . . .

The breath becomes pain as limits of form are reached
But pain is not death, and so he climbs
His head spinning, as the great mother spins
Uniquely on this morning
To greet her consort
On the the long-day of their love

The pain recedes as he comes closer
The song is singing in his head
Spinning into form on the currents of the morning
Now, there is only the last few feet
And, if the run is good
The blessing
A blessing that will fill the tribe with light
That will crown this, the last year of his running

With fire in his heart he sees
The valley below is lined with a cloudless sky
A perfect line of light has kissed the very edge
Only a few heartbeats and he will be there

The ancient angled stone awaits him now
Dark and sombre, cold and severe
Replete with the wisdom of ages
Unrelenting in its exactness
And the patterned cross in the rocky path
Where, now, he stays his trembling limbs

The circle in the stone is perfect
Carved and honed by ages past
A gift to those who followed
He fixes the vision of the first
Upon and through its centre
And gives himself to the horizon, far beyond

All breath now to the song must go
Its notes rise higher, taking wing
He becomes the singing, calling forth
And the rising God sings back in gold

Streaming over the valley
Lighting the rocks and plants, alike
Filling the singer with life beyond life
And a kiss . . . as he becomes the Eye

©Copyright Stephen Tanham, 2015