Four Elements

Just Standing
Just standing on rich brown earth,
Cold damp seeping, skin to bone.

Wind ripping apart doubts and fears,
Scattering their tooth-marked bones to the ground.

Lightening cracking open anger’s flames,
Their flickering red light exposing heart’s well of grief.

Ancestral souls, watching from the shadows with deep-set eyes,
Dancing and chanting our way back home.

© David R. Durham, 2019, All Rights Reserved.

All That Is Left

apple blossom, poetry

All That Is Left
I used to meditate in the stillness;
Now, all that’s left is Stillness.

I used to love to work and play;
Now, all that’s left is Love.

I used to dream of many, many things;
Now, all that’s left are Dreams.

I used to live as if death was tomorrow;
Now, all that’s left is Death.

© David R. Durham, 2016, All Rights Reserved.


buddha statue

Woulds’t this mercurial stage shake our faith?
Turning all whom we love to ash and dust,
Ready to be blown, blown away on casual breeze.

Ravaged human heart and sweet sacred soul,
How can we imagine joyful dreams?
If life is thus.

What mischievous and pitiable acts and scenes,
How can we love?
If bitter taste is all it leaves.

Had we read the script in advance,
Would we have made our bold entrance?
Alternating cries and smiles, radiating naive hope.

This turning wheel of blood and guts,
It spins, grinds and turns and turns,
Whilst memories of loved ones past haunt our waking dream.

Yet, at the heart of our sensuous storms,
Lie wisdom and compassion no grief can break,
Through death, we find our truest faith.

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.



Relaxing in the sun warmed veranda,
Admiring the grass, growing moment by steady moment,
Abruptly, a chop and a thud sneak round the corner.
Pause. A chop and a thud.
Longer pause. Another chop followed by another thud.
My breathing slows, eye-brow raised, waiting,
Waiting, expectantly, for the next chop,
Will there be a next chop?
What if there’s a chop, but no thud?

What if? What if?
What would a life be like,
Made up of what ifs.

A train leaves a station, who got on?
Who answered their life’s calling?
Rolling fields of rippling greens flow by,
Punctuated with silent passing faces.
A station, a stop, a pause in our life journey,
Some folks get up, gather their stuff and leave,
Some new folks get on and look around,
Muttering softly to themselves,
Pondering where they should sit,
And whom to avoid.

Whom to avoid? Whom to avoid?
What would a life be like,
Made up of whom to avoid.

Snagged, snagged on a half-remembered dream,
Stranded, stranded high and dry,
Tides, tides roll in, roll out,
Bleak, bleak this muddy human shoreline.

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.

Enchanted Forest

enchanted forest

Enchanted Forest

I danced through the forest at fall of night,
By guardian mountains and faithful streams,
To where an old lady sat, in ramshackle cabin porch,
Her hands are deeply grained with living cares,
Her face is old, her eyes are wise,
She smiled, we sat, she read my heart,
She looked about us, and waived her arm,
This is Mother Earth, she whispered in my mind,
And all the trees began to shimmer in energetic haze,
Wreathed forms melted away, pure being revealed.

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.

They Lived and Loved


They Lived and Loved

They lived and loved,
Their childhood friends and summer days,
While all about them daisies sang a sweet serenade,
Their dream is life, their living a dream.

They lived and loved,
Their feet falling, fumbling, caressing rugged Earth,
Sinewed muscles, developing their strength, skill and speed,
Celebrating winning joy, pained in careless fall.

They lived and loved,
New words and meaning, new sounds and dance,
Absorbed keenly into flesh and bone and blood,
Growing doubt free in the endless rise of man.

They lived and loved,
Their union sanctified anew, in time-worn tribal traditions,
Walking into their future together, weaving new familiar stories,
Joyous love giving painful birth to new generation.

They lived and loved,
Feeling the full numbing force of daily chore,
Raising, loving intimately, chattering, laughing and cursing,
Yet terrified, in ultimately not knowing their own creation.

They lived and loved,
All the while, silent stars swarmed overhead,
Inviting passionate mystery, blesséd ancient tales,
God’s grace, breaking gently on shore-less human psyche.

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.

Sea Anchor


Sea Anchor
Sea anchor, hold us safe in passing,
Stormy seas. Protect us from raging,
Tidal torrents, bone breaking waves.

Sea anchor, saviour of souls, bless our,
Fragile bodies, racked with fearful,
Doubts. Clothed in restless desires.

Sea anchor, protect us from gnawing,
Obsessions, tapestries of daily,
Duties, eating our aliveness.

Sea anchor, release us now from your,
Deathly grip of our history’s past,
Gnarled, bitter, toxic memory.

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.

Ancestral Voices

poetry, spirit

Ancestral Voices
This living tradition,
Contains no mystery,
No secrets, nothing hidden,
All is as it is.

As we dance in morning mist,
Songs of our ancestors weave,
Our sacred unfolding path,
Breath of life, living gods.

For our poor limited minds,
Dreams challenge and remind us,
To tread with care,
To live with respect.

Our poor, poor minds,
Lost in a sorcerer’s spell,
Desire, desire, desire,
A mantra of death and slavery.

Sing, sing your way back home,
Chant your ancestral songs,
Leave the spell of this labyrinth,
All is sacred, your path,
Tribal life, all life.

Remember, remember, wake up!

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.

There Is A Story


There is a Story
There is a story,
A story of our life-time lived.

There is a story,
A story of our family’s struggles.

There is a story,
A story of our rich tribal roots.

There is a story,
A story of our ancestors’ rights of passage.

There is a story,
That pre-dates our time on planet Earth.

There is a story,
Which comes even from before time and space appeared.

There is a story,
When we were young and powerful beings, creators of worlds.

There is a story,
Before we invented in innocence, these games of life and death.

This is your story.

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.

The Merging


The Merging
The key slips into lock and turn,
Gate latch, twisted, smooth, rusted edge,
Walk out, join life’s sultry urban churn.

New soft shoes shuffle on pedals,
Drive out, join life’s urban jobbers,
The key slips into lock and turn.

Run, catch the seven thirty train,
Drift into mesmerising thoughts,
Walk out, join life’s sultry urban churn.

Bill boards flirt and play, stealing mind,
Promising escapes, trusted,
The key slips into lock and turn.

Will beggars stop asking you why,
Why you don’t give to them anymore,
Walk out, join life’s sultry urban churn.

Heads turn briefly to watch siren,
Sail colourfully by, merging,
The key slips into lock and turn,
Walk out, join life’s sultry urban churn.

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.

Lay Down


Lay Down
Lay down; lay down my sleepy head,
As I lay down in this rag-tag field of reclusive dreams,
How long?
How long before this day is just a distant playful memory?

Lay down; lay down my grateful true and tested love,
As I unfold in this endless rolling breath of vibrant life,
How many?
How many lifetimes before Earth is just a ripple under shimmering stars?

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.

Down By The River


Down By The River
Down by the river an old man sang,
His voice so full of life, one with tide.
He whistled ancient tunes, calling
His soul back home, borne on wind and stars.

Down by the river, old women sang,
Their voices full of family love.
They hummed ancient lullabies, soft
And gentle, guiding their children home.

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.

The Beast


The Beast
Beast sighs,
Menacing deep snarl.
Fear ripples through sinewed
Taught jaw and clenched teeth.
Inhibited anger emerges, twists, cries out,
Out of reason’s insane shadow.
See, whispers the Beast,
No more illusions.
All is

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.

Your Eyes


Your Eyes
Momentary stolen glances,
Mythic tales in your eyes;
So powerful, so refined.

Yearning to reach you,
Passion’s dancing flame;
So powerful, so sublime.

Your gaze turns inward,
Deep run your memories;
So powerful, so benign.

In our eternal meeting,
Our souls united again;
So powerful, so divine.

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.

Sacred Internment

Church 3

Sacred Internment
Whom do we bury?
Under these daisy scattered fields,
A friend, a loved one, an acquaintance so slim.

What do we bury?
Under these raven scattered skies,
A smile, a birthday party, a look so grim.

Why do we bury?
Under these grief scattered feelings,
A doubt, an innocent secret, a lost tearful sin.

When do we bury?
Under these fear scattered lives,
A dream, a longing for love, a hope so dim.

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.

War Memorial

War Memorial WM

War Memorial
How deep? How deep this blackness? Beyond our
Fragile beating heart’s memory, down into the
Black ocean of our mortal sorrows, long
Past ancestral reckoning; horrific.

His eyes bore great sadness, under
Their manly smiles, fleeting moments
Of distance, moments lost in tempest,
Dark ripples, unresolved anger.

Respectable men smile knowingly,
Their deceitful eyes lower
To innocent victims, in mock
Remorse. Gluttony triumphant again.

Patter cake, patter cake her
Childhood rhymes rang, gently, in
Half remembered dreams. Her
Limb torn anguish, blood soaked.

We fall at the feet of
Man-made gods weeping, then
Blessing. We survived,
Others stain war worn earth.

Voices fall silent,
Promise betrayed.
Angry battles rage,
Of hells they are made.

Reason lays in tatters,
Disheveled victim.
Unblinking fear. Terror
Driven insanity.

It seems, there is. It cannot
Be, yet there it is, they,
They must be wrong, the reports
Must be completely wrong.

Fear grips feeble minds, grief gashed hearts,
Fires rage, until our world burns.
Out of these lifeless ashes,
Desolation kindles new dreams.

When upon fair Earth we shall find bold
Strength; real honor; new humanity.
And cast aside vile tools of raging
Hate, lustful greed and shameful lies.

And songs will arise in our hearts, not in
lament, but borne out of life’s precious joy.
Destiny greeted beneath moon and stars.
Awaken in love’s full bloom, home at last.

© David R. Durham, All Rights Reserved.



Lost, lost in the Mystery,
Neither known, nor unknown,
Invoking long sought secrets.

Bliss, mysterious bliss of life,
Neither living, nor dying,
Humbling our mindful awareness.

Chants, sacred chants arise,
Neither memorable, nor forgettable,
Guiding, tempting, revealing.

Light, mystical light infuses,
Neither luminous, nor dim,
Enveloping and blessing us all.

© David R. Durham


Wood Sculpture WM

Bird Song
A light dust hovers round chanting hoe,
Warm earth, strong hand and eye, furrowed
Brow; deep concentration. Evening
Sunlit haze, thrushes’ song brushes past
Engrossed mind, hearts intertwining,
Spirit to spirit, sweetest union.

© David R. Durham


Shopping2 WM

Did you move because of it?
Did you get up and leave your
Welcome bed? Your hearth so warm,
Your lover so near and dear.

Did it tempt you again with sweet
Promises of tomorrow?
Tomorrow so new, so bright,
Seducing your heart and sight.

Did you know, did you know the
Fair price you would have to pay?
If you did, would you do it
Anyway? Any time, night or day.

And all of this, if all of
This World could be yours? Would you
Clasp it? Would you love it? Could
You take the pain of it all?

© David R. Durham

Everyday Ritual

Old Door WM

Everyday Ritual
The cups are neatly stacked,
Soft flowing handles in line,
In kettle’s blue light, eddies
Of water, shimmer and dance,
promising dark pleasures.

Unswirled, rich aroma,
Now delving, scooping, deep brown
Granules, measuring right
Taste, imagined memory,
Guiding mysterious ritual.

© David R. Durham


Boys Jumping WM

Standing Where I Once Stood

Standing where I once stood, once larked,
Fresh in youthful eyes and heart,
Exuberant games with friendly faces,
The only faces I had known, experienced,
Navigating the native neighborhoods,
Fragile recall. Mind’s tainted eye.

Homespun stories turn the wheel of life,
Measured by ticking clock’s pulse?
Or valued by experience gained.

Standing where I once stood, once loved,
Racing to the finish line, grasping at
Victory’s promise, beckoning adventures,
Dancing in passion soaked joys, inviting
Life’s raw seed to raging ripening,
Fragmented heart. Sentiment corrupted.

Organic stories fuel the wheel of life,
Measured by ticking clock’s pulse?
Or cherished by love’s bewitchment.

Standing where I once stood, once lived,
This dhamma body drinks Messiah’s blood,
Ravishing the earth corrupted heavenly
Host, that rages hot, then cold with each
Passing prayer, and tempts old bones to
False resurrection. Soul deceived.

Human stories spin the wheel of life,
Measured by ticking clock’s pulse?
Or rated by voluntary sweet charity.

© David R. Durham

Love Held Tight


Love Held Tight
With love held tight in hearts embrace,
Would’st the scent of love be enough,
Should a whisper fulfill our finest grace,
Or will full storm of voices be raised,
With longing left far behind on shrinking shore,
‘Till neither you nor I falter in hesitant dark,
And all our days they flower into this, this honest moment,
Where secret words weave their prophetic spells,
And tenderness holds sway over doubt filled years,
Yet no love song, nor pure sonnet can compare,
With love held tight in hearts embrace.

© David R. Durham

Three Worlds


Three Worlds
Love inspired magical voices chant,
Meeting place of earth and sky, drumming finds,
Resonant core rhythm, seed and amplify,
Nascent spirit’s dance, loosen mind’s tight grip,
Rippling songs strip blinkered eyes doubts.

Inviting ocean of love, which speaks and,
Knows our names, convulse viscerally to,
Still point in salvation’s ravenous breath,
Collapse terrified into vacant black,
Deathly void, homeless home, life eternal.

Love shatters shape shifter’s blind mask and holds,
Our dripping head aloft triumpant, blessing the,
Blood soaked liberation ground, purged,
Grace resurrects, reborn to deathless joy,
Visionless eye witnesses, faithless awe.

© David R. Durham



Ghost from the past,
Tease and persuade me,
With histories so devious and bad.

Ghost in the machine,
Mystify and manipulate me,
With stories of us and of them.

Ghost of the future,
Flirt and fascinate me,
With fantasies of pleasure and joy.

© David R. Durham