Photos courtesy of Magda Marczewska
So God was man in Palestine
And lived a while on bread and wine
But priests watered down the poor man's drink
So instead of laughing he would think
And clerks refined the poor man's food
Till instead of dancing he would brood
Until they had made that wine and bread
As thin as he was - and as dead
Peter Jukes 1984
Photos from Mark Tucker
When he laughs
It's like a waterfall
So vivid and clear it washes you back
To apples so big they have to be held
In both hands
To running with only the breeze on your skin
Clapping yourself on each new word you form
Biting your hands with excitement
Lying down rolling over
To being fearful of poppies and knots in the wood
Sure there's a spider hid in each blade of grass
Seeing the moon begging to be lifted up up up
Knowing we are always here to catch you
When I was a child
I played with childish things
Now I am a man
I play with my children
Peter Jukes 1993
I'll come to you at midnight with the moon.
By missing you I will find my way.
And though I haven't told you that I'll come
You'll still be there to open up the gate
Despite the dark, you won't ask me who I am.
But you'll touch my hand and know at once.
In the silence I will not say a thing
With rustling words - yet you'll answer back..
Then you'll kiss my pale forehead silently.
And though I won't say what troubles me
You will cradle my head upon your lap
And close my eyes in eternal dream.
Translated by Peter Jukes (with help from Edyta Zalewska) from the polish of Leopold Staff
Don't worry; I am here. In the wavering
tone of my voice, can't you hear me?
My desire for you has now taken wing
and circles about your face so palely.
Can't you see it, my soul, standing waiting
cloaked for you in a gown of silence?
Don't you realise that all my longings ripen
on the image of you like fruit on a tree?
If you are the dreamer, then I am your dream.
Might you wish to wake up, I am that might.
And all this splendour makes me shine
and turn myself into the quiet starlight
above the incredible City of Time.
Translated by Peter Jukes from a poem by Rilke
Illustrated with photos by Josephine Sacabo
There was something in him unfulfilled,
Something bigger than the shadow that he cast,
Like a photo of something not quite in the frame,
A language that you've heard but never learned,
Understood the music without knowing what it means.
All through his childhood there was a picture
His mother called the Ever-Open Door.
It was small - a faded watercolour of
A timber porch with a big stone arch,
Opening onto a path that curved away
Round rockery, shrubs, dry stone wall
Into an unseen landscape where
The distant sea was somehow near
And someone was always waiting.
An unmapped territory already in his mind,
Flown over, a mile high, many times at night,
Unknown, unrecovered, but familiar.
Peter Jukes 2000
for Ali and Katy
It will all be over; the trees like dark flames,
Women singing, lights in the branches,
Peculiar moon, us painting on the hillside,
The abbey bell rings, over and over...
Gone. Gone. Gone.
And yet you're tapping your feet
Wishing it all away,
Waiting for the children to grow up
Another night, another day
When it will all be over.
Impatient for the love
Yet to come, the present yet to give.
The garrigue fires, the autumn floods
Your heart. Be here.
None of this survives.
One afternoon we found
A secret bend on the river,
Sky deep blue, no worrying about the weather,
Water clear as bottle glass.
Against a large rock
We meshed a frame of bamboo
Wove rushes through the lattice,
Built a cabin on the shore
Roofed with shards of terracotta
Formed seats and hearth and door
And sheltered from the sun.
The cabin was our home,
A place only we could inhabit,
Our own small circle of stones
For just one afternoon.
Though other children will come
And wreck our hidden home,
Like stamping on a sandcastle
The bashing down as fantastic
As the building up,
And even if they can't find it
Then mistral and flash flood
Will seize our brief shelter
And scatter it like sand.
But somehow this time it doesn't matter
Hard to remember a day,
A serene perfect day,
Not clouded by the thought:
'This is fading this can't stay'.
As we leave that secret place
The mountain exhales
Cool damp evening air
And the river bends away
And a deeper peace descends on me.
You will always be here.
My daughter's getting stronger,
More surely holds herself
Day by day
She takes a few more steps
In heaps of laughter
At her own success
My daughter's getting stronger,
Knows where she is
Smiles to see us,
Yells when we leave
She's grasped that things can both be and not.
She's learned how to hold things and
Let them drop.
My daughter's getting older.
Taking a finger she
Leads us slowly around the world,
Practising how to be free and tall,
While we learn to bend to stoop to crawl.
Newton would be proud.
Refuting the laws of gravity
My daughter shakes her head with the trees,
Falls backwards down stone stairs and cries,
Picks herself up off the floor again and flies
Every hour passing faster never coming back
Peter Jukes 1993