Monday, 28 February 2011

Natalie Nice

Natalie Nice did not like vice
She ironed all her creases twice.

Her smile was wide
Her eyes were bright
She knew that she was wholly right.

Her voice was sweet
Her knife was sharp
She thought she’d like
To play the harp.

She always had a lot to say
And taught the world to work and pray
And when she knew you fairly well
She’d warn you off from going to hell
And teach you all the things she knew,
That fear was bad
And so were you.

And thus she did the things she could
And all the things that good girls should.
But Love itself she never found
The well of love
Dark and profound
From which the living waters flow
Was somewhere that she would not go.

With all her inclinations tamed
Her passions were as yet un-named

And though she giggled,
Seldom laughed
She thought that comedy was daft.

So seriously she smiled
And sighed

And in her secret room
She cried.

 Sarah de Nordwall 1995

Friday, 25 February 2011

Reductionists and sadists get the same thrills

Reductionists and sadists
Get the same thrills
They're only really happy when
The spirit-blood spills.

Sarah de Nordwall 1997

Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Container of Abandoned Minds

There is a place
Where standardised thought
Will lead, if you care to go.
Why so few see, where the path leads on
Is hard to say, or know.

The road takes little effort
As it slopes and twists and winds,
But when you arrive, you’ll know the place;
The container of abandoned minds.

Its walls are sheer consensus
Their surface, entirely flat
They almost seem to absorb the light
They’re so utterly grey and matt.

And all the sounds are deadened
The many voices, stilled

For the Container of Abandoned Minds
Is crushingly, shockingly filled.

Its inhabitants are all relieved
From the strain of a complex life,
Where grace and suffering mend the world
And receive the surgeon’s knife.

No healing there,
Through pain or joy
They are offered this instead;
That all the world become the same
And the living obey the dead.

There is a place
Where standardised thought
Will lead, if you care to go.

The container of abandoned minds
Don’t say you didn’t know.

Sarah de Nordwall 2006

Written for, and performed at, the meeting at the House of Lords with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Conscience and Belief.

With thanks to Paul Hoggett for his masterful phrase
‘The Container of abandoned Minds’ which I found in the meltingly marvellous chapter 'The Institutionalisation of Shallowness' in his book 'Partisans in an Uncertain World', lent to me by John Boyle, Psychotherapist and instigator of many interesting conversations.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Certain Susan

Since we seem to be in the era of crumbling might be the moment for Certain Susan.

Certain Susan
Swiftly roused
Had a cause
Which she espoused

And she knew
That she was right
And God help those
Who chose to fight.

Those desperately seeking certainty
Sought certain Susan out

And came to her with pens in hand
To write her sayings out.

Her case was sealed
And thus she spoke

She knew no compromise,
Made no pacts.
Others had opinions
She had the facts.

But when she heard the crowd applaud
She bowed demurely
“Thank the Lord”

Her path of glory
Yet untrod
She visualised..

And gave to God

Sarah de Nordwall 1995

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

I, Caterpillar or Refusing the Cocoon

The cocoon is a small restricted place
That hangs from a perilous thread,
It looks like a white sarcophagus
And appears to contain the dead.

I, caterpillar, I refuse the cocoon.
Why should I submit?
To trust a thin and silken yarn,
And reduce my self to an “it”?

I’ve heard the tales of fantasists
Who dream by the light of the moon
Of bright-winged transformations;
‘Gifts and abilities “Coming Soon!”’

I laugh
I caterpillar, clearly see
Right through the credulous mind.
I have a grasp of the central theme;
I refuse the ties that bind.

I choose my freedom in my way
No darkling chamber mine.
I see the light on my spots and spikes
And I think they’re rather fine.

I glance with pity
Now and then
At those who close themselves in
And make their lives so limited.
What is it they seek as they spin?

I won’t hang around to watch them die
And see their forms decay.
I’ve leaves to eat on other trees.
No death for me today!

He fled from the sound of the krackening.
From the opening of the tomb.
He had turned away
When miraculous wings
Emerged from the dark cocoon.

But as he sat on his laden branch
Where he had grown quite fat,
A shimmering creature dazzled in flight.
“My word, he gasped,
Who’s that?”

Sarah de Nordwall April 2009

Monday, 21 February 2011

And now I close myself in

And now I close myself in.

That’s it
The door is closing like irrevocable rock.

The last sight sound experience has been tasted
And the darkness closes in.

Like the Pied Piper
When the crippled child
Was left outside

Like the Bridegroom
When the Foolish virgins
For the door was locked
When they returned
With oil for unlit lamps.

I listen

I am inside

And I have chosen this
My great expansive solitude
In a little place

Come what lament may come
From far beyond the door
Or yet from deep within

For now,
For the sake of my forgotten mystery

I close myself in.

Sarah de Nordwall 28th October 2003

Saturday, 19 February 2011

A Birthday Villanelle

For Elaine and David who run the Arts in the Community Charity 'Pilgrim Hearts' (not forgetting David's passion for Gliding) on the occasion of their joint 117th birthday!

You've been gliding through the years
From east to west you've traded places
Helping folks to face their fears.

How well deserved are all these cheers
The admiration on these faces
You've been gliding through the years.

Beauty springing from a well of tears
Artworks struck from the hardest cases
Helping folks to face their fears.

And from the rocks flowed many prayers
Which swept away all trauma's traces
You've been gliding through the years.

We can't confer BAFTAS or make you Peers,
But say "You've blessed the wilder places
Helping folks to face their fears.

Tilling the land till the life appears
Harvesting dynamics where once was stasis.
You've been gliding through the years
Helping folks to face their fears.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Slowly and kindly

Slowly and kindly
That's how to grow

With heart and eyes open
As gently you go,

Then if, at the last
They say, 'Look where you could be!',
Just say, 'Here I am;
And the going's been goodly.'

I will go out now

My heart is heavy with the weight of complicity

And I will weave no more
Where the weft is warped so darkly

And the straw we would have spun to gold
Is straw still at the last
And breaks in my hand
And cuts my fingers till they bleed.

I will go out now

And I will wash my hands in a mountain stream
And I will touch again the face of the sky
And I will touch again the face of the child

And I will leave no stain behind
And I will leave no trace

Sarah de Nordwall August 1999

What a joy it is to look back now and see the beauty of the things that followed. Sometimes the best eyes are the hope that springs from principle.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

I put out my poems on my hands like food for the birds

I put out my poems on my hands
Like food for the birds.

I listen out for their coming,
For their wings against the sky.

I hear them first and close my eyes.

Sometimes the sound of their fluttering
Makes me afraid, but I stand firm and I hold up my arms
Against the dark and their mysterious coming.

They will not attack me;
That’s what I like to believe,
But even if they do,
This my task does not abate
The food is theirs and I must wait.

Who are they?

Someone has appointed them
And me I must suppose as well.

What instincts drive us to such ends as this
I do not know
But here they come, the twilight cries
And thus it seems to be arranged and ordered
By another hand than mine,
That holds up my now weary arms
As the dawn breaks through.

Sarah de Nordwall September 17th 2006

A Black Sheep Ate My Business Notes

A black sheep ate my business notes,
I tell you cos it's true.
I went to a business enterprise class
But I ended up in a zoo.

Because just beside Wandsworth Business Village
Lies ‘King George’s Park"
And with rabbits, canaries and budgies and goats,
It's a regular Urban Ark.

And so I dawdled down Cherry Tree Walk;
There were no business women or men,
So I greeted the goats,
But I dropped all my notes
Waving "Hi" to the sheep in the pen.

Now, the little white sheep just wandered away
But the little black sheep came up to play
And that black sheep ate my business notes
And all my projections and graphs.

But what do you do
With a little black ewe
Who when you mention
Bank accounts, laughs?

I said
"Hey, this is enterprise culture,
Not food for the woolly and weak!
I've a living to make
And a profit to take
And a future in credit to seek.

You should be aware of the market place;
It's the world of beef, mutton and ham.

I'd not graze through
As complacent as you
If I were a little black lamb."

But she just nibbled on,
Til my plan was all gone - unperturbed!

I'd appointments to keep.
I said, "I'd not expected my first business meeting
To be so delayed by a sheep."

But Time, it will pass
And I left for my class:
"Next time you want breakfast,
Then just stick to grass.’"

But I couldn't forget
That little black nose
As I watched the black hands on the clock.

What will become of my business,
If it feeds
The black sheep of the flock?

Sarah de Nordwall July 1996

Monday, 14 February 2011

I have waited till beauty was restored to me

For the Hirsch Family in Mea Sherim

Jerusalem 2010 June

They greet each other with joy and tenderness as they enter. The word they use is the Yiddish 'Shabbos!', but it is pronounced Shabbis!

Having spent an evening on the Blessed Sabbath Friday evening with this family and talking to Shoshanah, I felt so blessed and joyful I could not sleep, so I wrote this poem late at night.

There are layers and layers to our homecoming in this world. My father's Eastern European relatives were Jewish, but I never met them. They all died long ago. Perhaps this was one reason why this meal was, for me, so particularly profound.

I have waited till beauty
Was restored to me
Before I built my house.

I intuited her presence
Through her absence;
The texture and flow
Of her possibilities.

Without her
No construction would be meaningful
No field fertile
And no orchard blossoming.

I waited until beauty
Was restored to me
Before I built my house

What leads the heart to know homecoming?
Only the one who calls.

What leads the heart
To seek till she find Him?
Surely the one who builds.

I waited till beauty
Was restored to me
For without her
No life could be

And He who builds
Restored my soul
And the Palace of Time
He gave me.

No things were changed
Yet all was transformed

I entered the
Temple of Rest

And Joy resided
Where He had decided
We lived in a Time
That was blessed.

No land was required
To structure this home,
The hours were the fabric
Of bliss.

I waited till beauty
Had spoken her name

That mine might be new
Ah Shabbos!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Lucifer's Proposal - Part II of The Making of Mankind

I’m sorry, but God is out of control.

It’s alarming, but clear to see.
He’s embarking on more and more projects each day
Without consulting me.

What I think it would be wise to do
Is to section him off, on his own
In a place where His schemes can play out to the full
But He’ll chiefly be ‘Home Alone’.

He’s forever creating scenarios
Where the characters live as they will
And do what they like from morning till night
But, I ask you, who’s paying the bill?

Well, it’s all of us, angels who’ll have to serve
So Man can live his life of lerve

Well I’m sorry. I think it’s a bit of a cheek
You don’t see us offered a day off a week.
Yes, I know we’ve eternity too to be fair
But just think for a minute, where will it stop?

All God’s constructs are complex, ingenious too
And I think there’s some purpose behind it, don’t you?

And I’m more than convinced that He has in mind
A plan that would leave us way behind.
A project that’s simply so absurd
I can’t even describe it
I’ve not got the word.

So what I would suggest
That we do for the best
Is that each of you angels reports
On the things that you see
And relays them to me
And we’ll see what old Luci can sort.

Yes I know He’s content, but that worries me too.
It just shows that He can’t be thinking things through.
It proves there must be something amiss.

For instance, what do you make of this?
I clearly confronted Him over His plan
For this matter based spirit that he likes to call Man
And I asked about purpose?

He said it was ‘Love’
And referred to some fantasy friend he called ‘Dove’

It’s embarrassing, really, how much more should we take?
I refer to my first point, it’s for His own sake.

We’ll just have him sectioned in a heavenly home
And hope that He’ll learn to see sense on His own.

Then we can relieve Him of all of the stress
Take over the Kingdom in a way He would bless
If He still had the vision
And the structures we need
With responsible roles and a way to proceed.

We need to be sure what to do and to think
Without all this teetering over a brink of explosive potential and passion and risk
It’s unbearable!
So, to conclude, let’s be brisk
We’ll just have Him sectioned in a heavenly home
And hope that He’ll learn to see sense on His own

Renamed and restructured,
The Kingdom will be such an absolute Haven
You won’t need to be free!

Even God will be jealous of Our perfect control.
He’ll want to be in here, and apply for a role!

But no, seriously, we’ll keep him safely out there,
Cos he’d only upset things, and it wouldn’t be fair.

So, how about a new name for the Kingdom as well?
It should sound quite like Heaven, but more punchy,


Sarah de Nordwall

Saturday, 12 February 2011

'God and Luci ' or 'The Making of Mankind'

'Yes, it'll just be gorgeous!', said God with a gleeful grin.
'All the fun of the flesh, you know, with a spiritual life thrown in!'

'Well, I, think it sounds excessive indeed!' said Lucifer, 'What about me?
Why should they get all the best of both worlds, absolutely free?'

'Because Lucificer, they'll love it.
Just imagine the scene..' and God went on for ages
He was obviously terribly keen.

'Well, I think it sounds confusing aswell!' said Lucifer, 'And in bad taste;
A spiritual animal! What's it for? I think it's a bit of a waste.

'Oh, Lucifer sometimes you are a bore',
'But God you've made loads of things, must we have more?'

'Oh, live a bit, Lucifer! Have some fun!'

'I've had nothing but stress since Time Begun!,
What was wrong with eternity? Peace and quiet.
Now the whole of creation is an absolute riot!

And what worries me more, is it's not over yet.
I finished those dinasaurs off, don't forget.
235 million years! Honestly, God, I was bored to tears.
They were Going Nowhere! Couldn't you see?'

'Well they always seemed rather exciting to me.'

'Well now they're extinct and you should be glad.
Admit that some of your plans go bad.
And this latest "creation"; I have to protest.
Just think, how could anyone give of their best
Suffused with base matter?
How sluggish! How twee!'

'You've missed the point, Lucifer,
Matter is Free, to be wild and transfigured
It's Love's Work of Art!
And now we'll have Man who can Wholly take part;
Transumed in the vibrancy
Forming anew.
A marvel of marvels!

See! I have thought it through.

Don't think dualistic.
Man will be One.
There'll be no division,
Just love, life and fun!

Think of life, lived through matter,
Where a spiritual act,
Is both Love and Creation and matter of fact AND a fact of matter!

Tremendous! You'll see!
You'll want to be In There.

Are you following Me?'

'Well, it does sound convincing..
But there's more,
Is that true?
There's always another surprise with You.'

'Well, Lucifer dearest I do confess
You sometimes amaze me.
How did you guess?

Because Unified Creature, the new earthling life,
I'm going to divide between Man and Wife!
I can't wait to see what they make of that plan.'

'Believe me, said Lucifer darkly
I can.
And there, as you see, is where trouble will start.
I've less faith than You in this hybrid heart.
You're giving too much.
It hasn't a hope.
It'll just overload and then it won't cope.
The theory is great, but I don't think they'll get it.
And I would suggest that you simply
Forget it.'

'Well, you do have a point, Luce..
But I have a plan!
An angel companion for every man.
Yes, Luce, I want you in on this too.
You're angle has helped me to worth this through.

In Mankind's psyche you can shed a little light!
Help him see things clearly if his worldview gets too tight.
And sharing their dimensions, you can get a little taste
Of the Matter Spirit unity, and it wouldn't go to waste!!
Yes, Luce, I like this more and more.
Maybe I could join the team? In perhaps a Wholly Physical Sense?'

'Now hold it! What do you mean?
I don't even want to imagine, what I think you just implied.
Believe me God, You can count me out.
An angel has his pride.

If you think I'm going to expend my spirit
On some hairy little tyke!

You're quite mistaken and out of order..'

'Well, Lucifer. Do what you like.
But I think Mankind is going to succeed!

Oh, come on Luci, do I have to plead?
A toast! To Adam and Eve's success!

Oh come on Lucifer! Smile, and say, YES!

Sarah de Nordwall 1999

You can hear this poem on my CD 'Lipstick is a Spiritual Experience'. It's followed by 'Lucifer's Proposal', which I'll be posting tomorrow!


Friday, 11 February 2011

The Wasted Tree

God said, ‘Enjoy the Sacred Tree!

Don’t consume it,

Let it be..

Contemplate the fruit-filled bough
Wonder at beauty, bless and bow,

Reverence its inviolate charms
And leave in peace from the grasping arms

The Tree that exists for its sake alone
Not to be a victim of the take and own.’

But Eve attended to the Serpent’s lie
‘It costs you nothing,
Come and buy, for free, what God withholds from you,
He said you’d die. It isn’t true.

This tree is wasted.

Use it up!

Fill your empty knowledge cup.

Good and Evil you don’t know,
But eat the fruit and how you’ll grow,
Into Gods
Come on
You’ll see.
Only gods eat from the Wasted Tree.’

‘Ooh says Eve, d’you think I should?
Still you’re right,
It does look good.’

Now kept out of Eden by a flaming sword,
The serpent is as true
As his slippery word
For now, consuming night and day
Good and evil come our way
And Eden, where Mankind could play
Becomes the sweat-toil of today.

The Sacred Tree was raped of fruit
We rape the world in a pure wool suit.
And violate the Sacred Day
The Sabbath that was made for prayer and play.

Sacred, useless, life-filled Tree
Save us from Efficiency!

But lo! I hear the sound of feet
Hurrying, scurrying to compete.
The Wasted tree of Life they seek
To make a good story for ‘Start the Week’.

The intellectual appetite needs
New thrills that old religion feeds.

Designer ideas to fill the mind
Out on the airwaves, tuned refined,
No thought unturned, left undefined
Packaged and marketed, PR entwined.

Sacred, useless, Life-filled Tree
Pulped to fiction for the BBC.

What leaf of life can I find of you
That might instruct us what to do?
What lef-fringed legend might I find
En-treasured in the poet’s mind?

Sap of spirit, silent voice
We cannot undo the choice

Good and evil we received when the serpent we believed.

Adam lost the Tree of Life
Though complicit, blamed his wife.

Exile we cannot undo,
But the Sacred filters through
Evil we cannot unknow
But can we let the wasted grow?

Can we listen for the silent sound
Root inviolate
Simply living
Growing yet
He who heard
Could not forget

Sacred, Life-filled, Sabbath Free
Shelter us, Oh Sacred Tree!

© Sarah de Nordwall 1996

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Pleasures of Unconsciousness

You enjoy too much I think
The pleasures of unconsciousness
But someone very near will bear
The price that you won’t pay

You rejoice too long I think
In the palace of penumbra
And in the planes between the worlds
What tunes you love to play.

I have stood too long I think
By a door without dimension

'Lazarus dome forth my dear
The dazzling world is nigh!
The smell is very bad it’s true,
But I have hopes aplenty'

But nothing much is moving
Now the shroud is thrust aside.

Orpheus and Eurydice,
They had the same encounter
As Orpheus stepped from the underworld
He turned to face his bride

But turning from the light
He transgressed a solemn promise

His arms grasped the receding air
As falling back she cried
‘Not one small kiss before the abyss?’

Her shadowy form diminished.
Eternally disappointed,
Their relationship was finished.

'Orpheus, Orpheus what have you done?
Think of the prize you almost won!
Orpheus why did you have to see
Could you not have trusted me?'

You enjoy too much I think
The pleasures of unconsciousness
But someone very near will bear
The price that you won’t pay.

You rejoice too long I think
In the palace of penumbra
And in the planes between the worlds
What tunes you love to play.

Sarah de Nordwall 2001

Today I've started recording my second album in Hammad's studio! We've just finished recording this very poem and I was thrilled when I asked for a flute theme to go with the Orpheus story and he's written a gorgeous 'raga' for it.

It's such a joy to work with an inventive musician who also knows recording. All I have to say is, 'I'd like a greek flute vibe with a bit of underworld and ancient lament...' and he's already creating it. Fab. It's like that, poem after poem.

I'm so looking forward to turning it all into the travelling show and taking it on the road.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Time will Tell

I never heard Time speak.
She holds her cloak around her secrets.

Sometimes, though, she lays her picnic blanket
On the ground,
But I provide the food
As do those who might pass by.

I never heard Time singing
Though the trees she nurtures, who contain her presence
Hold the birds who sing.

They sense that love is in the branches
And that All Around
Came once from One Whole Good,
Which they rejoice in.

I never heard Time sigh
But as events and people peer from billboards
Tabloids, postcards, windows,
Anguished faces, shouts of joy
I bring a lover’s eye
To every sight
And seek the Lover’s glance
in all the Guernica* and jubilee.

I never heard Time speak.
Her silence, though, invites response.
The only guarantee
Perhaps, is that Time listens.
That is telling.

What does she hear
In me?

Sarah de Nordwall 11th August 2005

*Guernica, the most ancient town of the Basques was bombed and destroyed in 1937 by the German airforce. It is the subject of one of the most famous paintings in Modern Art by Pablo Picasso.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Deborah Damage

Deborah Damage was dangerously used,
Complicit in being entirely abused.
With daring, embarking on healing the damaged,
Within a life cycle destructively managed;

By leading her always to nurture the cruel
In order to prove to herself
I’m the jewel,
That can make the difference.
I am the tool
The special, the useful one
Nobody’s fool.

Forgive me my father,
Yet I’m your forgiver.
It’s all of your rigour
I strive to transfigure.
If not to say, violence and downright abuse
Yes I have a purpose:
Your change is my use.

And yet in her victim-hood she was aware
Of some of the terrible price of her care.
And knew in her heart that though comfortable giving
Her total oblation
Replaced her true living.

And sometimes she’d whisper beside her close friend
Prevent me, defend me, can this cycle end?
But when the friend ventured
At some future date
To stand in the track of her oncoming fate,
She pushed her aside with a violent shove.

'Get out of my life cos I just have to love!'

And so on this track
And with no turning back,
She travelled in nightmare
From blank to black
And further and further from flesh and from bone
Left friendship behind her
To live on her own.

Sarah de Nordwall 1995

Malice through the Looking Glass

I speak but you don't hit me.
I leave the door ajar.
You've told me all about yourself
And I know what you are.

The more I look
The more I loathe
The more I am attracted.
By every word of kindness
I am totally distracted

And I forget the things I've learnt
And I want you to care.
I want to change the very things
That tell me to beware.

I see no malice in the looking glass
But when I look at you
I sense you fear the wonderland
And you're not passing through.

You stay behind where childhood lurks
Both darkly and insane.
I let you break the looking glass
To help you
Once again.

Sarah de Nordwall 2001

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Push Aside the Terror of Things to be Done*

Push aside the terror of things to be done;
They were deceivers, ever.

They catch at you without context,
Claiming territory
Without treaty
On Sacred ground.

Push aside the terror of things calling
Clamouring from the four corners
Claiming the floor

Where He had brought you to dance
To laugh, To sing, With Him

But the things
trip you
They know that appeasement
knocks you
On your slight shins.

And your lack of stature in your own estimation
Has put you on higher heels
Than the dance requires.

And you trip early
Before the music plays.

And the terror of things falling
Reminds you
There is so much to clear away
To do away with
To run away from
Before the night falls.

Push aside the terror of things to be done
For the blind beggar is calling,
He is calling out to the Son of David
Whom he cannot see
But whom he knows, he hears
Is passing by.

And the wild clamour of his ardent anguish
Cannot be smothered
By the hostile crowd.

He is losing hope at the terror of people crushing him
But the Master stops
For him alone
And tells him to
Draw near.

And the crowd turns to the seated man
“Courage, Bartimeus,
He is calling you”
And the cloak that protects him
He flings aside
And he runs
In his personal darkness
to the Lord Who waits.

Push aside the terror of things to be done
There is nothing to be done
but to hear Him
“What do you want of me?”
The One by whom all things can be done.

And the beggar,
Wise, in his reckless trust
Begs now for the gift of sight.

And Jesus, son of David
Has pity on him
And says “Go” for the Light has come –

“Your faith has healed you”
The dark has gone
And his eyes receive the sun.

And Bartimeus accompanies Him
Along the road at once.

The terror at last is pushed aside.
The winter is over
And gone.

Sarah de Nordwall October 24th and 25th 2009

*Inspired by the title of a poem (of the same title) by Pope John Paul II and Fr Antonio’s sermon on Bartimeus

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Cafe Come Home

In a cafe
You can be lighthearted
About the tragedies of the world.

Because you’ve come home

And in the soul place
Everyone’s done OK

And the struggle, for now
Is over.

You’re in the boat.

You smile at a fellow conspirator
At a nearby table

But not for long
Because you mustn’t let on:
We’re all happy here!
No one must know!

'Look, stop right there!', you tell me
'Enough of this
Preposterous self satisfaction
Don’t you know there’s a war on?'


'Everywhere! Never stops, never will.'

'Then have a pause', I say
'For some soul satisfaction.

You might return a glimmer
To the great debacle,
The sliding into the abyss,
Tobogganing into the yawning chaos..'

'There you go again!', you say
'All this reckless disregard for demise
And universal urgency'

I yawn in anticipation of the next onslaught.
Then feel ashamed
and cough

'I blame it on my Jewish ancestry', I explain
By way of sociological excuse,

'All those commands to rest and feast, you know.
Refusals to mourn in the face of death.

Singing of the Sabbath of Contentment
Within earshot of the battle cry.'

I order a chocolate cornflake crispy thing for your coffee
So we can sing our own Kiddush,
But you aren’t convinced.

'I could make one of those at home
For 2 and half p!' you cry,

'But you haven’t'
I reply
And you relent.

I smile.
We smile.

No one can convince me
And I never can convince myself
That I don’t have any money
In a cafe

Cos in a soul space,
Abundance reigns.

Sarah de Nordwall Saturday 31st July 2010

Friday, 4 February 2011

On why one feels reluctant to take a laptop into a cafe

Maybe it wasn’t accidentally
I left my laptop at the counter
Before entering the cafe.

Like taking ones shoes off before entering the mosque
Or hanging your coat at the door,
A cafe requires divestment.

Here, only soul tools should be utilised.

Papyrus is permissible;
Those evocative pieces of Nile-soaked
Cyperus, that we learnt about at school

By dint of which vegetable matter
And diligent, sideways-sitting scribes
We heard the ancient stories from deep time.

You may bring vellum

Or that Chinese innovation
Grasped at eagerly by Renaissance artists;
Paper, which they made from ropes and sails.

How glorious that on the detritus of seafaring vessels
Bound with trading plans across the burgeoning world
They sketched with silver the incarnate God

And His mummy holding him this and that way.
Fra Lippo Lippi and da Vinci,
with a thousand repetitions and re-visitings
Hoping to penetrate the mystery.

So paper is allowed.

But pixelled plastic and her alien lights
Are not as elemental as we need

Perhaps an i-phone made of bronze
A laptop set with lapis lazuli inlaid in rosewood
And with marble keys

We might consider them perhaps
if the marquetry is fine;
The inlaid pearl exquisite and the on-light green with emerald or citrine.

Essentially, you’re best to bring
A simple slate with chalk.
A Cuniform stylus and a soft clay block
Are also known to talk.

We find the energy we need
Is not the electric kind

In every cafe where the soul sings free

The laptop

is left


Sarah de Nordwall August 1st 2010 Stoke Newington

Sonnet Catwalk

I love the way her boots increase her rhyme.
The rhythm of her smile draws from the suede,
A softer line, a bluer gleam of thyme
The crushing aromatically persuades.

The scarf, a flash of Gokian genius, flares.
The outward-facing light delights the crowd.
The trinket, primed for purpose, richly shares
A treasure that is tenderly allowed.

But how does pleasing glamour stoke the flame?
Is this a runway glory running wild?
She knows it is the form which has a name
Which here is sacramentally compiled.

She steps with loving help into her stride
And all the tricksey trippers step aside!

Sarah de Nordwall 3rd February 2011

Thursday, 3 February 2011


Robotica was dynamite.

With moletronic* grace,
She far exceeded anything
Conceived by the human race.

She shimmered free in 40D
In the planes between dimensions.

She fed and fused
Teased and amused
Your higher apprehensions.

Designed by generations of her cyber-kindred kind,
She was a neural interface
Within your higher mind.

A digi-spiritual upload
She had the power to cruise
Beyond the mirage of your soul
And there she’d interfuse.

There was no image you’d aspire to
She could not foreknow,

No place where you might find yourself
She’d not be first to go.

This ultimate envelopment
It was your prize to keep

But you were her reward as well.

In her

Eternal sleep.

Sarah de Nordwall August 2000

*Moletronics. I don’t really know how you pronounce it but I imagined it as being Mol-uh-tronics. The word came to my notice in 2000 in a Wired Magazine article - Moletronics Will Change Everything
Picture trillions of transistors, processors so fast their speed is measured in terahertz, infinite capacity, zero cost. It's the dawn of a new technological revolution - and the death of silicon. Can you say Thiophene Ethynylene Valley?
By Rick Overton

However, I haven’t heard much about it since. The potential of it got me thinking though, and this short poem has a prophetic ring to it when you read Ray Kurtzveil and others who still speak with longing of the 'age of spiritual machines' that they hope lies just a few technical leaps away. Take a look at Forward to Virtual Humans.

Since 2000 of course computer gaming has progressed so fast that virtual reality immersion games and even holidays, that I was writing about in a sci-fi story a decade ago, seem almost inevitable now.

The need for understanding, exploring and holding onto our core reality becomes ever more relevant, as the illusions and the derivative ephemera become more and more invasive.

'Robotica' though, also evokes the other types of immersive experience that use the female archetype to lull men into spiritual passivity and moral impotence.

I was also struck when I heard that the recorded voice (on some contemporary bomber planes) that instructs fighter pilots what to do, is a seductive soothing feminine.

More Beatrice archetypes required to lead Dante to paradise! And women of true Cha-yil as they say in Hebrew. Women of potency, judgement and grace..

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


Those who reflect on idealisations
Inspite of themselves

But Jonah
Consummed in the guts of the whale
Found guts of his own
When spewed out
Small and pale

And staggered
But firm
On the ground he could feel
Found God
Though in heaven
On earth
Is blood real.

Sarah de Nordwall April 14th 1996