Two works by Peter Wilkin

The Soul's Code

“In the acorn lies not only the completion of life before it is lived but
the dissatisfied frustration of unlived life” …James Hillman

My soul is a well
deeper than the depth of me
all my ago's
oozy with echoes
a sinus of imagoes and long shadows
cast by dragon's breath

I am who I was
dredges of star spills
rusted creaks of space
drips of iron-drops
filmy trickles, orange pools
of rusting pearls

My birth was a cry
seeded in Eden
guided by mavericks and peculiar ladies
blessed by the dawdling shepherds
of arcadia, high-jacked through
drooly lure of central revenue

I don't though I must
and what fury I feel
coming late to the tree and finding
only empty cupules –
oh when will I learn to seek not
the place but to follow the itch?

The mental doctor

The mental doctor keeps his madness hidden in a weather-house. It is separate from him: wrapped in the sodden folds of the rainlady's skirts. He is a fine-weather medic unsplashed by delusions and grey mizzles of gloom. Sheltered by sanitary sunlight, he apricates vainly in the swell of a saneday. Should brainstorms crackle angrily and minds begin to roar, he is never under the weather. He simply smiles wrongly in a restless shift of kindness and, as the very first droplet of lunacy stains the paving, beats a hasty retreat into his cloister – always slightly too quickly to witness the pallid figure of a woman emerging from the neighbouring box.

Star-still and shrinking with shame, her sallow face is whelmed with uncried tearstains and glistens of rain. Drenched in crazy showers she is ever the other: caught in a deluge of projections. Bruised blue by a physic flung with such force, she is paraded naked under the watchman's gaze.

Roosting in shadows, the doctor is bone dry, safe from the howling squalls that needlesting the cheeks of the rainlady. She stands and shivers, perished with humiliation. He is weatherproof and watertight; western and white (on the inside); his asylum is a suntrap where the beauty of the rain never dawns.

One bright moonrise the heavens break down and empty a torrent of water onto the weather-house. The iron gears scrape and the slippery oil-shined wheel creaks to a judder as the mechanism sticks fast. Saturated and ratdrowned, clothes clinging cold, the mental doctor stiffens like a corpse, frozen in the gaze of the rainlady. Homeless and exposed, he feels the angst driving like nails through his veins. His knees collapse under the heft of his rood as, clammy and heart-hammered, he staggers to the edge of his existence.

Suddenly, his breaking eyes fix on a figure. In the soft mud under the loom of a thousand crosses, the rainlady kneels weeping. Her arms stretch out towards him and, dumb with trust, he takes from her a cup and raises it to his mouth. At once, her maudlin ceases and the doctor, humbled with passion, stumbles under her devotion. She has given him the starlight from her soul … the very all of her … yet expects nothing in return.

The skies clear … and a violet tingling of wisdom begins to surge through the doctor's body. He has discovered the rainlady's being. In a flickering of death he has reached out and touched her for the first time … and she has released him from the bedlam of his sanity. As indigo shades of nightfall gather, he lies down in weariness. Though the rainlady is no longer with him, he feels the heat of her breath as he drifts in reverie between yawling trees and Galilean moons. Her shackles of difference have been snapped and her spirit rises softly, now, in his paradox of faith.

Morning becomes … ushered in by a solitary birdsong; a hallelujah feathered with grace. A dewy film has settled upon the doctor's body and the first splashes of sunrise begin to bleed over the horizon. As he wakens he feels a true sense of purpose welling within him. He is filled with otherness. He sees no single part of the breaking day but is consumed by the whole colour of it.

Bathed in salvation, he whispers a stream of blessings to the rainlady (who is not there but will always be a part of him), yet he feels no reason to offer her any more than his heart-flung words. Lit by amber shimmerings of ashes, he walks the short journey downhill to the scene of all his denials … and the weather house has tumbled down.

When the rain comes again, the doctor stands among the rubble of his crumbled hideaway. He removes his shoes and walks on the wetlands, feet stained green, shrammed with the pelt and the glory … and all around him, as far as the brain can smell, the warm floods of summer swallow his soul safely.

• Peter Wilkin says “I recently retired as a nurse psychotherapist, which has given me space to reflect and capture pieces of living in clusters of words.”

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