To the dreaming mind

a holy site is equal to a meadow

that floats on silence

high above the olive groves. Oracle

or goatherd,

visionary or a man content

to chew his pipe with his shoes

discarded in the grass;

the imprint is the same

when a memory returns.

A temple dissolves

in a flood of light.

A stone house grips the mountain

as a lightning flash

renders it transparent.

Only the birds

circling their mountain

remain as they were,

higher than time,

with wings locked

and splinters from the sun

nailing the air around them.

              David Chorlton


Soldiers board the train collecting

passports. At the edge of sleep,

without papers, we travel on faith

until the officers return. The country

we have entered lies at rest

with a sprinkling

of lights on a blue ground

as wheels rattle and mountain rain

washes against the windows.

Some passengers dream on their feet,

others sit on their luggage

and rock in motion

with the rails. A tapestry

of smoke hangs over us all.

When we stop

it is between stations

where a flashlight fans its way

illuminating weeds beside the tracks.

To the clanking of chains

the journey picks up again

through towns with their wounds

still visible, through checkpoints

and wide open fields,

through cities ancient and new,

while inspectors continue

matching photographs with faces,

unable to tell

who is on their honeymoon

or who is a deserter.

                    David Chorlton
DAVID CHORLTON was born in Spittal-an-der-Drau, Austria, and grew up in Manchester, England. He lived in Vienna for most of the 1970s and became conversant with Austria, as well as travelling around Europe with watercolours and train schedules always at hand. He also committed his first tentative lines of poetry to paper before moving to Phoenix in 1978. Since then, his interests have broadened to include issues all the way from war and peace through music you rarely hear on the radio to Arizona's many colorful birds. Poems have appeared piecemeal in a long list of literary magazines and collections of poetry include Forget the Country You Came From from Singular Speech Press, and Outposts from Taxus Press in Exeter, England. His translations of prose by Austrian writer Hans Raimund appeared in 1997 from Event Horizon Press as Viennese Ventriloquies. His newest collection is Common Sightings, a winner of the 2000 Palanquin Press Chapbook contest. Essays, reviews and other prose have appeared in a range of publications from Arizona newspapers to Poet Lore magazine. His paintings, mostly watercolor, have been exhibited in Austria and the United States.