Listening To Mahler

This poem of mine dates back to the late 1960’s – a spontaneous response to the symphony I was listening to. A gift poem.




[A Response in Six Movements]





Have I lost the need

to weep


the power and the beauty

the freedom and the fire

tremble through my body.


The beauty – the beauty

the beauty and the power

tremble through my mind –


heavy with joy I want

to weep –

drunk with longing I need

the tears to weep

at the tragic and majestic

power – the power and the beauty.


Beauty, power, tragedy and fear –

and I can’t weep.


Have I lost

the power to weep –

the beauty, such beauty and

such power.









       a little

gently, slowly, rest –

now waiting, urging on the day


each nuance as it comes.


Slowly burning

through the air –

                     my song

resounding in the sea

                     gently, lyrically

and then

I start to skip-a-long, to dance,

dance arminarm around the earth

and then start dreaming.


Lushly sliding, skipping and prancing

struck dumb

                   for a moment

succumb again

to the power,

the tragic happiness of knowing

of being and living


by the melodies of life

free and captive to her whims.


Free and beautifully gliding

living and alive.











moving, singing

dancing and laughing

cutting sharply

all springtime and in love.


In love and diving

deeper diving – driving lower

then exalted / and softly degraded

and next I’m snarling

at my fears.


And violently into the present time

I’m tossed, active being

to and fro-ing as the cancer


           and bursts

into a shower of crystal.


My ears hesitate behind

my eyes – my mind is dreaming –

and I am sharing your pain

and your pleasure

living within you, viewing wider


sharing my body and mind

with you; with all

born out of  the grass and trees –

as each new thought becomes

a world, and each new world

               is me.











the words of two minds

and a thousand ears, become

 those of one world.

Words of belief, of faith and trust –

songs of the children

unborn and dying,

accepting their deaths

with dignity

living their lives


with pleasure and ease.

Delights of the dream arouse

their desires – a sombre pleasure

a woeful joy. The need for love

as strong as I need tears –

weaving the largest into the smallest

weaving past greatness

into the hearts of children.


And this laborious mission

has a goal of joy – your eyes are smiling


and in their reflection

I see my life.





Gloriously the birth and mirth

of Christ, who lived a hero – died a man.

The innocent know far more understanding

than the callous heart –

their voices echo and thunder

from a mountain stream into

a waterfall.


Cutting through the hills and trees

carving the tree

into the shape of man –

until the wood takes its revenge.


And in the days of youth,

which is our life – there comes a reckoning


the tingle and the bitter fruit

of age



we rejoice.





Body and mind alone can never make

a man –

          as we walk

through the valley

of tranquil thoughts, the beauty

pressures us

to face the truth –

each step discovering

the jungle and the pit, each life day

drinking from the streams

pausing a while and kneeling down

to praise the men who made

us what we are –

and God who we created

gave us life, as it floats sweetly from

the wounded side

of Christ.


Casting aside the altars, so every man

woman and child

may wear the ring of wedlock

in their soul.


Calmly I retrace my steps

and see my faults,

back to the garden – sit down

in the fioelds and sigh for the sun.

throw wide your arms and thighs,

embrace the living – forget the dead

who readily received their joys,

who gave us life and pleasure.


I need to weep no more – I sit

just sit and listen

listen to the open spaces.



                      Malcolm Evison




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