This page is devoted to an ongoing project…a meditation…which began in 2010

March 2018 – I have neglected it for far too long. The changes are now such that I can say that finally I have finished it – I think!

EDEN LOST a spinal meditation

The vertebral column,

twenty-six, counting tails.


an articulated whole,

a curve of grace and balance

created and maintained within the lap

of innocence,

and of blood.

The vertebral column,

articulating the story of life,

narrated here through a beautiful

botanical idea;


Life, born of a garden,carried erect on a bony column

of his-tory, her story.

A structured narrative

with diverse form,

a sum of relations

between fears, hopes and embodied souls.

Articulations embedded in flesh

penetrated by pain, and grief,

and exorcised

through language;

that which separates man

and beast


(Cervical Spine C1-7)

Genesis; the beginning.

Genesis; the primeval progenitor.

Genesis; a structure and an order

to fill the earth and rule over it.

Genesis, within a garden

giving birth to a conjunction,

a confusion of bodies.

Janiceps; two heads, two faces


After Janus,

God of openings, illuminated beginnings and endings,

January opens the New Year

facing in opposite directions.

Atlas supports the cranial heavens,

Janus and Atlas can never meet.

Atlas pivots on the axis in confirmation,

opens at the neck.

Choking, spitting blood, the woman

who lacks a womb, learns again how to walk,

slow, sexless, in a dark, painful mourning

she embraces emptiness,

sees the world with new eyes.

Negated, cannot bear the weight of a child,

supplication is disregarded in a civilised world

yet a man prays, for the first time, for the woman

He is afraid, of being afraid, of dying.

A body translated through a transverse arch,

in double articulation the receiving heart possesses form and substance,

Atlas turns steadily, doubly, on the dens

ensuring that the woman, who lacks a womb, cannot.

She needs time, before time

      The primordial Titan, born of a neat-ankled maid,

     Atlas turns the artists eyes, once again,

towards Eden.

Beauty lies in an idea of truth;

Plato’s fair notion; the artist’s dilemma.

A line around a hyoid defines the contour of Eve’s forbidden fruit,

the curve of Adams apple,

A line defines the angle of the rib, the turn of the ankle,

the ravages of pain and time on skin

as it shrivels.

But nature abides no lines,

a painting offers no comfort beyond the process.

Fluid glazes become layers of flesh, an orgy of sensual tints,

mixed with green,

as the artist covers the bones with what remains.

Highlights are the dappled bloom of titanium,

harsh and resistant to natural process.

The artist seeks the figure,

concealed in the woman’s form

as the surgeon draws a scalpel through shivering flesh.

The woman in the café asks,“Did they take the cervix?”

The last vestige.

Adam and Eve reborn.

In the Garden of Eden form is overtaken, figures escape.

The neat-ankled maid, who never was a god,

and the man who cried, who never had a choice,

know themselves

know each other,

aware and naked

they flee the light of the flaming sword,

in the East,

turning without direction

to protect the tree of life.



As the woman sleeps in a red room

the scalpel reopens the wound

that blossoms like a flower

red as opium, and trampled in the mud.

Remembering the flower of England, the youth of a distant country,

blood red in a buttonhole,

a plastic simulacra,

of war.

And there is war again,

in Eden,

in Mesopotamia

where four rivers meet.

In the land between the waters flowing red again,

in war,

a phrenic innervation,

a bloody inhalation

exhaled in Eden.


A silent scream of horror

bursts into sound through the hyoid,

A remnant of a primitive

fish that never swam in cyanide rivers

now submerged in the throats of the woman and the man.

A preternatural gill denies creation

but the flaming sword still turns,

searing flesh,

a body known, defiled,

an involuntary Expulsion of vomit, shit, urine

an Expulsion from an idea of Eden.

The vertebral column

mediates between cranial heaven

and bodily hell.

The axis of the axial

levelling, balancing, supporting,

but the heart breaks,

speech fails,

heads bow,

eyes lower,

muscles wither,

flesh sags,

and is stripped.

The neat-ankled maid,

raped by war, and pain, and

stripped of her innocence.

The woman stripped of her womb,

Eden stripped of myth.

The spherical eye turns in its heavenly bowl

and the artist’s hand falls away from the canvas.

Human form melts into emotional dissolution

as the flaming sword turns again,

and depression turns its gaze from the garden.


when the woman was whole

and things were new, she saw in a garden

black silk, bloody and trodden

by dogs hungry for meat.

Everything is raw on the equator

in the lap of nature, an imaginary line divides more than is conceived.

Life is older.

Bony narratives twist and distort into horror stories

as sickness rolls in the gutters of San Jose,

and in the garden, the woman must tread carefully,

to save her soul.

In Zapote, in full fruit,

they run in packs and carry machetes across a president’s lawn.

They survive, in squalor,

the woman tries to understand.

She carries a chair,

he carries a bowl, for soup.

He stands in line, in the rain,

she struggles.

He offers help

for nothing more than a smile,

his eyes have seen too much

for too long.

Her eyes open wide,

in pain,

she steals their hungry gazes

and carries them, gently in her memory,

separate from her soul.

“A thousand colones?”

“Muchas Gracias Machita!”

Still deep.

Sixth articulation.

Six before all can see.

Breathe! Just Breathe!

The woman knows of Job

from a time, before, when her child asked why an artist

would paint so much pain.


clothed with skin and flesh,

fenced with bones and sinews,

in the garden of fruit,

in Zapote,

she met his kin

seated in ashes,

in the darkness that seeps into the emptiness

where once there was life.

A raised arm, open handed for an offering.

A fractured life seen through hollow eyes.

Body-broken, rugose skin

burnt, peeling away, exposing flesh, nerve, tendon.

Twisted veins, cut arteries,

bloody vessels,

termination, extirpation.

On the edge of the garden there are bodies,

wretched, leaning against the cold that is not.

But inside the walls,

sprawling over of the line that is not,

cardboard becomes fur,

rags become fleece

and clothed as a beast, flesh and bone bears skin that never was its own.

In remembering, the woman is soul weary,

Must she leave the complaint upon herself?

Seventh articulation.

The vertebra prominens protrudes,

becomes a landmark,

a guide.


(Thoracic Spine T1 – 12)

Two years on and still,

very still, the emptiness within.

In a garden where sand and rock collide

is a dark hole where memory lies, curled against a stone,

a king in a cold Kings tomb.

The summer heat stifles lungs that rise and fall in a bony cage,

No breath. The Kings are dead,

corpses warming under the Mediterranean sun.

Turquoise hues on the water resonate with yellow Spurge;

the graveyard weed.

The woman breathes, shallow, inhaling the dust of ages

and the sand shifts, uneasy, under her feet

as if she trod, roughshod, over dreams.

Under Panama

the tropics are subsumed by the temperate

in a confident walk, in a slow flick of the straw brim

towards the left.

The man has breathed life’s changing air for two years and sixty

but celebration precipitates a mourning,


He says, “I wish you had had more time,

to get over it,

to come to terms with it.”

The woman sighs,

heart heavy.

In the garden of the Kings

the dream is of Elysium

where the garden grows for the Gods.

But the dream is dead, the Gods are not here,

incandescent native species ward off the foreign advance

with light, with colour

and with leaves uniformly tied.

Hordes are divided here between Gods and Kings,

conquered by a song that resonates in the woman’s soul

and resounds in the air,

that she struggles to breathe,

in a garden that is not Elysium.



The man offers choices that the woman cannot understand,

she is distracted by choice,

by the need for breathing space;

a space to breathe, in, the dust.


immortality in the fields on the western margin

where death is never tasted

and yellow Spurge is never seen,

because Spurge grows only where death can find it,

where life is given no choice

beyond a final, yellowed, resting place.

In the garden that is not Elysium the woman seeks the breath of life,

but finds only death,

in remnants of royal idolatry.

Blue water, yellow spurge, red sunburn,

together clamour harshly on the palette, as one, for the woman’s artist soul.

Primaries portending abstraction,

relinquishing form,

deeply mourn the forgotten professor

who loved only what he could see,

on the surface.

Memories turn the woman’s thoughts to words.

She decides, but too late,

the man turns away, innocent, towards the water.

She holds her breath as she dives into turquoise shallows

where her body becomes a fluid thing,

but a Scapula sticks, a Clavicle twists,

a Humerus turns painfully in its socket

and salt water is infused with the sweetness of blood

as pain bites down.

Bite your tongue!

Stem the flow of words!

She watches from a window as the sea is crowned with concrete,

spitting, vomiting debris with every ebb and flow.

Choose again! Lets see what’s through the round window!

Windows to souls,

eyes turn inwards with sorrow.

The woman who lacks a womb breathes easy as shock,


into disappointment.

PART 2.5

(The Shoulder Girdle) 

Curving between T1 and T7

inclined towards the truth of twelve,

triangulated, referenced and parallel to the girdled column

the Scapula cradles the arm that cradles the head at its apex

in a fossa that Galen named only for himself.


a bony hollow

encapsulated in a time of sun and heat and dust,

when the woman became cold.


All movement delimited, debilitated, in and over time.

     Adhesive Capsulitis is precise,

   frozen shoulder feels more

in a blur of chemically controlled pain.

Pain in the woman’s hand whispers the threat of damage

to the C’s.

C1 to 7, the most mobile of them all,

connecting thought to feeling

that, in the brightly lit, narrow channel

the MRI ignored.

The bones must break,

the surgeon’s knife must cut,

the woman who lacks a womb must relive the pain of the cannula

as she counts backwards,

to Atlas.

She is writing a book, writing a paper for a conference in Istanbul,

she is drawing and thinking about poetry, about imagery and about war.

She has a frozen shoulder.


after the woman has been a long time away

   and held, in arms, under a warming sun,

                    the balance shifts.

The column, as in Pisa, angles towards a contraposto

and the sword turns again towards the woman and the man.

Knowing, yet unknowing,

leaving a grasping, clawing, claustrophobic garden

they look for a home

where mortality cannot haunt them,

where home once was,

in a landscape, Eden, endlessly flat.

The woman carries hope that her child’s soul,

long drowned in diverse seas of maturity,

can be reclaimed,

in a flat land where an elusive sun shines with a pale, cold light,

yet warms her.

In a small, low house, canvases rest uneasy against walls that hold

their silence in the damp air.

Under broad acres of glass, aching aspiration planted years before bursts into growth.

New life calls to the woman who lacks a womb as relief rests, gently,

finally, on her shoulders.

Bending her back into change

she picks a careful way between species,

learning, choosing,

as elders speak to her in tongues,

in languages her soul remembers

and green becomes the colour of life.

Under glass,

under the sword

academia becomes but a sad memory

of Butler’s Erewhon.

In the flat lands, over time, loamy soil sticks to the woman’s boots

as toes numb. Frozen.

In the flat lands, over time, creativity submits to an idea of design

and the woman who lacks a womb pushes, deeper, further,

harder into the earth until,

wrapped as it were in black velvet,

she becomes blind to the call of the past.

But a painful nightmare is lost only in an opening of an eye,

and soon, on a high plateau, she learns again to see clearly what can and what cannot be.


Rain soaked.


in unrelenting repetition

the woman and the man weather together the death and the birth of a year.

Frozen mornings

mourning delicate leaves and stems that give up the fight for survival.

The garden does not forgive.

The sword turns

and the woman and the man,

who know the soil, and the light,

have to leave the vast, flat land

where water is pumped, twice every day

to the sea,
where feathers float across the margins

where the ha-ha is more than a smile,

and where sharp seed husks pierce a dog’s skin.

The woman finds a city, bright with limestone,

and across patchwork pavements and majestic decay

she returns to Erewhon

to describe and destruct the human form until her heart

beats a new rhythm

in the bony cage,

resounding through the vertebral column,

defining, connecting, detecting

the Axial and Appendicula,

delimiting gesture and motive.

The woman senses the pain, the irony

in the slow, familiar, relentless movement towards immobility.

Her new voice is silenced as pain defies articulation.

Omos! – Hombro!


Painful adhesion calling attention to every physical detail


The Humerus moves only at the expense of the Clavicle.

Clavicula! a tendril from the past,

and the Scapula, torn from a parallel relation,

is dragged, screaming, around the Ribs.

The woman bows her head,

Atlas articulates with Axial

and it happens,


April 3 for a wrenching.

The surgeon’s knife, a second in time,

will open a joint that has lost its ‘voice’,

ceases to articulate for the woman who ceases to articulate the pain,

for fear of the sword,

for fear of the lost womb,

for fear of Eden.

Winter is dying even as spring thaws its bones.

The surgeon says, “It will never happen again.”


(Lumbar Spine: L1 – 5, Sacrum and Coccyx)


in the lee of an inward curve,

and nearer than ever to a windward shore,

the woman and the man bend their backs to plant a garden

in a land they will never call home.

A land in the West, full of myth and voices,

comforts little

and sates less the hunger

for the flat lands in the East.

Knowledge drawn from painful experience assures that what is left

is never regained,

outside of memory.

But the woman and the man are strong,

and as the strongest part has the fewest pieces

the lumbar lion roars,

rotating in the centre,

far beyond the flaming sword of Eden

and benignly distant.

Perfectly aligned,

with only five

it bears the weight of body and soul.

In the West red blood

quickens in the vein.

There is no foothold, no solidity in shifting sands.

The woman and the man live layered lives,

standing under falls of clear water over limestone.

Strangers become friends

who become strangers

through betrayal

and in the West the woman begins to feel familiar pain.

The lion weakens,

stemming the flow.

The woman wanders in a Broad street

just as, before she was hurt,

she wandered through studios in Erewhon,

breathing the smell of the colours on the palette

and leaving snippets of herself,

in coffee rings,

and in young minds.

She drew upon their work

as an artist must always draw upon on the soul.

Before she was hurt

the woman wove a three-dimensional web across a yawning emptiness.

Easels and windows, tables and chairs

provided points of attachment and insertion in the body of the room.

Once the weaving was complete,

the young drew out the entrails from inside the body they had created

and the woman without a womb brought life into the viscera.

Life stepped over,

climbed up,

tiptoed around

and danced within the web that she wove,

before she was hurt

In a Broad street

the woman enters a world that was,

where cleaners become prostitutes

and where lives are brutalised.

Here, the man finds for the woman a new reality,

a life beyond pretensions,

beyond platitudes,

beyond self-serving emptiness.

And the man and the woman,

so that they can breathe again,

fill the space they’ve found with aspiration.

Breathe. Just breathe. 

Ten years on.

A decade without a womb.

A new garden is appearing,

far from Eden,

in the land in the West

where the turn of the year never fails to bring rain.

Silent forms, still longing for the sun

now defend themselves under glass

and the woman without a womb

nurses them with a raw love.

The painter’s hand moves over the canvas

as her eyes now turn to a pain outside herself,

a pain seated in the depths of old souls

who talk with her in a language taught to them by mortality.

In Russia somebody said

the crab loves people,

and dreams are a sign of recovery,

but the crab moves sideways through a life,


denying choice

between hot ray, chemical, and cold knife.

The woman learns of another before her

who, seeing the ghost of her bones,

cried in fear of seeing her own death.

The painter,

the woman who lacks a womb,

who strayed far from Eden, now finds herself

in the shadow of another sword,

a scalpel edge that draws through flesh not her own.

The woman, whose body experienced,

now embodies experience

and drinks deeply of meaning.

With empathy she seeks, in layers,

a narrative truth.

But all is not well.

Much is ill.

The lumbar lion roars

as it degenerates towards the tail.

It cannot sustain or articulate weakness.

In silence then, until a stumble,

and the woman relives the emptiness she once embraced.

The man begins again to fear,

kicking a stone on the shore to reveal a crab.

But pain is distracted.

Paint and poetry turn suffering into a lyric

born of experience and a perpetual yearning for the sun.

With eyes unprotected,

turned away from her own death,

the painter subjects herself to the image

and the woman who lacks a womb tells the man,

“all will be well.”