Philip Muir – Self Tenses

Profile Muir LEP&W ANZ May 2021

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2021
Special edition featuring poets from Australia & New Zealand.

Philip lives in Auckland, New Zealand.  When not consumed by lawyer life, he throws words at a page and hopes they stick, though he often enjoys the challenge of strict poetry formats.  He has had poems published in The Blue Nib, Cordite Poetry Review and Fast Fibres.  He regularly performs his poetry live and organises a local Auckland poetry group.

Self Tenses

A blunder made historically lives long inside the mind
An aberration in benevolence
Or worse, an opportunity to which the eyes were blind
Now coldly clear, the callous consequence
How could you act so stupidly, you really should have known
You forced me down to pick the pieces up
No means by which to compensate, nor values to condone
You left a faded, broken, poisoned cup
I’m limping through the ashes in a storm of discontent
Stand battered with debris of my regret
Time does not wipe the pages that composed this sad lament
Nor lend a hand to those whose ways are set
No longer here to face up to your faults
My wounds burn, as you rub your toxic salt

Enslaved by reputation, habit, pain and diffidence
I will be better once I shed these loads
This mind, this soul, is here in time – this fleeting residence
Reaping what those moments past have sowed
Inconsequential interest that leads the mind astray
From who I know I really want to be
It doesn’t matter anyway, I think I’ll be okay
I feel I’ve got a perfect destiny
Improvement, the mysterious and enigmatic end
With time, the brutal slaver, in control
I must abide before the moment fades, to past condemned
If missed, another arrow through the soul
Now pull yourself together, don’t delay
Your future calls, a king you can’t betray

Flying over rainbows, glowing sceptre to the fore
He will subdue all hurdles in his way
His competence in everything, it fills my mind with awe
Majestic theoretical display
A soothing reassurance in complacency of now
Sit back and let the awesomeness arrive
Best not to risk future rebuke, restraint I thus allow
Hold back the steps I need to take to thrive
All those things I want to do, mundane will not displace
My dreams and aspirations so fulfilled
Although it’s hypothetical, that me I now embrace
Towards him there’s no need I see to build
I contemplate the journey of the climb
As I recline into the folds of time


In the freedom of observation, sentiment may fester, unbridled
It is distance that breathes life into ambition
Hope into complacency
Like into love

Hovering in a murky haze of memories, dreams and desires
It is solace that smooths the blade of passion
Sinking deep into flesh
That gathers

Protected, is a will given only to the wall that stifles the view
It is warmth that sucks the marrow of adventure
An over-enthusiastic sacrifice
Offered continuously

Collected, threads of influence buffeted in harmonic motion
It is the medium that precipitates the movement
Not the simple, inert filament
That extends

In the restriction of receipt, activity is spawned, precisely confined
It is action that slackens the reins of complacency
The inertia of pessimism
The retreat

© Philip Muir