Man standing on mountain range overlooking sea - Poems by Shaun Payne


I’ve heard God can be seen in the details.

The flowing glow
of the rings of a tree,
like a fingerprint of the Earth.
Or the meandering flow
of a wild river,
free to move and cut veins in rock and dirt.
Such beauty cannot be ignored.

Yet to view a landscape
by peering through the eye of a needle
can only reveal so much.
For God should be seen—without eyes—
in the space between moments.

In silence after a hard rain.
In emptiness of no breath.
In solitude of darkness.
In vanishing stillness before an embrace.
In the patience of life’s suffering and joy.

In perfect nothingness between two pair of eyes seeing each other.


Like a river, dammed
by something made from outside,
the weight of being pools, making the depths of ourselves dark,
and painfully cold.

Pushing hard against the wall
constructed to keep awareness preoccupied by the surface,
and the widening waters,
away from what lies at its source.
A spring of authentic self, not of a past reality,
continually pouring out
waiting for the walls built to be breached and existence potential experienced.


I often am where my heart is not.
Peeling a layer of life from its pulsing centre,
and as more is placed away from me
I become smaller, more fragile,
tossed about as if weightless
in this prison I’ve built for myself.

Now dangerously close to exposing
that which has remained hidden.
Hidden so well away from notions of love.
Love measured by these layers shed in your name.
Not the pounding heart found beneath.

I can see me now,
a reflection provides me a view from beneath
myself, floating aimlessly now
without my shell.

Exposed, vulnerable to the power of the moment
my layers have protected me from.
Now love is here
fear is here,
anxiety, joy,
self-loathing, self-acceptance.

Feeling is here
and it has always been
trapped outside, and
trapped inside,
where notions of self, and notions of love
have been shed to place myself everywhere
but where I’ve been all along.

I will sit with myself,
freezing in the stillness of this life,
no longer waiting, with nothing more to give
but the beating part of everything.


I can try to find a quiet place
under this cloudless sky
to allow time to create a space
where I often fall
into the fragility of grace.

Emptiness into this crowded disguise
of time erasing stillness.
Achieving enough to paralyze
the distinction from my stillness
to your endless conversation.

As you leave, slowly,
I wait for the moment
to be delivered from your familiarity.

When sounds speak to my restlessness,
and I follow my sunken contempt
for noise in this loud city
I’ve found myself regretting,

where my unwillingness
hurts only myself,
and I can continue to wear
my unfortunate disguise
of impatient despair,

that weighs heavy on a heart
so hungry for joy,
that the sun peels apart
to reveal a hopeful self.


The tattered pants
and blood-stained rags
hanging in baskets somewhere
unknowingly statuesque in a tribute to a shedding
of a painful prison
buried in glass now
cast across a downtown lawn
where heartbeats lead a
dance of a past self
dying to itself
from within every inch
of paralyzed observers
and unconscious bodily power
another emerges
that will inhabit this space
away from the fear
stripped violently away
in a moment like death
but closer to birth.

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Shaun Payne is a poet, photographer and father of two currently residing in San Antonio, Texas. His art form brings a subtle imagery to the beautiful yet difficult nature of existence. He maintains a website at where his photographs and poems are posted regularly.

image: pxhere