Sunday, 22 February 2015

To The Reverend Giles Fraser

Since each man individually is free to fly or fall
then why seek to prevent him doing so?
If we write the stories of our lives at all,
why, towards our fellow men do we wish to show
some idea that we, of his, at arms length have control?
We might not wish ourselves to intervene,
but having some idea, from fiction drawn
of the natures of such types of men as we have seen,
why must we hope their fate, though they are born
as free as us, should be manipulated by the state?
We couch such thoughts in terms of moral good,
and yet, in truth, we wish to abdicate,
our interest being in our selves, that's understood.
To love our neighbours should be our direct concern,
we can't evade our duty by paying tax on what we earn.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Night Time Wakefulness

The morning light is not yet in the east;
no shade of paler darkness turns the night
into the hour when wakefulness can be excused.
And all the velvet indigo I see,
blends into darkness where it touches me,
unwanted consciousness is here, and sleep has ceased.
And yet this time is meant to be; when sleep has ceased
the body still at rest allows the mind a feast
of thoughtfulness.  Ideas seem born in me
in contemplative stillness in this night,
this private piece of it. I see
solutions manifest perhaps in dreams, excused
of their absurdity, distilled to clarity.  Excused
from any obligation, I have ceased
to function as I do by day, and see
with bright and blackness, though the least
new thought becomes a whole new train at night
speeding through the brain and seemingly on time.
I feel my head aflame, and lying still can't be excused,
despite the selfishness of getting up at night.
But action means that contemplation's ceased,
the morning light is not yet in the east
perhaps what seems like brilliance now, I'll come to see
as dross, when other information from the sea
of long term memory presents itself to me,
in proper, morning wakefulness.  For thought, like yeast,
ferments when left to brew in darkness, excused
from real rationality which has ceased
to function, being not a creature of the night.
So why persist in thinking in the night
if thought is not what it at first appears? If to see
clearly in darkness is but fancy, why when it has ceased
and the second sleep sweeps thought away does some
satisfaction settle in the mind? Excused
from reason, whence mental peace, with sunlight in the east?
Dark night lends partial clarity. In time we'll see
our dreams excused and hope deceased. At least we tried.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

On Tolerance

How do I tolerate thee? Let me count each way:
With just the barest effort that's required;
Not with height or depth or breadth, and not inspired
By love, but merely in obedience to the day,
That says my mind is not my own.  I say
What is thought right, for judgment has expired.
I tolerate, acknowledging the tired
Arguments of those who don't, but play
Upon our insecurities. So my
Freely chosen wish to more than tolerate
Has been, like chalk cliffs, washed away, and when
Morality might serve me well, then I
Look to authority, and abdicate -
Responsibility's for other men.

Friday, 13 February 2015

A Sonnet for Friday the 13th Before Valentine’s Day

If it were true, as is rumoured, that today
is unlucky, and fate has something bad
in store, could you, in your final hour say
I made the best of all the love I had?
I did not squander love, given to me,
nor that which I was free to give did I
harbour, frugally, believing it to be
too precious to bestow.  And did I try
to empathise, or did I judge?  To know
that you have truly loved and love received,
accepted it and understood how it would show
in every action, having been conceived
inside the mind, but only in small part,
acknowledges the purpose of the heart.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

In Utero

A knowledge born of sickness every day;
one's body from oneself shields something rare;
genetic data not combined this way before
to make this unknown, loved, and wanted thing
this cancerous, monstrous one potential child,
with half itself a stranger to your blood.
This pact with nature that ensures a future of a sort,
but ties it in with someone else's: motherhood.
This stranger growing in the womb has brought
so much discomfort, happiness, despair,
clouds and darkness sunshine and bright day,
and this is how it shall be from now on. To bring
this half unknown mysterious thing, whom we'll adore
but still suspect, into the world, knowing, though we bore
him, he's not wholly ours, does not need reasoned thought,
merely acceptance. Creation can't be understood,
knowledge born of sickness every day,
is just absorbed and is disturbing;
with half itself a stranger to your blood.
This pact with nature that ensures a future of a sort;
one's body from oneself shields something rare;
uncertainty grows with it, dims again but never goes away.
This cancerous, monstrous one potential child,
will be.  One must take care
To make this unknown, loved and wanted thing:
Genetic data not combined this way before

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Prudence in the Jaguar

I wish that I could show you how she sits,
Straight up, eyes wide and ears pricked.
She looks so sweet although she thinks her fate
Is sudden, violent death by by XK8.

Friday, 6 February 2015


The rib cage and the muscles which attempt
to hold the body upright, lack the strength.
The stomach bulges almost in contempt
at freedom unrestrained.  The whole length
of body's weak and slow and each breath short.
The eyes are heavy and ideas strange.
There is no sleep although it's craved and thought
is funny chains, non sequiturs which range
from ancient memory to present fears.
The chest expands but air serves little use.
The thought of work seems fabulous, ideas
concerning future days bizarre. Obtuse
and muddled, shuffling, stumbling and listless
the need for peace, unending, quite resistless.

Shall I Assist you with your Death?

The pity that we feel for ourselves,
We must disguise, with the imagined thought
That it's for him at whose bedside we kneel,
Pretend, because we are ourselves distraught,
That it is comfort, ease, which we desire,
For him on whom we look and whom we love.
To 'rage against the dying of the light',
Is not, in truth, behaviour we require,
From those whose dying seems to be prolonged.
And so we tell ourselves it's for the best,
To end the misery and cut death short.
We feel we act humanely and admire
Courage in the face of that which we detest.
And yet we recognise the moment when,
A man lets go a life and goes beyond.
We know that time. Know nothing, when it comes,
Can turn it back, but always until then
There's hope, not of a cure or life renewed
But of a human life where hope sustains
And of a man, who, hoping yet, remains.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Walking Further and Further in Solitude.

Don't walk in silence letting your thoughts brood,
believing that new scenes will be a cure.
It helps at first to lift the dull, black mood,
but after time the rhythm and the pure
fresh air which seemed such benefits at first
become the beat of self absorption. And the brain
responds, for here's red blood to quench its thirst,
allowing thinking more and more. But pain
persists. In drinking in the landscape now
you find yourself alone within it, where
there's no distraction, no option but to bow
to misery and contemplate despair.
Instead seek peace in real abstraction,
for mastering what taxes us is satisfaction.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

First Time

Recombination of the gametes ends.
Creation of complexity in one
Small moment of meiosis. And an ear,
An eye, immunity from being ill,
Amygdala and cortex, veins, and eight
Long, bony fingers and a unique scent
Derive from ploidy or God.  A nascent
And sketchy, unknown future man, now sends
His mother scurrying to wretch back what she ate:
Some forced down thing whose pungency alone
Had turned the stomach, so she thought a chill
Had settled there.  And yet some latent fear
Was lurking; some vague knowledge would appear
Unbidden, hinting at invasion, sent
In preparation for that shock which shakes self will
To its foundation, damns and overjoys and lends
The snowdrops in their purity a tone
Of sneering; and the mind the weight
Of knowing no escape.  This unformed tiny freight
Implants, is safe. Mitosis in the clear
Waters of the womb makes flesh and skin and bone
And vomiting and forms the slow descent
Into acceptance of one's fate.  One bends
And yields, it cannot be undone.  And there's a thrill,
Of sorts, in knowing that.  And in the still
Of unexpected peace between each height
And trough of cowardice and joy something sends
A helpful thought : other women bear
This.  Imagination helps, this as yet acaulescent
Flower can be seen in the minds eye. This one
Potential boy and man will be: he's won.
But there are months of feeling sick and ill,
Days where all one sees is reminiscent
Of one's previous life, which free from this weight,
Responsibility, seems sweet.  One tries to wear
A look of joy but one of vanquishment descends.
So one gives in, but this sleight of hand means ill
Feeling taints. One foreswears the adolescent self, childhood ends.