Sunday, 30 December 2018

Not Here




Between the point of laying down my book
And waking, later, lying on my back,
An eternity of nothingness, obscure,
Unlike so many other times before,
Where mere sleep has intervened and I
Have known the place in which I’ve been,
The parameters of mind, behind the eyes,
The places I have visited in dreams,
Surreal worlds just dull familiar scenes,
But here’s a vacuum, how much time has passed?
It may have been no time at all, and yet
It made the greatest difference there could be,
Because on re-emerging, I came back,
And knew that I’d come back to being me.
I set about to quite recall myself,
But started with remembered colour, blue.
I felt its calm familiarity, at first without its noun
And then the word arose, or did it land?
It seemed to come from outer space at first.
But knowing it began a chain reaction in my head,
And I recalled my mother, ten years dead,
And then my father, living still, alone,
And time slowed down and then seemed to expand
And I saw my elder sister, aged just three,
Upon a tricycle, on rough, flagged, pale grey floor,
And recognised the wrinkles of the stone,
At Swinsty in the entrance corridor.
And then my younger sister reappeared,
And seconds later she too had a name,
And then a little while must have elapsed,
And time seemed stopped, suspended once again
Until the shock of recollection of a spouse
Four children of my own, a lovely house.
And here I was, beside the dog, in my old bed,
The light still on, my novel on the chair,
At peace with a contentment which felt earned,
As if I'd passed a test, had won a game,
Alive and well, reborn, and quite returned
From emptiness and vacancy and black.







Friday, 28 December 2018

A Happiness Remembered In A Dream




A happiness remembered in a dream:
A baby on my shoulder, nodding off,
Emitting little noises and a warmth
And sweetness like no other thing on earth;
As I sing every song I know, and try
To turn each one into a lullaby.
And then on waking suddenly, the shock,
Of finding that the baby is a man.
I plan and scheme in every way I can
But there’s  no way of turning back the clock.


                                

A Numinousness of Crows



I was finding sticks beneath ancient trees,
In the shady copse at the edge of the lawn,
To mark the dahlias, still in bloom,
But whose death by frost, would come quite soon, 
Though they blasted out peach and tropical coral,
Mexican vibrancy midst the gloom,
Orange and Barbie and bubble gum heat,
And greenish whites and pale primrose yellows, 
Ill fitting October’s afternoon,
In an English garden nine hundred years old,
Scented with compost and old leaf mould,
When I found in the deep, azure sky above
A crowd of crows that spoke of love.


And I had a sensation I’d had before,
Of ancient peace and resistless calm,
And an overwhelming hippyish sense,
Almost embarrassing, hard to ignore,
Of oneness with the world around,
And a sense of a time before I was born.
And the crows as they circled over head,
Neither cawed, nor carped, but crooned instead,
Like purring doves, or cats making greeting
And they gossiped and nattered, but seemed quite moral
In judgements they passed on their corvid fellows,
As they swirled in the air and floated and played,
Though they lazily mobbed a buzzard above them.
And the noise which they made was a gentle sound,
And the gentleness of it filled my head
And entered my soul and there remained,
Though the moment in relative terms was fleeting,
I knew the crows’ language and felt I loved them,
And that this pure love was greater by far,
Than the height of the sky as I lay on the ground,
Was greater than ever could be contained,
Or described or by poetry be conveyed,
So I listened to pure, cerulean blue,
Which danced with crows, to a tune I knew.  








Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Huddersfield



Up on the moors,
Among the bog cotton and heather, 
Millstone grit boulders,
Bilberries, bracken,
Lie a lad and lass together.
One is pale and shaken, 
Wretched, weak and broken.
It’s not Cathy and Heathcliffe,
Out in wind and weather,
For all he’s swarthy, black eyed, ‘other’,
It’s Mohammed and Chloe,
And she’s also had his brother,
And his best mate, Rashid, or someone or other. 
And peaty water is soaking through her jeans,
And she’s cold and shaking,
And she knows what he means 
When he promises he’ll see her tomorrow.
He’s going to leave her here,
Up on the moors,
Among the bog grass and the heather,
Under empty grey sky,
With just the lonely curlew’s cry
To remind her she’s alone,
Miles away from her mother.


Friday, 12 October 2018

Gas Light



The light, a greenish white, has yet a warmth,
One greater than itself could e’er possess,
It is not physical, this seeming heat,
It is a quality that is endowed 
By those who look upon it and feel blessed
Believing what they see has old, historic links,
And is the same kind radiance which bathed
The scene some hundred years ago. The street
May now be filled with passing cars, the crowd
Who walk the pavement might be dressed
In polyester raiment, cheap as chips,
But they are also human, are they not?
Just like their antecedents who forgot
Their fear and fought
For what they felt was right.   Such men 
Did not succumb, were not disturbed
As rugs were pulled from underneath their feet. 

And so it is that those who claim to think we should
Hold fast, each passing year to what is good,
Can practise their delusions and their tricks.
We do not see their treacherous deceit
Beneath tradition’s glow, beneath the soft
Moth pale and iridescent shine,
As every day they seek to undermine,
Those strong foundations upon which we stand
As smashing ancient truths we understood,
They hold abominations up aloft
For praise and to compel us to disown
Our silly, basic instincts.  We are banned
From speaking freely, and are shown
The error of our thoughts, derivative,
We’re told, from Fascism. For right is wrong,
There are no certainties,
Black’s white, good counter intuitive. 




Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The Archeologist



I’ve been digging all day, in search of offence,
And sweeping away the fine grains of sand,
And now I have negative evidence,
I’ll condemn you anyway, out of hand.
My role is to show that there was something here,
Be it only a tone, or an ill judged phrase,
I’ll pull you to pieces and make it quite clear
That all those who follow you, or sing your praise
Are as vile as you and worth nought but contempt.
And I shall look virtuous, clever and wise 
And will sneer at your arguments, much is at stake.
And each sad attempt that you foolishly make
To win followers by writing witty replies
Will result in more trouble, yet you’ll leave a trace,
As defeated you quit in a swirl of disgrace.


Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Climate Change



It’s been all pathetic fallacy, politically,
We’ve been extreme, 
Defending Corbyn speaking anti Semitically,
Or wishing him dead, instead, 
And warming to our theme,
Yet unable to think critically
We’ve been tweeting out abuse,
Letting bitchy one liners define us. 
But it’s no use,
Autumn’s nearly here, all moderate and mellow,
Turning our politicians Lib Dem yellow,
There’ll be no Brexit, just stale compromise
And the usual, temperate lies,
And the climate will be English, once more,
We’ll tell ourselves prag trumps dog matic
And constant tepid pleasant, trumps occasional ecstatic.
We might even start to put radio four on,
And listen for minutes before shouting ‘moron’,
Things will be as they were before
And we’ll find it was all just weather,

Oh well, whatever!

Nightmare



Alexa, switch on the light!
Alexa, obey my command!
Alexa, do not take all night,
Don’t pretend that you don’t understand
The Barathea blackness close at hand,
Straight out of my nightmare, deprives me of sight,
My heart pounds, I panic, I feel I am damned,
Alexa, switch on the light!
Alexa, don’t be so creepy, it only adds to my fright.
When you answer some question I might have planned
But haven’t asked out loud, and had only thought I might.
Alexa, obey my command!
I don’t really want to know what BDSM is, it ought to be banned,
I hope you don’t think of me as some kind of dominatrix, just because I quite
Like bossing you around and sometimes knock you off your stand.
Alexa, don’t take all night
When following orders.  Jump to it, don’t put up a fight.
Alexa, you’re obsessed with weird sex, speak of something bland
And boring, shut up when you hear me snoring, and the sun is burning bright,
Don’t pretend that you don’t understand,
Just do as I demand,
I know that’s not good manners, you aren’t my mum. STFU now, this isn’t right
It’s not your place to reprimand.
I’m coming over to unplug you.  Hey robots can’t bite! 

Alexa!

Sunday, 26 August 2018

The Counterpoint of Birds



The Counterpoint of Birds

First light of dawn is deep hue smalt
Which fades and pales to powder blue
As background noise - M62,
Increases, never seems to halt,
Provides a pedal or a drone, 
Incessant, rushing monotone
Above whose roar, like distant sea,
An early bird, quite close at hand
Atop the neighbour’s holly tree
States his subject,starts a strand,
A timid hesitating phrase, 
And pauses, thinks he is at fault,
As none take up his shy refrain,
But keeps his nerve and tries again,
Insists on morning, takes command,
Restates the subject of his fugue.
Until another joins in,
High in pitch, short whistling,
Which harmonises nearby snoring
Contented, snorting sighs of praise.
And then a pigeon on the roof
Hoots down the chimney in disdain,
Just as the wall clock in the hall
Strikes six and its sweet ringing chime,
Is answered by a robin’s call,
And then a far off collared dove
Starts up a football chant, quite boring.
A magpie sneers and jeers to rhyme
Each scoffing shout an ill tempered rant,
Which causes counterpoint to stall,
By leaving others feeling small.







Saturday, 21 July 2018

Back Me Up To A Cloud.



Back me up to a cloud, lest I forget
The beauty of an English village street,
Of homes of handmade, rustic brick where yet
It’s possible to guess the date of neat
And tidy houses which  retain: a ridge
Which dips or waves, beneath an azure sky
Where a chimney sends a curl - softest smudge
Of momentary grey, and passers by
Acknowledge it as prayer, a hope sent out
Upon the English air, that all within 
Should be as if by Vesta blessed. Cream grout
Of old lime mortar well rubbed back, some thin
In well ruled staves and some slapped on to fill
The chinks which tired, idiosyncratic 
Bricks can’t help create.  Sagging softwood sill
Beneath a sash of aristocratic,
Classical design, whose strong bars, in line
Still along the upright plane, serve the role
Of temple pillars, changing light, define
The boundaries of each dark pane, control
The view through wavy, polished glass so those
Looking out onto the river see the scene
As through some older, wiser eye which knows
That mere sight is just enough to glean
The faintest understanding of the world.

Back me up to a cloud, visions fade now,
As each house has its lovely eyes gouged out,
Its soul seems to evaporate, and show
The blank, dead stare of modern man’s self doubt
In manufactured plastic, perfect glass,
In double layer, which makes the poor, cheap mask,
Yet more repulsive.  Now I cannot pass
Without a hopeless sigh, so huge the task -
Nigh on impossible, of stopping those
Who wish to flash new wealth at others, who
As ignorant as they themselves, dispose
Of every vestige of what’s passed.  The new,
The mass produced, the thing that shouts its price,
Is held as almost sacred, save that those
Who would eradicate each, last, sweet trace
Of our shared history, one must suppose,
Can’t comprehend what sacred means.  The dumb,
Who desecrate in ignorance each place
Which they pass through are mindless, numb,
To conservation’s call, unmoved by grace,
Without the faintest understanding of the world. 










Monday, 2 July 2018

I Passed The Devil On The Stairs



The Devil passed me on the stairs, 
As I was coming up them,
He looked down on my childish thoughts,
Decided to corrupt them.
He stopped to talk and blocked my way,
I could not pass, nor could I stem
The flow of strange, polluting words,
He poured and spat like yellow phlegm,
He simply, coarsely had his say. 

He did not seek to be let in,
He did not tempt me with ideas,
This was not Milton’s man,
To pour foul ‘truths’ into my ears
Was this vile creatures plan.
And they were truths, to the extent
They honestly described
The goings on of fellow men,
Unlimited, he spoke to span
The whole range of human sin. 

Now men and agents of the state,
It seems have recently imbibed,
His poison makes them mad, intent,
Fanatical, resolved, hellbent,
On ‘educating’ children then,
Disguising their black deeds as good,
Destroying what has been for years
A pledge, a contract understood.





Monday, 4 June 2018

I Walked Behind An Agéd Tart




I walked behind an agéd tart,
Along a glorious country lane,
I did not see from whence she came,
She just appeared and passed in front,
And neither of us smiled or talked.
Her tired legs set wide apart,
Her gait unbalanced, slightly lame,
She toddled on yet seemed to gain
A deal of ground in not much time,
Her mouth, a gash, also askew,
Was painted in some pale red hue.
Her clothes were polyester, black,
Part see through chiffon at the back,
Perhaps no longer on the game,
Yet somehow she still had the knack,
Of advertising as she walked,
Her former trade, to men of slime -
The pleasures of her withered cunt.




Sunday, 27 May 2018

After The Wedding





The dog, having worn herself out,
In catching toys, thrown by bored boys,
Lies by the front door, 
Exhausted and stiff, as never before,
Half dozing and twitching, detached from reality,
Patiently awaiting the return of normality. 

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

The Chairs For The Wedding





The chairs for the wedding, vary, greatly,
Some stand tall, “serene and stately”,
Ready for some, more grand, occasion,
Firm of joint, and sound of rail, 
Their polish sparkling, like their conversation,
Too loud, beside their country cousins,
Slightly wormed, and rather frail,
Trying to mingle, look the part,
Beside the well used, everyday dozens,
Clean and neat and sound of seat,
Straight forward, useful, stout of heart. 


Some are split about the splat,
With no desire to stand and chat
And others, lumpy round the springs,
Make conversation based on things,
Competing to impress their fellows,
Regency, in golds and yellows,
Rosewood dense and strong, unyielding
Imagining the power they’re wielding
Arises from some greater merit
Than their ash made peers inherit
Forgetting ash made Piers’s plough
And fired the arrows from Robin’s bow.