i.m. Mike Pentelow
We all turned up,
we wept, we laughed,
we drank and ate
our fill of you.
Your ghost was here,
we felt it strong;
no one can quite
believe you're gone.
The sky lit up
above the Tower,
across the lands
sat up, noticed
a falter in our
a missing note,
a poorer song.
We're out of tune
now you are gone.
More of the Shame
We walk this morning to the reservoirs,
these great pools filled with winter rains,
filled to overflowing like broken hearts.
We await the coming of the geese
skimming in like military drones.
Far away the cruel satanic choirs
of shells chant barbarous refrains
reminding us humanity departs
when ignorance undoes our sense of peace.
We hear the sound of tramping from their homes,
the hundred million miles of refugees,
their haunting songs bewildered on the breeze.
Is there more to say, much more to know?
You'd think in seventy years you'd have seen it all,
had heard all wisdoms, sown the seeds that grow
luxuriant grasses, fertilised and tall
with understanding, comprehension like
a second sense, a knowing, winking eye.
But no. This age is more a Pennine hike
than a country stroll, each step a swallowed sigh.
It seems a shame you've not made more of it,
stuck at something, chased some small success.
Yet not for any transitory fame,
more, participating in the game
continuing around you as you bless
all those you've loved. They're the core of it.
For Arthur Wesney 1915-1941
If I could, I'd come to visit you,
where your bones have lain these eighty years.
In Libya's dangerous soil you are interred
beneath the ground you died on as a youth,
so many dreams unfulfilled and gone.
My father, who fought with you, is now gone too,
but died an old man, lying in his bed
still thinking of the way you fell in battle,
your sacrificial blood drained in the sand.
What would be gained by coming to your grave
is indefinable. I cannot tell
you of the millions subsequently slain
and feel your sorrow heave beneath the earth,
but only kneel to give you back your name.
You talk to me in the way you like to do,
your words, all news, what's happening in the world.
I adore you for your vast humanity,
the way you'll never cease to show how love
transforms us all so we are never lost.
Out of the Dark
"The mind, once enlightened, cannot again become dark"
The journey started many years ago,
as Hesse had, heading to the East,
his mind a fragile butterfly of hope.
And once he settled there he realised
there was no returning, no way back.
Yet still he yearned for the warm comforts of sin,
an ignorance of unknowing dreams.
He dreamt only of stillness and respite.
Knowledge is like a sparkler in the night,
thirty seconds, just on the edge of sight,
the marks of it left inside your eyes
as firefly sparks crackle and quickly die.
But somehow these images remain,
illusions of light that guide us out of the dark.
For Ronovans Decima Challenge with Beach the prompt word on the A rhyme line.
He left the port set on a reach,
genoa tight, clenched in the cleat.
Quite soon, he knew, he'd have to beat,
remember all sea dogs could teach.
Portland loomed above Chesil Beach,
a darkling sky filled him with dread.
The white whipped waves he saw ahead
would see his boat tossed as the squall
held his surviving hopes in thrall.
The last he saw, his mainsail shred.
The Trail Is Cold - A Decima
We've had our fill and gone without;
it's all part of life's ebb and flow.
We sometimes wonder where years go,
how seasons change and change about.
When certainty turns into doubt
as youthful days grow ever old,
prognostications turn less bold.
Ever unsure of what we've learned
we mourn for wisdom, less discerned
and somehow lost. The trail is cold.
A contribution to Ronovan’s Decima Challenge 65 with Go being the prompt word on the B rhyme line.
Old Possum Rides Again
Our garden boils with local cats.
They dig the earth where seedlings grow,
squat, poop, paw back the soil and go
on sniffing out domestic rats.
They are feline aristocrats
whose sleek demeanour, haughty ways
drove Eliot to overpraise
their practicality. My wife
is apt to chase them with a knife
back through the local alleyways.
A contribution to Ronovan’s Decima Challenge with WHIM as the prompt word on the B rhyme line.
The Dylan/Perkins Controversy
Bob Dylan, in Workingman's Blues,
once went into town on a whim,
saw his Pa (or thought it was him)
wearing a pair of Blue Suede Shoes.
Carl Perkins was shocked at the news,
thought, How can this possibly be.
Those shoes are agnatic to me!
But Dylan was not to be crossed
and Perkins was not to be bossed.
It ended unmusically!