America

America

That was the title of the book
we'd read together, flipping the leaves
until we came to your favourite page,
a painting full of red and lights,
a New England ballroom where
dancers swirling skirts came from
a century ago. You'd always
stop me there and gaze deeply into
that strange, impressionistic room.

I'd be reading the paper
when you'd clamber onto my knee
lugging the great book with you.
It was almost half your size
and a whole continent
large enough to stand on to see
the vast country stretching away,
taut in it's arc and unknown.
We'd open it and become lost.

Why you chose that page among all the
paraphernalia is hard to know.
There were pictures of cowboys and battlesmoke,
lurid panoramas where
Confederate killed Yankee,
brother against brother in blood lust.
Washington and Lincoln, The Great Lakes,
Chicago and California,
The Dust Bowl and Niagara.

Last night when you spoke to me
from where you've learnt to live
in the Rockies, to survive the snow
and tramp for days in that bright, wild light,
I thought of you still carrying the book
inside you, opening the country
picture by picture as you did
in your pre-word, image filled days,
when the lights of a ballroom
drew you back, time and time
again, to that page; as I am drawn
back, time and time again to that
memory of you on my knee,
leafing through America.
Published
Categorized as Poems

The Shield Wall

The Shield Wall

When the enemy attacks we do our best
to thwart it's worst intentions, to protect
the ones we love from those heinous crimes.
Collectively, we can recall the times
when mutual love was founded on respect,
solidarity being the crucial test.

We're now, somehow, in defensive mode,
the gains we made are cruelly taken back
to feed a monster gleeful in it's pride,
hubristic, a skipping, gloating stride
as it mounts a frontal, brute attack
upon the sense of our social code.

We know, these days, this disease will fail
to undermine our will to carry on,
though now the bugle blows for our retreat.
The occupation of each local street
is temporary, this blight, it will be gone,
we will re-energise, we will derail

the fatuous assertions that it makes.
We'll be like the warriors of old
who linked their shields together in defiance,
sought in each other, comradely reliance,
disciplined, brave and self controlled,
ready when our spirit reawakes.

Mrs Jones and Mrs Drake

Mrs Jones and Mrs Drake

Mrs Jones and Mrs Drake
Would sit beside the wayside lake,
Not noticing the passing trucks,
Throwing breadcrumbs to the ducks,
And pieces of madeira cake.

Mrs Drake and Mrs Jones
Were nothing but two bags of bones,
Yet everyday they came to sit,
To feed the ducks, to watch and knit
And quietly talk about their homes.

One day only Mrs Drake
Came to sit beside the lake,
To watch with fragile, empty hands,
Listening to the ducks demands
For breadcrumbs and madeira cake.
Published
Categorized as Poems

Monsters

Monsters

There are monsters awake in the fields
changing the way we do farming,
increasing, it's said, underyields,
which many folk find most alarming.

Changing the way we do farming
by tinkering with the genetics,
which many folk find most alarming,
is driving some into frenetics.

By tinkering with the genetics
of food we regarded as stable,
is driving some into frenetics
producing hysterical fables.

Food we regarded as stable,
it's in danger of being transmuted,
producing hysterical fables.
The science must be refuted!

It's in danger of being transmuted,
increasing, it's said, underyields.
The science must be refuted!
There are monsters awake in the fields.
Published
Categorized as Poems

For Ruth, 1925-2016

For Ruth, 1925-2016

You lived and loved and held your love intact,
undemonstrative, pure, focused on the fact
of your determination to succeed
in bringing light, in satisfying need.

As much your need as you thought it ours;
tending seeds, cultivating flowers
that blossomed here, ripened overseas,
unceasingly returning to the tree

you planted once, a solitary copper beech,
standing still but now beyond your reach
and signifying all those roaming years
you were constantly torn between the hemispheres.

You're gone from us now and love is what remains
with us here. There's no breaking of those chains
that bind us heart to heart in unison.
Your life was wholly yours but now, our song.
Published
Categorized as Poems

Love

Love

The zero in a tennis match,
the singer who married Kurt Cobain,
a virus that we often catch
and people fall in, time again.

Of which, poets are devout,
the thing that many songs describe,
a feeling that can bring such pain;
is often dangled as a bribe.

Has driven many quite insane
yet rescued others, there's no doubt.
From the carnal version, monks refrain,
the spiritual, they chant about.

   But that which cannot be reviled,
   is the mother tending to her child.
Published
Categorized as Poems

In Weather

In Weather

This gravel country lane leads to a sea
We walk to on those countless, rainfilled days,
With you a stride ahead and leading me
Through fields, across the morning's lifting haze.

And when you've named the flowers, all the ways
They pollinate by insect, bird and bee,
You lift your head, speak with a look that says
This gravel country lane leads to a sea.

Your free flung hair is blowing constantly
As on you pace with a vigour that portrays
The strength you gather from the liberty
We walk to on those countless rainfilled days.

When pitching storms fragment the shore with sprays
Enfolding cliff and field and fallen tree,
We force along the lane where cattle graze
With you a stride ahead and leading me.

At other times the sun is rising, free
To split it's light, refract it's warming rays,
Flighting sparrows, a tumbling parody
Through fields, across the morning's lifting haze.

In time, when memory fades and energy
Deserts our weary limbs, will we appraise
How weather drew us out, would remedy
With rain these fields, occasional byways,
This gravel country lane?
Published
Categorized as Poems

12.01115

12.01115

"...carbon is the key element of living substance: 
but it's promotion, it's entry into the living world 
is not easy and must follow an obligatory, intricate path..." 
(Primo Levy)


A thousand million years
are not enough to tell
how vertical grass becomes
a crab and then a bee
or honey that it makes
before it's grass again.

And in between, regular
excursions starward,
looking home with eyes
it one day will become
or, water bound,
riding plankton waves.

Which atom in this hand
once lay bound in limestone,
hacked by a pick, 
shovelled to a kiln 
till the molecules broke down
and issued gas blew windward
to settle on a leaf and liquefy?

Pinned there by a photoflash
of sun, became green food,
fortified an oak,
bark where woodworm drilled,
where the moth morphosed
and flew on in it's wing
until the predator's snap;
then again a gas
and then an artichoke
my mother ate.

In carbon, incarnation curls,
reminds us this thin crust
brims with it's atomic weight,
facing, once again unfurled,
the black cess,
nothingness.
Published
Categorized as Poems

A Dead Dove at Swanwick Station

A Dead Dove at Swanwick Station

It seemed frozen in flight
as if negotiating
a soft landing or a tight
right hand turn and tried to fling
it's wings out wide to interrupt
a sudden stall, it's landing gear
unworkable, or an abrupt
and unseen source of fleeting fear.

It was perfect and unmarked,
crouching, head between it's knees.
A few white feathers charted
the spot it lay beneath the trees.
It's hooded eyes and ungainly
posture pointed to something wrong;
it's life forced out, profanely
emptied of any sound or song.
Published
Categorized as Poems

Pandemical Polemical

Pandemical Polemical

Boris Johnson is PM,
not representing Us, just Them,
the Few that would deny a penny
to the poor deserving Many.
Let's hope we can undo this schism
unmasked by an algorithm,
undermined by a disease
that mutates like a passing breeze.

Yet the monstrous mutant, hale and hearty,
to be rid of, is the Tory Party
along with all it's City mates,
financial backers, initiates
in the ways of exploitation,
greed and mutual masturbation,
wankering each other off
with their snouts deep in the trough.

There's a plumby job for a girl or boy
who's dedicated to destroy
any whiff of Socialism.
"Let's build another algorithm
to wipe out any tiny chance
that people become free to dance
the dance of vibrant Liberty
around the trunk of Freedom's tree."

Yes, Boris Johnson as PM
has writ these words and posted them,
a subtext of his vile wit;
surely we're fed up with it.
Surely we can build a fight
to rid us of this cancerous blight.
Let's populate each local street,
encouragingly entreat

a revolution of we proles
to lift our hearts, light up our souls;
to urge us proletariat
to start a fiery samizdat,
a clandestine publication
promoting urgent liberation
from these feckless, bloated twisters.
So what we need are stout resisters

organising every place
where there is a human face,
a mouth to feed, a child to tend,
the lonely one who wants a friend,
the needy sick, the unemployed,
the desperate and the near destroyed.
Let's rise together and follow the call,
see these exploiters head for a fall
from the grace they, in error, think that they merit.
Let's do it! There's only a World to Inherit!
Published
Categorized as Polemicks