RECENT POEMS 3

 

 

 

The Greater Scheme of Things.

 

I awaken as from a dream

to look around me

and see that life goes on

regardless of my concerns

or preoccupations.

I make so little difference

in the scheme of things,

a pin point of existence

in the vast array of life.

 

What motivates my being

to have empathy

and compassion

for my fellow human beings

I know not. It has been there

since I first saw that not

all in life is fair,

and burned into my depths

a desire for justice,

for equality, for a fairer

distribution of the bounty

poured out on all

but commandeered by so few,

ruthless in their means

to retain power and domination.

 

What weapons have we

who stand up and declare

the wrongness of their actions

to meet with mockery,

scorn or public derision.

Some lay down their lives

for a perceived greater good,

and yet, in the greater scheme

of things, what is achieved

by a life thrown away?

In time, the sacrifice

will be forgotten, blowing

away like dust on the wind.

and yet, the courage

it took to lay aside self

must impact on the whole

in some hidden way

and make a subtle difference

like a ripple in a pool

for, perhaps, no selfless act

is wasted, but reveals

a path not seen before

which, in the greater scheme

of things, is by far

the better one to take,

and, as if awaking from a dream,

we set off with new hope

for a better tomorrow,

while the pin point that is me

observes that humanity

flows like a mighty ocean

through history

and every subtle change

ensures our survival

and another possible future.

 

**************

 

Discombobulation

 

When the world goes awry

Inside and outside

and you don't know why,

when nothing seems to flow

and your tolerance

goes from laid back to zero,

you know that something's wrong,

your equilibrium is off kilter

and your temper flares

you could do with a filter

to sort out the swings

from high to low

but nothing works.

Your view point is so narrow,

you see only blue to black,

and yet all seems well

in your particular world

but it's seriously hard to dispel

the bad things happening

in the wider world

lurching from disaster

to disaster, which have unfurled

day after day without a break

until your mind is reeling

and you're fearful of the future

which seems very chilling.

 

When those in charge

you've no faith in at all

and sense you're losing control

and heading for a brick wall.

When what you hold dear

is going to be discarded

by incompetent buffoons

who have always disregarded

what the common people need

in favour of their own

power and prestige,

and the poisonous seeds sown

will bring misery and pain

down on undeserving heads

and make most of us wish

we could stay forever in our beds.

 

I'm there now, stressed,

frustrated, with no power,

knowing it's impossible to reach

the elite in their ivory tower.

If this goes on for four more years,

I'm going to be a wreck,

so, perhaps, it's time to do

what many others do, and check

my brains in at the gate

and not let the bastards

grind me down,

by lowering my standards

and shutting my mouth

when all I want to do

is yell as loud as I can

‘Screw you, screw you, screw you!'

 

************

 

The Orchid

 

What diversity, what splendour

are orchids, longevity their gift

to bloom for months,

but whoever gave such a flower

the name of testicle

was unkind and crude

for such a delicate

array bears no resemblance

to the male but rather

to the female

as its heart invites

the viewer or visitor

in with a bright

display of open vulva,

while the upright

male stands ready

for penetration

at the root, concealed

from sight and waiting

in anticipation for

a ripening above

and glorious arrays

with subtle shades

of petals and deeper

shade in heart,

a multiplicity of design

to greet the eye

of a beholder, and entrance

with magical aura

all who seek

another, as yet unseen,

hidden somewhere

on hillside, top of tree

or jungle dwelling.

But lesser mortals we,

are content to buy

one from a garden centre

and sit watching

it grow, bringing joy

and delight that the plant

will bloom for us,

and hold it in awe

for it goes on and on

and on flowering

come rain or sun.

 

***************

 

Echoes of Yesteryear

 

Listen to the sounds,

to the echoes

of yesteryear.

Nostalgic recollections

reverberate

through time

bringing distant

memories back

into our minds.

Honing long forgotten

happenings

into remembrances

of past occurrences.

Emotions colour

them floating

like a bubble

surrounding

the instant

and making

time travel

real as the clock

turns back,

transporting

us to another moment

when we were young

and innocent.

Before our eyes

saw too much,

saw hearts broken

and repaired,

hopes crushed

and resurrected,

joy die

and return again

with the triumph

of the spirit

over adversity

as we survey

the memories

in our minds

of our past lives,

and see that time

has been kind

as we review

the echoes

of yesteryear

with the eyes

of our lives now.

 

***********

 

A walk by the sea.

 

Peaceful tranquillity

With a mill pond sea

Stillness with horizon

Lost in a mist

An embrace

Holding all

In an envelope

Of serenity

No swish of wave

But sparkling

Diamonds

As ripples

mirror the sun

And play

Catch me

If you can

On the seashore

No breeze

To stir the sea

But still the birds

Wheel calling

While others

Trill sweet

Melodies

On cliffs

Bathing in the sun

while daffodil

Bells rings gentle

Amidst the flora

And voices

Drift by

Of people talking

Breaking

The silence

But content

Inside the seashore's

Embrace.

 

***********

 

Resurrection

 

A light shines in the darkness

when we have nuclear power.

The energy of the Universe

captured in tombs and cooled

with water from the skies,

not the seas for brine

will destroy the constructions

housing the energy of the stars.

And we trust in our capacity

to control such awesome power

until unforeseen events

appear to make our confidence

vanish as the reactors

defy our precautions and start

to fail releasing the energy

from its tomb, a resurrection

and return to light bringing

contamination in its train

and destruction for a thousand

years as the energy of the stars

seek a way back to the Universe

and home.

 

***********

 

And the music plays in my head.

 

Soft music plays in my head,

peace settling demons

and thoughts that churn,

quietened by the tunes.

 

And I listen in the evening

light with a glass of wine

so civilized and yet inside

I've raged with primal angst

because I've no control

of things in my life now

when such a short time

ago it was on a roll.

 

I'm trying to quell my fears

and know I'm smoking

too much, and I need

my music to still my mind.

 

The wine mellows

my mood and the songs

echo in my head

making me forget the grind

of trying to please

and getting nowhere.

 

Tomorrow I'll try again

but, tonight, I'm tired.

Tired of searching

and finding nothing,

just one among millions,

I can tell myself

and the music plays,

plays in my head.

 

**************

 

The Town's Folk

 

Mrs. Coldtit walked with shuffling gait,

her expression generally one of hate.

Soured by life, she trudged along ignoring

the glances from the local people seeing

only her goal, the market stall

where she made her weekly call

for vegetables, then moved on

to the butcher's stall for gammon

and a pound of steak and kidney

before heading home for tea.

 

Mrs. Rushabout hurried down the street,

she had things to do, friends to meet.

Never a one for tarrying long,

her hectic life was spent among

others who lived in the same way

fitting in all that was possible in a day.

Her children were in school right now

so she had to be ready at 3.30 somehow,

and she still had several appointments

mostly covering up life's disappointments.

 

Mrs. Laidback strolled down into town,

a cigarette in hand with never a frown.

Not one to hurry anywhere,

she had an attitude of laissez faire

and, although strapped for cash,

more often than not, cut a dash

in her bright clothes made by hand,

some of which were in demand

from the more adventurous in the town

who yearned for some colour when down.

 

Three people from a town once up

now on the way down, but whose cup

could be filled again if the recession

ended and shops got a good concession

so could open up again and cheer

up the inhabitants, who once held dear

this place but now struggle to stay

when so many are moving away,

and the likes of these so different women

would feel that life was still worth living.

 

************

 

Time to go

 

Rosemary smiled a gentle smile

before she lay down her head to die.

So many years had passed by

since she took her first breath

back when life was gentler

and more refined, and she wore

flowers in her hair and dresses

made of lace and embroidered

with delicate trims, but those

were days long gone now.

Near on five score years had gone

and she has witnessed wars

and loss and joys and gain,

seen her husband buried

and a son and daughter too.

It was time to leave this mortal

coil she knew, but it had held

on so tight, not wishing to let

her go, even though she longed

for it so. But, at last, it agreed

the time had come for her release.

Her ageing body willingly

succumbed to the ravages of time

as death wrapped its arms

around her frail frame,

and, holding her, with tenderness

let her leave with gentleness.

No pain racked going was hers,

just a soft breathing out with a sigh

and a whispered sweet goodbye.

One carer who tended her

watched with relieved heart

as Rosemary smiled a gentle smile

before she lay down her head to die

and whispered her own goodbye.

 

*************

 

Turnarounds

 

Strange how life can do an abrupt

turnaround leaving you floundering

when something unforeseen can disrupt

your routine and introduce chaos

into your well ordered life leaving

you wondering whether things

will ever get back to normal.

 

At such times at these, you struggle

against invisible forces bent

on making your life difficult

and you try to imagine what sent

such a whole load of trouble,

maybe a malign spirit with the result

that it reduces your dreams to rubble.

 

On deeper reflection you see

that this is just life and life only

which goes from chaos to order

with unfortunate regularity

and, no matter, how stable it appears

sooner or later, the dreaded disorder

will arrive to bring its own disarray.

 

There really is no way to avoid

these events, rarely foreseen,

they creep up on you and before

you know it, all that has been

has gone leaving you to elect

to be philosophical or scream,

in the end you decide to select

the former and wait for order

to return which it will in the end.

 

************

 

For Japan

 

When a time of celebration arrives

how sad that a disaster mars the days.

The memory that will be retained

is not of joy, but the one that stays

will be of heartbreak and loss

when viewing a nation reeling

from one catastrophe to another

to leave you with a feeling

of helplessness in the face of Nature's

power and disinterest in the affairs

of humans residing tenuously

on its surface that can suddenly

shift and send shock waves

shuddering through the land,

and the waters of the ocean,

traumatized below, start to flow

in mighty waves to encompass

all within their path with their speed

and ferocity. When they withdraw,

the wreckage becomes clear.

A terrifying sight and the cost so dear

in lives, and once peaceful towns

have vanished from the earth.

As if that is not enough pain,

the nuclear power plants succumb

to the onslaught of the earthquake

and the waves to add further terror

to the people already trying to absorb

the magnitude of the horror

that has befallen their country

and their people and still the earth

shakes in aftershocks as it struggles

to stabilize the region and recover

from the trauma. All the world can do

is hope that from this agony a new birth

will come and hope will be restored

in the hearts wrapped in grief.

All differences of race, of colour, or creed

forgotten when humans perceive

suffering on such a gargantuan scale

and grieve for them in a shared belief

that, under the skin, we are all one.

 

*********

 

They do return

 

Life is unpredictable,

one moment you're doing fine,

the next you're cast right down.

When it's running smoothly,

you feel able to tackle anything

but, when it falls apart,

everything becomes chaotic.

Nothing prepares you for the downs

while the ups seem set to last.

It comes as a mighty blow

when your world crumbles

and all your plans blow away

like dust.

 

Then days drag out, and hours

seem long, boredom stretches

minutes into endless moments,

and the world assumes a greyness,

not there before when all was well.

At times like these, your inner

resources come into play.

The true strength of your own world

rises up to support you,

to sustain you, to maintain

your equilibrium when facing

obstacles not of your making,

and people who fail you,

things breaking when money

is short, and bills piling

up waiting to be paid

from the little you've got.

 

Surviving these times

is the measure of your grit,

not going under, a measure

of your persistence and determination.

There will be moments

of weariness and depression

but knowing these will pass

when the good times return

will defeat them.

Searching for work

has to be the hardest trial

in times of recession,

and having to handle

continuous rejection

but bad times come to an end,

as all things must,

riding the storm

will make you strong

and appreciate even more

the good times when they return,

and they always do in the end.

 

***********

 

When a light blinks out

 

When a light blinks out

like a star dying in the firmament

it can leave your heart

shattered into fragments,

so hard to gather up the pieces

smaller than grains of sand

trying to behold immortality

in them when only the void

appears.

Infinitesimally slowly

time drags by with each

laboured effort to stick

part to part that doesn't

want to go.

You're a living shell,

vacuous in your grief,

footstep follows footstep

but no movement

forward.

 

Time passes in a mist

of disbelieving, a fog

of incomprehension,

broken egg shell

raw in your pain

you scream silently

your agony.

You live now in the dark

concealing the real

in a rictus grin

and long to wake

from the nightmare

dream.

 

And oh so slowly

the light breaks through,

a chink, a wisp, a clue

that your heart is beating still.

A memory of love

so missed but so

sustaining.

And you knit the pieces

back together laboriously

but with eased

pain now, and know

that your heart is healing

but the scars will remain

forever ingrained,

and rightly so

for a light blinked out

that lit your world

and, plunged you,

for a time into hell

and then drew

you out again.

 

*************

 

Fixed in Time and Space

 

My eye beholds an object,

drawing me to it.

Does it want to be?

Did I see it before

it registered in my eye?

And now it calls to me

and I answer by fixing

it in time and space.

Its chaos made into order

by my willing it

into existence here

and now, carving

out a home for it

in reality. Will it

still exist when I cease

observing it, or have I

fixed it permanently

and only entropy

will remove it,

wiping out all trace

of its ever being here?

 

Who drew me into being?

Who fixed me before

I was born ensuring

that, in time and space,

I would find a place.

I am here, I am there,

I am everywhere,

but when you see me

I am with you

and you with me.

How wondrous is life

and what a mystery.

 

*************

 

I have Time

 

I have time,

defer it, delay it,

transfer it, take it,

Whatever we do with it,

it won't stand still

for anybody,

inexorably ticking

the seconds of our lives

away.

Move into

the now and time

ceases but the now

moves on to the next

as inexorably as time.

Escape is impossible

so relish each moment

for it could be your

last.

See time as an ally

not the enemy,

a time when you are

long in seconds,

brief in years.

Good fortune is yours

not given to all,

so be grateful

for the time you have,

a witness to worlds

being born before

dying.

 

*************

 

The Light on a Spring day

 

The light on a Spring day

glowing sun bright

warms chilled air,

while birds trill

in the budding trees

and daffodils nod

in the soft breeze.

 

Peace descends

to bring serenity

to minds and hearts

frozen with Winter's

ice cold touch,

and melts the snows

of emotions put on hold

in the season of rest.

 

A time to emerge

from hibernation,

to fling off restrictions

and, with exaltation,

let the burgeoning

blooms and buds

burst asunder the chains

of frosts and ice.

 

And the light on a Spring day

is sufficiently bright

to drive past cares away

and restore hope

that all can be made

new again when the sun

overwhelms the clouds

and fills the earth

with its healing rays.

 

*****************

 

Jekyll and Hyde

 

Why is it when you lose something

and a thought goes through your head

about who might have it,

a myriad other most unkind thoughts

pile in about the person in question?

They borrowed this or that and look

how long it took to give them back,

basically they're self centred,

never thinking about others,

look how they treated me that other

time, or see how long it took

for them to get back to me over

this or that? Why do I savage

a person who, admittedly, does

do the things I think about, but,

before, I just accepted that was the way

they were, I didn't like it, but

could live with it and barely gave

it a thought year in year out, but

believe they might be responsible

for this latest lost item, and every

minor fault or failing at five

in the morning gets magnified

a thousand times, and suddenly

they've turned from Dr. Jekyll

to Mr. Hyde and I'm furious

with everything they've done

in the past that merely irked

me, now their crimes are gargantuan.

Out of all proportion to this current

misdemeanour is my outrage.

And all the while at five in the morning,

I'm saying ‘mindfulness, mindfulness'

I can't do anything about this now,

it's the middle of the night,

and you're overreacting.

When the time comes to get up

and you call to ask where is the

lost object you lent them months

ago, and they say they have no

idea, because they never did,

and you find out not long after

it was another person who took it,

and all the angry thoughts

vanish in the wind like snow

in a fire, and all the minor

faults and failings become

just minor irritations once more.

And I apologise for thinking

it was he who borrowed the lost

item, and peace reigns between

us once again, but it does trouble

me that it's so very easy to make

a mountain out of a molehill

in the space of an hour or so

in the middle of the night

when demons roam sowing

discord in your heart and making

war when no harm has been done.

It's something I watch out for

because relationships can be broken

on the wheel of such imaginings.

It's almost sufficient to make me

believe in the devil, but I don't

because I know it's just human

nature being a pain and causing

mayhem where there was none.

At least I can sleep tonight,

now I know where my lost items went.

 

******************

 

Where ere you be.

 

One day I went away and swore I'd never return,

but as the hours passed by, my thoughts

turned back to you. You're white of hair,

and slowing down, and your manners

were never there, but you're able to relax

and be around without standing on ceremony.

There's a lot to be said for such as you,

but, maybe not, when gasping for air

as you seem to think that ‘where ere you be

you can let the wind go free', and nearly

kill me! No matter how many times

I ask you to move away, you never heed my call,

just let it go and then leave me struggling

to catch my breath, saying ‘well, you do it too',

but it's simply isn't true. Such as these for me

are rare, a lot of noise but just clear air,

while you set out to kill. So I'm giving

you an ultimatum, if you want me to stick around

and not make me put you in the ground, the next

time you're tempted to expel a silent killer,

you'd better change your ways and become

a gentlemen, or I'll most definitely succumb

to the urge to put space between me

and your errant bum for good and not return

to you again, but, for now, you've got a second

chance, don't throw it away with a careless

escape of lethal gas or I'm permanently gone!

 

**************

 

Dumping ground

 

There was no moment that could have been right

for you to tell me that I was dumped,

but you could have chosen a better spot

than a fish and chip shop with restaurant.

 

Don't cry you said as I wept into my meal.

What did you expect me to do,

shout ‘Hurray' what a great day?

It was a coward's way out and shame on you.

 

I remember it well, and, worse still,

you appeared not to know how much I hurt

because you turned up a few weeks later

taking my flat mate out for a meal.

 

Give us a break for six months, you said,

and I believed you would see your mistake,

but you did not, and I hung on and on

hoping for that call which came, but wasn't you at all.

 

I know you went on to marry very late,

but still wander whether you considered

you had a lucky escape when you broke up with me

or did you never love me, just felt trapped?

 

I met a man on the rebound from your rebuff

and married him, and now I look back in time,

and realize that it was me who had the lucky escape

for I might have married you and then broke up.

 

Strange how life turns out, my parents approved of you,

they did not approve of the man I married,

so much for their taste in suitable partners, but you,

I think, had a perfect woman in mind and it wasn't me.

 

***********

 

Touching Tao

 

To sit in silent contemplation,

to still the thoughts

that flow in a constant

stream like a river in spate

takes patience, time,

and a degree of determination.

 

There are practices galore,

methods through the ages,

ways of sitting, standing,

balancing, twisting the body,

or even standing on your head,

to find that stillness

and emptiness so sought

for in this world of noise

and constantly burbling racket.

 

But when you do quiet down

that noise, a strange

and, possibly alarming,

thing happens. The top

of your head lifts off like a rocket

and out you fly into the great

beyond, and become

for a short while aware

of your oneness with the whole,

and taste the love that flows

endlessly along the river of time,

which you have temporarily

left to be born and will,

in time, return to once more,

for you have touched the Tao,

and the Tao has touched you

in that empty moment

when you stilled all

and learned what life

is all about, briefly,

because the noise, unfortunately,

does return, but, once touched,

the Tao will embrace you tenderly

again and again until you're home.

 

************

 

The Folly of Power

 

Power is an aphrodisiac,

they say, and power corrupts,

And absolute power

corrupts absolutely.

 

Who has absolute power?

The only beings I've been

told who have absolute power

are gods.

 

Does that mean that gods

are absolutely corrupt?

Worrying concept I would

have thought for believers.

 

And an aphrodisiac too.

Not sure whether gods

need that, though

judging by the fecundity

of Nature, I could be wrong.

 

In human life, power

does seem to be something

to be avoided if you value

your morals and integrity.

Better to be righteous and lowly

than raised up on high

and be black of spirit.

 

Rare for any human to acquire

such power. All human

power being limited

when reliant on your

fellow humans to carry out

your commands, imperfect

beings fail invariably

in the end to keep you

on your seat of power,

if not through their

inadequacy then by their

treason or jealousy.

 

Human leaders fall

inevitably from power.

Most often remembered

for their tyranny

rather than their benevolence,

and history recalls them

as fictional rather than factual

characters while today's

leaders seek to have their names

written in the memories

of their people, and in the books

of the great and powerful,

forever engraved in history,

the ultimate aphrodisiac,

never to be forgotten.

 

************

 

Time to Yield

 

Sky blue above paintbrush clouds

sit somnolent and unstirring

while the air kissed bitter

with an icy chill whispers

through trees tentatively

awakening from their Winter

rest and letting virgin buds

taste Spring and pause

their growth till warmth

once more returns.

A first day of a new March

when the light brightens

and greys retreat

to yield to softer climes,

but still the bursting forth

must wait a short while

for the cold to break its hold

on Nature and release her

yearning desire to produce

new births, new flora,

and give the fauna

a time to build their nests,

and shelters for their young,

when food will fill

its parlours to feed fledglings,

grasses for lambs and calves,

for deer, and countless small

creatures will bring forth

new life.And the cycle

will continue on with hope

imbued to exalt in life

for however brief or long

a while when Winter

bows down before Spring

to wait for its turn again

when abundance has been sated

and a time of rest must dawn.

 

*******

 

The Brick Wall

 

I turned a corner in my life,

and hit a brick wall.

I don't know whether the world

changed or it would befall

all of us at some point in our lives.

I stopped and viewed the sight.

If not too high, I might get over it

as I tried to discern its height,

but, the more I looked, the higher

it became, and the more alarming

it appeared. Never being a high flyer,

I could not begin finding

a way to overcome this obstacle,

and no clue emerged to uncover

a solution to my dilemma,

it was going to take time to discover

that the wall was here to stay.

My face did not fit, nor my shape.

My thoughts were out of kilter

and there was no way I could escape

the fact that conformity

doesn't just belong to behaviour,

but, for those with any deformity,

the wall appears to cut off all favour,

forever holding you apart.

No matter how many times you try

to scale it, you will always fail.

Then, suddenly, all things clarify,

and you know the wall is a gift,

it's invisible so transparent

and, from behind it, you can observe

human life, and all becomes apparent

to your astute eye, what so many

perceive as real, it frequently false,

while that which is cast aside,

often turns out to be the source

of beauty, wisdom and fortitude.

My wall has never disappeared.

I live behind it now satisfied

that it is nothing to be feared,

but one I cannot climb

or walk around, but can see

through so now I'm perfectly content

behind it observing our human family.

 

***************

 

Take a Step

 

Take a step to the right then take a step to the left

then turn around and come right back and

take a step to the left then take a step to the right,

and where did you get to? Right back where

you started from. How often do we do that?

So many times in life we come full circle

and then look back and wonder whether

we moved at all, or was it our imagination?

Were we standing still all the time? Things

around have changed but we're back

where we were before, repeating the same

mistakes again and again and again.

Do we ever learn or are we doomed to go

on doing the same things again and again

and again? The answer has to be no,

we do not. We have to stop, stand still,

and recognize where we are, and decide

what we want, and make it different

from what we thought we wanted.

Most often that's our mistake, what

we want and what we need are life times

apart. Look at what we really need,

discard the unrealistic wants, and discover

that you won't end up back in the same place

again and again and again. So next time

you take a step to the right then take a step

to the left, don't turn around and come right

back, but look forward and step into the unknown.

Can be scary but oh so rewarding in the end

when you find yourself in such a better place

than you would have been if you had turned

and come right back. Life demands courage,

sometimes above and beyond what you think

you have, but, inside, it's there buried deep,

a precious gift in times of stress for you to keep

and help you draw back time and again from the brink.

 

*************

 

The Simple Life

 

There was a time when life was simple.

It must have been a very long time ago,

because, when I look at human history,

you have to go back to well before even Plato

to find a time when life could have been

described as simple, but, take a look

at once isolated islanders today, their rituals

and lives are complex and refined

to the merest detail, thousands of years old

and no sign of simplicity with all defined.

 

Perhaps when humans lived in caves

life could have been uncomplicated,

at least for a while, but over time,

and increasing populations, more sophisticated

systems must have emerged when chiefs

appeared and rules were made to control

the tribes and a whole new set of beliefs

were created and freedom was curtailed

from above when an elite arrived

and, over the centuries, they prevailed

to become the leaders of today when life

is anything but simple, and would we have it

any other way? In a long bygone day,

it might have seemed idyllic, but for modern

human beings, would seem nearly imbecilic

to choose to live in a cave, hunting food

with spear or bow and arrow, with a narrow

outlook on your world, with no protection

from diseases carried by modern humans.

 

Unfortunately, even those who try to live

today devoid of material goods cannot do so

without having them all round

because even they believe and know

life is never simple, in fact, its complexity

is so profound, only in the silence

can you see in an instant it's fundamentally

unfathomable in its mystery and essence

so, with this awareness, I will not achieve

simplicity but rather reach out to see beneath

the veil while I live briefly and to perceive

the wondrous complexity of life

before I leave this mortal coil that has been

so full of great joys and much strife.

 

*************

 

The Reborns

 

If we could upload our memories

into a computer, which is on its way

one day, and place them in another

body, would we decide to wipe away

all our sad, bad, horrible and angry

ones, or take them along as reminders

of what not to do again, or avoid

those situations which brought

some about, or make sure we leave

out the blunders made in our previous

life? Would only including our joyful,

exciting, contented and ecstatic memories,

alongside all our learned knowledge,

suffice to make us whole human beings,

or people with no means of survival,

because the exclusion of the negative

would give a false sense of security,

leading inevitably to a dangerous naivety?

 

It is, maybe, a prospect not facing

those of us whose lives are limited now,

but will face our children and the young

today. What a strange dilemma.

However, it has to be asked who will be

uploaded? The ordinary man or woman

when their lives are approaching their end?

I fear not. Once more, the rich, the unscrupulous,

the scheming and the criminal will come

out on top. Will inequality ever be overcome

or are we doomed forever to be judged,

not by our intrinsic individual worth,

but by how much we own, who our parent's

are or which country was our place of birth?

These reborns will continue in another

life once more, and that is depressing

to say the least, because they'll ensure

that they and theirs will keep hold

of power leaving those below forced to endure

being continuously manipulated and controlled.

Not a very happy prospect for the future.

 

************

 

The Asylum

 

We live in a disjointed world,

discombobulation all around.

Chaos breaking out, the times

are all churned up, the abyss

yawns, hope stand aside

temporarily as despots

rage and rant and kill, kill,

kill and people weep.

The sun fires flares out

deep into space angry

now, while Nature turns

the weather haywire

floods, avalanches, volcanic

eruptions, hurricanes and

snow storms to bring

worlds to a standstill

in the face of disasters

piled on disaster, while politicians

wring their hands declaring

good intentions while being

out of their depth and lost

or pretending to be in control

when everybody knows

they're not. The asylum's

inmates are in charge,

corruption is rampant,

power is sought by those

least deserving to hold it,

and the sane stand back

observing the whole world

going down the drain,

and trying to maintain

a calm mind in the face

of mounting bloody insanity.

 

********

 

Light of my Life

 

‘You are the light of my life,' he said

and held me in his arms so tight.

I smiled and thanked him while

hugging him back knowing

he was right. I am the light of his life,

and he's the light of mine.

Time concertinas and seems

to disappear when everything's fine,

when bad times come, they can seem

to go on forever, but never,

in all our years together, have I thought

I regret marrying this man.

For all his faults and failings,

inside he is profoundly good.

Does all the things he should

to make sure my life is as easy

as it can be, and asks very little

in return, and tries to protect me,

and I do him for it has to be reciprocal.

Now we're so deeply entangled

we can think the same things

without uttering a word then say

aloud the very thought in both our minds,

through this, you know straightaway

Life has bonded you together

for so long as you both shall live,

and, while we live, will go on forever.

 

***********

 

Orchestral Piece

 

Piccolo, cornetto, cembalo,

Balalaika, celesta, harmonica,

Zither, marimba, cremona ,

Sitar, guitar, viola da gamba,

Harpsichord, keyboard, clavichord,

Clarion, bombardon, accordion,

Piano, theorbo, banjo, cello

Dulcimer, recorder, bass tuba,

Xylophone, saxophone, vibraphone,

Trumpet, spinet, clarinet,

Mandolin, violin, gittern.

 

Harp, lyre, lute, vina,

Concertina, celesta, ocarina,

Flagelot, cornetto, bongo,

Tambourine, melodeon, organ,

Tintinnabulum, harmonium,

Ukulele, psaltery, hurdy gurdy,

Flugelhorn, saxhorn, althorn,

Bugle horn, alpenhorn, bass horn,

Sousaphone, trombone,

Oaten pipes, bagpipes, pan pipes,

Big drum, bass drum, tenor drum,

Side drum, snare drum, steel drum,

War drum, tom tom, euphonium.

 

**********

 

The Tsunami of Change

 

When a tsunami of change

sweeps across the world,

we hold our breath

in anticipation and hope

that something better

might come about

from all the carnage

and chaos caused

by those grasping

onto the reins of power

against the wishes

of their people,

and watch stunned

as the domino effect

crosses borders

in an unstoppable

cascade of courage

and determination

in peoples held down

so long who suddenly

find their voice

and their strength.

Buoyed up by this,

they become a force

of unity against tyranny

knowing the sacrifice

of so many lives

cannot now be in vain

they persist to the bitter

end against weakening

odds until they win.

Then they can honour

their dead, recall their names

and remember they died

so that all may live

free from the yoke

of despots and military

leaders. A time of change,

of hope, of trepidation

for an unknown future,

but one of pride for people

who stood before bullets

and refused to surrender.

A tribute to the human

spirit that chose peaceful

resistance over violent force.

 

***************

 

Ageing

 

I look at the wrinkles on my hands,

those that furrow now when I smile,

the creases and rolls where once smooth

skin sat, the cellulite on legs and arms

and wonder why retaining youth

is so very hard, if not impossible

to achieve. I see the stretched tautf

faces of the plastic people and grin,

something they can't do with Botox

fixing their skin like an egg shell,

and wonder what motivates them

to conceal the ageing process

so drastically by doing something

that needs renewing regularly,

until there's no more skin to tighten,

no more lips to puff up, no more

nose left to alter, and then watch

as the signs of age rush in full pelt

to gain the upper hand once more

as everything, once held up,

plummets rapidly to the floor.

My wrinkles, on the other hand,

increase slowly over time,

my creases and rolls barely grow

unless I over eat and then

I'll swell, but wisdom teaches me

to do all things in moderation

as the years pass by, with a little

something extra if my inclination

leans towards some sweet satisfaction.

I don't like growing old,

but cannot see the point of going

under the knife endlessly

just to look like a stretched out prune

when I could grow old disgracefully.

 

********

 

I can't come with you.

 

‘I can't come with you', said my friend,

‘you're about to walk such a different path

You'll leave me far behind and out of my way.'

I realized straight away, from here on in,

our roads would part as it forked

in two directions, and I had chosen

change while she was content to stay

on the one we'd walked together until now.

I would be leaving many who had accompanied

me for years, but, when awareness, opens

up your mind and shows you in your heart

to stay would be detrimental to your life,

would force your steps to take a path

no longer fit for you, the choices close up

and there is only one you can take,

the new one, open to a future as yet unseen,

one where the old ways no longer hold sway,

where you walk with new friends guiding,

joining, seeking you, but in a different way

from the one you left behind. Then,

you were told what to think, what to do,

which way to go, and what you could not do,

by others set above you, in the guise

of serving, and blinded by ritual and power,

were leading many into an abyss

of ignorance, immaturity and unhappiness.

With no regrets, I see now the new way

was right for me, gave me a new life,

new hope and new intimacy with a spirit

deep within previously hidden now seen

with new eyes, and I have built a new

rock on which to stand and can embrace

life in all its wondrous complexity,

perplexity, and awesome solemnity.

 

*************

 

Butterflies

 

Translucent scales of vibrant colours

layered on gossamer fairy wings

honed to perfection in wondrous

shapes and sizes, butterflies

deceive our eyes flying

with stately ease sometimes

for thousands of miles

on nectar from the flowers.

Delicacy embodied in some,

exuberant flamboyance in others,

while yet more lazily flap

their wings displaying

patterns in the sunlight

as they bring joy to all

who see them gather

en masse around a favourite

shrub like buddleia or privet,

and yet still more in never ending

restlessness flit through the summer

air, constantly on the go,

flying to and fro, settling

for an instant then back into the air

they go, glorious one and all

to behold these bright wondrous

fairies born when Nature

was in joyful mood, a precious

gift to lighten our day

and help us find hope

when we have lost our way,

or, when sadness overwhelms,

lifts up our spirits in exultation

that something so fragile

can be so supremely strong

as they ride the breezes

a magical, colourful, brilliant throng.

 

***********

 

An Endless Conflict

 

To insist that you are right

and the other wrong

is a source of conflict

amongst the headstrong.

 

When a fact you swear is right

and takes root in your head,

no amount of persuasion

can change a mind thus led.

 

It's a problem common to all

but rarely acknowledged,

because to do so personally

means you will be challenged.

 

This is not a dilemma

easily solved when held

so strongly by us all

that contrary facts must be repelled.

 

In the end, the mature

will recognize that contrary

opinions will always occur,

and it's healthy that they vary.

 

It doesn't make it easier though,

and can make your resolve stiffer

not to be proven wrong,

but, overall, it's better to agree to differ.

 

**********

 

Of One Mind

 

When anger sweeps through you

like a river in spate,

you must stand back lest

you be overwhelmed with hate.

 

When injustice stares you

in the face without resolution,

you have to control the rage

and have a peaceful revolution.

 

When your emotions run wild

like a storm in full sway,

you have to learn to discern why

so you won't be led astray.

 

Will a peaceful state of mind

accomplish more than one

driven by a sense of purpose

that cannot be undone?

 

The people desirous of freedom

protest in a peaceful manner,

but still full of determined zeal

proclaimed upon their banner.

 

Still they die from bullets, knives,

water cannon and lethal charges

when they find a collective voice

and resist such cruel barrages.

 

Be still my troubled mind and heart,

that joins in mutual fear and loathing

of injustice and cruel oppression,

lest I help change peace to fighting.

 

As I believe we're all connected,

what I feel must have an effect

upon our world, so need make certain

that my anger never goes unchecked.

 

Now we stand upon the brink

of a chasm or a bridge to cross

if our thoughts are those of peace,

we can help turn away from chaos.

 

************

 

Shafted again

 

You have children or a child.

You work hard all your life.

You pay taxes to the governments

and when you grow old

and need taking care of

in a home, if you have saved

and gone without so that

there is something for your

old age and your children,

the government comes along

and says if you've got more

than £23,000 pounds saved

up, you'll have to pay

for every bit of your care,

so why are we being encouraged

by these rich bastards to save,

save, save for when we grow old

so that we will have to pay

extortionate amounts of money

to care homes for, often, poor

care by people from poorer

countries than ours because

our people won't do the work?

The population is growing old,

soon the over sixties will

outnumber the young, but

that's not the fault the older

people, they had children.

The young are leaving it

later and later so what do we do?

We make damned sure we spend

our money until we've only

the allowed amount left

then the state will take care

of us, our children will get

something that's for sure,

and the bastards who have

millions to take care of their needs

in their old age can go to hell.

The lesson is to all the young,

don't save your money,

because the government

will find ways of getting it

off you one way or another,

so enjoy it while you can,

and when you grow old

hope that there are enough

homes around to take you

in because a Tory government

won't give a damn.

 

***********

 

Gorse

 

An ungainly name for a shrub

that flowers in early Spring

on heaths and moors with the brightest

yellow profusion, not hinting

but shouting to the skies

Spring is on its way sprinting

in after icy winds have blown

across the open moors and heaths

and still can be felt, but, notwithstanding,

the gorse flowers, bravely calling

into question Winter's chilly grasp

and wresting from its deadening clasp

the life hibernating in the earth,

in the trees, the shrubs and plants,

and triumphantly explodes with

its own unique blaze of psychedelic

yellow, and brings a smile to cold

cheeks waiting impatiently

for Spring to make a bold

announcement that it's on its way,

none can be clearer than the humble

shrub we named ‘Gorse'.

 

*************

 

Sunrise

 

I sit embraced in a sublime stillness

before the dawn, no thing moves,

no sound stirs, tangible silence

fills the air wrapping all

in a contemplation profound.

And then, imperceptible almost

at first an audible inhale

occurs just as the moon

concedes with grace

to the advent of the light

breaking across the horizon

as a new day rises in a soft

glow and then an exhale

followed by another inhale deeper

and more distinct as the earth

wakens from her slumber

to welcome the sunrise

majestic in its golden hues

spread light over the land,

and the earth breathes

and I feel the movement

beneath me, hear the sounds

return as bird song greets

the new morn and before me

daisies turn their tiny petals

to face the light opening up

revealing sun golden hearts.

And all is jubilant, filled

with glorious expectation

as the world is born

again, and the earth's

breathing is swallowed

in the sounds of the new day

while I continue to sit still

and absorb the wonder

I've just heard and felt

deep within my being

and know, for certain now,

the earth is a living,

breathing entity upon whom

we live and breathe and

who graciously gives us being.

 

************

 

Lost Memories

 

It was a morning when I first set eyes on him,

no, it was the afternoon, or was it early evening?

He was working behind the counter in his shop,

no, he was on his lunch break on a Wednesday,

or was it his afternoon break the next day?

The sun was shining when I walked in,

no, it was raining, or was it really cold?

I wore a coat with a turned up collar,

no, I wore a jacket of black leather,

or did I wear just a cardigan because it was hot?

I made a date with him after a short chat,

no, it was an offer to escort me to a festival,

or was it to a concert the following week?

I went out with him for a few months,

no, I went out with him for only two

before he moved in with me, or did he

stay in his place until we both were sure?

I married him six months later,

no, it was only four months or did we marry

a year on from when I first set eyes on him?

I cannot be sure of anything anymore.

no, I can be certain that I loved him,

or is that just a dream as well?

I think we've spent a very long time together.

no, it was only a few years, or did you go

and leave me standing at the altar?

I recognize the man sitting next to me.

no, he's nothing like the man I first saw,

or has he grown so old like me?

I see the same smile on a wrinkled face.

no, I see sadness in those deep blue eyes

or is he weeping with joy over seeing me?

I should be pleased to see him I think,

no, I should thank him or should I shake

his hand and say ‘how do you do?

I think I need to sit here quietly by his side

and hold his hand for a little while.

 

************

 

The Crocus

 

A chalice of multi colours,

from bright to purest white

with golden tongues in hearts

waiting to burst forth

in the late winter sunlight.

A jubilant display of petals,

variegated or plain,

with slender spears of leaves

jutting through the earth

before the bloom is seen

concealed beneath in joyful

anticipation of a new year

and an expectant new birth.

 

*******

 

Lily of the Valley

 

A magical perfume drifts lazily

on the air. A silent tinkle of bells

sharp outlined against the dark soil

enfolded in blade green leaves.

Sweetness to behold

in days now full of warmth

and winds tinged with balmy breath.

Lily of the Valley do not raise

their tiny heads but shake

gentle on the breeze

among the first to arrive in May.

A carpet of bells ringing in the Spring

in all its fullness and fecundity.

 

**********

 

Who dictates?

 

Who dictates that the people of a nation

needs to be ruled with a rod of iron?

The military leaders with their wills

of steel, unmerciful and harsh

in their observations of the masses

as undisciplined, uncontrollable,

and dangerous because desiring

to be free, to decide their future

collectively instead of it being imposed

from above by generals disguised

as saviours but really are despots.

And when the people find the courage

to say no, enough is enough,

we're mature enough, educated enough,

and wise enough to make our own way,

do these ‘saviours' see their day

is over? No, they refused to go.

 

Power has been theirs for so long,

relinquishing it is beyond them.

It's in their blood, their system

is the best the people can expect.

They can see no other way,

and, behind them, the wealthy,

the public faces of puppet government,

the yes men, and the schemers,

encourage them to hold on to power

for great would be the cost to them

if the people had their way.

and the people's blood will flow

as the generals exert their will

seeing other nations clear away

the masses with bullets and knives

slashed across innocent throats

to incite fear and terror on the streets

until the status quo is restored,

and the will of the people is ground

underfoot once more. How did

we reach such a stage when the warriors

overruled the people's desires for freedom

from repression, from torture and oppression.

Only when the people of our world act

collectively will democracy become

the right of all, and expel extremists

to the periphery instead of centrally

as now, and hope that the masses

will not become ravening hordes

taking revenge for years of cruel

oppression as they achieve their aim

to stand proud each with the right

to vote without force or corruption.

 

It might come one day, but it's not here yet.

One day, soon, it has to be because the people

see more clearly now how others

live and their desire for freedom will become

an unstoppable river that need not flow

with blood, but most definitely will

if the tyrants dig their heels in

and, using rhetoric and weasel words,

state their reasons why they are refusing to go

and when these fail to move the people,

will charge in with guns, water cannon,

gas and murderous thugs to restore order

then go round collecting the leaders

and make them disappear for good.

A chance for something better vanishes

to leave the world, once again, all the poorer.

 

**********

 

The Pigeon

 

The pigeon comes in many shapes and sizes,

some sleek, some raggedy, some round

and some hybrids downright weird,

but they are not flying rats to me

as some would wish to call them.

Like rats, I see them as survivors,

patient in their efforts to grab crumbs

off the pavement, or seeds from

gardens should any be generous

enough to provide a bowl and not

a hanging seed container impossible

to reach. Life is hard enough I think

for these ancient birds so I wish

them good fortune whenever I see

them pecking at my feet in bus stations,

train stations, public squares,

High streets, and duck when they fly

overhead so low they nearly part my hair

as they swoop fleetingly through the air

in search of another morsel of bread

or a chip dropped deliberately

or by accidents to keep them going

for another day, and maybe there'll

be enough for their chicks perched

on ledges high above and out of sight

from prying eyes with only their droppings

revealing where they are, and then

they will be left alone to die or fly.

It's a tough life being a wild pigeon

from the towns or cities. The homing

ones have a cushy life indeed

when compared to the scrawny,

patchwork, dappled, crippled, dusty

pigeons I am so fond of and will

continue, regardless of bans, to feed.

 

***********

 

The Robin

 

A flash of red, a streak of white

and then a sound that strikes the ear

loud and clear when a robin

lands upon a branch, coming into sight

as its scarlet breast becomes visible

for all to see. Its wondrous trills

fill the air when it declares its presence,

calling for a mate or laying claim

to its territory. It is undeniable

that it is the loudest declaration

of love and ownership of his realm

there is Nature's domain, but what delight

it brings when first you hear it

for you know then that Spring

is on its way, and sending forth

its own bright feathered merry herald

to announce its advent with speedy flight

and sweet melodic song.

 

*********

 

Casualties of War

 

The war wounded are hidden away.

They cannot be seen for fear

they would let the public see

the horror that war brings down

on all caught up in the battles

for domination, for oppression,

for territory, for suppression,

and all the trumped up reasons

for killing and maiming others.

Be they in the military or civilians,

human bodies cannot deal

with bombs, shrapnel or bullets

fired at random into towns,

cities, or small villages

where civilians try to make

themselves invisible amidst

the noise and thunder of a war

that they did not instigate,

do not fight in, and close arms

around their terrified children

or pick up their remains

when the fighting is all over,

and mourn grievously for their loss

or gather up their wounded once again

while the other side is deaf

or indifferent or feeling justified

to carry on to fighting another day

in the same brutal, uncaring way.

 

************

 

The New Born

 

Bawling, wrinkled, slippery,

whimpering, scowling,

a newborn breaks out

into the world every minute

of each day to survey

its surroundings through eyes

out of focus, but its mouth

seeking sustenance as it poses

lips into a suckling shape.

Most will have to wait

while it is measured, weighed,

examined and then handed

over to a being and the breast,

most times eager to deliver

life's nectar, the milk

flowing in, engorging,

demanding to be emptied,

and small lips fix round

the teat, clumsily at first then

with limpet grasp to feed

for the first time in its life

and, forever be enamoured

with the warm, wet, generous

orbs that greeted it when

it was born hungry and fearful

into a huge world of strange

sounds, lights, creatures,

and touch seemingly rough

then tender, guiding then

the smell of flesh that went

by the name of ‘Mother',

and then sated, the newborn

can close its eyes to sleep

for the world must wait

for while, because the womb

calls still in its new born dreams.

Noises abates as it drifts away

to play happily in its tiny world.

 

**********

 

Viburnum

 

Light, bright and sleekly green

and not a space in between.

Every leaf tightly sprouting,

the winter garden brightening

as new buds push through

still amongst the initial few

to come into bloom so soon

escaping Winter's cold cocoon

with a blaze of star shaped flowers,

borne amidst the shrub's bowers

to delight the eyes and scent the air

with a fragrance none can wear

for so subtle and sublime

it has eluded perfumers over time.

 

Snowdrops

 

White for purity of spirit,

drops of delicate petals

come through the cold

of Winter's days to adorn

the earth with their grace

and remind all who see them

that size does not defeat

the strong hold of icy soil

but something so elegant

and genteel melts its heart

as they push through

into the low sunlight

of a February day, bringing

joy to all and heralding Spring.

 

************

 

The Beyond

 

I know not whether there is an afterlife

or whether there is a soul.

I know not of the beyond

because none can prove to me

it's there, because none have come

back to tell me they've arrived.

 

I know not whether there's a heaven

or hell, a purgatory or nirvana,

or whether the quantum world

holds our memories in perpetuity.

I don't believe in mediums

or in religious claims of Virgins

appearing in our midst.

The former are full of trickery,

while the latter take the mad,

the delusional or the starved

and turn their psychosis

into miraculous hallucinations,

then rake in all the money

when the site becomes a place

for the gullible and desperate

to visit and earn some extra grace.

 

If there's an afterlife at all,

does it have a waiting room

at first where you must sit

while higher beings decide

where you're going next?

There are definitely no pearly gates,

or St. Peter standing there,

or a devil waiting in the wings

to drag you down to hell.

But can you see the world

when you have left your body,

and can you hang around

for a while if its hold

on you is strong enough

to prevent you moving on?

 

Not a single human being

has given us an answer.

A host of proposals

have been presented to us all,

but none are provable

so are most probably

all wrong, and we're always

being told to have faith

in some deity of sorts,

but nobody can tell us

which one has the truth,

so most probably none

are holding the key

to this timeless mystery.

 

For me, the afterlife

is not a problem to be solved.

When my time comes to die,

I'm going to give my being

into the care of the Universe

that gave me my existence,

and if all I was is recycled

I'll not have a care,

and if, by the slimmest chance,

some part of me remains,

then it's up to the Universe

to show me what to do,

where to go, and how

to move on if on there be.

All I know now is that

you and me and everyone

are the same boat, you see

because none of us truly know

what will happen when it's time to go,

which makes my way as good as any

and far less stressful than many.

 

************

 

The Rogue Element

 

There are rogue elements everywhere.

They have been around since humankind

first trod the earth in groups, in tribes,

in villages, towns and in our cities,

causing problems, disturbing the peace,

rabble rousing, thieving, lying, cheating,

conning, killing, unwilling to conform,

anarchic, cunning, sly and conniving.

They exist wherever opportunities await.

In every walk of life from slum to castle

tenement to mansion. Not the domain

of the poor alone, the rogue frequents

the darkness of all classes from the poor

right up to the cream of the elite.

 

In politics they abound, in business

they are found, in banking they are rife,

on streets where poverty dwells,

they rise up to build their own private

fiefdoms, with willing serfs

avenging wrongs, and settling scores.

Out in the open these rogues gather

while amongst the elite they hide

concealing themselves in masks

of respectability and rectitude.

No religions are exempt from their touch,

no cause free of their influence,

no nation untainted by their actions,

their subterfuge, and scheming.

 

The world will have to fight

a long and strenuous battle to undo

them but it can be done if good

people stand up and say enough

is enough, you have had your way

for far too long, it's time you ceased

your roguish ways and let us have

some time to build a world fit for us

to live in. Not utopia, just a world

where we can feel safe, feel secure

and not have to worry all the time

that some fiendish rogue is going

blow us all to hell one day.

 

***************

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOME