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
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
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
and every subtle change
ensures our survival
and another possible future.
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!'
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
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,
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
into our minds.
Honing long forgotten
of past occurrences.
like a bubble
real as the clock
us to another moment
when we were young
Before our eyes
saw too much,
saw hearts broken
and return again
with the triumph
of the spirit
as we survey
in our minds
of our past lives,
and see that time
has been kind
as we review
with the eyes
of our lives now.
A walk by the sea.
With a mill pond sea
Stillness with horizon
Lost in a mist
In an envelope
No swish of wave
mirror the sun
If you can
On the seashore
To stir the sea
But still the birds
Bathing in the sun
Bells rings gentle
Amidst the flora
Of people talking
Inside the seashore's
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 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.
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.
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
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
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
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
Time passes in a mist
of disbelieving, a fog
broken egg shell
raw in your pain
you scream silently
You live now in the dark
concealing the real
in a rictus grin
and long to wake
from the nightmare
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
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
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
the seconds of our lives
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
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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
Who has absolute power?
The only beings I've been
told who have absolute power
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.
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.
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.
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,
Ukulele, psaltery, hurdy gurdy,
Flugelhorn, saxhorn, althorn,
Bugle horn, alpenhorn, bass horn,
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
in an unstoppable
cascade of courage
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.