The Death of a Queen

The Queen stood surrounded, by jeering, clamouring crowds,
beleaguered on every side, with no place left to hide.
While her King stood in the corner, consulting once more with the Bishop,
the Black Knight slowly sidled to the only place still allowed.
He was enjoying the moves and the elegant ride.
He’d been skirting her for hours now, like baiting a silver fish hook
his sweet words and twinkling glances hid the truth of his game.
Her only aim was to save her Liege, her Lord, her indolent Love,
he of the fine apparel, the armour, the velvet glove,
he who would always linger, lazy until the last.
When the Kingdom was at its end and he had no valiant friend,
Perhaps he would remember her, as the Knight sliced off his head,
After his Queen was dead.

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Goodbye Old House

It was a dark moonless night

when the clock struck noon

and the cat turned and looked at me twice.

She shot from the room

like a bursting balloon

waving her tail in the air.

(To be fair she had done it all week,

every night, but I hadn’t paid much attention.

I’m too tired out to much care).

The door-frames kept clicking,

the floorboards were creaking

and the clocks were all ticking too fast.

I followed the cat

(I’m adventurous like that)

and there, by the fire,

sat the family choir

smiling and telling their tales.

(I remembered their songs from before)

They were the old ones,

the aunts and the uncles,

who had lived long ago in the Valleys,

and no-one had told them

that they weren’t alive any more.

I wasn’t surprised.

Everyone dies, in their time,

But I knew this time wasn’t mine,

so I bowed myself out of the room

while they hummed a gentle old tune.

I knew beyond doubt

it was time I moved out

so I picked up the cat

and, smoothing her cares,

I tiptoed slowly downstairs.

We sat on the step

all night long, in the wet,

and I sang a new song in the rain.

I wished there had been a full moon

but when it’s time to move on…..

well, it’s time to move on, just the same.

There is no going back there again.

Old moon, new moon, half moon or sickle,

the removal van can’t come too soon for my liking.

No one should live in a sad mausoleum.

So I’m burning their boats, like a viking.

Sweet Avon

Under green summer willows my family walked,

Avoiding the shadows of serious talk.

As a child, without care, I ran on ahead,

Chasing the sunlight, alarming the swans,

Watching the ripples that spread from the banks,

I took all for granted, when time was my friend.

Now, by the Avon, I wander alone.

Clear in the knowledge that everything ends.

Now I find comfort in rivers and ghosts.

The Enigma of Anne

While plague after plague swept through the city
Winnowing lives, like corn, without pity,
The gallows stood close, the axe was not dulled,
While I, by the peace of Avon was lulled.
The play is the thing, all life is a play,
Three days and nights on horse-back away.
All journeys end in true lovers greeting.
Where the bee sucks our pleasures were fleeting,
Violets, eglantine, sweet summer wine,
Came with their season and then he was mine.
Spring time is gone, winter’s cold, he is dead.
I dream in the depths of our second best bed.

Seasons keep turning, and little remains
but wise words from sweet Will, who won’t come again.

 

Corridors

so accustomed to hospital corridors,
the creams, gentle blue, pale greens
that define and encompass my days,
the outside world, full of colour, no longer seems real
am i even here?
nothing is clear
the light and the cold and the roads I pass through
are only ways and directions to you
where you lay in your bed speaking strangely
muttering in distant places, one hand in another world

you passed through a door and don’t know it
I watched your determined and turbulent ride
you returned to this other side
i feel sorrow but never show it
you are not really here any more
my heart is an empty void
the well is too deep
i sit here beside you
not who I want to be
not hidden
but partially dead inside
– this waiting is killing me

The Visions Nightly Gather

the visions nightly gather
around my mother’s bed
she fears to lose the light
she huddles like a child
who needs a low lit lamp
and dreads the lullaby
she hides inside the story books
and keeps the bell at hand
her bedside charms are bastions
against that other land

the visions nightly gather
around my mother’s bed
she knows that all her visitors
are shadows of the dead

Falling House

There’s a chair I will never sit in.
There are unread books by his bed.
There are things that I said
That I wish I said sooner,
Long before he was dead.
I am glad this house is falling down
It’s a fitting tribute
To the skill that kept it strong,
The skill of a father who’s gone.
Light spills through the cracks in the floorboards.
In the creaking timber I still hear his footsteps.
Let it fall, let it fall, let it fall.

The windows hang on frayed breaking ropes
Worn by the shifting years.
Now they won’t open at all.
The lighting rod, well earthed,
Serves its protective purpose.
The house is weathered by sunlight and storms,
Its wires inextricably tangled.
It’s hard to let go of memories.
It’s hard to let go of mortar and bricks.
It’s hard to let go of buildings.
It’s hard to let go of a father who’s dead
While his voice speaks clear in my head.

Buried in Boxes

I pick my way through a battered box,
Full of old ideas and notebooks.
Finding none of the spiders I feared
But two ladybirds, dusty and dead,
Were buried beneath the old books.
They didn’t fly away home.
Amongst all the papers are poignant pages
I made for a lover long years ago.
I had borrowed it back.
It was never returned,
It wasn’t requested or missed.
It was full of small painting
Done with great care
But the poems I’d written weren’t there.
The last thing I found
Was two stained serviettes
I’d scribbled my thoughts on one day in a pub
As my friend slumped asleep in a chair
Escaping his life through an emptying glass.
It made no difference whatever I said.
He was drinking his life away.
Soon he’ll be dead, I am sure.
There are worn travel journals,
India, Morocco and Poland all carefully stored,
Some interesting stuff, full of days I forgot
And pictures, quite beautiful,
Carefully hand drawn in Wales.
It shocks me, as always,
When I find my statement
Made to police, one traumatic day.
I wish I could throw it away.
The terrors described are wiped from my head
Like words from a novel I’m unable to write.
It’s humid now.
I feel stifled for air.
Sick of dusty old boxes
I look out of the window.
The leaves outside flutter and tremble
As they always do, before a big storm.
They aren’t sure which way the wind blows.
Neither am I, today.

Honour the Dead

honour the long loved dead
by being the person they’d want
don’t offer them dying flowers
don’t linger too long by the tomb
don’t keep the curtains closed
let in the light into the room
honour the dead in your life
honour their wishes for you
accept that thought as their gift

honour them
honour their virtues
that’s all we must do for our dead
we know all the words they would speak
listen to all they would say
we will always take them with us
to be our loving guide
as we follow the path ahead
into another day

When he was dead

when he was dead
i expressed,
inside my head,
all the words I’d left unsaid
thinking it too late to say
the things I wasn’t sure he knew
but there’s a time
for listening too

he never wanted me to feel
a darkened thought
with troubled heart

how could he go?
how could he rest?
my pain could only make him sad
until with love and happy smiles,
instead of guilt and bitter tears,
i blessed him with sweet memories

I knew what he would say to me
I knew his words would set me free