Astonishing

Many things come in twos
Two eyes, two hands, two feet,

Two ways of looking at the world
To make a view complete

The up, the down, are not the same,
But I suspect a third

There maybe many other ways
(Some of them absurd)

But who’s to say which view is real?
It’s all a twisted tale

The world is full of multiples
To put us in a spin

If you think you know it all
Let me put you straight …

I went out the other day
and saw me coming in!

Writing

my thoughts today are not inspired
no deep emotions stoke the inner fire
no image scampers out across the page

the world bursts in with wings and horns
distracting me, declaring I’m no poet
all my hopes bereft, forlorn

poems are made of dancing words
delicious words that tumble out
marked with flows and rhythms

they skitter-scatter on the page
they fascinate, seductive
they have power and strength

imposing form upon it
an ode, a ballad, sonnet
I try to see connections
until they find direction
seeking out….
what’s that word?….
ah yes – perfection

River Daughter

Oberon threw a web of stars
Titania washed it with the dew
Roses opened,
as they should

Gentle daughter of the Tamar
Titania sleeping, dreamed of you.
Oberon bought you here
to dance

He pulled you from the depths of river
Placed you on a marble bridge
Leaving all the rest
to chance

Puck is always quick to meddle
He loves to open lovers eyes
He pierced me
with his well aimed lance

The river never flowed so far
The world was never quite so new
All was peaceful
in the wood

Gentle daughter of the Tamar
Tender smile and heart that’s true
Magic shines
in all that’s good

Horses and Wings

In your arms I feel water and fire,
cool streams and fountains.
I hear the beating of drums and the lyre.
I see rivers, valleys and mountains.

In your eyes I see moonlight and starlight
as they shine on the rising sea.
I see soft clouds spring open, sun bright,
and the flower that springs from the seed.

I see your eyes open wider in wonder.
I feel horses running in rain.
I seek lighting striking and thunder.
The storm takes me again.

I feel the tides as they rise
and your body as it clings.
We fly as our souls mingle and burn,
until the tide turns
and retreats in a sigh.

I give you horses,
you give me wings

Welsh boys (from a photograph of my father)

Faded in black in white, about nineteen-thirty,

Two boys sit on a window ledge, that house,

Narrow street between mountains, back, front,

A valley that smells of coal dust and soap,

Where the women polish the doorsteps daily

Dark red, down on their knees in gossip.

 

This photograph says so much about them,

Even then. My uncle sits prim and nervous

Worried he may slip from his perch,

Buttoned up in his best suit and collar

Ready for chapel and prayers I suppose.

His round face in glasses, held stiff.

 

While my father leans sideways, younger

By two years, swinging a leg and squinting

With the sun in his eyes and his knees all scuffed.

Dreaming of music and organ pipes

And the catapult hidden in his Sunday pocket,

A strong wish to be off there and up in the hills.

 

These brothers stayed like this all their lives

Never truly following the same paths;

One toeing the line for all he was worth

The other refusing to break his own rules,

Always the wild one up in the hills

Frustrated by all the restrictions of life.

 

 

Ghost

This house has been kept for ghosts.
They live here now, dimly present, unheard.
She thinks she is preserving her childhood
by keeping their furniture, the curtains,
everything just as it was.
She holds up the screen for their shadows
to flicker against, with love.

These ghosts are more than memory.
I almost saw them once or twice
when time slipped sideways, ajar.

I enter the room and feel them,
feel the warmth on the arm of a chair
where his hand leaned just a moment ago.
I know he just left by the opposite door.
There is a slight disturbance in the air
as real as the solid oak table by the window
and the light on the polished floor.

It is winter now.
The house would be cold and damp without them,
though they hang in a fine sea mist by the fire.

At night he climbs the stair ahead of me.
They were always ahead of me, here
long before I came.
We don’t intrude. We live side by side.
When I am gone it will still be so.

I turn out the light and make my way to bed
in the dark
knowing they did the same.

The Circle Game

I travelled far, found a home
where my flag of honour flew
I thought it so, I worked for you,
for all I thought was true

you illustrate this event
with a comic book cartoon
and say you did it in good faith
am I too serious?

I should lighten up I guess
it’s just a party
all in jest
just a game, no harm

take my paper, take my words,
trample them in mud,
tear and shred my tribal banner
tell me this is love

I have been to parties
festivals and celebrations,
gathering, joyful tribal dances,
where my banner flew in wind

sunshine shone on open pages
there was light and dignity
I never thought to leave
such grace and charity

this though is another place
your run me round in circles
I see your honeyed traps
the charm, the exploitation

such manipulations
will never capture me
I have already gone
I left your circle game

Believe what you like

this is a game of consequences,
angles, perspectives, attitudes
pitiless, clear
nothing less, nothing more
there’s a futile dead end to thought
the pathos filled path to no place
that wide open sceptical door
to self pity, the pit, no mercy
making us less than we are
a shard of ice in the heart
the manacled fire of the mind
where life becomes paltry,
feeble, flawed
into the darkness we walk
drowning our sorrows
dying for water
parched

caught from an earlier rain
a droplet on a dark leaf
reflecting a light that gleams
a shimmering fragile globe
it mirrors the tree, growing above
where wide open branches reach to the sky
if we ever looked up we would see
the way they turn to the sun and grow tall

nothing can make us small
nothing will stop us from standing again
except the belief that the sun doesn’t shine
and the clouds will never bring rain

Galeforce

woods on the hilltop groan and sway
gale blows in wild from the raging sea
pools of leaves whirl at my feet
branches crash down, world lifting up
drunken sailor riding a roundabout

stumbling, i cling to a creaking oak
this wind whips the world inside out
at the edge of the wood, mad scarecrow i stand
close to the cliff edge, mouth open wide

i swallow the ocean, breathe with the sea
facing the wind, words swept away
shouting, screaming, into the gale
Take me! Lift me! Let me fly!

lungs expanded, triumphant I rise
above the woods, tumbling in flight
blown with no sail, nowhere to fall,
dark clouds, hidden moon, stars spin in the sky
i grin, like a loon,
ecstatic fool