The Caterpillar Speaks (updated version)

The Hatter is a lunatic
He never knows which card to pick.
The March Hare is always running late.
He hasn’t even got a date.
The clock’s not as it seems.

The Hatter has bad dreams,
He’s always in distress
And Alice has a problem too,
She’s not sure what to do
When she doesn’t fit her dress.

They’re lost inside a fairy tale
And none of it is true.

There’s a thought inside the Hatter’s head
That Alice is his match
But he hears laughter all the time.
The cards are hard to catch.
He can’t make reason out of rhyme,
And every time he thinks of love
He’s haunted by a bat.

Twinkle twinkle little dove,
His stars may help with that,
They’re shining bright enough above
And all will be complete
When he sees roses
Scattered at his feet.

 

 

 

To Lizzie (when we were eight)

I remember you little girl,
I remember you so well,
(still with a smile in my eyes)
and our home in the hidden hedgerow
and your pink tray with painted roses
you’d dragged from a tangled ditch
and scrubbed clean as a whistle
to serve me tea, one day, long ago,
when i returned from my wandering hunt
in the unfenced, treasure filled hills.

I remember your bouncing braids
as you ran and skipped on ahead,
to the shade of the bluebell woods.
I remember your chapped lips,
dry, from long summers suns;
the lips that i kissed so chastely
and thought it a daring deed
that I waited for days to repeat,
knowing you wanted me
to practice more kisses in play.

my princess of summer meadows,
my princess of virginal snows,
my princess of warm rains and ice,
my princess of the beckoning
who thought she was only a girl

we knew how to savour life
we knew how to live for one day,
and never for yesterday.
we only wished our tomorrow
to be the same as today,
in the simple trust that it would.
now, i remember you, little girl,
i wish that it always was

Don’t Paint the Roses

 

she remembered she was falling
reaching for a cake  crumb
swallowing a draught
that completely turned her head

she was running round the roses
painting red and white
challenging the chess board
to manoeuvres in the dark

she had a distant memory
of a love that struck a spark
but the tables all kept turning
when he tried to take her hand

in the horrors and delusions
that stalked this troubled land
he loved her all the time
but he had lost his mind

lovers often lose their way
whether they are sane of mad
all is topsy-turvy
when the news is  always  bad

they race around in shadows
tying to find a light
their dreams become a nightmare
ruining their night

but up above the stars shine out
constellations point the path
if only they could both sit down
gazing up at last

the roses never needed paint
he knew that all along
check mate only brings an end
to more that can be done

lovers only need to sit
and think what love’s about
and forget the silly games
that pull them inside out

 

 

All the Roses

the red rose and the white
standing sentinel
on each side of the path

the red rose of passion
the white for purity
so it was told to me

with time the bud unfolds
they litter history
more stories must be told

how Alice met the mad ones
walking nervously alone
in there amongst the flowers
i pondered that for hours
the red queen and the white
would haunt my childhood nights

and then we went to York
and thought of Lancaster
and roses making war
i never saw such violence
shaking petals, thrusting thorns,
tattering the tender growing rose

and then the Tudors came
the doubled rose of white and red
its petals widely spread
holding all in thrall
with gold and iron rule
while it blossomed

a treasure, was The Rose
where actors took the stage
Shakespeare came of age
its name was at the heart
emblem of poets art
that blooms as nectar overflows

now, in the garden,
i plant my roses
i plant them for their scent
i plant them for all they mean to me
they guard my families ashes
i strip away the stories
watching as their gentle petals fall

full of passing glories
but every year repeating
shining out with soft simplicity

a sign of lasting love
given from above
that’s all a rose was ever meant to be

The Faerie Garden

Its windows blown by wind and rain,
down the lanes where no-one came,
an ancient ruined cottage stood
with tumbled walls, close by the wood.

The cottage garden growing wild
with warring flowers unreconciled
was all a tangle, intertwined,
with paths and borders undefined

Columbine closed up the doors,
Ivy crept across the floors.
The roses grew all over-blown
Claiming all the walls their own.

Delphiniums, for summer skies,
near the solemn peonies rise.
Hollyhock o’er-towers them all
and Jasmin scents the evenings fall.

In this riotous throng of flowers
the faeries come to spend their hours.
They crown themselves with daisy chains
as sunlight spreads its last remains.

As evening falls they make their way
with gentle steps at close of day
to the bed they much prefer
beneath the sleepy lavender.

Faded

when you wake from a dream

into which you had drifted

if you sleep again quickly

you can dream it again

but it’s never the same

 

the scenery’s shifted,  it’s not as it seemed

where there were roses, there’s only a shadow

the windows are dimmed,  the doors won’t open

the music that played changed key long ago

 

the dream that you dreamed

has floated away

 

 

Shooting Stars

The lamps shine down from windows high above,
Burning moths, white wings singe against the light.
Old roses hang against the well worn walls
Amongst the darker tangle of the leaves,
Their blossoms gleaming as each petal falls,
While lovers sleep entranced in tender dreams,
Turning now and then throughout the long night,
Entwined and locked together by their limbs.
I stand below here, pierced and polarised.
The galaxies are singing psalms and hymns.
Seeing, I lose all sense of who I am.
I see a sky that’s full of shooting stars.

No wish I make can change our mortal fate.
It’s beautiful, it’s passing and it’s late.

 

 

Morning ~ a rubaiyat

impatient for your arms again i rise
to sit and watch your secret sleeping eyes
what dream is this that keeps you lingering there
with smiling parted lips and tender sighs

what joy in sleep so fills your captured heart
while i wait here alone, to watch apart
and gaze upon your much loved gentle face
more lovely than a work of perfect art

i wander in the garden late at night
to gather perfumed roses, pink and white,
while I my patient lovers vigil keep
to bring your morning wonder and delight

the dark, the stars, the moon are gone away
across your sleepy pillow sunbeams play
in this new world refreshed, renewed, be mine
awaken to another golden day

In the Garden

I lost you,

somewhere in the garden,

where a path took a turn

downhill.

 

There’s a tangle of roses entwined.

Some of them have dark thorns

that cling to your skirts

as you pass.

 

The paths are a tangle, a puzzle,

twisted around like a rope.

I can’t  undo or decipher them

but I heard a distant sound,

amongst all the songs of the birds,

the gentle play of a fountain.

I need to slake my thirst.

 

I am sure I will find you there.

I met you once by a river.

By water I’ll meet you again

 

 

No Roses

no need for butterflies and roses
no valentines, no pretty hearts
no cupids here, with flying arrows
no dear, I will never sing

a praise song to your beauty
no romance in tender words
i have nothing much to offer
i wont buy you gifts and things

don’t expect a honeymoon
i won’t give you wedding rings
nothing here is wrapped in ribbons
i make no eternal vow

respect i offer, honesty,
an ear that listens, this i bring
if you want this, hold it, keep it
it’s for you, take it now