Show Respect (a Georgic)

for the love of the land
for the love of your home,
act swiftly,

consider the tiny things
that help the larger things grow
remember the balance in all that you do
or be at the mercy of strong winds that blow
and the giants that rattle the earth
and the rise of the floods that will come and go
and the sun that can parch the earth
and remember the times of the ice
the earth will survive
by natures device
but you will be gone from this place
no child will remain to inherit
no forgiveness of grace
will save you from your fate

for the love of the land
for the love of your home
act swiftly,
show no neglect,
before it’s too late,
learn respect

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masked by a smile

a dark cloud that blots out a sunset
a dead leaf that floats in the gutter
a discordant note in a chord
a door that groans on its hinges
a name I forgot in a dream
a bird that falls from its nest
a paper bag blown on the wind
a sticky mess, squashed on the floor
a face masked by a smile
a tree that fell in the storm
a fly i swatted away
a flurry of words that drown on a page
a cypher, a dot, stopped on the spot
a negative metaphor
all that i am
today
yesterday
whenever
has vanished away
as before

The Good Ship Endeavour

if you are sailing into a storm
you don’t seek a sinking vessel
i am being pragmatic
romance is alluring
a vision of paradise islands
leading to shipwrecks
it doesn’t save lives
I’m a sailor
it’s not a choice or by chance
it’s an anchor
but most sailors can’t swim
i will build my own ship
and be Captain
I wont name this ship Star of the Ocean
or Victory or even Endurance
if i ever recruit
the crew will be tried and tested
and walk the plank when found wanting
I name this ship Endeavour

After the Storm

 

A storm was above and the wind was intense,
Rattling resistant windows,
It battered against the glass,
Salt patina crazed, obscuring the view.
The sea wall boomed, a dark drum.

The rocks, veiled by mussel shell
Opening wide to the tide,
Lay hidden beneath the wild surface
Of broiling and tumbling water
Turned in a pool of cross currents

The fog horn sang out
Above the deep throated echo of sirens
Who lure sailing men to their sea graves.
The tides of the turn leave us debris,
Strange treasures with rope and mast beams,

Blue glass rolled smooth by long tides,
Smashed shells and well polished pebbles.
Fragments of cuttlefish bone.
After the storm we gather them home
To make decorative frames for our mirrors

All our mirrors face out to the ocean.
Wind chimes of shells hang in the light.
Cuttlefish carved into faces unknown
Hang from blue string on our walls.
The storm did no damage at all.

 

 

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.

At the Tower

Over heights in turning  winds that swept the hills where gorse and broom, in golden banks, flowered amongst the thorns,

running on long legs he came, flying from the  west, in rags, at sun sink hour

His coat tails torn, flapped and flew,

his hair dishevelled knots of midnight hue,

he called the dark of thunder in, he made the lightning sing.

He cleared the earth and fed the grain

with rolling storms, falling in torrential rain, washing dust away

and in his wake, the ravens came

their feathers tossed and ruffled wild,  their cawing cries split the sky, calling up deep days and shallow graves.

They circle now above the Tower and cry for Bran’s return, to prophecy a wink in Odin’s eye, a star that heralds dawn

But all is quiet, all is still, this is not the time, this is not the hour. There is no awakening.

We can only wonder here and wait.

Meeting My Inner Child

in the midst of a storm of thunder

when hail stones fell from dark skies

a child came crawling to me

he came to me from his mother

sent into my protection

he was little more than a babe

 

i stopped and stooped to lift him

i looked into his soft little face

i saw bright eyes full of wonder

he seemed made of wonder and grace

i placed him onto my back

 

i told him to cling very tight

but he flung himself backward to earth

beyond where my hands could reach

i turned and raised him again

held him in tender embrace

 

i explained he had to be strong

for a journey

arduous

long

but we’d be safe

in the end

 

he smiled at me

like a friend

 

 

 

Broken Wings

Romantic love is a fragile thing;
joyous, beguiling, appealingly sweet.
At the first fearful thought it flies away
a trembling bird on a shattered wing.
Frightened away by too much enquiring,
too many questions, best left unasked,
too honestly answered, unwisely perhaps.

In the garden, where once was a breeze
that gently seduced and played with your hair
there now comes a storm that bows down the trees
tugs at the branches and strips all the leaves.
I heard the twigs snapping in two.

We lash the trunk to a stake for the strength.
We discover how shallow the roots are sunk.
Love grows stronger or love lies wounded.
There is no denying the truth.

The lessons of Cupid and Psyche
are as old as the well worn challenging hills.
We wander and wonder
and never will learn not to ask.

I hand you healing as best I can
to conjure the summers return.
A simple concoction of words could suffice.
You didn’t hear me.
You didn’t heed them.
You heard only bad weather news.

Now we don’t talk about love any more.
We lost all our sense of the deeper feeling.
Now the door to my heart is sealed
against storms, real, imagined or fleeting,
by your, oh so kindly said, gentle words:
‘I will always love you, truly, I mean it.
I will always love you my darling one,’
and then, oh, so revealing,
resounding throughout every possible meaning,
that final, heart wrenching
‘But…………’

In the Dock

‘remember you’re loved,’ you said
‘always remember that’
like a life-belt handed before a storm
those storms i never see coming

but what happens
on monday, tuesday,
wednesday, this week
until the weather is fine again
on friday, saturday,
sunday, next week

it’s not about words
but the lack of them
sink or swim
I can’t ask you the reason
you won’t speak
you are floating way off-shore

you leave me
to think
on dry land
to work out
what I did wrong
and when I tell you
you will say
‘no it wasn’t that,
it was this’
something i never thought
something i never did
something misunderstood
you held onto
and kept to yourself

this time i wont think
and you can tell me
or not as you wish
you can tell me
the magic is dead
it’s not dead in my head
it’s not dead in my heart
it’s not dead in the world
it’s sitting waiting
for you to come back
from your sailing trip
so am I