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Sunday 30 September 2012

6 Billion Others

They have the table next to ours.
He tall and thin. Forthright in his views - and ours.
She on the attractive side of plump.
Relaxed. Amused. And taking it all in.
We've introduced ourselves. He leans across.
What do you do to amuse yourself? he asks.
You grow prize blooms, perhaps? 
"I blog."
You what?
"I blog."
He's puzzled - and trying not to let it show.
She whispers words of explanation. I catch:
You know - like Stepahanie... 
He frowns. Oh, that! 
(To me) I think you might do better with prize bloons!
What DO you find to blog about? 
"Art and poetry, for the most part."
How on earth can someone blog on them?
They don't get up and do things. They're just THERE!
What CAN there be to say? 
"Sometimes," I say, "they do the most amazing things."
He looks to her for help. There's none forthcoming.
Her eyes twinkle, but that is all.
(To me.)I think prize blooms would be a better bet! 
"Whatever turns up next," I say.

Next time I see him we are in reception.
He's studying a print. It's of a watercolour,
depicting the hotel. He turns as I approach.
What could you make of this? he asks.
"I could talk about the loose technique -
the way the eye melds blobs and patches
into a coherent whole. The way you see
not what is really there, but what the artist saw.
Or I could spin a story out of it."

If they had built it this way, friend,
it would have fallen down!  he says.

I am indebted for the title and the theme to this week's prompt at dVerse Poets: Poetics by Brian Miller. Do pop over and see what It's all about!

Saturday 29 September 2012

Zapper the Rapper

So styled, self-styled, but never a rapper really.
A misnomer. He
would mostly sing along to a guitar.
A smidge of Will.I.Am, a bit
of Blues and something of Bill Haley now and then.

That night, the night in question, night of nights, night
never to be forgotten, the night of his favourite gig -
the function room of The Whistling Pig,
with every one of his small cult following
singing along to their favourite song of love,
it hit him like a blinding light, smack between the eyeballs -
afterwards I had to wonder: was it he said eye or was it I?
(Oh my, what memory does to us poor geniusses!) 
So there he was, singing to the faithful how love had hit him
right between the eyeballs. Maybe it was only stage lights...
but whatever in the world it was, it struck and stuck:

If energy and matter are two sides of the same coin -
are one ghost wearing either of two coats,
are interchangeable - as Einstein said - and if the force
of gravity, multiplied a million times in a black hole
can stop time dead in its accustomed tracks, 
then maybe that's because what we call gravity
is but the negative of what we know as time...

And being hit resoundingly like this, he had no choice:
he had to sing it to the world, and sing it as it came. 
He ploughed straight on without a break:

Oh love was sweet and love was kind,
but love grew cold and cruel as hell,
some unknown force had cancelled all
that had been warm and beautiful
and time itself was petrified
and all we loved was crucified
and crushed by wanton gravity.

He had no math.
None of what you might call, education.
No way of proving what he knew,
what he'd been given.

Would song, his song,
would art convince a sceptic world?
The music had no formulae,
the lyrics had no numbers,
his passion had no love,
his love no passion any more.
Just a man
with a song
that no one understood.
A lost love,
a lost voice crying in the wilderness
a lost insight.

The world had lost
what should have been
the next big thing.

Friday 28 September 2012


Bosham pronounced Bozzm.
If you go, the car wash is a must.
It's free for both the owners and the fans.
Twice a day the tides flood in
and for a while the car park is a bath.
It's just the basic wash, of course:
no shine or smart blow dry.
Surprising though, how many leave their cars
the two hours round high tide
in spite of warning notices.

Another must: the Parish Church of Holy Trinity
with highly elevated South Aisle, chapel
and the sacrament reserved for those near death.
You're closer to Heaven in the South Aisle here
than anywhere except the belfry tower.

King Canute lived locally -
he of the failed attempt to stop the sea's advance.
(I wonder if he'd practiced - and how hard -
to stem the car wash tides.)
His daughter was a native of these parts. Alas,
the poor child drowned when playing by the stream.
She's buried in the church by the South Aisle.
They moved her back in nineteen-something from
her cemetery grave. Beside her in the churchyard
lay a man in rich, expensive clothes. Canute - 
or so historians now think. 
Also local: Harold. (Ten
sixty six and all that jazz.) He sailed from here
for Normandy. He and the Parish Church
are featured in The Bayeux Tapestry.  (see here)

Bosham Parish Church

Thursday 27 September 2012

Art for ART's SAKE

You've heard the myth. of course,
the one about the artist
afraid of the blank canvas...
All poppycock!  To him it's not
an empty space.
It holds, if not
the first trace of his image,
then at least
the terms in which to spell it out.
It is not total freedom,
a blank page
on which to write whatever comes
(which would be scary),
but constraint.

Around the canvas edge
(where later on, the frame will go)
he thinks a fence or hedge
to isolate his marks,
to keep them safe
from all that might contaminate -
for this is what he fears,
the failure of his inner sight.

l'art pour l'art - in other words:

          KEEP OUT!

Let's say his image is a beggar man,
a line of refugees...
He feels a pity... this is what he must keep out.
Here failure lurks, for this is what he fears -
the image, having been adulterated,
will be too weak to stand alone, will need 
to borrow feelings, sentiments, emotions
from somewhere alien beyond the frame.

The pity that we want will emanate
from shapes and colours that belong
to what goes on within the working space.

Mostly though, we do not act like that:
the fence is porous, signs ambiguous,
grown over, out of date;
we read things into what is there, forget
each piece of art is an event,
a new piece of reality
and not a copy of a bit grown old.

So art becomes a starting point,
we're not content
to stay within the frame.
With poetry it's just the same.
The truth is words are never good enough,
but having nothing else,
we must protect their probity.

Musicians know the score!
They do not add strange meanings to pure sound.
Their less is greater than our more.

(I do so hope you've realised that this poem advocates all that it isn't!It was written for the excellent prompt at poetry jam.)

Wednesday 26 September 2012

The Testament that Won't Lie Down

Deep sound from deep beneath the waves.
Itself a wave form. Ragged. Tremulous.
DONG. Muffled too.
Reduction by a decibel
would silence it.
DONG echo of the tenor bell
from Saint Sebastian's fine peal
and only heard on still nights when
the church bells call the faithful to
their act of worship.

It's been like this since pirate days
No bells tolled on the night they came.
A full five miles the channel runs
from harbour mouth towards the land.
No sound they made, no flap of sail
no splash of sea, no voices raised
no guiding lights from land or sky,
no sound of berthing at the quay.
The meadow by the church lay still.
No DONG to say the bell had gone,
nothing to give the game away -
until four miles away from land,
and still within the harbour's bounds,
the bell fell through the ships poor floor
and bell and ship and pirate crew
were swallowed by the hidden void
now known to all as the Bell Hole.

So when the sea rests peacefully
and congregations congregate
to Saint Sebastian's mellow sounds,
when keen ears tuned to spirit things 
catch echoes from the deep... the old bell
answering the new...
then all good souls at home abed 
will turn in turmoil in their sleep
and dream the old still stalks the new -
The Testament that won't lie down.
The Bosham Harbour Channel from St Sebastian's (actually Holy Trinity) churchyard.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

On Pagham Beach.

Have you noticed how events that seem not to be connected often seem as though they ought to be?

I am sitting on a wooden bench seat
on a pebble beach, face towards the sea
in a high wind, beside a boulder carved
from worthy motives to a shape that fails
to lift my spirits, make that famous surge
of pure adrenalin. It sits there, squat,
sufficient in its heft, its small brass plate
a telling of the fact that off this beach
the well-known harbour - Mulberry - was born.*
A few weeks. Fifty sections, each of some
six thousand tons. I've often wondered how
the German spotter planes could miss so much.
The plaque explains: the builders sank each piece
as it was finished. One would not refloat.
It lies there, visible at each low tide.

A young man pushes a twin buggy round
from six O'clock, almost collapses on
the far end of the seat. Falls forward, head
resting on the handle of the buggy.
Fast asleep - while tucked inside, two twin boys,
identical, are also sound asleep.

From 4 O'clock two more young men. Also
in charge of twins. Two more identical.
The men themselves the same. Three pairs in all,
so something in the world's great scheme of things,
its hidden depths, is working its self out!
The new (child) twins are older boys. Lower
infants, I would guess. They carry buckets
full of bits: short lengths of wood, match boxes,
twigs and paper cups, boat shapes and plastic
items which they take down to the sea to float
them there. On each occasion though, the large 
waves sink or swamp them and they pick them from 
the water run up to the rock, climb on,
and lay their treasues in the sun - to dry!
The high wind promptly blows them off. They weight
them then with pebbles or with sand and try
to fit them to each other. Like maybe
they are jig-saw bits. I fantasize now.
Are they building their own Mulberry... but 
no, it doesn't work. End! cries one. They sweep
the boulder clean and run back to the men.

The man beside me rises, walks away to 9 O'clock.
The other two - at that exact same moment -
turn, depart the way they'd come, but stooping.
Flicking pebbles. The pebbles fail to skim.
The waves must always have the final word.

* Here

Thursday 20 September 2012

exercises with moving parts

(Scroll down for the back story.)
Take any two poems and open them up. Imagine they are clockwork clocks or watches. Relative to their respective lengths, which one is most liberally provided with moving parts - in your opinion? Do you not think this one the better poem, The more moving of the two? Billy Collins's Japan * has more moving parts than either Little Giddings** by T. S. Eliot or Margaret Atwood's This is a photograph of me.*** Discuss. If you prefer, discuss among yourselves. Choose any poem you admire. Highlight in yellow all the moving parts. Do they make sense without the rest? Do the rest add up to anything without them? ............................................ * Japan ** Little Giddings *** This is a Photograph of Me

Back Story Yesterday I went to my Amazon account and was surprised to discover that two books were wending their way towards me: One which has been on my shelves for a year or two now and was marked as being due for delivery in September 2010; the other I had not heard of, but being only a few pounds and being that I might have ordered it and then forgotten all about it, I decided to let it be. It was (is) called Moving Parts. It served to remind me that once long ago I wrote an essay comparing a poem to a watch with moving parts. (This was long before the digital age, of course. The essay has gone the way of all flesh. I might have to rethink it, but here for now this knocked-off poem!

And having foisted this load of nonsense on you, I am ducking off now, taking cover until early next week when I will once again stick my head above the parapet and endeavour to answer any comments you may have left. Adios.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

The Pulse of Life

A plastic football
red and green, sprrrrrrrri-zzles into space.
Is skywards bound. A small boy's face,
a moon, near full, with beams to spare - he
having dribbled it along the street
then let it run into the road
and seen it trapped (half trapped, perhaps)
between the tarmac and a tyre,
then squirted out and higher now
than he has seen it yet, I'm sure.

What is he thinking, the small boy?
Of space ships? Moon shots? U.F.Os.?
A fraction of a second and he rumbles something's wrong,
spots jags in the trajectory?
Then as it falls, the way it falls... something about...
not the way a football falls... a magazine, 
a flier from the take-away,
something that opens out and flaps and jigs from side to side. 
He picks it up and walks away.
It's obvious he's near to tears.

I'm leaving you, dear reader, to decide
if now we're moving to a different narrative -
or simply to a darkening of this.

I must have seen the small girl sitting on the kerb, 
but had not registered the same. She's watched the boy,
she's seen what happened to the ball,
yet now she rolls her doll between two cars -
except it will not roll. She kicks it viciously.
It slides, form lost, a bundle now,
into a motorcycle-sidecar combination's path.
The motorcyclist sticks on all his anchors
and the bike acts crazily: zig-zags, the way 
the football had. It judders to a grinding halt,
the third wheel crushing the doll's head.

He's leaning on his handlebars and breathing hard,
the motorcyclist who had thought a child was running out.
The small girl gathers up the pieces of the broken head,
distributes them around her pockets. Gently cradles
headless dolly in her arms and takes her pulse.
She grins. She'll live, she says, and skips off down the road.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

the gods and us

When we were gods
we danced with gods,

danced on the waves,
held hands with gods,

we walked with gods
and talked with gods.

When we were gods
we thought as gods

we fought as gods
and slept with gods.

When we were gods
We kept our gods

beyond harm's way;
hung out with gods,

wrung all we could
from all our gods.

When we became
more truly man

the gods hung on,
clung to the past -

for gods outlast
the thoughts we have.

Now movie stars
or sporting names,

cardboard cut-outs,
video games,

consumer things -
but mind the strings -

we love them now
as in the past.

Guise after guise
they've tried on us.

Possessions have
possessed our souls.
Written for the Tess Kincaid (Willow) prompt at The Mag - to whom I am indebted for the image.

Monday 17 September 2012

Farewell Old Friend

I have been conducting a spring clean. (Okay, I know it's not spring!)Not the whole house, just my small computer room, but even so... And not one of those annual things, but a life one. And in the process I decided that I had to let a very dear and old friend go - my art folder, which has been with me since early student days. You see it above resting on the recycle bin before finally taking its leave of me. Below is a transcript of our final conversation.

Goodbye old friend, 'tis now
The parting of the ways.
For sixty years - and then a bit -
You've stored and carried
All that I could paint and draw.
You've kept them safe - a task, I fear,
Somewhat beyond you now in your torn form.

Sixteen whales' skeletons
I had in me one time,
My belly full of bone...
Okay! I jest, I jest! Photos they were -
Of sculptures you had made.

'tis true enough! Without complaint -
Though over-stuffed and put upon -
You've always turned up trumps.
Not even once you let a drawing slip.

Aye, overstuffed with nudes on odd
Occasions, I recall. The coloured model
That you liked so much... The massive thighs...
Do you remember her? A full load then
You gave me, no mistake. The drawings all
In conté crayon, brown and red - that's if
My memory serves me well. It should,
Seeing that it all came off, the crayon did, 
Inside my folds. You never did succeed
In shifting all the stain of it.

A thunder storm on one occasion
And I so unprepared. God, what
A night we had of it, you full of
Water colour drawings, fragile stuff,
Me having kittens that you'd let some water in.
As if... Pristine they were when we got home.

So why think that of me? "As if..." you say,
And you are right. Why think I might then,
Little Master Worry Guts?
Whenever did I fail you in that way?
Not even when you threw the water
From the brush wash jar across my flanks!
Remember that one, good and faithful friend?

Indeed I do, you bear the stain of it -
Like many others - to this day!
But you are right: the paintings went unscathed.

And once you left me
On the Epsom train. Much too concerned
With your new girl friend to remember me.
Then what was I to do? Some schoolboys
Found me, had a laugh at what they thought
The "naughty" drawings stashed inside.

I don't know what you did, my friend,
But what you did you did it well.
You were returned to me and all inside intact.
Written for Mrs Upoles prompt Conversations at Theme Thursday

Sunday 16 September 2012

First Time in an Inner City School

I'm halfway up the staircase, paused
on the half landing, looking down
on to the playground - the very one
I just walked through. So peaceful then,
a total mayhem now. 
Thirty or forty boys, have formed a ring,
inside which another ten or twelve
do battle, no holds barred.
Already some are showing blood.

I hammer on the window glass - to
no effect. The window's locked.
I hare back down the stairs the way I came
and out through the main door.
I'm standing now atop a flight of brick 
steps, wide and curved, high above the melee.
I stay put. Survey the scene.  They
do not know me, nor I them. There
seem to be no staff around.

I'm rummaging inside my throat
to find my loudest voice.
It works. The maestrom calms.
Muddied boys rise slowly from the heap.
A hundred faces (probably) look up,
peer through the eerie silence - and see me!

Now I descend, but as I do,
a voice from somewhere, thin
but carrying, calls out:
The rest is instinct. All this time,
I've been considering 
who are the major culprits here.

Time for action now: YOU,
I sort out the injured, best I can,
then follow my chosen six upstairs.
They've done exactly what I would have wished.
They have spread out in one long line
the full length of the hall. Some Brownie points
for that! But not all good; the nearest boy
looks wild: You've only picked on us
because we're black! he says.

I truly hadn't noticed until now.
I look along the line: black, black, black, black,
black... wait: the last boy's white. As white as me.
And what of him? I ask. Why do you think
I picked on him? BECAUSE HE'S IRISH, HIM!

The cavalry at last. The deputy.
I brief him first, then leave.
The staff room and a coffee call.
Written to Hobgoblin's (Fred Rutherford's) prompt First Times at dVerse Poets ~ Poetics

Saturday 15 September 2012

Dear John...

I found our collage yesterday -
Or as I like to think of it: montage.
Each item here an echoing,
Lovingly cut out
Then pasted into memory,
Of something that we shared.

We cruised the coast of Kent,
Sea misted all the way -
You called it haar,
Though wrongly, I believe. The coast
A faded postcard from the sea,
The fading I see here.

Here are the pearls you wore,
The doily from the restaurant where we lunched...
So posh, insisting on a tie!
You gave me your silk ribbon
And I made a tie from that.
We giggled through the meal.

And then the little gallery,
The picture that we bought
for our front room... 
(We'd always planned ahead!)
Remember how much care she took
Protecting it with yards of burlap?

Only the letter is misplaced in time.
It came a few days later - set out
Your reasons which I understood
And to this day accept, though foolishly
Still half expect
The problems to resolve themselves.

It's just the net that's slipped my memory...
It must have some significance, but
let it rest... allow loose ends to be. 
Written for Vicki Sheehan's prompt Timeworn, The Thursday Think Tank's #114 post at Poets United

Friday 14 September 2012

The Future in a Glass

Behold! he cries, The man! A man! All men...
In this small glass mankind in essence lies.
Here sleeps our history, sleeps Bethlehem.
Here some new Mary opens future eyes.
Pascal and Gandhi,  all are in this phial:
Mother Theresa, Schweitzer, Wittgenstein,
Ivan the Terrible - mankind most vile,
and mankind saintly, neutral or benign.

"Aha!" a heckler cries to rouse the show,
"you've nothing there but common D.N.A.!"
Not so! says he, this is no single throw,
for with this glass I shape the world my way!
"How do you use it, friend?" the heckler cries.
Like this, he says, and sniffs the glass, and dies.
Written for the dVerse Poets~Pub Form for All prompt by Gay Reiser Cannon

Thursday 13 September 2012


The other evening on my T.V. screen
I watched blind ballet dancers
performing a routine.
I couldn't help but think of John,
my friend from art school. He had danced
in various roles in several ballets,
modern and traditional,
a member of a premier company -
until they had to let him go.
Myopia, the fatal flaw.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

The Bug in My Gut,

The bug in my gut,
if I could question it
about its world
and its place in it,
might well describe
a world we'd recognise:
a world of galaxies,
black holes and milky ways,
solar chasms filled with interstellar gas,
a spiral galaxy or two,
clusters and superclusters
of God knows what but will not tell,
but most of all, just empty space,
space filled with spaces spinning dizzily in solar winds -
a world whose size 
extends beyond
its small imagination;
a world of vast expanses
belching now and then
before they settle down,
quiescent for a few more aeons.

And finally,
the bug in my gut
might turn to wondering
how many universes
exist out there...
how many guts in parallel I have.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Art is an Industrial Process

Breakfast - Fernand Léger
The Legendary Léger
allegedly taking the cream
from cakes Picasso baked.

His own, machine turned,
milled, moulded pressed or rolled,
were streamlined into curves.

He took the sharp edged things of life,
smoothing them into lozenge shapes,
and turning his back on cream.

From some industrial furnace
rivers of long, black, molten hair
stark against the light.

Breakfast coincides
with his white period,
finds echoes of a lab':

technicians (robots), cylinders,
flasks, bottles, jars -
reflections unexpected

as those on petri plates -
all part of his dynamic world
of curvilinear shapes.

The image as prompt was provided by Willow at The Mag

Monday 10 September 2012


From where did the spirit come
that saw off the doubters,
and great underraters?
When entering the arena
it warmed to the flame
and awoke the sleepers.
It has left us all with a job to be done.

From where did the spirit come?
Did anyone see it
or feel it before the games?
Did anyone know it was there?
Which of these athletes
could have climbed to the highest without it?

From where did the spirit come
to open the eyes
of the blind normal-sighted
and pathways to success?

And where will it be tomorrow?
Let's not speak woolly words:
it will be where the work is hard
and the labourers work together.

Two new (to me) words to come from the Olympics 
and Paralympics:-

She medalled.
He's going to podium.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Mostly Haiku

Yesterday we drove to Verwood near Bournemouth to visit our son and daughter-in-law for their autumn family B.B.Q.. The journey would normally take about 75 minutes, but yesterday, with everyone heading for the Beaches, The New Forest and the West Country beyond, it took nearly three hours. I recorded the event thus:
Cars backed up for miles
but suddenly the road clears -
who gave the order?

Traffic news breaks in
interrupting the music -
poor news for someone.

On the car ahead
written in the dust SHIT YOU!
and through the rear screen
a small boy pokes out his tongue -
nothing else to see for miles.

Cerulean blue
with white chalk playground scribble
a Gordian knot -
the sky's wild loops and hatchings
fading slightly as we look.

Journey's end at last:

Sun and clear blue sky
smoke rises from the barby
triggering low cloud.

No problems driving home

Sun warms the far hills
picking out each bush and tree -
headlights here a must.

I am submitting this post in answer to Mary's Poetics prompt Autumn at dVerse Poets.

Saturday 8 September 2012

The Wisley Sculpture Trail

Here are some of the images I promised you in Thursday's post. As I mentioned, The Surrey Sculpture Association's annual sculpture trail at Wisley is a great favourite of ours. This year there were 64 exhibits, mostly set in sympathetic surroundings. Inevitably, the quality varies considerably but for me the chief delight is seeing them in those attractive surroundings, and it was this aspect more than any other that I tried to capture with the camera.
Peacock (Steel)

     Fish (Steel)        Golden Eagle (Bronze Resin)

Promise (Cement)and Faith Hope Love (Slate resin)

Self Preservation (Serpentine stone) : Otters (Iron resin)

Embrace (Aluminium resin)

Friday 7 September 2012

Boys and their Guns!

A moment of madness (some would say -
or childishness, or sacrilege - but I
know what I am about).
Assembling my trusty ray gun
(it's parts distributed around my pockets).
You'll never guess
what this ole boy's supposed to be:
my silent challenge to the world of faith before
I let the grand ole stone work have it -
straight between the eyes.

{WHAM!} {BAM!} {POW!}as they put it in the comics.

Before the stonework, though, the reredos -
all those fine carvings that the priest adores so much
(and I have never really understood),
a pool of molten butter on the floor.

O.K.. Test successful. Down to business.
Another burst. The great East Window goes.

Likewise after supper he took the cup...
the priest goes on, oblivious
to the Joseph Chapel's sad demise,
not to mention the transept 
and part of the clerestory...

...and when he had given thanks...
but I am Biggles in the Orient; Dick Barton, Special Agent,
and a host of secret operators
charged with scything weeds -
for that's the way I see it now:
I'm scything down the weeds
to see the big wide world out there like fields of corn.
This do in remembrance of me... 

And as the towering weeds collapse,
what corn I see!
A row of terraced houses
(condemned before the war),
the paint and varnish factory
(burnt out a month ago),
an avenue of lime trees
(black as soot and  almost dead from lack of care).
The people are invisible -
except I see them now in stark relief,
redrawn by what the brain can do
when faith allows imagination to catch up.

That's better eh? The golden corn has room to breathe,
the dog can see the rabbit,
the priest has sight of those he thought to serve.
He's suddenly among the dispossessed.
Written for Victoria Slotto's prompt at dVerse ~ Poets' Pub: Symbolism

Thursday 6 September 2012

Haiku from yesterday

Went AWOL yesterday. Doreen and I took ourselves off to RHS Gardens at Wisley, it being the time of year for them to host The Surrey Sculpture Societiy's Annual Sculpture Trail. What we had not realised was that it was also the first day of their Annual Flower Show, the two together amounting to a reasonably tiring, but very worthwhile, day. Some images of the sculptures will follow anon, but here for now are a few haiku that came out of it.
Like a breath exhaled
the butterfly has landed
the leaf is trembling

Earth spurts out of earth
out of sight and burrowing
life springs eternal

Small girl feeds the ducks
out of an enormous bag
half goes in her mouth

Among the grasses
Eve folded like a foetus -
a nut split open

Slate and iron trees
serrated edges saw-like
hint at their demise?

Wednesday 5 September 2012

The public Speaker

The delivery is slow, the text is dry and technical: the two taps drip in unison like water run to waste. It's like a chef would have us watch the Brussels being topped, the potatoes being peeled before he serves them raw.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

A Kind of Heaven

Today thermometers
shot high into the nineties.
My brain was cooked.
I slept the sleep of death
beneath the apple tree,
and there I dreamed
a wish-fulfilling dream
in which I found myself
seduced by sexless flesh,
soft beauties such as I
had never met before,
who roamed a land both
verdant and ice cool with
bubbling streams and
rich in shade. But what
most tempted me to 
make this land my own
was all-pervading blue,
an ice cold - welcome - hue.
Just to look at it... relief from
casseroling  heat. I saw that
everywhere and everyone -
the beauties more than most -
had been suffused by blue.
Okay, there was a bush
that fiercely burned but -
Biblically - stayed intact,
and more than that,
had set alight a lengthy tract 
of that fair land. That,
too, was not consumed.
And true enough - as nothing
can be perfect - one beauty
had a hand, palm raised, 
protective of her vulva. (Or
where one would imagine
the vulva might have been.)
STOP! it said. Imperious 
command. NO ENTRY! 
No can do! (or was it that 
they all had hands, 
these beauties, where 
their labia might have been?)
Forgetting then, all slight,
and slightly disappointing, 
aspects - fiery shrubs, etc, etc., 
the rest of it, a kind of heaven, 
welcomed me. The land, 
its occupants, the dream 
and I were cool - as cool as 
the blue inner core
of some bright flame might be
I am indebted to Willow at The Mag for the image and its prompt.

Monday 3 September 2012

The Garden

The garden is always a surprise
though nothing in the garden is surprising 
except you count 
how many spiders parachuted in last night
on threads so fine
yet strong enough
to hold a whole world, throat and collar, hard
against a wind in savage mood.

The spiders' tents are everywhere.
The rose bed is preparing for a festival, it seems -
of beer or music, probably.

nothing of the garden will surpise as much
as nature and the gardener
when slightly out of sync:
two voices raised                soprano and contralto
now one against the other
and now in perfect unison.

Two truths in conflict -
but with everything in common.

The spiders do not understand the music
though they listen-in attentive to the themes,
afraid to breathe
unless the music gives them leave.

And no one rustles toffee wrappers here, these days.

I often wonder what the bo(a)rders 
make of trippers
who drop in for a season and are gone.

But it's the way plants chat across the void of lawn
that takes the unsuspecting by surprise.
In the chemistries of shape,
in geometries of hue,
are subtleties of body language 
far beyond our ken:
the dahlias dogmatic in their notions,
the phlox with quite a different point of view.

I think the roses may be slightly bombed out of their minds.

Sunday 2 September 2012

My Two Stands for Human Freedom

Rebellion 1 

It's an honour!
You can't refuse...

It's a matter of honour,
so I do refuse.

How did we get to this:
antlers locked
with the establishment;
my almost outlaw status;
my stand for human rights?

in the annals of the school
that one should spurn
a prefect's badge!
The badge was not the problem.

Surely somewhere
someone's charter says
all human beings have the right
to spurn a cap
with yellow tassels.

Rebellion 2

Rebellion two
came three terms later:
my request
for transfer out -
to art school if you please.

Nasty place. Unacademic.
Uniforms there, blue and green;
corduroy and velveteen -
and pork pie hats
are all the rage!

My heels dug in more deeply now.
The new art master took the blame.
Too damned good at his art game.
Bohemian, the pair of us.
I left uncherished and unblessed.

Stu McPherso (Poems of Hate and Hope) at dVerse ~ Poets' Pub has set "Rebellion" as this weeks topic.

Saturday 1 September 2012

The Eyes of Miro

Constellation: The Beautiful Bird Deciphering The Unknown To A Pair Of Lovers by Joan Miro
Infinity of infinities
(love being one).
Infinity of eyes
(for how could love 
exist except
by means of eyes
and what they see
and how they meet?)

Miro saw eyes everywhere -
even in the most
unlikely places:
on trees and
out among
the constellations
far out in space.
On body parts not of the face.

He saw an angel once*
(of the apocalypse)
with many sets of wings
and eyes that covered it
the way scales blanket fish.
It lived with him for evermore

Here eyes are riders
of unbridled colts.
The colts
are insights
into mysteries.
The mysteries
are partial truths
of the unknowns.

Here twin gun barrel eyes
bore into us,
the curious,
the must-know strangers
unknowing and unknown.

The twin gun barrel eyes
guard her red
and black vagina,
birthplace of new versions,
constellations yet
to be created,
home of primal soup.

(The future may be better known to us
than our own day.)

The bird above her head
sings into being
through parrot beak and skull
all that the eye,
all-seeing, sees.
Her lover turns his back -
but not his eye.

Written for Brian Miller's Theme Thursday, Eyes
* A fresco in a local museum.