Poems 2020

In the Beach Hut

Me on the inside
Everything on the outside
Time lies neatly folded
Like an old cloak
In the corner

White pebbles the size of
Loaves of bread
Rest beyond freshly rinsed
Twice daily

Peeled paint flutters
Subject to capricious breeze

Jaded, weather blasted
It holds fast

Against the onslaught
For now.

Wren
I saw a wren today
Brown, small, fragile
Agile

For the first time
Since I was a
Child

It was only a
Momentary
Glimpse

Maybe I have not
Been looking hard
Enough

Maybe they have
Always been
There

Maybe I will never
See one
Again

Hatton Bridge

They spoke of Waterloo
As the first stones were laid
One asked who Jenkinson was
No-one knew

Elgin sold his marbles
Which surprised the Greeks
They would have looked good
On Hatton bridge

Trout twisted and teased
Descending from the Peaks
Just one might make
Lunch compleat

Tutbury could be reached
Without wet feet

At each end a seat

It took three years, not fast

Built to last.

From a Window
Without others, who are we?
Each moment as unnoticed
As early morning dew

Cold or chilly?
Who knows or cares
As night falls

Solitary confinement?
Watching without
Being seen

Thursday or Friday?
Rolling dusks, blur
Into one

Pasta or salad?
Each mouthful keeping
You alive

Right or wrong?
Planning, scheming, weighing
No one knows

I think, therefore I am
Until I don’t

The Glove
It lay there
On the pavement
By Tutbury Park

It used to
Be a flour mill
It isn’t now

Quite rigid
Solitary
And armless

Pointing west
Its fist puffed up
Brown leather

Forgotten
Severed carelessly
But useful

Dress to Impress

And so comes the time
The time when she goes on- line
To zoom, in her room
To follow her poetic pursuit
Once she finds the button “unmute”
That moment of brief hesitation
When she questions the extent of
Her preparation
Has her perfume been applied to the optimum?
Poison, Angel, maybe a dab of Opium?
Then the matter obsessing her mind
What does she have, what will she find
To assuage her fears, to clear her frown?
What will be the right dressing gown?
They are packed in drawers, they are hanging on rails
They billow as the doors open, seductive nightwear sails
Winceyette, flannelette, viyella too
Silky, satiny, velour, lacy, but not see through
For although she might sport a string of pearls
She is keen to show she is not that kind of girl
Then she sees it, next to her mink
A fluffy warm number in pretty bright pink
She feels like a peacock, a flamingo a parrot
A poem in one hand, in the other a carrot

Hazel
Harry Lauder’s walking stick
Gnarled, contorted, bark
Snarling, bent, thin and thick
Lurking in the park

Fisherman’s friend, with sturdy strut
For bream, and tench and trout
Ancient keelless coracle cup
Waterproof and stout

Nine grew around the placid pool
Feeding salmon nuts
In lazy pace
Burgeoning in belly size
Fattened, satisfied and wise.

Coronavirus Press Conference Bingo
Part One – Questions to the Foreign Secretary
Foot on the pedal,
Social distancing,
Too early to say,
Furlough (pay)
Ramp up
Special measures
R value
Guided by the science,
Pressure point,
Flattening the curve,
Global challenge
Flattening out,
Unprecedented,
Enormous debt ( gratitude),
Enormous debt ( treasury)
Some signs,
Early signs
ONS,
NHS
WHO.
Exponential,
Colleagues abroad,
The surge,
Learning from other countries,
Light at end of the tunnel
Lockdown
Absolutely clear
Not out of the woods,
On the front line
Right measures at the right time,
Tests that work,
PPE (not Oxford),
Overwhelming majority,
Thank the British People.
Unknown
Stay at Home
Save lives
Save the NHS
Part Two -Questions About the Prime Minister
Boris
Precautionary
Hospital
Intensive Care
Almost dead
Spirits high,
Fighter,
Discharged
30year old girlfriend
Exhausted
Recovering slowly.
He will need time

Ingestre Haiku Sequence

#1
Photosynthesis
Changes the landscape with great
Capability

#2
Another morning
Leaves resting still on pathways
Pristine, Unruffled
#3
Grand Arcadia
Manicured cornucopia
In view of a Wren
#4
Archway guiding sight
Disappearing far away
It is a long walk
#5
Athenian mocks
In grand Doric colonnades
It’s all Greek to me
 Viv Albertine
It seems we have parted
Prematurely
There were chapters to play out
Words unread
We did not go as far
As I had hoped
Our relationship had promise
Unfulfilled
You were hot, funny,
Interesting
But I lost you
I don’t know how
It was not expected
Maybe I will find you again
And we can pick up
Where we left off.

At Dawn
I limp, hovering about the tree line
Barren boulders scattered carelessly above
Mists shroud the ground, teasing in wild puffs
Morning dew glistens on my weather worn coat
Steel grey eyes, stare, searching
Scanning the muscle sapping upslopes
Bark bristles in the chill
Underneath an awakening canopy
The pack beyond the horizon now
But their fading scent still cradled in the mountain air
Saliva drips anticipating a kill which may never come

Dying Like A Dog
He limped, haltingly, from the clearing
Each step burdened by the beast within
His cracked feet screaming
A whimper to the pack
Their nuzzles already forgotten
Who stepped away
Far enough beyond
Out of earshot of his final
Not quite silent sibilance
A sparse bush beckoned
A world closing in tight
Tight as his chest
Tumbling onto his side
Alone, tired
Crying for his mother
His children
For everything
Until darkness fell

For Jacob

Stop!
I warned
Eyes fixed
On the ditch

It’s a hat
Of a witch
And she is dead
Or at least

I hope she is

Orange
Pointed and rimmed
It sits silent
In the brook

Or was it just resting?

Maybe
If we tiptoe past
Quietly
We will be safe?

Come quickly!

But
Under no circumstances
Say hubble bubble
Boil and trouble

“I know you are lying Gary.
But what happens
If she is only drying
And you are

Not?”

The Dream
Tatika’s callused palm pressed into mine
Helping me onto the grey bare rock
Smoothed by millennia of rasping winds
My tired feet warmed by the sun baked stone
Below a kaleidoscope of green
Nourished by snaking blue veins
We followed one trickle, which begat a stream
Which begat a torrent
Flowing relentlessly
Until it eased into a giant lake, placid and deep
Our eyes met- and I knew
I surrendered to the medicine man
As the golden bridge became alive beneath our feet

Birmingham Temporary Mortuary
It was the ultimate fast track
Premium Class, frequent flier, Business Class, Aspiring Trier
All rolled into one, with no turning back

No need to worry about
High Parking Fees
It’s an open ended ticket
Although the long stay car park seems wise
Following your mortal demise
Advance booking is welcomed

The departures board offers one destination
Check in checks them in without hesitation
Security scanning ensures everyone is dead
But there is no need to spread your arms
Spread eagled to show that you mean no harm
Each soul is waved through

Spirits in duty free does predictably well
The ghosts of flights to Oslo and Tokyo
From Berlin and Talin
Are called unheard

In the departure lounge
No-one makes a sound
The hearses are clear to land
With no resistance
All keeping a safe social distance.

Lager Lager

Lager, lager foaming bright
From the beer taps of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy awful chemistry

In what distant vat or vault
Steeped the essence of thy malt?
What unnatural process led
To the whiteness of thy head?

What the sugars? What the yeast?
And when fermentation ceased
From what market research came
The inauthentic German name?

What dread flavour, what aroma
How much will induce a coma?
How does calling lager ice
Begin to justify the price?

When the bars rolled down their shutters
And the drunks spewed in the gutters
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made Chablis make thee?

Lager, lager foaming bright
From the beer taps of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy awful chemistry

My Journey here
Stepping outside into fresh air,
The dampness of dewdrops, a glistening glare
The muskiness of rain topping the leaves on the floor
I take in the forest breathing better than before
Sounds of nature, engine roars away
wheels spin on wet stone
Cracks, leaves crumble
Anxiety ramps for what?
The unknown casts a shadow on the moment
a hand of comfort, trust and safety
Returns the peace and forests beauty
Washed leaves whispered in the drying breeze
Minty fresh in autumnal frieze
Squirrel tongue drying drops
Busy paws, tail that flops

The Akashic Records
Suspended in a place,
Beyond earthly reach,
In a store of infinite space.

Where everything is known,
From east, south, north and west.
Where everything is shown

To those who wish to look,
Before now and after,
Recorded in a book.

Past Life Fragment
It was as if I had always been there
That I had known them all my life
My untaught hands knew what to do
I did not need to learn these things anew
Travel
We journey to experience,
To discover.

To learn, to taste new foods,
To hear new sounds, to see new sights,
To touch for the first time.

Yet however far we travel,
The past is never far behind

Goose Fair Nottingham

Amidst the tumult, I grasped her slight hand, tightly,
Cheers, laughter, song and wild gasps
Filled my soul, filled her soul, I knew
A dizzy euphoria, an intoxication, I sensed
Such rapture transcended our temporal happiness
It gathered all the joy that surrounded us,
And had ever surrounded us, and had ever been,
And was yet to come.
It gathered it all in a celebration of what was now,
What had been, and what was to come
In a moment
Past lives Poem
You wake wanting the dream
you left behind in sleep,
water washing through everything,
clearing away sediment
of years, uncovering the lost
and forgotten. You hear the sun
breaking on cold grass,
on eaves, on stone steps
outside. You see light
igniting sparks of dust
in the air. You feel for the first
time in years the world
electrified with morning.
You know something has changed
in the night, something you thought
gone from the world has come back:
shooting stars in the pasture,
sleeping beneath a field
of daisies, wisteria climbing
over fences, houses, trees.
This is a place that smells
like childhood and old age.
It is a limb you swung from,
a field you go back to.
It is a part of whatever you do.

Social Media is Wrecking Our Kids

the neuro-scientists are alarmed
our children’s brains are being harmed

they’re being re-wired, infantilised
they’re not learning to empathise

with endemic obesity
it’s all too easy now to see

we will inevitably find –
enormous kids with tiny minds

a bloated, brainless generation
with no concept of concentration

hang on – I use facebook, I’m quite clever –
I don’t suffer from attention defic- whatever

The Frozen Few

say no to biodegrading and to corporeal corruption
say death is not an absolute it’s just an interruption

while some await the last trumpet to sound to be saved
others wait for the ping! of a kind microwave…

then they’ll quench their curiosity – get futuristic tlc
get their body fine-tuned by a Dr McCoy
get their psyche seen-to by a Counsellor Troy

and while I wouldn’t criticise
those few who would revitalise –
reconstitute – reanimate –
drop off without a wake-by date…

…to lie in liquid nitrogen
in a vacuum flask in Michigan
at minus 196 degrees
– indefinitely –
doesn’t do it for me
while there are those few, to whom, I know,
the notion of being deep-frozen gives a nice warm glow

rather than be a birdseye sleeping beauty woken with a techno-kiss
I prefer to achieve immortality through poetry… …like this

Magical Memories

I remember the dress that you wore when we met
The dress with the dots – how could I forget
Two hundred and four – none exactly the same
I counted them all as you came through the door
…I gave each one a name

We walked out together, beneath a lumpy grey sky
I see it so clearly now in my mind’s eye,
The pavement, the drizzle, the cars grumbling by…

You kissed me. I missed one. But I didn’t mind.
We were young. We had time.

The Thai restaurant. We held hands. Once more we kissed.
And whispered sweet nothings – well, you did,
I whispered the whole set menu and wine list…
[And what’s really nice is:
I can still recite it, including the prices]

And then back to your place, your face stuck to my face
While my eyes memorised your cd’s
I noticed a book there beside the computer
The abridged Kama Sutra (for the hurried lover)
And took a quick look – in two minutes, I’d red it – from cover to cover
You said, Hey do you seriously think that kind of thing can impress me?
And I closed the book, and my eyes, and said, Test me
Slug
low-born land mollusc
high-impact intruder
free-loader, sprout-spoiler
meandering marauder
disrespecter
of my broad-beans’ border
you’ve a one-track mind
in a one-track body
diligent pillager
soft-horned invisigoth
slow silver scribbler
paradoxically busy sloth
you’re a squishetty spoilsport
a glistening drag
the liquorice all-sort
nobody wants to find in the bag
it’s time that you were brought to book
you’re not as tasty as you look
listen chum, you are disposable
look at my thumb, it is opposable
unwelcome invertebrate
this might just hurt a bit
I pluck you and chuck you
into distant dew-drenched greenery
isn’t that mean of me?
slug, when all is said and done
you can hide but you can’t run

The Gargoyle

A stonemason’s craft is a solitary one
Granite and chisel,eyes specked with dust
Amidst rain snow and sun
From morning to dusk
Fashioning cherubims and saints
Angels and archangels his usual tasks
Fashioned without complaint
Saints and disciples, sometimes death masks

But high out of view
He fashioned himself, in lieu
Normally the prorogue of the wealthy
He fashioned the first selfie

My Town Part One
My town is like your town
C & A has gone away, John Collier’s window
Once the one to watch, now a thousand yard stare
From front and behind
There is nothing there
My town is where
Woollies pick n mix lured a generation of young fingers, fresh faces
Ratners was crap, its demise was heralded
After it had been unceremoniously Geralded
Not available now from BHS
Bed linen lamps, little brothers socks and vests
Not available at Comet, mums tumble drier
Not available from Rumblows a deep fat frier
Staples is stationary, Toys R us crushed by the folly
Of not foreseeing the supermarket trolley
The New Look in my High Street
Is a shuttered shop front
Don’t just book it Thomas Cook it
If you fancy going nowhere
Mothercare doesn’t, anymore
Soap wiped windows, empty store
Amazon knows no Borders
While betting shops throw loaded dice
Temples to empty avarice
My town is like your town
Its closing down.

My Town Part Two

My town, is like your town
A few bewildered denizens of the past
Hover outside the concrete carcasses of the old ways
New Gods are worshipped,
Kelloggs, Andrex and Dettol
Gucci, Prada and Burberry,
Now corpses in fading thoroughfares
Toppled icons
Overlooked by sterile skyscrapers
Whose night lights
Flash SOS into the emptiness
Without reply
The sick gasp for medicine,
The shelves of the healthy groan
Just in case
Mosques, churches and synagogues
Offer no prayers
While the aisles of Morrisons, Tesco and Aldi sing.
My town is like your town
There’s no-one around

My Town Part Three
My town is like your town
Citizens are flushed out of
Their hiding places

Like laboratory rats
A mad professor’s
Experiment

Masked, bewildered by
The glare of the new normal
Two metres apart

Foot soldiers beckoned
Over the top, towards work
By the daily briefing whistle

Towards a camouflaged foe
Waiting for the
Not so alert

Children return to school
While bodies flow
Over cold slabs

Behind which a swirling
Torrent of new infection
Gushes close behind

Porting a deadly raft
Of next week’s victims
Unstoppable

Furlough money buys beer
Millionaire footballers prepare
To play

In stadia whose empty seats
Could be filled
By the dead

Instead of salvation
We are offered circuses
And bread.

Leaves

Bending to soft breeze
Gently bowing to raindrops
Shadow from the sun

No Flowers Visible
She said write about flowers
Yet there were none
That I could see
From the fixed camera position

Three PM exactly
The screen flickered into life
To remember her death

After ninety- two years
An almost empty chapel
Save for two sons and wives
Two metres apart
United in grief

She was Welsh
There should have been daffodils
But maybe they would have looked
Insipid

I could hear a choir
Not see them
They were out of time

I could see the son’s sobs
But not hear them
Handkerchiefs stuffed
Into pockets rarely opened.

You asked me to write about flowers
Any flowers
But I have to report
There were none.

Statues
I fucking love statues
They just stand there
Doing nothing.

Stone, concrete
Bronze, gold
Fibreglass

You cannot beat
A good
Statue

People use them for directions
Don’t they have
Google maps?

Birds shit on them
Perhaps they are smarter
Than we think?

No-one really knows
Why they were erected
Or who erected them

Or when.
Maybe it was just
An afterthought?

Or even who they were.
That’s why they have plaques
To remind them

In the pub
We argue
About little else

They should make
Them float
That would show the topplers

St Paul, the Corinthians
Idolatry?
Nah, that’s ancient history

Work Wanted

Window fitter sought

Haiku writers are preferred

Must understand meter

Buxton

Where summer arrives late

And winter arrives early

Where rain lashes your face

In pellets

Where axe peaks are blunted

Blurred by mist

And the sandstone buildings

Are permanently soaked

Where six thousand years ago

At Lismore Fields

Before the Pyramids

Our ancestors made their home

My Alter Ego
Is a summer’s day
With gentle clouds
Perambulating
As ladies in heels
And long skirts
Being seen
Then gently moving on

Is a bold green hillside
Fractured into myriad shades
Dipping and sloping
Elegant, content
Refreshed by springs
Warmed by midday sun

Is a sea caressing beaches
But gnawing at rock
Glimmering and shimmering
Nibbling at pristine sand
Ebbing to draw breath
Always returning

Is certainty
Is relentless
Is beautiful
Is delicate
Is defiant
Is in thrall to no man

This is a Fibonacci poem, the syllables need to be 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 and then I went backward…

The storm.

Dark
Wet
It pounds
Against my
Windows curtains drawn
Against the incessant onslaught
But nothing  shuts out natures brutal cacophony
Drumming, beating, hammering pounding upon frail panes
And I cower under the sheets
But nothing stops the
Lashing blast
This
Night

Seconds out- Round One

Bish, bash, bish bash
Grunt, groan, grunt, groan
Watching the bout
From the safety of home

Probing left, probing right
Roar, yell, roar yell
The blue shorts boxer
is doing well

Thump, thud. Thump thud
Squelch, spurt, squelch spurt
The white shorts boxer
Is grievously hurt

Howl, pow, moan
Howl pow moan
It won’t take long
Ominous song

Wack, thwack, wack thwack
Bang slap bang slap
He lies out cold
On canvas mat.

One, two three four
Gerrin, yeah, phwoar
He’s counted out
Flat on the floor

Wren sees Man

He saw me today

Brown, small, fragile

Agile

For the first time

Since he was a

Child

It was only a

Momentary

Glimpse

He has not

Been looking hard

Enough

But I have

Always been

There

Our worlds

Rarely collide

We are too busy

Maybe he will never

See me

Again

Retribution

It was equipped with radar

Which never failed.

For the errant child.

There was no escape

Nor jamming device available

Propelled by the flick of a wrist

And a keen eye

Its aerodynamic properties

Were battle proven

Its oak frame was the missile

The softer sponge the warhead

No matter what defensive manoeuvre

Was attempted, it failed

Its target  pre-programmed

Terrible impact assured

A puff of white chalky dust

Exploding against youthful skull

Shrill yelp as the wood gouges skin

Then spins wildly to the floor

Mr Dunkley never missed

With a chalk duster

This Sporting Life

He studied every day, straining to beat the gaff

Talking gibberish, prey to vigorish

In thrall to

Lazy cannon fire of hooves,

Swathed in dragon’s snort mist

A morning dew of sweat in the 3.15

Rippling haunches kissed

By a reminder of the task

Bunched together, poised

To do what is asked

With gaits of silk

Pygmies carried by giants

Only the finish counts, blinkered

Riding the swelling oaths

From willing stands

With galloping heart, from standing start

And it is over in a flash

To a sauntering gambol

Amidst the slips of misfortune

Before weighing room judgement

All is in the balance.

The Mask

Warm water

Soap

Towel dry

Moisturised, primed

Block foundation,

Sticky

Then liquid,

Slick

Smoothing, soaking in

Concealer

Loose powder

Puffed on

Blush

Pale blue eye shadow

Eye liner then mascara

Lashes in Peacock tail splay

Lipliner

Lipstick

Lip gloss

Sealed

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1 Response to Poems 2020

  1. star says:

    Reading your Akashic Records and Past Lives poem, I think you might like this:

    Just discovered your site today. All the best!
    Star

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