Marking time

You will be seen shortly

 

If you could look at old photographs

for the rest of your life would you be sad,

not knowing what the future might have in store,

unwilling to wait for it

 

Deep voiced chatter below from the young men

who were boys not so long ago – unaware

that Dad is in his garret going stale

trapped in their expelled air

 

Above an aeroplane drones against heaven

sketching time, spreading dreams, reminding me

of the past

Of how elastic time can be. Except that it has stopped

 

The spring in the step of the man in that old picture

has uncoiled – it lays flat – lacks – kinetic energy

lives on in the losses of the past

Moribund. No better word for it.

 

Now people go out into the street to worship

care workers

clap and cheer to show solidarity against a single

malevolent cell

 

The wait goes on. The future stalled

Their voices below rumble on unaware of the past

because they live in hope, inviting the future to ‘come on in’

while my hair is grey, extinguished, so even pixels concur

 

This lockdown may become a permanent thing

I feel it’s characteristic embrace

A painless drowning – ennui

And ask again, why has it always been this way?

Pollution

Broad Lane in fog

 

The demons came again last night

traipsing through the virgin forests of my head

all dark and quiet, unsuspecting in repose

when I lay all the trees to horizontal so they can rest

before making a canopy for the day

that place of safe passage for journeymen

and people with business and clear consciences

to perambulate, perhaps not like fawns in a sylvan scene

but far off,  in soft focus, on a good day

How often must this happen? How many treats du jour

come curdled back to me

writhing dishes in the bleak moments of darkness

where death rehearses the curses over my cooling form

and I, innocent and possibly snoring am violated by my own ghosts

so I am minded to erect a one-way street

from one ear to the other actionable only at night

to see if I can divert this filthy traffic

Glimpse ( one of many )

Glimpse. Pic for poem.

 

in space, in time, a caught moment

that locus

between now and sometime later can be playful

yet the gaps lengthen and splice

into the inevitability of unfolding time

that ineluctable luxury and it’s conflation into one’s self

This being the first of the month and by its nature

much like many others I find myself in a fold of history,

with its little bookmarks liable to be set free when shaken

from the spine of ‘my’ book. Its close weave and glue, it’s conformity

posing the question, would you choose freedom if there were a choice?

Would you have the presence of mind whilst you were in free-fall

to attach yourself to something meaningful

to make a pact with a promise and hang there in space

waiting for clarity?

Would you, could you. do you exist in partial time,

a partner in grace?

Well do I?  Will I ever fall to earth…

Maureen

Maureen. pic

 

so many words came tumbling out

as if they had been uncorked from this little

Irish woman from Waterford

in front of her the river shone and curved around a weir

white water crashing on the rim of its soft flowing surface

and in the far distance her memories

a fugue set against the towpath with its runners, couples

and people ambling with dogs all unaware of her in her pool

an island on a bend of a fictional river with her husband

who passed away in 2014 – she lets us know of her childhood across

the water, one of nine from Waterford  “where the crystal comes from”

that last with a knowing twinkle in her eyes

of how long ago Edward came to her home town on holiday with friends

and quite by heavenly happenstance they struck up a dialogue

that developed and grew into marriage and a family of their own

he, being a dab hand at everything around the house left her with

a sturdy ship but how she misses him, his presence almost tangible

she sheds a tear and smiles thanking us for listening

 at the end when we make to leave she says

“you’ve made my day”

Marooned

Marooned.pic for poem.

 

sometimes I get visitors who say they are related

they seem to practice their kindness on me as if

I am some kind of experiment

other times I simply lie there in gauze

the light strained through filters so that I

seem to rest beneath a halo

a crescent of colour ready to blush in tune

with my biorhythms – it’s probably plugged-in

but then so am I

so we run in parallel, pointless orbits

and most of the time I dare the lights to go

out where silence at least would show respect

 

sometimes I get visitors who say; ” you look well today”

they must imagine their words will be a tonic

but then I hear them say ” how awful to be locked in”

as if I’m deaf

that’s when I wish I was dead

but I’m not and the voices won’t go away

I get this every day and when I’m gone

I look forward to that day

it will be as if I was never here

never in the remote kindness of strangers

in dread of their footsteps

and all their good intentions

Danger of death

Danger of death. pic

this atmosphere of dread entangling all zones

of consciousness – the world and it’s dominions

touched – or yet to be – so that we are – under threat

 the rule makers, those commissioners for oaths

are forced to make declarations and restrictions on our wants

so that we are quarantined, our migratory instincts curtailed

smudged into this collective sense of loss

yet those with  most to lose become, for once, the most compliant

and quick to judge

they will signal their conformity, their love of all humanity

for as long as this shall last

because when it is over they will resume their dominance

over flat dwellers, the disadvantaged and plain poor saying

” so life goes on, we have weathered that”

taking off their gloves and masks to reassert the status quo

and leave, as ever, history to do the decent thing and remember

the ones who died, businesses gone under and lives shattered by

confinement and all that mortal pressure

so that in times to come park benches up and down the land

will have inscriptions to lost ones and heroes who failed to emerge

from that time ‘we’ marked as COVID, a pandemic

that came and went as auguries do, in thirds

dream, nightmare and presentiment

for the herd mentality, a doltish selfishness and all those small tics

were magnified, so now we must hope for common blood and bonds

to form and take us forward as friends risen from adversity

able gently at some future time to observe those legends

A telling

A telling. pic. poem with words

 

the sound in an Irish voice last night

made me feel nostalgia for an ‘old’ place

on the coast of Donegal

that sentimental muscle in me loved

the lilting refrain

of men who remembered pain

and still

raised a smile and spoke with precision and wit

of times gone by, of dreams gone awry

with an evocation in the air they displaced of ancient associations

the heinous sins, the grief in troubled souls

of men and women who have known

the cling of pain

rising up through words to make

something solid in the air, something lasting

a flag to wave and tell of hope

Home

Home. A poem

 

wind-tied molecules cling to a park bench

their aggregated jewels drawing colour

from soft morning light

as the dogs and their owners stroll by

oblivious mites in the bigger picture

set fair between their couches and other dreams

and so

this moment in time is just an interlude

a duty woven into the fabric of responsibility

whence in truth all moments go

absorbed into “a life”

whose fragments are the working parts

of a mosaic

the carpet upon which we tread

it’s magic threads and woven messages

all ultimately left behind the door

darkness descending with the flap

the last post resounding on the mat

and emptiness obscures everything finally

all of those things we carelessly overlooked

those messages that were always in plain sight

gone from Welcome to Good Night

James

James and I. Collage 2019

 

a day looms in the near future

laden with unknown fears

it is, or it could be, a turning point

a signal, a way point. Certainly it marks

a departure

of our red-haired son with his given name

into the company of other men

other souls who seek solace in extremity

who will bawl his name and push him

to limits we, his parents, never could, never would

and in those moments of strain

where God may not be found but God invoked

this boy, this man, our progeny

will know that our love will not desert him

in that liminal state he finds between his youth and his future

and will he know what I have learnt

that he is powerless, yet as a child of love

he carries us, our love, our future seeds

and he is goodness if he so chooses

Bardroom banter

 

I'm empty

the poet’s gross conceit

that all things can be known

everything reduced to pity

in their grand strokes

the ineluctable, the inviolable

made naked

by inspiration

but I believe

as all failed poets do

that ghosts know more

and men in cloistered cells

with only silence

and chants to break the mood

glimpse gifts

that sentient men

must miss

and so at times I long

for my last breath

and a glimpse at the noble

in silence