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?

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”

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

One COVID day

Tribute

 

I opened my diary this morning and realised today would have been ( always was ) my mother’s birthday.  We have a magnolia tree in the front garden that blooms at this time. I will go out and photograph it to register a poignant memory of a remarkable woman.

Love you still Mum. Mike.

 

forget me nots  are blind to reason

for they share a common cause

not forgetting, they will always know

what you were like and never fail

to applaud

those memories of you – long after we have gone

misty eyed

and blue

Traces

Traces. pic for poem

 

distortions of the real world are glimpsed

in the fading light from planets we cannot reach

we writhe and moan at fallen beauty

exaggerations of form that illuminate our limitations

like

soft green moss on the leeward side of a fallen branch

as if beauty would adhere to the rules of an auction

where the gavel comes down and makes a pronouncement on taste

though the ‘blind bids’ are king in the market place of ART

your thoughts kind sir/madam are as nought

you may keep them to yourself when

the only margin for error is poverty

and if you inhabit that space you are inadmissible – hard fact

for beauty that has form can be traded

but the peasant must be willing to sweat in order to admire

the finer things and dream – to aspire

and chase shadows that even the rich are aware of

because in the shallows there is a harbour

where dreams and boats drown in

far removed from honest toil

Ha

Ha. pic for poem

 

 

 

I look at me

with my ego smeared

the shared history between my eyes

in that smudge on glass that was once

hot

breathing shallow now, the heat

on simmer

where once it bubbled I am confronted

with a lurk

a knowing look – maladroit

that has replaced the complacent years

where all that milk and honey was spent

what I imagine now

is the drool

overlapping and seeping – cruel

my vanity exposed – my fate

made me look, made me stare

a childish dare and then a prank

gone sour

cracked vision on the wall

tired of taunts

I’m going to embark on a course

of self-improvement – nutrients

make me look, make me stare

a childish response, vanishing in thin air

Ha

strips of colour

strips of colour. pic

 

2001 a striped green odyssey

new house, new walls – frontiers to decorate

make our own in the image –  of us

a thick chalk stripe and pale green

no harbinger of climate change – no prescience

just the primitive urge to alter and overwhelm

previous incarnations and their orthodoxies

so we set about the newly stripped walls

with paper and paste then cut lengths

hanging chads of green and chalk vertically aligned

 

2020 suspecting it is time, again, for change we

erase the intermittent green enthusiasm

and come up to speed with the colour of now

having sat in bed on sundays with the papers

our backs, virtually, against the wall – blase about our choices

the passive tapestry unflinching at world events

solemn in its duty to conform to our sense of what

should decorate the space where we have been most intimate

the cuts into corners where we swore at each other for incompetence

have settled into our own folklore as we dare to dream of something other

than green

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

And in the morning

Bell weather

 

I sit playing at words and looking

for their ruined meanings as

above me rain detaches itself from the moods

that are clouds that linger in doom

and laugh as they get lighter and pull away

to a heaven that smiles on the other side of the world

while upside down other people find congress

in immaculate thoughts,  just like mine

though it all, of course, is unknowable

and that susurration  of damp pellets on glass,

that rain, is somehow soothing as it washes away

the stain of grief – the echo

that seems to last, to follow and linger

like a partner in a sensual dance

guiding me with soft fingers into vice

 

Tomorrow will try to intrude

and entertain my future with presentiments but

I am caught here in the cloying sense of a loss that is impending

the gravity of doubt that knows me, owns me

so well that I have adopted it and beg to drown

in this timely shower of raindrops surrendering on glass

the drum beat and patter of those renegade soldiers

dividing me from fate as they slip away in disarray

beseeching the spent remorseless air to mourn

other fallen dreams set fast in the earth with encryptions

on stone tablets that are stoic with their enduring love

the epitaphs that outlive sorrow day after day

and all the letters bleed from their wounds, their histories

the kindness of flowers left at the scene

and in the morning

I am the news

I am the news. pic for poem

 

I am a sculpture

waiting upon reason, mercy and miracles

to mould me and make sense of each

passing moment that renders me as small

 

I am an echo

of nothing more than memories that slink

in the undergrowth of  my own propaganda

and threaten my neck with a sensual constriction

 

As spirits go

I am evaporating on the back of so many

disappointments

that a ghost would wail at the iniquity

of living in this entanglement

 

but I am immune

as a rogue infection to clinical intervention –

a bacteria so fit that healthy cells

emigrate to other hosts and leave me isolated

in my own member state

 

I am dilute

as my age dictates

that blood relatives die around me

and I take the calls of surviving kin

and enter in to their ‘arrangements’

 

I am the understudy

for my impending future, the heir apparent

to a ‘long wait’ that others may remark

was lived in haste and might in time improve