Please stay on the line

Please stay on the line

“we’ll be with you as soon as we can”

followed by a strangled chirp that repeats

in its nauseating promise to be of service

Sunday morning, glorious sunshine and the tinkle

of water flowing in the fish tank

I’m sixty-five and counting the seconds, more aware now

of what I have left – this cacophony

wearing me down. A Help-Line

like the mutterings of a drowning man clinging to

seaweed – and hoping that the wet tendrils

will affect a rescue of sorts

All I’m looking for is a continuance of the service

my Debit Card afforded me by doling out cash

at dispensing machines whenever I am short

I’ve been declined – an insult, an affront

and now my pockets must run on skinny money until –

the lady on the line eventually chips in –

“we can issue you with another card in three to five working days”

Three to five – at my age

By God we live in hope

Please stay on the line.

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

In sufferance

sear suitable for both sides of a debate.1

 

a man lounges across a seat

his entitlement there for all to see

the langour so natural

bred from a line that seeks only

to suborne the common man

and in that cameo his cause may be lost

to an epic mistake

exposed by a yawn with his class etched

on a bench that history will detest

the moment noted as he would have it;

“mark my words”

and all the screaming echoes of derision go

to the wind and hound him

forever more

forever less

in the face of the common man who knows irony

as we are all embroiled in the fate

of  Europe’s union of nation states

South Milton Beach

South Milton Beach. pic

 

the water

on course to spill

drives head-long seaward

following yearnings of the moon

on vectors that cannot be ignored

rolling stones and pebbles in a forensic rush

to clean, to erase all traces

of where they have been

so each mystery is pristine

lost in spray – the wind

gives them alibis

and they go, all of them

like turtles to the maw

of the open sea

that pretends to be    gentle

though it has the power over night and day

and I walk amongst the day trippers

tourists on familiar soil yet eager

to be away

from home

.. to take a leap of faith

Boys at play

 

beyond

imagine it. just beyond

the fledgling on a ledge

deep space beyond and more

that miasma of fear which constricts

every tissue and fibre and

unknowable thing

from taking a leap of faith

 

brother, sister, mother, father, friend

watch over me for I am one

who knows how it feels to stall mid-flight

at that precipice

and court the most unholy thoughts

to allow any manner of darkness in

but in my heart and in my soul

I know I am here because

the ones before me took that leap

they loved me

and I will honour them

Reveille

Reveille. Poem

 

my wife curled in her warmth

our shared life in folds

the dog in her basket in repose

at ease in her domain

both supine

this day breaking gently

dull and grey, the lawn fresh mown

I have a cup of tea,  ruled lines and a pen that challenges

the yawning space of a day ahead

eternity safe in perpetual humour

What luxury is this?

 

The faint and pleasant tinkle of water pouring into the fish tank

Our own constructed water-fall seems to murmur in voices

forever in a charmed post-office queue

history and culture coalescing in the democratic act

of buying stamps

repetitions rising and falling in a contented chant

harking now in my mind to halcyon days

of village greens, Bobbies on Beats and buttery yellow daffodils

nostalgia forming a cloak of innocent lies

What is this? A moment of Grace?

I must remember. This is not a race

and in the end all I ever need to find is gratitude.

Take me to the river

Take me to the river. pic for poem.

 

blown down centuries unseen

the rivers limit

the rivers keen

a finger in the pie

of this island that is home

she swells with the tide

as she rides her natural imperatives

and recedes to reveal her banks and shores

with the incessant strip-tease of our lady, The Thames

all memories dissolved in the turmoil of constant change

but she is as modern as the craft

who take their pleasure upon her

whose oars slice the silken surface

making cuts for progress that heal

in the swirls between the stitches of strokes

 just as propellers screw her waters

into a vortex of energy

soon spent in froth and heaving swells

that slump upon the banks

but it is not as if she doesn’t care

for the truth is as prosaic as her habits

she is a witness without conceit

rising and falling in continual prayer

for history to unfold with virtue

Christopher

Christopher. Pic for poem

 

Shout. Scream

deny all knowledge of that dream

The distance yawns

and fills the void

with stale air and residues

of harm

that neglect will come to know

as regret

that cloying self-pity that hangs

on the rags of remorse

and renders even love

to shrug

and wonder why

 

My boy who is now a man

has drifted in that domain

and knows so little of me

save that I sired him

and hurt his mother cruelly

He finds forgiveness hard

Those blank years went down

in flames and hate

so only silence and darkness

could void the pain

but now I sense the permafrost

might thaw

and I may be allowed

to make some recompense

small reparations to the ship of love

in this slow cycle of drawing out

the heat from that scream

and venom from the shout

 

May soft lips form

around the eternity of air

 that sucks and strains to find

the letters that hide in space

and just might spell

an end to longing

Devon. Arch. View.

Devon. Arch. View. pic

lichen on old stone

it’s yellows and greens

in a texture of remembrance

add casual beauty to the aperture

of an arched window through which

one solitary sheep moves by inches

like a maggot across the sward

behind, though filling all the space

a clock ticks encircling me in the view

Bound by knowledge I struggle with

and anchored by all sorts of gravities

I accept an affinity

with that accumulating texture on the wall

and look up to see four more sheep

Where I sit, this place that faces

an old stone wall, ragged and thick

which was the slaughter-house of New Barn Farm

Outside, rough flagstones were the perimeter

of a killing zone. A way out of life

But now, swaying between the tick and tock

I count sheep. Innocent in the view

patient

Patient

like an atom adrift

in this vast body of parts

failing somehow

and all gathered because

one clock was an hour behind

another advanced by the same amount

‘nil by mouth’

time becomes obstinate

a mocking chant

not that of monks

no abeyance to humility

because the institution grinds away

at those within

with a remorseless appetite

habitually uncouth

and promising, always promising

an outcome. A deliverance.