As I gazed at the flames of the fire,
It rekindled a childhood vision;
Memories of a chill winter morn,
Wrapped in a blanket, I watched
A daily ritual unfold.
Cold, dead, grey ash was removed.
Wood, coal and paper then placed
With pious propriety. A sacrifice offered
Of one single match.
Drifts of dark smoke and crackles of wood
Nurtured cold coals into life.
The fire was fanned until roaring
With bright yellow licks that leapt up the flue.
A welcoming warmth would draw us together,
Working and playing in a radiant glow
Of orange incandescence.
In the evening we would always make toast
Before the dying embers were lost.
I have looked towards a million worlds tonight,
fearful that there might be more like ours,
where despair and anger rage and reign,
hiding between hollows and sea slapped shores.
From lizards to lesser beasts and higher mortals,
there is an extreme decadence in achieving life;
primordial slime where time is irrelevant
and chance, they say, defies the odds of a God.
Exploring to exploit and crudely anoint
another New World is the genome dynamic.
This surpasses mere survival and squats
with dictatorial ardour in the heart of our universe.
We are halted on the path
where a small amphibious mite
has sprung headlong into an unknown world,
its river home now out of sight.
Fingernail-size it shrinks on the path,
absorbing the colours of the gravelled ground
and somehow surviving
the rigours of walkers and riders around.
Its freedom now moves it from riverbank hollows
to find the instinctive role that it follows.
Cradled in cupped hands it is carried to water
but I explain its life lies elsewhere.
These precious moments shared with my daughter
are but part of the time which may see it grow
and spawn in the seasons yet to come,
while we witness a cycle that’s just begun.
The sun slides from the sleek red western sky
and the dew-damp evening air
dissolves the coloured confetti,
strewn like some abandoned paper chase
upon the ground.
The sound of the wedding
party flows from the function rooms,
where harmony grits its teeth against all odds.
Where will they be after those heaven sent
The tears of happiness today
may turn in time and turning back is always all too late.
The froth, the tulle and tux must just be packed
away. This wedding day seems captive but need not be
kept in a cage.
It should be free to age like fine wine:
a marriage robust, fragrant, full-bodied and forever fruity.
To be sipped and savoured frequently
in memory of the love of that first
and finest taste.
Slack canvas bends with the first strokes:
brush and paint scar a waiting whiteness.
Others follow of less distinct pressure
but now with an affected swirl
a life emerges.
Colours are selected with random thoroughness,
outlining only what the eye believes it sees.
Shapes conform to break the rules and innovate,
where bright arrays can glide through blundered blobs:
ochre, umber, raw sienna.
Sable is saved for finer life forms
steadfastly fixed in oil.
Tentatively mixtures are blended
to blur the more familiar with
darker and darker hues.
The creator remains anonymous.
The wood chimes are clunking
with each sweep of breeze,
lending melody in this space.
This is where I dig,
dividing root from soil,
time from life, and us
from everybody else.
Squirrel scampers the border,
raising hackles and creating a
two-legged dog and mayhem.
This must be his habitat,
passed down through generations
until the brick and concrete conspired
to break the oak stronghold.
The view from the decking
throws itself through other gardens
to the far distant fast lane.
Noiseless here, with only
the high haunting whistle
of the slow circling
This unkempt spread of damp, bedraggled lawn
Presents a sorry sight. And there, forlorn
In rotted heaps, the summer’s fruits decay,
While winter winds still strip the trees that sway
And scatter yet more leaves to sodden fields
Of mud and nettle. Each proud meadow yields
To colder days, and beaten tracks are churned,
Where baking summer sun had burned
The brittle grass and bracken. Gone the sound
Of insects. Idle stumps and logs are crowned
With moss and patterned lichen in the hush
Around this woodland scene: the brilliant blush
Of russet splendour (always all too brief)
And gilded floor of leaf on silent leaf.
breaks once again across
this wide expanse of fields
on which the dewy mist hangs
heavy like each doubt that shields
my muddled mind: this kind of day
this kind of year in which these pangs
of fears will all be burned away as the
warmth of rising sunlight breathes new life into my soul and makes me feel reborn.
Coarse granite slabs split the earth
glinting at the fractured sunlight.
Sly winds whip and lash the grass and gorse;
disconsolate skies weep upon the land.
Rain rushes in to bloat the meagre streams,
and gulleys slash the sinewed clay.
Pulse and sluice. Erosion fashions
new forms of contoured legends.
Ragged crows snag the horizon
blasted and cursed. Little else
between the walls of weathered stones:
hand-laboured one on one.
The moor muscles its independence,
frowning at the low land,
bragging to the skies
its ancient splendour.
The night before was one of magic
Mystery and a moment in time,
When neither knew the where or why
For this affair.
Simple silence seduced them both
Then worthless words tumbled
As random as the clothes
Discarded without care.
Limbs entwined and body heat
Defined the pitch of lust
And dreadful desire
The two would share.
Morning mouthed no meaning.
Shame did not shown up
For breakfast and left
An empty chair.
I work at night.
My eyes lighted by the merest glimmers
from dark recessed memory.
There I can caress my thoughts;
warming them within cupped palms
pressed against the temples, as in prayer.
My church, however, left me long ago,
refusing to believe in me.
The feeling was mutual.
Heaven sent or Heaven made?
That’s the burning question.
Sanctified or vilified –
a cause of indigestion.
Bliss and blame – they’re both the same,
from opposing points of view.
A cause for sorrow, fame and shame.
Successes seem so few.
Arrangements made for many,
sadly don’t result from passion.
And some there are who contemplate
this is just not now the fashion.
Last night we measured time in naked bliss,
a testament to every searching kiss.
Still I feel the soft warmth of your thighs
rising, falling round my thrusting hips.
The devilled mischief in your angel eyes:
the magic you performed with tongue and lips.
I thrilled at every petal-fingered touch,
repaid with kisses bringing muted cries,
until the peaking ecstasy was such
that both our bodies drowned in shuddered sighs.
So there it is: we spoke too soon.
There really is a watery moon.
The seas of course are long since dead,
Caused by lava, impact meteors instead
Of romantic lagoons in Earthlight.
Then again, there’s a chance there might
Be plenty of water just below. A fountain though
Might never fall back down. As for snow –
Moonskiing not a prospect, I fear.
Snow in that sunshine would disappear.
My sandwich sits in cellophaned silence.
A caged morsel:
Man’s inhumanity to ham.
Its window displays a lip-smack
of full filling fat.
A ‘snack’ –
so dismissive a word:
I’ve shared smaller portions.
Then the cautions:
I think I
will have a beer instead.
These days, car lights hurt my eyes,
Because of the dismal wintry skies.
Each halogen headlight beam
Practically seems to scream:
“Look at me – if you dare.”
They’re designed to scare
Rabbits I suppose.
But all of those
I’ve ever seen
In my beam
In the light:
This page frightens me
with its whiteness-
pale and interesting,
when words wind their way across it.
If rubbish is written
backspace is the face of the future -
A rhyme is a sign
that on the next line
the metre should not peter
Alliteration alleviates this
and block capitals
just simply SHOUT.
Embedded in the crease of streets
Lies litter from this wasteland world.
Grandiosity of trees despoiled by plastic bags
Shredded to a baleful wind-whipped bunting.
Cans and bottles glint in summer sun.
Their quenching duty done, they figure
In a losing landscape, tinged by neglect.
Dog-eared gutters crouch against the kerbs,
Lusting for a sluice of cleansing rain.
At least the leaves all lavished beauty once,
To cast a vibrant coloured throw
Across a calloused landscape
Through the gnarl of tarmac
And turgid, timeless traffic.
Silent, swiftly sliding through a mazy mix of memories
Confused by what is up and what is down.
I can’t be sure if what I see is quite correctly coloured:
Are these strange familiar sites my own home town?
I vaguely recollect that what I dreamt was what I saw
Though what I saw was maybe what I dreamt.
The quality of dreams reflects the quality of sleep
And nightmares always leave me quite unkempt.
Pleasant reveries come out of cheerful, happy thoughts:
A safe and soothing slumber calms the soul.
The rigours of the day are at best just locked away-
Except in dreams they sometimes take their toll.
Our ability to pick and choose the dreams we want to have
Is like hiding in a corner in a dome,
A feat that I achieved inside the dream I had last night.
You see, the brain just has a mind all of its own.
For our love I gave you one red rose.
Perfumed velvet petals clustered
In a tight embrace: exultant bud burst
Of new beauty. Fragrant fresh, expressing
How you brought life back to me.
A single slender stem of perfect form
To match a perfect harmony of souls.
Yet deep within the calyx blood-red curl
Droplets lay unseen from rainy days.
As the head unfolded all its parts,
Those drops rolled tear-like far beyond
The leaves and thorns.
The rose remains with me. I found it
Crushed within the pages of a book.
The petals have each come apart: dried up
And faded with the passing years.
They have no scent of course but I
Remember well those heady days
And with a smile I gently close the book.