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my ancestor
an early Neanderthal
whose name is

something like
a grunt voiced
with open lips

finally makes it
to Heaven
it's taken a long long time

but there are
the Pearly Gates
angels on clouds

harping about
how glorious
it all is

the whole
kit and kaboodle
of tropes

this is not
its idea of

Heaven is being
alive in
the here and now

on your face
a breeze in your hair

I tell him
it's not my idea either
and we both smile

hold hands
as we walk
back into the past

the universe
waited outside herself
like an impatient taxi

already thinking of
the next fare
after her

"Let it wait!" she thought to herself
In exactly 5
and 25 minutes

Christmas would arrive
in all its customary

it now an Xmas
rather than
a Christmas

she on the other hand
walked through
her memories

adrift  in an attic
looking for a lost angel
her childhood packed away

in boxes broken open
under the constraints
of time and age

days wrapped
in cobwebs
angel nowhere to be seen

here her headless horse
of the rocking

getting by
on only three legs

Time hadn't been kind
to it and her being such
a boisterous child

and here at last
the angel that had
set her on this journey

of discovery
finding this
lost self

an angel absconding
from its duties
topping the tree

and glitterless
minus a wing

her first doll still
gazing lovingly
at her

through its one good
button eye hanging on by
a  blue coloured thread

outside Christmas came
without her even knowing
it was Christmas

mist hid everything
instead of snow
erasing reality

as it was
when she was
the little girl of before

the time being
a Christmas Eve
that excited hush

of expectancy
rather than
the day itself

the doll remembering her
as she was
when she kissed her

and cried all over her
"Oh oh...she's

hugging her
once again
to her chest

the bells
mounting the sky
announcing her joy


Her daddy used to call her Angel instead of Angela and she called her dolly Angel so she went looking for an angel and found herself.

You are like. .  .all
the dark shops of my childhood
where you enter with the little ****** of a bell

and the world blossoms

into a myriad of things colourful to sell
stacked in impossible & impeccable order

all yelling shining glinting wild & glassy

and the cash register singing with the hard earned money
and the little ****** of a bell lets you out again

into a world
excited with the falling of  snow

& the palpable approach
of  a Christmas when Christmas was Christmas

and the world
was as simple as snow.


It is a love poem for my sister Junie...the YOU ARE LIKE. . .and then I am taken up on the wings of memory and she's alive again and I am 7 and always holding her hand as we go to buy my Ma 4711 eau de tiolette and my Da Old Spice aftersahve. I always got them these presents year after year in the time of my childhood..It took me 6 months to save up the money for them...and I would look longingly at kids ******* ice lollies in the depths of summer but save my little pennies 'til they grew into pounds and Christmas approached slowly and silently but I was always ready for it...and I would go with my sister June up to a lovely old chemist all polished wood and brass and glass...the little bell creating the wonder and with its ****** right on cue the snow would fall and I would hold my lovely sister's hand forever and ever and never ever let go...the delight was in my sister and her love and this is what the poem is all about....Christmas is just the backdrop to my always remembering her so. I can still feel her hand.
( for my aunt Peggy )

"I used to
know me
but now

I've become
someone else
another me

at odds
with who
I used to be!"

Aunt Peggy
in her American clothes
American mannerisms

glad to have changed
sad to have changed
at the same time

the girl who
was left behind
fading into a photograph

the young woman
who left
the lady who returned

she musing my hair
"Gee you got curls
just like a girl's!"

she taking me
into her thoughts
despite my nine years

I loved her
just as
she was

two people
in the one

and there he was
coming up my asphalt path
and my knees going weak

at the sight of him
and his hair
blowing about in the air

and my heart
ablaze with happiness
burning me down to the ground

and I said
to myself
says I

that man is
going to be
my husband

and now
50 years later
he still is

as if death
could never touch
either of us

and my heart breaking
at just
the very sight of him.


She had dementia and could not recognise her own kids but would tell the nurses this over and over again or any visitors who happened to pass by. Her husband had been dead ten years by this time but the dementia hid his death from her and she lived forever in the first seeing of him.

I wander home
lost to the world

wrapped up against the cold
in my thoughts.

the Heavens

above me

but I pay them
no attention.

The world covered in
the soft frost of sorrow.

Only to be stopped
by a lost soul

(loster than I?)

a Serbian
not knowing where he’s going

or which direction
home is in.

Lost in language
directions are useless

so I walk him
in the general direction

of where
home should be.

Seeing the poetry book
clasped in my hand

he launches
into verse after verse

of some battle
lost so long ago

but still flashing
in his eyes

alive as
if 1389

were only

He cries
at this old defeat

made new
by his tongue

his syllables
a field of blackbirds.

We arrive
at where

I know
he would not be

Home beckons
across the water

a sleeping daughter
and a wakening wife

dreaming of his return.

He wants to pay me
for my trouble!

I decline:
“No trouble! ”

Try to tell him
the passion of the poem

more payment
than could have been

hoped for.

He is upset

“Look! ” he says
offering me the moon

(unseen by me
in sorrow) .

A moon so suddenly
throws off her clouds

and stands
naked before us.

“She is beautiful...yes? ”

The naked moon
now hides shyly

behind a massive
tower block

and now peeps out
the other side.

I take his thanks
sweet in his unknown tongue.

I take his gift
of the moon

and walk home
with the river

running beside me
keeping up a non-stop conversation.

Time flows
under the bridge.

Finally I arrive
at where I should be

the gift
of his moon

still tightly
held in my mind.

I was ill and in chronic pain and had just got off a late shift...I was sick and tired of being sick and tired..long sleepless nights...dead on my feet and this Serbian gentle man asking for directions made me raise my eyes to the sky and being given the gift to see and let the world shine through me. Human contact and a heavenly body reminding me that just being alive in this moment...despite all the pain and my life unraveling...was what counted. I  had lost my wife due to my paralysis( "I don't want to be with no paralyzed guy!") and this saddened him greatly.

He was delighted to know that I knew my Popa(and that he was one of my favourite poets)and of The Battle of Kosovo. As we walked he reeled off verse after epic verse and I had the immense pleasure of hearing it in Serbian. I couldn't understand it but the music was in the sound. in  He was a lovely man and so giving...and the final gift of the moon was sublime. His love for his wife and child glowed within him like a spiritual fire.

I felt like the Ancient Mariner inadvertently blessing the sea snakes and being blessed in turn.

"Their beauty and their happiness.
He blesseth them in his heart."

O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware:

Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.

"The spell begins to break."

The self-same moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.

the books chat to each other
but at the footstep of a human
the all shut up at once

once the human is gone
all the books
have a good laugh amongst themselves

they do not see me
I the locked-in-human( by mistake )
see them in their natural state
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