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We have our exits and our entrances.
It has been said before.
But in the lifelong scheme of things
The next farewell will likely be our last.
The Earth itself will one day die
And return unto its frozen, lifeless state.
A finality that is perhaps not too far off.
Without a sigh, without a whimper
Even without an ultimate warning blast.
We made our entrance, enjoyed our stay,
Played our part in the performance.
And soon it will be time to say goodbye.
Farewell, adieu, exit left or right.
But leave the stage.  Just go!
Aug 11 · 19
LIVING WITH COVID-19
I awoke this morning and thought that I was dead.
Not a sound could be heard; not a breath of air
Could be felt.  “So this is how it ends” I thought
“Not with a bang, not with a whimper,
But with a dreadful solemn silence;
With a ghastly breathless stillness”.

And then I replaced the devices in my ear,
And conducted my matutinal ablutions,
And was restored to life.  Prepared to face
Another dull, disturbing, Covid-driven day.
Jul 18 · 41
COMMUNION AND REQUIEM
I held her hands.
I gazed into
her eyes
and willed her strength.
I smiled.

The merest flutter
of her tremulous
fingertips
suggested she had
understood.

Her eyes, though open,
were unseeing.
Yet I knew
we had a meeting
of the souls.

“Stay with us,” I willed.
“Stay with us;
we are not ready
to let you
go”.

Was there an echo
in response
from her fingers?
Or was it wish
fulfilment?

And did a smile
linger on those
frozen lips?
Unlikely. . .
She was gone.
Feb 6 · 55
SHATTERED DREAMS
There they lie;
spread around me
a myriad shining fragments
of the gift she had brought me.
Shards of glass
each a reflection of a broken promise;
a gift procured but withheld.

And all that I can do
is to survey those shattered remnants
of unrequited dreams,
and replay them on an endless
reel of soundless, aimless,
misbegotten promises
that ***** my heart
as those metaphorical shards
might have pricked my fingers.

What is left to me now
but to weep?
Dec 2019 · 65
The Mystique of Poetry
Joseph Sinclair Dec 2019
Poetry is like
the stars one cannot see
in the daytime.
It is a sense of fright
in the night.
It is metrical
but does not need to be
symmetrical.
It is rhythmic,
but does not
need to rhyme.
It is knowledge
that precedes sentience
but lags behind
sensitivity.
It is fuelled
by consternation
and ****** by
flocculation.
It is ambiguity;
it is obscurity;
it is enigma.
An updated, modified version of the poem original published as The Mystery of Poetry.
Dec 2019 · 49
The Guiding Voice
Joseph Sinclair Dec 2019
I heard a voice within my head;
its tones sweetly mellifluous.
It filled me with such melancholy
as rendered speech superfluous.

Thus does my mind becalm my mood.
The angry prejudice disperses
all that lies misunderstood
and lets my brain construct its verses.
Oct 2019 · 62
I Am No Penitent
Joseph Sinclair Oct 2019
I am no penitent.

I sometime feel
that in a previous life
I may have been Titivulus,
the incredible Michael Ayrton’s
magnificent verbiage collector.


. . . the little devil.
Sep 2019 · 126
Timeline
Joseph Sinclair Sep 2019
There’s another timeline somewhere,
where people are mourning me;
where family and friends are living
their natural spans,
achieving all that was hoped for,
but lost along the way
in my parallel universe.
Sep 2019 · 66
A FIERY STORY
Joseph Sinclair Sep 2019
Once upon a time
we were proud
We had beliefs
convictions
targets
and desires
that encompassed
more than our own
simple wants.

Indeed
we abhorred wants.
We embraced
needs.
The needs of others
as much as,
if not more than,
our own.

Where have they gone?
Who is there now
to pick up the mantle?
To run with the pennant?
To proclaim
a universal
truth?

Who is there
in this day and age
to plant the seeds
of selflessness?
To demonstrate
humility
and love?

Where have they gone,
the exemplars
of yesteryear
whose actions
matched
their words?

Who will be left
to live
happily
ever
after?
Aug 2019 · 385
Take My Hand
Joseph Sinclair Aug 2019
I am the difference that
shelters the difference;
I am the hope to
nourish the heart;
I am the truth that
lights up the darkness,
And causes all fear to depart.
Aug 2019 · 62
The Last Trump
Joseph Sinclair Aug 2019
We laughed when we built castles in the sand.
We laughed through the tidal disarray.
We sang with joy when the new-born babe arrived
We sang with grief when she was borne away.

But who is laughing now that all is gone?
Who is singing the last song of all?

Whose is the last laugh?
Who plays the last trump?
Aug 2019 · 73
I'm Not Done Yet
Joseph Sinclair Aug 2019
Those friends who knew me years ago
before our ways diverged,
may recollect
how tempered was my intellect
though rivalry emerged
whenever cricket bat
or tennis racquet
were flourished in a hand
that nowadays
is more prone to encompass
a fine Chateaubriand.

Tennis alas is of the past
and there, I fear, must bide,
but other sports and pastimes
I can still perform with pride.

So please set out those winks
that I may tiddle.
Dust off those mallets,
***** and hoops,
I’m not one of your nincompoops
and need no Queen’s flamingo
to win without a taradiddle.
Or we could turn to bingo.

Then there are those of intellect
who might like bridge or chess,
though possibly in retrospect
It’s best to acquiesce.

Ludo, Trivial Pursuits
and even Snakes and Ladders
might yet provide a good excuse
to encourage my swaggers.

The choice alas is far too great
and though it seems too late,
yet, dice in hand,
I bid farewell
with hopes still unerased
and one finger upraised.
Joseph Sinclair Aug 2019
I grow cold . . . I grow cold . . .
The drips shall drop from my nostrils uncontrolled.
Shall I put a sweater on?  Should I risk a cardigan?
I shall dress myself in white, emulate a ptarmigan.
I have heard pelagic puffins on the shore.

I do not think that they were warning me.
A simple, silly parody.  Sorry T.S.E.
Aug 2019 · 67
Post Hoc
Joseph Sinclair Aug 2019
Do not judge
my conclusions
before you have tested
my premisses.
Aug 2019 · 214
Disclaimer
Joseph Sinclair Aug 2019
Denial rose
unbidden to my tongue
but
I could not disclose
the words that lay
unuttered
in my heart
Aug 2019 · 68
Transmutations
Joseph Sinclair Aug 2019
To shake forbidden fruit
from off the sacred tree,
to quell the hungry yearnings
of the phantom bough
and hide the mystic longings
of the barren heart.
These are the secret wishes
that are keeping us apart.
Aug 2019 · 225
RAGE
Joseph Sinclair Aug 2019
Forgive me
the rage of youth,
the senseless
towering frenzy
of childish
interception.
the malignity
of immaturity
Now that I am
old enough.
Old enough to be dying
with dignity.
Jul 2019 · 156
MON EGLISE
Joseph Sinclair Jul 2019
Il n’y a pas un croix qui surmonte mon église
ni une etoile à six branches.

On n’y trouve pas un croissant
ni un ******* non plus.

Cette église n’existe que dans mon imagination
mais elle est plus puissante que la pierre.
Jul 2019 · 79
Metaphor
Joseph Sinclair Jul 2019
Do not plant a rose bush
in the shadow of an oak
and expect to see a beauteous flower.

Instead exult in the beauty
that is the mighty tree.
Jul 2019 · 257
Viviculture
Joseph Sinclair Jul 2019
Sow the seeds of kindness
in the meadows of your life;
and reap the harvest of love
in the orchards of your heart.
Jul 2019 · 74
DENIAL
Joseph Sinclair Jul 2019
When that which once
did touch my heart
and left it
torn in shreds,
then sought
to reappear
and readdress
the trespass
it had wrought,
I first believed
the end had come
and nothing good
remained,
but common-sense
prevailed
and though
still pained
I took the path
of least
resistance,
half-shrugged
one shoulder;
half-filled
the bucket
of my vanished
dreams.
Half-shrugged
the other
shoulder
and said
**** it!
Jul 2019 · 70
Diversity
Joseph Sinclair Jul 2019
The diversity of peoples in the world
is like the diversity of instruments in an orchestra;
they provide different sounds
but they produce the same music,
and by collaborating
they enhance it.
Jul 2019 · 160
Haiku on Freedom
Joseph Sinclair Jul 2019
If you seek freedom
Search within your mind and clear
The shackles inside
Jul 2019 · 67
Faith Without Reason
Joseph Sinclair Jul 2019
Faith is belief without reason
Reason is belief tempered by doubt.
Faith is instinctual.
Belief is cerebral.
The vast majority of people
Prefer faith to reason.
Our choice of leaders
Bears witness
to this assertion.
Jul 2019 · 80
The Zen Poet
Joseph Sinclair Jul 2019
The words I use are no better
Than those of any other poet,
But the spaces between the words . . .
The spaces . . . aah, those are my poetry.
Jul 2019 · 304
The Inner Voice
Joseph Sinclair Jul 2019
I heard a voice that spoke to me
in tones so sweetly mellifluous
they filled me with a strange delight
and rendered speech superfluous.
Jun 2019 · 310
PARODY
Joseph Sinclair Jun 2019
These hips are made for bearing,
And that’s just what they’ll do.
One of these days these hips
Are gonna bear a child or two.
Recollection of Nancy Sinatra and These Boots are Made for Walking.
Jun 2019 · 160
SANITY
Joseph Sinclair Jun 2019
I have always been mad.
It is a condition
I have learned
to live with.

Yesterday however
I had a moment
of pure sanity.

It scared me.
Jun 2019 · 392
Obiter Dictum
Joseph Sinclair Jun 2019
Each morning I awake.

Each morning I am aware
that I am the me that
went to bed last night.

The same me.

And I experience
a vast feeling
of disappointment.

I pray for the day
that I awake
and am
someone
else.
Jun 2019 · 69
FELLOW PASSENGER
Joseph Sinclair Jun 2019
We met at Waterloo.

As it seemed we were bound
for the same destination
we travelled together.

But half way there
I asked myself
“Who is he?”

And I feared
to ask him.
Jun 2019 · 158
I Like to Have a Brandy
Joseph Sinclair Jun 2019
I like to have a brandy
it makes my heart grow fonder
and gets me feeling randy,
just like a hot transponder.

(A sort of parody of Dorothy Parker's “I love to have a martini”)
Jun 2019 · 352
The Padlock of My Mind
Joseph Sinclair Jun 2019
I disengage the padlock of my mind
allowing thoughts free access
to what lurks behind the spread
of undisclosed agendas
and secrets unconfined.
Apr 2019 · 174
Our Deeds Define Us
Joseph Sinclair Apr 2019
I have spoken many cruel words
I have harboured many unkind thoughts
I have been guilty of many unconcerned feelings
And these are all shameful.

But, at the end of the day,
I am not defined by what I say;
I am not defined by what I think;
I am not defined by what I feel.

I am defined by what I do
And I have done nothing
for which I need to feel ashamed.
Thankfully my deeds define me.
Joseph Sinclair Apr 2019
She wore her heart upon her sleeve
displayed, though vaguely risible,
with no intention to deceive,
her love spilled out naively visible.

The path was dark
hushed were the twitters of her belovèd birds.
Silent dove and muted lark.
She wore her heart upon her sleeve,
and unheard were her dying words:
“I believe”.
Mar 2019 · 405
CONTEMPLATION
Joseph Sinclair Mar 2019
I arouse myself from joyful slumber
and contemplate the assault
on all my senses
that I know will aggravate me
as I anticipate

the odour of freshly chopped onion
that assails my nose,
in contradistinction
to the aroma of freshly mown grass
that elevates my soul.

When politicians speak their lies
my nostrils twitch,
in complete contrast
to a metaphysical debate
that enchants my essence.

I consider the “gherkin” in London
that degrades my sight,
so divergent from
the view of the Parthenon in Greece
that arouses my spirit.

And as I make the best of it,
I grit my teeth
and hold my nose
and settle back to contemplate
my inner peace and calm.
Mar 2019 · 80
Le miroir a deux visages*
Joseph Sinclair Mar 2019
Parfois je me regarde dans le miroir
et c’est le visage de mon père
qui rend mon regard.

Et je sais que dans ce moment
il est toujours en vie
parce qu’il habite en moi.

C’est ainsi que nous atteignons l’immortalité.

Un jour peutêtre mon fils
va se regarder dans un miroir
et c’est moi qui rend son regard.


*Based on my poem written in English and published in Metaphors and Matzo *****, ASPEN 2015.
Joseph Sinclair Mar 2019
I believe in the power of positive thought
I believe I can affect the future and that
the natural course of events is not immutable.
I reject the normalcy bias which assures me that
because it has never happened, it can never happen.
Sometimes life’s greatest lessons come from the
most unanticipated experiences.

And yet,
and yet . . .

My favourite Scripture Ecclesiastes assures me that
what has happened before will happen again;
what has been done before will be done again;
and that there is nothing new in the whole world.
Resonance of the “history repeats itself” dictum
whose lessons Santayana warns us to ignore
at our peril.
Whereas
my favourite history teacher “Tinny” Newman
had a more appropriate prescription:
“History does not repeat itself, historians do.”

How do I reconcile these apparently conflicting beliefs?
[Silent screams]
It is a precious lesson to be learned.

And perhaps my belief that the power of my thought
is sufficient to alter the course of my life
is merely another example of
the Ecclesiastes’ “vanity of vanities, all is vanity”.
[If there’s a telekinetisist in the house, will you please raise my hand]

At one time I could not recall experiencing anything
that I had failed to envision and
this had always enabled me
to make due provision
for any nasty aftermath such as the
problems involved in leaving a slippery bath.

Thus it was with an absence of concern
that, having suffered a really bad fall,
I immersed myself in a bath and then found
I could not escape at all and this stimulated me
to reflect on other instances
where prescience, or the lack of it,
had failed to intersect.

How do I recover these memories?
[Knee ****!]
It is a potential hazard.

Saddest of all is not what is or what might occur
so much as what might have been.
What we do not realise, or are reluctant to accept,
is that we inhabit the world we deserve.
Returning, equally reluctantly, to my thesis,
and returning to Scripture, we are told that
one generation gives way to another
but earth abides, and I cannot decide
if this is a cause of regret or one of delight.

And when I am told
in wisdom there is grief
and that increasing knowledge
will also increase sorrow,
I’m tempted to set it all aside until tomorrow.

Okay.  Oy veh!
I’ll leave it for another day.
Feb 2019 · 277
Un Silence Profond
Joseph Sinclair Feb 2019
Un silence profond.

Pour un instant
tout mouvement cesse
et mon esprit achève
le sommet
de la solitude.

Et puis
tout à coup
le bruit recommence
comme un ruisseau
brédouillant.
Le vacarme assourdissant
remue
les enchevetrêments
de mes pensées.

jusqu'à ce que. . .
jusqu'à ce que. . .
jusqu'à ce que
la paix
revienne.

Et c’est une
situation
qui se répètent
sans cesse.
Comme un robinet
qui coule.

Les gouttes de la
mémoire.
Les gouttes des espoirs.
Le bruit exaspérant,
épouvantable
qui monte,
qui fait revenir
des expériences
qu’on a cru
bien cachées.

Et après
recommence
la lutte.,
la bataille
entre
les souvenirs joyeux
et les chagrins.

Et
au moment où
je me sens crevé
. . .
un silence profond
Joseph Sinclair Feb 2019
Oh, where has that god gone?
Oh, what has that god done?
How shall we live alone
that once depended on
a heavenly father who defended us
and now is made superfluous?

Oh, where has that god gone?
Oh, what has that god done?
What can replace
that heavenly grace?
Can ear or hand or eye
supplant its mirthless majesty?

Perhaps it’s not that god has gone
but rather god has been
replaced by many other gods.
Unholy gods, ungodly sods,
who offer no exemption
from time-past sin’s redemption,

but just provide a shining light
to illumine a fearful night,
colonized by miscreants
and similar recipients;
and what remains in that confusion
is nothing but a vast illusion.

There is no plan, there is no haven
to escape from images engraven.
The trumpet that was played by god
is merely a connecting rod
to nothing but a shooting star
a sound drowned by Satan’s guitar.

So often the god that we thought great
is ******* of no more than hate.
We see them in all walks of life
with gordian knots that lack a knife,
or weavers of a nautical shroud
more shocking than a mushroom cloud.

I would choose to have it gone
that secular phenomenon,
that we might build trust up again
far from the place where corpses reign,
to somewhere safe for everyone.
And now I vow my verse is done.
Feb 2019 · 134
Whistling in the Wind
Joseph Sinclair Feb 2019
I love the susurration
of sibilant sounds.

The word “bliss”
is blissful.

The word “fuss”
is fascinating.

The word “stress”
is surprisingly soothing.

Tennyson has long enchanted me
with his sibilant Lotus Eaters.
His land of streams,
some like a downward smoke,
slow dropping veils . . .

His sweet music
that softer falls
than petals from blown roses . . .
and music that brings sweet sleep
down from the blissful skies.

I am enamoured
not with the sounds of silence
but with
the sounds of sibilance.
Feb 2019 · 77
Caterwauling
Joseph Sinclair Feb 2019
I wake still and far too often
with the all-too-slowly
but oh so evanescently
fading memory of her voice.

Ever since that odious event,
that heinous malevolent and
deafeningly persistent
drumming in my head

that disturbs my sleep
distracts my thoughts
and haunts the daymares
of my diminishing life.

The blaring, blasting bluster,
the eruption of molten viscous sound
that barks, yaps, yelps and yowls,
that sounds, resounds and reverberates.

How can I escape the cacophany
that threatens to enmesh me?
How can I return to the
tranquillity of a serene silence?
Feb 2019 · 70
The Mystery of Poetry
Joseph Sinclair Feb 2019
Poetry is like
the stars one cannot see
in the daytime.
It is a sense of fright
in the night.
It is metrical
but does not need to be
symmetrical.
It is knowledge
that precedes sentience
but lags behind
sensitivity.
It is fuelled
by consternation
and ****** by
flocculation.
It is ambiguity;
it is obscurity;
it is enigma.
Feb 2019 · 80
There We Were
Joseph Sinclair Feb 2019
There we were
on the grass
legs threshing
and thrashing
fondling on the grass
stroking on the grass
hands searching
and seeking
and finding . . .
Stop it you fool
now you’ve scratched me!
Should have cut my nails,
should have been gentler.
Joseph Sinclair Feb 2019
I try to draw an angel
drawing on the wall
with wings outstretched

drawing patterns on my chest

painting the sun
in a trance
and drawing down the moon

I try to draw your face
from memory

Until I draw my final breath
death
shibboleth of shirt
worn outside the pants
Feb 2019 · 92
I Can Do Better
Joseph Sinclair Feb 2019
There was a time
when words appeared
mysteriously, magically
magnificently
upon the previously blank page.

And then came
a period of total
dissatisfaction.

I would read them once . . .
and then again.
And suddenly
involuntarily
they would cease
to make sense.

I would say to myself
“I can do better”.
And then –
“Better than what?”
Feb 2019 · 56
Untitled
Joseph Sinclair Feb 2019
What can she know of love
who never love has known?
Feb 2019 · 74
THE PATHS MOST TRAVELLED
Joseph Sinclair Feb 2019
The mistakes we make and then
occasionally the paths we take,
as we attempt to reach
the topmost pinnacles
of long sought for success,
may be nothing more than the sad contrail
that precedes our choice of a crooked trail.

And we may frequently end up
unable to achieve those sought for graces.

Sometimes we make the wrong choices
to get to the right places.
Feb 2019 · 67
What Price Optimism?
Joseph Sinclair Feb 2019
Many years ago
I had a dream.
I believed in innate goodness
and considered myself
an optimist.

Alas for Nature’s
nasty habit
of bringing one
face to face with
reality.

In sport
the arts
and politics . . .
Indeed
in every aspect
and area of my
existence
idols crumbled;
beliefs disintegrated;
hopes evaporated.

And now that dream is gone.
Jan 2019 · 143
Haiku on Memory
Joseph Sinclair Jan 2019
Why’d my train of thought
Halt before it got away?
It ran off the rails.
Jan 2019 · 142
Tout ce que je veux
Joseph Sinclair Jan 2019
Tout ce que je veux, c’est toi.
Tout dont j’ai besoin, c’est toi.
Tout que j’admire, c’est toi.
Rien ne me manque, sauf toi.
Et
si je quitte le monde
je le quitterai content,
car
je t’aurai connu,
et toi, et toi, et toi.
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