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 Apr 2021 Paul Hansford
Standing barefoot at the edge
of an ice cold sea
i watched as the blood red sun
bled itself
on the sharpest corners
of the coldest waves
and silently, quickly, ashamedly
buried itself in the darkness
of the sea
hoping that maybe
couldn't or wouldn't
or shouldn't
keep happening
 Apr 2021 Paul Hansford
She opened her eyes, shielding them from the sun.
The excited chirping of robins and the cool caress of the early morning breeze woke her up, signalling the day has begun.

The green carpet of the fields lay before her, the flowers of summer boasting their bold colours as they reached up to meet the sun.

She rose. A little too quickly. The world spun around her.
The kaleidoscopic swirling settled, but her sight was still a blur.

She reached out to the world but it pushed her back,
the cage she was in showing no slack.

Her face - flooded with tears - extinguished the fire in her eyes,
as she sat back down in her cage of fears.

The sky seemed a luxury, not a limit,
for she had wings, but no clear vision of the summit.
 Apr 2021 Paul Hansford
What’s with the bees?
You’ve asked
    several times now
What do I tell—
   I had not noticed them
Maybe, it’s because my lamp bleeds honey
  all over the floor and the walls

Maybe, it’s the soft buzzing of the fan
or the colourful paintings
        that are now anything but.
Perhaps all these thirsty flowers I’ve hung
  Or leaves on the wall paper
Maybe, it’s the wooden texture
of my shelves
  Maybe, it all screams ‘home’ to them

a break from those gossiping towns
    and manic roads

What can I tell— I don’t even know
Maybe it’s me they desire
—though I doubt it
                 Ask the clock,
ask him what he knows of me
I put on some music and
  it tickles my soul
—It pinches
I turn it off and all the world is left alone
  Birds ask if they can join me
I deny—
Foxes invite me to their hunts
         I deny
Owls have stories in their wings
              but what good are stories in
   a world so loud—

Sun dances from east to west to east
I’ve lost count of her rounds
She asks me about my hues. I say,
I cannot read
    I say, I cannot write
I say, I cannot will myself to flutter
         I say, you see those wilting blossoms?
I think I’m turning into them
       (What a cheesy thing to say)

She sings me songs and paints up the sky
—I smile pink
though, why, I cannot tell
I tell her my hues are smiling, too
     She pats my cheek
and gracefully glides away
   and it is

        all still grey
the houses grey, people grey,
cars, plants, towers and stalls grey
Maybe that’s why the bees prefer
  this quiet cell

   It is still golden here
and blues still weep in the curtains
   This is us—
          I and the bees
they live on the silvery walls,
In the sheets, under the bed,
     behind those empty canvases
and inside drawers
          next to the books,
      next to the clock,
           —the picture frames

    over the fan,
the pillows, the carpet
—inside, inside me
Around me, around the poems
    taped on the door
around me
What’s with the bees?
   maybe, they’re
maybe, they’re just my friends.
(what a cheesy thing to say)

 Apr 2021 Paul Hansford
Do you remember the sky sinking?
That fall, when we climbed up our vague tree
and watched the nights burn
     softly on
Those naked arms,
                 and our pricking skins
You told me that
the dark seemed quite obese
I wondered how it could be

remember the dawns
  that lingered before us
and birds with jewels between their beaks
    Sun like a bruise clawed its way out
We never did see— never unseeing
ever on watch, yet the clouds
    grew above
and we only drew forests with our hands

yours upon mine upon
  yours upon—
and down, down plunged it all
First, gold
          then the glass
We jumped in weeping puddles
and forced the mud into birthing birds
Then came
     the silvers
and with them, those malnourished winds
Do you remember

the smoke that descended down the cliffs?
That winter, we melted
            with our pink flames
and slept away those snarling wolves
Beneath forts built of woollen quilts
        our limbs tangled, tangled
     with our tales
You told me the dark
     seemed quite obese
I nodded like
  a broken, puppet horse

Dust gushed out the vessels of air
   and cars coughed
And down, down
                came it all
Dawns befriended our solitary dusks
and moons sped up their dance
I ran my fingers down
     the green of your strands
You introduced a ladybug to my skin

down, down tumbled nothing
       First the browns
then the blues
We buried our barren feet in sticky sands
and you told me
It hurt
where, I asked
and there were you kissed

And blues fell upon blues
’til cold, shivering, stumbled away
And our tree was a painting
    on the lips of a stream
Restless, it lurked out our reach
and the sky
swelled and swelled
till a heavy haze came plummeting hither
And above us was left nothing but—

It hurts, you said
I asked you where
the blues embraced the lonely of our land
and kissed it all over
  all over
Huts, playgrounds, markets—
Wells, trenches, hills and hills
children, the rest
     and voiceless shrubs
All devoured.

Do you remember the bleak stars
as they struggled to flutter
    in the smothering vacancy
Then the summer smiled
and stole our dying skies, and
  all the quiet broke loose
        in our bleached towns
We in a moor sprayed with stillness
    treaded through
the misty of our eyes
        feet upon cinders jagged
where does it hurt, I asked
nowhere, nowhere—
and cities were raided with placid clouds
There is something in the air, change is everywhere.
Yesterday is gone tomorrow not yet dawned,
Today we must wait until the sun sets.
Come to rest your body spent.
all that you have seen, you have tasted
the milk of life. Clouds roll smoothly across the sky, taking summer away.
Winds blow soon to bring snow.
WE stand looking at the past.
Our children growing fast.
It is a time of reflection.
by DS March 12, 2021
winter bird song Jan 30, '09 3:44 PM

The ground is covered with snow,

in the distance  in the winter bareness of the trees,
a Finch sings its winter song,

the sun slants through beveled

glass spraying the floor with a kaleidoscope of prism colors
like a mini rainbow.

In restlessness of a cold january day.

I too await the coming of winters end.
This day with the sun and the bird song makes me feel .
I can go fore a walk and clear my mind. I shall take my time.

and not rush into things unknown.

tomorrow is another day and another way.

as all things unfold to show me.

the next scene the next play.


the trees are sheathed in snow,
the sun
is hidden in the clouds, and smiles come across the miles
to brighten my day, You are far yet near, an ocean apart,
and time to allow. Lost in a gaze of blue, the sky brings it all anew.
Wind whispers to me, of the sea. I fear to step in the water,
fore the swiftness of the high tide may envelope me.
by DS
February 20th 2021
 Mar 2021 Paul Hansford
Tom Balch
“Oh! Son it´s good to have you home
c´mon in, there´s a fresh brew on the stove,
we´ve missed you and we´ve worried so
did you get all our letters sent with love?”

Your rooms just as you left it, lad
c´mon in, I´ll get a dinner on,
your Dad will be home shortly, lad
he tells everyone he´s proud of you, our son.

What´s it like, the trenches, lad
and what´s it like this place they call the Somme,
it´s been a year you´ve been away
how long´s  this madness going on.

Sorry to hear about your friend, lad
and about the way he met his end,
we keep praying for your safety, son
and for this ****** war to end.

Sit down and take your boots of son
I´ll go and bring your slippers down,
how´s your brew, is it strong enough
Oh! Lad, it´s so good to have you home.

Mrs Linton´s boy´s, John, and Dave
they won´t be coming home,
she got the telegrams this morning
must be the twentieth in this town.

You seem to be much taller, son
and your features seem much harder now,
you have the look of a man about you, lad
with those troubled lines upon your brow.

Did you get the cakes we sent, lad
and the gloves and socks we made,
do they feed you well over there, lad
come and help me get the table laid”.

“I´m only home for two weeks, Ma
then it´s back to the front for me,
it´s good to be back home again
I´ve really missed your cups of tea.

Our Regiment was two hundred strong, Ma
and now we´re down to seventy-three,
it´s hell living in the trenches, Ma
I´ve seen things young men should never see”.

Four months later, Ma received a telegram
the sixtieth in the town,
her lad is missing in action
and his remains have not been found.

“C´mon in, I´ve made a nice strong brew, Pa
it says our lad´s not coming home,
it was delivered here this morning, Pa”
and then the pair of them broke down.

Tom Balch  ©
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