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Mary Gay Kearns Jun 2018
Streatham's White Garden lies between a walled Old English garden and a small orchard in the Rookery, once the grounds of a large house dating back to 1786, and now an historic Grade II listed public garden. The elegant double borders, backed by trees and climbers and edged with lawn, echo each other down the length of the garden, with white benches marking each end. Still the only white garden in any of London's public parks, the White Garden pre-dates Vita Sackville-West's famous grey, green and white garden at Sissinghurst by at least 30 years.

Local volunteers under the leadership of Kew-trained designer Alison Alexander and project co-ordinator Charlotte Dove (both working for the Friends of Streatham Common, who successfully raised funding for the project from the Heritage Lottery Fund) carried out the recent restoration. The restoration was based on archival research and visits to other historic gardens, and is faithful to the spirit of the Arts and Crafts-inspired Edwardian original. Many of the plants in the new design have been chosen for their historical associations, including shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum), ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris), and a white cultivar of the old-fashioned English rose, Rosa spinosissima – all plants that would have been as familiar to the leading lights of the movement, such as William Robinson and Gertrude Jekyll, as they were to the Edwardian gardeners who planted up the original garden.

This is a serene place, much loved by visitors. But serenity is not the whole story – determination also plays a role in the history of this garden. Streatham residents fought a public campaign to rescue the Rookery grounds (the house itself was demolished in 1912) from the wave of suburban housebuilding that reached a peak in the years before the First World War. The gardens were laid out by Major Philip Maud of London County Council (LCC), and opened in 1913.

The concerns surrounding cramped urban living conditions that gave rise to the public parks movement in the nineteenth century remain a reality today. Open spaces are a necessary release valve: an escape from the pressures of city life, and proven to have a positive effect on mental and physical health. It is no coincidence that the LCC designs for other public gardens designed in the period (including the Old English garden in nearby Brockwell Park) were also influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement: it was a style ideally suited to the purpose, being itself a reaction to the negative impact of industrialization, and an expression of nostalgia for an idyllic imagined past.

Despite the pressures of the city, horticulture has long been part of this area's heritage, and for much of last century it thrived: amateur and professional gardeners alike participated in fruit and flower shows organised by newly-formed clubs and societies, well-maintained civic parks delighted visitors and residents, allotments flourished, and local nurserymen like John Peed of West Norwood produced lavish catalogues of the latest horticultural discoveries.

As government funding for green spaces has decreased, however, gardens like the Rookery have suffered from reductions in maintenance budgets: as late as the 1970s, seven gardeners were dedicated to the Rookery alone, but today only two contractors are based there. Once again local residents have responded, developing community groups, volunteer-led projects and local fundraising, and working closely with the Lambeth Parks Service. One such community group, the Streatham Common Co-operative (SCCoop), aims to take on the gardens and increase the number of gardeners. Applications for outside funding have been productive: most of the plants for the White Garden restoration were purchased with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association providing a grant for new white roses. But resources are finite, and – in the best tradition of ecological planting – the new plants for the White Garden have been chosen to suit the prevailing conditions, and to flourish with minimal maintenance. Gardens have always thrived on both innovation and tradition, and the restoration of the White Garden at Streatham Rookery is a tribute to those who are prepared to find new ways of looking after treasured open spaces.

Love Mary ***
Information to go with my poem The Rookery
Thank you poets .love Mary
Terry O'Leary Dec 2013
Ill-fated crowd neath foreign cloud: the Silent City braves
against a sudden sullen flood, unleashing lashing waves,
which washes stony structures clean with radiance that laves.

Deserted streets, once dense retreats, spin yarns of yesterday,
with  faded words no longer heard (though having much to say)
since teeming life (at one time, rife), surceased and slipped away.

Within its walls? Whist buildings, tall... Outside the City? Dunes...
They frame a frail forgotten tale,  in carved unwritten runes
with symbols hung like halos strung in lifeless, limp festoons.

The City’s blur? A sepulcher for Christians, Muslims, Jews –
Cathedrals, Temples, vacant now, enshrine their residues,
though churches, mosques and synagogues abide without a bruise.

A church’s Gothic ceilings guard the empty pews below
and, windswept blown above the stones, a maiden’s blue jabot.
The Saints, in crypts, though nondescript, grace halos now aglow.

Stilled chapel chimes! Their clapper rope (that tongue-tied confidante)
won’t writhe to ring the carillons, alone and lean and gaunt –
its flocks of jute, now fallen mute, adorn the holy font.

Stray footsteps swarm  through church no more (apostates that profane) -
their echoes in the nave ring thin, while chalice cups maintain
a taste of brine in altar wine decaying in the rain.


No face will come with jagged tongue to sing a silent psalm
nor paint pale lips with languid quips to pierce the deathly calm,
nor pray for mercy, grace deferred, or beg lethean balm.


Six steeple towers, steel and stone, drab daggers in the sky!
Their hallowed halls no longer call when breezes wander by –
for, filled with dread to wake the dead, they've ceased to sough or sigh.

No cantillation, belfry bells, monastic chants inspire
and Minarets, though standing yet, host neither voice nor crier -
abodes and buildings silhouette a muted spectral choir.

Coiled candle sticks! Their twisted wicks no longer 'lume the cracks
with dying flame in smoky swirl mid pendant pearls of wax,
since deference to innocence dissolved in melting tracks.

Above! The dismal ditch of dusk reveals a velvet streak,
through which the winter’s wicked winds will sometimes weave and sneak,
and faraway a cable sways, a bridge clings hushed and bleak.

Thin shadows shift, like silver shafts, across a cruel moraine
reflecting white a wisp of light in ebon beads of bane
which casts a crooked smile across a faceless window pane.

Wan neon lights glow through the nights, through darkness sleek as slate,
while lanterns (hovered, high above, in silent swinging gait),
haunt ballrooms, bars, bereft bazaars, with no one left to fete.

Death's silhouettes show no regrets, 'twixt twilight’s ashen shrouds,
oblivious she always was to cries in dying crowds –
in foggy neap the spirits creep... a clutch of clammy clouds.


No breath will come  'cross jagged tongue to sing a silent psalm
nor paint pale lips with languid quips to pierce the deathly calm,
nor yet redress the emptiness that shifting shades embalm.



The castle clock, unwound, defrocks! Those peerless speechless spokes
unfurl the blight of reigning Night by spinning off her cloaks,
and flaunt the dun oblivion, her Baroness evokes.

Green trees gone dark, in palace parks, where children paused to play –
now voiceless things on phantom swings, like statues made of clay,
mark marbled tombs in graveyards groomed for grievers bent to pray.  

The sun-bleached bones of those who've flown lie scattered down the lanes
while other souls who hid in holes left bones with yellow stains
of plaintive tears (shed insincere, for no one felt the pains).

The terrors wrought by conscience fraught once stalked and lurked nearby
to rip the shrouds from  curtained clouds, frail fabrics on the sky –
now wraiths that scream in sleepless dreams no longer terrify.

And fog no longer leaks beyond the edge of doom’s café,
for when she trails her mourning veils, she fills the cabaret
with sallow smears of misty tears  in sheets of shallow gray.

Beyond the suburbs, farmers’ fields (where donkeys often brayed)
exhale a gust of barren dust where living seed once laid
and in the haze a scarecrow sways, impaled upon a *****.

A silo, still! Like hollowed quill, a ravished feather’s vane,
with traces of bespattered blood, once flowing through a vein.
The fruits of life, destroyed in strife... ’twas truly all in vain.


No souls will come with jagged tongues to sing a silent psalm
nor paint pale lips with languid quips to pierce the deathly calm –
they've seen, you see, life’s brevity, beneath a neutron bomb.


EPILOGUE

Beyond the Silent City’s walls, the victors laugh and play...
They’re celebrating PEACE ON EARTH, the devil’s sobriquet
for neutron radiation death in places far away.
Allen Ginsberg  Jun 2009
Howl
For
              Carl Solomon

                   I

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
      madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the ***** streets at dawn
      looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
      connection to the starry dynamo in the machin-
      ery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
      up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
      cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
      contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and
      saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene-
      ment roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes
      hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy
      among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy &
      publishing obscene odes on the windows of the
      skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burn-
      ing their money in wastebaskets and listening
      to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their ***** beards returning through
      Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in
      Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their
      torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, al-
      cohol and **** and endless *****,
incomparable blind; streets of shuddering cloud and
      lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of
      Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the mo-
      tionless world of Time between,
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery
      dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops,
      storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon
      blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree
      vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brook-
      lyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless
      ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine
      until the noise of wheels and children brought
      them down shuddering mouth-wracked and
      battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance
      in the drear light of Zoo,
who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's
      floated out and sat through the stale beer after
      noon in desolate Fugazzi's, listening to the crack
      of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,
who talked continuously seventy hours from park to
      pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brook-
      lyn Bridge,
lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping
      down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills
      off Empire State out of the moon,
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts
      and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks
      and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars,
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days
      and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the
      Synagogue cast on the pavement,
who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a
      trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic
      City Hall,
suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grind-
      ings and migraines of China under junk-with-
      drawal in Newark's bleak furnished room,
who wandered around and around at midnight in the
      railroad yard wondering where to go, and went,
      leaving no broken hearts,
who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing
      through snow toward lonesome farms in grand-
      father night,
who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telep-
      athy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos in-
      stinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas,
who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking vis-
      ionary indian angels who were visionary indian
      angels,
who thought they were only mad when Baltimore
      gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,
who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Okla-
      homa on the impulse of winter midnight street
      light smalltown rain,
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston
      seeking jazz or *** or soup, and followed the
      brilliant Spaniard to converse about America
      and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship
      to Africa,
who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving
      behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees
      and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fire
      place Chicago,
who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the
      F.B.I. in beards and shorts with big pacifist
      eyes **** in their dark skin passing out incom-
      prehensible leaflets,
who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting
      the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism,
who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union
      Square weeping and ******* while the sirens
      of Los Alamos wailed them down, and wailed
      down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also
      wailed,
who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked
      and trembling before the machinery of other
      skeletons,
who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight
      in policecars for committing no crime but their
      own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication,
who howled on their knees in the subway and were
      dragged off the roof waving genitals and manu-
      scripts,
who let themselves be ****** in the *** by saintly
      motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,
who blew and were blown by those human seraphim,
      the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean
      love,
who balled in the morning in the evenings in rose
      gardens and the grass of public parks and
      cemeteries scattering their ***** freely to
      whomever come who may,
who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up
      with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath
      when the blond & naked angel came to pierce
      them with a sword,
who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate
      the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar
      the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb
      and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but
      sit on her *** and snip the intellectual golden
      threads of the craftsman's loom,
who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of
      beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a can-
      dle and fell off the bed, and continued along
      the floor and down the hall and ended fainting
      on the wall with a vision of ultimate **** and
      come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,
who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling
      in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning
      but prepared to sweeten the ****** of the sun
      rise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked
      in the lake,
who went out ******* through Colorado in myriad
      stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these
      poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver--joy
      to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls
      in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses'
      rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with
      gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely pet-
      ticoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station
      solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too,
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in
      dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and
      picked themselves up out of basements hung
      over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third
      Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemploy-
      ment offices,
who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on
      the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the
      East River to open to a room full of steamheat
      and *****,
who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment
      cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime
      blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall
      be crowned with laurel in oblivion,
who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested
      the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of
      Bowery,
who wept at the romance of the streets with their
      pushcarts full of onions and bad music,
who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the
      bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in
      their lofts,
who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned
      with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded
      by orange crates of theology,
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty
      incantations which in the yellow morning were
      stanzas of gibberish,
who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht
      & tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable
      kingdom,
who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for
      an egg,
who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot
      for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks
      fell on their heads every day for the next decade,
who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccess-
      fully, gave up and were forced to open antique
      stores where they thought they were growing
      old and cried,
who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits
      on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse
      & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments
      of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the
      fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinis-
      ter intelligent editors, or were run down by the
      drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,
who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually hap-
      pened and walked away unknown and forgotten
      into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alley
      ways & firetrucks, not even one free beer,
who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of
      the subway window, jumped in the filthy Pas-
      saic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street,
      danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed
      phonograph records of nostalgic European
      1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and
      threw up groaning into the ****** toilet, moans
      in their ears and the blast of colossal steam
      whistles,
who barreled down the highways of the past journeying
      to each other's hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude
      watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation,
who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out
      if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had
      a vision to find out Eternity,
who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who
      came back to Denver & waited in vain, who
      watched over Denver & brooded & loned in
      Denver and finally went away to find out the
      Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying
      for each other's salvation and light and *******,
      until the soul illuminated its hair for a second,
who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for
      impossible criminals with golden heads and the
      charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet
      blues to Alcatraz,
who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky
   &nb
Vicki Kralapp Oct 2018
From my earliest remembrance,
to this hour I have maintained,
I've never been contented
with a life of the mundane.

I’ve sought to spend each day in life
in search of curious things,
like art and education,
and the richness that they bring.

I hope to write more poetry
and share my verse in print,
and with my use of written word,
paint art with shades and tints.

I’ve been to many distant lands,
but yet my heart implores,
I seek out farther mysteries,
our planet has in store.

But now my body slows me down,
like most as we grow old,
and though I try, oft I fall short,
of plans I can control.

So, to keep myself companion,
while I will myself to heal,
I’ve formed all my ambitions,
which one day I plan to reach.

Since I was just a little child
I dreamt of life abroad,
in Kenya with the Maasai tribe,
I’ve always been enthralled.

I've fancied a safari,
where the famous five are found,
a land where great giraffes stand tall,
against the setting sun.

But, it is the Land Down Under,
that is first among my plans,
and one day soon I’ll see the coast,
of Sydney once again.

My friends will come to greet me,
though a lifetime I’ve been gone,
and united we’ll share memories,
for the present and beyond.

I’ll go for walks amidst the bush,
and hear the magpie’s tunes,
I’ll stroll beside the ghostly gums;
with nature grow attuned.

I’ll tour along the Southern Coast,
drive past Apostles tall,
and see the sites of Melbourne fair,
with all its cultured draw.

Then off to Kiwi’s northern isle,
with nature’s beauty rare,
fulfilling dreams so long desired,
to glimpse the Mauri’s there.

Waitomo, with its glow worm caves,
and Rotorua’s pools,
with geysers, Eco thermal parks,
and Bay of Islands too.

As I make my way back to the states,
I’ll stop along the way,
to visit Fiji’s turquoise coast,
and snorkel time away.

I’ll learn about the culture,
and partake of Fiji’s fare,
and when I go, I hope to leave,
a part of my heart there.

The coast of California,
on my list of sites to see;
from the Wharf in San Francisco,
to the vineyards by the sea.

I dream of redwoods sure and tall:
the parks and smell of pines,
and stand amid the ancient firs,
lest they pass for all of time.

I plan to visit Florence,
where master artists roamed;
the heart of Tuscan Renaissance,
where da Vinci made his home.

I hope to cruise Amalfi’s coast,
with others at the helm,
to view the brilliance of the sights,
and others in the realm.

While in the South of Italy,
I’ll cross the briny foam,
and walk the hills in Athens,
where ancient Grecians roamed.

I dream of Amazonia,
where man has not destroyed,
and natives live within the wild,
with harmony employed.

The last one on my bucket list,
is one I’d left undone,
when first I made my maiden trip,
and I was twenty-one.

I’d hoped to see the Emerald Isle,
and England’s castles old,
Duke’s palaces and British Tate,
are marvels to behold.

I’ll drive the ring of Kerry,
and the magic Isle of Skye,
to see its Fairy Pools of hues,
and Highland’s brilliance sights.

The lush green grass of Glen Coe,
the Scottish hills await,
would be a lifelong dream fulfilled
when all my trials abate.

With this, my final dream fulfilled,
I see my list complete,
full circle with this Commonwealth,
my restless feet at peace.

But ‘til that time when I am healed,
and I can travel far,
I’ll dream of lands beyond my reach,
and one day touch the stars.
All poems are copy written and sole property of Vicki Kralapp.
Bows N' Arrows Jun 2015
I'd make you mine...
If I could find the time...
I'd brush my teeth (cover my bruised knees)
and where something to please
you're lovely appetites
[Theme parks
and maybe some thrill rides
sunburn
when were out all day
beach-bums
days turn
and i'm wishing you won't spurn
me
Theme parks and maybe some thrill rides]
I'd scream "GO TEAM" at the game....
I'd put you're EX to shame...
I know I'm rough to tame
And although we feel the same
I still feel alone inside
Oh I'll bring you breakfast in bed
And act interested
(when you talked)
I'd make believe
Always was meant to be
Us for infinity
[Theme parks
and maybe some thrill rides
sunburn
when were out all day
beach-bums
days turn
and i'm wishing you won't spurn
me...
Theme parks, and maybe some thrill rides]
I know everyone's got to pay a bond to love you
(to love)
I see everybody says you're not meant to be alone
I know everyone's got to pay a bond to love you
(to love)
I said everybody sees you're not meant to be alone
[Theme parks, and may-be some thrill rides
sunburn
when we were out-all-day
beach-bums
days turn
and i'm wishing you won't spurn
me
Because the days burn
when i don't have you
to love me]
Lyrics
Pixie Ellis Aug 2018
We spend one day together, in the park and now the sun reminds me of you.

It was 29 degrees and the sun still couldn’t match your brightness.
29 degrees and you were still the brightest star in my sky.  
I think back to my diary, when I told her we would forge a picnic from the empty living room and yet here we are.

The cream carpet, now green grass and my heart melts in your hands.
Sizzling air beats down on our pale skin as my heart beats a mile a minute.
Sometimes I like to play pretend.

Cast myself as the role of your love interest.
So during my game I was shocked.

When we step foot in your local corner store, when the cashier muttered a “you too, together”
I thought I’d alternated reality.

Or at least I did for that second and a half.
Before you fumbled over your words and tried to find the ones that would break my heart the least.
You settled on she’s out of my league, you joked about it once we’ve left.
Then I pretended again.

I cast myself as your laid back friend,
As the girl who has better things to think about then a cashier wrong assumptions.
Reality didn’t shift this time.

— p.d.e
another ****** love poem about a dumb boy
Ben Brinkburn Jan 2013
Is there anything left to do
or has it all been done
already?

Please tell me

I’m lying in the road
I’m walking the ghost
I’m kissing exotic petals
paddling through the jungle.
I am sifting through an interesting
range of small glass objects,
one of which is an owl
and I am now counting car park
Spaces at Morrison’s.
Oh yes I’ve found a new hobby
and I am becoming obsessive.
I am twisted into a sordid dream state
of integrated parking structures, of free
standing multi-storeys in multiplexes,
out of town malls, town centre Galleries
and other associated parking opportunities
[often free of charge with good maneuvering
zones clearly designed-in].

I write all these details down in a small
blue notebook, narrow lined with a
margin, from WH Smith’s.

The Numbers:
Morrison’s 420
Marks and Spencers 350
Metro Centre 1322 [still counting]
The Nag’s Head, Mitcham 26

[Remember thought that this is only an
extract from the journal]

Oh no

I’ve just discovered some
clammy doughnuts,
deep in my overcoat
the sugar congealed,
just how I like it.
Someone is singing
‘show me the way to go home.’
I say show me the way to Broom Street’s
multi-storey car park [NCP]:
State of the art entry and exit facilities
Token meters
In five languages
Please
Please
Please tell me the optimum size
of  European parking spaces and
what extra allowances need to
be made for American manufactured
motor vehicles although I realise
this is less of a critical matter now,
as Americans are going through
a culture shift
towards smaller cars
and standards are merging.

Please.
Ira Desmond May 8
The parks are now empty of all but the trees.
The rot in the woodwork has made itself clear:
the virus reveals a more wicked disease.

If we watch each other with growing unease,
more sinister shadows may draw themselves near.
The parks are now empty of all but the trees.

The nurses and doctors make no guarantees;
their furrowed brows are not at all insincere.
But the virus reveals a more wicked disease.

While some may not fret at a cough or a sneeze,          
our day-to-day life shows a mask more austere:
the parks are now empty of all but the trees.

The wealthy can shelter on yachts overseas,
far-flung from the whims of our mad racketeer,
for he, too, was borne of this wicked disease.

But Justice may not brook the fraud she now sees,
her blindfold being repurposed as protective gear.
The parks are now empty of all but the trees,
and the virus reveals a more wicked disease.
Grahame Jun 2014
A  MOONLIT  KNIGHT.

Fern rises and looks out of her window.
Silver shards of moonlight lick the lawn.
She who once felt gay and oh so joyous,
Now feels oh so desolate and lorn.

Will she ever find true love again?
She before has never felt so low.
Should she, for love, continue searching?
Or give up by ending it here and now?

Outside, all is monochrome and still,
Inside, Fern is still and very sad.
Will she feel happiness again?
Who knows how long she’ll feel this bad?

At the stroke of midnight, there’s a change,
There seems to be a disturbance in the air.
Gradually something seems to materialise
On the lawn, a shape, come from where?

It is a knight, armoured cap-à-pie,
On a horse, for war caparisoned.
From his saddle hangs a jousting shield,
A silver moon on it is designed.

A white plume is mounted on his helmet,
On his lance a white pennon is tied.
The knight looks at her, at her window,
Silently he sits and does bide.

He raises a gauntleted hand and beckons,
Should she stay in, or venture out?
In her white nightdress she goes downstairs,
Deciding to see what it’s all about.

Cautiously she opens up the door,
And putting her head out, looks outside.
The knight still sits, patiently waiting.
Fern wonders what might now betide.

Slipping on an old pair of shoes,
She slowly walks over to the knight.
In her wake she leaves a dewy trail,
And as she nears, the knight fades from sight.

Fern wonders what this all might mean,
Is she dreaming or is she awake?
Is, what she has seen, been real?
Or has she made a big mistake?

Then, whilst standing there in wonder,
She happens to look down at the ground.
Where the knight was, the grass is trampled,
As though a horse has curvetted around.

Then she hears a sound from behind her,
And startled, Fern quickly turns round.
Her house no longer seems to be there,
In its stead, a keep there is stound.

The sound she hears is a woman calling,
“My Lady, please come back here inside.
You shouldn’t be alone out in the dark,
Please come back and in your chamber bide.”

The woman, from a window, looks at Fern.
“Excuse me, are you addressing me?”
Fern directs the question at the woman,
Who replies to her, “Of course, my Lady.”

“’Tis not safe out at this time of night,
And you are in your night attire dight,
So if someone, of you, catches sight,
You’ll not be seen in a good light.”

Before Fern can think of what to say,
She hears the sound of a galloping horse.
It is getting nearer in the dark.
She hopes that things will now not get worse.

“My Lady, quickly, please get you inside,
Do not just stand there as if dazed.
Hurry now, before it it too late.”
Fern, though, does stand there amazed.

Approaching through the night is a horse,
The one she’d seen before on her lawn,
The same knight is seated on its back,
Though now the pennant on his lance is torn.

The horse stops right next to Fern,
And caracoles to bring them face-to-face.
The knight lowers his lance to show his pennant,
Which Fern sees is a torn fragment of white lace.

The knight again does sit in stilly silence,
He waits, and does not make any demand.
Then lowers his lance to touch her nightdress’s hem,
When suddenly, Fern does understand.

The hem of her nightdress is lace trimmed,
So Fern bends, and seizes it in hand.
Then with a sharp tug she tears it off,
Removing it in a single strand.

The knight raises up his lance higher,
The old lace, from the lance, Fern does remove.
Then ties the furbelow on very tightly,
Saying, “Please take this favour with my love.”

The knight dips his lance in salute,
Then turns his horse, back down the road to face.
His spurs lightly touch the horse’s flanks,
Which straight away gallops off at pace.

Fern walks across to the keep.
The woman opens the main door wide.
Fern steps across the threshold,
And now, in her own house is inside.

She turns to look back across the lawn,
Which is still lit by the silver moon’s light.
The lawn is now smooth and unblemished,
With no marks caused by the steed of the knight.

Fern goes upstairs to her bedroom.
Has this all been a dream ere now?
Then, as she gets back into bed,
She sees her nightdress lacks its furbelow.

Fern remembers her nightdress has a pocket,
And into it, her hand she does place,
Then, to her utter amazement,
She pulls out a fragment of torn lace.

Fern wonders at what’s just happened,
Was it real, or only in her mind?
If it was just her imagination,
Why has she been able, the fragment to find?

Eventually Fern drifts off to sleep,
Waking with the chorus of the dawn.
Although she doesn’t think she has changed,
She no longer feels quite so forlorn.

“Why does the knight appear to me?
Why has he only come at night?
Is he trying to find out if he’s wanted?
Is he trying to make something right?”

Later on that day Fern walks to town,
And heads for the library to find,
If there are any references to knights
That might help to ease her troubled mind.

Fern does find a story of a knight,
Who had a moon device on his shield.
He was very brave in the fight,
And to a foe would never yield.

He had been commissioned to take a message,
To a lord, by order of the king.
It was to be delivered urgently,
And he was not to stop for anything.

He was nearly there when something happened.
By the side of the highway lay a maid.
Being a chivalrous knight, he should have stopped,
Instead, he carried on, not giving aid.

He delivered the message to the lord,
And later was seated, drinking in the hall,
When there entered in some serving men,
Carrying on their shoulders a shrouded pall.

They lay down their burden on the floor,
And without having said a word,
Reverently uncovered the face of a body.
It was the lady of the lord.

Then entered in another knight,
Who stepped up to the lord, and said,
“On our way here, we found your lady.
She was wounded, and now, alas, she’s dead.”

The other knight continued with his story,
“Seemingly, she had been robbed and *****.
There was no sign of the perpetrators,
We think they’d been disturbed, and then escaped.”

“Perhaps if we had managed to come sooner,
We might have been there to prevent this crime.
However, it seems the Fates conspired against us,
So we were not there to help in time.”

The Knight of the Moon sat there horror-struck,
He knew if he’d not been so keen to arrive,
Though helped, as his conscience had dictated,
The lady might yet even be alive.

Instead of speaking up, he stayed silent,
And never about this matter spoke a word.
Then he rose, and gave his condolence,
And went out from the presence of the lord.

The lady was removed to lie in state,
The Knight of the Moon went, to look at her face.
He knelt there in silent prayer awhile,
Then, from her dress, removed a length of lace.

He accoutred himself in his full armour,
Then rode from the keep that very night.
He left a note, stating his omission,
And of him, no-one ever saw a sight.

Fern is very sad to read this story.
What had then been in the knight’s mind?
Had he ridden off to end his disgrace,
Or the perpetrators, gone to find?

Fern now makes her thoughtful way home,
Hoping he’d found surcease from his torment,
Wondering what to him had befallen,
And if, for his lapse, he’d made atonement.

Fern reaches home rather tired,
So lies down on her bed, then falls asleep.
She dreams of knights in armour and fair damsels,
And jousting in the grounds of the keep.

Eventually, Fern wakens from her slumber.
She lies for a moment in her bed.
Yet again she thinks about her dream.
Was it real, or made up in her head.

“Perhaps,” she thinks, “I’m just on the rebound,
Because I’m still in mourning for my love.
And being of a romantic nature,
Dreaming of knights this does this prove.”

“Knights should have been chivalrous and kind,
Treating damsels in distress with care.
Except, when a knight I truly needed,
As it happened, there was not one there.”

“On that night, if we’d had some help,
My husband might still be alive.
Now, he has been taken from me,
And I feel that alone I cannot thrive.”

“However, life must go on as usual,
I should carry on, if just for him,
And so, perhaps, I should cease this moping,
And try to get on with my life again.”

So Fern gets up, refreshed from her nap,
Then decides, after eating, to go out.
That she must now get herself together,
Fern is not left in any doubt.

“Perhaps a short drive into the country,
And to stretch my legs, a gentle walk.
However, I will get on much quicker,
If I do not, to myself, talk.”

Fern puts on her coat and gets her bag,
Then goes out and walks to her car.
This is the first time that she’s driven
Since losing him, so she’ll not go too far.

Fern unlocks her car, and sits inside,
Then she is overcome with fear.
“Suppose, now, I am too scared to drive.
Perhaps I’d feel better if help was near.”

“Come on Fern, pull yourself together!
Feel the fear and do it anyway!
If you don’t do it now, then when?
Start the car, and let’s be on our way.”

So having given herself a little lecture,
Fern belts up, and pulls out of her drive.
Then, not really knowing where she’s headed,
Off she goes to see where she’ll arrive.

Fern motors out into the country,
And following a lane, drives up a hill.
At the top she parks and gets out.
Everything seems peaceful and so still.

She aimlessly ambles round the hill top,
And reads a notice saying it was a fort.
Then, Fern drifts off into a daydream,
And views the panorama without thought.

In her mind’s eye she sees a castle,
Decorated with many banners bright.
A tournament seems to be in progress,
And the winner is, of course, her moonlit knight.

Eventually, Fern becomes aware,
That she has gone some distance from her car.
So she slowly makes her way back to it.
She hadn’t meant to walk quite so far.

The shades of night are now falling fast,
And everything is starting to look grey.
So Fern unlocks her car and gets inside,
Ready to be getting on her way.

Slowly, she starts off down the hill,
The lane is very narrow with high hedges,
The moon is hidden behind some lowering clouds,
The track’s overgrown with grass and sedges.

Somehow, she’s gone a different way.
In the dark, everything seems wrong.
Fern is now starting to get worried,
And wonders why the track seems so long.

Eventually, she debouches onto a road,
Though she is not sure exactly where.
Fern is by now really anxious,
Then suddenly, gets an awful scare.

It looks just like the road they had been travelling,
When her husband lost control of the car.
It had skidded, spun and then rolled over,
The door had opened, and Fern had been flung far.

Her husband had still been trapped inside,
When it suddenly erupted into flame.
Fern could only stand and helplessly watch,
All the while loudly screaming his name.

No-one was around at that moment,
Perhaps someone might have pulled him out.
Then, as other motorists arrived,
They phoned for help, while listening to Fern shout.

Quite soon, a fire-engine came,
Closely followed by an ambulance.
The fire was eventually put out,
And Fern driven off still in a trance.

That had been several weeks ago,
And Fern has not since passed that place.
Now, it looks as if she is there,
And will, her darkest moment, have to face.

Then, to her horror, she sees a shape,
Dimly lit by her headlamps’ light.
It is a fallen motorcycle,
And the rider’s lying by it, just in sight.

Fern stops her car, and runs up to him.
Perhaps she can be of some aid.
As she approaches, the man gets up,
While a voice behind her says, “Don’t be afraid.”

“You just do exactly as we tell you.
We only want your money, and some fun.
Then, you can be on your way.
Do not even think of trying to run.”

The first man picks up the bike,
And pushes it to the road’s side.
The other man comes up close to Fern,
Who wonders again what might betide.

The wind blows the clouds across the sky,
Bringing the bright moon into sight.
The road that ’til then was hidden in darkness,
Is now lit with shards of silver light.

Fern then hears the sound of a horse,
Approaching through the wild and windy night.
The jingling of trappings can be heard,
And Fern thinks that now all will be right.

The courser slowly comes into view,
With the same knight seated on its back.
His lance is not couched, it’s held *****,
And the reins are loosely held, and quite slack.

Casually the steed comes to a stop,
And lowers his head to nibble at some grass.
The men, uncertain, both watch the knight,
While each wonders what might now pass.

One of them goes up to the bike,
And opens up the box on the back,
Then takes from it two crash helmets,
And a length of chain, which dangles slack.

He throws a helmet to his crony,
And they each fasten one upon their head.
Then they both turn to face the knight,
Who has not a word utteréd.

The one with the chain lifts it up,
And menacingly starts to whirl it around,
Then slowly walks towards the knight,
Who casually sits, not giving ground.

The other man reaches into his pocket,
Pulling out a wicked flick-knife,
And then, letting the blade spring open,
Prepares to join in with the strife.

He circles round the knight to the rear,
As the other man comes in from the side,
When the knight drops his lance into rest,
And suddenly, off he does ride.

He charges away from the men,
And gallops right past Fern at full speed.
Then, his lance aimed at the motorcycle,
He urges on his racing steed.

The lance pierces into the fuel tank,
And knocks the bike over in the road.
Petrol gushes out in a torrent,
And soon over the tarmac it has flowed.

The lance is broken in twain, the knight drops it,
And very quickly turns his horse about,
Then as he gallops back past the bike,
Both of the men start to shout.

Sparks from the horse’s hoofs come flying,
Igniting the petrol on the road.
Fern gives a shrill scream in panic,
Thinking that the bike might now explode.

The man with the chain wildly flails it,
Desperately trying to hit the horse’s head.
The knight strikes the man with a morning-star,
Who drops down, just like one who’s dead.

The knight then dismounts, drawing his sword,
And silently strides towards the other man,
Who flings away his knife, and starts running,
Fleeing just as fast as ever he can.

Fern sees the fallen man get up,
Rising groggily to stagger to his feet.
He looks at them, and then he turns away,
Slowly stumbling off, not yet too fleet.

Suddenly, the night becomes quite dark.
Clouds again, do the moon obscure.
Fern turns to try to thank the knight.
He’s gone, though she now feels secure.

Confidently she walks towards the bike,
And sees the lance by the fire’s light.
Fern bends and unties the lace from the lance,
And slowly walks back with it through the night.

She reaches her car, and gets inside,
Then starts driving off to get back home.
Belatedly thinking of her husband,
And wondering what next to her will come.

Safely arriving home, Fern parks the car,
And getting out, she sees on the lawn,
A pavilion has there been erected,
Turned rosaceous by the coming dawn.

The horse is also there, grazing tackless,
And by the entrance hangs a well-known targe.
Fern carefully goes and looks inside.
The pavilion’s quite small, not very large.

She sees the knight, kneeling on the ground,
His head bowed, as like one in prayer.
He holds his sword in front, just like a cross,
Of her, he seems not to be aware.

Quietly, Fern withdraws from the pavilion,
Then thinks, of the horse, to get a sight.
It’s nowhere to be seen, she turns around,
The pavilion’s now bathed in golden light.

As Fern stares at it in wonder,
See thinks that she can hear an ætherial sound,
Like a choir of heavenly angels singing,
And the pavilion vanishes from the ground.

Fern sees only a sword, stuck in the lawn,
And hanging from a nearby tree, the shield.
Then reliving what occurred in the night,
To tears of relief, Fern does yield.

She wonders if the knight has been translated,
Having now atoned for his mistake,
And Fern hopes that he’s managed to find peace,
For risking his life for her sake.

Fern hangs the sword above her bed,
And fastens the shield over her door.
She feels much more confidant now,
And is able to do so much more.

Sometimes though, when the moon is full,
Fern goes outside at midnight,
Carrying in her hand a strip of lace,
And seems just to vanish from sight.

At that time, if anyone was around,
They might then hear an unusual sound,
As though a fully accoutred
Morgan Mercury Oct 2018
I once thought there wasn't any life outside of this town,
but I was okay with that because it had everything I needed.
But what do I know?
We are all so young,
running through parks,
climbing up mountaintops.
Strolling past all the shops
and driving around this town going nowhere in particular,
I thought that it simply could not get better than this.

We loved each other like the stars
I thought that nothing could separate us.
We were sure to last,
but little did we know
that all these days will belong to the past,
and everything that we always did
now live on pages on thousands of papers
and in pictures tucked away in a box of old things.

Happiness was in the air that day
when we all were together once again.
The moon shined bright that night,
lighting the path that we once drove down every day.
This city just seems so small now that I have broken all its walls.

I drive past all the places we left marks on in this city.
The now vacant houses that once held so many memories,
the lunch table where our love blossomed,
the midnight drives to the movies,
getting excited over slushies,
and the lakes we learned to float.
I look back on all these places
and think about all the things we ever did,
I simply thought that it could not get any better than this.

Setting the new year on fire.
Dancing to the sounds of Grease.
Picking peaches in celebration of spring.
Watching all the bands we ever loved.
I would forget all my stress and worries thinking about it all.
Can it get any better than this?
                                                                  
I want to thank this town for all the stories I wrote.
All the times we felt like children.
All the times we rose with the sun.
All the times I felt loved by all the people that were my stars.

As I'm driving through this town and watch it grow smaller in my eyes,
I imagine a time when I was not alone.
I know getting older can seem quite strange at times,
but what do I know?
All I know is that there is just so much to see,
and sometimes the grass isn't always green as it used to be.
But as long as I have these memories,
it couldn't get any better than this.
2018
Inspired by South London Forever by F+TM
George Anthony May 2017
I know that there is a table
in a Catholic high school in my local town
with an etch of the letter "G"
next to boredom-inspired vandal,
jagged lines, circles,
perhaps a few ******* shapes
as silly high school boys
are prone to draw.

An Advanced Maths textbook sits on a shelf
with a little doodle
of a peace sign next to an emo smiley
from a time where I was caught
between two phases,
tight black jeans and a flowing turquoise shirt.

Tobacco stains smeared
over the wood of a sealed off door
just outside my bedroom,
evidence of the first time
I tried a cigarette, seven years old,
and then panicked and tried to
flush it down the toilet,
only to have to fish it out and stuff it
in a little crevice, to be hidden and
remain there for seven years.

We leave all these little marks
and stains
in places we've been.
Spilled food, spilled ink, spilled drink,
tobacco stains and pools of blood.
"The marks humans leave are
too often scars."

I have scars.
Left forearm. Right calf. Right wrist bone. Both kneecaps.

A scar across my ribs and chest I was
so desperate to be rid of,
I bathed myself in oils and it was
the first scab I
never picked at; but a couple of weeks ago
I dreamt it was there again, fresh.
It tore open in front of everyone, bled out,
and I woke up gasping, drowning in my fear,
agonised, clutching at a wound that'd long since faded
convinced I could feel it splitting me apart again.

I have evidence all over my body
and more buried deep within the recesses of my mind,
scars so jagged they put knives to shame,
shining, pale, like diamonds in moonlight
not half as precious
but still invaluable.
Evidence of the marks humans leave behind.

I'm not innocent.
I don't pretend like I am.
I know there is a man out there
who gained another scar to add to his collection
when he was fourteen years old.
I know my hands carved it into his skin.
I know I used to use my fists
when others used their words to hurt me.

When I die, I know that I will leave
pieces of myself
everywhere
I've ever been. Whether people know it
or not, whether they
remember me
or not. There are ink stains
and coffee spills. My blood
is still on the floor of his house.
The high school cafeteria
has a circle of red
from a nosebleed I didn't realise I was having.
There are parks wearing my graffiti
and children donning my old clothes, and people overseas
still alive because of me

(or that's what they'll tell me, but
all I did was talk.
Give yourself the credit you guys deserve,
you're the ones who chose to listen.
You're the ones who had the strength to
pick your head up and carry on)

There are exes who still think of me
and friends who will one day
come across some article of clothing
or a piece of technology
I left behind after a sleepover.
Teachers who will remember
that smart, sarcastic student
who had panic attacks in their classrooms
and drank coffee in the mentoring hub with Mrs. Hume
whilst buttering bagels and functioning on no sleep.

Maybe our place in the universe is
insignificant. Or maybe it's the
most significant thing
of all.
Maybe the Buddhists are right.
Maybe we are the universe, together
as one. I sure think it makes sense.

Streams of consciousness
and spirits that need healing.
We work the sun
without even realising we're doing it.
We destroy it, too,
which is perhaps why we
are so self destructive in turn.

Maybe we're
smaller than specs of dust
but that's okay.
You don't have anything
without the particles required
to make things up.
Everything is a collection of atoms:
the tiniest things of all
yet they're the centre of everything,
the beginning of everything.

So when the end comes and
we burst back into the sky,
stardust and souls and
blinking little lights,
we'll have left our marks on the earth
regardless of who remembers
and we'll still be there, twinkling,
a collection of atoms that came from a supernova
essential to the makeup of galaxies
and life itself.
What could be more beautiful than that?
I don't know. It was... some sort of stream of consciousness, perhaps? I blanked out halfway through writing it.
Logan Robertson Aug 2018
My Sister, I Watched You Fall-2

My little nephew, I was sorry for your sorrows
When the whims of your mother stormed your tomorrows
You didn't know who your father was
Or why the branches of your tree sagged its paws

For you walked thru the halls of life mauled
By a lost paw that grabbed your mind and sadness walled
I could see it in your mind's eyes, the question marks
Of why other families have fathers at the parks

From the time you were a little child of two
You would love to go with uncle to the zoo
Then as the wheels in your mind started to click
Seeing other kids with fathers, it made you sick

You were young seedling lacking the nourishment
The parts of the puzzle missing fulfillment
But hear this, my little nephew, your uncle tried
And ... at the mercy of your mother's whims, I cried

We'd play the role of father and son
Fish a dream, toss the past, paint some fun
We'd **** weeds while wrestling through a reservoir of tears
Aborted in time, a lake, two swans and a duckling in good cheers

My nephew, I would take you around the world if I could
But hear this you were never, never driftwood
For I had spent as much time visiting you
In absence of a fathers touch, you never knew

I shed more tears today as I catch wind of your child
For its teeth bites and gust of whims, again, run wild
Do I offer congratulations knowing the lake is devoid
Of future swans and a duckling, walled in my mind's void

No. My nephew, I'm choked in tears that crawl
On the face of the earth, I sprawl
I thought you learned, child uncorked
On wings of albatross and not the stork

Logan Robertson

8/16/2018
Play on words-paws, mauled. At age two, he was a child prodigy
with an eidetic memory. He was a **** at math, count change impressively, knew the times' table, like how many donuts in five in a half dozen. We would study the map, he knew all the states and capitals. I was impressed watching him grow and blossom. Then one day at that young age he learned why other kids had fathers and he didn't. It hurt him badly. He recoiled. He rebelled. He purposely started to give wrong answers to my teaching, as he started to lose interest. And things waned after that understandingly so. But for a while there he was so bright. This is a sad page to turn.

— The End —