Remembrance

Parts of this allotment shed: the frame, the roof trusses, the oil-saturated railway sleepers that it sits on, if they could talk:

… they would recall the young miner who grew food for his hard working family and neighbours in the years of the Great War. The war, they said that would end all wars. The miner, and his pals who kept producing the coal that kept the factories going, with women taking up the tools, that fed the effort that changed the world. The miner whose brother, giddy to fight the common enemy, so full of life he lied about his age when he joined up, left … left but did not return.

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Hearing Music.

Blond panther in beggar-black rain

Is pacing beautiful blue-silver

Dapple paths that stretch

From then to beyond

On velvet-whisper pads.

Unseen by even the cat,

Man, still-sitting on

Drum Back mountain stack

Watches it all unfold once again;

Hearing music in the

Tiny perfect silences,

Feeling tears drawn out

Of history’s eyes.

5/9/2013

Drops

             I
From the spinning
Circles that cross
Heaven and Hell,
Down the skies,
Between the branches,
The iron routes,
Across the leaves,
Between the rocks,
The weeds and brick dust;
Un-noticed they
Fall and run:
The too-casual
Drops of history.

  II
This is the placid hour
Of the fumble-flying moths.
 Day’s-eye stars are closing;
The honeybee’s purple
Pincushion, nectar and pollen palace
seaholly

Is become medieval slate mace.
Clusters of early autumn berries
Constellation-spin above:
Monochrome peace
Has come to visit.

23/8/2013

The Businesses of Destiny.

Leaning heavily on the crooked ash staff he had picked up at the wood’s edge, the old man put down the firewood bundle and looked back down the slope towards the brook. The sun was rising somewhere out of sight, pushing pale orange and pinks into the lightening darkness where a three quarter moon seemed trapped in the stag headed oak.

 Where three heavy crows gripped topmost branches with clawed feet and stared at each other murderous purpose.  One at each edge of the tree; the third, in the centre,  looking nervously: first one way then the other as if deciding what to do next – meanwhile playing for time.

Solitary and grey a slow moving heron glided gently down to land in the long grass and buttercups at the bank of the stream, long spear bill ready immediately to deal death.

Perhaps these were portents, perhaps just nature’s way of spinning out lives of God’s creatures.

Rumour had it that the king, Richard the third of that name, had spent the night in a local church praying for success in the conflict that could not be far, or long away. What he prayed for beyond that was anyone’s guess. Peace of mind?  Death of traitors and usurpers? Outriders  from distant parts had been quartering the countryside for some days now; purportedly foraging, but on occasions stealing – if truth’s bare bones and empty larders be any sign.

But rumour? The idle rough chatter that had the miller’s goat poxed by Beelzebub? That had the daughter of the family that lived by the stepping stones impregnated by a shape changer? He smiled a wide smile, revealing spaces where teeth once sat.

Then his expression changed. Became grim, tighter. His own foolish son, taken by the braggart’s  glories  and stories, had left without goodbyes to join some ramshackle archer band or other; though for -or against – which side he knew not. Nor cared. The life here and had little effect or asked for nothing from distant monarchs. But he had loved his son and would feel the loss, more than just for his strong back and assistance with the pannage … and hoped he would return, rather than leave – or worse, be killed or maimed in battle.

Hobb the Lame, one of those travellers  who passed through the valleys to lend a hand occasionally was an old soldier and told of the privations of life in an army; the bullying, bouts of hunger and plenty, inaction then terrifying battle, justice and injustice – and injuries that left a soul craving the death of the wracked body

For himself, he needed only food, shelter and a few more years of good health; while kings and princes knew nothing of him or his way of life. As long as taxes be paid, and church attended. The change of crown would make not a scrap of difference beyond, perhaps, a different face in the tithe payment rooms.

There came, then, across the pasture grasses a new breath of wind. Gentle it was, but unmistakably there. One he recognised from his live-long collection of summers here, always here in this same spot. The playful but insistent first fingers of autumn’s approach. That lifted the water meadow flower blooms and set them dancing giddily; reminding them that their days were now numbered. That they needed to make the most of sunshine left to them, sunshine and warmth that from now would be lessening day on day. The wind that gently prised early-set thistledown from tall, drying  heads, spinning it across the low face of the sky, spreading the light promises of futures beyond frosts.

This was the change-of-season gates getting closer. High, round edged clouds rushing into the sky confirmed it, their edges blazed by sun’s torch rays, their bellies big and still darkling.

This was the wind that would sneak into the nest cups of swallows in the byres and stables, to chide the parents, bringing them instructions of journeys they must prepare for – and make. That would send them on their way to who-knew where.

The wind that would slow the saps of trees, a little more each day: the gentle latch-lift that would bleed sugar colours into the high leaves in the rookery.

His gaze lifted a little: to a distant hill long-connected with stories of a poor man meeting one of the Old Gods; a story he had shared with a passing merchant two days past over a mug of ale. How would it be, he wondered, before he could prevent the slow thought taking hold, if we could change kings as easily now as we have changed gods in the past.

This coming battle, if settlement were beyond reach was the business of kings and such, those few who could read, write, reckon and believe it meant something. His life, that of his neighbours was a different reality.

He looked back at the gibbous moon, disappearing in the light of a new day, thinking how fitting: the year is coming to the third season, whether we would have it or no.

The world is always moving on; changes in all manner of things are the businesses of destiny; think what we may.

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Rain

rain1

Heavy rain:

Drip for the garden,

Drop for the lawn:

Drum roll for the garden,

Refreshing frogpaddle pond,

Falling future for

 Sun-parched ground.

I’m remembering a

Storm-hammered, crowded,

Noisy, light blue bus

Leaving a street market

In Yesterday’s-Gone,

No-Promise country;

A lover’s farewell:

“The skies cry,”

Biting back youngblood tears,

Biting passion-bruised lips,

“When good friends part.”

Drip for the past,

Drop for the present,

Drum-roll for the memory,

Reviving yesterday’s dancers,

Refreshing history’s dreams.

31/7/2013

Photo: www.newtopwallpaapers.com

Smoke-Music

 

Sometimes

I take  smoke-music

With my changing landscapes;

Melodies seamlessly stitching

History and present paths

Together.

 

Sometimes

I prefer simple- silence

For my reflections;

It helps me

Put the clouds back

Where they belong.

Lies the Mirror Tells

She sets the scene
Enthusiastically,
Nay perfectly;
Making flowers, sunset balloons
Dragons and rainbow tides –
With perfumed smoke,
With belladonna charms
And big-word dances.

I’m smiling, wryly.
She’s looking at me,
Intrigued, wondering why.

The difference, my
Soon-to-be-robot darling,
My once and future pirate chief,
Is that I was there –
A well-mannered mushroom,
Happy in the shadows-
When what you now mock
Was the new black,
Was all the black indeed
We would ever need,
The emperor’s new wardrobe.

I knew the seeping reality,
Denied by the obsequious ravens,
by the powerful ones
Who made the rules
(Mayhap the same ones
Pulling your pretty strings
Now my dear).

But history has always
Been a tart,
Always chasing the money.

7/1/2013

XH558

Once she climbed the

Devil’s Staircase,

For me, for you,

With heritage-proud

Power in her roaring voice.

Now, atomic bat,

Drifting gracefully

Into history.

 

Supreme silver tiger,

Aggressive aluminium angel;

Somewhere between now

And past high sky circles.

Quietly saving civilisation

Until we could, ungratefully,

Reject you.

 

21/8/2012

 

21/8/2012

Jim Dandy

Soakin’ dungarees,

Achin’ drawl-bone knees,

Dry throat,

Threadbare, shredbare coat.

Cotton-chopper blues

Payin’ devil’s dustbowl blues.

Bankman’s got my keys,

Papers sayin’ he owns my trees;

Brave woman cryin’

How can I stop tryin’ ?

Fightin’ devil-dustbowl blues,

Payin’ cotton chopper dues.

13/4/2012