I wish my little cat were still at home


The cat is watching youAfter so much sun, the cold returns
My feet are blue,  my nose runs like a tap
For the warmer months my dear heart yearns

I wish I had a real fire, wood to burn
A hotter kind of dog that never yaps
After joyous sun, the cold returns

Still, I  have much craft that I would learn.
A guide to navigate the poet’s map
For the warmer months my  body yearns

I wish my little cat were still  at home
To lie down side me while I take a nap
After  cheering sun, the cold returns

In the summer woods, I sing alone
I hate  my diary, calendar, all traps
For the warmth of love my  body yearns

In each  heart there is at least one crack
Where light gets in and  lights up what was black
After so much sun, the cold returns
But warmer times will come in their own time

The trees still bud, the birds rebel in song.

A day as warm and bright as in the Spring
The pine cones shiver in the gentle breeze.
The trees in bud, the birds revel in song

Our memories cannot store the very thing
The air on skin, the feel of blossom trees
A day as dear with light as is the Spring

On days like this, once more we do belong
And nature will respond to make us pleased
The trees in bud, caressed with new bird song.

The sounds of earth are silenced when phones ring
Our flesh has turned to ashes long deceased
A day can take to flight as does the Spring

We are betrothed, the bridegroom’s in the wings
The new act starts, the play’s by con men seized
No consummation now, but for the winged

I wish that I had written more to please.
And yet the air is fresh and we still breathe
A day of charm may revolution bring
The trees still bud, the birds rebel in song.

Is there sacredness in this world now?

IMG_0276IMG_0269We sense the sacred in these peaceful walls
Yet men have died in places that appal
Women too and children then unborn
Fell  into  cold dark earth in lands forlorn

As our weapons grow, our hearts are hard
The people live in Gaza behind bars
The water all polluted as taps drip
Is this  war  or is it vengeance  fit?

In Britain, it’s the poor who lose the war
As it was  when Jesus Mary bore
Yet here are clerics blessing marching bands
A military show for all the land

The genocide in Europe of  the Jews
The self destructive actions of the proud
The fields of France filled  sick with blood and bone
Who are we to cast  judgemental stones?

The War’s not over when the fighting stops
The soldiers and the  tortured suffer  shock
The widows and the parents all bereaved.
The  unborn children  hover in unease

We let the prisoners out from  camps of death
But who would take them in  or take their path?
The injuries will travel down the years
As still we fight and  still we live in fear

It’s Europe’s  grasp and greed which was the cause
Of death in Gaza, Syria,  in long wars
Yet we  judge we are more civilised
When we self defend with bitter lies

War poetry?



Not just the poetry of other wars, in fact, but other kinds of war poetry. “I am the enemy you killed, my friend,” says the dead soldier encountered in Owen’s “Strange Meeting”: “I parried; but my hands were loath and cold”. This summarises the whole circumstance of first world war poetry: it often involved hand-to-hand fighting; it was intimate. The second world war, by contrast, was for many soldiers a more distanced affair. Keith Douglas when taking aim in his poem “How to Kill”, says: “Now in my dial of glass appears / the soldier who is going to die”. He still thinks of him as a fellow creature (the soldier “moves about in ways / his mother knows, habits of his”) but also feels a crucial separation – a gap that exists as a physical space, and proves the conflict has frozen or exterminated a part of the speaker’s own humanity.

Poetry and health

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“It reduces feelings of isolation and depression

As readers we take comfort in knowing we are not isolated in our struggles. Somebody has felt this way before! If you’re anxious, melancholy or grieving, the poet’s words mean that you no longer have to feel alone, and poetry can give hope for the future and even some excellent advice. Dorothy Parker’s splendid company at any time, but particularly if you’ve just been dumped.

It can boost your mood

Poetry isn’t just for leaning on during hard times. It’s a thrill to read a poem that encapsulates – more elegantly than we ever could – how it feels to be deliriously happy, or perfectly tranquil, or deeply in love. It’s one of the reasons that sharing poetry is so popular at weddings.

It can take you to the country in the heart of the city

A poem becomes an incantation to transport you from the humdrum daily world, an escape hatch from the commute, the queue and the waiting room. Choose verses about dancing daffodils, dappled things or stopping by woods on a snowy evening to provide yourself with a mental gulp of healthy fresh air, a magical five minute trip to the countryside while you pound the pavements.

It can calm you down

When I find I’m really about to lose my temper, counting to ten is good – but reciting a silly poem is better (out loud, it has the added benefit of getting the attention of tantrum-throwing children, but in your head is probably better for the platform when your train is delayed.) The poems from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland are my go-to for these times. It’s impossible to grit your teeth while mentally running through ‘You are old, Father William’s perky stanzas.

It can say what you can’t

Poems can also say something we might find difficult to, if we can’t find the words to comfort the bereaved, or are too bashful to talk about our affection. Candlestick Press (http://www.candlestickpress.co.uk) publish a range of beautiful pamphlets covering all manner of subjects from kindness and tea through friendship to cycling, which can be sent instead of a disposable greetings card and enjoyed over and over again.”