Force

Denial worked for you for many years
When you nearly crashed when turning right
You give no hint that you had any fear
Denial worked for you for many years
Real though is the body,real the tears
As I sat beside you,well prepared
Your smile was not imagined,nor the light
Denial worked for you for many years
Once you nearly crashed, that was not right

When we turn our face the other way
The roving car will hit us with its force
No time for any thought,much less a prayer
When we turn our face the other way
We will feel the impact or we die
No new day will dawn for those who care
When their eyes are red, their voices hoarse
When we turn our face the other way
The speeding car will hit us with its force

Blinded by the past

The old man and the seea were calm as glass
The Cafe was surrounded by mixed blooms
He was listening to a lady who described
The flowers, their colour,name all afternoon

He could not see at all yet was relaxed
Indeed he was delighted in the sun
I thought blind men were piteous,full of fear
That tells you more of me, than of the men

Below the steep cliff path, in ran the sea
I can’t imagine how our Airforce fought
Barely trained young men went out to war
Is Brexit Britain worthy of their Cause?

Now the blind man gazes out to sea
Was he one of those who kept us free?

The mystery of love and what we sing

The proper conscience does not wound our hearts
But tells us truly when we have done wrong
It does not injure love before love starts

Its voice is still and small, it is not sharp
Sometimes it impresses us by song
The goodly conscience does not wound our hearts

Yet conscience is no angel with an harp
Unheard when minds are crowded, with thought thronged
It does not tear up love before life starts

It does not use great force, no threats shall rape
But talks to each in their own native tongue
The moral conscience does not wound our hearts

But what of evil men,Satanic sharks,
The mysteries of genocide and bombs?
Do they tear up love’s roots from their hearts?


Even good folk suffer like the lambs
We must enter darkness with blind hands
The proper conscience does not wound our hearts
It does not curse our love before life starts

Now there is no road

No rought beast shall slouch to Bethlehem
There is no track or pattern to our fate
Once Jesus’ feet were bathed by Magdalen
Now communities of love disintegrate.

The world does fall apart, the centre’s gone
There is no named War, but armies kill
Or single, abject men who carry guns
On other nearby folk will shoot at will

There seem to be no ” better” sort of men
But all lack much conviction,common good
They follow gold with bent accountant’s pen
Calvin’s “way to heaven”, Noah’s flood

Now there is no road nor path nor beast
Confusion,chaos,populism will feast

The handkerchief pan

In the evening. simmering handkerchiefs
Perfumed the air with odours I can’t tell
Mother scrubbed them, hung them on the line
Then I had to iron them, folded well

Now we have our tissues, we don’t need
Hankies that need scrubbing many times
The oceans  deep are  poisoned  with our  waste
Is the use of tissues a  new crime?

While we did our  homework  after tea
My brother  liked his Wagner at  full blast
Imagine  learning Latin  with that din
Now the time for anger  has  long passed

Bad memories change  by  newly given grace
Evoking hints of  mother and her face

When music ends and silence overwhelms

As music went and silence overwhelmed
As in deep despair, I thought to end
When nothing seemed to help me on on my way
Perhaps I’d lost the track and so must pay


Empty now of thought and of desire
The vision of the darkness without fire
The utter loss of any help at all
From the depths, my heart cried out appalled


Expecting nothing, hoping even less
A fire of gold appeared to hold,caress
And tears rained down my face from eyes amazed
While in my flesh I felt caressed and saved


I bowed my head in assent to this good
The crucified, the lost, have understood


Liquid unmodernity

My brain has turned to liquid and it’s dripping from my ears
I need some kind of tampon to absorb this sudden rush
Why did noone tell me this is frightful to endure?
My brain has turned to liquid and it’s dripping from my ears
I think it’s far too late to expect a total cure
I’ll never hear the little voice nor see the burning bush
My brain has turned to liquid and it’s dripping from my ears
Where’s an alcoholic then, to drink the mighty rush



The pillars of the Western Mind have cracked

The end of values, kindness, earned respect
The loss of wisdom,history and truth
The pillars of democracy are cracked.

The centre of the heart,who can protect?
Conspiracy and madness unseat proof
An end of values, kindness, earned respect

Violence is admired though lives are wrecked
The lasting triumph of the folk uncouth
The pillars of the Western Mind have cracked

Their minds unfurnished seem bereft of tact
They tread on others words like horses’ hooves
The end of values, kindness, earned respect

How can such opponents make a pact?
The calculating crucify our youth
The pillars of the Western Mind have cracked


Yet Western Empire builders had no ruth
They tortured those they conquered group by group
On such ground just madmen earn respect
The altars of the Western Mind have cracked

Enigmatic like a midday dream

The fallen sun makes black the trees that lean
Its liquid centre thrown up wild and bright
Enigmatic  like a midday dream

The  pinky edges shift in  sun’s bent beams
Do they convey the aura of the light?
The fallen sun makes black the trees that lean

I wonder where my haunted eyes have been
In the forests deeper than the night
Enigmatic  like a midday dream

Schizoid, lacking affect,  a  slit scream
Destroying what is left of love and sight
The fallen sun makes black the trees that lean

Here we saw wild primrose by the stream
The castle of the Tudors soft in  blight
Enigmatic  like a midday dream

Bewildered people  kill their own insight
Toss their fears , into the weak to bite
The failing sun as pure as  boiling screams
Enigmatic  are our midnight dreams

The footstep on the stairs

I remember you so well for those eight years
The nights you sang love’s lullabies to me
I was fearful of the footstep on the stairs

You held me as we paddled in the sea
Maybe Blackpool,maybe Morecambe too
You told me stories as I sat upon your kne
e

I have some good memories, too few
Where are all those days we played outdoors?
Who knows if these memories are true?


In East Lancs and in West Lancs rain will pour
Once you wrapped me in your coat, but then
Mam was angry when we reached the door

She told you, you were foolish for a man
Why should men be wise, should anyone?
That was when your illnesses began

You let me lie beside you in your bed
I’d had my tonsils out and felt unwell
I talked but don’t remember what you said


I didn’t know the meaning of pure hell
I guess I learned that when death you befell
Come back,Daddy,missing you too well

I’m still your little girl, your smiling belle

Now the melancholy’s gone

Now I’m feeling kind of numb on this January day
The darkness came down sudden and I feel it’s here to stay
Shall I make some tea and pretend that you are here
I’m naked like the wood underneath that swish venee
r.

I’m feeling kinda nothin’ now the melancholy’s gone
Should I be doing something that will give me, like, some fun?
The silence is not threatening, but neither is it good
Did you ever wish that you weren’t made of flesh and blood?


I’m feeling so damned stupid for falling on my back
My shoulder was in agony and there’s whiplash in my neck
The doctor, he injected me, but he said it’s down to luck
He may have missed the mark, he says,I wish I’d said,oh fec
k

Apparently the elderly are not in much demand
I heard a sorta whisper as my head went in the sand
We must keep the silence or we’ll frighten off the young
They don’t seem to notice
but the cat will lick my hand

I didn’t know how old I was till the clock flew off the wall
Isn’t it uncanny what you see before the Fall?

Love will need no trick

In my despair I felt that I was stuck
Paralysed by  grief and guilt I failed
By the end I had tried every trick

From prayer unthought to deeps of logic black
My  life, my engine ,juddered off the  rails
I hated God and of “his” Church was  sick

Starving  and alone I was in shock
The death of one I loved   had made me frail
By the end I had tried every trick


I felt  love’s arms around me,  death to block
I knew   this goodness,  why else would I wail?
I   thought I hated God  but Love had struck

Warm and golden light  that  did me hold
Where are you now when refugees  die cold?
Kind despair  that  made me long time sit

By the end I knew  Love needs no trick

The dam burst

Yout letter seems to overflow with rage
The reservoir of hatred has emerged
The loving kindness vanished without trace

I cannot see the mirror of your face
You used me to contain your anger’s surge
Yout letter, wanton, overflows with rage

Why did you enact your Play in haste?
Why treat me so coldly , why me hurt?
Your act of love has vanished without trace

Do not tell me I was not your taste
You fantasised an image I dispute
Yout letter ,sadly, overflows with rage

I hate to see my love was to you waste
Free speech applies to both, you can’t refute
How could good, true love leave not a trace?

After this, I in my world was mute
I could not speak,my heart and soul pursued
Yout letter uses words to channel rage
You wished to see me naked,this the stage

Her voice

The ice in the eye
Invisible glass
Splinters the vision
Light can harass.

Panic makes feints
Like dancing with skates
She passed out in angst
Traumatic the date

The clutch at the heart
Oxygen, gas
Loosen your grip
The glory, the waste

Ariel,Israel,
Where is the horse?
Where are the olives?
Where is her voice?

Rehab is not kind when nearly dead

To get you fit for death they took you in
The Rehabilitation of the dead ?
They got you up and sent you to a gym

You had a bed, the light was very dim
So those new books I brought were never read
To get you fit for death they forced you in

You fell onto my lap, it was no sin
Your face as black as Satan’s in his bed
They pulled you up for torture in a gym


They taunted you like Nazi’s, what’s to win?
Tell me what the liars wrote down or said
To get you fit for death they forced you in

When Christ was killed, they hung him on a hill
If God is tortured, where should man be led?
Who imagined dead men in a gym?

When the trouble came the nurses fled
You died in A and E , there was no bed
To prepare you for you death they asked me in
You cried,I want to die, but they just grinned

There’s a leer in my soup

Waiter, there’s a tear in my soup
How can you tell?
It’s quite clear
I can’t see anything
That’s the whole point

Waiter,my egg is too hard
If it’s boiled I can’t reverse that
What, all this modern science and we can’t soften a hard boiled egg
I could mix some butter into the yolk
I’ve eaten that
You are trying to eat the egg cup!
Is that what it is?
Did you not have any at home?
No, we never ate eggs
Now we know why!


My wife has had a baby
What’s its name?
Aubergine
Why?
It’s purple with crying
Well, it will stop eventually
I hope so.My wife is worn out
So why are you here?
She says after this pain she never wants to make love again
How do you feel about that?
Is it my fault God made the birth canal so narrow?
Well after a few more babies it will get wider
A few more!Can’t the doctor help?
Well, it’s against medical ethics really but he could use a shoe widener
His shoes are too narrow,
I suppose so.
I think it is too big
Well,she will forget when the baby sleeps
Forget what?
What fertilised the egg
And what does that?
Don’t you know?
A spider?
It’s sex
I can’t tell the sex of s spider
No, when you have sex.
But we’ve had it 365 times and only had one baby
Better luck next time


The art of doing nothing

The art of doing nothing’s hard to learn
To sit and daydream till we get new thoughts
It’s immoral, say the Puritans
reformed

Harder to accept the need to mourn
So many ancient losses strip our hearts.
The art of doing nothing’s hard to learn

The feelings that felt too hard to be borne
We could have looked for maps or sought out charts
It’s immoral to seek help so we’ve been told

Here we weep when our skinned hearts are torn
We fear we may have forfeited love’s balm
The art of doing nothing’s hard to learn

We only know our self when love is born
In another’s eyes we find our calm
Reject the harshness of old Luther’s forms

Fear not death, for there are strong wide arms
God is not a monster who wills harm
The art of doing nothing will prepare
For when we meet one day his welcome stare

As waves die

The music is the waves as they run high
Across the pebbly sands onto the road
Then groaning of the shingle as waves die

The fish that dwell deep in the dark, dark brine
The flow within as outer waters flow
The music of the waves as they run high

The moon reflects sun’s light to other eyes
Above the seas which rise up to its goad.
Then groans the shingle as the steep waves die

The sea holds hidden goods where we can’t pry
In the deep the heavy water moulds
The music of the waves as they run high

All the day and all of the black night
The seas and oceans change from high to low
Ah, groans the earth as each wave has to die

Re-hear these sounds, are they a sacred code?
As angels wrestled, Jacob feared the Lord
His music is the waves as they run high
His groaning is the shingle as waves die

In the desert grey

I was walking in a desert grey and bleak
All alone, with none to speak or  eat
I shuddered when I realised the truth
I was unmarried, pregnant, mere refuse.

Cast out for other failings all unknown
My baby came too soon and I alone
A doctor with no face appeared and said
Your baby died ,I see he’s never fed

He flung my baby  on his heap of dead
I lay there  in the dirt, red with  my blood
I  had to leave or I  would  die of grief
The will to live  just stronger than a  leaf

I went to see my baby, and  he smiled
He was still alive, my love,my child
I took him in my arms,  where should we go?
I walked into that darkness
full and slow

The shape and form

Put your painful feelings into form
The sonnet,villanelle, the triolet
The shape controls the anguish of the storm


Our wounds can shape our vision and our thoughts
Remember school, where bullies made you pay?
Put your painful feelings into form

Words like daggers pierce the loving heart
Oh, memory must not cut us off from play
The play controls the violence of the storm

Let all thought of vengeance now depart
Or our spirit blackens, then decays
Put those painful feelings into form

In its time the sun will bring new dawns
Tears will wash our souls from black to grey
The words compress,contain the bloody storm

Do not give the monsters time of day
Conversation does not always pay
Put your painful feelings into form
The shape will heal the anguish like a balm