Someone other takes charge of our boat

The kindness of  our neighbours helps us cope
With life, with death,with many shades between
When we despair and  can’t imagine hope

When the sailor takes us in his boat
When he rows us on a  night-blank sea
The kindness of  our neighbours helps us cope

The world  seems  made to hurt, and then frustrate
The mind confuses   dreams , reality
When we despair and  dare not even hope

 Love is built  as we restrain our hate
Sailing well   a new country we see
The kindness of  our friends helps us  to  cope

Persistence in the virtues   gives us scope
Start again, the angel said to me
When I despaired and  lost my  threads of hope

In our mind love’s buried and unseen
Yet we can raise the dead with energy
The kindness of  our  frriends helps us cope
When we are lost and  mapless is our hope.

Virtue rendered void

Envy poison, friend of vicious hate
We know Cain for he still lives within
Society is built on hellish states

If not so, how can we lay love waste
When time is short, why cut it down with sin?
Envy poison, friend of vicious hate

Do not  hid it, saying  this is “fate”
Though brilliant Sylvia,Ted  asked spirits in
Marriage too is built on hellish states

Only with her death, did he relate
One had to go to let the other win
Envy poison, friend of vicious hate

We suffer when we  think  that we need fame
All paper one day ends up in a bin
Society is built on loveless states

Comparison and judgment are  no game
Virtue rendered void, our hearts are lame
Envy poison, friend of vicious hate
Can society is built on other states?

 

Lying on a trolley, feeling Zen

Cycling in the dark  one Friday night 
Down St Giles, deserted without lights
On my way to  rehearse with my church  choir
I never got through  Oxford, struck by liars

A car was coming at enormous speed
Is this to be my end, that tourist’s dream?
Time slowed down,I  went up very slow
This world  a film,a construct, down below

I fell as slowly as I’d risen  up
Till I landed on my head,my jacket ripped
Yes, you really do see stars,I told myself
Not a metaphor, the shocking truth

Then I was inside the film again
Lying on a trolley, feeling Zen

The Catherine wheel, the longing, the desire

Oh, my brother, I have said goodbye
Once my little playmate, you must die
Your voice is very weak as there you rest
I wish that life were not a  cruel test

I told you  of the see saw and the swings
I will not argue, this is what life brings
Remembered  fireworks and the  blazing fire
The Catherine wheel, the longing, the desire

How can a boy so strong soon turn to dust?
Where has gone the liveliness the lust?
Weak but uncomplaining you lie there
On my face I feel the damp of tears

You’ll never die, you’ll live in  other minds
I forgive your acts,  for you were  blind

The wrens

My front hedge is so thick, wrens made a nest
I saw a small bird flying low and swift
With my garden I feel human, blessed

The bonsai beech has grown till almost dense
It has no trunk, the leaves are tiny  gifts
My front hedge is so full, wrens made a nest

My clematis has flowered beyond  all sense
When I looked  I felt my soft heart lift
In my garden, know that I am blessed

In a deep green  wood the eye can rest
Open eyed, a look  must not be fast
My front hedge welcomes wrens ,oh,love,a nest!

Deep happiness connects us  to what’s best
The dark blue sky, the sunset flaming,  brief.
With my garden I feel love, I ‘m blessed

 Be alive, don’t dwell on thoughts too sweet
The natural world   brings virtue  and deceit
My front hedge is so thick, wrens made a nest
These tiny  creatures filled with  love and zest

 

 

 

 

Cobblestones and weeds

 

 

DandelionClocks
Image by Mike Flemming.Copyright,

Cracks in pavements,cobbles,gutters,weeds
In the little street  we  children played
While nature fought back, spreading out  wild seeds

Old women reached for grace with rosary beads
When I call.I don’t know what to say
Cracks in pavements,cobbles,gutters,weeds

Neighbours borrowed eggs and helped in need
What was my entire world has shrunk, decayed
Still nature fights back,  flinging out wild seeds

The cobbles have been tarmacked till aggrieved
Here we once enjoyed school holidays
Cracks  for insects,cobbles,gutters,weeds

Girls played  with doll’s prams,boys disagreed
All the world was here, where’s left today?
While nature  blackened, blasting out her seeds

Where are mother,father,oh dismay
I am old and they lie in the clay
Cracks in pavements,cobbles,gutters,weeds
Nature acts still, spreads out flying seeds

 

 

Closing Time

A husband died at half past two
What has that to do with you?
The  past is like a candle  blown
The heart a grave beneath a stone
Grief is very close to fear
Shaking legs  and frozen tears
It’s closing time

The  poppy fields , the linseed blue
The cottage where I loved with you
Noone else will know  it all
The Suffolk Rose, the paint all worn
The rented car, the yellow corn
The cottage windows seemed to yawn

Closing time

But I dream and I see you
Smiling widely as  you do
Ask me where the car keys are
Ask me if I’ll take you where?
Whitby,Staithes. all understood
All gone now,god sweated blood
Closing time

 

I wonder why he married you?

 

 

Why do we have roast beef on Sundays?
So mother can clean the oven while we go for a walk in the park?

I say, what thick lips you have!
Is that a compliment or an insult?
Gosh,clever too

For Xmas he gave me lavender wax polish and a new duster
I gave him an insult

For my birthday he gave me  silk scarf.He’s never noticed I don’t  wear scarves, bracelets and dangly earrings.
I wonder why he married you?
So does he.

I got so angry,I said I suggest you marry a man next time.Someone as obnoxious as you.
He said, it’s a sin
Well, think how I feel.

He loved dripping.He bought a new car just to drive around Essex seeing if the butchers sold beef or bacon dripping
Then what?
He died of blocked arteries.They were worse than the North Circular  before the M25
What about the car?
Is that all you can think of when I have lost my husband?
Well, you should have eaten all the dripping yourself
What!Murderess.You wish I’d died first?
It might have stopped a lot of arguments
Shooting every one in Britain would have stopped brexit
Except  for  the gunmen
The EU would not want them.
What’s logic got to do with it?

Feel the  loving sun  and kiss the bees

I wish that I could be inside a tree
To put my entire body in its form
To feel the sun and wind and hear the bees

I’d like my hands to dance as   flexibly
As birds move  through  the air, as rises dawn
I wish that I could feel myself a tree

I’d love my  garden sweetly, ardently.
I’d love each single  daisy on the lawn
I’d feel the sun and wind and hear the bees

But would a holly want to  be just me?
Oh, poor tree that walks about  forlorn
I wish that I could turn into a tree.

Perhaps a cat that sat upon my knee
Would mioaw inside my  home by   dust deformed
She would love the sun and wind and hear the bees

When I change,I’ll keep you all informed
You may hear me singing in  the Storms
I wish that I could dwell within a tree
Feel the  loving sun  and kiss the bees

 

Blue the sky

The  sea shore blue of  operatic sky
Turned to navy then to darkest grey
Dark trees  despise the mysteries of light

The holly has its depth unknown to eye
Hiding fragile wrens  from birds of  prey
The  cerulean blue of soothing sky

And in my room upon my bed I try
What words would come,what humour could you say
Oh trees  held in the mysteries of light?

The words won’t  come,unspeakable the sigh
The weeping  of the sick, the donkey’s bray
Depression of Van Gogh. the lowering  sky

Oh,mother, why must newborn  babies cry?
The Lord ignores, the sheep flee as I pray
The  trees   hold in the mysteries of light

I meet your eye,I’m feeling drawn and grey
You want my love,I fear the  last  mistake
In sinking blue of  dawn and  passive sky
The  trees  despise the virus and the lies

 

 

 

They miaow in Hebrew,Mary said loftily

  • Stan awoke feeling very thirsty.
    My, this bed is much  too hard,he thought.
    He put out his hand and felt some wood not far away.It was his desk.Emile was lying on Stan’s stomach purring.
    You fell out of bed,the little cat miaowed.Luckily I clung on with my claws and I am ok sleeping down here….I can see  mice better.
    Well,it’s not ok with me,Stan informed him gently.
    How can I get up from here?
    He picked up the Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath and banged on his desk softly.
    Mary was awake and heard a strange sound.She  found Stan lying on the floor with his head by his desk.
    Emile wanted to sleep by the wall,you see.,he told her.
    Then he rolled over and I fell out.

     

    http://youtu.be/pT9CdnfFET8

    That is logically and scientifically mad,Mary told him.
    Surely Emile is not so big that his weight was enough to knock you out of the bed?
    It is against the law of gravityAnyway,why don’t you get up?
    I like it  down here,the old man lied to her optimistically.
    Rubbish,Mary said,then she picked up the phone and rang 999.
    Hello,she said.My cat is very upset as he feels guilty for pushing my  aged husband out of bed.
    How terrible for you,the man answered.I’ll send an ambulance right away.
    Mary opened the front door and left it unlatched whilst she lit the electric lights with a match.
    How do you feel now  Stan,she enquired tying her  red polyester fleece dressing gown a bit tighter before the paramedics arrival
    I am thirsty,give me some brandy,he ordered her politely as he was  full of kindness
    They said not to let you or Emile drink or eat
    Blooming ridiculous,he told her in a manly fashion.
    Soon the ambulance arrived and the paramedics were running up the stairs to see the poor cat. Mary fainted so they laid her on the bed whilst they comforted Emile and cleaned his paws.Then they picked up Stan and laid him right next to Mary,his wife.
    Why don’t you have a bigger bed,one asked Stan.
    Bigger than what,he responded academically.
    Well,if you were any fatter you’d not be able  to lie next to your wife.
    True,he replied but my wife is too large.I keep hoping she will lose weight.
    I shall make you some tea the female paramedic told them forcefully
    Well,you don’t seem to be hurt,the other one told Stan, but the cat may need therapy or counselling because of the guilt he will feel.
    He’s not  a Catholic ,I hope?
    No, he’s Jewish,Stan shouted  implausibly.
    That’s alright then.How do cats get to be Jewish anyhow?
    It’s their souls,Mary said…they are all waiting up there for a suitable place to be reborn and some choose to be cats.
    But how can you tell? he asked wonderingly.They have no prayer shawls
    They miaow in Hebrew,Mary said loftily.And they like to sing the psalms before bed.
    But how do you  know it’s Hebrew,he replied.Do you speak it?
    No, it’s just he hates bacon and pepperoni and always wears a hat so it seems he must be one of Jesus’s friends,but not Judas of course.I suppose Jesus wore a hat but it’s never been found as yet.Not even being sold as a relic.

    .http://youtu.be/8SCorW9r_Is

    Well,that’s intriguing.Do you think Emile might be the Messiah?
    Oh,dear.We never thought of that.Will he have to go to Galilee and catch fish and walk on water?
    No, he can go to Rome and tell the Pope that the Church is not what God planned.
    I hope they don’t kill him,Mary cried sadly.
    God will not be very happy.
    I didn’t know God had moods,Stan said.
    He has post-creative depressive disorder….no wonder when we look round the world.
    Still they did try,I’ll say that for him or her.
    And so say all of us.
    For he’s a very good yeller,he’s a very good yeller
    A cat’s life is a fuss.Miaow.

In green thoughts I dwell.

Small rain in summer
Pools on large green leaves,
Makes all birds dumber
Silently they weave.
Wrens fly to and fro
Nesting near the house.
They know where to go
With nestlings and spouse.
Simple life of green
Hiding in lush leaves.
A space to be unseen
Humans only grieve.
Where is our safe space?
Where can we live well?
As anguish veils the face
In green thoughts I dwell.

The strange world of Stan

K 
Art by Katherine

While Mary boiled the kettle in the new greenish blue painted kitchen,Stan smacked his thick red lips.
“I thought we said, we’d have no more corporal punishment,” she murmured loudly.”
Why did you smack your lips just now?”
“Well,I can hardly smack yours” he said politely
“But we said no more smacking at all yesterday”
“I just like the noise” he confessed, turning as red as a stalk of ripe rhubarb.
“Sado-masochism may be fun, but after reading,Fifty Glades of Fray,I thought we said we’d abandon it”
“Well,why don’t we abandon ourselves to our bodies or divine providence?” he answered curiously.
“I am unsure if one can do that on purpose or if it just happens whilst doing something else.”
“Elser than what?”
“I dunno” the Oxgrudge educated woman replied sheepishly .
“The Government didn’t give you a three year research grant so you’d say,I dunno” Stan told his slender and silver haired wife and lover.
“Well,that’s their problem.Three years studying Searat’s equation did nothing for my spoken English” the brilliantly brained brown haired and eyed bonny bosomed  beauty told him shrewdly.
“Well,are there rats in the sea?
“I dunno”
“So who wrote the equation?” Stan asked her.Immediately in a peevish tone
the door bell rang.
“Hello,Mary,It’s me” cried Annie their naughty neighbor and man magnet
“No,it’s not”
“What do you mean?”
“You never invented Searat’s equation”
“Pardon me for living,”Annie answered rudely.
”I prefer peeling potatoes to this noisy argument.”
“I never knew potatoes pealed”
“Yes,it’s like little bells ringing” Mary informed her kindly
Oh,for God’s sake,”Stan shouted quietly,”that’s Emile’s bell ringing so the birds can escape from him”
The women went red all over with shame.Annie ran into the kitchen and poured a bucket of cold water over her head.
It’s this hot weather;it’s too much.I need a man now!I am mad with desire.
No,it’s just that mid life madness coming too late,she told herself gently
It’s too hot to make love anyway.
Why you must be getting old,she remarked to herself confidently
Heat never turned you off before.Why you once said you’d lie down in the road and sleep with the next man who passed by.
Unfortunately he passed by on the other side,just like in the Bible.
But in my case no Samaritan came to my aid.
“Am I having a mental breakdown/” she shouted pensively
“No,it’s me” Stan told her,I am trying to stop Mary smacking her lips but it is hard work. and it has create a bad atmosphere.”
“Is it wrong to smack your own lips?Can you morally smack someone else’s?” Annie said wonderingly
“Why do you ask me that?”
“Well,it seems lots of things are wrong if one does them alone but are moral if you do it with someone else or to someone one else”
“I just have no idea what you are talking about,”Mary called valiantly.
“Make me some tea.My lips are parched!”she continued
“No wonder,”said Stan vivaciously
Well,thought Emile,I am glad cats have no lips.That’s one thing less to worry about.
He sat up and drank some tea from his china saucer
Stan and the ladies sat quietly on the patio watching the birds flying about.
“Do birds ever get obese?”Mary asked.But answer came there none.
Night fell and they all went to bed together,Emile says there is safety in numbers and I find thirty is a safe number to share my bed.I write 30 on a postcard and pop it under my pillow.With my dentures and my hanky and four mobile phones
I seem to manage the night.

And so shout all of us

Touching them and keeping them at peace

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The photo is by Mike Flemming 2020
Thank you,Mike

 

We can cast our body like a cloak
Around the loved one when they cannot speak
Hold them like an infant  when at  rest
Sleeping softly on a mother’s breast

Touching them and keeping them at peace
Until they  can accept death and its release
They seem to concentrate  on unknown tasks
Till their minds are happy and they pass

They come first but afterwards   we  fall
Into  an abyss where  we just crawl
Seeing shapes and visions, feeling sore
Aching for the one we  see no more

A paradox , we  give  and nothing  gain
The suffering of the heart, the searing pains

The pain of our own Cross

I see a friend who follows my old path
The downward slope, the tunnel through the dark
Helping partners ease their way through death

The hesitance, the disbelief, the wrath
The sharpness  like a knife that cuts  our heart
I see a friend who follows my old path

So many lovely friends, ny husband said
Just before he lost  the vital spark
Helping  him  to   float  from out his bed

I did not realise that he was dead
Until his pallor faded, blood departs
I see a friend who follows  on this path

We miss them where they used to lie in bed
We miss them  taking photos of the park
We help  them ease their way to  their good death

We need love  to help us with this work
Who will  help the carer when they hurt?
I see a friend who follows my old path
We each bear the pain of our own Cross

 

The gift of sight, fine flowers, blue butterflies

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In my hedge of beech mixed into yew
The wrens have nested,now they learn to fly
I felt my heart grow lighter at this view

When the heart is lifted,that’s a clue
That symbols of new life are coming by
From my hedge of beech mixed into yew

Keeping vision clear,look out and bow
What lives now  must shrink and one day die
I felt my heart ache taking  such a view

With many gifts  we humans are endowed
The gift of sight, fine flowers,  blue butterflies
By my hedge of beech mixed into yew

The gift of tongues, creation of the new
From  sweet Joan Baez to little babies’ cries
I felt my heart swell in my breast anew

Conception, growth,maturity,goodbye
Like the flying star we  shall go far
By my hedge of beech mixed into yew
I felt my heart  beat stronger than I knew

 

 

Words benign

The gap between experience and words-
Should any person be reduced to signs?
A hint, a sigh, a flight, a  little bird

Who ought express  in lines what has  occurred ?
            Does the  bloodied heart  weep words benign-
The gap between experience and words

A line distinct, a line that is too blurred
What impact can this have on a design?
Which  hint,  which sight,  which  flight, will kill the bird?

The sentence  well constructed has its flair
Yet  to the  void   much feeling   is consigned
That gulf between experience and words

Who tore  apart the meaning  we  hoped shared?
So now to nothingness we are resigned
No hint, no sigh,  no flight, no  little bird

With   whose filters  may  we be refined?
Who shelters souls that others have declined?
The gap between experience and words-
A hint, a sigh, a flight, the   shining bird

 

 

Passing through

 

 

 

Tomorrow I shall eat a big icecream
Brought to me by courier  when I choose
If I cannot get one I shall scream
Rather pointless, how about more booze?

I shall drink  more tea and read a book
I read Ted Hughes letters late at night
I finished Sylvia’s journals, I was hooked
Brilliant, sad, pathetic, what outsight

I read her letters,  how she worked  too hard
Even as a tiny  child she strove
How she longed for greatness and rewards
Starting on the tapestry, don’t go!

Harder still and harder,masochist
Will and nature cannot co-exist
Flowers open  when the bees swing past
Birds build nests but  never build too fast

We need to be in tune with our own world
Harmonise  our breathing with the waves
See the  little leaves as they uncurl
Forget   advice,  enjoy life  till the grave

Any moment is epiphany
Jesus  passes by  but we are blind
Though now and then we catch a  burning tree
When we are in rhythm  with  the Mind

Up the waves run on the   risen shore
Bringing  wild  signs from  the ocean floor
Grit and pearls  and love we won’t ignore
Wise the whale  and wise the open door

 

Welcomed by God’s eye

Dwell  inside your heart and breathe  just so
From there your spirit body  can outflow
Spread this round your loved one like a shawl
No need to  make a sound for  love will call

Two are one  like lovers in their bed
But now one has to leave , love cuts the thread
In  full silence ,  welcomed by God’s eye
They concentrate on  this  before they die

In  your  gracious  warmth they’re  feeling safe
As a child is in a mother’s gaze
Time  no longer matters. we’re elsewhere
Walking humbly ,softly i  to God’s stare

At last the work is done and   they are  free
Who can understand such mystery?

Grace may come as small as  grains of sand

Material wealth can come in many ways
Inheritance, good luck, good work and pay
But with  the spirit, will power cannot win
Only those who’re humble,admit sin

Pain and grief , companions  of our life
Married to the losses as a wife
Grace may come as small as  grains of sand
Or like the wren that hovers near our hands

In imagination  breathe  as then
Slow, protective, patient and human
See in your mind’s eye the perfect wood
The trees  sing out as sun  warms sap, their blood

We can  research the wealth in figures, charts
Envy  not  the rich who have no heart

 

 

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