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

On stinging nettles

On stinging nettles butterflies lay eggs
Not on blankets or upholstered beds
The over careful gardener lays waste
To Nature’s order  and to Nature’s grace

Holly leaves are sharper than a fist
But in those fierce conditions birds  make nests
The sharp edged leaves the stinging pains have use
To make some creature safe from our abuse

We grumble at the rain and wild west wind
As if we’re being punished for  some sin
Better be a wild flower or a weed
Trodden underfoot  by human needs

The little weeds have their resilience
They do not ruminate, they are not tense
To be a humble plant is perhaps the best
They at least will have eternal rest

The  beautiful, the plain have got their place
All   life in the end will be effaced

For love  seeks not to prey

Soft corns,blisters,hard corns and toe nails
Ankle socks and stockings, tights and  boots
Cover up the wounds with dressings white
Put  your feet up, rest  by  doing nought

Skin so thin it frightens me  to think
All I am  finds boundary just here
Yet our heart and soul can  contain  more
Spreading like a shawl on loved ones dear

We cast our love like fishers cast their  rods
Not too sure  of what will take the bait
A   simile  so poor I blush bright pink
For love  seeks not to prey but rather waits

Across the entire world the hate runs wild
 Bleach your brain , don’t poison  with  your smile

Touching them and keeping them at peace

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

Who sieves earth?

When we think of God, we see an eye
Watching us like some abhorrent spy
What of his touch, his hearing, his   small voice?
What his  taste conveys and  how employed

Larger  than the total of  sand grains
That  form all  ocean shores  by  moon arranged
Smaller than  the eyes of ladybirds
And insects humble without   spoken words

What is size  compared to tangled roots?
What is loud compared to army boots?
What the colour, what the perfect form
To ripple through my eyes with no alarm

What do you here, what  vision do you flee?
Who  sieves earth and whose the face you see?

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



Trust the Unknown,trust the inner flow

The sky at dusk, my camisole , love’s grace
Blending blue and mauve in  skilled embrace
God the painter ,God the X unknown
Send  us light to see where our  our love goes

Drop by drop the spirit ebbs away
Now the sky is dark in stark blue-grey
In the mind the dreams  rehearse and scheme
Take away the terror and the screams

Hold us in your Hand as we let go
Trust the Unknown,trust the inner flow
Who but you can show us  what we need
As we crawl to bed  in   fraught unease?

Now the air is black I see a star
I feel the void  yet love dwells even there

Boris Johnson raised  up from the dead

The Tower of Babel fell down in the night
The people spoke but noone could reply
We  cried out but noone listened then
Nor did we salvage much  from wrecked Big Ben

Boris Johnson raised  up from the dead
His pleasures once , pre- flu,  lay in the bed
He spread his seed about  so it’s no boast
To  bear his child nor feed him Sunday roast

He will lead the country out of sin
His  brilliant way:  to  stop  us logging in
No more one click books  or   toys for sex
No more screws and curtain rails to fix.

Ah now enjoy the peace  of empty space
Yet we  grieve for lack of an embrace

They could not wear bikinis on hot sands

In the Jewish ghettos and Death Camps
Did Jews complain they  had no holidays?
They could not wear bikinis on  hot sands
Nor did they ask for somewhere they could pray

We can’t go to Spain  nor Singapore
We must stay  near home,oh  such dismay
I ache so for the poor in tower  blocks
Where violence and harsh words  erupt each day

We can get our food if we have friends
We can read  or write or even pray
Why  complain, the poor  bear heavier loads
Will we be sympathetic on such dreadful days

Our sadly narrow views  don’t serve us well
When other people  in  confinement dwell

The words tell what we did

The symbols, signs, the words are not the world
Yet scholars confuse laymen with their terms
“How to love your children” is advice
Hiding in the  syntax  is no life

I knew Latin grammar and her forms
I dwelled inside ellipses,I was torn
I could not live two lives so I chose  rules
Then I  found success like many fools

Grammar and   its logic   cracked my mind
I stole the key,I  left the door behind
I found the prizes on my shelf arrayed
The golden prayer book  shredded  and decayed

The simple may  be better  fit to live
Those words were darts, yet love can’t but forgive



Wreaths of smoke

Daddy where were you  when I was sad
I bought you Woodbines in the corner shop
I carried your boiled egg with salt on plate
You lay in bed   adorned with wreaths of smoke

Uncle Herbert  died when I was five
Not  many   of Dad’s brothers left alive
But Bert was old and all his children grown
He lay inert, the coffin dark, the stone

I saw yours and Grandad’s too, false oak
The  Cemetery   filled  with  men and broken     jokes
So baffled  by affection we  would seek
And for her mother’s  grave, we  often looked

We  too will be broken, wordless earth
Worms will do their work. the lungs, the breath

Never write a letter full of spite

The consumer age is passing   with the dead
I tried to shop  again but Sainsburys have said
You can’t shop twice a week or twice a day
We will have to learn once more to play

Learn another language,read good books
Help another,  teach them how to cook
Go outside and  breathe the   purer air
Write a poem and then write one with flair

Walk around the street when it is clear
Drink from cans  filled up with   freezing beer
Take a photo of a tree you   like
Never write a letter full of spite

Surely we can gradually adapt
If we survive the madness and the traps

Shame is bitter, wrecks our feeling heart

I see  down in  the  valley of the Lea
Tower blocks  and numerous tiny homes
Here the Vikings came, oh, savagery
The valley is so ugly it alarms

As I look at  my books, it’s unfair
I feel sad for children who have none 
Our average reading age  grows lower  every year
I   feel angry at our leaders nothing  done

During Lockdown where shall  children play?
Those who have no gardens  shut indoors
The  end point of  such suffering is dismay
Humiliation grows   right in a  heart’s deep core

Shame is bitter, wrecks our feeling heart
A home for Satan made with   thoughtless art

We learn to see in part


The sun has gone and jaundiced is the sky
The silence  of the empty roads is good
For from my garden birds are  flying high
In this  precious green   we grew a wood

No holiday in Venice or Dubai
Lockdown  keeps us in   what do we sigh
 I want to  see  the   village of old Cley
The still small voice  shall speak before we die

No more  shall  rich  possesions make us high
Nor shall buying cream and caviare
We are judged by God’s incisive  eye
Stand up,  live,  despite that  all’s awry

The Sacred World  behind our little one
We learn to see in part though we are dumb

Black humour

Make my heart into a cottage pie.
Already it is minced and lies estranged
My   enemies insult me with their lies
And my last will and testament is made.

An onion and a carrot chopped up fine,
Saute  with these my heart till  all are gold
With herbs and spices I will taste divine
A mashed potato will a rooftop mould.

Do not forget my blood to use as sauce
Though now it’s cold, with garlic  make it boil.
For what is gravy but the blood of lamb?
With  sliced  onion  fried in olive oil.

O foes and devils eat me and you’ll be
Transformed into  to myself,your enemy


Where our attention lies

I had a fissure  on my worn old thumb
The pain  was so severe my eyes both ran
I felt self pity, why is life so  cruel?
All day I  had grieved  like some old fool

Then I saw some  lights flash in my eye
Soon the sight  had  gone, I  quite blind
My eye,  its lids, its lashes full of blood
I had to  lie  face down upon my bed

Three months  passed then I had vision twice
The eyes  confused,  my mind seemed full of spite
Their experimental surgery  may help
Another person  back to normal health

The eye  stitched up, I thought about my thumb
Without perspective   we are quite undone





Keep on swimming

Constant rumination kills the soul
I never  think  and so I am more whole
I  write the sentence  down, just like I  speak
I find my native tongue lets symbols leak

My mind is  like a small holed metal sieve
I hope I shall be kind and will
What remains is worthy of a place
As for my mistakes, I   beg your  grace

Some minds are  deep,clear streams their thoughts  like fish
Other minds are  tortured ,spin and crash
Keep on swimming like the drowning frog
He turned the milk to butter as he trod

Do not linger long on cruel thoughts
Scruples come from Satan, he’s worth naught

Like swallows

Homesick for the home I used to have
The two of us and friends who were much loved
The  parents who had never had a car
We took them out to Essex  near and far

We went to Henry Moore’s home,saw his shed
Collections of old seashells,spiders’webs
The monumental scuptures   touched my soul
The grass so green, the lawns precisely mown

We went to Whipsnade Zoo  which Ma much liked
A tiger and her cub  were a great sight
Then we went to Berkhamsted  then home
Graham Greene grew up there, Chilterns roamed

Now all but I   like swallows  have flown high
Migrating to   far lands where earth meets sky

From the dust

Power and love, two ways that we connect
One is often hateful, one respects
The Other is a person , I and Thou
Two words, two worlds , which  love could well endow

Power has many guises, most deceive
Talking  big  but wanting to receive
Men of power who long for even  more
The Jaguar, the palace, the gold door

A select   few  took risks to save the cursed
The Jewish baby, Amsterdam, the fist
The parents on a train,  like cattle crammed
Death  was not the end their  love had planned

Hurtling into darkness, when all’s lost
A still small voice shall  whisper  from the dust


Theatre forms the soul

When the fruit has rotted on the stalk
Bruised and broken like the poor in need
When  leaders meet  but rarely truly talk
When children caught in cross fire lie and bleed

Don’t we see God’s Kingdom is a joke
One hundred million deaths in two world wars
Not quick death but tortured bodies broke
They lost once and  love dies in their gore

Utopia, evolution, grandiose plans
Sacrifice yourself for those to come
We saw  the  little children hand in hand
Ground mines blow them up, they could not run

One thing’s clear, God’s here or not at all
The  future’s fiction, theatre   forms  the soul