Archive for the ‘Poems (mine)’ Category

For Thu-Van

24/06/2017

I’m not going to scream
Or tear my clothes
(I’m far too British anyway)
But simply say
“I can’t believe you’re gone”.
I don’t know how or why,
Especially why…
You’re gone, but you are.
And I can’t believe it.
I remember
Giving you lifts to work
Or waiting with you for the bus
As a wren sang in the trees above.
And the conversations,
How we sorted out the world…
Rain drops in the river now
That flows into the sea,
Evaporates to fall as rain again tomorrow.
I’m not going to scream
Though I want to,
I’ll listen for the rain,
Think of you there,
Your gentle voice amongst
The rustling leaves
As the wren sings in the trees.

Raining Again

05/06/2017

It’s raining again, and raining hard,
Late August, and for once the building’s quiet.
I sit beside the open window,
Listen to rain pattering plastic windowsills
And imagine I’m back at Grandma’s house,
In a comfy chair by the picture window
Looking out at the wet green garden.

In winter, the fruit trees bare,
Rattling bones on each other,
Spring, wind blown blossoms
Snow confetti round the greenhouse,
Summer, the borders awash with colours
Brighter than a child’s painting,
Autumn, the leaf litter swirling,
Crunching underfoot.

All the effort they put in
Mowing, planting, pruning, weeding
(How did they ever have time to go to work?)
Worth every ache and pain
To create this small city Eden.

So I drink deeply of the rain soaked air and
Remember, remember that house, that garden
Of long childhood summers
That were never quite long enough,
A house forever more home than home,
A house that always comes to mind
Whenever rain tap taps on PVC.

2006

Remembering Hafnarfjörður

30/04/2017

Clouds swallow the moon,
A moon I last saw in Iceland
One chill morning as I waited for the bus.
It set behind Hamarinn –
Which I’d climbed on the first day –
So I had just a few stars and
A flickering streetlight for company;
Beyond, the velvet water of the harbour,
A trawler and the breakwater light.
The blossoms will be out at home,
I thought, but I’d rather be here
Though my feet were numbing,
And I still would, I think
As I set off for work
Under the now moonless sky.

To A Grieving Friend

09/11/2016

How can I grasp this
Beyond the obvious?
What to say, besides “I’m sorry”?

How do I unglue
My labyrinthed tongue and
Exceed the usual worn out words?

I could try the words of others:
Frye, Rosetti, Dylan Thomas,
Perhaps they can say it better than I.

Yes, I’ll offer their words instead.
And I’ll offer my shoulder,
My arms or perhaps just my ears,

Tuned and ready to listen.

Crossing The Usk

05/06/2016

Crossing the Usk, a slow flow of mud,
Water rippling in the rain,
I’m going home, the train engine
Roars louder as it climbs through Caerleon.
Is it home? It feels alien now,
Familiar, but not home,
Not that cosy, sad, untidy place
Of long known stuff and clutter
To return to in stormy weather.
Sure, the room’s the same,
The stuff the same, even the clutter,
But somehow home no longer.
Have the recent storms blown it down?
When did it cease to be safe?
I cannot answer that, and
Should the train stop
And retrace its route,
I would not be sorry
(Though what would I tell the boss
When I didn’t show up for work tomorrow?)
Return to a place that, as a youngster,
I couldn’t wait to flee.
Nantyderry, and the sky clears,
A hint of rainbow
Between grey cumulus.
The old dears opposite crack open the wine,
Hey, pour me a glass, perhaps
That will clear the fog,
Light the way to answers.
Fix headphones
(They don’t like it up ‘em you know)
Shut out the boring conversations,
Thud of music, annoying ringtones.
Abergavenny, and rain returns
With renewed roaring violence
As more miles are eaten up,
Forever closer to the cluttered room
– Perhaps I should call it my cell –
Something to be avoided,
A reason to be discovered
But all I can see are question marks,
Thick, black and growing fatter by the minute,
Smiling the rictus grin of a madman.
Llanvihangel, the summit of the line,
And down the train races, faster
And faster, clouds smoking
Round the mountainsides,
I’d like to be among those empty hills.
Fields of yellow stubble
Catch the odd sunbeam to escape
Clouds’ grey grip, and briefly glow,
A field of gold, light that bathes me too.
Today and yesterday, to see again
Places known from years ago,
I felt happy (yes, happy, there
Of all places), no pain now,
The reason I was so quick to flee
Can’t hurt me any more.
And though I head back to certainty –
The flat, the clutter and daily routine –
It’s no longer cosy certainty.
I want that cosiness back,
Want the firm door slam
That shuts out the world –
No, just fuck off –
Dinmore, and at last the sun is free,
Glittering lake so bright
My eyes hurt, a sudden floodlight
Into a long shuttered room.
Let me keep this, all of it,
The rain, the clouds and muddy Usk,
Even the dead oak alone
In the field near Craven Arms,
Brittle fingers reaching skyward.
Let me reach skyward too, keep
This bright-gentle light around me,
Warm me when back amongst the clutter
And dust, that would dull the blade.
You can never leave yourself behind, but
This journey will still be here, and
I can make it whenever I want,
Without leaving the flat.

Written on a Cardiff – Crewe train, July 2006

Spring

28/04/2016

The trees are surrendering
Their nakedness.
Blossom-heavy, ready to speak
Sheaves of green
And strew my path my wedding white.
In the grey damp of winter
I forget all this, can think
Only of short days, long nights
Scarf and glove wrapped;
As when in full leaf
Ringing with the birds’ full chorale
I’ll forget the undressed trees
And the grey silent air.
I’m pleased to stand here
In gentle amnesia.

The Hardest Word

14/11/2015

The song says
Sorry seems to be the hardest word,
But on days like this
It’s the one most needed and
The most inadequate.
It’s the only word I can offer
Though I know it won’t,
Can’t fill the void created,
Ease the pain
Or dry the tears,
I know this, but
It’s still the only word,
And I’m sorry,
So I step back with head bowed
And lay it, gently,
As a flower on a stone.

Moving On, and Other Clichés

30/10/2015

I’ve drawn a line.
It’s not thin or red
Or scraped in sand
But it’s a line,
And I’ve drawn it.

And after the line
There will be a fence
More than rabbit proof,
It will be high,
Submitted with barbed wire.

And after that a wall
With guards and dogs and guns
And nowhere to pass through.
No turning back now,
I’ve drawn my line.

Now let’s see it hold.

Tatton Park or Your Black Dress

15/03/2015

When we met in the park today,
You had a new dress,
Short and black with matching tights,
It hugged you.
Once, the thought of seeing you
Blew summer heat into the frostiest days,
Today I could only shiver
As we walked the gardens and
I stared at your new black dress.
I envied the wool its closeness,
How it warmed you,
How it caressed bottom and
Cuddled breasts.
I envied it, and though it suited you,
Hated it for knowing you so well.
As we walked and I watched your hips,
That knowledge seemed a taunt,
A slap to an already stung face.
I hid behind sunglasses and
The roar of landing jets,
Dreamed myself to wool,
To hug, cuddle, caress.
A place too easy to get lost in,
But I know the way.

I think I’ll stay there.

Walking In My Shoes

15/03/2015

I

I don’t like walking in my shoes,
Soles worn smooth and they leak.
I know there are many
Walking in poorer shoes, but
I don’t like walking in my shoes.

Slide and slip through puddles,
Stones always find their way in,
Cut through sodden socks
Until I hobble my way home,
I don’t like walking in my shoes.

The man in the bus queue
Has a sole flapping loose,
Another has string for laces,
I know these are worse than mine but
I don’t like walking in my shoes.

I’m tired of my own footsteps,
My feet are bruised and sore,
Don’t try walking in my shoes,
They may not be glued together, but
I can’t bear walking in my shoes.

II

I cannot walk in their shoes
No matter how well they seem to fit,
Their tidy gravel paths are not mine,
Nor heels filed from pressing gas or brake,
Nor pavement smoothed soles
Thinned by the same daily roads,
These are mine no longer
Though I still see them,
Treading my own track in leaky leather,
No part for me in that play.

III

Look at these shoes:
Scuffed white beyond
Hope of polish, heels
Smoothed to ankle turning curves,
Soles sanded so every step
Is on ice, only the laces
Are new, still shop clean.
They do scrub up well,
Though it takes increasing effort,
Hardly worth the bother,
I doubt they’ll be footworthy
Much longer: lived in, walked in,
Gone round the clock, block and bend.
Look at them, these old shoes,
Worn out and near past it.
A bit like me really.


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