Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Then.



Then.

Then the earth went quiet.
No creature called.
No background hum.
No crickets, cicadas, frogs.
Birds gasped, opened their beaks,
held out their wings to cool,
then fell to the ground.

Then water took low atolls,
covered dunes,
inched up river valleys,
covered abandoned houses
and twisted war machines,
lapped tall towers
still standing like strange sentinels
in the orange tinted tide.

Then, on the far horizon,
the sun flamed dirty smudge,
lit the mountains 
and the haggard faces
of the survivors
moving higher and higher
over the pock-marked land.

Then suddenly it dipped
into impenetrable black.
No silver pepper of stars.
No moon, though the ocean
still ebbed and flowed.

Then only darkness
covered the face 
of the mighty deep.

Published in Autumn Sky Daily.



Saturday, 12 August 2017

Birds

Birds.

His head is brilliant blue
his composition bright and fair
and the fairy wren with jaunty flit
hops and bounces through the air.

This head is scarlet red,
the flight all speed and swerve.
as rosella glides on brilliant wings
in dipping, parabolic curve.

In his suit of black and white
and rising heavily from the ground
the magpie flies with a swish,
a muscular, purposeful sound.

Crow’s song is a monotonous caw,
his feathers are dull and black,
but he still rises into the air
in slow, direct and functional flap.

The butcher bird pours liquid song
into the morning light
whilst eagles on high thermals soar
and falcons dive with speed of flight.

Crow, wren or hawk, I love them all
and I raise my head to stare
in silent praise and wonderment
as they slip and glide in silken air.

Published in The Weekly Avocet



Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Fallen Forest Tree.



The Fallen Forest Tree.

I think on this blue planet,  
slant of rain, scud of cloud,
surge of river, the glittering sea,
flocks that flit, dart or soar,
wandering herds, encircling wolves,
coral blaze, fish, whale and krill,
leopard lazing in curve of tree,
myriad life given and accepted back
over aeons as the spinning earth treks
through the black void of space.

I raise my eyes from the fallen tree
to the tree tops and to the sky.
The abundant cycle of life and loss
stretches endlessly beyond 
this transient moment where I live,
yet why should I regret its brevity?
I embrace its mystery and privilege,
thankful that for at least this brief moment 
I have lived to gaze upon the earth 
in deep wonder and in awe.

First Published in Praxis Mag Online



 


 

Saturday, 22 July 2017

ironer, Degas


Ironer, Degas.

It’s not much more than a study,
just shades of grey,
grey bonnet, grey blouse, black skirt.
She is older, almost featureless,
the merest suggestion of nose, mouth and eyes.
Her body bends to her work.
Her right arm, clasping the heavy iron,
is strangely elongated,
as if stretched through time and labour.

Yet compassion is so deftly captured
in brief strokes of fluid simplicity
I must stop, stare and in tender sorrow
think of the life of this anonymous woman 
labouring through her monotonous hours
in tired, uncomplaining resignation.

Published at The Ekphrastic Review

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Dream Thieves.

The Dream Thieves.

In sleep I saw a House of Dreams, 
golden doors open wide,
liberty written on its walls,
equality glowing inside.

Then came the smiling thieves
in tailored suits and ties,
deceitful intent glibly oiled
by their well practised lies.

Inside, they plundered all its treasure,
stripped all the jewelled beams,
carried away the golden orbs
that lit the House of Dreams.

They left the merest appearance, 
a painted, empty facade,
and everything that they spewed out
was stained deceptive fraud.

I awoke drenched and shivering
from the horror I had seen,
blood now oozing through the door
of the ruined House of Dreams.

First published at Guy farmer’s “Social Justice Poetry”.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The Forge

The Forge.

The golden bird on golden bough
first came from furnace fire,
dross removed, skilfully hammered
into object of desire.

The curving razor sword that glints
along its lustrous length
was heated, folded, beaten
into its shining strength.

I much desire the forged-steel strength
but not the hammer blows,
yet I must bend before the forge
from which the lustre grows.

First published at Praxis on line, June, 2017

Postcard from Lac d'Annecy.

Postcard from Lac d'Annecy.

Lake, shore, mountain and sky merge,
light ripples and plays,
yachts float quietly,
a woman strolls with her dog,
stops, sits, gazes upon the water,
three boys play on the jetty,
peer, point, call "Regarde!"

Regarde! I stare into water and see,
beyond the snow-clad ridges,
that ancient rank beast rise again,
drag itself onto the land,
crumbling dreams and spewing lies,
the same old mirthless song
of deception, self-interest
and hollow fairy tales.

Fairy tales. I sit in a story book scene.
Behind the lake a grand hotel 
lazes by the shore,
a distant, turreted castle
squats on its protective cliff,
the mountain rises from the lake
to snow-clad, cloudy ridges.
Is not such beauty enough?
Is it not enough to sit in peace,
to sense the wonder of the world?

Why then do I continue to stare 
into the silent water?
 
First published at Verse.Virtual, July 2017