One Brave Bird

One brave bird
Beaten by egg-crushing cats.
One brave bird
Angry at the cat-keeping block.

One brave bird
Has surrounded us.
Squawking with relentless fury
In the gold fire of her heart,

Shooting down bullets of bird spit
That the whole community ignores.
Surrounding the block
With a phantom chain of battling noise;

Her nest a ruin of bones in the hedge
Her new generation murdered.

In the field of few men
A natural garland of nature;
The daises dance in the air
The moles have big blue eyes –

Let one brave bird join you
To live out her long red life.

2019

There are many friends to make

There are many friends to make

There are many friends to make
In an old peoples home
They sit waiting for you
Why should you be alone?

There are many friends to find
In an old peoples home
Knock and be let in
There are friends you’ve never known

Sit down in the middle
Of their common-room
Soon they’ll all start talking
– April, May and June

They’ll get so inquisitive
To find out who you are
They’ll tell all about themselves
How they’ve travelled far

You’ll have to drag yourself away
Drunk as if on wine
Promising to return soon
At some later time

There are so many friends to make
In an old peoples home
They all sit waiting for you
You will never be alone

I live in a world

I live in a world in love with the ancient gods
Mass industry did not bury them
World war was a cloak around their feet

*

Let us discuss the mountain of the gods
And of how many hands reassemble its pixels in the clouds

And remember how once, looking from the plains
Ancient man trembled to see a mountain
Lashed by smoke and lightning

And of how a man with the eye of a needle
Was staked out before them
In ominous silence

The strength of people

The strength of people
The strength of each person
The strength of people that I learn about
The strength of people who stay strong
Those on the high seas of dark nights
Those on the calm waters strewn with flowers
Amazes me, moves me
Teaches me, gives me a home
I find a home in other people’s stories
I find a home in other people’s experiences
For us there is no other home
Except in sharing what we do

If stones have the names of people

If stones have the names of people
If people leave their names in stone
If stones are the hearts of the dead
Is the heart of death inside the stone?

That’s how past times were hardened
Against the sea, against the moon light
In hardship and in depression
The stones formed on the seashore

Blood and gold are in the heart of kings
Who hatched from stones with leathery wings
With jewels hanging around their necks
Their teeth as sharp as flint stone chips

Can you walk upon a stony beach?
Without the suspicion you stumble on bones
Where phantoms cry in salty air
For from these stones are the souls of dawn

Let them out, those creatures of the dark

Let them out, those creatures of the dark
Seize them, free them, expel them
For you don’t know who they are
Or why they’ve stayed so long
Or what stayed wrong or any of their names
Or understand their lies, those vultures of Hades

Every mistake you made or succumbed to or had tattooed on you
Shouldn’t live longer than a breath of air
Or every breath you take will sustain them
As unwelcome guests in your hair
And all your breath will be stolen
As you cry a tear, an outcast of the atmosphere

The fears that build a nest in you
Behind the draperies of your mind
Road blocking every incoming light
Becoming your babies in their wombs of night
Evict them you can live without them
Just breathe in a breath of freedom; they tell you lies, you do not need them.

 

Does Anyone Know?

Does Anyone Know?

Does anyone know what it is like?
To have a full heart in a free world
With the cares of children who never cry
Never knowing hunger or loneliness

Does anyone know what it is like?
To have a free heart in a free world
To be spiritually rich and loved
With the care of a child who will never cry

Does anyone know what it is like?
To live a life free from any fear
To be like Peter walking on the sea
And to trust in God that you’ll never die

Does any one even dare to think?
What life would be like when provided for
By the God of heaven in his success
When never a true love will be heard to sigh

I look out of my window at the wind
I look out of my window at the cloud
And there I see in my heart of hope
A better future world under the sky

Words About Death and Dying

Words about death and dying
Will die with the dead
Poems about life and living
Will live on instead

The magic of life and living
Will grow and be more alive
The wonder of love and loving
Will fill each and everyone’s eyes

The Lombardy Poplars

I’m reading about how this wet April month
Has inspired the bluebell to burst out in effusion.
I think about the woods on Winter Hill
And the view across the winding river.

This depression deepens like a newly dug mineshaft
How deep are they dug into the earth?
Before the crop of darkness overwhelms
And the coal board closes it down.

Now you must be making a Sunday dinner
For friends from far and wide to descend on
While it pours with rain on Richmond Hill
And Canary Wharf Tower hides in the clouds.

If I had the eye of a simple pigeon
Could I focus on the coming sunset?
Could I flap two wings and fly away?
With nothing in my heart but tranquility.

There is Carolyn with those Lombardy Poplars
Her little blue eyes looking you straight in the face
Standing by the seven stumps left by developers
Who do they think they are that they buy and uproot?

I am down amongst their agonised roots
Those roots are like a mother to me
A mother who can no longer smell nice
A mother who will grow no taller.

The sky draws me up and out
The last of my spirit dances there
Above the seven stumps of the Lombardy Poplars
That are left for dead in Viaduct Street.

While Carolyn walks to the Reference Library
And in her Pennsylvanian accent asks for her books
Alone she asks for council records
As her eyes dig down into the foundations of government.

And Sean standing at his very own doorstep
Where a battle had raged for years
Over the names on his tenancy agreement
Finally won the right to stand there.

And Sean on his very own doorstep
How he kept the front door wide open that day
As if phantoms were there as his doorman
Looking down on the graveyard outside.

With his floor strewn with photocopies
That he highlighted in yellow ink
How serious he has become about their policies
That nearly made him homeless.

Then there’s Nick in his new flat
He’s got so many friends in to see him
Talking about music and making his films
And about his brother who breaks things.

While I walked across Weavers Fields
Alone with just a crumb of truth in me
How I felt that I was inside an ocean
Or with an ocean on the inside of me.

Bethnal Green 2000

I can smell my mother’s perfume

I can smell my mother’s perfume
It’s a memory from long ago
Tears try to well up inside me
But the pain develops too slow.

A memory mixed with anger
For her hard life like a tomb.
I can remember her in her best dress
And I can smell my mothers perfume.

A working class woman from Marlow
Crippled by the poverty trap
Crippled by a lack of affection
By the bad luck that fell on her lap.

She died wanting to know who loved her
It was the last words I heard her say
Her words were like the smell of her perfume
That I remember down to this day.

I can remember my mother’s perfume
A two-shilling bottle of scent
That I brought for her on her birthday
With the pocket money I spent.

When I was only an eight-year-old
She kept it as a special keepsake.
Now I have that little bottle of scent
Only half used up to this date.

I remember it in her cabinet
By the wall of the old spare room
And I’m taken back to my childhood
By the memory of my mothers perfume.

perfume
my mothers perfume bottle

A reprimand from the absent guest at the A.G.M

You invited yourself along and all that you do came too. Carolyn’s shrub, wet with pain, you passed by as if you wore the night like a fairy tale. Now what have you done with the oyster of your mouth? Counting the steps of my vertebrae up to the moon that rattles in my brain amongst the deadwood of words; A white lie in the dream of corridors echoed through the old building like a rampant albino nettle. The piano played like a skeleton in the hunger of my heart; the music was a dark closeted room of loneliness; Despairing in the maze of rooms in my identity of ice and fire. A spoil of war put at your feet by the red ghost of love.

How often unfairness drags me through prison walls laughing
How often has unfairness blunted my own words in my own heart?

Tired alone and defeated by the stress of cats mewing in my brain
I left you to the spoils of war fashioned out of the ivories of my bones.

Now you have formed a mystery with me
Your inbred arrogance slips through the closed door like bath water.

I can hear the voices of the roses inside
But all I’m given are the pledges of distant voices.

My imagination is plastic and it is clay
It is formed into whatever you want it to from.

If I were a man made of glass windows
The world would see the fool inside in his red fur coat.

But it seemed like a normal day to Jehovah
And I seemed like a grain of sand in a fire.

 

2000

Life surrounds you, hems you in

Life surrounds you and hems you in
People like antibodies congeal on you
Drag you down to the ground
Pin you to the floor so you cannot travel

The place where you grew is far away
Those you grew up with are trapped
By life congealing around them

A force for life or a force for death
Loved ones are separated from you
the power of strangers crowds around them

And each man, woman and child
Is helpless in the sea of humanity
Is sown into the fabric of life
Absorbed into the quicksand of society

Freedom is a level 10 in the heart
So many of us barely reach a level 2
We sit into the tapestry of life around us
Like birds without homes flying forever

2002

In the Hobbits Room Tue Night March 22nd

Chris has got it taped; he fills the emptiness with selfish silence.
Chris, what do you keep to yourself? Sitting there like a budding Jean Paul Sartre.
The circle of smoky coincidence and a candlelit heaven in a wine bottle?
Maps on the wall obsess the intellect.
Every freedom you give means there‘s one you hide in.
I sit and I listen, I recall. I am impracticable, but you cope with me perfectly.
Leaving me alone, I look inwards, and then I become I.
I seek to remember when I have nothing to remember of nothing that grew out of importance.
I’m talking of love. I’m thinking of my private life.
I’m learning that a private life is and is not an exclusive thing.
Sometimes I pin mine on the wall like scientific studies of the behavior of white mice.
My experiments are made while I am in a deep sleep.
The intellect cannot free me from the curiosity of the unconscious
It cannot by-pass the lines that grow as I age.
Dreams shake the intellect.
Always an individual finds he does and he does not have what he needs.

Forgive this writing, as you sat there I found I needed someone to talk to.
Only to find myself with this observation – that you will frown at and ignore.
That talk is different from conversation, this writing is mere talk.
They’re wrong about conversation, non of it is intellect.
Intellect belongs to our silences and to us.
Conversation, music and arguments are the confusions we need.
Peace is the solitude of intellect and is easy to live with, but very vulnerable.
I talk of this because -you seem as vulnerable as the next man
And he is armed to the teeth with conversation, music, and argument.

1977 (from Kibbutz)

I was a volunteeer in Kibbutz Ziquim colony. I shared a hut with Chris from Manchester area. He didn’t talk much, I felt at times that it must be because he didn’t like me but I tried to take it all in my stride.