Epping Forest

This is not a poem
but a picture that I see
of our trip to find a forest
but there was sign to see
but I did see a chaffinch
singing in the tree.

trip to see epping forest
Arriving in epping

This is a road map
with the northern track
that continued into distant green
across the expanding green.
each road we tried in turn
returned us to our dream.

pencil drawing
A trip to find Epping Forest

And this is a picture of you
adamant to tell
was it at the bottom of Bower Hill
where the horizon fell.
While I ask a stranger
Walking through a door
where is Epping forest
but he wasn’t all that sure.
We climbed up Station Hill
Searching for the town
Finding a little bakery shop
Where we settled down

trip to see epping forest
asking for directions

You conversed with two old ladies
waiting for a bus
they had passed it recently
in a kind of rush.
Behind where you were sitting
a mirror on a wall
catching my reflection
in the shadow growing tall.
You slouching in your chair
you engaged in conversation
we’re looking for Epping Forest?”
we came here via Epping station.

In the Cafe
A trip to find Epping Forest

 

For Carolyn who died in May

Carolyn died in May
One-step away from the summer

Now her little bones
Sleep in the morgue

The little birds are singing
But there are fears for their existence

She died on the day when the UN
Published its report on the extinction of the species

Darwinian to the death, the world stumbles on
Without the wisdom of Carolyn

For extinction read eviction
For as like Carolyn, the world evicts the weak

Even though she was loud and angry
A little one like her could not survive
Against the fittest with only her wits

Or her nephew who took her home away
And cold heartedly evicted her out into the streets,
A poor old lady in her eighties

Carolyn is gone and with her I believe
The black birds carry her body to a stream

The fish will swim with her to the ocean
And the dolphins will commit her to memory

While as armed as a rainforest
The trees will scream into battle
Against the plague of men

We try to say we will see Carolyn again
in spite of science and political compliance

There will be a house readymade waiting
And a husband to welcome her home

20190608_115632-1
Carolyn when she was living in a London squat.

Carolyn Merrion was from Pennsylvania, USA she moved to England and worked as a librarian. She was also volunteer in the labour office in Bethnal Green, she loved the early Labour pioneers of the social care system.

She was the partner of Claude and they lived in a house in Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green. Because they were not legally married her nephew was legally able to evict her from her house when Claude died and she became homeless for three or four years, she was in her eighties.

After a serious fall she disappeared into the Care Home system for eight or so years, where, because they did not know she was a vegetarian, she seemed to waste away. We found out where she was and went to visit her and sadly a week later she tragically died. She had no funeral service as far as we know and she seemed to disappear once again into the system, this time for good.

 

 

Lyrics: The Star Stops over Beth-le’hem

All the time in the world
won’t let you be a star
All the dreams that you have
Don’t take you very far
And the bridge on the Tiber
Is filled by angels
And the jungle of the Niger
With found lost sandals

And the star has stopped over Beth-le’hem
And the star has stopped over Beth-le’hem

All the money in the bank
Cannot make you richer than you are
All the diamonds in the mine
Can’t add to the beauty in your heart
All the plans that you make
Divide the love you know
And all the hills that you climb
Makes the rain fall very slow
And the star has stopped over Beth-le’hem
And the star has stopped over Beth-le’hem

All your childhoods are gone
What remains is the moon
All your teenage love
Is narrowed down to a tune
At the crossroads
you turn into a scarecrow
On the ocean you dive down
into the endless depth
And the lake in the hills
is crying all alone
And the bird in the sky
forgets how far it’s flown
And the star stops now over Beth-le’hem
And the star stops over Beth-le’hem tonight

And the parents that you knew
Are in your distant past
And the home that you had
Really didn’t last
And the mountains that rock Australia
Are missing their storm of regalia

And the star stops for now over Beth-le’hem
And while the star stop for now over Beth-le’hem
You must somehow begin again

Arthritis

How did we pick up arthritis?
A toothy cat
That liked to bite us?
Through the nerve
Leaving the flesh
Grinding the bone
Into nothingness.
It came one dark day
When we were unaware:
In dirty water,
Unwashed hair,
Rust in the food,
Poison in the air.
It penetrated the lung
And lingered there
A jackal, a hyena
Of the invisible world
Invisibly eating us
Hungry for gristle
Snapping at nerves
Like a mongoose with a snake
Making the bone joints
Cry pain and ache.
Were you confined in a room?
Where it singled you out
Were you carrying coal?
Up the hill to the house,
When the invisible dragon
Made itself seen,
Caught you alone,
Entered the spleen,
Edging its way
Over the years,
Into the marrow, ignoring your tears
Where it lives until death
With its thoughtlessness,
Ignoring our manufactured end
And its source of sustenance.

2019

Oh, What a day I’ve had!

I looked out of the window
Of the bus going home
I saw my baby drifting
Through the empty street alone, all alone

The grey clouds were covering
The stars were not at home
The autumn leaves were falling
Onto pavement stone, pavement stone.

She was walking in the night
As my bus was passing by
She fell into the distance,
It made me want to cry, want to cry.

So I rang the buses buzzer
And I jumped out of my seat
And I hurried to the door
And jumped out to the street.

I walked back to find her
I waved to make her see
She seemed so surprised
To be seeing me, seeing me.

Leaning on a lamppost
Somewhere down the way
Amongst the fallen autumn leaves
Waiting for her to say, for her to say:

Oh, what a day I’ve had!
Oh, what a day
Oh, what a day I’ve had!
Oh what a day

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.

 

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

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