A Single Glass of White Wine

Dominated by the music
Unable to speak
The years of struggle
Inside me like an iron cage
With no gate
I hung there, a muted tortured songbird
In the Italian Restaurant
On Bethnal Green Road

Music, that swinging lamp
Carried through a storm
Lit only for special occasions
Filled my ears at last
Like the whistle of a runaway train
And all I had to help the pain
Was a single glass of white wine

Woman

Woman – be free in transparent dance
Around a greater King than I
I watch you in the night fire
You are a star in a passing galaxy

Woman, I desperately need you
But you transfer from weightlessness to dream road
Like the swift that crosses the high sky
With the laughter of a butterfly

Does my voice reach you?
Have you ever seen it floating
Through the corals of the moonlight
Where your cartoon spirit languishes

I stand in the ring of a woody tree
Through the seasons’ dais that you dance on
I cannot follow, I bruise my feet
At your starry night, at your after-sight

Woman, how much I’ve needed you
Your light, your gentle hands, your soul
Stuck to mine by spirit
Like the flowing of freshwater into the salt sea

The moon will always keep its distance

The moon will always keep its distance
But it shines its light for all
It swings like a lady on the dance floor
Trusting in the hands of her lover

I sit beneath the wall-flower tables
As the waiters bring her sparkling water
Disfiguring my clay beads of money
Still believing in magic and fairy tale

While the bad world builds its bridges
Then kills off all of its labourers
I edge slowly towards its supports
With the miracles of life laughing

The Gate of Psychological Darkness

The gate of psychological darkness
Opened yesterday, creaking on its hinges.
I stood there – a poor sick dog in the gutter
And the invisible token of my gifts – I scattered

Gifts of language, of music and vision
As real as the pain of summer flowers
Deactivated by the eyes of the dead –
They were raging within their old wooden crates

Poet Employed

Poet employed by night and day
Seeks refuge in the stars
Poet employed by the far north of eternity
Seeks work among the angels
Poet employed by the West Wind
Seeks freedom from the system
Poet employed by the absence of time
Once again seeks to recapture love
Poet employed by the hearts stubborn anger
Seeks to install all of loves losses

The Pioneer

The pioneer leaves his town
Disentangled from the vein and artery of life;
From the gold star of love; the ten out of ten of full married life;
From the string of happiness and the pearls of security.

Love will not be his for a long time
If he survives in the New World
A cruel life will be all he knows
A fight for survival against the unknown

At home, people will fall in love ten times over
But he will not know love; he will be alone, forgotten
With no one to share his desperation, experience and discovery

Who could sacrifice their life with its love?
For wilderness and the threat of death
Who could give up the kisses of all the girls
For a new morning on a foreign unknown shore

Rocking himself to sleep on a cold night
Remembering the affections given him then
and missing the love that he’ll never know
The lone spearhead of later explorers

That will bring war and disease to an undisturbed land
Never to name a street in your honour
Or rebuild your existence in history books
Or know of your unburied bones

1998

The Pharaoh

The Pharaoh who lives in our street
Declared himself to be god over all the earth
People honoured him with checks
His semi became full of opulent things

He isolated himself to enjoy his wealth
He no longer went outside except to lead his work-mates into battle
He loved his credit cards and when his tomb was finished
They were buried with him along with his cats and dogs

The dead sea scripture poet…

Hated heathens, planned war
Awaited the cycle of destruction
Wore sandals, a white robe
Smeared himself in oil
Practised the covenant
Hid from Romans
Lived in communes in the wilderness

Walked the narrow streets
Heard people boast of killings
But his tongue cleaved to the roof of his mouth
One foot in the grave
One hand around a wine jug
Then he discovered the Lords path
Began writing thanksgiving poetry

Learning nothing was done
The Lord had not foreseen
He was a trueborn priest
With insight into God’s workings

Truths like fingernails and hair
Grew long after his death
Sunlight held a secret
Looking into the sunlight he saw a movie
A boat sailing
With all the works of the Lord

While alive he waited and waited
For the vengeance of God
But no vengeance came
Only Romans and Jesus Christ

The Dead Sea Scripture Poet
Because he kept the covenant of God
Is said to be alive today

Israel, Kibbutz Ziqim near Gaza 1977

From “Beautiful Words” collection