A family must should try
to forgive one another
and talk over their feelings
it can be difficult at first
but if you succeed
then your family will be happy

if you think that what matters
is having peace within you
that it may be attractive
it may work in general principal
but there’s something else
you need to do

before you can have peace
you need to make peace with others
you need to settle with them
their feelings about you

unreasonable hatred is common
rooted in unaddressed rivalries
how do you put out these flames?
peace then has to be active


mother, did you touch your child?
spend too long a time bathing?
did you not see, the embarrassment?
mother, what were you craving?

Mother, did you wash your child
When your child had almost grown
Why were you afraid to grow old?
Alone when bird has flown

Mother we feel so sorry for you
Who lived without any affection?
You loved confused at breaking point
Suffering all rejection

To the sea of images

To the sea of images
That unlock the pain of love
I made my way
In the darkness
With my eyes like searchlights

At the fortress of images
I stood wearing black feathers
An obsolete orphan
With an anvil for a heart
And words as dead as frogs

The image began to attack me
Like cannon shot through glass
As I fell into a hypnotized sleep

And there in a cave
Dressed as wolves
My parents were prowling
Blind with anger
Hungry for vengeance

Then the sea was gone

“L” shaped you

Underneath that other you
Underneath another you

Triangle you
Percussion you
Inca you
Maya you

Your soul

That he dissa-
Pears into you
Inca you
Maya you

On you
The “L” shape
Of the other you
Where you disappear

L shaped you
L shaped you

Close up things

Sometimes I feel I’m on a rope ladder that I have climbed up too high or climbed down too low
That I’m carrying a bird in a pocket of my mind and that I nearly drop it into a piece of a dream
Stretched like skin between the rocks of a cave
That all my childhood days were empty like abandoned coal trucks linked together
That I wake up in one each day without an existence
My eyes would play with the close up things that my eye could reach
Close up things were like a family
This was my family before I learned to cry

I cried it all out
Alone or in anger alone
Yet some of it was stuck down deep
Like coal in a deep mine
So I drank it out
I drank until only my bones were left of me
I drank until I was quite sure
That no one was there

Angel mother

Dad has got a rifle
I’m sure he’ going to shoot someone
Dad has got a rifle
I’m sure he’ going to shoot some one
He watches from a distance
Mr, you had better run

He lives in a cave
He walks about the countryside
He lives in a cave
He walks about the countryside
He’s a perfect shot
With a lot of anger in his eye

Angel mother
Where have you gone to now?
Angel mother
Where have you gone to now?
Even if you’ve gone to heaven
I’ll find you there somehow

There’ an orphaned child

There’s an orphaned
Playful child
That only wounds
Can free
When the blood is drained
The boy is free

There’s a musty smell
From his parents bedroom
That he does not like:
Worse than a grave
Is the bedroom of the living

There he discovers
A friend in a small music box
Its music is sweeter
Than the music on the radio
And it’s revolving ballerina
Is his first love

Her Valiant Heart

A picture of my mother as a young girl
Sitting on a crate in a dishevelled back garden
A scarf turbaned round her head in the manner of the working class forties
In an old photograph
Always smiling for the camera
Most often with a gaggle of girlfriends
Perhaps teasing the men and trying to get attention
No guile, no pretensions no obvious ambition to take on the world
No showing off, just being herself, I think

Now I think of her last years
In a dysfunctional family
With an unloving husband
Her thick cracked hands
Her toothless face crinkled with age and worry
Her valiant heart deprived of affection
Her ears used to verbal abuse

How much of it was her fault
Her stubbornness; how she made a virtue of ignorance
But that laughter was always there
That delights in teasing menfolk
Even after the worst of marital experiences
A smile would gradually come back to her

But there was no rest from work for her
Bitterly she took the role of a drudge
I don’t think she was ever complimented for her work
Or given enough money to make a success of it
The home was kept clean and tidy
But the lack of love was telling
Except in her later years
She managed to gather some nice ornaments
Geese, swans, and collections of plastic figures out of boxes of teabags
And the prettiest curtains in the street
Of little blue, yellow and orange flowers

But words can’t say how hard her life had been
But more than her hard work
The injustice done to her through lack of affection
That she endured out of belief in her marriage vows
And one of the last memories I have of her
Is of a person who gave up hoping for affection
Who stood at the doorway as I went inside
And of the lost little kiss she was capable of giving
No longer existing in her heart for me
A few months later she was in hospital for the last time

Song: Aunt Madge Said

She fears to die
It comes too soon
It makes her cry

Had she thought
The problem thru
And made her peace
That’s all you do

She brought up five
In a council home
Since they’ve gone
She been alone

Aunt Madge said
My Dad Joe
Did bad things
And no one knows

Aunt Madge said

Some of you
Alive today
Will not see death
Lord Jesus say

He’s a good man that Jesus

The world goes on
Care, don’t care
As if Aunt Madge
Wasn’t there

My Aunt Madge was very lonely
That was easy to tell
She had not really had a life
She had not lived that well

Of this I’m sure
She lived her life
Behind closed doors
As a council wife

Aunt Madge said
She fears to die
It comes too soon
It makes her cry

Oh, my aunt Madge
Oh, my poor aunt Madge


Aunt Madge Easton nee Aitken

Aunt Madge at the seaside in the 1960’s

First Verse of poem as saxophone melody

PDF of Ist verse as song

Aunt Madge Said

Hiding the Blame

An inner voice
An inner lawman
“They made me do it”

The inner law
Is a real shadow
In the blood-red moon

To an inner guide
He’s obedient and wise
But it makes him cry inside

It snaps the chains
It cuts the cords
Of his accord

His agreement is lost
He doesn’t agree
With himself

But he tries
To please the lawman
That talks

Through his mouth
Pouring out his shredded memories
Of boyhood photo dreams

He didn’t mean to
It was half a dream
And half of a back door

Into the relics
Of his humanity
His lawful
Legal humanity
Into someone else’s vanity

By someone else’s
Heavy-handed law

Just explore
Tip out

His puzzle
Onto the floor

Half of the pieces
Are yours
One more step
And I would break
Oh my axeman father

One more pavement slab
And I would become

A solution
In your gun

One more
Robot step

One more
Raygun blast
Of your hate

And you could use me
As paste

One more
Step forward

Your sons
No-man’s land

You will
No longer
Be a man
The shellfire
Fell for years

Upon the disc
Of my
Darkened sun

How long is war
How long is childhood

The partisan
In the family

Hid in shadows
Moved careful
Through the hate

As real
As death
As weak as breath

If I hold my
Long enough

He will leave
I will die

The heavy guns
Will cease
Like a new year’s eve

Of any day
Of the ammunition’s

My will and my blood
Are on fire
Are my attire

In the extravagance
Of fathers war
He tore up
The page
Of my days

But I named
Each piece
With a word

I needed a grid

I needed
The impossible

Look close
At the dustpan
Do you see?

A few paper pieces
Of me
I would go out
And search for help
I was the scout

And the wagon train
Caught in the rain

Social workers in war paint
Hiding in the streets

My wagon wheels
Were rolling
Towards love

I would go out
And run about
From tree to tree

Mad birds
Would follow me

I’d pick holes
In the sky
I’d try

To die
In a tramps
Old coat

I would go out
I would become
Tall grass
The sun
Would blast
On my
Cratered moon
My brow
Would swelter
Melting my
Insane boy
I can never leave
Those days behind

People are unkind
They act
Like him

The continents collide
Volcanoes rise

The bad times
The good times


The inner tide

Can happiness
Will unhappiness die?
The child part of me
Is like a criminal
Running from my dad’s back hand

The landslide of his
His sainthood of blood and mud

His war throne
Where he sat alone
Where white bats
With wings of fire

Left their carrion
On the wire

The childhood part of me
Is the criminal
The unreal is real

The dungeon
Where the nightmare
Is where he put me

As he
Ate the tops of snow-covered mountains
His feet dragged thru the slime

And if he knew
The way I felt
He’d resign

Forgiveness comes
When the fire
Has burnt out

How many fires
Were burning
In the night

When at last
I can kick at the ashes and say
It’s over

When will that day come
Will it ever?

My angry fire
May die
But other fires
May last forever

I’m thinking of my mom
She got hurt more
Than anyone

On the day
He killed her

Dad look at my face

Dad look at my face
My face is no disgrace
They say I look like you
Am I a tyrant too?

Dad look at my eyes
My eyes are no surprise
I have my mother’s eyes
They tell you no more lies

Dad look at my face
Is this the face you hate?
Will I share your fate?
With this kind of face
With this face in the world

Will they hate me like they hate you?
Will my face remind them of you?
Will they talk behind my back about the things you do?

With the savage eyes and the snarl
As you swear and abuse our mom
With the holy mask and charm
As you entertain a lover

Dad look at my face
Can I remove all trace of you?
Can I scour my face with a rasp?
So I don’t look like you do

Dad look at my heart
That you delight in breaking apart
Right from the day I was born
You knifed it with hate and scorn

Was it like looking in a mirror
A face you hate to see
If you hate my face
You hate your face and you direct your hate on me

Do all tyrants stare like you?
With menace through and through
Would you kill all the birds as if they were turds?
Then turn your spite on me

Would you remove all of your relations
Would you put them in torture chambers?
Would you hear their screams as they confess
To the overthrow of your regime

But they all have faces like yours
They all look like you
They swagger as they walk
And they shout as they talk
About their enemy – you

Dad look at my face
Is my face now a disgrace
Will I live my life in hiding
Sure no one will ever like me

Can I get my face removed?
With the butt of a gun or a fist
Or a scalpel in a back street
Where the surgeon likes his blasphemy

Oh there was never a trace of love
In those cold blue eyes of yours
There was never a glimmer of affection
You only wanted subjection

As my mother’s eyes stared alone
And worked her fingers to the bone
And sat and cried in the kitchen
Do you think my trigger fingers itching?

Should I get a bullet for you?
Oh God what should I do
To end this evil foment
To save my mother from torment

Dad can you see what you do
You make me think like you
You trap me with your lies
You twist me up inside

Dad, I think I must run
I can’t do the things that must be done
Something tells me what I should do
But I can’t kill you

Dad look at my face
My face is no disgrace
Dad, I’ll pray for you
That you stop the things you do