Translation is

Translation is treacherous
In the hands of those
Who do not trust their own ears
Who like to impress
With their education

While the ordinary man
speaks with more
Than one garden of words
Whose everyday ingredients
Are imported into speech
From the world around him

Translational architectures
That build structures
Out of plain sentences
Spoken by forthright speakers
Who were speaking in plain terms
Have created new conversation
Out of other people’s minds

Oh Lucky Poet

Oh lucky poet
With your good looks
And your good health

Some of us
Were Beatles
Some of us were
Stones

One of us
Was an ugly gnome

Oh lucky poets
Sitting on the floor
Of the assay office
Raking in
Armfuls of gold dust
To critical acclaim
And adoration
Did you not hear
The voice
Out of the wilderness
Asking
For nothing more
Than water

I tried too hard to give you my heart

I tried too hard to give you my heart
The remembered days that live in there
The delusions that seem so real to me
The truth that seems a lie to you

I’ve preserved my sanity in a memorial dream
I sent it by spacecraft into my hearts endless space
In a metal safe box as hard as titanium
In a container as small and soft as a bird

I’ve tried to give my heart to you
Its dusty dark streets where children play till late
Its realisations about my cherished beliefs

Its trust in giants, in gods, and heroes
Though some of the blood was poured away
Thick and hot onto the sacrificial floor
This I did when I knew you too well

I’ve tried to give you my heart
To you who exist in thousands of disguises
I try my desires on you
You flicker, flicker, flicker

In and out of reality
Back and forth from your book to your overcoat
You’ve walked out the door
Before I’ve even finished and you’re gone

I’ve tried to speak truly of paradise
Though but a single candle flame of it exists
In all the world in its time and its space
I’ve known it, I’ve known it, I’ve known it

There are 800 million people in the world

There are eight hundred million people in the world
They live in 800 million houses
There are 800 million living rooms with 800 million cupboards
There are 800 million rusty biscuit tins with 800 million forgotten poems

I have eight folders
They are crammed with poems and songs
And I am the author of eight folders
Crammed with poems and songs
The only response I ever get
Is ridicule, rejection and the put-down

What I want to know is
What am I to do with my life?
In such a hopeless world

2007

The college photocopier

The college photocopier

The college photocopier opened its green blinking eye
On its back was a ton of photocopier paper
Bowed under the weight it ate but it did not digest
All its lifeblood was spread across those pages

The college photocopier
Bolted through the doors into the night
It ran with rats through the city drains
It followed foxes through the woodlands

A posse of teachers ran after it brandishing staple guns
The college was in uproar
Students demanded handouts
The engineer came but knew nothing of photocopiers in the wild

Now it would live the rest of its life
Concealed in the undergrowth like a small deer

If I live to be a thousand

If I live to be a thousand I’ll never understand the hollow people
The ones you see right through; the ones camouflaged with normality.
They talk about themselves and it all seems fine
But their words are like spades digging out you soul

A loved one in need

A loved one in need feeds on your blood
Leaves you anaemic, your marrow like mud.
The one you love best, sweet anarchic child
She’s drunk on your blood; it makes her go wild.

The more that you give her, the wilder she gets
Her teeth cut deeper…. into your neck.
It’s daytime at last, you sit by her grave
Your tears fall like rain – for a love – you can’t save.

Song: Neglected Boy

The neglected boy

He really doesn’t know
Is there
Love across the ocean
Love across the sea
Doesn’t seem to be waiting
Anywhere near me

You really don’t know
What you’re doing
Do you?
I mean
You’ve got your orders
You’ve got your papers
To complete

But after spending
All day at your desk
You get out into the street
And there’s something
In the sunshine
That overwhelms you

The neglected boy

Love
It has no north or south
No sun or moon
Love
It has no eyes or mouth
And it thinks outside
Of its balloon

That’s all you know

Neglected boy

 

AN UNFINISHED VERSION 1



A partial Music sheet in PDF
Neglected Boy 1

 

AN UNFINISHED VERSION 2



A partial music sheet in PDF
Neglected Boy 2

 

Letter to a Dead Nightingale

And the dead Nightingale is singing
but no-one hears it’s song
and a gentle rain is falling
and no-one can feel it falling.

I hear the song in the blackness of night
from a loosening of bones in the aching neck
the music is the last starlight of a dead star
absorbed by the eye and trapped in a dream

The ages have gone into the dead nightingales song
it breathes in centuries and sings them out
it feeds on the heart with the music it makes
it singles me out with it’s secretive song

– dead Nightingale singing from an old dream
high up there in the blurry night
show yourself and let me see
how your bones hang in the sky

with nothing but a song to make you fly
then back to your home within my head
then back to sleep
and being dead

I’ve carried your body through deluge and fire
cared for you like a phantom pregnancy
I caged your singing spirit within
now I wish I could set you free

Do you die or do you live
are you a memory or are you real
I know you died many years ago
I know you lived to sing your song

Those death cries I never hear
when all alone from the world you know
you find a perch inside my head
and died there and lived on in a song

The song that remakes you gives you birth
and when you sing it is I who die
for love is your song and no-one can hear
and we both go lonely into oblivion

 

I’ve tried to write to you – a letter
But I don’t know how
The only word I can think to write
Makes no sense at all

What do you want to know (About me?)
Nothing at all!
You just keep on singing
In my hair

What can I tell you about myself
If you don’t want to know
You just want to keep on singing
And that is all

You keep on singing
As I keep ageing
You keep singing
As my hair turns grey
You keep singing
As my bones start aching
So dead Nightingale
Sing, sing, sing!

Your God is listening
To your song
And if he’s the creator
He will bring you back
And then I will stare
Into your diamond eyes
And keep you fed
for ever and a day

Should the sun ever lose its way

Should the sun ever lose its way
and disappear – into eternity
or the moon be torn away like a bad tooth
or the life force be stopped dead
by the nightmare in its path –

Should all cries to God
be wrapped in leaves of shadows
and melted down into stone;
should all memories flee
the blazing forests into bear traps
and be slaughtered for their ivory –

Should all love be stabbed
into the frozen earth like a flag pole
in the farthest reaches of the imagination
and all our houses be consumed
like chocolate boxes in the fiery jaw of a failing sphere
and the last dream flutter out of the skull
into the cupped hands of the foolish darkness
and the dust of its wings fall like rain
one morning as you awake –

The Lake Waters would Stretch

The lake waters would stretch out in the evening
A dark reflection of the sky
Or a reflection of my real soul
Dark and impenetrable to the human eye.

I’d walk by the glassy water
Spreading out, glassy and cold
Sleeping beneath me, in a fearless dream
Dark and heavy, glassy, tinted with cold.

Something I need to understand
I see a deeper ledge
I cannot see any further down
I become a candle flame, glowing by the edge.

Candle soot whirls skywards
Into the crystal air
The lake sleeps like the anima
Unconscious in the depth of its lair

Then the earth shuts out the sunset
Behind its closing door
The lakeside takes one last sigh
Then the night would hit the floor.

The leaves of trees would fill me
With a dark, secret, rustling sound
Then all seemed to go silent
In the landscape all around.

A crescent moon would be behind me
With one eye and half a smile
And I’d walk along the soft water’s edge
Just for a little while.

Home became a prison then
To return to alone and cold
But with a little of the wilderness
Singing in my soul.

Chasewater, 2000

Alone in the Shoe Repair Shop

Alone in the shoe repair shop
The child becomes a spider
Who carries an anvil
Behind the shop counter
That becomes a crippled clotheshorse
That gallops amongst piles of shoes’
In the unlit workroom
Where the smell of leather
Is as slick as a tin of Brasso
That spills over a box of rubber heels
Where the smudges of wax polish
Like burn marks are branded
In the cobblers heart of shoe leather

Alone in the Shoe Repair Shop
Another shoe jumps
Onto the upturned iron foot
As cobwebs cover the dead child
Who rolls in the eye of the cobbler
Who fills his mouth with tacks
While bleeding from his feet
Whose socks are bedraggled lions
Tearing the carcass of the rent man
Who rolled on the floor in flames
After a bible thumped against a door cupboard
Where old hammers are stored
In cake tins along with bankruptcy
That walks in the army boots
Of a Methodist preacher that echo
In a parade ground in France

Alone in the shoe repair shop
The child is split in two by a cuckoo
That turns into a Football Pools lady
As shoes fly at the clock-face
Carrying bags of nails
That dam up the floods of tears
Of the small child looking for a seat
Amongst the generation gap of black machinery
That dribbles oil and grease
Into the eye of a dead bantam cock
That pulls a Wellington boot
From a plague of birds in the fireplace

Alone in the Shoe Repair shop
The small child is a shattering windowpane
Where the distant sound of a town
Is falling into an orphan’s nursery rhyme
And fills the empty street outside
With powder puffs and nail varnish
As the tram cars whistle by
A tune like a broken pitch pipe
As girlie books fall from the thundercloud
That opens an old budgie cage
Hanging from a weeping willow tree

Alone in the shoe repair shop
Where the darkness drips like magnetism
Into the grimy sink
As earth worms cover the machinery
That becomes the loss of a dead bird
Who sings itself to death
In the lap of the lonely child
Who followed it into oblivion
Where a dragon lived in an old shoe
In a bowl of mashed potato

Alone in the Shoe Repair shop
The thick canvas machine belts
Rotate the earth
Beneath an avalanche of worn shoes
Piling up in the toy cupboard
As darkness falls on the street outside
As Christmas stuffs a chicken with a nightmare
That turns the small child into granite
And runs away from there
Into mists of forgetfulness