Brexit Passions

I am condemned by others, wearing Asda’s finest, loving the curry, hating the Indian, them that visit Spain for sun with chips, who thought Labour was for the working man, they made the cross of wood and nails of iron.

That I must carry as this was born of my silence as factory whistles and streets of common worth became black and white movie reels.

Yet I stumble at shaky pensioners wanting back a childhood of back to backs and Empire cakes, and the Daily Mail Pharisees preaching whose life, whose tongue, speaks for me. Yet where was I when the tree was fell and the coal dug for the smelt of iron?

I watch a man round as a cottage loaf, t-shirt bare arms showing tattoos of faded love and sinking ships as a woman, hair dyed young, worn jacket too big for a shrinking body, kisses away his tears. I walk on, mothers are a story that others tell.

Let me help, another man says. Yet he speaks hope too loud like a Bible reading where God wears jeans and Angels are your buddies.  But he walks with me to rattle away the cawing rooks pecking at scattered seeds.

She doesn’t cry in the wilderness. So give her face to courage, let her smile words at bitter lips, let her be the icon lit with candles where flowers are gathered to rest.

Yet I stumble at save us flag wavers defending the big lie, the golf club wise men seeing no star. Yet where was I when the tree was fell and the coal dug for the smelt of iron?

Of the three, this woman listened between words, gave a wordless touch, let the day decide the colour of lipstick and if a Judas kissed she’d hit and forgive latter. When they called the sea a moat she and her sisters ran over waves to show how free they were.

Yet I stumble at those tongue smiths who made hard words too polished to see, who played the game, who spoke holding only rotting apples. Where were they when the tree was fell and the coal dug for the smelt of iron?

I am stripped, left nothing to reap, made a single road, given a shroud for a wedding dress.

It will go away, this wood will flower with May blossom, the nails will strike bells, candles will light the way not weep at dark silence. And pain is but thunder clearing a sky for dawn mists.

Forgive them for they know not what they do.

As I fall, hold me, give me warmth, reach out to each voice, make them a choir, sing with birds and dance with the breeze, make heaven seen.

And from dark cold valleys will come new turnings, new woods and places to dig and in clearings will be hands to hold and smiles at our fresh steps.

i am not a silent poet

Breath day

The first stone egg,
sea shaped
is laid at the cot
by the women of drowned men.
At birth breath,
each scatters knuckle bones worn
to hold love,
the cast foretells
what stones to gather,
the cobbles of a roadwalker,
the boulders of a housemaker
the slabs of a grave

Published in Three Drops from a Cauldron

A letter to the Pope about my Grandmother

You see in the year Hitler came to power, a rich man
and a poor woman asked God a question.

The rich man with the Saville Row of money
and the poor woman with the hand-me-downs of none

The rich man went to Harrow and Oxford to learn Literature
and the poor woman to a council school to learn her letters.

The rich man was kind to servants and horses of the hunt
and was hollowed by not falling with our brave lads.

For him the bible and brimstone of Methodist fathers
became words on a page lost in a book.

The poor woman only knew of fathers that kissed
with the bottle and loved with the hand.

For her a faith of candles and forgiveness was a feast
when life only threw you scraps.

The rich man walked dead before life was breathed
back with words that made flesh of a Catholic God.

The poor woman held Mary’s hand but lost her new-born
to ‘Limbo’ so ran to free him with a Methodist God.

His God and Church forgot him so he died without love.
Her God and Chapel lost her so she died without love.

Your Holiness, did they ask the right question or hear the right answer?
Please don’t say only God knows.

Published in The Ground

Silent eating

Do you remember Barrow hill, with church
of pitted stone, where sleepers rest until
an angel blows dreams away. Once we walked
around flowers of plastic, past stone lies,
and out a wooden gate, to wander down
past fields in flood and ash now winter bare,
to this cottage of turf and broken stone,
with thick yew hedge to beat back wind and rain

You watched as inside, upstairs, Sunday best
was tissue shrouded for its weekly tomb
as rain pit-patted on the window glass.
Finished, she sat on the bed’s edge and wept.
with bible cradled in arms long empty.
Silence comforted until sunlight peace
warmed smiles and kisses for the holy book.
Rising, with apron tight and hair commanded,
she shelves truth for love  of both goat or sheep.

I waited downstairs by scrubbed pine table,
laden with dishes of yellow margarine,
and jam labelled red with pillow bread
to make a wish:

 for white linen, a dish of  butter sun, 
     blackberry jam scenting of summer warmth
     and oven bread too warm still for slicing.

We left a kettle’s whistle summon down
to feast of tea and sandwich now eaten
in contentment that God rests as crows caw outside.