On not saying hello

It was on the 8.30 to London and I was lost in a poem
more to pass the time then for serious effect
when I looked over and saw a basement squat
and a time when you and I were friends.

More to pass the time then for serious effect
I imagine leaning over and apologetically reminding
you of a time when you knew me and my brother.
I turned back to my poem and remembered why not.

I imagine leaning over and apologetically reminding
you of my brother, now dead but scared of life yet
I turned back to my poem and remembered why not
as the train announcements make you stir.

Of my brother, now dead but scared of life you
won’t recall but it’s when I lost my world
as the train announcements make you stir
I see his face sketched now only in my thoughts.

I won’t recall when I lost my world
as I look over and see a basement squat
so as the train announcements make you stir
I’m lost in a poem on the 8.30 to London.

SOUTH Poetry Magazine

The Shoemaker Writes at his Window

Today I write to tell you I saw Sarah again
her neck curved, each move of ballet grace

I took her calfskin shoe and placed a warm,
innocent foot on plain paper to trace

Then, as now, she is moved to speak of the patterns,
and shapes of signs that make us die or live

She laughed and mentioned that when six, Karsula,
the cow chased her down the neighbours field

so she learned not to cry out loud when running
We smiled and told stories of weddings – mine

clean fresh water and a simple soup, hers, herrings,
apples, and a plain sponge cake

We kissed cheeks and said, ‘Let’s meet again’
for we have become scratchy voices on tapes

a pair of weekend monuments for bored picnics
while out of sight, the shoes stack again

Published in Ink, Sweat and Tears

 

On Finding that nothing stays Sweet

In a small Welsh town of Abergavenny,
a market was held in sight of the old Town Hall.

Being eight years old, her tears dried
by face powder and the lipstick smile,

was forgotten as the monkey danced
in fur and red cap to an old accordion
battered dull by his master’s thick fingers.

I always ignored whispers, and the sighs of told-you-so,
with made up stories that faeries made you good

like clothes from a shop, not jumble from a straw bag.
Still full of dance, I saw the toffee-apple,

brown with sweet redness, and left the monkey
as I snatched my silver pocket money coin

and ran through the vegetables:
cabbages piled high,
carrots racked on long leeks,
potatoes humped in heaps

then I turned and saw her gone, stolen like a daddy.
If I find that monkey, perhaps I’ll stop running.

Published in Poetry Atlas

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.

 VerseWrights

At Christmas and Thanksgiving

Missy likes family gatherings
but for the cakes all cream and spice
not for the uncles who ain’t nice.

As for the aunts they are dumplings
old and frumpy with nerves jumpy
’cause she heard they made men geldings.

But if asked she will say all nice,
Missy likes family gatherings.

Missy leaves family gatherings
when any cousin did entice
for then gin had worn out the ice.

And she thought they had no inklings
as she ate cake without a break
but all knew of her true feelings.

So one and all made sure each slice
left Missy sick of gatherings.

The Poetorialist

Yesterday’s future

But, in the army of yesterday’s dreams,
Mickey had love and shining cooking pots
And Joe and Pete, with bellies full, were big shots
but, in the army of yesterday’s dreams

Mickey had love and shining cooking pots
with wife and clever kids that called his name
where now he stands in rain and blameless shame
Mickey had love and shining cooking pots

with wife and clever kids that called his name
but, in the army of discarded dreams,
no man from north or south is what he seems
with wife and clever kids that called his name

But, in the army of yesterday’s dreams,
Mickey had love and shining cooking pots
And Joe and Pete, with bellies full, were big shots
but, in the army of yesterday’s dreams

The Poetorialist