holiday’s end

the sun is low-cal this morning
watered down behind milky white clouds
it doesn’t matter anyway
as we are leaving today
heading home to rejoin our regular routines
even the seagulls seem to know it
perhaps it’s changeover day for them too
a new cast and crew given the chance
to fill their bellies at this holiday home door
their screeching echoes chasing us away
it’s all a fantasy anyway
none of this will exist once we’re gone
the narrow streets will straighten into motorways
the quaint pubs will become service stations
ugliness will eat away at the clotted cream idyll
and leave us with only our photographs and memories
fading like the low-cal sun behind milky white seagull eyes
it’s all a fantasy anyway and like life itself
we write the days in poems
the best we can

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Mên-an-Tol

walking the same landscape our ancestors shaped
under the same sullen skies and windswept clouds
great granite boulders hold the hills in a delicate balance
but what now are visible were once woodland cloaked
oh how this has changed yet in some ways not
the streams and drovers’ tracks run a little deeper, yes
worn and rutted by water, wheels, hooves and feet
the trees are gone, replaced by thick stone walls
and farmhouses with solid chimneys blend themselves neatly in
as if hewn from the rock during some dark night storm
this land has stood witness to many such beatings
as wave after wave of cliff batterings took their toll
the gorse bushes bent double like old men in Sou’westers
but it was underground that men also ventured
picking away at the rich seams of tin
that would kill more than would make wealthy
we traipse across a boggy field to Mên-an-Tol
where thrice through the hole will cure your ills
or so the stories go

The Mên-an-Tol standing stones near Madron in Cornwall with the Ding Dong tin mine in the distance.

Hopeful

Hopeful visits me each morning
He tells me that man is ruled by a tyrant
whose name is Ignorance
and given half a chance
He would seek to overthrow that tyrant
if only I would throw him some scraps of food . . .
I tell him I have no authority to fulfil his wishes
or indeed to fill his feathered belly
and why doesn’t he go fish
like all good fisherbirds do?
Hopeful tells me authority is based on falsehoods
whereas knowledge is authority based on truth
and why shouldn’t I throw him some scraps
as he is poor and I am surely rich
and man should not be ruled by the tyrant called Ignorance
but by knowledge instead . . .
Or by conscience I reply
for if I feed you my scraps
you will forget how to fish
like the fisherman who forgets to wake
and misses the tide . . .
Ah, the ‘time and tide that waits for no man’ saying
spoke Hopeful with reproach
is not your conscience the amount of inner knowledge you possess?
but for me that time is running out
and those tides share little fish . . .
Hopeful tried fixing me with his beady eye
but I was having none of it
I said: one day the tide will turn back in your favour
and what is left will go unsaid . . .
Let’s hope, said Hopeful, not convinced
that when that time does come
it will not be too late . . .
He stretched his neck to the heavens
and like all our morning chats
it ended with a defiant shit
a fearsome screech
and a preening of the wings
but sadly no scraps for lunch

With thanks to Hopeful the Seagull in St. Ives and Victor Hugo.

rolling

the waves roll
as if great humpbacks
are passing through unnoticed
below the surface turmoil
within the undercurrents
singing their songs of the deep
blowing holes in our imaginations
we can only guess at what goes on
when their eye meets ours
a lighthouse beacon glinting
warning us of danger
now surging ever closer
with the passage of time
these great leviathans
who roll with the waves
dive to seek respite
from the constantly curious
the flesh and photograph hunters
who follow so relentlessly
to the ends of the world
across rolling waves
that never cease
like the tolling of bells
on ships lost at sea

out

out
through the gaps
that rattle and trap
westerly sea breezes
between grey slate tiles
and wooden slats
the seahorses race
over green rolling hills
and with them
the shanty sighs of fishermen
their black notes hung
on cormorant wings
borne aloft
on white beards of spray
the churning
yearning tides of time
keeping secrets hidden
like buried treasures
cannons and caskets
doubloons and bones
shipwrecked with all hands lost
as we all must surely
someday
succumb

The view from my window
St. Ives, Cornwall
Sunday 10th. February 2019

crazy head

i.

be safe inside your crazy head my friend
people it with imaginary friends and fanciful stories
take a journey down those scenic back roads
where quiet moments are chance happenings
for this space is yours only
go sit there while the world rages
and be safe inside your crazy head

ii.

it’s safe in there
but you just have to trust it
lie back and sift the wheat from the chaff
there’s a way through your crazy maze
it may take days or it may take weeks
and the journey from here to there is a twisty devil of a path
but the reward is worth the effort my friend

iii.

when you can’t see the wood for the trees
just keep a-walking until you find a clearing
and take a break and concentrate on your breathing
for there’s a sky up there, a moon and stars
and little you down here just a-wondering
what place is there for you in all of this firmament?

iv.

there’s a special place for you my friend
it’s reserved inside your heart and head
two special places owned just by you
no one else can go there if you don’t want it
close them off and keep the fuckers out
yes it’s your shout my friend
your shout
so do it
whenever you want

v.

enough from me
it’s over to you
I’ve done what I can
it’s now up to you
take it or leave it
it’s the best I can do
whatever you choose
it’s catch as catch can

 

in slow motion

tree falls
in slow motion
death dive

bridge building
in the dark
across the ravine

a vixen
takes her chance
tiptoes over

gives thanks
for richer pickings
on the other side

a storm brews
the tree shifts
falls in slow motion

the fox stranded
accepts new home
raises family

black photograph

with my hand over the lens
I take a black photograph of you
you are there but not there
I am here but not here
a faint glimmer of light
frames the square of darkness
I pass you my soul and you laugh
your nakedness on the bed
exposed like breath on a cold day

guiding light

I would crumble under her gaze
two eyes as black as moons absorbing
the universe and she the centre
me the broken debris of a comet’s tail
breaking apart in every aspect
like a moth caught in a candle flame
the golden ratio disproportionate
distorted beyond the rainbow’s end
where her flock grazed on purple clover
and pitching camp she would weave
stories and willow baskets into the night
that I could ever keep up with her
ah heaven knows I tried and failed
I may as well have been a blade of grass
amongst the many pastures we traversed
she leading, me following, the way onward
never knowing if she loved me or not
never knowing what lay ahead
I would crumble under her gaze
and would now if she were here
to guide me

north (sons and daughters)

we travelled south
east and west
each taking a bone
to plant and tend
we grew great forests
gave them names
like laughter, love
tundra, teal

there were swans and lakes
hills and streams
swallows flew
dreams took place

and then one summer
years from then
I caught my breath
inhaled again
and there before me
on the shore
a skiff, a whale boat
nothing more