as if my birth was only an echo of yesterday’s calling

eyelids heavy
sun setting
between lashes of rain I nod my thanks
like a pigeon full of shot
on a bed of autumn leaves
the little traces of blood spattered
amongst the green
yellow
brown
camouflaged bed now careening
on swivelling casters

an overfilled trolley dash
to death’s door

it’s a
bump
bump
of a ride
that rollercoasts me to the sea
it’s a
dive
dive
that parachutes me
to the bottom of the blue
it’s a
gulp
gulp
that delivers me
to the entrance of your cave
it’s a
kiss
kiss
that welcomes me
in the arms you hold open for me
it’s a
why?
why?
that haunts me

your door – always open to the brave
the barnacled handles
wrought lattice portcullis entwined with kelp
that helps hide your underwater domain
that helps keep your castle cave secret
amongst the shoals of fishes and seafoals
and dragon breath’d seals who guard your inner sanctum

and there
in the corner
coiled in a cockle’s mouth you lie
like the coral queen you are
I venture forward
I stumble on my own breath
the bubbles foaming in my nose
I know I am not drowning
I know I am under your spell
I know why I am here
I know now the answers to all things
and I know nothing else matters

deep down inside your mother belly
to which I have come to return
as I knew I always would
as I knew time would call me back
you waiting patiently
as if my birth was only an echo of yesterday’s calling
and I would have no wish to leave
as I had before

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the good soldier

there’s no such thing
as a good soldier
said the girl with the bloody doll
you come and rape my mother
then you want to marry me

there’s no such thing
as a good soldier
said the boy with the wooden gun
you come and kill my father
then you want to enlist me

there’s no such thing
as a good soldier
said the old woman in the black shawl
you come and burn my family home
then you pity me

there’s no such thing
as a good soldier
said the good soldier to himself
I don’t know what I’m fighting for
then I fight some more

Mother Nature’s Neighbours

In the backyard battleground
The mother wants rid of her daughter
But the daughter wants more worms

Time to fly the nest little blackbird
The mother tries to persuade her daughter
But the daughter has a broken wing

They argue beak to beak upon the ground
The mother determined to force the issue
But the disabled daughter won’t let go

A stand-off dance of sorts now ensues
The mother twelve inches from her daughter
But the daughter mirrors her every move

Flicking autumn leaves as blackbirds do
The mother finds a tasty morsel or two
But the daughter dashes in for the steal

Another fight and flying feathers
The mother’s had enough of this pantomime
But her daughter’s bond is that much stronger

Than Mother Nature would care to admit
With winter waiting beyond the hedgerow
Where the weak will succumb to cold defeat

 

(These past couple of days I have been watching a pair of female blackbirds fighting and bickering in the yard. One appears to be injured and I have surmised that it is the young of the adult which now appears to be growing impatient for it to leave her side. The adult tries to chase it away but it keeps hanging around and dashes in when there is any chance of being fed.

I love all the birds that visit my garden and always have nuts and seeds in feeders for them. Living on a smallholding away from other houses and people they are my closest neighbours

Mother Nature is also often a cruel neighbour who waits next door with harsh winters and her very own and very effective mechanism for dealing with the weak and injured. I wondered about drawing comparisons with the way we treat our own weak and injured but the story of the birds felt too self-contained to add another dimension. Sometimes it’s best that we just observe and leave our emotional footprint out of the equation.

By chance I was writing this poem as the Daily Post prompt came through. The word ‘neighbors’ (spelt ‘neighbours’ here in UK) seemed to fit the theme quite nicely despite my having already posted the poem elsewhere under the title ‘Succumb’. Have a lovely weekend friends)

Home Schooling

I don’t like the smell of these candles! said Peter.

It’s all I could get hold of, his mother replied.

They smell of sick and dead things!

When is the electricity coming back on?

I don’t know Peter. When it can, I suppose.

 

Peter and his Mum sat huddled together,

Curled up under blankets on the comfy sofa,  

Watching the TV that would never work.

Not without electricity. The candle flickered,

A reflection in a screen of blankness.

 

When is Jane coming home? asked Peter.

Your sister has found a new home, mother replied.

Is it up in Heaven? asked Peter.

Yes dear, I’m sure it is. Mother smiled.

Did she take her arms and legs with her?

 

Outside the street was deserted,

Ominous thunder shook the world.

Peter imagined it wasn’t thunder.

He imagined his Dad up there somewhere,

Like Jane, but in a different way.

 

No school again tomorrow, said his Mum,

We have to go fetch water, find some food.

I’m hungry! said Peter, and bored!

I know, said his Mum, I know.

This game’s not fun anymore!

 

home-schooling

The Keeper of Thoughts

so Bill

I was just wondering

when will you be done

taking your photographs

you were never this long

in the roll of film days

when you had a couple dozen shots

but now there’s no stopping you

 

my mother had always been

just wondering

patiently sat filing her nails

flicking through glossy magazines

Harpers and Queen

Vanity Fair

the breathtaking scenery

had never interested her

 

we’d drive out each weekend

take the Oldsmobile panting up

The Skyline Drive or

Blue Ridge Highway

there were swallowtails

and black bears

if you knew just where to look

and point your toy pistols

 

mother watched

from the passenger seat

window wound down

breeze blowing her mini beehive

the ten most alluring women

in the world

she would read out loud and

how to marry a billionaire Bill

 

poor father was a delivery man

never an ambitious bone

in his weary body

the long hours delivering parcels

exacted a price on his arthritis

but you would not hear him complain

just a few more minutes honey

he would quietly say

 

all those Kodachrome slides

he never showed or looked at them

they sat boxed

gathering dust

like his simple thoughts

over time he feared he would one day lose

our sunny days wandering Big Meadows

with mother in the car wondering

 

the names of our favorite places

still sing in my ears

they echo out from overlooks

call me back each year

to Riprap Trail

Hawksbill Gap

Elkwallow and

Bacon Hollow

 

now I am the keeper of his thoughts

unlocked and free to wander

projected overhead

we watch them on the big screen

there’s me I point

pistols at the ready

and mom smiling and waving

a cripple with withered legs

 

img_20160731_151508-effects

(apologies for posting this poem twice on the Daily Post one word prompt slot. My other blog is winding down now that I am coming to the end of my travels and I inadvertently added this to that although it does have relevance there too. Managing multiple WordPress blogs from a smartphone is not always without its glitches)