There are times when it seems
that the life of a man
is so futile, so fragile,
a castle of sand.
And as hard as you try
you can’t hold back the tide,
and the waves keep on rolling,
they cast it aside…
Though the road may be hard,
someone’s walked it before
and the stories from their life
can shed light on yours.
And though words may seem frail
as a net cast in air,
they can capture the truth
in tales which will always be there…
So those songs still remain
though the singer is gone.
Let the waves keep on rolling –
they’ll carry the song.
Time and tide grind the rock
down to sand, fine and soft,
but not those who inspire us –
no, they’ll never ever be lost…
(RIP Ron Hynes)
I don’t show strangers photos
to prove where I have been –
my word should be enough
or, clearly, they’re no friend to me.
Photos may jog the memory,
lead to contemplation –
sadly, this has been replaced
Who can truly know a place,
find out what makes it tick,
whilst framing a self-portrait
on a damn selfish selfie stick?
No photograph can capture
a hawk’s weight on my wrist,
the crackle of logs burning,
the awesome hush of an eclipse,
the chill wind from an iceberg,
the splash of whales at play,
the warmth of a sleeping love
at the end of a perfect day.
To the one I think of often
though you’re rarely by my side.
You’ll never be my next of kin
but I’d want you told if I died.
Maybe we’re too independent –
we survive alone quite well –
but when stuff happens, good or bad,
you’re the first one I long to tell.
No, we’ll never be an item
but, ‘significant’ or not,
you’re my intermittent other
and the dearest friend that I’ve got.
So you’d like to ask for a favour?
I’m sorry – you don’t stand a chance.
You should have asked me yesterday –
I was wearing my positive pants.
But I change my pants each morning
(’cause my dear old mum told me so) –
now I’m wearing my negative knickers
and my negative knickers say “No!”
I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed.
I really don’t mean to be rude.
Just blame those negative knickers
with their selfish and bad attitude.
I honestly want to help you,
I usually try to be kind –
but I’ve got my negative knickers on,
and the knickers don’t feel so inclined.
Those knickers are terribly naughty –
the things have a mind of their own!
Oh, I can’t take them anywhere,
and I simply daren’t leave them alone.
But soon they’ll be in the laundry,
enjoying a delicate wash –
so just ask me again in the morning
when my negative knickers come off!
“I never drink wine”
it’s whisky – see, the stag on the label?”
Renfield, taking orders as always,
ferries drinks from bar to table.
There’s a heap of capes on the counter.
On a stool, there’s Jack Palance – who,
for a creature that lives on blood (and beer),
is looking quite substantial.
George Hamilton is swaying
and giggling at Bela Lugosi
who’s trying to do his party piece
with a pint glass, matchbox and coaster.
But Frank Langella’s disappeared –
ah, those lips, those eyes
were enough to snare the barmaid –
no phony fangs required.
Klaus Kinski’s in a corner
where small cries can be heard.
They may be his – but no-one’s keen
to ask if his drink is dead.
So Renfield orders another round
and longs for eternal life.
Says the barman “Is that with Kahlua?”
and pours him one, over ice.
There’s nothing pink about cancer
though there’s a whole rainbow of pain:
skin scalded by radiation,
and orange with betadine stains,
the needle bruises, greens and blues
slowly yellowing as they fade,
the scarlet of an angry scar,
and the black of a sunken vein.
There’s nothing remotely pastel
in stark choices that must be made –
which body parts to sacrifice
in the hope that some can be saved.
And it’s not just for princesses –
their princes can also be claimed.
In horrible equality,
all are hairless, sexless and drained.
It gnaws at families, and friendships,
till only the strongest remain.
No, there’s nothing pink about cancer;
it’s cold, and it’s cruel, and it’s grey.
Oh bother – it’s Poetry Day,
and here’s me with nothing to say.
I wish I could rhyme
but there’s simply no time –
not this week, anyway.
I’ve not had a moment to think –
the washing machine’s on the blink.
I’ve got loads on my plate –
life won’t co-operate –
and the dishes are still in the sink.
I’m sure I’ve appointments to make
with the bank – and with friends – and that cake!
Oh, I’ve promised too much,
like the chocolate fudge
that I’m not even sure how to bake…
If I just had more hours in the day
surely everything would be OK.
Oh, come back next year –
maybe you’ll see it here,
the poem that (this time) slipped away.
Each month we arrive for our regular date;
there’s wine in a bottle and crisps on a plate,
but we can’t begin yet because somebody’s late –
let’s have wine, and then start on the book.
There’s discussion of husbands and children and lives
(slightly confusing for those who aren’t wives)
and gossip about those who haven’t arrived,
before we can get to the book.
Now another whole bottle of wine is gone,
so our hostess puts the kettle on –
‘Anyone fancy a strawberry scone?’ –
and we still haven’t got to the book.
One hasn’t finished – don’t tell her the end!
One thinks it’s the best book that ever was penned.
One hates it – she’s passing hers on to a friend –
but at least we’re discussing the book.
Now the wine is all gone, there’s no food left to eat,
so a date is arranged for the next time to meet,
and we make our goodbyes as we sway down the street –
maybe next time we’ll finish the book!
Why dream of a kitchen like those on TV?
(Gemstones on a work top? Give me jewellery!)
In my dreams, a kitchen is not about looks –
but filled with food memories from childhood books,
where Alice ate cake hoping she would get big,
while a cat watched a duchess pepper a pig,
where Narnian badgers baked marmalade rolls
and a much-loved bear had a small smackerel –
and a hobbit found himself hosting some dwarves
who ate all his food and then juggled his forks.
But, my ultimate kitchen fantasy?
A kitchen where somebody else cooks for me!
Then along comes a moment
that’s empty, a vessel
for something that someone should say.
But without a remark
which will anchor it fast,
the moment is drifting away.
And the inches between us
are almost an ocean,
and almost as awkward to cross.
This thing that we’ve started,
the water’s uncharted
and we’re both afraid we’ll be lost.
So I search for a word which
can carry the meaning
of all that I want you to know,
but deep down I’m really
not sure what I’m feeling –
it’s too far for one word to go.
And the inches between us
are almost an ocean,
but that doesn’t mean we can’t try.
We could both reach the shore,
and that’s got to mean more
than maybe being left high and dry.