What is this all about?

Welcome to the Marcist Agenda.

It’s all about –

POETRY – My latest poetry collection, Marcism Today, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk Marcism Today front cover

PHOTOGRAPHY – I want to share images , from day to day life, work (and other) travels, sometimes landscapes, sometimes people or animals, and also quirky little things, odd angles, that catch my eye, and might please yours? More of these can be found on our website at http://www.thestudioatpenrallt.co.uk

HELEN CAREY’S BOOKS – And finally, I want to direct you towards the work of my favourite writer, my wife Helen Carey, because, if you like what I write – you’ll LOVE what she writes! see Helen’s page here on this blog.

So, here it is, The Marcist Agenda – please read on, hope you will enjoy and be stimulated by what you see and I would very much like to hear back from you on what you read.

Faster than a herd of turtles! Cheers! Marc


Advent. A poem for Roger Hill.

We’ve known Roger pretty much ever since we came to live in Newport in 2005. He was a great friend, a bon viveur and raconteur.

He, Reg and myself and the two dogs,  used to walk to the top of Carningli most Sunday mornings, probably for about three or four years. Roger liked to see the sun come up, so the Sunday morning starts got earlier, and earlier…! The gossip was good, the coffee even better, and the two dogs always got a biscuit. At the end of the walk Helen often provided a cooked breakfast. Those were golden mornings.

A talented artist, a lover of words, of music, of friends and family. An ally, a kindred spirit. A free spirit.  We will miss him very much, as we do Betty, who died around a year or so before Roger.

His pictures hang in the bedroom.

His memories move over the mountain. 

I’ve called this poem Advent, as kind of memorial to the time he marshalled us all up top to sing carols and wassails.

 

You urged us on to crest Carningli

As the summer sunrise split the Western skies.

And we’d huff and puff

Gossiping, musing and marvelling

As the Bay yawned below.

One time you had us carolling and wassailing

In the gathering Yuletide

swirling, steaming mists,

A hint of snow.

The mulled wine and singing

amidst the mystery of ancient stones.

 

Our walking trips gradually dwindled.

Stopping points became final destinations,

As knees gave way and age overtook us.

We had to say au revoir to

The gorse and heather, still painting their

Honey golden purple splash

Startling the muted grey of

mountain moulded rocks, bedazzling

Larks, sheep, cattle and ponies.

But the pub, painting, music and stories

Held up our conversations

(As did Brexit, climate change, other debate

Indeed, as you aged

your plea for a new vision

grew ever more passionate.

Your voice undiminished by the indignities of maturing.

And we’d do well

to heed your warnings)

 

Your friendship, intellect, never dimmed.

You were both interesting and

Interested.

Now we’ve lost you to the drumbeat march of time.

Your paintings grace our wall

Lighting up this winter gloom.

The memory of you

Suspended

Sublime.

 

Sleep well.

Rest safe,

on your West Wales mountainside.

Close to family, hearth and home.

Asleep, but not alone.

A great man for all our days.

A friendship celebrated, tried

true and tested,

To be remembered in

Oh, so many ways.

Unlikely to be bested.

 

roger hill 008

The church in winter. a 60th birthday gift for me from Roger. May 2019.

 

roger hill 007

Penrallt Farm, as portrayed by Roger, December 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In Kythera 2019. For Helen Carey.

We met on the Greek island of Kythera ( pictured above) in June 2000, and returned, for the first time in 14 years, this June. It was magical when we met, and it (all) still is. On the same trip we met Hera, but that’s another story, maybe another poem. But for now, this is for Helen, who has my heart.

How did two decades

All but a year,

Slip by?

Filio laughed and hugged us, even cried,

The bamboo drifted in the soft breezed warmth

You and I, beside.

The taverna table laid up for two

Where once I waited

And the taxi ( thankfully)

never arrived, instead,

There was you.

As the wild thyme keened the air,

The kestrel plummeted

Geese hissed in a dust bowled olive grove

and the first cicadas of the summer began to drum.

Bees, drunk hummed on myrtle sipped nectar

Seawards spiralled

The blue and yellow collided

Over Kapsali mountainside.

Near Mitata, the church tower split, stricken,

We walked a new path

Crunched ancient shells underfoot

Stressed from the strains of bygone volcanoes

Tiny flowers grasped life from thin soil

A goat danced, windwarded.

How graceful you were

As we spanned the unknown

Having walked the Englishman’s Bridge

Revisited a love story

Writ large.

On the island where love erupted,

Bloomed, prospered, sun soaked

No longer alone.

Mediterranean delight,

Grecian pleasure.

We wrapped it tight,

Flew north,

Made it home.

Now, needs must

That I guard the treasure.


A poem for Remembrance Sunday

This is an older poem, but the sentiment, for me, remains the same. I hope it is worthy…

2015-flowers-family-friends-018Remembrance Sunday.

What would you have had us remember?

As you mustered in the trenches,

Around the gun emplacements.

As you hopped into the cockpit

And flung yourself skywards,

Or plumbed the depths

Submerged and submarined?

Should we remember your bravery?

Your mockery? Your cynicism in the face of duty?

Your gut wrenching anxiety,

Your fear, your mortal pain,

As you were killed and wounded,

Again and again and again?

 

Do the flags, the parades,

The preachers, the cavalcades,

Act as sufficient homage?

Or would peace, justice, equality

Be more deserving of your patronage?

 

But whichever,

It is true.

We must continue,

To remember you.


Brexit blues, November 18

As there’s both a General Election, and we are still ( thankfully) part of the EU, I’m taking the liberty of resharing my poem, written in 2016. Inspired to do so by an article in the Guardian newspaper suggesting that Brexit poetry can help. I wonder.

They seek it here

They seek it there

An elusive answer

Maybe even a prayer…

For some

Salvation

For others

Despair

And

Or so it seems

There’s them

Apparently

Who just don’t care.

A 100 years before

Europe completed a War

But some, dared to dream

Dreams

(Beyond passports and borders

Economics, migration

Project Hope and Project Fear

Leave or Remain

The results unclear)

Of a time and a passion

Where all people could fashion

A desire to end up

At

The same destination.

Whatever your politics

Your strength of conviction

The things that you value

Your own inclination

Let’s hope that our leaders

Can find some contrition

And guide us towards

A reunited state

An undivided, egalitarian

Non sectarian

Nation

Oh my!

A Nation….

But despite these views

I’m afraid to say

(Judged by the news

Speculation, analysis

Guesswork, bad temper

Reasoned debate

Irrational hate)

Day

after day

after day

We are all headed for

The Brexit Blues.

I can only trust

That, we don’t end up

With a terminal case

Of national paralysis.


Singing for Reg ( Newport, 18 10 19)

The ceiling of Ebenezer Chapel is decorated

In soft pastel creams, sea green relief

Golden sand colours abound

The soft lights, as sunshine through still water

We sit, gathered to think on you

As the choir and singers render your memory

Music lover, medicine man, historian, humourist

Think that you’d have loved the Rossini, the Puccini too

” My Little Welsh Home” rang poignant, so true

” The Girl in 14 G” blew the night shades away

Would that you’d lived to see this day.

Sleep well, sea billowed, tide caressed

Beyond music, pain, distress.


Are we one payday away from being homeless? – The Society of St James

A long time ago I worked for this charity, and I still follow and admire the endeavours of all concerned with interest and affection. Recognising how, in all our lives, perilously close to the wind we sail underpins a lot of my thinking, and some of my forays into poetry. So, I thought I’d take the liberty of sharing this piece here on my ( currently, somewhat neglected) blog. It’s well worth a read.

Meantime, new poems are brewing….I’ll keep you posted!

Are we one payday away from being homeless? – The Society of St James
— Read on ssj.org.uk/are-we-one-payday-away-from-being-homeless/


The Gathering – dedicated to Granville James

I have a friend and neighbour, John, who is a sheep farmer, with a flock on Carningli. His family have lived there for many years.

From time to time I adopt my temporary guise as #theoccasionalshepherd and help him with sheep related duties. For me, it is one of the greatest pleasures of living here in Newport, Pembrokeshire.

Two or three times a year a group of local people, often graced with the presence of Anwen and Chris, help John,and his sister, Aeres , to gather the sheep off the mountainside.  Until this spring we also always had Aeres’ husband, Granville, with his ever gracious smile, care and concern for all, and delight in the mountain and all it’s ways.

Sadly (an understatement if ever there was) Granville died in May this year. This poem is for him, for Aeres, Anwen, John and Chris,  and for all who help out this delightful family. It comes with love.

 

The Gathering

We are walking the old ways

Bracken snatching at our heels

Stone stumbling across the narrow tracks

The sun on our backs

Feet sinking occasionally in rushwards marsh

Sticks swishing bramble, as we make the pass

Larks rising abundant, trilling

A red kite patrolling the sun split skies

Crows flap, unwilling, it’s all a bore

Quite sure, they’ve seen this all before.

 

Is that a rock, recumbent?

Or a ewe, two lambed

Blue hooped, bread rolled, sometimes sooty from burnt gorse

Woolly marshamallowed, on matchstick legs

Stirring grumpily from a sleepy hollow

Answering the call

Her Master’s Voice

As John whistles, shouts, limbers, long shanked

Swiftly

Carningli’s highways and by ways

On the back of his hand

Whilst we follow, as best we can

Shepherding by osmosis

Sometimes instinctive

To the sheep, his tones, distinctive

The flock moving on demand

Alive to his ever familiar command

Labouring on

Sweating slightly with  the July heat

The Bay below,

Curtain called velvet blue,

The sky frames paper triangled sailing boats at play

Church and castle

At our feet

Maybe they hear us working?

In the graveyard, the tall trees bend to listen too.

 

Now we turn, the flock funneled towards homecoming fields,

Sweet grassed, comforted, steadfast and settled

They’re in!

A few rebels

Break for the mountain

But are black bag flapped through the 5 bar gates

Too late!

Baler twined and strung in

Scurrying, heel kicking, stream leaping

Left now

To dot the meadows

An Impressionist painting for the Pembrokeshire hillside

Above beach, and town

Seeping sandy time and tide.

 

We leave, turn away

Even though there’s more, much more to do

(Shearing, dipping, marking, treating)

But maybe not today

That’s all

For even farmers

Have to play

Leave the flock to graze

To raise the bleating clarion call

Dawn to dusk

By night, by day.

 

The wind, sweet heather breathed, new credential

Steeps and gusts above Stone and Castle Hill

Sighing gentle benediction

The Gathering complete

Under John’s direction

Yet we all missed one element, essential,

It leaves us, still,

Our friend, coralled, slumbering long, elsewhere

And now the feathering breeze

Whispers one name

Granville

Granville