this poem was written six years ago, but, in the light of the tragic events of this week, has a renewed resonance for me. Rest well.
Heaven Has No Fences
In our world……
The sky is blue bolted and stilled,
spring washed and not yet
I lay in the garden
gazing across the Bay,
a chiff chaff summoning, bell like trilling,
unwittingly willing to add thrill to
a Sunday evening revelry.
Earlier, we walked along the Nevern,
woodlands pin pricked by wood anemones,
bolstered by wild garlic
and the first blue bells creeping skywards.
Nothing untoward until
an owl, a tawny streak,
chased by a furious blackbird
disappeared, chastened perhaps
into the green tented, splintered tree tops.
In your world……
Dawn, presumably, could not come too soon
as you fought your way to the side,
galvanized by the hope a passing cargo ship
The Mediterranean, at one point
a moonlit, blank canvas,
the next moments, a swirling scramble,
angry abstract patterns, peopled by those
in extreme, ultimate, unimagined distress.
I must confess,
a shared sense of hopelessness,
the frustration that our two worlds can be
so far flung, heart strung,
and one almighty mess.
The awfulness of what drove you on
the headlong rush to emigrate
is likewise tough to contemplate.
In part, I too must bear the burden
for these casting votes of carelessness.
Life, the casual combination of magic and loss,
toil, sweat, leisure, excess
the daily, weekly, yearly struggle,
the explosion of the senses.
Can leave my mind muddled, confused,
my values and principles
assaulted by the restless flow of news.
But one thing, for me,
remains as clear as morning dew :
heaven has no fences.
Migrants rescued 10-17 April
Feared to have died attempting the crossing so far this year
- 35,000 Migrants have arrived from North Africa in 2015
- 218,000 Estimated to have crossed the Mediterranean in 2014
- 3,500 Migrants died attempting the crossing last year
It’s all about –
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
a poem written to celebrate our friendship with these two, truly extraordinary people.
I called by yesterday
To deliver a batch of tomatoes
Our last crop of the year
Vermilion, golden globed jewels.
Eirian took time out from the crossword
And we talked
A little of life and it’s encumbrances
Something too of death and it’s devices,
And the precious quality of being together, today.
Your lives are so enriching
The palette you offer is fulsome , enlightening, enlivening
To eat at your table is to leave full and satisfied
Good humours, great stories, glimpses of the past
Feet firmly in the present
That’s your gift to us.
You’ve embroidered your talents into the very fabric of life.
Sculpted pathways for us to travel
Bedecked gardens with parasols and wooden waves
Touched so many people
In so very many ways.
Illustrated, truly, the ‘joy of painting’
Stitched affection into so many hearts
Made glorious artworks
To gladden the days.
This poem was written whilst walking above the beach at Bournemouth. Like so many others, having watched events unfold a few days before, I was filled with a sense of dread, of uncertainty and of shock. And yet, even then, a name etched in sand caught my eye, a message of love? And the rabbits carried on, unmoved. This poem is dedicated to everyone who has lost loved ones, across the world, across the great divide, as a consequence of 9/11.
two towers tumbling
and thousands of
Sometimes we forget
that telegraph poles
were once trees,
and that great civilisations,
and their emblems,
never lose their capacity to lose their dominion
and be brought,
to their knees.
In the sands at Bournemouth
Someone has scraped a name –
I hope it was the work of a lover.
For we must remember,
That love’s constancy
aims to please.
we are all but as rabbits,
caught in the twin beams of headlights
and impending oblivion.
floating down in a DC10
high above your sand scarred landscape.
Bullets were flying in Kabul, even then,
and we could not stay and see
but were removed, despatched, transient.
It was 1982
when I made fleeting acquaintance with you
and I had hoped, one day,
to return. Anew.
But now, the only offering I can make
is to place an orange flower in a green, gold vase
and hope, wish, it might burn bright for you
in this time of stunting, brutal war.
And trust that
in some desert flowered future view
Afghanistan 🇦🇫 might green once more.
POEMS OFTEN BREW WITHIN ME FOR DAYS, SOMETIMES WEEKS, AND ESPECIALLY WHEN I AM WALKING ON CARNINGLI.
THEN, SOMETIMES, THEY COME TO THE BOIL.
THIS ONE IS MADE TODAY, FOLLOWING THE NEWS OF THE DEATH OF AN AUNT.
COVID 19 HAS, THUS FAR, TAKEN THE LIVES OF WELL OVER 2.5 MILLION PEOPLE.
STALIN IS OFTEN QUOTED AS HAVING SAID ” 1 DEATH IS A TRAGEDY. A MILLION DEATHS IS A STATISTIC.”
THIS POEM IS FOR EVERYONE WHO HAS SUFFERED LOSS – DIRECTLY OR OTHERWISE – TO THE RAVAGES OF THE PANDEMIC… MOTHERS, FATHERS, BROTHERS, SISTERS, CHILDREN, GRANDPARENTS, UNCLES, AUNTS, FRIENDS.
please remember them
Across the world,
A silhouette no longer framed on the Savannah
In Wyoming, a horse remains unsaddled
Red dirt unbroken in a Senegalese plot
A Russian doll that won’t be dissembled
A Spanish hacienda deserted
An Italian meal untasted
In Japan a temple flag is unobserved
An ice hole, unfished
A desert tent, entrance unused
A rice field abandoned
A new crop not to be harvested
A quilt unfinished
The favoured seat in the pub abandoned now.
A classic car, unfired.
A paddle board beached.
A tractor untended.
A camera shuttered.
A guitar untuned.
A song unsung.
A bed unmade.
A bycicle rusting.
A dog forlorn.
A doll abandoned.
A spinning wheel, not turning.
A pen no longer picked up.
A spade, rusting in a cobwebbed greenhouse.
A boat, sails stowed, bobs alone on the estuary.
Clothes are folded away, no longer needed.
Books, never to be read
Puzzles that no longer perplex
Letters never sent
An empty seat in a synagogue
An empty pew in the Chapel
A prayer mat in the mosque stays folded
The graveyards fat with memories.
Grass grows untended
A tweed jacket hangs forlorn
Broken items that would have been mended
A driving lesson not given
A telephone call no longer to be expected
Loved ones lost
“I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.” (Brideshead Revisited)
Two years ago now, we were at sea! The sentiments expressed here though are before, contemporary and beyond. It’s all for you. Thank you. From the heart.
My seaside Valentine
If I could choose
Moment in time
To take ahead with me
Into unfathomable eternity
Governed by uncertain deity
It would be
Bedecked by you
( and, in my mind’s eye,
two ghost dogs
On our voyage sublime
Watching the watery world slide by
The Pacific, painted by
Gelato cream confusion
Melting into the black mirrored swell
As scimitar shaped birds
Slice the crested waves
Balletic marine fencers
Weaving, careening and
The ocean’s ceaselessly hungering mouth
Restless, inscrutable, immutable
Breathing, deep water scheming
Its owners have
But scant regard
for our lumbering vessel –
Man made iron muscle –
Outflanked and bested
By shearwater and petrel
Undone by dolphin and iridescent Dorado.
It is as though we were
Tipping over the Equator
Outstripping day and date
Adventuring, ever southwards
Our ship in full spate
Speed baffling knots
Our beating hearts rate.
This would be the moment I’d choose to take.
Yours and mine
To be specific
My salt spray adored
My seaside companion
My maritime best friend
My own worlds end
My sweetwater , Columbine
Looking for a great read? Hurry along to http://helencareybooks.co.uk
Dylan delivers our milk,
Rich, creamy, butter yellow white
Blessed by mountain angels and Swiss cows
Each mouthful, pure delight.
It is 5:15 pm when he pulls into the yard
And Dinas Head still shimmers with duskling light
Dog days of January,
Murky, misty Saturday night.
“It’s as if the year is taking chicken steps” he says
The longer days are creeping into being.
And he drove on
Much more for him to do.
This week gifted us Candlemas,
“Imbolc” as the Celts would have it.
Crocus, snowdrops, wild primrose
All peeping through the coming grass
Finca scrambling the old stone walls
And two daffodils crowning the cairn
On a windswept, frosted Carningli,
Bracken brown dejected.
Others also work long days,
On into the darkness
Injecting fresh hope
Raising possibilities of renewal.
Diminishing at least a portion
Of year long
Gloom and fear.
Salutations to our NHS
Raise a glass to
The milk of human kindness
And the quickening of the year.
To all friends who are generous enough to follow this blog, THANK YOU.
I have created a few (though nothing like as many as in previous times) poems during 2020, but, being honest, the creative impulse has been subdued, and what I have written is, well, just too dark for now at least. But, awake at 4 a.m. today (the shortest day of the year) these thoughts, this offering, came to mind. As with all my poetry, I don’t lay great claims to it, but…it’s from the heart, and it is my gift for you.
Take care out there, stay safe and well. And here’s to better days ahead, for our world, for us all, in 2021.
Greetings and good fortune. Yours Aye!
A young writer sits at home
The first novel just a glimpse in the mind’s eye
The pen, flourished.
The paper, anticipating
A Jane Austen for today
Ready and waiting.
Elsewhere, a teenager moodily lifts the guitar,
Strums newly acquired chords,
Maps out phrases, tinkers with words
And a new ‘Blue’ emerges
Blowing the critics away.
As scales are lifted from blinkered eyes
Fresh minted, eager new leaders
(they’ve life experience of climate change)
No longer question
No longer deny
And radical policies
In a home some place
A 100 year old man
Father, grandfather and much more besides
Breathes out, smiles, gently sighs
Reviewing a long life
Well lived, hard won
And, despite great age,
Not yet done.
In a laboratory far away
A new graduate scientist explores
The microbe kaleidoscoped,
Micro-scoped miracles of life,
Her imagination slides, breaks free
Then, a pause
Before the new formula,
The world beating solution
In one country
A child reels and spins a home-made hoop
Around a sand dusted yard.
One young man, cocooned
Navigating his kayaked world,
With snow, ice, cold cracking floes
Seal whirled and polar beared
Life is fun
Though life is hard.
In my dreamed of world
Zealots lay down the gun, the sword
Share faith, philosophy, thought
With believer and non-believer alike
Accepting that seeing life differently
Ought not be seen
As something unacceptable
In a year gone by
We all shared
So much sadness
Such awful pain
Who really cared?
How does one cope?
In a room
A sometime poet
Somewhere there’s hope
This is an older poem, but the sentiment, for me, remains the same. I hope it is worthy…
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?
It is true.
We must continue,
To remember you.
The 21st September is World Alzheimer’s Day. This poem, written five years ago, is dedicated to my mother in law, Rosemary, who lived alongside of Alzheimer’s for a number of years.
May your blanket be woven of spring time threads,
and flamespun from the azalea outside your window,
wild garlic fattening the woodland paths,
your fields, bested by bluebells,
Welsh oak, wild cherry, the rising sound
of saplings, keening in the breeze.
The crushed camelia heads that cushion the verge
below the trees
that you loved to see
as we were Fishguard, ferry bound.
Red petals gracing too, the secret garden,
where, a few snatched weeks ago,
we picked for you
lingering strong and plump,
golden on your windowsill.
Sea thrift and campion binding the two Heads,
Dinas and Morfa dipping Westwards,
unwittingly majestic and yet, now, forlorn.
No longer held in your view.
Yet you loved to look out over these landmarks,
on kinder, gentler days,
as you stared across the Bay
sometime sea shimmered,
at others, murk misted
“Can’t see Dinas Head’, you’d say.
But cliffs and headlands prevail,
as you well knew,
through older age and illness,
cup of tea reviving,
Ages slipped by, unwittingly,
as such they do,
and I am sure,
you gathered your very self in,
Harder to distinguish then
your hopes, your fears,
the altered state
the change of mind.
Some things are, it seems,
beyond the ken
of us, the ones to remain behind.
to nurse your memory,
there must be laughter,
there will be tears.
But for all that changed,
across these widowed years,
a crossword clue determined
a flash of will.
And of this I am,
it might seem to be
sure enough and
ready to greet us
behind the ethereal, floating curtain.
Hats off to the unsung heroes
Consistently saving our lives
The post workers
The list goes on…
Passing by without much sound
But now we know
They’re the ones
Who really make the world go round