This poem is dedicated to friends in Ukraine, and to my mother, June, who has spent much time in that country working alongside of a charity called Hope Now, offering comfort and support to children, families and prisoners. Mum has a huge heart for Ukraine and for her friends there.
In 2009 I was fortunate enough to spend a little time visiting with her. The welcome was extraordinary. The landscape beautiful.
I find it so hard to reconcile being able to wander at will in the beauty of Pembrokeshire whilst so much destruction is being enacted. But, as mentioned below, I was told that an old Ukranian saying is that “hope is the last thing to die”.
So, for Ukraine, for Syria, for Yemen…for all war torn countries and their peoples, I will try to hold that thought.
It is early April and
I’m walking on Carningli.
High above me
Wild voiced walkers calling.
As larks arise
and a red kite dog fights a jackdaw.
An aerial display, enthralling.
Whilst in Ukraine, the sky is falling.
Tanks, artillery bestriding.
Bombs carpet cities
Missiles maul, whole townships flee.
Two worlds colliding.
The landscape of warfare,
I can’t take it in.
Years ago, I visited there.
What do I recall?
Wild poppies framed by dancing corn
Peppered with blue sky.
Two children crawling over a ruined tank…
Testimony to previous acts of madness and sacrilege.
Hay ricks, Constable like landscapes.
Wild turkeys taunting cats.
Vegetables being grown along the pavement sidewalks.
Motorbikes, streaming the blue and yellow flags
And sunflowers, overbearing and vivid.
The river, fat, wide and bold.
A gift of a frozen fish, wrapped in newspaper.
A bedroll on top of a stove, offering winter solace from crippling cold.
So many generous hosts
gifting me memories, feasting and fulsome days.
Teaching me that,
“Hope is the last thing to die”
an ever more poignant phrase.
My mother, Little Rock,
A babushka from Britain
Drenching children, prisoners, foster families
with her enduring love.
The cornfields are left begging.
Young men scythed as casually as World War One cannon fodder.
Whilst the cities suffer Blitzkrieg, by another name.
Propelling millions into unwelcomed motion.
Wreaking havoc, sewing misery and pain
Now, as before, in one man’s name.
Later that spring day,
I walked amongst young trees
and marvelled at the sweep of celandine
framing yellow and blue
and I dream of Hope Now
for our friends
My photos from June 2009
On Terry Pratchett Day – which was his birthday – here’s my homage to him. The poem was written in 2015. But thought it’d be nice to republish by way of a birthday greeting.
Hats off to Sir Terry.
Terry Pratchett’s wonderful books have graced (occasionally disgraced) my bookshelves since the late 1980’s and like, so many, the news of his death left me, perhaps irrationally (given that I did not know the man of course, but he had let me into his world, so I felt -somehow – that I did) saddened, with a feeling of personal loss. This is a very inadequate, but heartfelt, tribute to a writer who has enriched my reading life. My thoughts are with his family and friends, and with us – his legion of fans. GO WELL FRIEND
The colour of magic
The Discworld suddenly stilled.
The Librarian utters a muffled, choking Ook!
Angry mutterings issue from a star dusted, rainbow crazed, magical book.
The Luggage lifts its lid in silent tribute.
In the Assassins Guild, knives and other such Thieves of Time
A Golem glowers, breaking the mould,
dwarves, goblins, werewolves, trolls,
gone the stories, gone the gold.
Witches lower their broomsticks,
to fly no more.
Lord Vetinari is blacked out,
the clacks have nothing to shout about,
The Nightwatch nowhere to walk about.
Sam Vimes, Lady Sybil
all left to doubt.
The cast of characters too many, too bold,
how much story, how far the masterful imagination,
IT IS DONE
The great turtle, serene, untroubled perchance
paddling its huge flippers
in the ever changing celestial dance,
notes, a wide brimmed hat
a grey beard, a whispered hint of black,
an author, happenstance?
THERE IS NO MORE.
Ah, maybe, but are you sure?
My Angels Were Singing. A poem for St David’s Day. Dedicated this year to friends in Ukraine, as well as to all those in Wales. Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus.Posted: March 1, 2022
Jamie is a highly gifted dancer, and he and his family are good friends of ours. His mum took some photos of Jamie dancing on Newport Beach last summer, and for some months now these images have been percolating into a poem. So here’s my first poem of 2022. I hope it makes you feel a little lighter.
Let your spirit take flight. Though I doubt we’ll ever jump as high as he does!
And here’s Jamie
Up and coming dancer
Scissor splitting the sunset asunder
Dinas Head dazzling
Knifing the waves
Which are dawdling in from Ireland and beyond
Exhaling a gentle foamy breath
As they hit their sanded destination.
He is physicality personified
Ballet brought to life
Exploding into uplifting action
His virtual audience
Trapped in the virtuous circle of delight
As Jamie, leaping
Like Dolphins arcing through the waves
Gazelles shying on the savanna
Red kite swooping earthwards
Condors catching the thermals
The wolf elevated from
Jamie too is suspended there
Gracing the stage
Rewriting the page
An athlete of the air
And yet also
Andrew died a year ago today, after a long and harrowing illness. He was 43. He loved kite surfing, and was a great, green fingered gardener.
We all miss him.
These poems were written on the night of his death. And they are in honour of his memory.
A vigil (for Andrew)
In the still of midnight
As November closed the door
And moonlight silvered the new born
December night skies
I lay awake
Half listening to
Gregorian plain chant
I could only think about you
Safe passage on this
your fateful journey
In the morning
Granted that we should see
Ever startling sunrise
Our being alive
As if it was
“I have slipped the surly bonds of earth”
There’s a garden here
Fat with beetroot, leeks, peas and tomatoes
Dripping with the scent of sweet peas
Michaelmas daisies, wallflowers and foxgloves
I’ve tended them well,
Worked this good earth
And loved it too
For the winds are rising
Sending sand scurrying
Whale blowing gouts of foam
caressing Cat Rock
The sea is greeting
The great kite sail unfurled
Psyched up, Adrenalin fuelled and eager
Hearts eased and alive
Fast flung skywards
The beach unfolding below
The waves unwrapping
And I’m soaring
Aloft where the gulls, oyster catchers, osprey make flight
Breath taking and beautiful
Exhilaration beyond delight.
There was a time
To all that’s best
Splitting the sunset
Set loose and
Free as a bird
Heading into the West.
Marc Mordey 1st and 2nd December 2020
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
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