And so, the people have spoken
The voting’s passed.
We’ll be quitting Europe
And I am downcast.
I may well be “Remoaner”
But I’m certainly, no loner.
What will our UK look like I wonder?
How much we will we mind?
As the borders change
And nationality lies
evermore strictly defined?
Will ‘the Union’ be stronger
Or not exist for much longer?
Will the Foodbanks flourish?
Or become the norm?
Universal credit unravel?
And HS2 , transform
The pace of travel?
The flooding too?
As the climate wreaks revenge
On our green and pleasant land?
Will we see more homelessness?
More social care distress?
Deck the Halls with boughs of Holly
As another 95 year old spends
Ten hours on a trolley.
Will your pension get paid?
Your wages start to grow?
Will the wealthiest share more
Or simply bask and brag,
in the fiscal afterglow?
And I must make the best of it.
But my heart is heavy
Languishing, leaden, lethargic .
Alongside, how many?
Some half of my fellow citizens?
As we put up with the rest of it.
Wondering, what happens now?
With division, disenfranchisement,
Adrift and despairing.
Some cross, many bitter,
simply beyond caring.
So, roll the drums,
As Mr Johnson becomes
Our One Nation Tory saviour.
Victory is sweet, and doubtless to be relished
“Let’s get Brexit done”
that”ll save ya!
Me? I’ll be learning to live
With a sense of defeat
Under our nation’s new roof.
Rendering my version of truth
Sackcloth and ashes, unembellished.
written on the morning of Friday 13th December 2019.
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
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
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.
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,
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
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
On the island where love erupted,
Bloomed, prospered, sun soaked
No longer alone.
We wrapped it tight,
Made it home.
Now, needs must
That I guard the treasure.
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.
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…
Or so it seems
Who just don’t care.
A 100 years before
Europe completed a War
But some, dared to dream
(Beyond passports and borders
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
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
But despite these views
I’m afraid to say
(Judged by the news
Guesswork, bad temper
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.
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.
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/