Celandine.

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,

disdainful, deriding.

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.

Now?

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

beckoning skywards

framing yellow and blue

and I dream of Hope Now

for our friends

in Ukraine.

My photos from June 2009


The colour of magic – for Terry Pratchett

28/04/22

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.

OOK!

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

What’s this?

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

are lowered.

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,

must remain,

untold.

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.


Jamie Leaping – dedicated to Jamie, Bronwen and Tom

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!

JAMIE LEAPING

And here’s Jamie

Up and coming dancer

Scissor splitting the sunset asunder

Dinas Head dazzling

Leaping, stretching

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

Vivid, golden

Exploding into uplifting action

Leaving us

His virtual audience

Overawed, breathless.

Trapped in the virtuous circle of delight

As Jamie, leaping

Takes flight.

Like Dolphins arcing through the waves

Gazelles shying on the savanna

Red kite swooping earthwards

Condors catching the thermals

The wolf elevated from

It’s lair

Jamie too is suspended there

Gracing the stage

Rewriting the page

Defying gravity

Springing forth

An acrobat

A tumbler

An athlete of the air

Jamie dancing

Elemental

Jamie soaring

Fundamental

And yet also

Somehow

Transcendental


Two poems, remembering Andrew (dedicated to Janet, and all the family).

Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

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

Mesmerising

Soothing

I could only think about you

Wishing you

Willing you

Safe passage on this

your fateful journey

Knowing that

In the morning

Granted that we should see

The

Ever startling sunrise

Our being alive

Must feel

Somehow

As if it was

unjust.

 Kitesurfing

“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

Bursting skywards.

I’ve tended them well,

Worked this good earth

And loved it too

But now

Must leave.

For the winds are rising

Sending sand scurrying

Whale blowing gouts of foam

caressing Cat Rock

Surf scudding

The sea is greeting

Beckoning

The great kite sail unfurled

I’m ready

Psyched up, Adrenalin fuelled and eager

Holding steady

Gripping 

Hearts eased and alive

Taken up

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

when

I’d return

To all that’s best

But now

I fly,

Unfettered, uncaring

Spiralling

Corkscrewing

Splitting the sunset

Silhouetting

Pirouetting

Set loose and

Free as a bird

Migrating

Heading into the West.

Marc Mordey 1st and 2nd December 2020

Photo by Helen Carey. For her nephew.

Visiting Eirian and Denys

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.

Marc Mordey

5/11/2021


Two rabbits a poem on 9/11.

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 rabbits,

oblivious to

two towers tumbling

and thousands of

subsequent oblivions.

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,

awesomely, abruptly,

to their knees.

In the sands at Bournemouth

Someone has scraped a name –

Caitlyn.

I hope it was the work of a lover.

For we must remember,

That love’s constancy

aims to please.

Meantime,

we are all but as rabbits,

caught in the twin beams of headlights

and impending oblivion.


For Afghanistan

I remember

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.


EMPTY SPACES. Dedicated to Dot (Dorothy) and Harry Mordey.

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,

Empty spaces…

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

Families, diminished.

The favoured seat in the pub abandoned now.

A classic car, unfired.

A paddle board beached.

Knitting unravelled.

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

Dreams unfulfilled

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

Flowers fail

Broken items that would have been mended

A driving lesson not given

A telephone call no longer to be expected

Empty beds

Empty sofas

Empty rooms

Empty wardrobes

Empty chairs

Loved ones lost

To everyone

Everywhere

“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)


My Columbine Valentine. For H B-C-M

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.

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My seaside Valentine

If I could choose

Just one

Moment in time

To take ahead with me

Into unfathomable eternity

Governed by uncertain deity

Then

It would be

Standing Forward

Bedecked by you

( and, in my mind’s eye,

two ghost dogs

standing by)

On our voyage sublime

Watching the watery world slide by

The Pacific, painted by

Glacial blues

Awake

Gelato cream confusion

Melting into the black mirrored swell

As scimitar shaped birds

Slice the crested waves

Balletic marine fencers

Weaving, careening and

En Garde!

Hunting

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

Nautical miles

Our beating hearts rate.

 

Yes!

This would be the moment I’d choose to take.

With

You

and I

Yours and mine

Atlantic,

Caribbean

Pacific

To be specific

My salt spray adored

My seaside companion

My maritime best friend

My own worlds end

My sweetwater , Columbine

Valentine

 

13/2/19

 

 

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