This poem came on the 5th May 2017. It is in honour of, and with high regard for, the lives of Ingrid Beazley, Rosemary Beazley and Brenda Joughin.
May they rest well. Deservedly so.
The Three Women.
Maisie and I tumbled and blew up the mountain.
Carningli, grumbling in the wind blown heat.
And I laid three bunches of posies from Penrallt
At the cairn, where others too are remembered,
A horse shoe, soil from Sicily and the USA,
A small plastic goat,
Set the flowers down amidst the small rocks
As crows swept across, in shrouded flight
Jinxing their way towards Morfa Head,
the sea below them
indigo saltwater blue,
silver trailed, swirling,
dancing ever towards the Westerling night.
today, your lives we celebrated.
You are resting, sleeping, beyond age and now,
by life’s sometime trials,
But you were :
Workers, mothers, sometimes warriors,
Creators, comforters, wives and wise,
lynch pins of this vexing world,
in your own,
The flowers are flags, splashes of colour to lighten our darkened world,
Honouring you lives, your loves,
the canvasses on which you so vividly painted,
across the years, the months,
We turn away now.
This May afternoon is muted, hushed.
Thrift, gorse, bracken splashed.
Splintered with sunlight.
Quietened by your passing
and by our loss of choices.
We, your family,
And yet, perhaps,
now and then,
we will hear your voices,
catch your cries of delight.
on the hot breathed breeze.
(the view from Carningli. Newport Bay Pembrokeshire. photo by MM)
My angels were singing : a poem for St David’s Day
This poem was conceived over a a few spring like days, during February 2008 – out walking the dogs, watching the birds, and thinking of those who have died, who do – I believe – watch over us.
Nearly 10 years on, I am still fortunate indeed to live and love in a most beautiful part of Wales, and, in my opinion, one of the loveliest places in the world. This is, I reckon, my ‘go to’ poem!
I stood near the house
where Grace once lived,
My angels were singing.
I watched as birds
and daffodils dived.
My angels were singing.
It’s spring and the sun
bursts fat and alive.
And my angels were singing.
Old crow, silhouetted against Carningli rock,
purple shadowed on blackened burnt bracken,
gorse and heather reeling :
the after shock.
But my angels were singing, still.
As seagulls wheeled across the bay,
catching sea breezes,
tumbling at will.
The Irish Sea lies beneath
becalmed and silvered blue,
and my angels were singing.
Wales’ favourite saint remembered
the new season breaks forth, springing,
flowers dancing, church bells – ringing.
His angels – singing.
Seasons, people, live and die,
here and now is for the living.
But remember those you love or loved –
And let your angels be singing.
Let your angels be singing.
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus
Phoebe, the dog star.
(i) The joy of running.
A bolt from the blue,
A golden arrow streaking , skirting Newport bay
Effortlessly matching sand sail and surf.
A pimple, possibly canine, on the farthest horizon
was enough to take you away,
bullet running, wide pawed dancing.
Find the fiercest dog you could – and make it chase you!
You and Maisie rising and falling like dolphins
in the meadow sweet, long grass of summer.
In Wiltshire woods the intoxicating frustration of putting up deer,
glad running into the copses,
thundering through bramble and bracken,
off, into the dim distance.
Leaving us with the panicky emptiness of the long wait.
half an hour, maybe more,
then you would appear, purple tongue, seemingly a mile long,
hawking for breath, flat out on the green downs.
(ii) A wolf god.
Eyes, soul pooled,
Anput, Egyptian dog princess,
Pharaoh dog, friend to Anubis.
strong willed and sublime.
(iii) The ghost dog.
Nothing here of your decline,
just the final, dreadful, sting.
Hot teared night, tumbling on your velvet snout.
Earth drenched, she sleeps, soft blanketed.
A grave peppered with violas and first daffodils.
Now, a ghost dog walking with us.
Through Pengelly woods, wintered, mulched and mudded.
Teifi Lakes spiced with snow.
The estuary, silvered, flat calm and kind.
The pine forest near Lampeter, muffled.
Is that you?
A shivering movement amidst the trees.
A backwards glance, somehow you fill the space.
A muted howl of greeting, a murmur on the breeze?
We too will be scattered skywards,
dark skies and moonbeams,
And, out there,
awaits our Sirius,
our dog star.
Phoebe was a lurcher, saluki, greyhound cross. A Battersea Cats and Dogs rescue hound. A huge character, acknowledged as a beauty by pretty much everyone she met. She was really quite regal, did not offer her affection lightly, and had a wicked sense of humour and mischief. A dog, yes, but so very much more. She lifted and lightened our lives for some 15 years or so, and we miss her terribly.
This poem is the best I can do. 7/2/17.
It has been said, “time heals all wounds.” I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Phoebe and Maisie, Pengelly Woods, Pembrokeshire.
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.
A ‘Messages poem’ – for UK National Poetry Day 7th October 2016
I recently listened to a brilliant and very moving radio documentary on the (ever fantastic) ‘This American Life’ (the link is below) about a Japanese man who has set up a defunct telephone booth, complete with disconnected telephone, in his garden. Because? He wanted to talk with his deceased cousin.
Over the last 5 years, since the tsunami of March 2011, many people have come to use his telephone booth to ‘call up’ their dead loved ones. The programme referred to relates some of the conversations and it is very beautiful if harrowing, to hear them. The second part of the show records the meeting between two, estranged, brothers – both in their 80’s. If you have an hour to spare, this is recommended radio delight!
I guess the programme is all about our need to talk with those we cherish – and yet, all too often, we are unable or unwilling to do so.
The whispering telephone (of Japan)
My cousin left me, drifted away.
A black hearted wave, towering 30 feet and more above
smashed, gorged, demolished
those we love.
The telephone booth rests
goose green in a flowered meadow.
Brothers, lovers, wives and sons
sometimes, one by one.
The messages are often short,
occasionally, they could be misconstrued
Some are breathless, others weep,
a few try to explain
what was it that
the ink souled deep
stole away – and what now remains?
Messages of love :
” Are you eating well?”
“Come home – I will build you a house.”
“I’m in seventh grade now grandfather.”
“Why did you die?”
“Will this sadness ever stop?”
The fingers tremble, hover, hesitate
before the ratcheted dial is turned,
an old fashioned sound
troubles the ether.
There is love here, bravery too.
And, in Japan,
the world over
we talk, we whisper, into lineless depths.
Here is the link to ‘This American Life’ http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/widget/widget.min.js
For H B-C-M!
In the Quaker Garden
A heron takes stately flight.
A moorhen ducks in bobbing fright.
A helicopter overhead does not,
There’s a Chinese garden,
And a rufous tiled boat house to peer in.
Abundant hostas, and
Grassland walks and woodland piles.
Meadowsweet, a watering can waterfall.
Holly green groves.
Flowers to thrill.
A cooling compost overspill.
The clouds frown and the sun,
And I’m enjoying the intermittent silent sweeps
And the bolting blue of a kingfishers
But here’s the thing.
The Quaker planting is a joy
Yet you are ever,
My garden of
to celebrate 4/8/2016 – ten glorious years!
At Strumble Head
A half hour stolen from the day, so
I came to Strumble Head.
The sea, blue grey rolling hillocks.
An oyster catchers cry splitting the bay.
Foxgloves, daisies, sky blue candy tufts,
and a cormorant, jet streaming the billows.
The intermittent mirrored wink of the lighthouse
gleaming, sun streaming.
Always, the inner gasp as a breaking wave
behoves a porpoise – or impossibly not.
Simply in my dolphin dreams?
Ever, the reverberating of the gulls,
persistent squalls, mews, occasional screams.
Outside this bubble, a world becalmed
The noise, the mighty chaos and upheaval,
and the smaller fuss, went on.
In Germany, a man, armed
Took a fatal spree, a cinema shooting run.
A composer died, aged one hundred.
Refugees lay, exposed in 50 degrees of heat,
unhindered by aid, a blanket between seven,
no tents, no water, no food.
As the waves primped and plumed,
how it is that,
across this planet of ours
the odds remained:
As people on our islands voted
Again, again, again…
My mind was tumbling, Strumble bound
To past walks with you, picnics and dogs.
A curious seal, whiskered and severe
Head bobbed brightly in a cove we know.
The coast path meandered, stumbled.
Lost, then found.
Then, returned to my small reality,
albeit cage dragged and reluctantly.
My heart and soul ablaze, it’s true.
For Strumble, Penrallt and so much else besides.
this sea bound, cliff scaped endless beauty.
The odds are stacked,
my card marked…
From, my ever treasured you.
This poem was written on the day of the UK Referendum (aka Independence Day – ha, the irony!) I shall continue to seek refuge in the beauty of landscape, environment and the unconquerable nature of Nature itself. And, am grateful to all – most especially HB, for this was written expressly for you – who have spoiled me with love and affection.
I am indeed, a most fortunate man.