It seems strange to me, almost uncanny, how the death of someone one has never met, and now, never will, (and of course, probably never would have encountered anyway!) can feel like such a personal loss. I felt this following the death of Terry Pratchett and now do so about that of David Bowie. And, as witnessed by the incredible amount of tributes and commentary, lots of other people do too.
The statement that an artist provided the “soundtrack to my years” is, of course, a cliché – but hey, David Bowie is right up there amongst my inventory of magical musical discovery….of lost summer mornings abandoned to song, of sneaking a disc onto the radiogram (in the early days, prior to the Dansette) of the thrill of the new, crisp covered LP, of talking though the nuances of photos, lyrics, sleeve notes, with various friends. Of life, of love, of sadness and of the sheer, brutal thrill of new sounds, new visions. Rest Well Mr Bowie – you deserve no less, well at least, as far as my – inadequate – book is concerned.
As suburban adolescence slid by
Our small town’s parks disturbed by smoke, cheap beer, chatter
Indiscretion and mild obsession
You, somehow, showed us what might matter
Sometimes snarled lyrics, harsh guitar
At others, a love letter, whispered
Hermione and the Starman in harmony.
Later, we rode from Station to Station
Having been a Lodger, Low, an occasional zero
Rock and Roll Suicide denied
Dogs, cats, diamonds amongst the genocide
And yet, you sang, the possibility that even we
Might become, reclaimed, refreshed, a Hero.
Last night, the moon split by dark cloud
(A favoured line, of mine)
I sang to you, windswept and westward
though this is not America
skybound, space scattered, unfettered
As the radio waves vibrated with your muse
So sad, so very personal, somehow
Dear David, wondering
Where are you now
Where are you now?
This poem was requested by my former employers at Alcohol Concern, as a contribution to a drugs and alcohol journal. It’s really hard, or at least I find it so, to write a poem ‘to order’ but I do hope that this goes some way to representing the amazing achievements of a lot of people who live, work, volunteer and take part in the community life of Fishguard and Goodwick. Hats off to one and all of them.
There’s strength in numbers
What are the ties that bind?
Good times, sad times, celebration and commiseration.
The chink of glass, the drowning of sorrows,
take a drop, take a little,
taken too much on board?
“Ain’t you got no home to go to?”
How do we talk this through together
without condemnation, lecture, or impunity?
We start to chat,
a little bit of this, a little bit of that.
Meeting here and there,
coffee shops, church halls and draughty rooms.
And out of conversation blooms :
Coffee mornings, storm warnings,
Scouts, Sea cadets , the Army youth too,
Brass bands, Lifeboats, Coastguards
Fishguard and Goodwick, the beautiful blue.
Lion’s gentle roarings
(“you’re like a breath of fresh air”).
Are the old folks all grumpy?
Do the younger ones care?
Let’s celebrate our age friendliness, with Festivals and Fairs.
Soroptimists, many other optimists too,
but also nay sayers who
would have us believe that
there’s nothing to be done.
Bring on the school children, Bowls Clubs, Rotary and Round Tablers,
Fishguard AFC players, Sound of Youth ravers, Good Neighbours,
each and every one.
Community Forum, Town Team, County Council, Town Hall,
on ye come, come ye all.
Think about the’ tombstoneing’
before you make the fall.
Folks singers and poets, pancakes and pizzas,
pirates, playgrounds, snowmen and Santa.
Library, Theatr Gwaun, amongst the hubs.
Not quite so good, at getting into the pubs?
Yet, in our town of Transition
we are talking moderation,
not preaching prohibition,
thus no alcohol beer is the festival king
at the Seagulls Rugby Club.
Chamber of Commerce,
Last Invasion ideas – advance, and
if we are feeling none the worse
whisk me off to the Bay Hotel
for a Sunday afternoon Tea Dance.
Music, scones and jam, nothing silly
and the endless energy of Jockabilly.
Do we drink less, or more?
To find the correct answer, now that would be clever.
Let’s talk the talk, to find the cure.
But learn this we did, and learned it well.
There’s more strength in numbers
with people, the glue. Communities Together.
Marc Mordey (with ideas and comments – all much appreciated – shared by several Fishguard and Goodwick community champions) August 2017.
I recently rediscovered a booklet/pamphlet of poems collated for me by great friends at ROCC, a charity I worked for in the 1990’s. Having had a read through there are some here that I like – maybe some revisions to be made, and some, all, resonate with the past….but I fancied sharing a few of them. Hope that you will like them. And here’s to us all – past, present and future.
This poem is dedicated to the memory of a dear friend of my mum and I, the inimitable Ida. I was returning from Ireland, having spent a few days with them both, when this was written.
Rewarded by dolphins – written on my 38th birthday, on the ferry from Rosslaire to Fishguard.
And what does a birthday bring?
A child being sick, before we leave the harbour,
making my breakfast, somewhat uneasy!
A memory of Ireland,
old places, old faces,
ice cream and cold Guinness,
and a beach, thick with shells,
and drummed by racing horses –
beyond the house where Jacky stayed,
after they stole her Jack away.
And what does a birthday bring?
Cold hands in a strong wind,
and seabirds coasting the waves.
And I’ve a new, navy colour hat.
And five, yes five dolphins breaking out of the blue,
leaping, skimming, arching
and spelling out something new to come.
I am rewarded by dolphins.
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.