A poem for Remembrance Sunday

This is an older poem, but the sentiment, for me, remains the same. I hope it is worthy…

2015-flowers-family-friends-018Remembrance Sunday.

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?

 

But whichever,

It is true.

We must continue,

To remember you.


Veterans – a D Day tribute.

75 years before…….

Young men stumbling into the shell bound surf
Silver flying fish
Stunned
The boys, wading on and in
Falling, camouflaged no more
Booming, battling forth
Whistling bullets, the siren song of war
Deafening the ocean’s unerring roar.

Years ago
in Juneau
I watched ‘Saving Private Ryan’
With Pete Bibb
Self appointed ‘old timer’
Who left the movie house
“Cannot watch this, have to go”
he muttered
As the faux machine guns
Cinematically stuttered.

This D Day morning
The robes of priests, clustered
The coat tails of politicians
And hats of royalty
Fluttered
As the bemedalled veterans
Mustered
Attendant, attentive,
Old men now
Memories shared, perhaps, despairs
Some stood and stared
As the peace yearning prayers
Were uttered.

In the fields at home
The buttercups, the thistle heads
Were bowing in the stiffening wind
That blows across the Channel
Westward, ho!
The clouds scud seawards
A breath of memory passes
Back across to France
Where death gleaned a mighty harvest
No respect for rank, for officer classes.

The flags and flowers
Half masted
The crowds lost
Perchance
In collective trance
Subdued respect, even awe
For
Our veterans.

And own them all, we all surely must
Those alive
Others sand blasted,dust
Their debt, in full, is met
Our account
Ever owed
To remember
And not forget.

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Making it to 60

Greetings to all friends who are generous enough to follow this blog of mine. I appreciate it very much.

I (hopefully) make it to 60 today, 12th May 2019 (and a quick hats off to the late and great Ian Dury, with who I share a birth date and who gave me/us ‘Reasons to Be Cheerful’).

I have always loved George Carlin’s piece below, and it seemed like a good day to share it!

Meanwhile : Marc Mordey’s song….

60 years on, 

In the merry merry month of May,

Managed a little work

Enjoyed a great deal more of play

Been drenched in love and affection

Avoided most harms and misdirection

Laughed, cried, not much denied

A small measure of pain

Bucketfuls of joy

Tried to be a man

But better at being a boy!

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(photo : Helen Carey – the Queen of my dancing days – and I, in Aruba, February 2019)

George Carlin’s views on Ageing

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions. ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m four and a half!’ You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key.

You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m gonna be 16!’ You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16!

And then the greatest day of your life … . You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re Just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would! So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday! You get into your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30 ; you REACH bedtime.

And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; ‘I Was JUST 92.’

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. ‘I’m 100 and a half!’

May we all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

 

 

 


A red kite, but no osprey (dedicated to Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita…and the Dyfi Osprey Project)

2015 flowers, family, friends 052(PHOTOS by Marc Mordey – the Penrallt Eagle, created by the blacksmiths

at Dinas, Pembrokeshire)

 

(The music, like the bird itself

Soars

Above the Dyfi Estuary,

and over the mangroves

fumbling their way to the

Isle de Palétuviere

as the pirogues drift down glassy water

and a pelican dominates the jetty)

 

In Pembrokeshire,

a red kite

eddying the cloudless sky

imperious above our crop dusted fields

might spy

siskin, finch, wood pigeon

a thrush, jack hammering a snail

between two stone dogs

keeping their green mossed vigil

A young jackdaw

striking a cormorant pose

bewitched by the chimney

beating time on the ridge tiles

 

(It’s hot, this year)

 

There are swallows skimming

and Amazons at sail in the bay

muted blue below

 

(and the harp still swoons

and the kora

flying fingered fishing line

rocks a gentle rhythm

whilst I am at sea

in a pyjama striped hammock)

 

Blue tits, dipping for water

in the stone bird bath

that celebrates a golden grand-parented wedding

of 50 years ago

 

There are lilies blooming

amidst the dying embers of foxglove

and jasmine perfume teasing

romping in a green gaged balloon of bush

St John’s Wort in full throttle

And pink flushed, sunset resplendent

oliander, a whisper of Greece

and the road to Milapotamos

that we took

so long ago

 

(and the opsrey, Dinas, fledges

takes fleeting, freewheeling flight

and feels Wales on its wings

maybe anticipates

instinct, deep chested and hidden

Senegal sunshine

 fat flowing river

sea hawk’s delight)

 

The honeysuckle is draped

and honeyed

whilst the weather vane is stilled

the umbrella stifled with gaffer tape mends

no breeze

no sirocco

blowing the wind southerly

from Africa

 to lighten the atmosphere.

 

(but, no fear

for the music still plays,

swaying, stirring, evoking

 the sea,

Carningli

Dinas Head

Morfa Head

and the Land of Song beyond

still here

still here)

2015 flowers, family, friends 051

 

 

 


Teabags (in memoriam)

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Teabags 

 Late July 

Stuck on a train

Wishing myself elsewhere

I find myself

Caught unawares 

Remembering

Again

Emptying the cottage of

The final fragments of

Your long life

A teddy bear

In fact 

Two

An address book

Long yellowed and sweated 

Christmas cards 

An alarm clock

Parker pens

Photographs and poetry books

No longer gracing your shelves 

As we delved deeper into 

Long lost cupboards

Light bulbs

Defunct 

An iron, kitchen roll 

Tin foil, chicken soup

We left

Breathlessly sad

And

As my train journey drags

Here I am

My mind full of the image 

Of the small pottery jar

Stuffed with brown tipped

Teabags. 

 

Rosemary (Blossie) Beazley died on 4th May 2015.  This poem is for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


VALENTINED – for H B-C-M

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I’d like to tell you what’s on my mind

how you’ve been truly Valentined.

But, sad to say,

you are away,

and I am left behind….

 

So, instead,

line by line,

I’ll have a go,

though possibly ill defined

and

inadequate, I know,

to capture, collate,

yes, celebrate,

the essence of my Valentine…

 

You’re Greek sunshine,

butter cream, refined.

Gambian river trips

little egret sun flushed wingbeat dips

in African magical time.

Mimicking the whistling song

of the little owl,

spurning luxury Egyptian cotton

for the favoured

budget beach towel.

Coffee flavoured,

early morning bird watch savoured,

the gruffly monkeyed howl.

 

You’re the startling sweep of starling,

the hummingbird roosting,

the bullfinch soft and pink,

the wren, the goldfinch,

flamingo, osprey, parakeet,

the jacana too, quetzal sweet.

If you were a bird,

a thought, perhaps absurd,

I’d have to name you

Darling.

You’re still adored,

in Chilean fjord.

Blue whale spotting

semi globe trotting

sharing the longer view.

Fighter, then writer,

trader, waiter, painter too,

there’s no way (nor reason for)

of pigeon holing you.

You’re Newport Bay,

Parrog ice cream delicious days,

the shifting Welsh seashore.

You’re Costa Rica,

Argentina, Falklands and Uruguay.

Senegal, Canada, Utah, Montana,

Venice, Florence, France and Spain.

Oh my!

How can it be so?

You take me to

the sweet by and by,

again, again, again.

You’re laughter in the morning,

London show nights,

Parisian delights,

and ever, the afterglow.

 

You’re the best of every day

in each and every way…

 

I could go on,

but maybe best confined,

to render you sublime,

my constant wish

to remain entwined,

to cherish and adore,

my ever lovely

Valentine…

 

So please,

once more,

be mine.

 

 


Remembering David Bowie (he’s a Blackstar)

 

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

Even I

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

Blackstar indeed

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?