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.
75 years before…….
Young men stumbling into the shell bound surf
Silver flying fish
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.
I watched ‘Saving Private Ryan’
With Pete Bibb
Self appointed ‘old timer’
Who left the movie house
“Cannot watch this, have to go”
As the faux machine guns
This D Day morning
The robes of priests, clustered
The coat tails of politicians
And hats of royalty
As the bemedalled veterans
Old men now
Memories shared, perhaps, despairs
Some stood and stared
As the peace yearning prayers
In the fields at home
The buttercups, the thistle heads
Were bowing in the stiffening wind
That blows across the Channel
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
The crowds lost
In collective trance
Subdued respect, even awe
And own them all, we all surely must
Others sand blasted,dust
Their debt, in full, is met
And not forget.
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!
(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!!
(PHOTOS by Marc Mordey – the Penrallt Eagle, created by the blacksmiths
at Dinas, Pembrokeshire)
(The music, like the bird itself
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)
a red kite
eddying the cloudless sky
imperious above our crop dusted fields
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
instinct, deep chested and hidden
fat flowing river
sea hawk’s delight)
The honeysuckle is draped
whilst the weather vane is stilled
the umbrella stifled with gaffer tape mends
blowing the wind southerly
to lighten the atmosphere.
(but, no fear
for the music still plays,
swaying, stirring, evoking
and the Land of Song beyond
Stuck on a train
Wishing myself elsewhere
I find myself
Emptying the cottage of
The final fragments of
Your long life
A teddy bear
An address book
Long yellowed and sweated
An alarm clock
Photographs and poetry books
No longer gracing your shelves
As we delved deeper into
Long lost cupboards
An iron, kitchen roll
Tin foil, chicken soup
As my train journey drags
Here I am
My mind full of the image
Of the small pottery jar
Stuffed with brown tipped
Rosemary (Blossie) Beazley died on 4th May 2015. This poem is for her.
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….
line by line,
I’ll have a go,
though possibly ill defined
inadequate, I know,
to capture, collate,
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.
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
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.
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,
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
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?