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.


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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Looking for a great read? Hurry along to http://helencareybooks.co.uk 

 

 


Always Rosemary

The 21st September is World Alzheimer’s Day. This poem, written five years ago, is dedicated to my mother in law, Rosemary, who lived alongside of Alzheimer’s for a number of years.

Sleeping now.

May your blanket be woven of spring time threads,

and flamespun from the azalea outside your window,

wild garlic fattening the woodland paths,

your fields, bested by bluebells,

Welsh oak, wild cherry, the rising sound

of saplings, keening in the breeze.

The crushed camelia heads that cushion the verge

below the trees

that you loved to see

as we were Fishguard, ferry bound.

Red petals gracing too, the secret garden,

where, a few snatched weeks ago,

we picked for you

Derek’s daffodils,

lingering strong and plump,

golden on your windowsill.

Sea thrift and campion binding the two Heads,

Dinas and Morfa dipping Westwards,

unwittingly majestic and yet, now, forlorn.

No longer held in your view.

Yet you loved to look out over these landmarks,

contemplating, ruminating,

reflecting perhaps,

on kinder, gentler days,

as you stared across the Bay

sometime sea shimmered,

at others, murk misted

 and

“Can’t see Dinas Head’, you’d say.

But cliffs and headlands prevail,

rock steady,

as you well knew,

through older age and illness,

stoically surviving,

cup of tea reviving,

discomfort, trauma,

bravely borne.

Ages slipped by, unwittingly,

as such they do,

and gradually,

and I am sure,

unwillingly

you gathered your very self in,

breathed deep,

withdrew.

Harder to distinguish then

your hopes, your fears,

the altered state

the change of mind.

Some things are, it seems,

beyond the ken

of us, the ones to remain behind.

Left, bereft,

to nurse your memory,

there must be laughter,

there will be tears.

But for all that changed,

across these widowed years,

you remained

a smile,

a crossword clue determined

a flash of will.

And of this I am,

ever certain,

always Rosemary,

somewhere,

it might seem to be

adrift,

yet fixed,

blossoming still.

Resting now,

sure enough and

ready to greet us

from

behind the ethereal, floating curtain.


Heroes

Hats off to the unsung heroes

Consistently saving our lives

The cleaners

Shelf stackers

Checkout people

Delivery drivers

The post workers

Rubbish collectors

Street sweepers

Waiters

Baristas

Checkout workers

Carers

Kitchen porters

Washers up

Laundry staff

Hairdressers

Reception people

The list goes on…

Unheralded

Underpaid

Undervalued

Passing by without much sound

But now we know

They’re the ones

Who really make the world go round


Friendships and community

The Borrowed Boy. I’m really looking forward to reading this new novel by my friend and colleague, Deborah . And I’m intrigued to see how she will have woven some of our community based work into her story. Exciting! Deborah can be found here on WordPress, search for Abra K Deborah.


Sweet peas – for HC.

An inch of rain fell overnight.

And the windows, roof tiles

Chattered, clattered

In the fore gathered breeze.

On this first summer morning

You are sleeping.

The day stealthily dawning.

I creep downstairs.

On the table there are sweet peas

Their scent stains the room

Dispelling the gloom.

Two decades before

The olive trees

 Silver whistled in the Kythera air.

Dancing and sighing

Incurious mime.

Murmuring, whispering, sweeping the table tops

At Filios Taverna.

Katerina and Nikos were there,

Aiding and abetting our blossom time.  

The wind had shadow wrapped the Belvedere

In the fortnight before.

We ate fish and peas, cheese pie,

 Bought Turkish Delight

In Leavadi.

Drove away from Kapsali

Late one night.

Cut the headlights

Looking out over  the Bay

Stargazed

The Plough

North Star

The Milky Way

And somewhere, off stage

An owl screeched

Scimitar sweeping the purple shrouded sky

As we sat and watched galaxies go by.

Now I make your morning tea.

We let the day slowly unfold.

As the days pass, so too the years,

No longer so young,

but, not yet so old.  

For time has been kind

With us in mind.

Two long decades since we met.

So much to remember.

We’ve made a collage

Woven a tapestry

Painted a picture

Told ourselves a story

Rich, vibrant, alive

A collective memory.

Nothing, no nothing

That I’d choose to forget.

And now?

All I can say for sure.

All that I know.

Is that Kythera gifted me

My heart’s desire

Some twenty years ago.


A Woodland garden – by my guest poet, Richard Wheeler.

The link below will take you to a film (some 15 minutes or so in length) made by Gwyn Cole. The filming is delightful, and captures the mood of the garden, and of the Nevern estuary at Newport very atmospherically. And Richard’s words are evocative, lyrical and written with the lightest of touches.

This really is a treat’ If you like poems, gardens, and/or Pembrokeshire – feast your eyes.

My thanks to Richard and to Gwyn for sharing their creation.

https://www.stillriverfilms.com/woodlandgarden/


Veterans

In 1999 I made a trip to Alaska, spending time there with my mum, June, and our great friend Peter Bibb, sadly gone now, but who was a veteran of the D Day landings.

This poem was written for the 70th anniversary.

Today, in 2020, those remaining veterans are unable to gather as they normally would. This is for them, the living and the dead, and for those they loved and who loved them back.

Veterans

70 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.

Marc Mordey 6/6/14


Gentleman Jim

This is a poem for a good friend and erstwhile colleague, Jim MacDonald, who died recently. It was written on the day of his funeral, a startlingly beautiful May day.

Jim was a huge fan of Southampton FC, and he and I and a bunch of friends went, over the course of several years, to see various stages of Le Tour de France.

The poem is for Jim, for his children, Elizabeth and Daniel, the family and all his friends…, in particular, for ‘the gentlemen of Le Tour’ and other friends from ROCC days.

The May tree is snow white, pink flushed, startling

the sycamore, bobby dazzling in a sapphire stained, swallow diving sky.

As we await your presence,

For that one last trip

 I take the sun, the heat

Divine  

(fierce today, aslip over this bittersweet spring of ours

with it’s malevolent harvest darkening the way )

Daydreaming  of French roadside cafes,

Belgian bars,

Saddlebags stuffed with cheese, bread and wine.

One less now

to effortlessly charm the women in the boulangerie,

make short work of a cold beer

To sip strong coffee elegantly.

You were kindness, nonchalance,

Good humoured grace

As the Peliton flashed by,

The sibilant hiss of tyres on hot baked asphalt

A glimpse of Indurain’s tour bus.

Never one to make much fuss.

The celebrant noted that

“memories and stories

Don’t just stop…

You are but a breath away”

Yes, even as

The Saints go marching in.

The strange thing

About death

The world continues to spin

Whilst we, the grieving

Rest

Suspended

Normality, temporarily

Upended. 

Sad to say, for

“The gentlemen of Le Tour”

One set of wheels

Turn no more.

But yes,

From Orkney to Pompey

Exultant memories prevail

The road still rises

The sunset pale.

Likewise

Across French fields and roads,

The hill climbs will still be there

The stages, time trials,

Triumph

Good companion to

Despair.

Le Tour is our collective

Treasure house of joy.

Remembering him

Our gentleman Jim.

20/05/2020.