Category Archives: Poems of Circumstance

The Shadow Ship

The shadow ship slips silently
Across the deathly bay
And from her spars, amid the ropes
A tune was heard to play.

The tune piped out so mournfully
As night replaced the day
And from her depths the shadows came
To dance the night away.

The shadows bowed and whirled around
Their hazy coats pale grey
And tripped a hornpipe to the stars
On the thirty-first of May.

While mirthless was their laughter here
While fiendish was their play
My heart was filled with sadness deep
For the shadows of Botany Bay.

 

Unwrite Your Foolish Past, Perhaps

Perhaps I shall
See you once more unvexed
Unstained
Freed from the hurt of those
Smiling intoxicants
That, inter-laced with
Hateful drugs,
Have ravaged you.

You, if only now I could
Unhook you from
This Devil’s claws
Undraw your present state
Unwrite your foolish past
Wipe clean the pain
From your dear, wounded self
And those who weep for you.

Damn those untouchables
Whose harvest is
Our casual, vacant youth
Entering each viper’s lair
In bloated stupefaction
Insensible
Of their fateful stroke
Along the Devil’s mane.

Had I perhaps the blessed powers of Prospero
These maddened children saved; the Devils go.

 

Micha the Pier Jumper

A wet herring could have knocked us down
When laughingly the girl leapt
Into the decembered sea
From the pier’s bleak end
On Hogmanay.
How mad is that?

Into the swell from our ice cold pier
Micha stepped out
With her plunging and deep sinking
And her late, late surfacing
Gasping and electric
Shrieking cold, with winter water burning.

“Aye, my flesh is dancing with delight
For the sea took me straight
Cutting down through weed and eels
Down, spiralling nearly to limpety rocks
Then whooshing up to life’s grey light
Super-shocked, I shout for joy!”

 
 

The Crossing Hare

Fast drove we by car
When
Out stepped the hare
Long legged, dainty
Such liquid grace
With casual stride
It nimbly jumped
Verge and foliage
Then, like a prince
Was gone.

Around the bend
Ours and other
Murderous cars
In pincered rush
Missed the hare
And simply
Motored on.

Moments
Of innocence
And beauty
Made fast away
To run in majesty
Through a memory
Deeply
Not forgetting.

 

 

Incoming Gods Arrive: Is Jesus Here?

And here they come, moving quite overwhelmingly
Unhindered by creaky laws of science known to us
Out of a darkened sky to make our narrowed sight
Bleed at the fierce intensity of such pulsating light
Arriving as blazing flamingos slowing in a final rush
To stand, engulfing all around in a blind caress.

Useless stupefaction consumes those present here
And terror empties all from urgent thoughts to flee
Frozen watchers glimpse Earth’s new alien dawn
Our tomorrow, where alien tanks are on the lawn
Presuming annihilation, unless the living Christ is
Among these inward gods of travel, gods of space.

We plead to Heaven for Jesus, accumulating centuries
Of Angels now advancing, redrawing space and time.

 

 

[Not too long ago we were told that Earth was probably the only inhabited planet in the Universe.
Since then our understanding has broadened and deepened, with thousands of planets in the habitable zones of solar systems within the Milky Way having similar possibilities of life. As NASA and others have so much more of the Universe to investigate, we’ll very possibly be thinking of numbers on a hugely greater scale in the coming years.
Just as we have been reaching out into space for some time, isn’t it likely that other planets are doing the same? The intense thought struck me as to where that left our concept of God, Jesus and Heaven. Would we be rescued from an alien invasion? Or left to our own sinful devices and our newly altered destiny? Or perhaps we share our Lord and Jesus in our Heaven with all the other planets?]

Unquiet the Shattered Grave of 1791

I just missed treading on his gravestone
At least, on the corner I saw
Quite unattached the fragment’s alone
Not so far from the Cathedral door.

Clerics laid paths with these headstones
Drenched once with family tears
Now Tom’s not mourned by his loved ones
Gone themselves these two hundred years.

Whatever the whys and the wherefores
Tom’s history lies sadly shattered
His grave soul never claps in applause
Vandals triumphant when it mattered.

Silent lie the spirits of those beneath their stones content
Not they whose graves lie broken, snarling for argument.

 
 

The Angel Comes

Quick the armoured Angel comes, in majesty
Quite blazing up the shivering room
With a blinding incandescence
Dancing round His searing, wondrous form.

In trepidation peering, a heart so riven
My scalded, mortal eyes search His
And, seeking prophesies, I stand
Consumed in the Angel’s grace.

His feathered mail pulsing liquid gold
His wings, now furled, alive in brilliance
As chastening, illuminating my inner self
The Angel clarifies a newly burnished soul.

He reaches out to me, beckoning
Burning proud sins, I’m reckoning.

 

The Hospital Waiting Room

It’s here that life and death perhaps, weigh upon us, strangely still
So silently the twelve souls tick and measure snail-paced time
Until two more arrive to break the heartbeat of the ever waiting room
And so another joins and jolts us with her muted, half-heard voice
Not vital matters of the State but just an irksome quaver overheard.

Another, close by me, clicks her polished nails upon her shiny chair
In clicketty beat known only to her inner orchestra now grandly playing
Until she’s called, leaving the empty chair recovering from her form
Resuming life as a patient chair desiring to soothe, once more, another
As the twilight of time itself clicks on another notch with we who wait.

 

Beautiful Devil

That beautiful face
Flawless
Sweet yet out of grace
Lawless.

A mind deformed
Empty of regret.
Evil unreformed
The Devil truly met.

Flashing fury
Mayhem bloody.
The nurse just gory
Another study.

So this is He
The Devil disguised.
The victim’s plea
Unrecognised.

 

Mischance and Beautiful Devil are a pair of poems describing the same event.   They relate to a fine looking young man murdering a nurse, a complete stranger, who was standing at a bus stop in the Hospital car park on her way home. A photograph of the assailant accompanied the newspaper story and the combination of the murderer’s physical beauty and his evil struck me forcibly.  His looks were angelic yet his actions were devilish. Her last experience of life was of being stabbed to death after she had completed her shift in which she was an angel of mercy.   What causes one human being to wreak such murderous destiny on another?

 

Mischance

What mischance, what mis-wiring of a human mind can bring
Such devastation, such vengeful passion on another’s head?
The Devil cloaked in beauty that could make the angels sing
Wreaked terror unprovoked, and cast the bird of evil on the wing.

 

(Mischance and Beautiful Devil are a pair of poems describing the same event.  They relate to a fine looking young man murdering a nurse, a complete stranger, who was standing at a bus stop in the Hospital car park on her way home. A photograph of the assailant accompanied the newspaper story and the combination of the murderer’s physical beauty and his evil struck me forcibly.  His looks were angelic yet his actions were devilish. Her last experience of life was of being stabbed to death after she had completed her shift in which she was an angel of mercy.   What causes one human being to wreak such murderous destiny on another?)

 

 

Well, Beggar Me!

I turned aside a beggar at our Pisa taxi rank
But later thought my repelling horror stank
As he tutted, swore and shuffled slow away
One chance encounter not to make our day.

I shuddered that he saw me and approached
Targeted when I was otherwise engrossed
Challenged as arbiter of this beggar’s fate
I chose to lordly point him to another gate.

Poor sod, who would have chosen Hell?
Wherein only tortured souls shall dwell
Where cents and hopes jockey emptiness
While his less is more but my more is less.

He was not the only beggar I so skilful skirt
Others too I skipped aside to miss their hurt
Skipped onto the other, more pleasant, side
And played the Levite to assuage my pride.

Well, arguments fly in to champion my part
While others note and scorn my frozen heart
Where lies an answer, find me one just reason
Perhaps we’ll travel soon, quite out of season.