Piscator non solum Piscatur
"There is more to fishing, than catching fish!"‘
Stop carping on about it! (Or Toby's first fish)
1. Bait your own hook.
2..Clean your own fish.
3.Tell your own lies.
4. Bring your own beer.
"Did well, didn't I, dad?"
“Sat very still, didn't I, dad?"
“Like you told me, didn't I, dad?"
"How long was it?"
"That's a long time, isn’t it, dad?"
"It was a pretty fish, wasn't it, dad?"
"Browny-gold, with them big things on its sides,
What were they called again? Scales, that's it,"
"They looked like mushrooms, didn’t they, dad?"
"What was the fish called again, dad?"
"Mirror carp, that's it!"
"Is that why I could see my whole face in it in its sides, dad?"
“How long is it, that you have been here now, dad?"
“And the nights, of course,"
"Did you get very wet when it rained all day, and night Wednesday, dad?"
"Just asking, dad, and cos I heard Mum telling Mary next door,
that the rain came in, all under the tent floor, and next time, you said, you'll remember to pack the f***ing groundsheet."
"Sorry, dad, is that one of them naughty words I mustn't say?"
"How many, what was it, pounds, did my fish weigh, and did you say?"
"Five and a bit,"
"Just like my age, eh, dad?"
"The fish you caught was very pretty too, wasn't it, dad?"
"What was it called again?"
"A roach, that's it!"
“And how many, what was it you called them, ounces, was it, five or six?"
"Five and how many ounces are there in a pound then, dad?"
"Sixteen, so there are quite a lot of ounces in my fish then.dad?"
"Bet you're very hungry, aren't you, dad?"
"Why did I ask? I thought you told Mum that you hadn't had a bite, all the time you've been here, until we came along. But I thought she brought you up tea and sandwiches every day. Didn't you like them, then?"
"Bet Granddad will be surprised when I tell him about my fish, because he reckons that the lastick, in the top of this, wot's it called, telescopic whip, he give me, only has a breaking strain of one pound two ounces, whatever that means."
“Oh, it's called E-lastic, is it, dad?"
"I've just told Mum what I want for Christmas, dad. I said I want all the stuff like what you've got. Them two rods with all the bells and whistle things, which are supposed to tell you when you've got a bite. A tent and one of them beds, a stove for making the tea and cooking breakfasts on, and one of them long, long poles like you've got, so that I can fish nearly on the other side from where I'm sitting, like you do. But Mum says it would be a waste of money, as you've already spent over three thousand pounds on your stuff, and you hardly catch anything. And I've done better on my first attempt at fishing; with the old whip that granddad gave me, anyway."
“Bet there's a lot of ounces in over three thousand pounds, eh, dad?"
'Found in some forgotten papers'
Tomorrow I’ll be walking
Along those winding country back roads,
Sweating all the while, as the sun comes shining through
And when the people ask me where I’ve been hiding
I’ll say I stopped and wrote this one just for you.
Excerpt from 'Bag Man' - (The Drug Dealer Next Door)
It started out,
For 'recreational' use only.
Just a 'spliff',
Now and then.
All his 'friends' did it;
So why shouldn't He?
No harm in that, surely.
Mainly at the weekends,
Then the occasional Tuesday.
Or was it also on a Monday?
Or even Wednesday and Thursday.
It got so that I couldn't remember.
But then again, neither could he!
*From 'Bass' - one of the 'Beaten on Different Drums' - Trilogy Collection*
Lamb - Suddenly, At Home
Now was it the twentieth,
Or the twenty-first of November?
(Do you know, I really can't remember)
Late of this parish.
Aged forty one,
Dad of three.
(Father of none!)
All floral tributes,
To be sent to the undertakers,
W.E.Bodgitt and Sons.
(Motto:- Count on us to let you down, We will be the last ones!)
Ba-ba, to his friends,
Of which he had few.
He will be
Very sorely missed
By the landlord
Of the Vincent pub,
Where he got often
He was one of twins,
With his older brother,
Lawrence, or Larry.
Who got quite sloshed
At Barry's wedding.
He is alive,
And now lives quietly in Reading.
He has no further role
In this tale.
Except to say,
At the funeral,
He didn't half wail!
Now as it 'appens,
And it comes to pass,
Barry, was what is known,
As a common or garden 'grass'.
Some, not as charitable as me,
Said he often took
The proverbial pee.
Out of friends and associates.
Sometimes even his own family.
Others, as bold as brass,
Just rudely said;
"He was a f***in' arse!"
Was found in bed.
Strangely next to a horse's head.
Wearing a pair of concrete shoes,
And riddled with lead.
He had a battered pulp,
That I believe,
Once served as a head.
A fish protruding,
From where a tongue
Had once been.
The doctor pronounced
It was the worst case of suicide,
That he had ever seen!
The TV and Press,
The Sun's photographer,
By a dog, he was chased.
And when people read
The follow-up story,
Some of the details
Were considered quite gory!
On being interviewed,
Lucy, his grieving wife,
"My Barry was cut down,
In the prime of his life!"
The interviewer responded
In a voice, of quite a different class,
"But isn't that what normally happens,
To the 'Grass'?"
Oh Web Wall, It is a wonder that you do not crash .....
Labouring as you do, under the weight of so much Trash!
Love is ....
Love is .... crying needlessly over the death of an onion,
Sliced into little bits, by the demon with the sabre.
Love is ... mindlessly poking out the eyes of a new potato,
And leaving it blind to its fate, of being boiled alive in scalding fat.
Love is .... mercilessly pounding the carcass of a long-dead ox,
Till the blood runs like rivulets from the fountain-head.
Love is .... what I see in her eyes every morning.
‘There is no substitute for cubes’
(There) can be no mistaking
The deep-throat-ed roar
Of a big V-twin. (engine)
The steady staticco of oversized pistons
Pumping their power
Through the pipes of short-cut silencers.
Candy-flossed, cotton-wool clouds
So high in the sky
That they seem still.
And below, will-o-the-wisp fuel trails,
Suspended in animation.
Formed by planes loaded with passengers.
Desperately trying to get their lift
Into the azure blue stratosphere.
People that came to the island as Palefaces.
And are returning home Red Indians.
"Windy, ain't it?
Watching the cockerel weather-vane
Desperately trying to set
A steady South-Westerly.
But the blusters of the erratic and errant wind,
Force it to whirl wildly,
Until it finally settles again.
Listening to the wind of my soul,
Taking me where it wants to go.
Cuckoo out of the nest?
The ‘lost’ fledgling, bleating forlornly.
Crying for its parents with that solitary single note.
Who are themselves calling ‘Where are you?’ constantly.
And still the wind keeps blowing.
"Turned out nice again,eh?"
Sun, beating down, relentless in its task
Of heating the scorched earth and withering flora.
Salamanders fleeting fast,
Seeking shade and shelter from the sun.
And the ever watchful gaze of predators.
In both aquiline and human forms.
"Cod 'n' four-pennyworth, please .."
‘The Black Horse’ – the only ‘English’ Chippy on the island.
A proud boast, ‘Today’s fish for sale, are cooking in the fryer.
Tomorrow’s, are still swimming in the sea.’
“Daddy, Show me the outline of a short story, before I go to sleep”
Sarah, from the Sweetshop, and I share a secret. She is into my dad. (And he’s well into her)
She doesn’t know that I know this. She doesn’t even know who I am. We are new to the village.
But I overheard her telling her friend the other week that she thought my dad was ‘hot’, and that she ‘wouldn’t mind a piece of that action’
Still continually counting calories,
Measuring blood sugar levels
Making sure (that) feet don’t fester.
Seeing little, hearing all.
Walking with (her) white stick
Up and down (the) stairs,
And all over uneven ground.
Squirreling away food,
In mouse-sized mouthfuls.
At five am this morning,
My ears were assailed
By the squawking of our feathered friends
Sitting outside, chortling their foreign version
Of the dawn chorus
From nine am daily,
The buses run into the city,
Ever hour, on the hour.
Till the last bus leaves here
At eleven at night.
Questions, forever questions ...
“What are you reading?”
Written by Natasha Head.
“Is it good?”
Yet another one asked.
“Yes,” I sobbingly replied.
“My cheeks are still wet
From the many tears that I cried.”
Amazon wants a review.
But I’ll probably put it on Twitter.
For me, the audience is bigger.
El Pirita – the pirate
El Gaucho – the cowboy
Cody Jarrel awoke that morning, stinking of the stale sweat that had soaked his clothes throughout the night before.
When Cody entered the bar, the first thing to hit him was the overwhelming stench of tobacco smoke and the dregs of old beer. The second was the action of Cajun's right fist.
'Home thoughts from abroad'
Pink-green ‘lavender’ trees, knarled trunks,
Sculpted by the wind, morning till night.
Dried-out by the burning sun daily bearing down.
Sittin’ here watchin’ the gulls,
Gliding up and down, riding the thermal breeze.
A solitary Totem-pole tree stands erect in the far, far distance.
Towering above all in its loneliness and majestic might.
Quote – ‘Talking Heads – Now they can tell some tall stories’
‘E ‘ad the same trouble two thousand years ago, E’ ‘ad to turf ‘em out of the Temple then, too ..
The French stick,
Has gone hard.
The sty in my eye
Is yet again,
Giving me pain.
Outside, the sun is shining brightly;
But deep in my heart,
It's rainin' again.
We're out walkin',
He's doin' the talkin'.
Sayin' all the things,
We never took the time
To do before.
'Beaten on Different Drums'
Excerpts from 'Kettle' -
(Pt I of the trilogy of works)
A Bouquet Of Roses
A bouquet of roses,
On barb-less thorn-ed
Long stemmed branches.
What do you think?
When you look at me?
Does the fire of passion light up your face?
Do you think our love will last?
Or die forever, without a trace?
Who knows how long our love will last?
A week, a month or even a year?
But one thing I know my darling,
I'll love you forever, my dear.
You've stolen my heart,
Imprisoned my mind;
Which the chains of your love,
Does now tightly bind.
Every kiss that once was mine,
Belongs now to just you.
For when you're not near,
I am lonely and blue.
My heart misses beats with its fear;
I'll always love you,
And I know that is true.
I can but hope that you'll always love me too.
It seems that most of my time,
Is now spent remembering;
Despair and frustrations of living.
It doesn't seem joyful in February,
In the teeming rain;
Standing in a cold and desolate house.
Deserted by all with any sense.
But I am still here.
So I shall burn the place down,
With my matches.
And when they ask me, "Why?"
I shall say," To keep warm!"
I asked you
What was it
Out of life.
Perchance to dream,
With the innocence of a child.
Tomorrow, never coming;
Only the new day dawning.
New promises to fulfil,
Exciting to the mind.
Blessed are they that see the world,
With the eyes of a child.
Watching the stream flow,
Just lying here.
I cannot hear.
I cannot bear.
I dare not think.
I cannot pronounce.
Walking through doors,
That will not open.
Smashing through windows,
That will not be broken.
I was there ......
A bullet in the wrong place,
At the right time;
Can change the world forever.
I was in the single bullet
Fired from a madman's gun.
That killed Archduke Ferdinand,
And caused World War One.
I was down there in Dallas,
Back in nineteen sixty-three;
'Twas I, who murdered the president,
Caused Jack Ruby to kill Lee.
Now Martin was a King,
In more ways than one,
He raised his people by saying,
" Look what to us, they have done"
But some white folks,
Didn't like it;
So he became the victim,
Of yet another cheap gun.
I was in the American theatre,
Back in the eighteen sixties too,
When yet another hombre thought
That he had a mission to do;
Or I'm guessing that was the thinking,
Of the guy who shot Abe Lincoln.
I first wrote this poem,
Back in seventy nine.
Since then, many others,
Have had their lives,
Lay on the line.
In eighty, Chapman,
Read 'Catcher in the Rye',
Fate then decreed,
It was John Lennon's
Turn to die.
They shot Ronald Reagan, thrice,
But he survived.
In fact, on Nancy and Maggie's admiration,
He positively thrived.
Saddam Hussein's big gun threat
Made things quite sore,
For the whole Western world,
During the bloody Gulf War.
Arafat and the PLO,
Sat down with the Jews.
Then a stupid student,
Went and made world news.
Now war in the Middle East,
Raises its ugly head;
Are they really so sure,
Perez is better off dead?
Salamin Rushdie hides,
So the bullets won't reach.
To complete the madness,
Muslims did teach.
A bullet is just a missile
Of many surprises;
It can come in all of many
Different shapes and sizes;
Some, can even hurt those
With Kevlar vests on.
If you don't believe me,
Just ask Simon Weston.
If about Hamilton, to the Scouts,
They didn't complain;
Maybe we would have been spared,
The misery that became Dunblane.
Any damn weapon
Can take a life,
Be it Exocet missile,
Or even combat knife;
The result is the same,
Another life uselessly lost;
As headmaster Peter Lawrence's wife
Poor wife found to her cost.
Saddam's antics and efforts
Caused terrible furore;
Back in that bloody Gulf War.
Talking of that time,
Many soldiers got sick,
And even now,
Are aging too quick.
By the efforts of what then,
Was described by the doctors
As just a 'little prick'.
Talking of Kevlar,
And jackets made for flak;
They still only protect
The front, sides and back.
And as every good gunman knows,
Be they assassin, terrorist,
Or even Irish Provo's.
A clear shot to the head,
Will leave them dead.
And if you think
That it really needs
An awful lot more confirmation;
I suggest you go ask,
The whole world's
Life at Eleven
There's stamping on the stairs.
Shouting fills the air.
Slamming of heavy doors.
Pounding feet on wooden floors.
Jimmy's wailing; Sharnie's screaming.
Craig is crying.
And it's not yet seven,
But already Rob,
Is shouting at Kevin.
Alisa, on the others,
Her anger does wreak;
As she has done,
All throughout the week.
Such is life at number eleven.
We are but the poor people,
Who live next door;
But oh, how I wish,
We lived at number four!
I just don't believe,
That I will ever possibly see;
Anything nearly as beautiful,
As that old wizen willow tree.
Wading, gracefully in the water.
I didn't go to bed with you,
Because I had to.
I didn't go to bed with you,
Because I was hard up.
I didn't go to bed with you,
Because I didn't want to.
So why didn't I go to bed with you, then?
They say nothing in this world is new,
It's all been done before.
So if I rewrote 'Paradise Lost',
And claimed it as mine;
Milton couldn't complain, could he?
He probably lifted it from someone else anyway.
To Ebony in leather.
Enshrouded in mystery.
Two tone brown,
Being harmonious with Black.
Just looking good.
And helping the day get by.
China's changing, so they say;
The West wants some of the action.
Harrier jump-jets, petrochemical plants.
Even washing machines and colour televisions.
(Made in Japan)
On entering the Kitchen 12.4.79
They have drunk all my patience,
And swallowed my virtues.
In one hasty draught.
The well of emotions that was me,
Is now dry.
And I am not certain,
That in their bestiality;
They have not tapped my spring of fortitude,
Even at its very source.
E ku abo,
In the Gaelic, it's Failte.
Whist the Germans find Willkommen,
Works for them.
Hoannghena will do it in Vietnam.
The Welsh will whisper Croeso,
Leaving the Italians to sing Benvenuti.
The Spanish say Bienvenidos,
Allowing the French to croak Bienvenue.
But all the world over,
It means but one thing;
Cabbage 'n' carrots,
Tea 'n' taters,
Bread 'n' butter.
Peas 'n' pies,
Meat 'n' milk,
Cheese 'n' crackers.
Washing up liquid.
Soap 'n' shampoo,
Bacon 'n' biscuits.
Celery 'n' cucumber,
Lettuce 'n' tomatoes.
Salt 'n' pepper,
Oxo's 'n' onions.
In the Doldrums (Again)
In the doldrums,
Sorting out the sandwiches
For Dawn's dinner.
Ham 'n' cheese,
On Weight watchers' Danish bread.
Taking more tablets,
Of foxglove flowers,
In order to control my condition.
Not a Poem for the Public
The passing of the Limburger Log!
Constipation, caused by the potency,
Of pain-killing pills.
The final ecstasy of passing,
The Limburger Log!
The pain of previous straining,
All seemingly to no avail.
Finally rescinded by a fearsome wail.
Running on Empty II
Sometimes in hidin'
Travellin' on down
This long, heavy road.
Desperately tryin' to find ways
Of gettin' my mind, outta overload.
Why is you .....?
I's gots'a question,
Youse gotta answer me,
If youse can;
Why is you,
Such a low down man?
I wants somebody to explains me.
I needs someone to tells me right.
That’s when I is sat home here, awaiting:
Why is it, youse stay out all nite?
Where is it?
I wanna' know.
Lost in transit, I bet!
Shoulda' taken it out of its box,
To find us, I reckon.
Very small in the scheme of Things
You have opened up,
The healing wound, again.
And now you're making me feel,
Weaker and weaker.
We have hardly said hello,
Then you find that you have to go.
I wonder if I will ever get to figure
In your life.
The story so far ...
And empty corridors.
Giving time for reflection,
In the mirror of life.
And transitional objects,
Giving rise to transference
Of a counter kind.
Psychotherapy – Or what’s in a name?
An artist, a painter of pictures,
Portrayed in the gallery of time.
A poet, a writer of rhyme.
A puppeteer, pulling at the strings of people,
Acting out in the theatre of life.
A father, a parental patrician.
A sculptor, a pummeller of plasticine and of putty,
Carving creations in wood and clay.
A friend, a pal to many.
A lover, a practioner in passion.
A worker, who is psychotic about Play.
A Man, a person who is not perfect.
Me, after all, at the end of the day!
And all this for what Andy Warhol called 'fifteen minutes of fame!'
It's all in your mind,
Or so they said.
There are no such things
As 'Reds under the Bed!'
Are you really sure?
As there's a man there now
Speaking in a language
That I've never heard before!
Our destiny will be decided
Not by the power of the polling booth
Or even the ballot box
It will probably be decided by Apathy
The British way.
If we vote to stay
Will things still be the same?
And if we vote to leave
And it all goes wrong
Will we only have ourselves to blame?
If it’s THIS dark in here,
It must be THAT early out there.
And I should not yet be awake.
But the wind awoke me with its whining.
Pool filled with greenery
Blown by the wailing wind
Having no defence against
Such onslaught of furious attack.
Trees coming down,
Broken in two by the very force
Their mother wearing a bag,
Salvaged from a nearby bin.
All of them, soaked to the skin.
After travelling but a hundred yards.
Reflections on a Sad Sunday
Friends and Families,
Names and numbers,
Numbers and names.
Mere words to the Media,
Distress and despair,
To those left behind.
Recalling events that erupted
Into death and destruction.
Nine Eleven, The Twin Towers. New York
Seven Seven, The Underground. London
One Seven, Charlie Hebdo.Paris
Eleven Thirteen, A Rock concert. Paris
Seven Fifteen, An Esplanade, Nice.
The toll still mounts.
The Making of Memorabilia
It was billed as the ‘Stevenage Showdown’
A Tournament. A ‘Knight’ of Darts.
Some of the best ‘Archers’ in the World
Were assembled there.
One the Victor, one the defeated,
Posing for a photo with two loyal fans,
Father and son.
It was duly framed and signed
By them both.
The victor in this case;
Went on to win the tournament.
What price that photo now?
Both as memorabilia
And family heirloom.
'From 'Aces & Eights - Dead Man's Hand'
Questions, questions, ... always questions!
"They say you can get a Galahad GHD84 on the Dark Web.
No questions asked.
Is that true?.."
Mae heart isa in the Highlands,
Mae heart is nay here.
Mae heart is in the Highlands
A'chasin' the deer.
Over mountains, moors,
And ach down through vale;
A'chasin' mae dreams ta nay avail!...
Butterflies are so beautiful,
But the caterpillars and pupae,
Are not always as pretty.
But are necessary for the end product.
My Last Valentine
It was on ordinary day
You were off to the book store
Did I need anything?
Buttermilk and eggs.
"I'm taking dogs to groomers."
"See you in a bit Dear."
A soft kiss
Away you went
And came back home.
I picked up the dogs,
Got back and you died.
In the exact spot I now sit.
Very late that night
In my grieving-
I went to your dresser
(I still don't know why)
And found carefully hidden
Between two pairs of jeans
A beautiful lace trimmed
Red heart box of chocolates.
I found the receipt in your wallet
Your final purchase on earth
My last Valentine................
*This isn't one mine, but that of my dear friend and fellow scribe, Marilyn Bledsoe.
It is going to be featured in her forthcoming collection ' Long Odds' which is due to be published later this year. *
Check out her website : http://www.marilynofcourse.tumblr.com
Excerpts from 'OGHAM - Linear Lines'
To egg on.
I have a secret.
I am the last of my race.
We lived in peace.
For eons of millennia.
Even before the formation
Of the First Order of Jedi Knights.
Then the Emperor ordered the testing
Of the Death Star.
The rest is history.
Make of it,
What you will.
Three Word Poem.
Ironic and Sardonic.
It started as
The Title Line.
Or was it
The first line?
That's the Conundrum.
Nine word poem.
Ironic and sardonic.
That's the conundrum.
Make of it,
What you will.
Enter the Dragon. Pt II
We were going to the Big Tournament.
A fellow poet, travelling on the same train, asked;
"What's your stioyle?"
I answered, "My style, is no style."
"Show me some!", said he.
So I did.
He wasn't impressed either.
*This is a poem made up of a series of 'tweets' first published on Twitter. I put them together and have called it 'Birdsong' in memory of the fact! (Ta sa i is supposedly Japanese for Dusti)
Ta sa i, is,
In a reflective mood today,
Contemplating his navel.
Unavailable for comment,
Standing in a week of Wednesdays.
In the vampire's lair, looking for the Blood Count.
Staring down the barrel of a madman's loaded gun,
Perspiring profusely in the mid-day sun.
Painting the town a different hue,
Hangin' out with his homies, as he has nothing better to do.
Just singing a sweet song on a searing hot Sunday.
Not eating tagliatelle pasta, laced with garlic buttered bread.
Making a meal using pieces of chopped up chicken instead.
Having his permanent pacemaker fitted today,
Feeling very much like running away;
With a band of gypsies that he calls friends.
Travelling on a journey that never really ends.
Away for the day,
Jist jammin' in the joint.
Spending the next sixty days in a network in ole' New Orleans;
Blowin' the blues on his gobiron.
Sampling Cajun cooking and eating Creole cuisine.
Bummin' a ride in a beat-up beach buggy.
Seeking the sun, the sand, the sea and the surf.
Wearing his waistcoat with the bottom button but one, undone.
Looking at his watch-chain, with the compass on the square, high over the eye.
Waving with his wrong hand, being very aware of fallen masonry.
Having his last Wednesday workout at the cardiac club.
Working on his Word wizardry.
Washing his wound wisely, to keep it clean.
Writing probably positively the very last line.
*Supporting New Talent *
It's going to be the policy of the Triple M, (Maverick Mustang Manuscripts) as an independent publisher to actively support and promote new writers & poets.
To that end; a case in question is the young writer & poetess who is only known to most people by her 'tag' name; MBP(WordyWordRap). She is still only very young but she is showing great potential. Here are a couple of examples of her works.
I particularly like her 'sting in the tail' in 'Ghosts & Ghouls Abound'
The sea is a hungry dog.
Full of fish.
With lots of swimming jellyfish,
And plenty of crabs.
I see a lot of seaweed
Sticking to the stones
At the bottom of the sea.
Ghosts & Ghouls Abound
I found myself suddenly walking in a murky field at night. It was really scary and very dark. The mud was soaking wet as it had been raining all through the night. The field was being haunted by ghosts. I called out for help but no one could hear me. All I know is that the ghosts kept coming up from the ground, first one, and then another followed by yet more.
There was no way out of the field.There were goats in the field. Also pigs and dogs everywhere. It was very strange and I suddenly felt very frightened! The ghosts were all different colours like blue, red, green, black and yellow. I had a bag with me; it was blue and pink. One ghost got into my bag. It was red. Red means that it is bad and naughty. I went home to bed as it was late; the ghost came home with me. When I was in bed the ghost got up to trouble, like breaking my bike and haunting my mattress and letting the other ghosts into the house. I hear the ghosts down stairs. They are loud; not quiet. I did not know the other ghosts were here. I only know that the red ghost is there. There were blue ghosts in the front room. The yellow ghosts are rare, so are the black ones and the green ones. All of my stuff is being haunted by ghosts. The next day I went back to the field and it was wild. The field was still haunted from last night.
Then I awoke from my deep sleep and I realized it was all only a VERY bad dream!
No more cheese for me before I go to bed!
I arose at six-thirty this morning,
To answer the call of nature.
It was cold.
It was wet.
It was DARK!
And I thought of my friends.
Who, having got up, several hours earlier,
Were even now working in a windswept box.
No heating, and an ill-fitting door.
That allowed the driving rain.
To come in over the concrete floor.
The weather report on the local radio,
Said the wind and rain weren't going to let up,
For the foreseeable future.
Or at least until lunchtime at best.
I thought of them,
Walking the streets for hours.
In those soaking showers.
And I reflected that having been retired,
On ill-health grounds.
Maybe wasn't so bad, after all !
Dagenwulf Poetry is the group name to describe collections of my own works.
To this end, I am creating a 'POG' (Poetry Blog) at my other domain site maverickmustangmanuscripts.com
I am hoping to persuade 'other poets' of my acquaintance to perhaps publish some of their efforts under this banner.
Some titles of my collective works are:-
Swimming with Swans
Beaten on Different Drums - (Kettle, Snare & Bass)
Fish Ain't Bitin'
Sailing on a Different Tack
Songs Sung on the Singing Stick
Aces & Eights - Dead Man's Hand
To name but only a few covering the fifty-odd years or more that I have been 'writing it all out' as Anne Morrow Lindbergh suggests in her book; Locked Rooms and Open Doors.
"I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is Thinking.It is more than Living. For it is being conscious of living.
' Workin' the Wilderness '
The Maverick 'n' Me
As we have walked,
We have seen
The spring and summer seasons
Slowly come to pass.
We've even taken time out
To stand 'n' watch
As the men with their mowers
Have cut the grass.
Mowin' the Meadow
The man's been mowin' the meadow
Cuttin' large sways in the grass.
Creatin' pathways for the pedestrians
To use to pass.
Dogs don't counts.
They goes where they likes, anyway
Walking in the meadow in December
Chuffin' hell, Maxwell,
It's a cold'un, and no mistake.
Forged in fields,
Frozen hard as iron.
Constantly being battered
By falling snow flakes.
Next time, mate, the hip-flask
Filled with something warming in it
Is something I will be certain to take!
A flurry of feathers
A flurry of feathers,
A hundred or so, I guess.
Is all that is left of the mangled magpie.
No sign of a carcass.
The police in the field are baffled.
Was the perpetrator of this crime
Feline or vulpine?
They left no clue as to their identity.
Probably will be filed as just another
Mindless mugging that ended in murder.
In fields of Barley
If I tried to tell you truthfully
You probably wouldn't understand
Just how good it feels right now
To be trespassing in the fields
Of the Farmer's fertile land.
Watchin' the Hawk huntin'
Field mice, voles and the odd rabbit or two,
Who in turn are out in the morning sun.
Foraging for food to keep their families fed.
Feeding on the filling green ears of barley
Growing gracefully in a swaying breeze.
Maybe she'll end up catching
A dozing dormouse
Taking forty well-earned winks
From the furore and frantic frenzy
Of activity that fills the field.
Walkin' with my four-legged friend,
Teachin' him of fetch and catch.
While all the time, the real lesson is
Learnin' to like the lead.
The squadron's returnin'
From their winter misson
Flyin' in formation
Of an inverted vee.
Findin' their landin' ground,
On a November night
As each passin' evenin' goes by,
We watch the moon growin'
Still larger in the darkenin' sky.
He and I.
Although I'm not sure he ever looks up.
Most of the time,
He has his nose to the ground.
Following some scent or other.
“Do you know the Answer?”
I’m gettin’ worried.
They keep on.
They won’t let it go.
Over and over.
Time and time again.
They ask me the same question.
They look at me, as if I SHOULD know.
But I don’t!
What reason is there that I should?
Do you know the answer?
Have they asked you yet?
No doubt they will.
It’s only a matter of time,
Until they get around to it.
Those interrogation tatics
Have been going on for some time now.
They are very subtle.
They ask other questions,
Those that I can answer easily.
“Do you want something to eat?”
“Do you want a drink?”
I can even give them a reply to the question
“Do you want to go out for a bit?”
But it’s this other one that gets me stumped.
I have to admit I just don’t know the answer.
Do you know the answer?
Well, do you?
“Who IS a good boy, then?”
Excerpt from the 'Nursery Rhyme News'
Humpty didn't fall from that Wall.
He was Pushed.
He knew who had put Pussy in the Well,
And they were afraid he would tell.
So they done for 'im! '
My lips still
Savour the quickening of
Pulse at your
My eyes still
My hands still
My heart still
My mound still
Oh be still
Wait he must
Come for me
*This yet another poem from Marilyn's forthcoming book 'Long Odds' , due to be published later this year! *
A perfect Idaho
Skies pristine blue
Sun blinding reminding
I'll be having coffee
Next to an empty chair
*Another poem from the pen of Marilyn Bledsoe *
She can be contacted by emailing her at email@example.com
'Swimming with Swans'
*Dedicated to fellow Cobs & Pens, and young cygnets everywhere*
There are many ‘Ugly Ducklings’.
Thinking they are born to wear coats;
Made of feathers stubby and brown.
Waddling with unsteady steps;
And using only guttural noise.
While still learning the words and sounds
That language can make.
Living out the ‘wintertime' of their lives,
In isolated clumps of cold and lonely weeds.
Desperately scribbling down their precious thoughts.
Unsure of how to show their work, afraid what others might say.
Until members of the Stevenage Writers Group espied them there.
And all soon agreed that there were some very fine ‘Swans’ indeed.
The ‘Ducklings’ all said, “Who? Me? A ‘Swan’? Oh, go on!”
And the group said, “Yes, you are Swans. Come and look in our lake,
And you will see.”
So the ‘Ugly Ducklings’ looked, and they saw, then they said,
“I am a Swan! ... Wheee!”
No longer do they walk with a waddle,
Or talk with only a quack.
And still wear their fledgling coats
Made of feathers stubby and brown.
But now they move with a glide,
Sing with a whistle;
And each has a snowy white back.
And a head held noble and high.
Who is an ‘Ugly Duckling’? – “Not I!”
With acknowledgements to Hans Christian Anderson & Danny Kaye
#S.W.A.N.S. (Stevenage Writers, Authors, Novelists & Scribes)
A Review of 'SpringBack' - The annual Barnes & Chiswick Stanza public poetry reading, held at The Ship, Thames Bank, Mortlake. 8.5.19.
In the words of the late great Max Bygraves, …."I wanna tell you a story …"
As I sit here admiring the numerous photos taken by Simon Wu of the event.
It's hard for me not to reflect on the fact that we have seemed to have come a long way from standing at a bus stop, in Wimbledon in January!
To some that might be a strange comment but it is a truism no less.
In Dennis Tomlinson's new printed pamphlet of some of his works, 'Sleepless Nights', the foreword says, and I quote,
'This collection began as a haiku, composed as I walked to the bus stop one morning in January 2019.
red tail lights rushing
toward black cloud
The haiku grew into a seven line poem and that poem into a sequence.
Then earlier poems came to mind, which I have arranged in a sort-of-reverse order.
This is where I come in. Dennis and I have been friends for some twenty-odd years now. Back in February, he decided to return to using Facebook after several years of being absent from social media. He started posting some of his emerging efforts, i.e. 'sleepless night' I 'liked' the postings , and Dennis sent me the collective output at that time.
I suggested that the poems would fill a small 32 paged A6 sized pamphlet.
Dennis thought that was an excellent idea, as he would be attending the event in May and certainly would be nice to have his own printed works available for sale or sharing. so we collaborated on its formatting, got it printed by a small independent printer in Welwyn Garden City, and the rest as they say is history.
He reliably informs me that the event was attended by some thirty plus people. A good turnout for a poetry reading by modern day standards in today's artistic climate.
He reported that it was held in The Ship's 'conservatory area.' I understand that he read ' Bicycle', 'Camille Corot' and 'Murphy's', getting a good deal of laughs and applause. He also added that he himself had to leave relatively early and thereby missing the drunken interference that was mentioned by Dino Mahoney in his report of the event posted on Facebook. But then again sadly 'hecklers' get everywhere nowadays, don't they?
Dennis as informed myself that the evening began with poems by the lately deceased members, Anthony Gardiner and Julian Flanagan, which were much appreciated by all attendees.
Dennis reported that the performances by the collective talents of Dino Mahoney, Kavita Jindal, Colin Pink, Michael Weightman, Anne East, Linda Lines, Briege Duffaud, Dorthe Andersen, Kim Dutta, Isabel Bermudez, Lara Frankena, Rosemary Drescher, to name but many, were also well received by all present.
I think Dino sums it all up in his report on Facebook, … "we read our poems, bought each other's poetry books & pamphlets and rejoiced"
Well done, to all that participated in making this event memorable! (By whatever means!)
On the Onset of Dementia
What was once the sharpest pencil in the box,
Is becoming increasingly blunt.
And I cannot remember now
Where I placed the Eraser.
My wooden foot rule,
Now only measures ten inches;
And any length over a yard
Is impossible to formulate or conceive.
On Nine Eleven
Outside the reasoning
Of real people's
Realms of reality..."
Where were you?
What did you do?
What could you do?
Stunned into silence,
As the world watched, helpless.
Fearless fire-fighters and police.
Bravely giving their lives.
In an attempt to save
Husbands, fathers, sons, brothers
Mothers, daughters, sisters and wives.
All to no avail.
Some were saved; but not enough.
From the furnace-like heat and carnage
Of that man-made hell.
The parkland precinct.
Now filled with flowers.
That serves as a memorial.
To what was once
The Twin Towers.
The Americans had 9/11,
The Twin Towers;
We Brits had 7/7,
The London Bombings;
Names and numbers,
Numbers and names.
In Iraq and Afghanistan,
And now in Syria.
It's just the same;
A soldier's number.
A person's name.
Of helpless hostages.
Can anyone keep their head?
Long enough to stop;
The rising numbers
Of the names
Of the fallen dead?
Where were you?
What did you do?
*I wrote this piece on the Fourth of November last year, since then we have had the atrocities in France, Belgium, Turkey, Germany ..... The list goes on ....
"Will we EVER learn?..."
“Lest We Forget ...”
As Writers, we all have our Influences. Those people that inspire us to do what we do. As a Poet myself; Wilfred Owen is one of mine. And it is ninety–seven years today that he was killed; one week exactly from Armistice.
I penned this poem in remembrance of that fact. I have called it, ‘Buffalo Soldier’ in reference to the lines in the Bob Marley song; “If you knew your history, you’d know where I’m coming from”. It also serves to remind me and maybe others that Owen was a soldier himself.
I have published it here today to commemorate the anniversary of his death, and reflect for but just a fleeting moment in time, as Wilfred Owen himself did, on the futility of the conflict caused by war. Especially at this present moment; with all that is going on in the Middle East and other areas of the world. The Great War was supposedly the one to end all others. In my humble estimation, I am not convinced that the powers that be have learnt anything from the experience.
The fourth of November.
I bought a book,
In a charity shop.
Of Wilfred Owen's poems.
Ninety-one years to the day,
Since he was tragically taken away.
Killed by a canal side.
One week from Armistice.
The Prince opened a garden coloured red,
To represent the blood of the new fallen dead.
One week from Armistice.
And in Afghanistan,
A Taliban man, posing as the police,
Shot five British soldiers dead.
And seriously injured six more they said.
One week from Armistice.
Next Wednesday, on the Eleventh of the Eleventh, I shall republish my poem, ‘Lest We Forget’, again in reflective memory of the sacrifices that were made during that sad period in history, all those years ago by so many at the behest of the few,
On Remembrance Day
Taken from us,
Never to return.
Flanders and Somme.
North Africa, Singapore.
Italy and France.
Falklands, Gulf War.
Iran and Iraq.
They are not coming back.
What is the point
Of remembering you?
The answer comes,
Giving memory a reason:
Not to forget.
“Lest We Forget...”
At the eleventh hour,
On the eleventh day,
Of the eleventh month;
Back from the Brink.
Or are we?
God looked down,
At the carnage of life;
Caused by the folly,
Of mere mortal generals.
The trenches dug
By the sweat of many.
Filled with the bodies,
That was once the seeds of Youth:
For the generation of Nations.
Serving now as only ploughed furrows;
In the fields of the dead.
All this He saw;
The waste of mankind,
The futility of war;
And He wept.
Such was his grief,
That his tears rained down.
Churning the ground,
Until the ugly scars of War,
He then caused the Poppy to grow there;
With leaves of Haigh green;
A hue rarely seen.
The petals were blood red,
As ran the fields of the dead.
The centre was black,
The colour of mourning.
To remind us all,
"Lest we should forget."
Some only remember,
For two minutes,
On a Sunday in November.
During the service from the Cenotaph.
Many don't remember even then.
In another of my occasional series.
*SPOTLIGHT on TALENT*
Here is the low-down on a Poet that I personally admire greatly!
Dónall Dempsey was born in the Curragh in Ireland and was Ireland’s first Poet in Residence in a secondary school. He has appeared on Irish television and radio and has read and performed all over England, in Scotland, India, Ireland and France. He now lives in Guildford, Surrey where he hosts a regular poetry performance night. Dónall’s poems have been published in numerous journals and anthologies and he has published three collections of poems, “Sifting Sound into Shape”, “The Smell of Purple” and “Being Dragged Across the Carpet By the Cat”.
He can be contacted by either finding him on Facebook, or by checking out his other websites
'Menorcan Musings with Martha ...'
Sonatas & Symphonies (Unfinished)
Sitting on the seawall,
Fixing fishing nets.
Entwined with bladderwort.
Gulls, performing aerial acrobatics,
Overhead. Wheeling and gliding
On the thermals.
Provided by a warm wind
Blowing to the West.
Forever on the look-out
For a tasty titbit or two.
Maybe a few morsels or crumbs
Spilt from the mouths of the mortals
Feasting on their picnicked sandwiches.
Calling to each other, in a God-given way.
Finding feathers for my hat.
First one, and then yet another
Ornate with distinctive markings.
Sand uncovered by the ebbed tide
Exposing jagged, ragged rocks
Filled with crevasses for in which crabs to hide.
Then there are two long pipes
That pours sewage effluence
From the nearby camp-site
Populated by tents, tourers and static caravans.
From their large opening outlets.
Those serve as gaping mouths
At high tide.
The wind turbine standing far in the distance,
Turning slowly, providing the electric power
For the people of this parish.
To use as they will.
Waves being ridden by white-crested horses.
Slowly come rolling in.
From 'Forbidden Fruit'
I awaken with the sweet scent
Of your sex still lingering upon me.
Instantly reminding me
Of the frenzied throes
Of passionate love play
Performed by us both
But a few hours earlier.
The Wild Woman
Men would gladly,
Suffer a thousand deaths,
To spend but one precious hour,
In her loving arms.
And as for Her,
She could and would
All for the love
Of her Man....
“It’s in the Eyes”
With flecks of Gold.
Showing only the merest hint
Of their depths of Passion
And the countless stories within
As yet still untold.
"Have you ever been in that situation, where you think; I wish I had said that?
This just such a case of said situation.
This was written by a friend on the Tumblr website. It sums up the frustration that all of us true writers have experienced at one time or other!"
Write, write, write.
Even when you don’t want to, they say, write.
Even when the day weighs so heavy on your fingertips it is all you can do not to ball your hands into fists, they say, write.
Even when your thoughts run scared to the farthest corners of your brain and no matter how you try you cannot bring anything to light, cannot string together these feelings in any way which words could make real, they say, write.
Even when you feel like a fraud, like you are no good at this writing thing and that even if you were, what good is this writing thing anyway in a world where words don’t say much at all, they say, write.
Even when you cannot, they say, write.
And tonight I cannot. I sit on a damp seat in a crowded train and across from me a boy is sleeping, hood pulled over one eye, head against the fogged glass. I fear for him, asleep so soundly. What if he ends up in unfamiliar places, alone in his black body, what then? Who will protect him? Who will defend him? I want to shake him awake. I want to yell, “It is not safe for you here, boy! Haven’t they told you? Haven’t you seen the news? Wake up! Go home and lock your doors.”
I cannot write today. I cannot. They never warned me about this.
They never said, even when the truth does not matter, write.
They never said, even when you fear for the lives of those around you, write.
They never said, even when you feel like an erasure, like a non-thing, write.
They never said, even when the world is so devoid of justice as to render you paralysed, speechless and afraid, write.
They never warned me I would have to write in times like these. And I cannot.
"Thank you for reminding me of the bad moments of self doubt, when the muse that is normally so forthcoming, is seriously missed by her absence"...
"So now what are you up to, Alice?"
One thing will make you larger,
Another will make you small.
(But then again
Maybe you should go,
And ask Alice,
When she's feeling ten feet tall!)
The March Hare is still now
And The Hatter is surprisingly
By saying nothing
But you should all remember
What it is that the Dormouse said,
"Keep your Head, keep your head .."
"Talking as we were earlier, about 'poets of my acquaintance', and Maverick's policy of supporting new talent; one such poet is Dennis Tomlinson, a long time friend of mine.
Here is an excellent example, I think, of his work and his rye sense of humour."
The Origin of Popsy
Out to the shabby edge of Slough
We drove to see our doggy breeder.
He said to meet us in a pub –
I asked myself, Who is this bleeder?
He strode in like a local squire,
A spaniel pup in either arm.
You took a liking to the girl,
Thinking the fellow meant no harm.
When you’d paid up and he had gone,
You found your cash was fifty short.
You asked the barmaid who he was.
‘He’s not from here!’ was her retort.
As we drove home we mused about
Our pretty golden ‘cockerpoo’:
Her mother was a cocker, sure,
But dad a poodle? If not, who?
Your Lizzy instantly exclaimed,
‘How short her legs, how long her snout!
You must have bought a dachshund, Mum!’
We checked the creature, full of doubt.
The puppy’s size and length of face
Proclaimed ‘Jack Russell terrier’.
Her coat curled like a poodle, still.
The more breeds there, the merrier!
A man met in the park said, ‘Afghan
Hound lies in her history.
The hairy legs are proof.’ How strange!
Each day compounds the mystery.
Myself, I think her feathered limbs
Might indicate an avian mix.
Her jaws are more reptilian.
*Dennis Tomlinson 2016
Epitaph to a Giant among Men
He told my once,
“Life’s a game, and it don’t last.
Live it hard, and live it fast.
Most of us only get the one chance.”
Dave, he was a friend of mine.
Big Dave Shirt.
The DJ’s DJ.
Doctor Jim’s, that is.
It’s said he’s did time
In Wandsworth, Pentonville
And another place beginning with ‘S’
Scamps! That’s it.
And I think he did a stretch in Holloway,
But we didn’t talk about that, did we, Dave?
But having heard some of his shows,
I think he’d have been better suited to
Leavenworth, Folsom or even Attica
But that’s a different matter.
Do you remember vinyl, the first time?
Do you remember reel to reel tape machines?
Dave still had several.
What about eight-track cartridges?
Dave has still got a player in Piglet, his motor.
Some says he started in the business,
I can believe that!
He was playin’ twelve inchers
BEFORE they were made into singles
And came in multi-coloured plastic
Some even with pictures on.
By playin’ forty-fives
At thirty-three and a third
Or at seventy-eight revs per minute
He was out there, mixing music
Long before Fat Boy Slim
Was ever heard of.
And while trying to cue up the tracks
On those double decked turntables
After downing several large glasses
Of his favourite tipple.
Is when HE invented ‘Scratching’!
Rumour has it that he was the first person
To record music videos on Betamax.
Truth is he was the ONLY person to record music videos on Betamax!
Although the porn movie he made weren’t so bad.
‘Donkey Dave does Dulwich’, wasn’t it, Dave?
He was around when Garrad SP’s were King
At a time when essential equipment for a DJ
Was a pencil for tightening up the tape heads on cassettes.
(Who but me remembers them?)
He and I were playin’ and listening to the Blues
That ‘nigre’ music some called it, before it was fashionable,
As it is seen to be nowadays.
He has seen off the rise of CDs,
And shows recorded on Flash Drives
Then played on computers.
He came from a time when they used Bubble Oil lamps
For lighting up dance floors and not strobe.
Acid houses, raves, garbage, garage and punk.
He’s seen ‘em all come and go.
And he was STILL here.
Doin’ Dance Shows on a Friday
Rock ‘n’ Blues on Mondays
On internet radio RGW.
Those famous dulcet tones still as good
As they ever were,
Just that now he got a little breathless
But with the fags and booze he’s put away
But today, they tell me,
He’s finally gone to play
At the big gig in the sky.
Now maybe the angels
Will hear what they have been
Missing out on for all these years.
Well, here’s to you, Dave, the King of DJ’s
‘The Secret Art of Soup-Making’
(As taught to me by the Graeae - The Stygian Witches)
First take the frozen juices of Sunday’s Turkey,
(Saved for just such an occasion)
From the freezer.
Stick it in a saucepan, apply heat.
(We use Gas ourselves, so I don’t know about settings for electricity)
Whilst it’s heating, chop up the dozen or so Mushrooms’
That were left in the box from last Monday’s breakfast.
Having done that, start on cutting up the three sticks of celery;
That had obviously seen better days, somewhere else
Also lurking about in the fridge was the residue of the sage & onion stuffing
That had been a side-dish to the Turkey roast on Sunday;
So that went in as well!
The other day, (Tuesday,I think it was) we did a salad,
And there was half a Spanish Onion left over.
They’re too big to eat a whole one in one sitting,
So that got chucked in the Soup-maker with all the other ingredients
Along with the leftover Pasta & Tuna mix that I had for lunch;
Along with the usual seasoning of Black Pepper & Sea Salt,
I remembered that somewhere deep in the larder was that unopened packet
Of whole cumin seeds, that we got from the slimming club’s raffle.
(The rest of the prize was the ingredients for an Indian curry)
So they have been dutifully opened and a serious pinch added.
By now, the turkey juices had finally melted in the heated saucepan,
So the steaming liquid was added to said soup making vessel.
All that was left to do was to plug it into the mains and turn it on;
And voila, twenty-one minutes later, we have the ‘fruits’ of our labours,
As they say,…. “Beware the Ides of March!” ………
*I'll take 'em anyway they come .... Someone on another blog-site where I have also posted this, commented.....
"It is the mark & measure of the man; that he can take something as mundane as making soup: and turn it into an art form!" *
'Reflections in the pools & puddles formed on Sunday (at Stevenage Day)'
Little Big Horn, Rourke’s Drift, The Alamo & Other Places
Washed out by the weather,
Sold out by management.
Things could have been so different,
If only the sun had shone.
Instead it was whirls of wind,
And torrents of rain.
People had worked so hard all year,
Not just us, although we had done a fair bit.
Writing, reading, printing,
Packaging up parcels, whatever.
The public is tired of hearing the lies,
Of the politicians about the referendum.
So to be surrounded on three sides,
by the Liberals, Labour and Con-men;
Certainly didn’t help our cause any.
And on the fourth side was the stall,
For the Haven, housing the homeless.
Only serving to remind me of how Custer must have felt,
When he surveyed the view from Little Big Horn.
The Big C - From 'Whittlin' Wood'
She turned fifty-nine
In the mid-September.
On the ninth of October,
She was planning her life’s future
With her three-week-old first grandson,Tyler.
On the tenth of October
She went to see the doctor, a locum.
And the sky fell in.
She already knew that it hurt,
But what she wanted to know
Was if it could be fixed.
When they said no,
It only served as a double blow
And increased the pain even more.
It's not three months till the tenth
When the little bump heralded
The beginnings of the end.
First the pain in the groin,
Followed by a larger lump
Then another and another.
The sickness worsened daily
She found it difficult to swallow food
Even harder to keep it down.
In the end she didn't bother eating
Which only served to make
The weight loss more pronounced
On the eighth of January,
Her idol, Elvis’s birthday.
Her son was discussing her death details,
With the man in the mortuary.
Fifteen minutes of Fame
I don't just want to be known as the man
Who wrote about painting the fence and the shed.
I'd rather be remembered for things I have said.
I'll never be the singer in a rock'n'roll band.
I haven't got the voice.
I've done Karaoke twice.
The first time they booed me off the stage.
They thought it was the fire alarm, the second time.
I cleared the place.
And the bar had to shut early for the night.
*Taken from 'Drawn with Other People's Pencils' *
He had always wanted to explain things things,
But no one understood.
He always wanted to say things,
But no one cared.
So he drew.
Sometimes he would just draw,
And it wasn't anything.
He wanted to carve it in stone
Or write it in the night sky.
He would lie out on the grass and look up,
And it would only be him,
and the sky;
And the things inside him,
that needed saying.
It was after that;
He drew the picture.
It was a beautiful picture.
He kept it under his pillow,
And would let no one see it.
He would look at it every night
and think about it.
And when it was dark,
and his eyes were closed,
He would see it.
And it was all of him,
And he loved it.
When he started school,
He brought it with him.
Not to show anyone;
but to have it with him,
Just like a friend.
It was funny about school.
He sat in a square, brown desk.
Like all the other square, brown desks.
And he thought
It should be red.
And his room was a square, brown room,
Like all the other rooms.
It was tight and close.
He hated to hold the pencil and the chalk,
with his arm stiff, and his feet
Flat on the floor.
Stiff with teacher,
Watching and watching.
Then he had to write numbers.
And they weren't anything.
They were worse than the letters,
That could be something;
If you put them together.
And the numbers were tight and square;
And he hated the whole thing
The teacher came and spoke to him.
She told him to wear a tie,
Like all the other boys.
He said he didn't want to.
She said that didn't matter.
After that he drew.
It was all yellow.
It was the way he felt about the morning.
And it was beautiful.
The teacher came and smiled at him.
"What's this?", she said.
"Why don't you draw something like Ken is drawing?"
"Isn't it beautiful?"
It was all questions.
After that his mother bought him a tie.
He always drew aeroplanes and rocket ships;
Like everyone else.
He threw the old picture away
And when he lay out alone,
Looking up in the sky;
It was big and blue
And all of everything.
But he wasn't anymore.
He was square inside, and brown;
His hands were stiff.
He was like everyone else.
And the thing inside him,
That needed saying;
Didn't need saying anymore.
It had stopped pushing.
It was crushed.
Like everything else.
*This is a poem by a friend of mine, Donall Dempsey. He regularly contributes to another poetry site I am associated with 'Aspiring Poets' that can be found on Facebook. I am already a great fan of his efforts, and I plan to hopefully do an interview with him for my *Spotlight on Talent* series on this website.
'The Last One To Know'
He smiles in the mirror.
His reflection does not smile back.
He raises his left hand.
His reflection does not.
He raises his right hand
And scratches his nose.
His reflection does not.
His reflection laughs.
He does not.
"I'm afraid you're dead!"
His reflection tells him.
"Only you .... don't know it yet!"
His reflection steps out of the mirror.
No longer made of glass, free to be who he wants to be.
Instead of being changed to this human.
The reflection leaves.
Slams the door.
The body on the floor
does not even hear him
...... go .....
* This next piece of writing contains strong content material and graphic language. Many people find it both harrowing and disturbing. It depicts and catalogues a series of true-life events. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, of which there is one; the laws of libel prevent my naming and shaming the guilty; of which there are many. Reader discretion is strongly advised. Some people may find that this offends their sensibilities. I originally wrote this nearly twenty years ago, but it still pains me to know that situations like this are still happening somewhere, every second of the day, every day.*
"It can't happen here, .... Can it? "
She's staying at dad's flat tonight.
She adores him;
With the trust that is naturally instilled
In a child.
Dave, her father,
Plays cards with his friends;
While she watches, smiling.
The pot is short;
It's his call.
He must make amends.
Forty pounds is the bid.
With a knowing nod,
Colin folds his hand;
And taking hers,
Leads through the door
To she knows where.
The now empty bedroom
That she sometimes has to share.
Shush - don't make a noise;
Your stifled cries,
Will frighten the toys.
Who sitting in silence,
Can only watch.
As Colin slowly unzips his trousers,
And loosens his belt another notch.
Her favourite doll, alone in the corner,
Draped across the wooden chair;
Can but bear silent witness
To the saddening pain
She experiences there.
She is driven to school;
By her dad.
In a tatty Volvo.
Be-spotted with rust coloured
Splodges of primer paint.
A stark anachronism
Of Swedish sexual liberalism
The grubbiness of the grey,
Mirroring the semen-soiled nightdress;
Of the night before.
The paint spots,
Of dried blood stains
Splattered on the white fabric.
Heralding her lost innocence;
That she would need to wash out
Later in the day.
When she finally returned
To the living hell
That served as home.
He pulls in at the pavement
Saying yesterday was fun
And that they should do it more often.
He tells her to take care of herself.
Sick joke, what?
But no-body's laughing anyway.
Deprived of decency
By her father
In that he doesn't even open the door.
She rises from the well-worn seat
And gets herself out
Just like countless
In some final bizarre sexual gesture
As he slowly drives away
He also discards the now empty
Crumpled, finished cigarette packet
Aimlessly through the window
Into the uncaring street.
It in its turn, would be picked up
By some scavenger hard up
On his or her luck
Anxious to discover
If it held any small delight
.And on discovering not, it would
Be consigned as worthless rubbish
And be discarded yet again
To a life on the streets.
Until eventually, battered and crushed
By countless uncompromising souls
It would cease to be recognisable
For what it once was.
Circles within circles.
Such is the life we lead.
Four friends, sit
Sharing girlish giggles.
Talking tampons and towels.
Discovering the inward
Functioning of females
For the first time.
Smiles, over sharing
Secrets of sexuality
With their mothers.
But she's not laughing.
Sitting in the classroom
She is longing to tell, someone,
About the happenings
Of the previous night.
To be able to unload
All that crushing fear;
That is building up
Within her frightened frame.
Afraid to go home,
She hangs around after class
Anxious to explain her reasons.
But no-one is listening.
Nor can they read
The pleading in her scared eyes.
So she goes home alone, again.
Sitting watching television,
A break from the drudgery
Of endless days
Doing household chores.
Fear strikes her heart
As she hears the key
Entering the outside door.
Because the washing has taken so long
And about it, she cannot tell;
The dust she hasn't cleaned
From the TV
Only causes her mother again to yell.
Her anger quickly turns to rage;
Followed closely by a beating,
And another verbal tirade.
Then follows the shouting
And the slapping.
The angry name calling
Infers that someone is a whore.
Leading to her being pushed downstairs
And landing on the hall floor.
She pushes Amy into the cellar cupboard,
Then callously locks the door.
Leaving Amy, cowering in huddled fear,
Upon the dark, coldest floor.
Later, in her room,
Curled up, tearful,
Trying desperately to block out the pain.
Lies listening to her sad sobbing.
She closes her eyes.
Escaping sleep is not easy in coming;
But further along the hallway,
Someone else is.
Urgently calling for Amy
Beckons her to her mother's bed.
There, between thrashing thighs,
And deep moaning sighs,
Amy is forced to give her mother
To the usually empty house,
She cannot help but notice
The smart car
Putting her key
In the door,
As she has done
So many, many times before;
She is met by Geoff,
The new man, in her mother's life.
On the surface
He seems very nice.
Picnics of strawberries, wine
And chocolate ice.
And even washing up,
School sports day comes,
Giving her the chance
To exercise her rights
As a child;
To youthful fun.
Sack race successes,
Hiding the depths of depravity,
That lies dormant.
Buried deep within.
It starts with a present,
"Put it on, and come and show us how it looks."
Amongst the adult friends.
Pictures are taken.
Childish at first,
It soon turns nasty;
Leading to lewdness and lechery.
Removing Geoff's trousers and pants,
While her mother looks on;
Then starts the painful ordeal
Of nightly rape.
And the utterances of the threatening lie
That if she ever dares to tell someone
It would surely cause her to die,
After a time,
She can bear no more
Of Geoff's disgusting behaviour.
Goes to her father's workplace
Hoping on hope
That he'll prove to be her saviour.
She tells him all
That's been going on;
And could she come to live with him,
Fraught with anger,
Fired by fear;
He goes and gives Geoff
A beating with a garden spade.
In his frustration at failing
To protect his daughter
From this pair of human animals
With their filthy habits so degrade.
Then he storms out,
Leaving Amy to receive
Yet another beating
From her mother.
That leads her to being locked
In the cupboard
The broken shard
Salvaged from the shattered
By which her father had entered
Proves to be the key
To successful self mutilation
To which Amy administers
When the time comes
To leave her old school
The teacher's reports proclaim
That Amy is both clever and wise.
But they all still
Just sit and listen
While her mother
Continues to tell
The same pack of lies.
How Amy sits reading
Quietly, in her room,
For much of the time.
And how she's always
Out playing with her friend;
But that is untrue
From beginning to end.
The teacher says Amy could do
With really coming out of her shell.
Hopes that she'll enjoy her new school;
And with that, she wishes her well
Sitting with her new found friends,
Thinking that this place,
Could indeed be really cool.
Then one says,
Someone is trying to greet her,
From a van.
Parked outside the school.
She peers across the open courtyard.
At her father, who's come to meet her.
Full of reasons,
Why he hasn't been more often.
Excuses that money has been
So short lately;
Sometimes he hasn't eaten.
Now he's come to take her out,
About the true reason for his motives,
There still exists more
Than a little doubt.
Having bribed her,
With a Big Mac meal,
With Coke and a Cadbury's
He apologises that he has no more sweets;
But if only he had more money,
He could afford to buy her
Lots of treats.
Then the unsubtle suggestion,
That she could really help Daddy,
Just by working the nearby streets.
Standing on a dim
In her denim jacket,
And her flowery
Short length skirt;
Wearing virginal white gym socks,
with matching plimsolls.
Her long hair , shining,
Looking very much her age.
Having only turned thirteen,
But for a little while.
People, from which she
Should get only love;
Blatantly exploiting her sexual genes.
Although she cannot spell Paedophile;
She is painfully aware of what it means.
" For a wank, charge'em twenty five quid,
If they want a blow-job, charge them thirty"
Practising that will corrupt her mind;
Into believing love and sex,
Is always something
That is sordid and dirty.
A sexperienced competitor,
In these matters,
Gives her, and her dad;
What amounts to a friendly warning.
This particular spot,
Is her pitch.
And her pimp
Will not be so tame;
So her father,
Just moves on with her,
To somewhere else.
In his dubious quest
It would seem he has no shame;
With his repeated attempts,
To get ' on the game'.
The local lorry park,
Proves a likely playground;
For the sort of games,
He has in mind.
Providing a service,
For all kinds
The young, the old, and the lonely.
Not the actual full sex, though:
But just your blow and hand-jobs only.
Making sure that the clients,
Come in style;
Being very sure to use a condom,
All the while.
He does a deal,
Just for a full blow-job;
"You know how, don't you,
Just go and suck his prick;
It'll be all over in a minute!"
But it doesn't just take that quick.
She gives a blow-job
To an unknown,
While her poncing pimp
Of a dad,
In his grubby little van.
Suck, suck, sucking,
On a dirty, crusted,
That's making her feel
So, so sick.
Wondering why it is
That when you
Want them to,
they can never come
And when it's finally finished;
She finds the smell of sweat and semen,
Has left her feeling
Dave, buys her silence,
With a fiver.
Then he takes her back home;
Staying at the safe house,
Secure from the ponces,
And the pimps.
All in black;
She's never going back.
It took five whole days
Before she could even
Mouth her name.
Was it through fear?
Or was it through shame?
Another seven passed
Till she could speak,
About the atrocities
She had been through.
And it took another long week
To pass her by;
Before she ever found,
The strength to cry.
(This was written as the sequel, after the authorities finally became involved)
" Children have the right to be listened to. The messages that they give us are often painful and disturbing, and challenge our capabilities to actually hear what they are in fact saying and take them seriously.
Our conditioned instinct is to recoil from what we are hearing and deny the reality of what is being said.
The act of sexual abuse of a child involves a fundamental betrayal of trust, and an abuse of power, which has devastating consequences for the child. Undermining the basic requirements of a child for relationships built on trust, that are both dependable and loving.
This gives rise to the premise that children not only have to be heard but also need to be healed from the trauma of such experiences.
The child's right to be respected as an individual person should be unquestionable; but it is a long way from being generally accepted within our society."