High Light Of The Day

                                              High Light Of The Day

Being human Hugh Minn lived on Earth,
for what that was worth,
lone human being, obscure biped few knew.
Department store visit, rare not often,
stood on a step on the escalator down
from fourth floor Menswear,
held in his right hand shiny plastic bag,
new purchased shoes in a box
made of cardboard contained.
Old shoes had holes in,
and who goes to the cobbler
to have footwear mended nowadays, anyway,
he wondered, best buy new ones,
which he had done.
It is your fault for inspecting me,
he would say to those who watched,
even studied him in secret,
to complain of his greyness, dull ways,
not every person’s worth a novel,
not every day’s a drama,
not all broken line prose a poem.
But observe, on his way to the train station,
he considers a coffee in a café,
decides they all look too full,
the customers seem to have claimed every table,
unlikely to leave them, so his mouth remains dry.
Waits for the train, takes him most of the way home,
walks to his door, opens fridge,
drinks milk to quench thirst.
Bought new shoes, high light of the day over.

Beware the Blind Highwayman

                      Beware the Blind Highwayman

“Beware the blind highwayman,”
the gypsy woman warned.
“Fear his flint fingers,
no coin bags, jewel boxes,
necklaces or rings to grab
from the coach of the gentry,
but heat from the heart,
last light from the soul.”
It seemed the thing to do, to see her.
He was young, it was summer,
her caravan there to enter,
sat on its site,
near west gate corner,
come with the travelling fair
that came every year to the Town Moor.
“But how can the sightless steal?”
he asked her.
“Sounds like a riddle.
How could one blind be a thief?”
“Not now, not here, not how things are,”
she told him.
“Time is still chained
to the broken wheel of empire and war,
human history’s disgrace.
No, when he appears, it will be a sign
that the change has come,
the chance has gone
to preserve what love was there,
what peace was cupped in the hand.
When he rides from the stable yard, shows on the shore,
on the hill top, on the bend in the lane,
all might as well be dark.
Only anarchy then, and hate will remain.
In his time, the sightless will steal,
the blind one be thief.”
“Sorry, ” he said, creaking back in his chair.
“Curiosity led me in here,
to hear my fortune told.
Did not expect chilling prophecies.”
“It is you,” she told him.
“I only say what comes from you.
Maybe you are empty, like so many today.
Who summoned the blind highwayman?
It was you, not I.”
Stiff, pale, he nodded, stood up,
opened the door, stepped out, into open air,
paid to see a freak in a tent,
shoot arrows in a bull’s eye.
On his walk home in the night,
forbid his mind to give shape to shadow.

Two of my poems published in The Dawntreader

Two of my poems, Sigurd and Windmill and Rainbow, have been published in The Dawntreader, a quarterly poetry magazine, published by Indigo Dreams Publishing: Website and Bookshop: http://www.indigodreams.co.uk
Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/indigodreamspublishing
My poem, Searching For The Sangreal, was published in the 023 Summer 2013 issue of the same magazine, my poem, The Fair Majesty of Folk at Peace was published in the 026 Summer 2014 issue, and now Sigurd and Windmill and Rainbow in the 029 Winter 2014/2015 issue. So in this month of January, 2015, my poem, What The Shepherds Saw, was published in my local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo, my poem, Song For Luthien Tinuviel, was published in Mallorn, the Journal of the Tolkien Society, and my two poems, Sigurd and Windmill and Rainbow were published in The Dawntreader.

                                                     Sigurd

Listen. Thunder clouds,
herds of black bison
stampede silent space.
Wait. Relief of rain.
Hut folk from windows watch
lashed land, hardened face.
Trauma. When storm broke,
something slept in a sudden woke.
Loom weaver hand mosaic moved,
bright beads changed place.
Wake. Birds spread wings in water.
Air clear. Survivors show gratitude
for given grace.
Blow horn. Names of mighty men remain.
Sword of Sigurd the dragon Fafnir slain.

                         Windmill and Rainbow

Windmill and rainbow,
noon light and shadow,
canal and meadow,
busy stone worker,
mirror on water,
brush stroked by Turner.
Another world lensed,
I cannot enter,
only gaze on from outside,
stood still in my corner,
wishing I could walk in,
step over the border,
explore what lies beyond frames,
where there are colours and shapes,
too new to have names.
Somewhere, find an inn,
for bread, beer and bed,
quietly, upstairs, sleep in a loft.
Morning, at the window,
smile on more than windmill and rainbow,
journey on, further and deeper,
onlooker no longer. 

The Gospel of Derek

The Gospel of Derek

The gospel of Derek is little known,
being not one by which the church has grown.
It was found in Egypt under a stone,
a dusty scroll stained with script,
deciphered by scholars alone.
Rumoured to be short,
a few fragments of speech,
it mentions Derek,
but it seems he had little to teach.
He complains that a camel
once stood on his toe,
and coughed in his ear,
to give wings to his woe.
“What news is that to us?” his hearers say.
“It was painful to me,” he tells them,
before gruffly, they move away.
In the final fragment, so poor,
he dresses in no more than a sack,
he complains that an ostrich
butted him once in the back.
The patron saint of complainers
perhaps he should be.
Better than being forgotten,
Derek might sagely agree.
And yet some Bible scholars obscurely see,
to many mysteries and secrets,
the gospel of Derek may still hold the key.

Lamp of the Ark

                                           Lamp of the Ark

Seems I must learn to work with wood,
thought Noah, to build the ark,
to float on the flood.
Days grew dim, nights more dark,
he fashioned a lamp,
to shine in the ark,
red jewel, bright garnet,
pomegranate seed that glowed.
In an iron bracket, he hung it,
high in the hold,
beamed from a roof rafter,
made timber gold.
Cherry light it shed,
line and corner showed,
bird and beast, no longer blind,
could find feed.
Though outside, it was rain pelt,
wave lash, utter dark,
inside the ark, the lamp he made,
lit the way through the flood,
ruby torch, sapphire beacon,
until moored on Ararat,
he opened a window,
to witness, after the flood,
the rainbow.
Told his sons, Ham and Shem,
when you are troubled,
whatever winds may blow,
and all around is dark,
remember the flood,
and the lamp of the ark.

My poem, Song For Luthien Tinuviel, published in Mallorn, the Journal of the Tolkien Society.

My poem, Song For Luthien Tinuviel, was published in Mallorn, the Journal of the Tolkien Society, Issue 55, Winter 2014, I am very pleased to say.  I originally wrote it in 1987, as a folk ballad, one of the few I have written that has a decent tune, but I think it works well enough on the page as a poem. It was inspired by the tale of Beren and Luthien in The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien. My copy of the journal came through my letter box today, Thursday, 8th, January, 2015. I was moved to see my poem on page two, illustrated by a painting called The Choice of Luthien by Jenny Dolfen and a photograph called Snowthorn by Helen Armstrong, the editor of the very finely produced, interesting journal, which is published once a year. I have posted my poem here before, but here it is again, to celebrate its publication in Mallorn.

 

Song For Luthien Tinuviel

 

Feanor he made the Silmarils,
revealed his power and his skills,
precious jewels of the Elven kind,
majesty moulded from his mind.

Elf maid, Luthien Tinuviel
danced, held aloft a Silmaril.
I saw her laughing through the trees,
her white dress blowing in the breeze.

Entranced, I was lying on the grass,
saw Elven folk through a shining glass.
I saw Elves the lays of old had sung,
tall Elves from when the world was young.

Feanor, his blue stone tower tall,
faraway, saw behind a wall,
felt I was poor in my heart and soul,
I was a fish, left by the shoal.

Felt I was young, knowing I was old,
I was a sheep, strayed far from fold.
On my quest over wild moor and fen,
I was lost and  was lost again.

Unlooked for beauty came to my eye,
elf maid dancing beneath the sky,
fair elf the lays of old had sung,
fair elf from when the world was young.

Luthien Tinuviel held aloft a Silmaril.