Top Twenty Hit

Top Twenty Hit

There was a time when you were just everywhere,
then you were brushed away like dust from a stair.
Now you’re gone, I eat my scone in my comfy chair,
I feel complete as I tap my feet,
happy as a bee, like a flea that finds honey in my hair.

No, that will not do,
I have no clue how that came to me.
People may like the tune,
but the words are cold
and shallow as a spoon.
Got to use my wit
to try to write a top twenty hit,
get someone famous to sing my song,
then I’ll know wherever I go,
it will be the place where I belong,
like Samson, I will be strong.

If I could write a great top twenty hit,
I’d be offered so many chairs,
I would not know where to sit,
and if it became a standard,
like Stardust by Hoagy Carmichael,
I would out run a taxi down the street,
but he beat me to it a long time ago,
got to work on that ballad, deep and slow.

May your plane lift gently from the air port,
fly calmly through the clouds,
your pilot wear a white tooth smile like Superman.
Now there’s a start, it might please the crowds.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

If I had the eye of a dragonfly,
I’d see the dew slide on a stem,
insect detect as it crawled or flew by,
my gut thrilled to be one of them.

In tropic jungle steam and heat,
I’d wince with each monkey screech,
know the call of each bird that sings.
I would rest on a river,
shimmer, hover and quiver
over its water,
lift my delicate, spindly body
on my thin, transparent wings.

If I had the eye of a dragonfly,
my short life would be quick and brief,
to feed and breed would be all that I try,
multiply my only belief.

Everything’s strange with climate change,
nature’s not natural anymore.
If I had the eye of a dragonfly,
I’d see the dirt in what is pure.

Penguins of Antarctica

Penguins of Antarctica

When you wake up weary,
your skin thin, pinched by winter cold,
ice hangs from your drain pipes,
your grid blocked by snow, thick and bold,
and faces in the street
all seem to suffer something strange,
remember you’ve got it better
than the penguins of Antarctica
who have to deal with climate change.

Scientists have the evidence
politicians cannot ignore,
climate change is real,
it makes the ice bergs thaw,
but the penguins of Antarctica
are stubborn to survive,
flap your wings and follow them,
learn that life is to live and be alive.

Penguins of Antarctica,
I’m proud to share the earth with you.
Whatever blizzard blasts your way,
you will see it through.
You survived the first ice ages,
and those Pixar movies, too.
Now you can plunge into your dreams,
and make them all come true.

Like a meeting of head waiters,
you stand on your icy slab,
look up at the South Pole sky
to see the seahorse and the crab.
Allow scientists to study you,
though they look alien and strange,
and you would not understand what they mean
when they speak of climate change.

Penguins are popular,
humans think of them and smile.
Of their habits and swimming skills,
all can be found on file.
Know that their breeding grounds,
they have had to re-arrange,
but they adapt to deal with it
what we call climate change.

You may live in a city hovel
or in a stately country grange,
you should not grumble,
though you cannot focus,
all seems hazy, out of range,
tell others you can cope with anything,
for you have not forgot to compare your lot
with the penguins of Antarctica
who have to deal with climate change.

A Novel, Nonetheless

A Novel, Nonetheless

Outside his Moscow window,
night had fallen, dark and black,
as it had done on previous occasions,
so many times, he had quite lost track,
causing pavement pedestrians and carriages
to make their way by unsteady lamp light,
little helped by cloud hidden moon and stars.
Yes, life went on, inevitable
as the toll of births, deaths and marriages.
Dimitri sat alone,
there being no one else in the room,
in his high backed chair,
glared at his empty Vodka glass,
owl eyed the length and frost white of his beard
that fell from his chin to his chest.
Would be the envy of an Orthodox priest, he thought,
as he lit candles in the gloom.
Ah, but the years of youth
that had come to swiftly pass.
Lovely young Lizaveta, he membered,
the way she lent over the samovar
that kept the water for tea, hot and steamy,
and the way her eyes beamed like blue lamps
on that sleigh ride many winters gone
when life was long and dreamy.
No, it was good.
He could not write a Russian novel.
For one thing, he was not Russian
but English as Shakespeare and roast beef,
and his soul could not rouse an epic tempest,
only a breath to blow a leaf.
So he knew he never really should.
Ah, but it would be good
to be part of that grand tradition.
He loved those works, if only in translation.
Maybe Franz Kafka held the key.
An existential tale of a man
perplexed by the age of belief in nothing
with no true route to be free.
Or maybe an English novel,
a Thomas Hardy rural romance
that could only end in tragedy.
Certainly, he was drawn to science fiction,
the far off horns of fantasy.
But no, a realistic novel it would have to be,
rooted in the twenty first century,
not in the past, about peasants and gentry.
Maybe it’s all been done. No, not so.
Otherwise they would have stopped writing
after The Iliad and The Odyssey,
put down pens, long ago.
What he would write, he could not guess,
but it would be a novel, nonetheless.

Talking About The Times

Talking About The Times

My parents found me under a rhubarb leaf
at the bottom of the garden.
At least, that’s what they told me.
My friends in the play ground
listened and believed me.
Talking about the times
when I hardly knew a thing,
before my life took wing.

Tomato sauce has lost its tomato tang.
Everything’s watered down these days.
Talking about the times,
the cold, spiky wheel of crimes,
funeral tolls, wedding chimes,
walking through the broken ways.

Talking about the times
on the trains and in the coffee bars.
Some wonder who will be next
to leave the stage
to shine on among the stars.
There’s more to the future
than robot production and smarter cars.

Talking about the times
when life seemed as it was meant to be,
when I almost turned the key,
though much was still a mystery.
Talking about the times
that I may not get to see.
Talking about the times
I was all set to be free.

Teo the Tortoise

Teo the Tortoise

Teo the tortoise did not know
he carried the cosmos on his back
till he moved.
It was his right foreleg,
a little way north.
To gulp some water in his mouth
from the edge of a pool,
that was the reason.
As his thirst he quenched,
he contemplated
a shimmer of stars and sky
reflected on the surface,
and thought now he knew why
the load he had to carry was so heavy,
though he did not have the brain to tell
on his back was but a shell.

His friend Hodge the hedgehog
wasn’t very bright, either.

 

Russian Cossack

Russian Cossack

When in a mood of blank meditation,
I lean back, sank in vacant consideration,
it is then that I think of the much that I lack,
and my heart enflames to be a Russian Cossack.
Unfortunately, an Englishman I was born,
who never rode a horse or blew a battle horn.
Yet to ride across the steppe,
that would be romantic,
just a steady gallop, not charge pace,
nothing threatening, frantic.
Of course, I would not like to be caught
in the Napoleonic wars,
and could not garble that language,
though I would understand the cause.
And no, I could not do
that almost squatting, high leaping dance
or drink that amount of Vodka,
even if I were chosen for the chance.
Still, somewhere along my track,
I wish I could have been a Russian Cossack.

Low Winter Sun

Low Winter Sun

Everybody’s out to make a bit of money.
We’ve all got to live.
There is no doubt when I first came to this city,
I planned to live simple
on milk, bread and honey.
But when winter comes,
you got to buy an overcoat,
and pairs of thick socks.
The seasons go slow.
You cannot speed them up
by not attending to the clocks.

Don’t want to fail you.
Don’t want to sail you down river.
You knew it was me,
I knew it was you.
We had to be.
That part of it is true.
Now we must see
what life to us will do.

Sat on my piano stool,
I’ve used every tool in my box
to try to unkey these rusted locks,
to see the ships leaving from the docks.
Always end up playing some trad jazz or blues.
My wardrobe almost empty,
no new suits hung up,
no lines of polished shoes.
Never made it big but no one has a dig.
They know few make it to the top,
and they had dreams of their own,
and they lived beyond  the time
when they knew they had to stop.

Yellow canary in a silver wire cage,
beak and feathers dusty,
I remember by a window.
Low winter sun gave no heat.
Pulled back to the past,
I get weary.
Nothing left to follow but my shadow.

 

Inaccessible Pinnacles

Inaccessible Pinnacles

Inaccessible pinnacles,
dark mountain summits,
like cracked crowns,
axe hewn, broken helmets,
cleave through clouds,
spike the sky.
Few venture up there,
some train to try.

Unbidden, granite island,
green and grey,
built around me,
sat in my kitchen,
broadened and surrounded,
came back to me today.

Men cannot build there,
will always be the wild.
I smiled on that comfort,
my vision clear,
to see it as a child.

All right, I am going,
I remember saying,
I know I can only wander here.
This is the wild,
no place for settlement.
I looked up and saw an eagle,
it soared out from a peak,
wide winged, further south,
it vanished, woke wonder,
deeper than my tongue can speak.

January Blues

January Blues

For arithmetic, he wore the dunce cap,
the bell hat of the fool.
Algebraic equations
worked on him worse than winter
on his bent backed way home from school,
his feet like icy shells in his shoes.
Nobody needed to tell him about January blues.

The sniper on the rooftop
only waits for his time,
expects to get away
after he commits his lonely crime.
Later, in his hide out,
he coldly hears about it on the news,
his brain numb, too vacant to succumb
to January blues.

Snow falls on snow ploughs,
carving slow down motorways,
so cold it stings the eyes,
the kind that falls and stays.
Drivers complain about stiff window wipers.
Frozen below zero wind whips
to challenge and confuse.
Blighted by blizzards,
daunted but not defeated,
they vow to motor on,
despite January blues.

So many white moons,
so many yellow suns,
so many waves
have passed over the water,
and still no one comes,
sings the piano player,
his tune bare as the trees.
Cold coins in his pockets,
he feels a chill in his knees.
Don’t try to understand other minds,
he warns, for some of them,
at the merest hint of sunshine,
pull down the blinds.
He continues to play
for those who feel low and lonely,
dreams about performing
on a long summer cruise,
helps him to cope with January blues.

The gambler in the casino
watches the dice on the wheel,
his spine like a stalactite,
wonders what his cards conceal.
You have the option of not trying to win,
so you don’t have to lose,
when you give in to January blues.