In My Winter Chair

In My Winter Chair

In my winter chair,
I think of what was there,
and will not be forgotten.
I may be mistaken,
I am almost sure,
but cannot be certain,
that I saw a nightingale in summer,
perched on a tree in my garden,
its song finer than that of a spring piper,
stirred me more than the retreat
of an autumn drummer.
Swifts and swallows flew south for shelter,
but like the sparrows, I must stay,
and endure the winter,
but I have the memory
of a nightingale in summer.

Are you buying any of these things?
If you are, who are they for?
In this world where there are paupers
and there are kings,
what would you do if you knew all things?

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About Winter

About Winter

There is nothing you can do about winter
except endure the cold.
It is true to think it will get harder,
the more you get old.

It is not good for the heart
nor for the lungs,
to climb a frozen ladder
with frosted rungs.

And if you should venture out at night,
can your pity bear such a sight
as a lone stranger at a bus stop,
stood stiff as a stalagmite?

You won’t lose your dreams
or your desire,
though sparrows shiver
on an icy wire.

Your garden may glisten
with dawn frost and low sun,
you can still remember
when December was fun.
Your satchel was damp you carried to school,
but you were glad to see
the coloured pegs in the cloak room,
even though you knew
arithmetic and science
would dunce cap you the fool.

If your lines are too long,
give them a hone,
like those worthy to be
etched on a stone.

The Old Woman Of Yerevan

The Old Woman Of Yerevan

I stood in the kitchen,
up early to catch my plane,
to fly from Armenia,
back to England again.
It was mild for November,
no sign of snow or rain.

The silence was broken,
I heard a noise, far below,
a steady stroke on hard ground,
a slow scrape, to and fro.
Puzzled, I took a step,
looked down, out the window.

I saw an old woman,
sweeping dry leaves in a heap,
in the glow of a street lamp,
with her broom worked to keep
her city of Yerevan
neat while it was in sleep.

Her wrinkled face was calm,
she did not know she was seen.
She had made it her chore
to keep her city clean.
I saw the strength in her stoop,
that her mood was serene.

Sometimes when I am still
and silent in my room,
I see the old woman of Yerevan,
sweeping streets with her broom.

From The Beginning Of Things

From The Beginning Of Things

Noah set a garnet stone
in the hold of the ark,
a red lamp that lit the way
through the flood and the dark.

He moored on Mount Ararat
when the waters were calm.
A dove with an olive leaf
flew to perch on his arm.

What a tale that survives
from the beginning of things.
The garnet stone shines on,
the truth of it still rings.
Sapphire beacons in the sky
stun the mind, clear the eye.

Noah opened his window,
and he saw the rainbow.
All his birds and animals,
he could now let them go.

He walked down the mountainside,
his family behind.
The beauty of the cleansed earth,
he could see, was not blind.

Noah held the garnet stone
to heaven in his hand.
It glowed fair as the rainbow
that leaned over the land.

What a tale that survives
from the beginning of things.

Remedy

Remedy

I woke in bed,
head on my pillow.
The silence of dawn
made me feel I lay on a ledge,
high on a mountain,
the nest of eagles, far below,
but then where I was,
the hum of traffic let me know.

Some days I feel like Superman,
others like a flea.
If I hit the pit,
here is my remedy,
a honey sandwich
and a mug of coffee for me.

Some have an ego
greater than their brain,
demand attention
with no true trace of talent
or light in their lamp.
The world is there to lose or gain.
from birth we reach out,
hope to live unpunished by pain.

The books I have read,
the songs that I knew,
paintings that I loved,
quickened my spirit, lit my mind.
They helped me to cope,
revealed the door and let me through,
and now here I am,
taster of my own one off brew.

Sand and Dust

Sand and Dust

A Stradivarius violin
he knew he would never own.
Fated to be a pauper player
while he reaped what he had sown.

No, there were worlds that were not for him,
would remain outside the dance.
Stood against the wall where he was pinned,
stabbed by a glittering glance.

This poorly put together pantomime,
cruel circus antiquated with rust,
revue organised by black suited crime
was to him so much sand and dust.

Helicopters could not rescue him,
if the ocean hid his hand.
Followed the flight of the albatross
to be native to no land.

Content with his gypsy violin,
played for lovers and for wine.
His tunes were his horse drawn caravan,
be the weather foul or fine.

These cold chants to oppose the citadel,
lost with the bare ballads of broken trust,
were to him like marks on a prison cell,
to fade away like sand and dust.