Fragments On A Stone

Fragments On A Stone

Burn the siege towers
before they reach our walls,
the captain’s cry was heard,
among the ragged calls.

Our foes swarmed the plain,
invaded from the dark,
an empire with no name,
a map without a mark.

We must save our keys,
we must defend our crown.
Our king will never kneel
our walls will not come down.

We’ve been waiting in the wings too long,
and let invaders rule the stage,
but now our beacons shine,
it’s time we came of age.

Silent as stones we guard our kingdoms,
watching with tears things pass away,
but now they’ve gone too far,
it’s time for them to pay.

They can stain the sun,
but they won’t learn our names.
We were before their fury,
we lie outside their games.

So we must mount our horses,
and fly across the fields,
and follow golden courses
with our starry shields.

For they have gone too far,
it’s time for them to pay.
The tides will keep on coming
till they are washed away.

Fragments on a stone,
a battle long ago.
Did the siege succeed
or did the peril go?

Last Works

Last Works

Three score years and five,
fortunate to be alive,
I begin my last works, final verses.
To those with root rhymes,
I will find tunes, to make them songs,
bare melodies that in the air may survive.

So play your bluesy piano,
your jazzy saxophone,
while I craft my last works,
to end with me alone.

Who is it who stands from the chair?
Who is it who opens the door?
What is it that attracts to the window?
Why is it a child finds fun on the floor?

Distracted by Rembrandt,
his painting of a meeting,
interrupted by its viewer.
Appreciate it or not,
you are the intruder.

I leave my last works,
unfinished ventures,
attempts at song,
final notebooks,
strains to hear nightingale notes
amid rumours of rooks.

January Sonnet

January Sonnet

O but January thou art dreary,
thy days seem too long, more than thirty one.
Drunkard with your belly cold and beery,
the inn will find its cheer when thou art gone.
Like a titan with a blunted toe nail,
by the icy ocean bewail and moan.
Thou makes the fortunes of the farmer fail,
spread frost enough to make a giant groan.
The old knight stares at his frozen finger,
his chilly chest postpones his quest till spring.
No minstrel can be a merry singer,
not when thy snow stills the tongue, stiffs the wing.
O most wintry month, don thy cloak and go,
butt your way through the wind ye belch and blow.



Gilbert watched a scorpion
sprout from the carpet,
scarper to the corner,
crawl up a wall.
First mistaken for a lobster or a crab,
come to disturb the drab,
it vanished, was not there at all.
A creature from the dream dimension,
hatched from an hallucination,
the result of a surreal meal,
whatever it was, he was glad it was not real.
Maybe if he lived in Cairo
and not in Britain,
he might have been afraid,
for he knew there were scorpions in Egypt,
and they could sting you,
leave you in a fever splayed.
He telephoned his doctor,
said he had seen a scorpion,
but it was not real.
The doctor said that will teach you
not to have a spicy meal.
He asked his doctor:
“How can you see something that is not there?”
The doctor said it was not his branch of study,
did not seem to care.
That night he woke in the desert,
he walked towards a hut,
made of wood and brick.
When challenged by a scorpion,
he chased it with a stick.
On the train next morning,
he gazed at his crossword,
hoped if he saw another creature,
it was something simple, like a fish or bird.

History Book

history book                                       History Book

I found my corner, made it my shelter,
became my station, behind my back the wall.
I had studied introversion.
I knew why I was silent,
a witness, baffled by it all.
Could not partake in light conversation.
What did they find to say?
At least I was a good listener,
a sounding board, a rock amid the spray.

We had to read about the Romans,
how they marched over our land,
come to extend their empire,
the conquest Caesar planned.

They built a wall to keep out the Picts
who had skin dyed blue with woad.
I did not care for Romans
nor how they made a road.

We learned that Wellington won at Waterloo,
to exile Napoleon Bonaparte.
I preferred to hear of those
who gave all they had to art.

I flicked through my mouldy history book,
sat at my inky desk, my vigour sapped.
Its pages dull yellow and grey,
which seemed appropriate and apt.

Each chapter made it clear
how bad it was in the past,
not that the present was much better,
and peace never seemed to last.

Some still wait for a better day
that may never come,
others are in despair,
like a buccaneer on a burning ship,
the final taste on his tongue,
fire, smoke and rum.

The Narrow Path

The Narrow Path

I made it, I got old,
many never do.
I reached the oaken door,
the warden let me through.
The spirit has no age,
I know to my relief.
I still like to listen
to rain taps on a leaf.

I did not dig for gold
nor dive for a pearl,
did not mine for silver,
to hear my hammer hurl.
I wrote words on a page,
I loved my only gift.
I knew it would stay,
whatever came to shift.

Harvey, our white rabbit,
lived safe in his hutch,
ate lettuce and carrot,
he never needed much.
I watched him sniff the air,
dry as the wood and wire,
simple as honesty,
puzzled by a liar.

I must not lose my hold,
now I near the peak.
My trust is in my skill,
to make silence speak.
I watch an eagle soar,
I look down on a lake.
I step above the clouds,
the narrow path I take.

Law of the Lion

Law of the Lion

Life can be a burdensome thing
with so much you can’t control.
Nothing you can do about the news,
time will always take its toll.

Some preach it as a pilgrimage,
warn of perils on the way.
Others concentrate on escape,
do not care how far they stray.

The old towers are tumbled down,
the first empires lost in weeds.
The sower went to the desert
but died with his bag of seeds.

Wind lifts the branches of the trees,
moves the waves across the sea.
The winter sun shines but falsely
for cold holds the frozen key.

The golden lion on his throne,
no one knows from where he came,
rules his jungle kingdom wisely,
his one law is be not tame.

Life can be a liberating thing
once you’re aware of your chains,
to contort your way out of them,
to find what your freedom gains.