Far From Now

Far From Now

Begins. Massive screen, puzzling images, no sound.
All in the air, no meaning found.
From somewhere, far below,
tones too fine to be played on strings with a bow,
deeper than a cello can go,
till there is no time, silence resumes.
Tall houses of merchants near a dock side.
Who looks from the windows?
Who opens the rooms?
It is not still but never more than slow.
Allowed calm to study what I see.
Attend to cries, remoter than whale song.
Here to witness, not to belong.
Too much to describe,
even if I had the skill.
Most of it strange, alien,
not built by my mind or moved by my will.
When I see something familiar,
it looks clearer, richer than it was.
There I am, a schoolboy, one summer,
smiling in the pleasure parks, too awake to dream,
in the Land of the Little People,
in Southport, the seashore town,
held in my hand fair ground candy floss,
toffee apple, Pendleton’s ice cream.
Windy walk, long pier, tide far out,
strain to see a strip of the sea,
Blackpool tower further north,
draws me back, simplifies me.
We will go there one day, parents promise.
Maybe we did.
Who knows what wardrobes and curtains keep hid?
Family outing photographs.
Why do some pictures stay when most of them go?
Loaded ocean liner leaves the harbour.
Moves so grand and slow.
Erratic seagulls. Faces startled by cameras,
most are unaware.
Is that you? Where you there?
It is the past, far from now.
Lone as a lighthouse I stand.
Must be moments of intense living, awareness, we recall.
The rest is blank, gone.
Cobweb on the stair I brush away with my hand.

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Forgotten God

Forgotten God

He swallowed a light bulb.
Waited. Nothing happened.
His heart did not glow.
His brain did not shine.
Must have been a fake one, he thought,
like a robot dog not keyed to whine.
He chewed on an atom bomb,
sure it was bad for his teeth.
He did not like its taste.
Wrote down – will only bring grief.
He drank a draught of sulphur,
felt like a volcano cone.
Began to question
why he always ate alone.
He munched upon a washing machine.
It tumbled on his tongue,
which first felt wet then dry.
His head hummed like a launderette
till he was fresh and spry.
He went into the bathroom,
first to check his weight.
Thought, next time he would order
only half a ton of rusty trucks
mashed upon his plate.
Now he was a forgotten god,
he did not know how to behave.
But then, no one cared a fig,
passed him by without a wave.

The Lost Way

The Lost Way

The way is lost.
If you go your quest will fail.
Heed what they say
in song and tale.

Ride a horse over the moors
in sun and rain.
You will not find the castle on the peak
above the plain.

Hidden harbour
shelters your boat
but there are no signs
on the hills of sheep and goat.

Ride out like Jack Rowland on your horse,
ride and ride till you are weak and pale.
Be content to glimpse what you seek
when your spirit is held by song and tale.

The ocean on the other side of the hill,
you can hear it if you are still.
The enchanter always was remote,
his words a spell no human wrote.

The tower on the tor
holds wood and water power,
but it is forgot
what reed will bind which flower.

Wind blows through fields of heather and whin.
The track is hid to find Tam Lin.

The way is lost.
You cannot go there.
O but it was wild
and it was fair.

Rooting Through Rubbish

Rooting Through Rubbish

Nature’s not natural.
Whatever happens is purely accidental.
That’s one way of looking at things.
Rooting through rubbish,
find no gold coins, no diamond rings.

But what do you expect?
Nothing of value people reject.
Rooting through rubbish
does not make sense.
Some people do it.
Never give up hope.
When you are drowning,
you still reach for rope.
Rooting through rubbish.
Not find a thing.
No gold coin, no diamond ring.

If nature is natural,
it can be cruel, harsh.
Worse with global warming.
What is now a dry, cracked plain
was once a wet marsh.

Rooting through rubbish,
routine for an old man,
his hand grips the crust of a sandwich,
gropes further down,
finds a stamped flat beer can.
Rooting through rubbish.
Who counts the cost?
Only gulls cry over the lost.

Hugh Minn

Hugh Minn

Hugh Minn was human so he lived on Earth,
been living there ever since his birth.
He may have preferred to live somewhere else but he never said.
Who knows what goes on in Hugh Minn’s head?

Pastry pale, like he worked in a bank,
he was in the navy till his boat sank.
One day he heard feet shuffling about on the floor of his loft.
He stepped up a ladder, nervously coughed.

He asked who was there but got no reply,
beamed his torch in the loft to aid his eye,
saw a small bulbous man in a silver helmet and dark blue smock,
thought if he was from space, he’d chosen the wrong place to dock.

The alien seemed to think the same, vanished into another time.
Hugh Minn stepped down the ladder, and that’s almost all there is to say
about him in this present rhyme.

“What have you been doing up the ladder?”
asked his neighbour, Sydney Smout,
who as ever looked perplexed, well wrinkled with doubt.
“Heard a noise in the loft,” answered Hugh Minn.
“You know you cannot lose if you try to win.
Met a multi-dimensional time traveller,
landed in the loft by accident.”
“If you say so, Minn,” said his neighbour,
who seemed to know what he meant.

“If you live in a forest you’re bound to see a lot of trees,”
he added, as he fumbled in his pocket for his keys.
“Another way of seeing it, come to that,
if you live among high hills you’re bound
not to see much lying flat.”

Back in his room, Hugh Minn sipped a mug of tea,
studied his book of astronomy.
Meanwhile, the alien flew home safely in his craft.
Over his Earth encounter, he smiled and laughed.