Records In Your Room

Records In Your Room

I had my time, you had your time,
the time when music meant most to you.
The nineteen sixties, that was my time,
my first full decade, born as I was in 1952.
Elvis Presley sang Heartbreak Hotel.
Some listened to it till they knew it well,
learned to play it on guitar,
to follow him to be a star.
Buddy Holly sang Peggy Sue.
Keep it simple seemed the thing to do.
Lonnie Donegan sang Putting On The Style,
played skiffle with mischief in his smile.
Harry Belafonte sang Island In The Sun.
Tap your feet to its calypso beat.
Bob Dylan sang Masters of War.
Made sure we knew what protest was for.
The Beatles sang We Can Work It Out.
They’d come a long way since Twist and Shout.
Bad news hit us like a metal glove.
They gave us hope with All You Need Is Love.
Peter, Paul and Mary sang Blowing In The Wind.
Simon and Garfunkel sang The Sound of Silence.
Martin Carthy sang Scarborough Fair.
All part of the folk revival.
John Mayall led the British blues boom.
To be tuned in, feel part of it all,
you had your records in your room.
Donovan sang Hurdy Gurdy Man.
Leonard Cohen sang Suzanne.
No more war, peace was the plan.
Fairport Convention sang Tam Lin.
The Incredible String Band sang The Circle Is Unbroken.
The fence was lept, the gate was open.
Tim Hardin, John Martyn, the list is long.
What a time for new kinds of song.
It was our music, the words and tunes we could understand.
Surprise and wonder, none of it was planned.
I loved it then, still love it now.
My path was clear, so was my brow.

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Penguin Rune

Penguin Rune

Somehow emperor penguins
survive winter under the polar moon,
beaten by blizzards
that whistle an icy tune.

We know emperor penguins
were born to cope with the Antarctic cold,
dive deep to hunt fish,
huddle for warmth in a fold.

Screens show emperor penguins
how they walk slow in lines to the south pole,
lay eggs, raise their young,
climb up, out from a snow hole.

Strange to think wherever we are,
as our thoughts shift through notions,
there are emperor penguins in the frozen south,
whales and dolphins in the oceans.
Always there’s the danger, if the mind sleeps,
the jungle leaves part and the lion leaps.

Long live emperor penguins.
May humans help them stubbornly endure.
If the icebergs melt,
they’ll have breeding grounds no more.

Chance etched a penguin rune
on a frosty slate.
Under the polar moon,
we can help life go on.
It is not too late.

Sides

Sides

One side lost, the other side never won.
Consider the riddle, decide which side you are on.
Criss-crossed in the middle are the lines that divide.
Observe them grow faint as the vision fails.
No one more alone than an emperor on his throne,
cannot pick a bone with anyone.

Geese screech across the late November sky,
leave the far mere in irregular lines.
Winter comes.
The trees will soon be bare.
Will you stay on the same side
or choose another cause to bear?

One side won, the other side never lost.
Answer the riddle to know which border you crossed.
A triangle has three sides, a square has four.
A circle has no sides but has been broken before.

Now the Arthur king in the tales
sat his knights at a table round,
all to be equal with no chair at the head,
but Mordred rebelled and broke the ideal
on the battle ground.
Both sides lost.
No one heard the final bugle sound.

Insect Possibilities

Insect Possibilities

If I were a moth, I’d flit between lit light bulbs,
bat my wings on lamp shades,
act on instinct till my instinct fades.
If I were an ant, I wouldn’t be anti-social.
Other insects wouldn’t bug me.
As long as they did not disrupt the building of my ant hill,
I would let them be.
If I were a grasshopper, I’d be an insect athlete.
In any twig and herb hurdle race,
I’d be happy to compete.
If I were a bee, I’d be happy in my hive,
even though I wouldn’t have the brain to know
that I was alive.
If I were a spider, I’d have the look to frighten humans
when they saw me crawling in their rooms.
I’d have the skill to weave a web to catch a fly.
I wouldn’t live long but I wouldn’t have the brain to know
I was born to die.
If I lived in America, as an insect, I’d be called a bug.
They would try to swat me if I legged over a mat
or nestled in a rug.
If I were a wasp, I’d buzz around in kitchens,
the bane of human ears,
and snout about in dust bins,
as if I lived for years.
If I were a caterpillar, I’d become a butterfly,
a cabbage white or red admiral.
It would seem my summer never would go by.
If I were a termite, I’d have no wings for flight,
but I wouldn’t mind, as long as I had rotten wood to bite,

Green Bird

Green Bird

First it was a green bird,
perched on my garden fence,
then it was a leaf.
The illusion I loved,
however it was brief.

Should have had my glasses on,
then it would have been plain.
It was a leaf and not a green bird,
a trick of my eye never to happen again.

What you see before you,
is there something more?
Can an illusion be the key
to a hidden door?
For me the key was a green bird
that really was a leaf,
made me aware of a beauty,
fair beyond belief.

If it were a green bird,
it would sing the note to fit the word.
I’d be in a different world,
if it were a green bird.

First it was a green bird,
then it was a leaf.
It was better as a green bird,
that is my belief.

Spiral Stair

Spiral Stair

I’d like to get down there
where the lines are thin and bare.
First I must find that spiral stair
with iron steps and no rail to hold,
to prove not every song has been sung,
not every tale is told.

A grey hair glitters on my page.
It fell from my head.
I must have soaked something in
after all the books I’ve read.
The bards skilled in fine lyric line
tasted mount Olympus wine.

And if I finally got down there
where the lines are thin and bare,
I’d leave behind the spiral stair
with iron steps and no rail to hold,
and trace my verses in silver,
etch them out in gold.

Eleventh of November, 1918

Eleventh of November, 1918

( my poem was published in my local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo, on Thursday, 8th, November, 2018 )

Must be Sunday afternoon.
The kitchen is warm with the oven roasting potatoes brown.
But that’s home in England.
Here I am in this trench, far from any French town.
These fields and woods we’ve blighted with battle.
Rifles ready, someone shouts, keep helmets down.
But no, I am gone, gone with my name and battalion,
felled by bullet and bayonet, blasted away with our captain’s brave stallion.
It draws back, further and further away,
the eleventh of November, 1918, one century ago, Armistice Day,
the end of the First World War.
The fields we gave back to skylark and poppy.
Horrendous it was to the core.