Snap Out Of The Trap

Snap Out Of The Trap

The pharaoh sat on his throne,
worshipped as the sun god Ra.
To his people he was the Nile,
he was the eastern star,
and as he stroked the mane
of the lion in his lap,
he said, no mortal can be like me, to be that free,
first you must snap out of the trap.

Snap out of the trap.
Vain mortal you must learn
to snap out of the trap.

Mortals conspire
to construct the trap, bar by bar, wire by wire.
If to unwind your mind from it is your desire,
you must work hard, never take a nap,
not if you want to truly see, to be that free,
to entirely snap out of the trap.

There are many pits in the path,
many ways to fall,
but you can still live like a god
in a golden hall.
Hold up the lamp of truth,
and the trap will unhinge,
the wires will uncoil,
then you will see with clear eyes,
and your vision of the stars will never spoil.

Snap out of the trap.
Vain mortal you must learn
to snap out of the trap.

The pharaoh may be more than four thousand years dead,
but be wise, pay heed to what he said.
If you want to be like a god,
stroke the mane of a lion in your lap,
first you must snap out of the trap.

Snap out of the trap.
Vain mortal you must learn
to snap out of the trap.

 

The Puppeteers

The Puppeteers

I was a schoolboy,
I had a wooden fort,
stood it on the floor,
and my tin soldiers fought.
Made one side defend,
the other side attack,
leader of the siege,
and those who battled back.
Mown down by marbles,
soon most of them lay flat.
Was a better game
than with a ball and bat.
Thought if they were real,
I was the one to fear,
for they were the puppets,
I the puppeteer.

I am an old man,
I have no wooden fort.
I know of the wars
in which real soldiers fought.
Watched one side defend,
the other side invade.
Underneath burnt banners,
no treaty was made.
Shot down by rifles,
the wounded and the dead
lie in broken towns.
All hope of peace has fled.
Machine men fighters,
it is not them I fear.
No, not them, the puppets,
but the puppeteer.

The army of China,
the army of North Korea,
watch them march on the screen
like puppets with one face.
It is not them, the puppets I fear,
it is the puppeteer.
Remember Punch and Judy.
No. it is not the puppets that should rouse your fears,
it is the puppeteers.

Sometime Soon

Sometime Soon

Sometime soon sounds better to you
than a  long time later,
as you write the rhyme of the porcupine
and the alligator.
The others on the train blank you out as a stranger.
Safe in your solitude, they interest you,
like them you sense no danger.

The lighthouse on the rock
will guide your boat to harbour.
The door without a lock
lets you venture further.
The further in you go
the more the truth seems nearer.

Faraway, long ago.
All those tales on the page,
all those dramas acted
on the screen and on the stage.
How you loved them when you were inside them.

The arrows of Agincourt, the cannonballs of Trafalgar.
Weapons of war brought victory, defeat.
What if peace had no opposite? Day had no night?
The stag in the mist lives on with no witness.
What if the whale grew legs and walked on the land,
would it decide to turn back and remain in the ocean?
The mermaid is a myth. Still she enchants.
Even old sailors look for her on the rocks.
The hand at the end of the arm,
fashioned to reach, grasp, and hold, clutches its limit
while the mind imagines it can touch stars.
What is that fragrance they wore when they were alive in their skin?
On the outskirts of towns in the north
bears tip over bins in the yards of wooden houses,
clawing and smelling for food discarded by humans,
root through the rubbish for crumbs.
The wild enters the settlements.
A hawk watches from the top of a telegraph pole
the small creatures of the land the gardens cannot tame.
What might happen and what will happen
are not the same things but they can change places.

The People First Party

The People First Party

Vote for the People First Party.
The People First Party puts people first,
everything else, including money, second.
I know it is not your fault
but the way things are now
must come to a halt.
For a long time, it has been money first,
everything else, including people, second.
And a very poor second.
People sell weapons,
not thinking of the people they will kill,
but the money they will bring to the bank.
People need food, clothing, lodging,
not a bomber or a tank.
It would not be enough
for one city or country
to follow the People First Party.
All the world must,
to save us from decline and dust.

Servant To The Song

Servant To The Song

A singer ought to be servant to the song.
Pay heed to that advice and you can’t go wrong.
Attend to the tune and where the words belong.
Forget yourself and then hear your voice grow strong.
A singer ought to be servant to the song.

A craftsman works to be master of his trade.
He shines his skill so that it will never fade.
He wants to be proud of everything he made.
He hopes others will follow the lines he laid.
A craftsman works to be master of his trade.

A shepherd lives for the safety of his sheep.
He holds his staff, the peace of the flock to keep.
Lifts them from the snow before they’re stiff with sleep.
He knows what he may sow he will one day reap.
A shepherd lives for the safety of his sheep.

A runner trains to be winner of the race.
Like astronauts, he challenges time and space.
He knows that only age will lessen his pace.
Desire for victory is carved in his face.
A runner trains to be winner of the race.

A singer ought to be servant to the song.

Day Dream of a Steam Train Driver

Day Dream of a Steam Train Driver

The mountains in winter
are cold, hard and bitter
for a steam train driver.
At times I have to go slow
because of avalanched snow.
With ice on my eyebrow,
I cut through with my steel plough,
turn a bend, head for a tunnel
White smoke clouds rise from my black funnel.
I know it’s bad for air pollution.
Electricity will provide the solution.
The crossing of the iron bridge
inflates my frustration.
But relief will come, not to mention elation,
when my ride terminates in central station.
Meanwhile, nothing can darken my day dream
of being a grizzly bear, fishing in a stream.

If I were a grizzly bear,
I’d catch a salmon in my claw,
way out there in the wilderness,
and of course, I’d eat it raw,
my teeth built to rend and gnaw

If I were a grizzly bear,
I’d eat honey from fallen trees.
I would scoop it from a log,
not bothered by stings of bees
or the peskiness of fleas.

But I remain in my steam train.
To be a grizzly bear is just a dream.
I can always go there again,
fishing for silver salmon in a stream.

If I were a grizzly bear,
I would not have a care.
If I were a grizzly bear,
I’d climb a rocky stair.
If I were a grizzly bear.

Such is the day dream of a steam train driver.

 

 

Mark On The Map

Mark On The Map

A tree grows in slow time,
its tale told in long rhyme.
Rings in the wood, lines in the leaf
speak of spring joy, summer pleasure,
autumn wisdom, winter grief.
Root and branch, berry and bark
reach for the light,
delve into earthy dark.

Read in the water book,
be any fish in the river you like,
but beware of the worm on the hook,
flood and drought, the jaws of the pike.

Find the key to your door,
your mark on the map,
the path to the shore,
the way free of the trap.

It’s a pine marten for October
on my calendar of the wild life
of the British Isles.
Only the joker sees the joke
so only the joker smiles.
It’s all right, I’m just drifting,
shifting through the leaves,
lifting lid below lid to see what I’ll find,
whatever’s been hid, left behind by the grind.

You can eat an Oriental meal
without a speck of spice,
but it wouldn’t be half as nice.
You can buy an expensive car
without thinking of the price,
but you won’t drive it far
without manuals of motoring advice.

Find the key to your door,
your mark on the map,
the path to the shore,
the way free of the trap.