Summer In England
The land was before us and so was the sea.
We are intruders in the wild of stone and tree.
We dwell in our shelters and pine to be free.
Freed the forest from dangers,
as strangers we study the sky.
We do not belong there
but our dreams take us high.
Where are we going? Where have we gone?
If only we knew how to get through.
But let us be civilised, it is summer.
In England that means a pot of tea,
strawberry jam and cream on a scone.
Golf On The Radio
Listen, there is golf on the radio.
Seemed hard to believe, a snag in the flow.
Unstimulated by the sport, though,
as a schoolboy, I remember I enjoyed
playing putting on the putting green
in my local park,
I changed stations, listened, for a lark.
Listen, the voice of the commentator
speaks as low as the grass
he describes in a lull in the play,
as he does the hues of the sky,
clouds as they pass,
his tone quiet as a stationary caddie,
clear as the head of a club.
After a minute, I turn off.
That is all I can take.
But there is comfort to know,
in this loud world,
there is golf on the radio.
Wrecks In The Deep
You try to climb the mountain,
the way up grows too steep.
Decide to dwell in dreams,
find your bed too hard for sleep.
The boat you built to sail in
becomes a wreck in the deep.
Train to be an astronaut,
you will not aim for less.
Prepare for life in space,
consider it a success
when you handle your helmet,
and master weightlessness.
Remember when you were younger,
you voyaged out with no map or compass,
no true course to keep,
almost drowned to be one of many
wrecks in the deep.
Odd as it may seem,
though you’ve been here a long time,
life still seems to you
stranger than a dream.
Why didn’t they look after themselves?
Why did they leave widows and orphans
on the shore to weep?
Too many left the stage too early,
floundered to end as wrecks in the deep.
Hiram Bingham was a scholar
who wanted to explore
worlds outside his study window,
beyond his college door.
Once he heard of Vilcabamba,
was somewhere in Peru,
so he set off for the Andes,
maybe the myth was true.
The lost city of the Incas
was what he sought to find.
His guide was Melchor Arteaga,
so his steps were not blind.
From the river Apurimac,
he crossed the jungle line,
to the air paths of the condor,
cut through bamboo and vine.
On the slopes stood ancient stone work,
half hid by moss and fern,
walls of Inca Manco’s mansions,
his heart began to burn.
Happily Hiram Bingham
found more than was his dream.
The remains of Vilcabamba
was silver in the stream.
Happily Hiram Bingham
searched for Inca Manco’s mansions.
What Was Washed Up By The Sea
( new version )
What was washed up by the sea,
we study on the shore,
empty shells and bits of wood,
weeds the waves tossed and tore.
Time to watch the tall ships go,
begin an ocean race.
From quieter centuries,
mast and sail pass with grace.
There’s only now, swallows say.
Rise with the dew of dawn.
We’re sorry now, seagulls cry.
For mariners they mourn.
Taken by the horizon,
the last tall ship sails on.
I step by a razor shell,
another stranger gone.
Better Than A Dream
I could have come to you in a Chinese junk,
an Egyptian sail boat on the Nile,
rich with Oriental treasures in my trunk,
Persian ruby to reflect your smile.
Through fantasy I came to you by camel,
then by rickshaw and paddle steamer,
in a barge on low land canal and channel
with no bus or tram for a dreamer.
I would have walked,
if it weren’t for border controls,
people asking for passports and papers,
eyes hard with mistrust and suspicion.
I could have walked,
and reached my destination.
I could have landed in your city square
in an air balloon,
but in reality, more straightforwardly,
I met you at the airport.
The other ways would have taken too long,
been too slow.
We would have been together far less soon.
Flew over the south Caucasian mountains.
Here and there, I saw the bare stone gleam.
We stood in Republic Square by the fountains.
Felt your hand, was better than a dream.
No Thunder Yet
No thunder yet, best be wary though, could be soon,
weather men warn.
Later, clouds lower, bulge, darken,
turn black, dark blue, swollen
with trapped tempests.
Bomber plane bold, they frighten, threaten.
Like tables for a banquet set
spread summer gardens,
defiantly green, yellow.
Birds, butterflies, moths and bees,
the invited guests,
observed by magpie servants in the trees.
For now, storms stay south,
but lightning could come,
to flash on roofs, crack horizons.
If I live that long,
maybe I will have my moment,
like King Lear on the heath,
find words to have my say,
my silent soul will speak,
prove that I see clearly through poverty and pomp.
What I learned of life’s unfairness I would condemn,
its brief beauty praise.