She Came From Dark Cove

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                  She Came From Dark Cove

She came from Dark Cove on the Newfoundland shore,
where the fisher folk fight with the sea.
Her grandfather’s wife was an Indian squaw,
and her wandering led her to me.

Below the Cairngorms in old grey stone Braemar,
where the salmon they leap in the Dee,
we met one summer in the blue, smoky bar,
at the hotel we worked, to be free.

Free as the falcons on the mountains we saw,
as the deer who ran wild through the glen.
We found a heaven, but turned back at the door,
and it never will open again.

I brought her feathers and deer antlers to draw,
and she told me of lands over sea,
of pots she had made and of paintings in store
of winged spirits who lived in a tree.

See her by rivers, winding green willow wands,
drawing white eagles, wolf cubs and bears.
She came to my cell and she unthonged my bonds,
as she quietly led me upstairs.

She may be a wife with a baby by now,
five years gone since I last saw her face,
or in a canoe, slowly wondering how
to sail back to her grandmother’s race.

Me I am happy she came my wall at all,
I still see her by moon and by star.
May the glad laughter of waters in fall
echo round you wherever you are.

 

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The Dust of Dinosaurs

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                 The Dust of Dinosaurs

What is the combined age of all the stars
in the universe put together?

A mathematician could work that out on a board.
A computer would have the answer stored.

“You see all this sand on the shore?
It is the dust of dinosaurs,”
I told my fellow school friends,
as we smelt seaweed and hunted for crabs
on the long, flat, summer beach,
and the wind blew through the marram grass.
“What happened was, a dinosaur died on the shore,
then, first he became a big white bony skeleton,
which then, over the years, turned to yellow dust,
all this sand we can see and hold in our hands.”

My companions pondered my words, remained mute.
“I didn’t know that,” one of them said,
still a bit puzzled, breaking the silence, the tension.
“So sand is dinosaur dust?”
“That’s right,” I replied,
as we continued our search for crabs,
and watched the fish and chip boat
slide out of Liverpool Bay
on its slow sail to the Isle of Mann.

The Lay of Lord Florg Fletchley Belch

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     The Lay of Lord Florg Fletchley Belch

( Being a poem composed by a frog, translated into human. )

First, an example of the original poem, written in frog, followed by the human translation for your scribal scrutiny and writty critty:

Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit, croak, gulp, ribbit, belch,
gulp, ribbit, ribbit, ribbit, burp, belch, ribbit, ribbit, ribbit.
Crawk, crawk, gumph, ribbit, ribbit, umph, crawk,
glug, morg, crawk, ribbit, ribbit, ribbit.

Winter kip over,
sniff lily, lick clover,
I splutter and squelch,
and this is the lay
of Lord Florg Fletchley Belch,
that being me,
now lightly and springy,
still yet no buzz
from the bright stingy bee.
I am big frog and old,
far older and bigger
than amphibian relation,
for your explanation, the toad.
In back garden pond I dwell,
not reedy river, swamp splodge or well.
Leap on the pad of fair lily,
sniff fronds, slimy and frilly,
smell on the grass, new mown,
belch over petals,
slime over seeds, fresh sown.
Cat, owl and magpie
annually try
to gobble me whole
on the grassy grass,
under the bird twittery sky,
but for them, with hold back and caution,
I am too fast,
and slippery, too.
With a leap and a croak,
I am back in my pond,
submerge my head with good soak,
danger is past.
Ah, I remember the tiddler time,
when I was a wee tadpole,
to be big frog, my only goal.
Now I croak and belch that I am,
muchly to my amphibian mirth,
my belly weight and girth.
Happy am I as toothy beaver,
new builder of twiggy dam.
Many a frog is a poet,
not even a newt may know it.
There was Willy Shakeleaf
and Jonny Millconic,
who wrote epic frog verse,
super and sonic.
Far more worthy are frog folk
of sonnet, lyric or ode
than wriggly grass snake,
slow worm or toad.
We can write witty critty,
get down to the nitty,
slurp sure in our muddy abode.
From serious squirm,
from one higher than worm,
light relief,
from an old croaky frog on a leaf.

Goshen

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              Goshen

Jacob named his destination Goshen,
land of light, free of plague, war and sin,
there shepherds grazed their flocks in peace.
Halt, said Nahor, an old man, met at a well,
such a land is only found within.
Tapped his chest, stiffly,
his hand bony, fingers thin,
robe grubby, smelt of camel,
desert wood fire smoke,
sand and dust encrusted skin.
Jacob was impressed, but not convinced.
In the city, what is wrong?
Nahor questioned him.
Within high stone walls, a man is safe,
at least from the invader’s sword, isolation.
Women you want may be beyond your reach,
but still there, at their windows,
glittering with jewels,
in the market place, passing by.
I speak as one who has travelled many lands,
stood on shores, looked on seas
where dolphins swim.
Jacob said no more, led his tribe away.
Nahor wondered later,
if he should have taken up his staff,
and followed him.

Naive Painter

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               Naïve Painter

Yugoslavian mountains, lakes, rivers,
he painted, copper, russet, vermilion,
smiled to himself,
born to make as much impression
on this world, he reckoned,
as that brown moth that flittered
by that rock or by the stream, that lamb.
Father huffed and coughed
over his talk of art.
What is that to do with you or who I am?
he questioned him.
Mother understood, remotely.
Always was a distant sail on the water.
But what was never in your line, she said,
is never in your blood.
No money to study in the academy,
never been to the city, anyway,
bound to rural life,
sheep flocks, farm economy.
Over his shoulders, some looked,
grinned, shook heads at his rounded trees,
like those done by a school child, they said,
look like  shiny balloons,
big lollipops bought at the fair.
Naïve painter acknowledged himself to be,
so, free of rules, tradition, tuition,
what if, in his paradise vision,
beyond those mountain peaks,
he painted what he had seen alone in photographs,
Inca step pyramids, Sumerian ziggurats,
Babylonian towers?
Breathed in, smiled again.
Free to do so,
made turquoise smears into flowers,
scarlet streaks into trees,
fields from sweeps of indigo.

Monk and Traveller

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                                 Monk and Traveller

Monk said no word,
seemed he never would.
Traveller prepared to go,
did not mind, he understood.
At hut door, he turned.
Monk shone, said:
May Yamantaka,
Destroyer of the God of Death,
step from his heaven,
to defend you when you need his aid.
Among urban fume, city clatter,
may you hear, far off,
a Himalayan temple gong,
an old goat herder
play on a wooden flute,
a shepherd song.
Every house you find as you roam
be the home where your heart may rest,
your soul belong.
Blessings from east to west,
north to south,
as you move through
the seasons strong.
May your mind metropolis
lift to a higher key,
the holy ones cleanse your windows,
oil your wheels,
reveal wisdom books,
open seals.
When you walk in the fair ground of the world,
and choose for yourself a treat
you would not eat at any other time,
be it candy floss, toffee apple or milk shake,
may that fresh taste make
something deep within you wake,
so you see the plum and crocus clouds,
bold above the earthly carousel,
and you grasp the wonder
that truly all is well.
And may the parliament of poets
pen lines to ponder on your path,
the clown of the god king’s court
remind you that beyond the enlightened smile,
there is the blessed laugh.
Monk fell silent, smiled,
gave his head a nod.
Traveller said thanks,
wondered if he need seek
the servant of another god.

Volund

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                Volund

Volund rested from smith work,
his hot forge behind him,
he stood in the doorway,
looked up at the high pines of Wolfdale,
his eyes, sore with flame, smudged by smoke,
brightened with wonder.
Three swans he saw,
swoop down from the sky,
to settle on water,
on a far, tree hidden lake.
In a sudden, they came,
flew out of the thunder.
Later, three women
came walking towards him,
two had dark hair, one had golden.
He knew they were not mortals,
but Valkyries, handmaidens of Odin.
“First I saw three swans
fly down to the forest,
now three white clothed women
come to me. What means this?”
he asked them.
“That was us, not Odin alone
can change his form,”
said Hervor, whose hair was golden,
like sunshine on cornfields.
Volund’s two brothers,
Slagfidur and Egil,
came down from a hunt
for jewels in the mountains,
saw him speak with three women.
“What is it I see?” said Slagfidur to Egil.
“A vision of Valhalla?
No mortal women does our brother entertain.”
“They are Valkyries,
handmaidens of Odin,
come down to Earth to court mortal men,”
Egil told his brother.
To him all was clear,
the air without smoke to smother.
“Do not take her for your wife,
she will leave you heartbroken,”
Volund was warned by Gunnhilda,
his mother, long a widow.
Where he saw sunshine,
she saw only shadow.
But he looked upon Hervor,
her bright hair that was golden,
and listened not to his mother
with her rune stones and elk horns.
For nine winters,
Volund lived with Hervor, his lover,
as did Egil with Olrun,
and Slagfidur with Swanwhite.
Nine winters went by,
warmer than wood fire,
then for the chase,
the wild ride in the sky,
the courts of Valhalla,
the three women pined.
One early spring morn,
Volund woke without Hervor beside him,
her bright hair on the pillow, like corn.
Outside, in Wolfdale,
he watched three swans
fly from the forest,
but he still had his smith work,
he grew cold as his anvil,
hard as his hammer,
cared not that snow fell in winter,
the sun beamed in summer.
Thought only of Hervor,
his fair one, his lover,
from whom he was parted,
who now rode in the sky
with her Valkyrie sisters
over the battles of men
on land and on sea,
doing their duty for Odin.
His two brothers went off,
sought gold in the mountains,
long hidden treasure,
knowing whatever they found
would bring them no pleasure.
While he dreamed he lived in Asgard
with Hervor, his lover,
as servant of Odin,
held in high honour
as smith of Valhalla.

 

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