Tag Archives: war

Armoured Knight

Armoured Knight

Armoured Knight stands guard on my sitting room shelf.
His post was once on my bedroom window sill.
He is part of my past.
An ornament I bought in a gift shop in Woolacombe
on the North Devon coast.
Souvenir of a summer.
1970. I was eighteen. Worked in a hotel kitchen,
my brain blown open by ocean,
I pined to find words for what I could hear in sea gull cries,
far and high in the sky,
yearned to see white sailed boats voyage out from coves
to Atlantis.
Photographs of sunsets never developed well.
My camera could not capture
the hues of heaven I saw on the western horizon.
Armoured Knight I brought home in my haversack.
2017. Sixty five now.
Years ago, I somehow managed to break his lance.
Now his right hand grips only air.
Once I had to glue him back on his black plastic stand.
But why now the mention?
Recently, late one evening, I turned my CD player on,
leaned back in my arm chair.
My body light, forgotten, I attended to song,
became just an eye,
my spirit clasped by the top joint in the stalk of my spine,
aware only of words and notes in the air,
my gaze came to settle on Armoured Knight,
stood guard in his place on my sitting room shelf.
His helmeted head suddenly moulded into a mask.
The mask melted to reveal a bare face,
that of a man, a captain of soldiers.
He stared at the ground. His face pale, bony, stern.
His thought on battlefields behind him,
wars he had witnessed, weapons used by men,
from bow and arrow, sword and spear,
rifle and cannon to machine gun and tank.
He grew more macabre than a ghost,
a foul portent, ill omen,
till he could be given no other name than Death.
There he stood, Death himself.
Cold, battle boned, sword sharp, hard.
The spell broken, the vision vanished.
Armoured Knight restored himself.
An ornament. Nothing more.

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Final Pages

Final Pages

Here is my rusted helmet,
this is my broken shield.
You may wonder how I survived it,
what happened on the field.

I believed the king was right,
the rebel leader wrong.
Out of the great battle we fought in,
the minstrel made a song.

I rest now in this chapel,
seems the true place to be.
Say a prayer and think of what happened,
if anyone is free.

It ever was a tangle,
it ever was a mess.
The doctor was right about the wound,
the pain grows less and less.

I loved the woods in summer,
I loved the stars at night.
I was moved by fine words on the page.
Wish I knew which were right.

Now read the final pages
that will complete my tale.
Though mist and shadow lies on my quest,
I know I did not fail.

Don’t Want A War

Don’t Want A War

Don’t want a war between America and China.
Don’t want a war between anyone at all.
Will we go down the snake or up the ladder?
If they drop the dice on what number will it fall?

Don’t want to hear just why they don’t trust each other.
Don’t want to fear when I listen to the news.
Will the earth be dry and bare as a crater?
Will all the captains go down with their ships and crews?

Don’t you be fooled when they say the feud is over.
Don’t you be ruled by the hard hatred they feel.
When the dove is dead the vulture will hover.
Then the world will wake to find the nightmare is real.

Don’t want a war are the words I brand on my brow.
Don’t want a war is my protest in the dark.
To the might of machines they would have us bow.
No shelter is a lone tree with no leaf or bark.

David and Goliath

David and Goliath

An old story I summon,
a tale long been told.
Its lesson is lasting,
has more worth than cold chambers
the kings filled with gold.

David was a shepherd boy
in the hills alone,
slew a bear and a lion
with a sling and stone.

He plucked a lyre’s strings,
wrote psalms in God’s praise,
sang them to his sheep.
He looked up to the mountains,
watched the waters leap.

To the vale of Elah,
his father told him to go,
take bread and cheese to his brothers,
who fought in the Israelite army of King Saul
against the Philistines.
There he saw a giant man,
named Goliath of Gath,
his spear, shield and armour
brighter than any bronze that shines.

Stood between the two armies,
Goliath challenged the champion of Israel
to single combat in the vale.
If he should be slain, he said,
his army would serve King Saul,
but if he was victor,
they must serve his kind.
No one volunteered to fight him,
instead fear made them hard eyed and pale.

Angered by the boastful giant,
David took four stones from a stream,
ran out on the battlefield,
all was clear and sharp,
but it seemed like a dream.

“Is this the best you can do,
King of Israel, send a boy to fight me?”
bawled Goliath when he saw David
challenge him alone.
But David was not daunted, took aim,
slew him with sling and stone.
So King Saul and his army
were the victors in the end.
David did not know,
but he had made his first steps to the throne.

Leaders of this dark time,
safe behind your secrets and your codes,
one of you send out your Goliath,
like the Philistines did of old,
to challenge the nations,
defend your cold chambers filled with gold.
Let him boast of his might.
He will be left to mock the world alone.
No David will come to slay him
with his sling and stone.

Cleanse the Lens

Cleanse the Lens

Tell me about your prejudice,
tell me about your pain,
tell me about your kings,
which one of them should reign.

Come on, be quick, hurry,
we need a solution soon.
Times are getting scary,
we’re left with a broken tune.

People seek for shelter,
flee to escape the war.
At best they find pity,
at worst a bolted door.

Dark kings ruled in the past,
one is yet to come.
Try to predict his time
as you pass round the rum.

Magnify, see the grit,
cleanse the lens, bit by bit,
until your vision’s pure.
You may then make a start,
draw a path on a chart,
for your boat to reach the shore.

The Healing of the Rift

The Healing of the Rift

The age of migrations,
long before maps were made,
the tribes not yet nations,
they had not thought of trade.
On one side of the chasm,
they began to build a bridge,
but on the other they raised weapons,
and built a fortress on the ridge.
You can upturn an hour glass,
to watch the sand sift down and shift,
but you may wait forever
for the healing of the rift.

In this new age of migrations,
caused by poverty and war,
tensions between nations
makes every law unsure.
No feud is forgotten,
and always there’s the threat,
the sword will crack the cradle,
the fragile balance be upset.
You can shoulder your burden,
set out to do no more than drift,
and pray for a true treaty
to bring the healing of the rift.

Left with speculations,
you are puzzled by the lies,
with no illuminations,
to shed scales from your eyes.
At the mercy of leaders,
too obstinate to agree,
you must board a broken boat,
and take rough chances on the sea.
You feel stranded with no signs,
and a load you cannot lift.
All that remains is your dream
of the healing of the rift.

Truth

Truth

Those who have got will get more,
those who have not will stay poor.
A few are loved by millions for a song.
Many are loved by no one
and never will belong.
If you think that’s not right,
tell me where it’s wrong.
If your path leads to light,
fight to remain strong.

Truth is a thin, upright line,
sewn on bare cloth,
unmistakable, once found.
Falsehood is a mesh,
a tangle of wire, rusted rods,
burnt signs, dusty flags,
inwoven, bolted to the ground.

The fields are green on the Somme now,
as they ought to be.
One hundred years gone
since men fought to be free of war,
for children in peace
to play with the tides on the shore.