Flute

10 December 2011 § 4 Comments

A two-foot tube of secrets
Waiting to be opened
With a bunch of keys.

A slim precision rifle
Punching silver bullets
Into the ceiling.

A bright magic wand
Conjuring brooks and birdsong
Out of thin air.

A sovereign remedy

1 November 2011 § 3 Comments

A Charm Against Ye Knavish Trick-or-Treaters

Attend ye, this All Hallows’ Eve,
Heed my warning: take thy leave,
Get ye hence, touch not this door,
Retrace thy steps, disturb no more
Our sweet repose at close of day.
Thou art not welcome, go thy way.
Thy witch’s hat and monster mask
Shall not avail thee: prithee ask
Not here for toothsome snacks or sweets –
Demand elsewhere thy tricks or treats.
For in this house a creature lies
With sharp white teeth and burning eyes.
Flee while ye may, rouse not his wrath
And take again thy homeward path.
Be ye not heard, be ye not seen
Within our bounds this Hallowe’en.

Rather than my usual grumpy offering, I posted this on the front door last night to ward off the regrettable American import that’s usurped our native All Hallows’ Eve traditions. I’m pleased to say it proved 100% effective!

Duet: a love story

28 October 2011 § 9 Comments

At break-time in rehearsals
A flute lay on a chair
And let out little silver sighs
Of sorrow and despair.

Her heart had just been broken
By a cruel cor anglais
Who’d charmed her with his double reed
And smooth, seductive ways.

He’d loved her con fuoco,
Their passion ran con brio
Till he spoiled it by asking if
She’d like to form a trio.

Seduced, abandoned, cast aside
The poor flute wondered whether
She’d ever find an instrument
Who’d want to play together.

And then she saw another flute
Reclining at his ease
And as she stared a shiver ran
Along her trembling keys.

He shimmered in the spotlights’ gleam
That subtly revealed
His head-joint made from finest gold –
“A Louis Lot!” she squealed.

But then she wept, resigned herself
To love him from afar:
He’d never give a second glance
To a humble Yamaha.

Yet when the orchestra returned
Replete with cake and tea
He met her gaze and whispered
That he loved her desperately.

He wooed her with a Bach bourrée,
And a Mozart minuet
Then they made a little night music
As they played their first duet.

So now they’re happy, side by side
In harmony – and, who knows?
Perhaps she’ll quit the orchestra
And raise some piccolos.

Sowing discord

27 September 2011 § 8 Comments

Seeds of change

One for the rook
One for the crow
One to wither
One to grow.

One for the deluge
One for the drought
One each for the pigeon
And mouse to dig out.

One for the subsidy
One for the crash.
One for the Government
Desperate for cash.

One for the trader
In futures, who bets
On prices, then pockets
The millions he gets.

One for the banks.
Make that two – make that ten.
No, make it a billion.
And then start again.

One for the climate,
Now warming, it seems.
One for our hopes.
One for our dreams.

One for our gluttony
One for our greed
None for the millions
We choose not to feed.

One for the rook,.
One for the crow.
One to wither.
One to grow.

The farmers are already busy drilling next year’s cereal crops, and I’ve had the old rhyme about seeds that bookends this poem going round in my head all day. Blame the Party Conference season for the rather downbeat tone of the stuff in between!

A thorny subject

25 September 2011 § 12 Comments

By any other name?

Call me
Barbed-flower
Flesh-ripper
Swell-tendon
Blood-dripper.

My scent is dulled
My colour bled
My suckers rampant
Leaders dead.

Call me
Shirt-snagger
Finger-finder
Hand-harrow
Eye-blinder.

Hack me down
Cut me deep
Burn my remains
Leave me to sleep.

Call me
Fly-ridden
Rust-spotted
Mildew-powdered
Canker-rotted.

Then tell me how
Sweet I smell now.

Pruned a rose bush this morning. Didn’t enjoy it much!

Testing times

14 September 2011 § 9 Comments

Blood work

Someone in a lab
Is looking through a lens
At a smear of blood and lymph.
An anonymous clutch
Of nameless cells
In search of an identity.

A blackthorn snapped off
And driven deep,
Bee-sting, dog-bite,
Barbed-wire tear, unseen blow –
Any of the litany
Of injury attending dogs like him
(Long on legs, short on brain)
Might have forced the flesh to swell
Into the hen’s egg
That now lurks, submarine-sinister
Beneath his velvet skin.

Or something else:

That single drop
From the tablespoonful the syringe drew off
Will tell all.

So we await the blood-work
Wondering what they’ll find
And how much we stand to lose.

Hurricane Katia

12 September 2011 § 9 Comments

Someone else’s storm

The oak is full of surf-sounds.
The poplars hiss and twist
Branches bent like umbrellas
Blown inside-out.
Twigs, leaves, small branches litter
The verge and gutter,
Pigeons hurtle over the wood
Like artillery shells:
Even the drowsy river
Is stippled and disturbed,
Raked by cat’s-paws.
Clouds big as counties
Shutter the sun, sending shadows
Running like hounds over the plough
And under it all
A deep-drone fugue
For Aeolian harp
Played on gates and power lines.
The land shakes, waits,
Wondering what will break upon it
As force and fury tear across
Three thousand miles of ocean.
And here we are
Caught up again
In someone else’s storm.