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Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Old Pictures Prompted By A Morning’s Frost

A sepia dawn reveals

a two-tone world,

surrendering colour to

frost’s brush,

reminding us of

long ago, of men in

hats with scythes

and Threshing Bees.


A cruel cold heralds

a quiet kill,

testifying intent with

frost’s knife,

reminding us of

long ago, of men in

helms with guns

and Yellow Legs.

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I often wonder in more generous moments if the colossal indifference we, as a society, show the homeless – particularly those forced to scavenge an existence from the streets – is because of the fear we experience in recognising that there is the finest line between the life we live and the life we could live if just one or two things changed.

We often fail to see the human being, with hopes, dreams and aspirations that now ekes out an existence on our streets. Somehow he or she is less than human. And sometimes we see the most violent reaction to a person asking for coin to survive. There is an automatic assumption that they are a scrounger or criminal, that they want the money for drink or drugs (and if they do, that in and of itself is a reason not to give them money). We are more comfortable with attaching a label.

I have struggled to reconcile street living with the values of a civilised society.

I still can’t make it fit.

The Beggar Girl

She appals and disgusts,

this beggar girl,

croaking and coughing

down on the pavement,

thin fingers

groping from her

nicotine threads,

a skin-sack of bones,

heaped in her corner,

trolling our evenings for

pity and silver.


She angers and provokes,

this beggar girl,

shaking and stinking

down on the pavement,

sunken eyes

searching from her

spit-stained hood,

like piss holes in snow,

dead in her skull,

jabbing our consciences with

hunger and shivers.


She defies and disturbs,

this beggar girl,

whining and weeping

down on the pavement,

once alive –

dancing with her

sister and friends,

swimming in an ocean,

eating floss in the wind,

imagining her future of

chances and lovers.


She confronts and questions,

this beggar girl,

pleading and praying

down on the pavement,

now dying –

tiring from our

fearful silence,

forgiving embarrassment,

appealing for release,

grasping her moments of

softness and giving.

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Poem: A Cold Night

A Cold Night

This night is bitter –

like you.

With your words cracked

like ice.

With your smile sharp

like glass.

Ink and songs

like camphor.



I warm myself –

despite you.

With my tears spilled

like wine.

With my sighs soft

like rain.

Blood and dreams

like apples.

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Poem: The Promise

I debated putting this up. I wasn’t going to dip into the back catalogue. However, I wrote this a couple of years ago and was reminded of it by a weather forecast promising snow. It was also written at the turning of the year and so I can still plead New Year.

Snow creates a momentary illusion of a new world, a blank canvas on which to write the day and as a child I always thought that it lay for weeks. In truth, it only lay for days and, as with many things, my recollections benefit from a gloriously over-active imagination.

Still, even now, my heart skips a beat when I wake to blanket of snow and everything looks pristine. Childish, perhaps, but as C. S. Lewis wrote: “When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

The Promise

In a curious loneliness of friends,
despite the quiet regard of strangers,
we beg our days – so fast and few – not fade,
but lie, like snow, the virgin fall that sings
audacious promise and begs us step into
a world renewed, where scars are hid and
tired paths are lost to love’s adventure.

In the coldest reckoning of our hours,
as frosts are whispered through our night,
I crave the comfort of your creased smile,
the shudder of your aching limbs,
your weary arms that give up the promise
of your quickening, breaking, bleeding heart:
the safer silence of another year.

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Poem: The House Alone

The House Alone

I know a strange aloneness tonight –
Though noise ruled the day,
The house stands quiet now,
An absence of sounds conquering the
Loud and shrill and banging.

There is a whine of blood and air
Where chatter had displaced thinking –
And I think I miss the sound of you,
Restless and laughing, love and
Madness in the stories we shared.

I know a strange aloneness tonight –
Though light ruled the day,
The house stands dark now,
Shadows and glimmers banishing the
Harsh and artificial.

There is a dance of soft colours
Where brightness had blinded seeing –
And I think I miss the sight of you,
Restless and laughing, love and
Mischief in the comfort of friends.

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We stopped and stared – young and old,
city shark and office cleaner,
the sensitive and the usually oblivious –
each hoping we might fix this small
and broken fearful bundle
hopping madly through the crowds,
its frailty and incompleteness
drawing out our wishes
for a healing or the serendipitous.

We walked on by – rich and poor,
business sort and volunteer,
the parent and the usually compassionate –
each hoping to forget the tall
but broken fearful bundle
huddled in the doorway,
his frailty and incompleteness
authored by a sad misfortune
or, uncomfortably, by chance and us.

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An Old Committee Room Clock

Its burnished face, worn by breath and dust,

gazing on the flare and flicker of lives

casually levelled by the years.


Its tight-wound heart, clogged by grit and rust,

grinding through the flap and chatter of words

caustically traded on the days.


Its iron-hard hands, watched with hope and trust,

goading fools and wise and fat and thin so

carefully counting out the hours.

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