Leicester – Night Shadows

Amos 070817 Alice 070817

In the night we talk,
Ghosts of a shared past, now immortalised;
On the fields of France and Belguim they died
But you believed the sacrifice was worth it
– cowards never prosper
But brave men give their blood for a higher cause
– Women’s voices needed to heard
– Their deaths were not in vain for that
The war to end all wars was a lie,
Women (and men) needed the truth
And that you denied
– They’ll build a statue to me
A statue of lies and needless deaths
– The cause of women shall go on
And so it should, but in the light of truth
– Truth?
Not in the shadow of deception,
Not in the opportunism,
Not hand in hand with those who exploit our kind;
– You are forgotten;
And you will one day be remembered for what you were;
I’ll bide my time for that, forgotten, remembered, statue or no.

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Fireflies

Fireflies

There is a silence in the close tonight,
Fireflies fill the air, light without sound,
Though silence not yet total for life goes on –
for now;
What the opposite side of the bank holds, who knows
For the river slowly flows, no boat in sight,
The ferryman is not yet stirred,
No payment required;
So stand I here, observer, no participant;
There is a silence in the close tonight
But fireflies fill the air

A Leicestershire Christmas memory

wordpress-christmas

Six days, six nights, or
Twelve days and twelve nights
Dylan Thomas spoke of Christmas
Snow in his childhood Welsh home;
Thomas remembers festive snow,
But I cannot,
My Memory defective
Or am I just slightly selective?

But Christmas is not just snow,
It is the happy voices of children,
Presents worn or played with
That is my memory of Christmas,
The pork pie breakfast, Stilton and Piccalilli
Turkey roasting in the oven with chestnuts,
(Or on an open fire, Jack nipping at your nose)
Sherry, trifle and chocolate liquors,
And Eric and Ernie arseing about on the TV

And then the films

Dream White Christmas
(You never doubted Betty would come back),
A 34th Street Miracle
proving once and for all that Santa really does exist,
Cue Colin and Renée
Outside that stationers
Snow swirling around
But of course fake for the cameras,
And at a door Hugh sings a carol for children,
(But no snow Actually)

Christmas Tree
Lights
Bubbles
Mistletoe,
Excuse for you stealing a crafty kiss
With that girl in your class you’ve always fancied,
(Or for Aunt Fanny to kiss you, yuk!)

So it might snow for six days and six nights,
Or twelve days and twelve nights,
But snow or no,
Christmas is a package of memories
Something to get you through the dark times
And we all have many of those

Remember Christmas
Keep it in your heart,
Don’t let the joy you feel pass
As the season and you in January part

This was originally written for a charity book my daughter was to edit and publish this Christmas, but unfortunately through lack of copy the book never happened; a disappointment to her and me. Still waste mot, want not I decided to publish it here. 

Poppy lies

poppy

Perhaps as we remember the fallen
let us not forget why they were there

Only boys in too many instances
in a conflict they wouldn’t understand

Put there in the interests of profits,
egged on by thoughts of king, country, empire

Paraded as heroes; our dead heroes;
sold short by fathers, mothers and us all;

Youth, tragic a whole generation lost

Rhys and Meinir

rhys-and-meinir

My take on an old Welsh tale for Halloween.

Two childhood friends moved into adulthood and into love with each other. Their names were Rhys and Meinir and they lived near the village of Nant Gwertheyrn on the Llyn Peninsula in the North Wales county of Gwynedd.
The young couple’s favourite spot was under an old oak tree on the lower slopes of the mountains called in Welsh, Yr Eifil.
The wedding date was set on a chosen Saturday for Rhys and Meinir to be married at Clynnog church.
People started to arrive for the wedding the day before and celebrations were beginning. In those days, the people of Nant Gwertheyrn had a tradition of a ‘wedding quest.’ This consisted of the bride hiding herself away somewhere in the countryside on the day of her wedding.
So whilst the guests were gathering in the church, Meinir could be seen running for the hills.
Now of course, Meinir was supposed to be found. It was all part of the fun. But when Rhys and his friends began a search for Meinir, she was nowhere to be seen. At first, Rhys thought that they just needed to search harder, but as day turned into night he began to be dreadfully concerned.
And his concern grew and grew as the nights turned back into days and the days back into nights again. Soon the days became weeks and the weeks became months. Rhys concern for his beloved became obsessive and he started to lose his mind. His friends shared his belief in the worst and no one in Nant Gwertheyrn or in the surrounding countryside could console him.
Driven by his madness, Rhys began to wander the nearby land at all hours and in all weathers.
One stormy night when the wind blow a gale and the rain drove like nails into Rhys face as he vainly struggled against the tempest, he chanced upon the couples favourite tree and was moved by memories as much as the weather to seek its shelter.
The storm was getting stronger, the wind blew harder and the rain lashed ceaselessly on the earth as Rhys huddled beneath the rocking branches.
Suddenly, a bolt of lightening appeared out of nowhere from the sky and the old oak tree was split asunder as easily as a good table knife cuts through warm butter.
Rhys was thrown back in terror, but this was not as much terror as he then experienced when the stricken tree gave up its secret; a woman’s skeleton clothed in a wedding dress, a dress that Rhys recognised all too well. The skeleton fell to the ground, its eyeless sockets staring at the terrified man, its fleshless mouth formed in a smile and a bone where a finger had once been pointed at its former lover.
Next morning, the storm had passed and the sun began to appear from beneath the cloud. Within the hour, farmers on Yr Eifil above Nant Gwertheyrn would find two figures lying side by side, one a skeleton and the other a man from the village recently deceased but with horror contorting his face.

 

Fourteen Eighty-Five

When I think of an August long ago
Two armies on a marshy plain land field,
I see red and white majesty on show
A would-be king and one who would not yield
A battle royal to fight, kingdom to win
Ripping households dignity asunder,
Deaths between these kin normal, not a sin
Though all verity hidden in Stratford wonder.
Yet now buried deep within Leicester soil
The truth will out, no longer can be hid,
Twas a man who lost his mortal coil
Not a monster of just ambition bid;
When history’s victors through teeth lie
It is honesty, not just bodies that die.

First published October 2016 Welcome to Leicester anthology, Leicester, Dahlia Publishing

Meaning

fertilisation

Life is a roller coaster;
But it isn’t;
It is a turntable, a cheese grater, a hot needle,
For those who believe life is something to be embraced
Let me say this;
Life is a never ending struggle,
An existence that we did not ask for
Of free will,
We are here as a product of nature,
The fertilisation of a single ova,
When the smiling face tells me to embrace this,
Let the idiot remember that it was none of my doing