Stones

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Stones
(3 May 1808 AD)

stones once thrown
can never be brought back
nor words once spoken
nor the bullet
once released
from musket or gun

here lies who knows who
face down in the dust
shirt soaked in blood
body pierced with lead

nor water time nor love
can ever flow back
beneath that bridge

some kneel some pray
some raise their eyes
to uncaring skies
every one of them dies
shooters
those waiting to be shot

even the soldiers
reloading their guns
never understand
how time’s tides run
ebb and then flow
until everyone goes

this you
lying face down
well know

 

Macadam: Before & After

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Macadam: Before & After

Yesterday, I traveled to Macadam Railway Station to spend a day with two of my friends, Geoff Slater (artist) and Jessi Green (writer). Geoff is painting a mural for the historic building. It depicts an incident from WWI in which Canadian Railway Engineers and troops rebuilt a railway bridge in Northern France that had been destroyed by the enemy. When I arrived in Macadam, Geoff took Jessi and I to see the then current state of his painting (as shown above, Before). After lunch, Jessi and I would discuss sundry writing topics, including when, ho, and what to revise, as well as our various writing  projects while Geoff continued with his painting.

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On the wall opposite the mural hangs a plaque dedicated to the memory of those Canadian Railway Engineers, probably the best in the world at the time, who made such reconstruction possible. The juxtaposition of mural and plaque make a fitting tribute to the role of the railway in WWI. The Macadam Railway Station is a protected historical site and a work of art in itself . What a pleasure it was to visit there as an invited guest.

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This is the dining room and immediately below you will see photos of the beautiful working bureau, over a hundred years old, and the grandmother clock that hangs on the wall beside the bureau.

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During the afternoon, we were blessed by the arrival of a train. In many ways, it was a ghost train, hauling with it so many memories of the past when railways ruled and train travel was ubiquitous.

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Before leaving, we paid our respects to Geoff’s painting. He had been busy on the top right corner of the mural and had completed the insertion of the military personnel who were working on the new trestle bridge built to replace the one that had been destroyed. All in all, this was a fabulous day in which art, photography, memory, writing, planning all played a part. Some photos to end with: first of all, a selfie entitled Selfie with Coal Scuttle and wow, did that bring back some childhood memories; and then a close up of Geoff’s work for that afternoon Men on the Bridge. I will end by saying that Macadam Railway Station is a ‘must-see’ visit for all train enthusiasts as well as for the train generation who wish to maintain their links with that past.

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Night Light

 

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Night Light
(1578 -1591 AD)

quiet now the house
staircase winds up
that wooden hill
to Bedfordshire
down to drop
into darkness
wait in peace
starlight will break
its light-waves
over your eyes
into your heart

owls in the gloom
round eyes gleaming
a who-knows-what
what watches
a godsend now
this light house light
its lightning lightening
enlightening

sudden comfort
this hand on my shoulder
these fingers in my hair
this midnight witch
bewitching

Don’t tell me your troubles

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Don’t tell me your troubles

vultures circle overhead
tight-beaked grimacing
ready for any old thing
to drop down and die
leaving them some space
they bounce on the wind
feather-tips poised to plunge

drivers drive dodgem cars
through pot-holed filled
parking lots
bumper to bumper grinding
following each pedestrian
plodding from hospital to car

red alert three bell alarm
an engine starts
reversing lights flicker
someone’s coming out

cock fights dog fights
domestic pussy cats
all booted and spurred
claws out for the bust up
three dust ups already
today

nobody happy
everyone hopping mad
round and round
circling false alarms
sitting waiting
for someone to move

we’ll all be late
for our appointments
no room at this inn
not here not today
my friends no parking

Method & Madness

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Method and Madness
(1729 & 1955-1962 AD)

his dawn chorus voice
woke the wilderness
shook bread down from heaven
to be cast on wild waters

Frocester’s old barn
scything and tithing
Gloucester a stomping ground
walking and biking
wherever he can

a dearly beloved
moved into sundry places
a town mice wandering open fields
harvesting blackberries and apples
gleaning summer seeds
storing them now a country mouse
ready for winter’s dead dreams

he collected dusty parchments
stitched old leaves together
a many-colored coat he made
amid autumn’s sheaves

words fell like rain
formed lines on each page
turned into tunes
that bolstered his heart
marched him steadily onward
mad from stage to raging age

Comment: This is the revision of my previous poem. Any comments on either version gratefully accepted.

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Madness & Method

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Madness & Method
(1729 & 1955-1962 AD)

his voice woke the wilderness
shook bread from heaven
he cast it on wild waters

scything and tithing
Frocester’s old barn
Gloucester a stomping ground
walking and biking
whenever he can

dry dusty parchments
old faded leaves
talking together
among the wheat sheaves
Hebrew Greek Latin
vernacular spaces
falling like rain
between words on a page

dearly beloved
moved into sundry places
a town mice stirred into open fields
harvesting blackberries and apples
gleaning like a country mouse
house tumbling wind-blown down

marooned now and listless
an old hermit crab
basking on a sun-dried beach
quilts and crisp  sheets
mermaid-hair pillowed
claws click and comb
fresh footprints laundered
warm summer sands

By Any Other Name

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By Any Other Name
hortus conclusus
(1430-1432 AD)

don’t let them know
your origins your secrets
hide who and what you are
unholy ghosts will prowl
wild dogs will howl

sister-spouse
a garden enclosed
walled behind whose house
anonymous flowers
roses in abundance
set amongst thorns

sealed-up this fountain now
its well run dry
dead leaves in the bowl
shrunken petals
echoes of children’s voices
their faces hidden
among last year’s leaves

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