Senseless

SD 16

Senseless
(19 April 2019 AD)

taste my words
lick them from your lips
feel the roll of your tongue
creating saliva
cranberry choruses
lemon librettos
vanilla vocabularies
gooseberry grammar

fooled are those
cheated of their senses
who cannot sample
savoury flavours
nor test the scent
of April flowers

cancer perhaps
chemo-therapy
Parkinson’s stealing
memories away
childhood tangs
chocolate unwrapped
a Christmas orange peeled

aren’t you pleased
your taste buds
are still teased
by such offerings

grieve
for all you’ve lost
all you are losing
sooner or later
everything will go

last dregs of meaning
draining from your cup

That Wall

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That Wall
(1953 AD)

build that wall
top it with wet cement
place bottles in a row
sign it date it
carve the barrier in stone

when the cement sets
break those bottles
impenetrable barriers

walled now this garden
its interior holy of holies
a paradise for the chosen few
peace and roses only a dream
glimpsed from the outside

a climber climbs
rips flesh shreds clothes
mottles concrete with blood
wet washing hung in fleshy strips
a red flag now this Siegfried line
its shattered glass wire
its see-through brittle anger
excluding all intruders

walled this garden studio
this monument
built by my father
seeking to block who out
trying to lock who and what in

Swans

 

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Swans
(at the Vetch Field)

(circa 1950 AD)

White
their plumage
fierce eyes
folded angels’ wings
black-booted feet
paddling urgent
driving them on

skilled and silky
swift lunge
capable of breaking
leg or arm

all white ghosts
those swans
bodies and spirits
earthly dance done
long since gone
flown to the sky

anonymous
constellations spread
milky feathers
winged like swans

Comment:

The Vetch Field is where Swansea Town (now Swansea City) used to play their soccer. My father took me regularly to see the Swans play and, when young, I preferred the round ball game to the oval ball game. Swansea Town were always known as the Swans and the rugby team were always called the All Whites. No Ospreys and colored uniforms in those days and also no money in the rugby: everything was amateur. The inter-relationship of images in the poem above changes when the reader learns that the Vetch Field is also where the shroud-wrapped bodies of those prisoners who were hanged in nearby Swansea Jail were rumored to be buried. This may or may not be true, but be it myth or legend or plain falsehood, it gives added dimensions  to the imagery in this poem.

Orphanage

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Orphanage
(circa 1948 AD)

black crucifix
ivory figurine
white walls
cowled heads
downcast eyes

holy water
damp fingertips
genuflection
sign of the cross
in nomine …

salt tang of tears
wax-scented floors
flip flop of leather
sandals without socks

brown robes
black skirts
hair covered
white wimples
rattling of rosaries
telling of beads

musty confessionals
shaped and shamed
by shadowy sins

time without end
dustless and clean
cleaner than consciences

 

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De[con]struction

 

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De[con]struction
(1945 AD)

daylight regenerates
a stuttering roar
noise bursting into life

ladders and supplies
rise from earth to sky
loud voices verbal angels

barn dance on raw rafters
uncovering hidden layers
replacing worn-out tiles

ascending descending
Jacob wrestling with
his heavenly burden

no crows on patrol
cats long gone to ground
chaos and commotion

leave taking
a ritual shaking
rough tarry hands

a brave new world
rebuilt by three
not so wise men
less than three days

Courbet

Courbet
(1944 AD)

a deep moist cave
moss-grown cavernous
casting from night to day

synchronous memories
ascent descent blood scent
ejection rejection

tumbling down falling
insidious angel
no room at the inn
trapped no escape

Hieronymus Bosch
black-winged devils
cloud tormented
descending
anonymous red skies

factory and furnace
foundering foundries
mysterious birth myth
turned into lies

virgin berth
borne with tweezers
untouched the channel
from dark to light

Entrenched

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Entrenched
(1914-1918 AD)

scars will close
but never go away
wounds so deep
blood just wants out

pop went the weasel
so many good men
lost in the lost and found
never to be seen again

gone over the top
bayonets fixed hanging
on the old barbed wire
turned into rags and flags

rattle of bones
bone-shaker the wind
mud-filled potholes
frozen at night

wandering shells
lullabies of strife
rage against friends
dug out early from life

Shipwreck

 

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Shipwreck
(1914 AD)

they came for the burial
more civilized than
ritual burning

one by one
victims gathered up
held in one last hug

empty coffins
stood in rows
waiting to be filled

bodies on the beach
scarred in an after life
black and white

stark their weird
bones bleached
among sea-weed

done the deed now
coffins filled
lids nailed down

high tide mark
carapace charred wood
rusted iron

bright bones
long dead creatures
slow washing of hands

relentless actions
wind sandpaper sea
tear-filled skies

 

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Samaritan

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Samaritan
(1890 AD)

I lived with him
he treated me well

to him
I was the other
yet he fed me
when I hungered
gave water
when I ran dry

I fell ill
he cared for me
nursed me back
to health

he taught me
his language
culture history
traditional skills

he loved me
never forced me
to forget myself
and be like him

he made me
what I am today
a discerner
between
light and dark
still the other

 

Palsy

 

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Palsy
(1817 AD)

starts with a twist
a palsied twitch a nod
more movement

slow loss of grip
bottle-tops won’t open
things fall to the floor

twist and twitch
turn into shakes
bad vibes not good

words tripping
on not off tongue
stumbling over teeth

vitality extinguished
a dullness in the eyes
a cork-screw turning in

bland the writing
both erased
chalkboard and page

dry honey tunnels
yellow calcined skull
empty hexagonal cells

this lone bee searching
for a special something
it can no longer find