North Wind

North Wind

North Wind descended from the pole
sending its wolf pack through snow-
bound trees. Listless, they stood there,
then wind and wolves came, cutting
and shuffling, playing snap-the-branch,
chase-the snow-flake, and strip-jack-
naked. Wolves danced on their hind-
legs, round and round, shaking trees,
biting at branches, testing winter games
until trees stood naked, stripped of snow,
tresses and garlands gobbled and gone.

Oh the wickedness of winter, its cold-
cut cruelty, the lash of the wind, ice-
pellets hurled, picketing fences, pecking
a wild winter-song, forlorn in its fury,
its pace, its power, its reckless race
to hurl everything away, out of its way,
snow twisted, tormented, twitching
its snake-way down barren highways
devoid of secret places in which to hide
tender faces from the North Wind.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
North Wind.


Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk

She surveys her empire
from a tall tree, then steps
into space, plunging her
body’s weight downwards,
diving into fragile air.

A feathered arrow,
she makes contact, feet first,
and pins the unsuspecting robin
to the ground. His shrill shriek
emerges from a beak
that shreds failing life.

The hawk’s claws clench.
Her victim weakens.
His eyes glaze over.
One final spasm,
a last quick twitch,
the robin is gone.

One wing drags, flaps weakly,
borne skywards in the hawk’s
triumphant claws.

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Sharp-shinned Hawk

Coal Face

Coal Face

My family never forced me underground.
Nobody ever made me kneel at the coal-
face altar and worship, on my knees,
that grimy god with its coal-black soul.

A child in body and heart, nobody ordered
me to squirm down diminishing seams,
much too narrow for men or machines
and fitting only for the smallest child.

Fitting indeed, an early coffin, made to
measure, lying in wait for the slightest
slip of the rocks above or below. Tight
fitting, indeed, no wiggle, wriggle room.

Billy Blake, my mate from Trinidad,
younger than me, saw the black faces
of miners emerge from the mine, enter
the pit-head baths and come out white.

He, too, wanted to be white. He dug
underground, grew even blacker, went
into the showers, gouged his black skin,
drew rivers of blood, never changed color.

He died when the roof above him fell
without warning. They pulled him out.
Brought him to the surface. Prepared
him for burial. Wrote on his tombstone:

“His body was as black as night,
but oh, his soul was white.”

Click on this link for Roger’s reading.
Coal Face.

Snow Geese

Snow: no geese!

Snow Geese

Snow geese falling, plummeting from the sky,
dropping like leaves, slowly and tumbling,
swiftly and twisting, spiralling down. Fresh
snow on the ground, their seasoned arrival.

Some land on water, others on the earth.
They gather in groups, snow banks of geese,
ghost-white, frightening, true sky lightning,
celestial, striking from its ancestral throne.

Always some sentries, necks stretched, eyes
open, alert, watching, guarding their needs
while the flock feeds. One honks “Who goes
there?” the flock looks up, watching him move.

Slowly, at first, they waddle from the walkers,
then faster and faster as the man unleashes his
hounds. An idiot woman, grinning like a death’s
head, points her cell phone and barks instructions.

The dogs run at them, barking and growling.
The snow geese panic, run ever faster, taking
to the air with a clap-wing chorus, honking
and hooting. The woman laughing, shouting

and shooting. “I’ve got them, I’ve shot them,”
she calls in her pleasure. Frustrated, the hounds
take to the water. Whistling, calling, the man
cannot catch them, not till they tire of the chase,

no match for geese, not in air, nor in water.
Joyous the couple, their videos made, hugging,
cuddling. They get back in the car, dogs shaking,
spraying them, baptismal water, cleansing all guilt.

Geese: no snow.

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Snow Geese

Heart Ache

Hope Fall

Heart Ache

My heart is an empty nest, all feelings
fledged and flown. I yearn for the warmth
St. Kevin felt when the blackbird settled,
nested in his hand, laid her clutch of eggs.

Oh, the cold dark stare of the under-earth,
growing its cold chill upwards through feet and knees,
and the winter branch stiffness of hands frozen
into concrete branches, week after week, until
the blackbird’s eggs are hatched and fledged.

No saint am I. Just a father deprived of his distant
child, of his granddaughter developing, growing
older and wiser without him there to help her
on her way, or hinder, as old men often do,
unaware of the changing times and the ferocious
pull of new ideas, new tides, the swashbuckling
effects of the new world now upon us, a world
we oldlings, so long ago fledged and flighted,
will never understand nor grasp. How could we?

And yet that hand stretches out from the window
of the cells that hold us, bind us, imprison us,
and make us realize how strong are the wings
of love that flutter in our ageing hearts.

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Heart Ache

Remembrance day

Remembrance Day

Memories deceive me with their falsehoods, flashing
shadow shapes, shifting with a move of the fingers,
dog into man, shift, man into a frightened mouse,
squeaking, like the ungreased iron-rimmed wheels
on a farm-cart with its load of hay and snapping dogs.
Watch out for the horse’s sideways kick, for the sting
of the farmer’s cruel whip, for the dogs’ white teeth.

What magic lantern now slips its subtle slides
across night’s screen? Desperate I lap at salt-licks
of false hope that increase my thirst and drive me
deeper into thick, black, tumultuous clouds.

My grandfather in the trenches, drenched in a gas cloud,
groping, choking, invalided home, returning, so brave,
to face that gas grave again and again, only to cough up
the last of his tortured lungs thirty years later. I remember
him bent over the table, struggling for breath, balancing
his hesitant life against an immanent death. Today it is

so different. A pandemic storm lays waste to memories
that dog my mind. At night a black dog hounds me, sends
my head spinning, makes me chase my own tail, round
and round. It snaps at dreams, shadows, ghosts of family
members who drift, slowly fading, through my mind.

I try to track them through Ancestry, through Tarot Cards
and Tea Leaves but they are all lost in a Mad Hatter’s
illusion of a dormouse adrift in a teapot in an unkempt
nursery rhyme of a tail within a tale and hunter home
from Caer-Filthy hill, I return to find my house empty,
my deserted body devastated, my future a foretold mess.

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Remembrance Day

Spirit Dance

Spirit Dance
Thursday Thought

One of my best friends came over today and we talked. We also went out shopping: blinds and curtain rails. I can no longer put them up. He can. We had a fun time. So much exchange of information in the car and in the store and afterwards, coming home.

We left the mounting of blinds and curtains for another day. But I invited him to choose a painting from my collection to recompense him for his time, his care, his attention, his help, and to thank him for his friendship and his reaching out. He chose this one, Spirit Dance, the one above, quite unique, one of my favorites. It was one of two that he liked. This was the other to which he aspired.

I asked him to help me choose a painting for the cover of my last book, Stars at Elbow and Foot, and this is what he selected. It is now on the cover of the book. He has a great eye for art. Well, it matches mine and he chooses my favorites. So I am happy with that.

But my Thursday Thought is this: in writing we say “kill your darlings”. Meaning, there are some great ideas in our poems, stories, novels, but they don’t quite fit. We love them. But we must kill them and cut them out. Sure we save them for later, but oh, do they ever belong.

I have never sold a painting. I cannot say ‘money talks’ like another of my friends, because to me it doesn’t. El Poema de Mio Cid: ‘partieron como la una de la carne‘ — they parted like the nail from the flesh. But, as another friend of mine, a preacher, said, when I visited my father in hospital: “there are no pockets in shrouds — you can’t take it with you.”

I am grateful to my friend for accepting the gift of my painting. I know he will cherish it and that it will be happy with him. But oh, I miss it. No: I don’t want it back. I want it loved and appreciated and yes, I know that when I go, I will not be able to take it with me. Nor any of the others. Does anybody want to adopt them, my beloved children?

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Spirit Dance

Night and Day Dreams

Winking Night Bump

Night and Day Dreams

Someone stole the nose from a sacred statue.
He placed it on his face and I watch it
as it crosses the central square.

A moving shadow: zopilote flies high above.
I talked to him once on a midnight bus.
He begged me to fold his wings
and let him sleep forever.

The balloon lady sells tins of watery soap.
Children, newly released from school,
fill my days with enchantments.
They blow soap bubbles, tiny globes,
circular rainbows, born from a magic ring.

The voices in my head slip slowly into silence.
Some nights I think they have no need of me,
these dreams that arrive in the early hours
and knock at my window.

When morning comes, I watch them fade
and then I know they cannot live without me.
When I am gone, they will go too.

Click on this link for the original poem.

https://wordpress.com/post/rogermoorepoet.com/23643

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Night and Day Dreams

Striations

Striations

There are striations
in my heart, so deep,
a lizard could lie there,
unseen, and wait
for tomorrow’s sun.

A knot of
sorrow in daylight’s throat;
the heart a great stone
cast in placid water,
each ripple
knitted to its mate.

Timeless,
the worm at the apple’s core
waiting for its world to end.

Seculae seculorum:
the centuries
rushing headlong.

Matins:
wide-eyed
this owl hooting
in the face of day.

Somewhere,
I remember
a table spread for two.
Breakfast.
An open door.
“Where are you going, dear?”

Something bright has fled the world.
The sun unfurls shadows.
The blood whirls stars
around the body.

“It has gone.” she said. “The magic.
I no longer tremble at your touch.”

You can drown now
in this liquid
silence.

Or you can rage against this slow snow
whitening the dark space
where yesterday
you placed your friend.

The silver birch wades
at dawn’s bright edge.

Somewhere,
sunshine will break
a delphinium
into blossom.

Tight lips.
A blaze of anger.
A challenge spat
in the wind’s face.

High-pitched
the rabbit’s grief
in its silver snare.
The midnight moon
deep in a trance.

If only I could kick away
this death’s head,
this sow’s bladder.

Full moon
drifting
high in a cloudless sky.

A Golden Oldie
Click on this link for the original post

https://rogermoorepoet.com/2016/05/

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Striations

Late Fall

Late Fall

Late fall with falling leaves,
trees stripped wind-blown bare,
and winter drawing close.

The huntsman, the archer,
the Cerne Abbas Giant,
Hercules and his club
walking high in the sky, a dog
forever at their heels, ever faithful,
ever true. Star-jewels line his belt,
where the star-sword swings,
the bow, and all his magnificence
displayed before us.
Bow down before him and rejoice.

The year is turning,
or has turned and we are turning
with it. Back to our pasts,
on to our futures, or else we stand
here, gazing skywards,
our feet mired in the present,
minds locked, nowhere to go.

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Late Fall