The Path Taken

The Path Taken

I followed a path and found my way,
but evening shadows led me astray
far from the uplands and the sun
to a land where darker waters run.

Where now, I ask, the summer beach,
salt water, cool, within easy reach?
I no longer hear the sea-gull’s cry,
white-wings lofting him to the sky.

I tread winter’s path of ice and snow
bent branches forcing me to stoop low,
a horse-shoe hare running out ahead,
behind, a white wolf fills me with dread.

My feet are cold, my steps are slow,
my muscles ache, my blood won’t flow.
Head spins, lungs throb and clutch at air,
my  heart fills up with dark despair.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
The Path Taken

Grey Dawns

Grey Dawns

Was it just a partial eclipse,
that morning when ash-grey horses
pulled a dustbin sun
across a drab and dirty sky?

Contorted clouds
fell from distorted horizons,
light filtered fine filaments
through to a sedimentary world.

Early morning birds,
startled by this grimness,
ceased their celebrations,
their dawn chorus choked

in doubting throats
so that strange, false notes
would not flit grit music
over garden and lawn.

Sat at my grey dawn window,
in the lull before the storm,
I watched and wondered
when my world would end.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Grey Dawns

Loss

Loss

By the time I remembered your name
I had forgotten your face,
and then I couldn’t recall
why I wanted to talk to you
in the first place.

Words and phrases bounce,
water off a duck’s back.
They sparkle like a high tide
rejected by the retriever
as he shakes his coat dry
on emerging from the sea.

This book I read is a word parcel,
a clepsydra of droplets,
a rainbow strung with colored beads,
each scouring a bull’s eye
on the world’s taut literary hide.

Mapa mundi of forgotten lands,
I trace dark landmarks
on the back of scarred hands
and wonder why I have never visited
faraway places with strange-sounding names.

Tourist guide to a failing memory,
I track the trails of drifting ships
as their white sails vanish,
blank butterflies from a distant summer,
floating over a darkening horizon.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Loss

Words

Words

Words grow like flowers, invasive,
cruel, beautiful, cutting, and when cut,
they wither and fade, like flowers too.

Catch them while you can, I say.
Catch them, hold them tight,
press them to you heart,
for time is voracious
 and will soon devour them,
 swallowing them in the black holes
of forgetfulness, carelessness,
and memory loss.

Shine a light on your words.
Underline them, grace them with stars,
think about them, carefully.

And remember, the word
once spoken or written
can never, ever be recalled.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Words

A Grouse

A Grouse

It hurts. She is so far away.
I can barely hear her voice on the phone.
It hurts. I can only comfort her with words,
useless words, clichés that will never
take her cares away, how could they?

Ghosts of a nearby past drift silently by.
I wonder what can say to each other,
whether we should chat about the weather,
or whether to let silence hold sway.
I don’t want her to put down the phone
even though we’ll talk again today.

My body hurts with her hurt. I know my pain
will soon go away, but hers – I hope it doesn’t stay.
Outside the window, two red squirrels play.
Words break the silence: I’ll call
you later. Make the most of your day.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Grouse.





é

To be a writer (Revised)

To be a writer
revised version

To be a writer ….

Those who would true valor see,
let them come hither.
One here will constant be,
through foul or fair weather.
There’s no discouragement
will make her once relent
her first avowed intent,
to be a writer.

Those who beset her round
with dismal stories,
do but themselves confound:
her strength the more is.
No blank page can her fright,
she’ll with a sentence fight,
and she will have a right,
to be a writer.

Rejections nor false friends
can daunt her spirit.
She knows she at the end
will a book inherit.
So critics fly away,
she’ll fear not what they say,
she’ll labor night and day
to be a writer.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
To be a writer

revised version

Comment: I first wrote this poem in January 2021. It is, of course, a rewriting of John Bunyan’s hymn / poem, To be a pilgrim from Pilgrim’s Progress. In the original version, I kept the male pronouns. However, after collaborating as the only male participant in [Quick Brown Fox] Brian Henry’s Advanced Writing Group of 13 fantastic women writers, I realized that the female pronoun was, in so many cases, the most appropriate one. I therefore made the necessary adjustments. You can find the old poem at this link – personally, I prefer the new version! https://rogermoorepoet.com/2021/01/11/to-be-a-writer/

The Cry

The Cry

I had forgotten the who,
what, when, where, and why.
A t first, I didn’t hear the cry,
despondent, squeaky, like a mouse,
timid until it climbed up higher,
inspired by the grief within.

My own heart, paper thin,
could not confine the sobbing
that assaulted my own stronghold,
the oubliette, where everything
lay hidden, but never forgotten.

A pebble on the pond, the cry
rippled onwards and out,
became a whimper, grew into a shout.
What’s it all about, I asked
and took the cry to task
for rippling my pond’s tranquility.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
The Cry







Reunion


Reunion

So sad, the reunion.
Each year, fewer participants,
faces older, hair whiter
(if there’s any left)
grizzled beards,
hands shaking, not just shaken,
memories lost or at odds
with reality, multiple dreams
turning into nightmares.

So much lost, youth,
energy, confidence, contact,
microscopic minds
turned in on themselves,
cognitive cogs
barely functioning.

What really happened
all those years ago?
Nobody remembers.
Nobody cares.
Nobody really wants to know.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Reunion


Suit of Lights


Suit of Lights

I am a man of straw
shivered by raw winds,
frosted by the cold
enveloping this enigmatic body,
dry bones set rattling.

I walk with two sticks,
a stick man then,
not just a sick man,
as broken as this broken body,
old sack of out-muscled blood.

When the magic hour
descends, earth glows
with a different light,
and my world is transformed,
translucent, bright.

A touch of the almighty,
this beauty suddenly
surrounding me,
blessing me,
and all my doubts,
with this suit of lights.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Suit of Lights


Hollyhock

Hollyhock

Is it a silken purse
made from the pig’s ear
of its seed pod,
or just a single seed
excreted by
an incontinent bird?

Its bruised
evening-sky hues
stretch their emperor’s
imperial purple all too thin.
In the late summer sun
it swallows one errant bee
in its leviathan mouth.

Sole survivor,
from a score of flowers
that once climbed
the seven foot,
eight foot stalk
to sway in the wind,
it stands on guard
against fall cold
and winter’s snow.

Click here for Roger’s reading on Anchor.
Hollyhock

Comment: I didn’t like the ending to the earlier version, so, when it came to reading it, I rewrote it first instead. I much prefer this version. Apologies to those who read the earlier words.