Here is a selection of my poetry for OCTOBER
Each evening, when the August sun was low,
They’d come to check the field behind the house –
Impatient for the harvest to be done.
They’d circle, honking, just above the ground
And, when the crop was in, on stubble field
Touched down in ones and twos, small family groups,
Skeins, silhouetted by the setting sun.
Leaving each morning, they’d return at dusk
For a noisy reunion every day…
And every year the pattern was the same :
They’d stay a week or so and then move on
To over-winter many miles away.
This year, when geese had gone, men came with plans :
Theodolites cast shadows over land.
REFLECTIONS FROM SEAVIEW
Pulling silk robe close around her shoulders,
stumbling to the window to admire the view,
watching the sun climb above the water,
thinking of the time when this all was new.
Trying to maintain their summer custom —
but coffee cools as the day warms up —
dry leaves scuttle past along the terrace,
parasols are down, window shutters up.
Late swallows swoop, an insect buzzes,
later the paper, marmalade and toast;
the day creeps on as the tide is turning —
end of season days she must dread the most.
AUTUMN SUNDAY, BERKSHIRE
(Mohammed visits Warfield)
Before the sun had warmed these Berkshire fields,
As first birds stirred and local traffic slept;
While horses stood like statues by the stream
And diamonds jewelled tall grass and each cobweb;
Before the congregation rose for church
And tired dog walkers tumbled from their beds;
An unseen stranger ambled village roads,
Passed sleeping houses and The Yorkshire Rose.
Wandering down the narrow forded lane,
Along a bridleway of hips and haws,
He found a gateway, set back off the track
And, book in hand, he intoned silent prayers.
In solitude he watched the rising sun
While every local body was at rest,
‘Though no one else gave thanks for this new day -
The only man at prayer ignored the west.
How strange to hear of long lost lives :
the exploits of a face last known
aged nine or ten from years ago.
To meet them on the street : full grown,
adult, married, a life to tell...
yet all the time trapped in my head,
forever young, like yesterday —
never as they've become — instead,
preserved in amber memory.
And stranger still...finding inside
lost strength and feelings from my youth,
savouring how it was back then
until confronted by cold truth :
that changing time must change all men.
Uncertain that my memory serves me well —
my nose pressed to the window of the past
for images that flicker like old film
with action blurred and features lost to chance.
Like sound heard at the bottom of a pool
or distant tones that echo underground,
it seems your message now falls on deaf ears
as I strain hard to catch the words you owned.
I hold your ring with keepsakes from the past —
mementoes of the times and life we shared,
without your essence they can never spark
but memories persist though you're not there.
We inched our way through edgy Camden crowds,
avoiding broken glass and shouting men,
until we found our refuge in the church.
Encamped on shabby chairs we settle in,
in silence waiting for our turn to speak –
like alcoholics at their monthly meet.
Relaxed by wine, with readings now half through,
the crowd had warmed : expansive with applause,
approving of the poems readers choose.
While quietly a woman read her verse
with audience straining hard to catch her words,
the street door at the rear noisily creaked,
admitting fumes and noise from outside’s world.
The door was quickly shut and peace regained –
but with a stranger now inside the hall.
Like flotsam, washed in on that sea of noise,
he seemed a refugee from urban sprawl.
Dishevelled, wrapped in layers of grimy clothes,
he clutches close his precious carrier bags
whilst, ticket-less, he blags a place to sit.
No sooner is he in, than he’s at home,
unpacking manuscripts from plastic bags
and setting out his books on empty seats.
To some surprise he’s called up to the stage
where he’s announced and suddenly things fit,
can it be true, this frail and unkempt man
was friend of Ginsberg, leader of the Beats?
As soon as he performed the penny dropped :
it was the man we’d seen so long ago,
the youngsters in the audience got a shock
when he became both chorister and bird.
Two poems and too quickly he was through,
the stage now given back to mortal men,
it’s strange to be transported to the past,
to feel sixteen, and back in class again.
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