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The Orphans

A man I met on holiday

told me once the story

of how he never met his mother.

She was blown to blitz

in the same old war that

his father fell for.

Their only child, he’d been

sent away to stay in a place

full of strangers, with dangers

of its own. He had known

no relative love or tenderness,

just the kindness of strangers.

He smiled unceasingly.

The woman he’d wed, an orphan

like him, said they were paired,

that they cared for each other,

sister and brother as much

as lovers. She grinned without end

at her partner, her friend.

I thought of them today when

I heard the distaste in the bray

of your voice. The orphans had

found each other, each chosen

the other and chosen to be happy

together. You and I came together,

we were never the chosen.

We do not like the same,

we are unlike each other

and like one another now and then.

If we too were orphans, I wonder

often if you would be better

widowed.

The Bin Men

The bin men are here and they’re taking away

the shite and detritus we make every day,

the wrappers and nappies and crappy old bits

and bobbins and clothing that no longer fits.

They load all the bins on the back of their truck

and empty them out in big bucketing chucks.

They wheel them all back to the edge of the road,

where later will come, from their humble abodes

the people who live there to reclaim their bins,

who take them and fill them with more of their sins.

The bin men don’t care, they just take stuff away

the rubbish we make every night, every day,

they take it and dump it in piles upon piles

they smother the earth with it, mile after mile.

Recycle the plastic, the paper and card,

the bottles and tins, because that isn’t hard.

But how to stop making shit in the first place?

That is the puzzle for the whole of our race.

These are some things that we can all do right now,

beginning with thinking about why and how

the crap that we make gets to us at the start

so we can at long last stop making the clart.

Stop buying the things that we don’t really need,

just stop giving in to our consuming greed;

stop throwing away and just mend it instead;

start buying recycled and preloved old things;

a good life starts with these little beginnings.

We have to start now, we at least have to try

and this is the reason you need to know why:

one day our own grand kids will dig down and find,

amidst all the plastic and rancid pork rinds,

a thing with our name on, and then they will know

what granddad and grandma did so long ago.

The Morning Moment

When you wake up to that first

morning moment

anything is possible. The day has not begun,

and it is full of unmade promises. Wrapped up in

sheets of myself below a ceiling

blank as my thinking, I begin. I think of

the things I can do. I can buy a ticket, a lottery

ticket, and win a life

worth living.

I can write the story that is

there at my fingertips, where it always has been,

waiting for the untold moment. I could paint, badly

as ever, but ever so happily, or draw the same way,

inept and in secret. I could stand up and sing a song

of sick sense, light some incense, paint a wood fence,

make up nonsense

for myself.

I could find some kind

of love

or hate

to make the living worth it.

I could do anything.

The day has just

begun.