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A Woodland Walk

Uncivil wars unending.
I need some peace.
Evacuate the building,
Start marching,
Escape the urban battleground,
Find the nearest green zone.
Open fields discover me.
Grassland, some wild,
Some like a mown carpet.
Blue sky, high clouds,
Distant hills.
Kestrel at a hover,
Grace with wings,
Sun burnishing its back.
Golden warmth on my face.
And then the sound of trees,
A shushing hushed whisper,
A million leaves in motion.
A sussuration,
Fills my ears.
At the margins, a pause.
Then slowly, through
The tall portal alders
And into the woods.
Fulgent sun dapples the canopy.
Rays leak through leaves,
Dripped gold
On the woodland floor.
Branches like open arms
Waving a welcome.
Trees in formation,
A hula troupe
Swaying in unison,
Distant traffic sounds
Murdered by the peace.
I see drilled woodpecker holes,
Nests unoccupied
Except for one
Squatted by blue tits.
I see cat walks and rat runs,
Hear birds I can’t name or place.
I smell fecund life
And pungent death all around me.
I see no other human being.
Here in the centre of the woods,
Just a few hundred yards
From other home fronts,
I find my peace on earth.

This Life

We must take
What we can
From this life.
There will be
No other.
This life
Is often hard,
Difficult and dark,
With disappointing days,
Times when the future
Seems too long,
A heavy weight,
A burden too big to bear.
Days when nothing
And no-one
Can help you.
Days when you’re angry,
When you’re rude,
When you’re bad
To everyone,
These days are hard.
But you must endure.
You must get through them.
They all come to an end,
These days.
And in the morning,
In the bright, sunlit morning
Of the day after
These days
You can look at yourself,
See what you are
What you have done
What you can be.
And then you can look around,
Look at this world,
All its wonder and glory,
See how good it is,
And then you can celebrate
This life.

The Silent Treatment

I can do the silent treatment.
I can do not talking.
I could not talk you to death.
I could keep them shut.
Cold shouldered,
Hard hearted,
Stone faced,
In petty set.
That’s us.
Not kissing,
Not making up,
Not giving in,
Not yet.
No, none of that.
It’s just not us.
It’s not how we are.
We’re hard.
We’re difficult.
We’re unconjoined
Not free.
I can do silent.
I can do it better than you.
It’s where I live.
But it’s not you.
You’re not like me.
You need to talk
To anyone
About anything
Anything but us.
The things we don’t say
The things left unsaid
They are better left
I prefer the silence
It’s more honest
It speaks volumes
About us.

The Gloriously Mundane

Not everything in life
Has urgency.
It isn’t all about
Now now now.
Not everything is important.
The daily crisis
Just isn’t.
There is no big red button
Tempting us
Scaring us.
Most of us
Don’t have that burden
Very few of us
Would want it.
There’s just us
And where we are right now
Right here.
A cup of tea
A spit of milk
Last, not first,
Not too hot,
Not too cold,
In a china cup,
One that dings.
That matters.
A small white flower
Blooming bright
A scent so sweet
You just have to find out
The name of the plant.
Jasminum officinale.
That matters.
In a clear blue sky
Warming, easing
Eyes closing
That matters too.
Knowing that you are loved.
That matters.
Perhaps that matters the most.
I’m not sure.
But the little things
The gloriously mundane
They also matter
They matter a lot.
Clothes that fit
Conversation with friends
The taste of peaches
The art of Egon Schiele
The writing of Ernest Hemingway
Children laughing.
In these small things
Lies the greatest of life’s
Little joys.

In My Head

In my head
Is where I live
An open minded place
Where every little
Thought of mine
Just tends to fascinate.
How big is now?
What’s after death?
And can I bake a cake?
It makes me laugh
To see the way
That others need another
I need myself
That’s all I need
I need no other mother
We’re all we have
The single I
To start, and at the end
There’s none before
And after, less
So get you while you can
Stay in your head
Investigate it
And in there you will find
The truth of life
Your holy place
Your open golden mind
I stay in there
Perhaps too much
I’m often called aloof
But I don’t care
I really don’t
And here’s the simple truth
I’m safe in there
No one to hurt
And no one there hurts me
Apart from me
There’s always that
And that will always be.

I am Unpainted, Picture Me

I am unpainted, picture me
And colour me with funny
Limn me with a happy laugh
Outline me in music
Etch for me my steely heart
Draw me in and sketch me out
Wash me and my cares away
Brush me in essential oils
Make me bright, not grey
Set me in a crimson lake
Show my gesso bones
Pen me in a mortal frame
Let them see my horns
I am a work in progress
And so I’m sure are you
Our lives are art unfinished yet
Our portraits often blue
Our hearts are all a bloody red
Our still life many hued
I see me so overdrawn
By my ham-fisted hand
Coloured beige, a feeble fawn
Just an image of a man

Brief Shining Moments

When you’re young
Nothing is impossible
Anything can happen
And you believe
Everything will happen
It just will
It’s expected
You expect it
You expect your dreams
To just happen
And for a few brief
Shining moments
They will
They really will
You’re young
You’re good looking
The world is golden
Life is just clay
In your hands
You can make
Whatever you want of it
It’s just there
Right there
At the end of your
And you reach for it
And you touch it
You touch
And then the shine fades
Your dreams begin to die
And only now
So many years later
Can you see
That the dreams
Those beautiful
Were just false expectations
And that reality
Should have been
The true

Love to Like

When does love
Turn to like?
Is it in an instant,
Triggered by an incident,
A specific event
That you can recall
And remember forever?
Something they did
That disappointed you,
Or, perhaps, more likely,
Something you did
That offended them.
Was it all the things
You did
Or is it more gradual,
A long unwinding,
An erosion,
Like water on the rock
That you thought
Would never wear?
And does it only end in like?
Does love diminish
Even more than that?
When there is nothing,
No feeling at all,
Is that the very end?
Is that terminal?
Or is that
Just how it is?
Is that how love really is?
A process of decay,
A natural law,
A divine mystery.
At the beginning,
You cannot see an ending.
At the end,
You cannot understand
The beginning.

Being Young

Wearing shorts
Knee scabs
The joy of worms
Always running
Never walking
First time tastes
Ice cream soda
Christmas morning!
Pets like pals
Alien girls
Forever friends
First time met
Eating for fun
Enemy vegetables
Stories in books
Games at school
Brotherly love
Mother as god
Father just gone
Growing up