The Soldier Had A Puzzled Look

 

 

 

 

 

 

The soldier had a puzzled look,

His gun had jammed, so read a book,

That told him all he thought he knew,

While bullets flew just past his head,

Of knights and kings, and all they slew,

And wondered then if it was true,

The things they said about the dead,

 

But then there came the feared command,

To make their prayers for one more stand,

For peace at last without regrets,

At which they cursed and cried,

Fumbling with their bayonets,

They owed the slain too many debts,

The sea of blood was wide.

 

They didn’t know the enemy, the reason they were there,

Some said this and some said that and some just didn’t care,

For living wasn’t easy but graves they gave you free,

So, ready for the killing, but trembling as he stood,

Wondered where the gods were, oh, why they didn’t see,

The shattered earth and corpses, from mountain to the sea,

And what in us is worth a damn, is any bloody good.

 

November Month

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November month is cold and grey,

A time for books, for films, and tea,

When loneliness walks in the door,

And sits with sadness in the gloom,

When trees shed tears that fall as leaves,

And clouds in mourning gather round,

As mouldy men in dusty rooms,

Count their days in dividends.

 

 

 

 

When I Was Young

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I was young, oh just a lad,

there came to me a man,

who wore a coat festooned with stars

and on his face a mask,

that changed its shape as shadows do

when winds move through the grass,

who asked me where he’d lost his way,

but who was I to ask

of mysteries of that kind,

so since I had no answers

he turned to go his way, and groaned,

‘oh, why this cruel and futile task?’

The Denouement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spread deep beneath these veiling thoughts 

Twists the tangled vine of I,

Rooted in the darkest depths,

Where saints and monsters lie,

All tangled with each other, even as I die,

Whose roots are sunk in ancient times,

When first we sat before the flame

And talked in wonder of the world,

Of our sorrows and our shame,

And so began our futile quest for gods to share the blame,

That led us, as though blinded, 

up that shrouded, misty peak

where Illusion’s understanding,

made mad those who dared to speak,

with spells and incantations, the truths we all did seek,

We stare into a vast unknown,

we’re a million years too late,

have come no further than the caves,

though Lucretius tried to set us straight,

on our origins and fate,

of the riddle of the universe, 

that with us became aware, 

of existence as a solitude

the very gods can’t  bear,

and so invented us, we say, their loneliness to share.

But, my time has run, the lights are dimmed,

I take position on the stage,

to play at last the denouement, 

some say was written by a sage,

who stained, with tears, his every page.

 

Fill Your Glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rains are falling, rivers rising, dogs howl the lowering sky,

descending as a darkness drawn from heavens’ sigh

for every each and one of us who’s asked the question why,

and never heard an answer, and so, in mystery, die.

 

For the gods are gone, have fled the scene, there’s nothing left but pain,

so fill your glass and sing a song, to live, to laugh again,

or maybe find that love you lost, that vision on a train,

on your way to Malaga, when nothing seemed in vain.

 

 

She Sits In Silence

 

 

 

 

 

She sits in silence still,

A form, a question, a will,

Dreaming in the warm quiet,

Of burning lips and hot,

Sweet words,

Feeling her heart speak softly,

Seeing the music flow,

Through her long dark fingers,

Into the white open page,

For all to see,

Making the music,

Her heart always sings,

In Africa, alone,

With the moaning wind,

Only stars for friends,

And distant howling

Of savage dogs,

Far in the night,

Deep in the unknown,

A reality unforgiving, uncaring,

Hungry for the day, for the light,

Which never comes.

 

There Was Time

 

 

 

 

 

There are no empty cities, silent as tombs, not yet.

There are no atomic missiles falling from the sky.

It’s a rainy, spring day, the air heavy with blossom.

The greening grass glistens and birds sing their songs.

Cars pass by, planes drift overhead, though fewer than before,

There’s no reason to fear, not in this small town,

That’s never suffered from tornado or war, but there is time.

 

There was time in The Bahamas, Puerto Rico too, plenty of time,

Then it hit, in the night, they heard the winds howl, saw the waters rise,

Clutched at babies torn from their arms by violent seas,

They could not take it in, at first. It was hard to take in.

Everyone loved them, the beaches and palms, their friendly ways,

The waters were azure, lapping gold sands, places pristine,

Then it was gone, blown into rubble, flooded two fathoms deep,

The trees stripped clean, boats shattered, bodies rotting in the heat.

They had prayers and hopes, lived decently, if poor.

But none of it helped, when it hit,

These were people like any others, did what others do,

Worked when they could, thought of finer things,

They’d heard of the change, but then that’s life,

So some said, making fun of the threat,

Because they did not understand or didn’t want to,

It wasn’t enough to save them, when the lights went out,

When the sky and the sea became one.

 

There are buds on the trees, soft clouds in the sky,

There are whales still diving deep in the sea, there is time,

But the fires raged the summer long, wherever summer is,

Burned down forests, and towns, the animals and insects,

Billions they say, exterminated, extirpated, erased, nowhere to flee,

And people too, though most were lucky to come out with their clothes,

They too thought things were ok, ignored the warnings, the signs,

The wise ones who knew and spoke but were silenced or mocked,

Or worse just ignored, people just didn’t want to know,

And when it happened looked for others to blame.

People are like that, for they thought they had time,

Freud have mercy on us, forgive us our minds,

 

There was time in New York, until three buildings came down.

Then their armies Hurrahed! and their new wars began,

It could have been stopped, but nothing was done,

Protests were peaceful, and so were ignored,

One country fell, then another, and more,

They claimed it was peace, as Hitler had done, and the people believed,

They had to, to accept it, to cheer it, went along to get along,

They claimed it was just, for the good of mankind, to make us feel good,

But everyone knew, who wanted to know, what the truth was.

 

There was time on the farms ‘til the rain stopped coming,

Or never stopped when it fell, ‘til the heat dried the soil,

And stunted the crops, made life living hell,

That air-conditioned nightmare Miller wrote of so well,

But there was time for some to claim it was all a charade

Nothing to be worried about, claim it was man made

Could be undone at will, it was all a big game,

But the floods and the winds and the storms didn’t listen.

The Barrier Reef died, the oceans became poison,

The great forests died, the bees disappeared, fireflies vanished,

But they thought there was time.

There was time at Chernobyl, at Fukushima, Japan,

When they exploded the bombs that foretold our doom,

There was some time for loving but more time for hate,

For it’s easy to hate, to give the stiff-armed salute,

When ignorance rises like air from a swamp,

When it’s all about me, and who cares about them,

There was time to improve, but the enlightened were killed,

Or pushed to the side, all of us guilty, with something to hide.

For life cares no more about us than the gods we devised,

Then Nature struck back with another strong blow,

Still there was time, time for the blaming, your fault, not mine,

‘There is time,’ they all shout, but we’ve surrendered it all,
We’ve wasted the Earth, we’ve wasted ourselves.

‘Christ have mercy on us.’

“Freud have mercy on us,”

“Marx have mercy on us.”

“Life have mercy on us.”

There is no mercy for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fading Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While robins woke to fading stars,

That drew fat worms to morning doom,

And tired hands sought coffee jars,

Still half in dream and nightly tomb,

While prostitutes and presidents,

Walked secret streets, or secret rooms,

And madmen claimed it all made sense,

But nightly danced in drunken fear,

While others stared in innocence,

But couldn’t help a sudden tear,

Rising from their aching hearts,

For those they lost they once held dear,

A message came from foreign parts,

Of something strange passed through the air;

As if a fusillade of poisoned darts,

That pierced the old and young, the sad and fair,

In silence, swift, and thus, unseen,

As Satan climbing Heaven’s stair,

His strength renewed and body lean,

To reclaim his old authority,

And sit the chair where God had been,

Sans remorse, regret, sans pity,

First one succumbed and then the many,

From east to west, in town, in city,

The working poor lost every penny,

And sat alone, apart, in wonder,

For them escape there was not any,

As the world around them broke asunder,

For existence cares not what your name,

Or what day they put you under,

And while many played the ancient game,

Of searching entrails for some secret reason,

A bleating scapegoat they could blame,

Others knew we’d had our time, our run, our season,

Had squandered all, destroyed the world,

Against Life itself had plotted treason,

So down the great abyss were hurled.

 

Time Walks Towards Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time walks towards me aglow in shadowed light,

Without remorse or pity, as a creature of the night,

Hunting for the present to turn future into past,

That eternity in the second which may be my very last,

While from the darkly distance voices whisper ghostly in my ears,

For everyone is talking and never saying much,

Wittgenstein was right you know, it’s all just such and such,

Meanings lost, or never known except by fools and saddened clowns,

While modern Cinderellas swear and tear at tattered gowns,

In disbelief the party’s done and now all they have are fears,

For Demeter is back in charge, the corn lays at her feet,

Dying, dead, decaying, wrapped up cold in winter’s sheet,

Awaiting resurrection that for us will never come,

Despite the never ceasing prayers, you’re better off with rum

And wine, and some kisses with your tears,

If love you’ll ever find again in a world awash with hate,

As if ordained, a destined end, a foretold tragic fate,

For where be now our heroes when courage is a crime,

And we live in lonely prisons with walls you cannot climb.