The Soldier Had A Puzzled Look

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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, what could it bloody be?

Winter Note

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The town is fixed in icy gloom, 

And grim the sallow faces,

Bent against the bitter wind,

Like penitential cases,

While in the church, with reaching spire,

A priest prostrates in supplication,

Imploring gods to save us all,

As if we’re their earthly nation,

And there, on frozen river bank,

Tracks of footprints in the snow,

Where once a sad-eyed woman walked,

And last talked there to the Crow,

For in the shops and in the homes,

The air is thick with desperation,

Nothing is as once it was,

There’s nothing left but resignation,

And for the rest, we lead our lives,

In search of meaning, love, for reason,

But life just is, it comes and goes,

No more-there is no other season.

The Hawk’s Reproach

(On encountering a Hawk with its prey)

The Red Hawk’s eyes shot into mine,

As if to touch my mind,

Warning, this death is my necessity,

Let me feast, if you be kind;

The winter’s cold, the hunger’s long,

Like you, I must survive.

You cringe at death, and me condemn,

For a squirrel slain, ah, once your friend.

Pass on from here and go your way, 

Death is Life, and Life is Death,

In all of Space and Time.

Go slaughter more your fellow men,

As you are wont to do,

For power, riches, lust and fame,

The many for the few,

But I must kill to live, to be,

So, continue on your wayward path,

But don’t you dare judge me.

   Reflections On A Telescope

(And Claims We Will See The Beginning Of The Universe)

They’re all agog and mighty pleased, the ignorant, and the press,

With that new device they’ve sent to Space to prove that God exists,

A telescope to capture light-that comes from nothingness-

A moment in eternity, the greatest of their myths,

For nothing comes from nothing, as dear Lucretius proved;

Matter is eternal and space is limitless, 

A simple fact these fools will learn, to bitter tears be moved,

When they see, with their own eyes, no hand of God at play,

Just countless stars and galaxies in myriad stately rows,

Extending back through endless Time, no matter what they say.

They hope to see explosions, and childish magic shows,

And, behind all that a wizard’s face, to them the great Unknown,

Like the one that lived in Oz, but had his cover blown;

Cosmology is by dogma ruled, despite the facts described

By other minds that told us truths the fearful try to hide,

-Einstein knew it long ago, so did Alfven, Ratcliffe, Arp –

But myths support the structure of their Doctor Pangloss world,

So, they’re all agog and mighty pleased, and with themselves impressed,

But I think they’ll find that, in the end, they’ll have caused a great unrest.

Journey’s End

The hills are ever silent now

Or so it seems to me,

Since you left, that destined day, 

To cross the restless sea,

Where eastern winds caressed your hair,

And northern stars fell fast away,

Where southern waters warmed the air,

And diamonds danced the water’s way,

So far away your journey’s end,

While mine’s a slow walk down the road,

Passing through illusion’s veil,

Along the verdant valley floor.

There Stood A Man

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Upon a rock upon a hill,

That looked on distant sea,

There stood a man in quiet pose, 

Who knew not how to be,

For nothing was as once it was; 

The future held no dream.

Dark winds blew from stranging lands, 

A final symphony,

Of strangled cries, and dismal moans, 

Of all humanity,

While, faint, a lonely songbird sang, 

Variations on the theme.

And with the wind came memories,

But faded, indistinct,

For existence was illusion veiled, 

The secret hid, where life had gone,

Why love had never come,

He fought the urge to scream,

Then slowly turned to search his way,

Back down the craggy slope,

With mouth turned grim, with knotted brow,

Coat heavy, and the cane,

Descending to a vast unknown,

And dark it all did seem.

The Supplicants

Long the line of supplicants

Before the tyrant king,

Begging for the favour

Of kissing hand and ring,

While round the throne

Attendants stand,

Silent, severe, serene,

Who truly rule the land

But speak only to them selves,

Gathering in secret,

To dangle puppets from their strings;

It’s all a vast confusion,

An illusory, shadowed world,

You and I forever lost, not knowing what to do,

What is right or what is wrong,

And right and wrong for who.

 

The Tolling Of The Bell

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Blades of grass caressed my shoes

As I walked slowly past,

Thinking of the shapes of clouds,

The shadows that they cast,

Of all the things that come to mind,

Yes, the kiss that was our last.

The sun was warm upon my face,

And on the silent stream

That waters flowered meadows,

As if a dreamy dream,

Of yester-land, of other times,

Or so it all did seem.

And with each step, with each new breath,

A memory blossomed in my mind,

And soon, there were so many,

Of every shape and kind,

That Time lost all its sense and shape

As if the world was going blind.

Then a songbird trilled its happy song,

That woke me from my spell,

And on I walked past hedge and field,

Towards the village, church and well,

Where I lay beneath an ancient tree,

For the tolling of the bell.

The Say This Is Democracy

 

 

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They say this is democracy,

I get to vote, oh that I see,

For parties that care not a jot for me,

That make me work for life for free.

 

For that’s their racket, poverty,

For that there’s always liberty,

For riches come from larceny,

Planned in boardrooms over tea.

 

“We pay for fuel, machines and rent,

For materials and for management

At cost, it’s money that’s well spent,

For profit comes from labour lent,

 

“For which we never pay the debt,

For labour’s added value, those riches that we get,

Is kept by us instead of them, it’s how we have things set,

Oh, we throw them all some pennies, that’s all they’re gonna get.”

 

They say this is modernity,

They’re all for human rights,

But we’re all still slaves it seems to me,

Wake up! Revolt and take the heights.

 

 

 

A Small Café

 

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sat that day in a small café

By a shaded riverbank,

The noise of town seemed far away

Though ducks quacked by in rank,

The anglers seemed to rest in dream

Rods resting from the cast,

Dozing on the sun’s warm beam,

Ah, to live this way at last.

 

The boats passed by and in their wake

Trailed spirals, spinning, silver white,

That always seemed about to break

And scatter shafts of light.

From lazy decks came shouts and song

And once a girl blew me a kiss,

From a boat they named So-long.

That brought the taste of bliss.

 

And then a sparrow, small and frail,

Among some branches overhead,

Began to tell his epic tale,

We hear as song instead,

Of travels far, among the clouds,

The skies, the stars, the seas,

Far from cities, far from crowds,

It near brought me to my knees.

 

So rare it is these days to hear

Such music so profound

When life costs us all so dear

And death is all around,

I dared to think the sparrow knew

That in his happy air

Lay some Hope, to bring us through

And save us from Despair.