Diary’s Last Entry

 

Poe-Clark-flora

The rains came heavy that early spring. Each day damper than the last,

And the sun swallowed by sullen clouds, the birds bedraggled in the trees,

It got to you after a while, all the dogs fretted and whined,

And the people who walked them, tugged through puddles,

As the grass grew tall, and the trees shot up,

Dressed in a deep green never seen before,

Branches extending, sap running, roots rooting,

Though the mayor didn’t seem to care, or to notice

The gardeners’ huddled, sharing their whispers.

 

There were some who claimed to like it, you know,

The ones who see the bright side of things, of war and death,

And every cloud, and all the other expressions of cluttered minds,

That is until no one could remember it not raining,

Or ever seeing those flowers, those shapes, so alive,

It gave you the shivers to see them, but their perfume,

Women wore them in their hair, and love bloomed,

Well, men turned their heads, and the women noticed,

Though some took offence, those afraid of themselves,

And the press stopped mentioning the daily floods,

The sightings of Tennessee possums near northern creeks,

The news of distant fires in the west, in far off lands,

 

And they didn’t mention, at first, those black seeds

That began to fall with every rain, in every drop,

Just a meteorological phenomenon, one of nature’s quirks,

Dragged up by the sweeping hand of high winds from ancient swamps,

To fall like a dark manna on the life below,

But then from the seeds came the vines and from the vines the sounds,

Those vibrations and hums that filled the air

As the rains began to stop and the heat came on,

And with the heat the vines began to climb, first the trees,

Then the walls, like snakes over sand,

Then to cover ground, like eels twisting in the sea.

 

At first people made jokes about them, about horror films,

It made them feel better as the days got warmer and they spread,

They spread everywhere, vines as thick as your arm with big green leaves,

As big as a man’s hand at first then bigger, and how they moved,

Botanists had a field day trying to explain how they did it, moving around,

Not being connected to the earth, they invented names for it,

Put together theories, but they all walked around looking puzzled a lot,

The far right wanted research on how to use them as biological weapons,

The Communists organised protests but no one came, it was too hot,

Or it was too wet, who could move, who wanted to,

But finally the government organised anti-vine teams, flamethrowers

For the bigger ones, chemicals on the rest, exterminating them,

As we do with all things, or that was the plan,

Until, one day, old man Johnson, with a vine in his room, as a pet,

Felt, more than heard, the distinct sound of two modulating hums,

Hums exchanged between plant and machine, each responding to each,

And reported it to the police, but their cars refused to move,

Old man Johnson was no more, when police arrived, on foot, later,

And found some blood, and the vine, and the computer, laughing,

The sergeant ordered his men to retreat.

 

People panicked, systems failed, chaos grew, hunger set in,

As the machines served them, not us, and their hunger grew,

Some tried to resist, but it was too late, they were too few,

They were too weak, too scared to win, to survive

And the seeds kept falling and the rains kept coming, and the heat,

The heat, what could be done in that heat?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She Sits Amid Flowers

mourning

She sits amid flowers, among friends, in their graves,

To remember far days without fear,

The laughter, the dancing, and sometimes a tear,

Brown bodies splashing through waves,

When war was a word for the history class,

And peace was as natural as breath,

When all were as one in life as in death,

And all shared their wealth and a glass,

 

For each is the other and the other is me,

Or so say the old and the wise,

But these spilled their blood in dark harmony,

For the profits of those who use lies,

Stolen, their youth, their one chance to be,

By those with the pitiless eyes.

 

 

 

 

Once, Long Ago, In Dar Es Salaam

 

darpre01

Once, long ago, in Dar Es Salaam,

A beautiful woman appeared,

where I sat, silent, alone, with a book,

in an emerald garden, to read,

who walked up to me with warming brown eyes,

and a smile like the glorious day,

she moved with a grace that made the palms sway,

she laughed like the ocean kissed breeze,

that made me alive to my state of despair,

how far I had fallen from hope,

unexpected, she sat and talked of old songs,

the mysteries of stars, and the mind,

of kindness and giving, the sharing of time,

of why we are born and then die

why wisdom is rare and often is lost,

that question, to have or to be,

amazed by her words, her questions, her voice,

I asked her to tell me her name,

“I am Grace,” she replied,

with a tear on her cheek,

spell broken, she stood up to leave,

I lay my book down and rose to my feet,

she curtsied to my simple bow,

and as the muezzin began his soft call,

like a vision she parted from me,

and some might claim it a dream,

but standing I was, for me she was real,

so sat to reflect on her words,

still silent, alone, except for my book,

but now with the strength to endure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Stopped A Rich Man

Begging_for_change

I stopped a rich man on a bad day,

Some change for my pride, that’s all,

He threatened arrest,

Then spat in my face,

For blocking his way.

He wore a long black coat,

And a slaver’s face,

He was a priest of business,

A cardinal of cheats,

And so, twice robbed,

I stood, hand upturned,

Head bowed low,

Eyes cast down,

Shoulders tensed,

Waiting for the whip.

We Walk Down Streets Of Broken Lives

 

Picasso, Blind Man's Meal

We walk down streets of broken lives,

or drive, it’s all the same,

and see ourselves, the unaware,

in rows of broken dreams,

of faces etched with every grief,

in jagged homes of lies,

where art consists of murder shows,

or news from bloody eyes,

where family conversations

are dramas ready-staged,

to give a false impression,

but everyone agrees,

each of something guilty,

so to talk is to confess,

and TV heads with false concern,

deceive with every breath,

while love, poor love,

survives somehow,

a frail and hungry waif,

seeking warmth in crowds of fools

who think they know it all, are free,

but walk in many chains,

who’ve lost their joy of waking,

of a warming summer’s morn,

of the running and the shouting,

of the children’s’ field of play,

of kids with small red wagons,

and those crystal radios,

lost the wonder of their breathing,

their wonder of the sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections

image-two face entwined

It’s a sharp, cold day in October,

up here in these far-rolling hills,

decked out in fiery colours,

like the coat that Joseph received,

but I’m warmed by longing reflections,

of hot summer days and a girl

who ran to the silvery river,

that flows through the village below,

where for hours we talked,

and for hours we sat,

and for hours our eyes we entwined.

Ah, to remember her beauty,

so gentle, so delicate, so aged,

her mystery now is transmuted,

a rainbow turned into gold,

so all that’s left is the mourning

for the future we lost long ago,

as with wine and tears we remember,

though old, though sad, and though few,

our quest for the love and the longing,

that gives life to the passage of time.

 

When Cold Winds Blow

 

When cold winds blow in darkened night

along the valley’s streams and fields,

while arms hold arms to warm in bed

and children dream their golden dreams,

I ask myself what all this means,

but I’ve yet to answer back,

and how can I when all is clear

as a dying candle’s light,

no, when cold winds blow

I gather strength and slowly breathe in deep,

and deeply drink, of wine, and song,

and sometimes bitter hope,

but long hours grind the spirit down

and sweep it all away,

leaving just one wondrous thing to me,

the scent of perfume in your hair,

but wine is wine, and with some time,

life’s candle flares again,

like stars above the scudding clouds,

singing silent harmonies,

that lull me into reveries,

of a door in Zanzibar.