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.

 

 

Paris Interlude

 

Pablo Picasso - Seated Woman, 1927 at Art Gallery of Ontario - Toronto Canada

 

She sat quite alone at a sidewalk café,

on a street near the Seine and the Musee D’Orsay,

silver hair shining through the shadows of leaves,

trembling above her, caressed by the breeze,

loves past and lost years, were those tears in her eyes,

when softly she smiled, as one who soon cries,

then picked up her glass of red tinctured wine,

with an elegant hand I wished could touch mine,

and drank again memories of rebellions and art,

As we sat there united, at tables apart.

 

Revelations of the Night

mystic night, image

Beyond the wind, beyond the seas, beyond the dawn, they went,

by land and sail, by horse, by ship, the open sky their tent,

always east they journeyed on, this caravan of eight,

two by two, or four by four, towards their common fate,

through ocean storms, through desert winds,

through hunger’s grip, they passed,

and always had the same reply for those who sometimes asked,

the reasons for their travel, the meaning of their path,

to illuminate their ignorance or flee a tyrant’s wrath,

‘we’ve heard a tale of lands far-off where peace and justice reign,

it’s that we’ve searched for far and wide but fear we search in vain,

for all we’ve found is misery, leavened with despair,

and among the dispossessed are few who dare,

to see what’s right before their eyes,

or defy with angry questions the lies that swarm like flies,’

and so they passed, in times of old, hunter, farmer, engineer,

the weaver, and the poet, with songs of woe and cheer,

the doctor and the star-man, round the world they went,

learning all they ever could, how flowers made their scent,

until one day they found a place that filled their very need,

a land where people led themselves and all had time to read,

where wars were long forgotten, for they had the best defence,

walls of wisdom, moats of tears, and arms of common sense,

where making love was still an art, and art exposed their soul,

where learning, and not riches was the only worthy goal,

and so astonished were they, at all they witnessed there,

that soon they spoke of passage home for this they had to share,

but just before the dawn appeared, in gown of rosy sky,

they all awoke from deep in sleep, and began to wonder why,

the things they’d seen were nowhere round their dying fire’s light,

and wondered who would listen to revelations of the night.

 

 

 

 

 

The World The Right Way Up

 

foodsofengland 1647upsidedown

It was a day ago, a week, perhaps,

while strolling past a market stall,

there stepped out to the front of me,

a brazen looking boy,

who in a strangely whispered voice

did shyly ask my name

and with his blue eyes locked on mine

calmly blocked my way

to ask me where I journeyed,

and what I had to say,

but while searching for the answers,

in thoughts so strange to me,

I heard an old and damning voice

speak ghostly in my ear,

‘leave him and his sinning,

the dead have had their say,’

as somewhere in the distance

old priests began to wail,

for gods long gone forever

their wailing all in vain,

so on I went past whispers,

past shabby streets and shops,

past all the bourgeois hopes they sell,

wrapped up with despair,

and found myself on boulevards

like a well-off, well-to-do,

but when the pocket’s empty,

desire’s a heavy chain,

so burdened, bitter, broken,

lost in lonely gloom,

I wandered sordid saddened streets

until I saw a shadowed door,

in an alley in a quarter

where kings are still unknown,

on which in glowing letters gold,

were writ three words,

“the common right,’

that made me open wide the door

to find within a place of light

where Justice was by Peace embraced,

while Reason played guitar,

that truly seemed a world apart,

a world turned upside down,

and so I came to tell you,

a message old yet strong,

the door’s not locked, it’s open,

and we only have to dare,

to turn the world the right way up,

and bring the wrong side down.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

A Cold, Cold Rain

A cold, cold rain beats softly

on the melting window panes,

like angels’ tears for mankind wept

with hopeless, anguished cries,

and there, look there, those birds, in air,

bedraggled, sad, bereft,

sweep and swirl round sleeping trees,

their quest a warming place,

to sleep, a time, to dream perhaps,

of clouds and journey’s end

they flash this way and then flash that,

look now, they hang on wing,

then suddenly, in silence sealed,

as if en masse ordained,

all en mass descend,

yet each with each unreconciled,

though all a common fate,

like me, alone, the modern man,

blank face among the crowd,

my lost reflection now only found

In shattered mirror shards.

 

 

Night Is A Game That Death Likes To Play

 

“Night is a game that death likes to play,

And dreams are the mind withdrawing from day,”

Breathless, a whisper, these words that she said,

Before I departed for war, and the dead.

 

We kissed and she blushed, an innocent still,

As we lay on the top of the welcoming hill,

Where birds sang in trees of nature’s delight,

While we talked of love, of wrong and of right,

 

We lay on the grass to melt with the sky,

The rosey-sun setting, the moon asking why,

We were one destiny, one body, one mind,

Yet with sunrise I left, to follow the blind.

 

 

Speak Now, My Friends

 

Speak now, my friends, yes speak, but speak true,

Of the darkness descended and what we must do,

When days reek of madness, and nights smell of shame,

And the air smells of gore of the infinite slain.

 

Let’s dream, once again, of democracy’s glade,

The peace and the calm, for which many have paid,

Where the poor are the richest, and the rich are long gone,

And in the bright sunlight the darkness is done.

 

And when we remember all that’s been said,

Of justice for all and where it has led;

While the cruel and the selfish veil their true face,

We’ll sing of the heroes who’ve argued our case.

 

So proudly we’ll speak of the brave ones who die,

There’ll be vows to revenge them, tell truth to the lie,

But yet, as we speak, will come shouts, “who leads me?

So we’ll raise a bright mirror for the doubters to see.

 

But why fades your voice, your eyes look away?

While you suffer alone long night and dark day,

So stay, and reflect, as we join our rough hands,

What our union could do to unchain our lands.

 

She Looked In The Fireplace Mirror

picasso-weping woman

She looked in the fireplace mirror,

Face lit with reflections of flame,

And thought of the dead, and the living,

Of the proud now buried in shame,

 

Around her in corners and shadows,

Sat quietly, as if undisturbed,

People that seemed to be strangers,

For none dared utter a word.

 

And the priest looked so old, and so broken,

He could cast no magical spell-

For the light of the flames were a darkness

And he wondered if they were in hell.

 

A cat curled up in a corner,

Content with a memory or two,

Of the one they now so mourned for,

To whom they had never been true,

 

As two white scented candles,

Sat graced by two flowers of light,

On top of an elegant casket,

A bed for that final good night.

 

She looked in the fireplace mirror,

At the woman that once she had been,

And remembered a vision of Dante,

She once, had seen, in a dream,

 

‘Til the priest ashamedly muttered,

“Let’s pray, what else can we do?”

And the mourners took up their sad poses,

As each thought of their plans for the day.