In Northern Climes When Winter Comes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In northern climes when winter comes

And heads bow before the wind,

Happy times can spring to mind,

Like visions in a dream,

Of kisses in a car’s back seat,

On a gentle summer’s night

Hands moving in the dark

Entwining eyes and limbs,

Of toboggans packed with arms and legs,

Racing wildly down the snow,

Of donkeys walking on the beach,

And Punch and Judy shows,

When friends were yours forever,

Though they be so very few,

When love was possibility;

And revolution in the air,

For death was then unknown to us,

Despite the daily news,

We never gave much thought to that,

Were content to play the game.

 

We Never Taste A Perfect Wine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We never taste a perfect wine,

Nor live for long in happiness,

The path we walk is thorny flint,

We walk alone there, side by side,

 

The sun awakes the flower’s bloom,

The rain, the sleeping seeds,

But sometimes in my dreams I hear

Faint whispers of the sea,

 

Which bore our ship on heaving waves,

Through storm and diamond ice,

Through fears and  through misgivings,

The old world to the new,

 

Which appeared to us in glitter,

That first night in New York,

When a taxi man drove us round

And a black man eased our pain

 

On the journey north by clicking rail,

To a land that lay in snow,

Where new troubles borne of old,

To regrets gave birth anew.

 

We never taste a perfect wine,

Nor live for long in happiness,

The path we walk is thorny flint,

We walk alone there, side by side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?’

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.