That Sweet Serenade

peaceful scene

Where is the silence, that sweet serenade,

to bring me some peace, with a soft calming air,

to heal me, to soothe me; a sun-dappled glade,

where gentleness sits in an old rocking chair,

for long is the journey, the path hard to find,

shaded by shadows, illusions of light,

this stumbling forward, this walk of the blind,

endlessly seeking a way towards sight,

in lands full of troubles that fall like the rain,

and flow by black streams to plutonium seas,

while we struggle, alone, with Time’s heavy chain,

each of us damned by the loss of the keys,

but I’m tired of asking, the asking a plea,

for silence, for peace, some rest for my head,

so to hell with it all, I’m up for some tea,

or whisky, or stronger, to ward off the dead.

 

Jupiter Rising

 

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To see Jupiter rising in a May evening sky,

an arcing bright light among shivering leaves

and early white blossoms of an old cherry tree,

caused me to think of my brief passage through time

as the rise and the fall of a lone shooting star,

a wanderer, from nowhere, whose gone in a flash,

while the planet, unchanged, moves still on its path,

and the leaves, from bright green, turn to autumnal gold,

then fall, and decay, yet with spring are reborn,

while the blaze that was me is become smoke and dark dust.

 

The Exile

 

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Der_Wanderer_über_dem_Nebelmeer

I’m now just an exile from a disappeared land,

whose path has been set by an unseen hand,

unloved, and unsung, and unknown to these

who walk through their lives on bloody bent knees,

shameful and broken, or hang from tall trees,

where love is for sale and hatred is free,

served with the news over coffee or tea,

where all are mad once for madness is all

when few mourn lost Virtue or Reason’s long fall,

and the wind in the grass, once a sweet breath,

brings darkness, brings storms, brings trouble and death,

yet Spring makes me sing and play my guitar,

for the notes are my dreams of a happiness far,

to be found on the maps of that ancient lost land,

that lies somewhere, they say, near old Samarkand.

 

 

The Living We Love, The Dead That We Mourn

 

Goya, man-war

For the living we love,

the dead that we mourn,

a question long-asked,

without answer remains;

why men kill for money,

in crimes they call wars,

arranged over dinner,

and the finest Chablis.

 

You hear what they say,

‘it’s what has to be’,

‘they’re evil you know’,

‘there’s no other way’,

chanted like prayers

on the video screens,

by those artful with lies,

it’s not what it seems,

who solemnly state,

‘it’s for justice, dear friends’

“for liberty, for freedom,

‘by god, for your life,’

so no answer comes,

so it’s little I know,

but behold, I see Justice

now rides a pale horse

and carries her banner,

bloodied,

upside turned down.

 

 

 

Painter’s-Box Sky

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The painter’s-box sky presents its grand show,

free of a charge or a fee,

the rose-yellow light,

the splashes of white,

a brush of the blue in between,

are colours of dawn

emerging from dusk

as night slips slowly away

and comforting thoughts,

in the warmth of a bed,

to the old reality turn;

to lies on their lips,

their gods of the sun,

their crimes,

our blood in the sand,

as down in the street

comes that crowd without end,

rushing to be there on time.

 

A Glass of Rum

A-shot-of-rum-001

A glass of rum before me now,

as pure as juice of gold,

is all that’s left of younger dreams,

once dreamt in younger days,

of a world by love and labour ruled,

not banks, the cruel, the thieves,

and all their creeping underlings,

who with dismal shadows work,

as pale of skin, as pale as death,

for day they’re shamed to see,

a world where none could ever think to hate,

for then we’d hate ourselves,

by struggle freed from heavy chains

they from our blood long forged,

freed with righteous justice,

by all our righteous might,

all power by us seized, at last,

to end the endless night,

to end the endless sacrifice,

to gods with drunken smiles,

to make a life worth living,

to try to learn the way,

the way with nature, and ourselves,

but now this glass is all there is,

and nightmares fill my sleep,

a chaos swept by darkness,

dark clouds without a sky.

 

 

 

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?