2015 Poetry Form Challenge

#08 Free Verse Poetry




The most popular poetry today without doubt is Free Verse. Some would argue that it is not proper poetry, but that would put them in the minority of poets who insist that poetry must rhyme, and must also have some form of meter. There is another school of thought that insists that poetry need not have a rhyme and even more who state that there is no need for meter.
If it is as stated then poetry is a metered verse and prose is unmetered; and having said that, some alleged poetry whilst rhyming has no meter and some prose whilst not rhyming has some form of meter.
Some free verse you have read has been deliberately cut so that it just presents the appearance of a poem and yet there is no tempo to help the poem along.
This points out that despite its title "Free Verse" it must have elements of form.
T.S. Eliot wrote, "No verse is free to a poet who wants to do a good job".
In fact my opinion is that no poet can write truly great free poetry unless he or she has served an apprenticeship of writing form poetry first.
Having said that it means that the trained poet has now got the freedom to attempt unusual conventions
and produce a really unique product.

The Dero

Every morning as we rode out training
We would see this dero arrive
Shuffling along, unaware of life around
Clutching his life in a brown paper bag
He would settle into his corner of the bus shelter
His special seat
Rain or shine he'd be there
As we'd ride past.

As we rode past.
He awoke from his alcohol induced slumber
For a minute, once again he was a hero
As he leapt into the air and caught the football
"What a mark" you could hear him say
As he punched the air with his fist
Holding his imaginary ball to the crowd
Then he settled down once more
Into his corner of the bus shelter
His special seat
And we rode on.

Terry Clitheroe



Free Verse



Kathy Anderson

4th New Moon
10 Reasons
Dry Deep Dream
Flowers
Glitterati
Happiness
No Way Out
Reduced By Nature
Tangled
True Stories

Terry Clitheroe

Civil War
Concerto
Dawn and Dusk
Exacerbate
Hawk
Kangaroo Woods
Lessons of Life - After Gibran
Ointmets Blessing
Question
Take me in drops
Values of Childhood
What Did You See
You and I
Zilch Inspiration

Divena Collins

A Lady's Discretion
Be It Sun or Moon
Down the Vale
Earth Day
Edged With Gold
Frivolity of Life
Inner Passion Released
Moon Light Madness
Myself Verus I
Presence Within
So Called Technology
Time Machine Reports
Touch of Love

Jeremy Farmer

And So To Sex
Evolving Senses
Liturgy of the Devil
On a Train

Gerry Moon

Comet
Nightjar

Leny Roovers

All in a Day's (Voluntary) Work
Carving
Guiio Cesare
Meditation
Of life and Death
Spring Blossoms
Thoughts
Thoughts about life

Peter Willowdown

Dawdlers and Warblers
Dreams of Rain
Extracts from Willowdown
Faeries of the Old Green Hills
Guru Puja
Offering Flowers
Red Robin and Brown Finch



Kathy Anderson

4th New Moon

new moon shall come
as light fades in skies cyan,
it's seven on the clock
a digital one from the nineties
when microwaves were new,
newly find I the hour overdue
Yet due for tomorrows black dark
shadows of earth hiding
hidden truths luna keeps,
this time Saturday runs
new moon has come.

-----

10 Reasons to

live in the moment
for each moment is all you have,
get a new car
because next year it'll be old,
let your hair grow
since longer is more intuitive,
watch a sunrise
and if you don't you'll be that much poorer,
don't retire until you want to
or you'll be bored the rest of your life,
talk with your family daily
then youll always feel like you're somebody,
laugh at little mistakes
so the bigger problems will seem less harsh,
be in nature everyday
so you can tune in to yourself better,
hug your loved ones
daily to keep you and them thriving,
count your blessings
because life is reason enough.

-----

Dry Deep Dream

for want of rain
the ground cracked
dust flew in our eyes
sun burned the air itself
dry

for want of love
the earth changed poles
snow fell in arid deserts
storms brewed in ocean canyons
deep

for want of thee
the heart of me became stone
stole my spirit as I slept
clouds crept into my minds
dream

-----

Floweres

When the earth allows
green plants shall emerge
buds of every color show
how blossoms grow
give forth their scent and seed
to repopulate her crust as needs
all life to rebirth.

When human beings allow
gray people to flourish
unwanted children to thrive
as all things change
give more of the best they can
to renew their faith and flower
always in all ways.

-----

Glitterati

fame is just a name
that everyone recognizes,
chic is what you wear
to become someone else,
your wealth is in the sunrise
which burns the same skin
you'll die wearing,
so remember the night sky
gives you more glister
than diamonds
and will last long after
your soul knows no more
the worth of itself.

-----

Happiness

is warmth of sun
interposed with steady rains,
and the perfect storm
is a rage of giddy joys
unreckoned by moonlight

-----

Happiness for Two

all the pretty birds
fly in time to the rhythms
of two heart beats,
for passions in living
as a flock gathers as one being
beings that resonate love,
life and pursuit of renewal
interposing with joys of our bliss.

-----

No Way Out

Tired of tough living
no skin left on my feet
none the butchers haven't scored
ripped, torn or beat out
like leather being worked
at the hands of a child
no way out but in the trash
or a trophy on the mantel piece

-----

Reduced by Nature

in the scheme of life
everyone goes back to nature
even if they never
hugged a tree
nor noticed a rainbow
or pet a puppy,
by the time gray hair sets in
we all have to wonder
how many ways
math takes you backwards
and forwards only means
how fast you drive
and how many songs
you skipped on an mp3 player?

-----

Tangled

in a sargasso forest spree
hazy azure seas soundscapes,
escaping into this web
entangling loves ends
edings nowhere,
beginnings everywhere with we,
we'll be tangled forever
forevermore free
to be
us.

-----

True Stories

last legs are the dregs
the bottom is cracked
and the top is too high to get to,
where do you go when
life is misbegotten
treated rotten
always the same view
on the outside looking in,
no love to come to the aid of
bereft and alone
always alone
hamstringed by the butchers
who know no mercy
from on high
government breaks all moulds
no holds barred
till you're done and gone.

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Terry Clitheroe

Civil War

Your late again, you could have at least phoned
I tried but it was engaged
Oh, I did see a light blinking
You didn't try to see who was ringing?
I don't understand all this gadgetry
I told you I might be late
You should've rung again.

Are you going out again tonight?
I was thinking about going out for a drink
Don't come home drunk again
I never come home drunk
You go out too much
Shit, why should I stay home?
You have work to do
I'll do it at the weekend
You go out at weekends
I'll do it then
No you won't
You're nagging me
You need nagging

Silence

Silence

I'm moving out
Why?
I need some space, some room
you're smothering me
I need a place of my own
I need to be able to think
Is there a woman?
Yes

Silence

How long have you been seeing her?
Two months
Is that why you're late?
I'm only an hour late.
Is that why you're late?
I told you I was working
Were you with her?
We work together

Silence

Are you moving in with her?
Yes

Silence

I'm off
You haven't finished your dinner
I'm not hungry
Are you going to her?
Yes

Silence

What time will you be home?
I won't be home tonight
I see

Silence

Darling
Yes Mum!
Bring her home for dinner Sunday
I want to meet her



-----

Concerto

The conductor takes his place
His baton poised ready
The solo performer looking at him
Instrument in hand waiting.
Putting it to her soft red lips
The soft strains of the concerto
Filling the room, Allegro aperto
Her hands move along the instrument
Her mouth working the soft sounds
The conductors, eyes close
As her music flows through him
The music changes slightly
Rhythm picks up
The soloist smiles as she plays
Adagio ma non troppo
Then Rondo allegretto
The soloist is more intent now
Hands and mouth working
Suddenly, the Crescendo

Silence...

The conductors eyes open
He smiles at the soloist
She kisses her instrument
Then blows a kiss to him.



-----

Dawn and Dusk

I am sitting on my mountain top
Halfway between the sight of heaven and reality
A dead star crumbled behind the hillside
Simply put I saw a meteor pass my horizon.
In these mountains we have the clearest skies
Man has destroyed the ozone layer here.

Yet here we have the most gorgeous mornings
And even better our sunsets cannot be beat.
I have seen taxis pull up at dawn
Simply to enjoy the exquisite view
And whilst later driving home seen a sunset
Worth stopping for and spending time seeing.

I see car after car drive past, regardless of the view
Impatient to get home and watch their TV
Ignorant of what could be seen for free.
The beauty (and it is beauty) of the setting sun.
But very many years ago I was taught
Simple things, suit simple minds.

Think about it!!!



-----

Exacerbate

It is the anniversary of our separation
You once held me so close our souls joined
Our hearts beat as one, but now that is gone
Music was our link, now from that you shrink
I really thought that our hearts had merged.

Now a golden future has turned to lead
Where darkest hours follow daylight showers
So many dreams changed to brackish streams
Those magic words regretted being spoken
But even now I would love to hear you again.

A year from now, will my feelings be the same?
I think it won't be worse, there is the curse.
Your thoughts have changed, and feelings ranged
Nothing really on which to put the blame!
Realising you grew a way opposite to mine.

Morally, spiritually for you, everything is fine.



-----

Hawk

Sitting here by the water's edge,
I watch as a hawk soars
flight feathers extended
as she hovers in all her majesty.
Every now and then,
you can see her trim her feathers
as she hovers so silent,
searching the world below.

Balancing on that thin edge
of warm rising air,
dipping and rising
on the thermals there.

Suddenly her wings close
and she plummets to the ground
swiftly rising again,
a rabbit gripped in her talons
and all that is heard
is her victims dying sound.



-----

In the night dreaming of you

I see you walking up the darkening hill
The night wind playing with your hair
And the gossamer like wings of your dress
Flying out, spiralling and fluttering
The darkness of your hair
Contrasting against the white of your dress
Giving you an ethereal appearance

As the garment flits and flies around
Your body showing through the material
Brown flesh contrasted by sheer whiteness
Darker patches emphasise your womanliness
Against a dark blue sky ablaze with winking stars
And sister moon lighting your hair a blaze of yellow and black

As we meet taking each other's hands
The winds songs serenading us
As we embrace ...no longer in our dreams
Your body pressing closely to me
The sounds of your dress flying and fluttering
As if applauding our unity
We sink to our knees still kissing

The moon shines brighter as the night darkens
And looks down on us, smiling
Lying together, bodies contrasted
Against the dark green background
Locked together
The winds song accompanying us
As we attest our love

The wind picks up the melody
And gives a louder voice now
With thunderous applause
As we reach our crescendo
And sister moon dims, her brightness spent
With morning light
And the stars leave us winking sweet dreams.



-----

Kangaroo Woods

We used to walk hand in hand in those woods my lover and I
one day she put her fingers in her mouth and whistled, shrilly
why I will never truly understand
but that crazy cry will forever echo through my soul
like a hundred crystal goblets shattering at a snails pace
into shards at my feet
I didn't even have a bag to put the pieces in
but we looked at each other and laughed.

Now fast approaching winter
as I walk alone in the woods
and would like to whistle just once
I never have you see,
but I don't dare sometimes the whistle returns.
Sometimes the whistle scars the heart
like Antarctic winds on a naked face
and I would remember how much I loved you.

I never thought we would be apart
But fate had different ideas
As if telling me that there was someone else.



-----

Lessons of Life - After Gibran

His beloved spoke to him and said,
"Tell me of loving" and he replied:

Loving is the giving of one unto another
It is the union of two finding freedom in one
It is the freedom that a bird feels in flight
Hear it's call and feel it's spirit rising
Selfless when it is with it's mate
The two in total harmony and thoughts

Again she spoke to him and said,
"Tell me of our meeting" and he replied:

When two lovers meet for the first time
There is rejoicing in the heavens
It is only what fate has planned
Your soul companion and you united
For many lives have you spent together
And many more will there be.

This time she asked,
"What of dreams" and he replied:

Dreams are only our wishes come true
Each dream is but a continuation of the day
For have I not met my dream in life?
Is not each day merely a dream awake with you?
Do we not please each other every day?
So why should not continue in our sleep?

And his beloved spoke to him and said,
"Tell me of your love for me" and he replied:

Need I say more than simply "I love you"?
A reminder of what I say to you in many ways
Each time I look at you, the cast of eye,
The easy smile, or special look,
The tone of my voice when we speak,
The easy way we talk.

And he said to his beloved

All these things have come to pass and many more
You know I love thee to my very soul
Each morning when I wake my thoughts are of you
Constantly through the day I am reminded
More by simple things than any noble act
And at the end of day my last thought is of you.

And she replied "I am content".



-----

Ointments Blessings

The itch woke me up cruelly
I cannot put on enough Oinkment
And strangely the words I type
Cannot be saved
Almost as if they are in cohorts together
Intending to create as much discomfort
As is unhumanly possible.

My doctor doesn't work on Mondays
The others don't work for me
But I had to go and went.
All he did was pass me on to an expert
Fourty five minutes I waited
After my appointed time
But he smiled and asked the right questions.

Now the itch has gone
I can sleep without waking and wanting to scratch.
I have eight packets of oinkment left
That say keep away from the face
And I have three different more
That say the same.
I think I'll keep using Aveeno for my face!



-----

Question

Why do I love Autumn so much?
Is it the light, or the colours or the sounds
There is no blazing heat from the sun anymore
And the storms have ceased
We only get rain.

Birds nests are no longer crowded
The chooks have grown and moved on
They are in the teenage of all avian life
Like all teenagers they make a lot of noise,
And like all teenagers they know everything.

Come next spring they will have survived
And in turn built their own nests
It is now their turn to procreate.
The apples are now ready
Attracting a look and a pick
And an enjoyment of the taste.

See the leaves have lost their lustre
As all plants begin to move from summer
And transition through Autumn
Where they become barren for a while
As they take their yearly vacation.



-----

Take me in drops

Thoughts disturbed and running blurbs
All from little old me.
Urchin looks back at me from the base of my mirror
I don't you to hold me
I want you to do more
Than what we had planned
I don't want to be your riddle
Unless you unwrap me with your hands

When we cry
We touch
When we touch
We die
Oh, unholiest of all the illusions
Cruel passing joke to cut the thread I'm hanging on to
I'm all but a division
Once you have done what you do
To me

Exposure of the underlings
Beneath my skin
Swims the current of my blood
These are the feelings of you and he
Why I lose the last of this
To the ocean you flooded me with
All on your pleasing whims.



-----

Un dia temprano de resorte

I'm watching raindrops appear
on my windscreen again.
just slow casual drizzle,
every minute or so
my wipers casually knocks them away
and creates random patterns
in their eventual downward journey
not rushing in spite of Newtons Law
that everything has to accelerate downwards
in order to meet its ultimate demise
More often it appears as a group of friends
casually crossing the street to greet others
then and only then do they seem to cease
their casual journey and hurry as if realising
they will be late, and miss their place.
God forbid that should happen
But I wish he would allow them to stay longer.



-----

Values of Childhood

When you look at someone long enough,
You can discover their humanity and spirituality,
But too often there is the avoidance of eyes,
Is this shyness or hiding the truth?

The eyes of a child see only the outside,
Without any concept of the person within.
The child smiles and is rewarded some way,
And so it starts to learn life's values.

A child has no concept of lies, only rewards,
There is no understanding of imagination and truth.
With time the child learns love, and pleasure,
Or alternatively fear, lies, rejection, and hate.

The child only learns what has been taught,
And its path in life becomes set in stone.
If only adults looked through a child's eyes
And returned their simple faith and love.



-----

What Did You See

What did you see when you flowed onto the sand
Was it any different than that below you now?
Did you return again and again, to the land
Until time once more said its time to go home?
The tidal sound changed as if saying goodbye.

The white rib of the waves greets the gulls
Sometimes presenting them with gifts
Of life and other things, oftimes seaweed
Sometimes taking things back with her
But more often leaving them behind
In channels and pools she has created.

What finer sound is there than her song
At twilight, accompanied by a sea breeze
She sets a pleasant site and sound
And the scent that only she can create.
Man in his wisdom often seeks this out
Grateful for the lovely memories there.



-----

You and I

You have become part of me.
So very deep, a million lifetimes
My only regret is that it took so long.
I cannot imagine a time or a place
When I have not known you or loved you
Now that I know you again.

Despite the time and all its gaps
The language of our love has not changed
Nor will it in the next million years.
The language of your look at me
No secrets there, only love, purely sent
And my response, returned in full.

It is impossible to say more than that
Because I realised we are complete.
Do we need words when eyes speak
Do we need ears when lips say all
Yet any less would be Love's defeat
That state could never be you and me.



-----

Zilch Inspiration

My words fall dead upon the floor.
Bugger 'em, they were useless anyway.
Another syllable, statement, stanza,
Destroyed by an overworked mind,
Then lined up against the killing wall.
There was no blindfolds offered,
We all took aim and fired at will
Another senseless act of violence,
Wreaked upon the English language.
The eulogy was just another volley,
Of bullets, aimed and hitting the target.
And when that carnage finally ended,
Another battalion of words stepped up,
For their impending execution.



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Divena Collins

A Lady's Discretion

Come now did I not say not to look
I think it is you that lays the blame
Cannot a Lady have some privacy
Shall you not turn your head away
Then 'tis you that she may disgrace
Vanity may not be taken for granted
Yet instincts within shall obliterate
The thoughts of an inner discretion
Why may she turn his instinct away
For what he craves lies deep within
As he moulds his words of affection
Blessed be warmth that lies within
How can she now refuse his charms
Discretely 'twas she who lured him.



-----

Be It Sun Or Moon

Go back it is not your turn go back I say
Cant you see the sky has turned black
It is my night time your day has gone
There shall be no sun until the morn
It is I the moon that rule`s the night
I and the stars shall glow on display
Against the dark pathways of the sky.

But I, says the sun have had my sleep
Sunlight is due to awaken this morn
Natures clock has jumped on forward
It is the moon that shall not yet glow
I dont think we should be together
You go first and I shall follow on later
Afore our planet goes up with a bang.

Black be that earth by day and night
May it be next planet shall be a star.



-----

Down the Vale

Down the vale on a bright summer morn
Grown midst clover wakened by the sun
Stood a dandelion clock prized with seeds
The one and only that dare show the time
Hidden within a veil from a spiders web
Yet shall never prevail to destroy nature
But the country habits are non the wiser
When it comes to those who are in need
That weed they say, it shall only ever be
So pulled at the web to set the clock free
Little knowing that each seed shall grow
Within a vale as bright as the sun shone
Nature prevails to succeed once again
On the next sun lit morn' down the Vale.



-----

Earth Day (22-04-15)

This day we remember our planet earth
Kindness shall not be part of pollution
Soil must be replaced as it was before
When earths nutrients were taken away
We are the ones that may bear the loss
Productive elements of a natural cause
The sun, rain the moon shall be a part
Of all that the earth needs to provide
But greed of man has plans to destroy
All that is given to humanity as free
To poison the soil with harsh chemicals
That in turn pollutes our land and oceans
Why cant they see what they have done
It is time now to recall all that once was
Let this day of earth replenish her glory.



-----

Edged With Gold

As I read the work of a master poet
I can visualize every word composed
So picturesque are words of the wise
Captured within an ancient volume
Upon fragile pages edged with gold
A treasure of visions revived within
To cast a spell of the past now shown
A faded portrait cherished from past
Shall be a priceless gift in the future
That may be once read never to part
For I so carefully turn the pages over
What treasure`s shall I find therein
No matter how many times I ponder
It may be of old yet a treasure to me.



-----

Frivolity of Life

Life is just one big game of scrabble
Sometimes you win yet often lose
Words that do not come so easily
Shall often be the ones you need
But beggars cannot be choosers
Making do with whatever is there
Tho' whatever is chosen is wrong.

Board games now are out of fashion
Life remains just what we make of it
There is no game that can heal a drift
It shall not be a part within fortune
No psychic power shall tell of fate
When fate is forever mapped to be
Never frivolity but truth of realism.



-----

Inner Passion Released

It seems that love has passed me by
At least until tomorrow
When I may find my peace of mind
Who knows what will happen
If only I could be more forthgiving
Maybe I shall stand a chance
But it shall not be for me not ever.

It shall not be for the want of trying
For to try I feel I must
Where is the fantasy within my mind
That could lead him on
Dreams are only all that I might have
With a gift of pleasure
That shall forever for me be deprived.

So on I shall drift yet as aimlessly lost
Deep in a pile of rejects
Cast aside until my love comes along
Yet forever I may wait
But time I am told shall but ever tell
If this shall then be right
Passion may linger forthwith as anew.



-----

Moon Light Madness

My eyes cannot see what ears can hear
Within this darkened room
This only shall tell that I am not alone
I cannot even speak for fear
But whatever it is I shall never know
Even by the light of a moon
I can almost see it teasing my fate
With a tired persistant yawn
I cannot speak for fear deep within
But there shall only be myself
To comfort my own tormented soul
And this shall not ever be
Distractions from what I encountered
By the light of that moon
But wait I can hear music from above
Nope it is my imagination
I am prone to imagine all I see or hear
Like the moon that yawned.



-----

Myself Versus I

Blasphemus debouchery looks like to me
Your the one out of favour
Winge if you must but keep within mind
This may be self destructive
You are just like a spoiled little child
Nothing shall go your way
When you grow up if ever that shall be
May you ever be as insane
It is time that I let it all come adrift
Though spoilt you may be
How can I resolve of my inner sanity
When it is I that suffers
No longer shall I be the one to blame
There, now I feel better.



-----

Presence Within

Within the presence of my inner thoughts
I see visions of dreams clearly in my mind
Shall it be as true this fate of the future
Or shall it only ever be of fantasy.
Yet I feel my images to be shown as true
As I predict the future of my inner self
Ever to be mirrored within the eyes.
For love deep within shall hold no secrets
Nor shall words spoken of love be silent
Love may only show deeper within
'Tis of touch only that finds the senses
Pulsating moments of love and desires
But thoughts may reveal true of passion
Of hidden feelings lost and then found.



Infinate Love

-----

Rich Within Povery

They may not have the run of the Mill
Yet proudly they stand both together
Poverty shall not tear them apart
For their love lingers yet too deeply
None shall suffer a saddened heart
Knowing love may see them thro`
The hardship that life has to offer
Yet he may be her Knight in armour
For their dreams shall never fade
She his Princess since time began
Fate has a way of living a dream
That shall forever be as impossible
Within poverty they have each other
Love in abundance needs no wealth.


Image From the Film 'The Mill

-----

Rhythm Or Rhyme

Not every poem has needs to rhyme
It only has to evenly flow
Yet I make mistakes all of the time
Not only now but always
Which is not a difficult thing to do
In time I shall indulge
Within composing of a new song
That beats within rhythm
It may be that of a waltz or boogy
Or cantations of hymns
That shall be from voices of a choir
Poetry and music is akin
To all, with an easy rhythmical flow
Now finally accomplished.


Erato - Edward John

-----

So Called Technology

If ever there was a day like this day
Well I think I shall run and go hide
Everything upon earth went wrong
Sunday is supposed to be a rest day
What ever had happened to mine
Just as I was going to write a poem
The internet I have had failed me
So I went to cook my sunday roast
To find the electricity had failed also
Oh! and yes I had paid all of the bills
I decided to ring them on the phone
Guess what? that too was out of order
I thought those days had long gone
Who said technology was on the up?


Techs Turned Bad

-----

Time Machine Reports

I who have returned to earth once more
From past galaxies within a time machine
Time only shall tell of my futuristic fate
I have travelled thro`winds and storms
From the milky way to misty moonbows
Unto the very edge of an eternity devoid
Of stars and suns that were unbeknown
Yet I survived within not a breath of air
I who had become accustomed to space
Discovered planets not yet to be born
And yet I survived just to tell this tale
Strange it may seem I was no dreamer
All I portray shall echo again forthwith
A phenomenon of future predictions.



-----

The Touch of Love

I who am obsessed by the touch of love
How may I resist the sin of temptation
Why must you touch within my sense
Of a passion which excites me to flow
May this be the touch I dare not resist
Shall it only be an inborn infatuation
Yet why do temperatures rise so much
If it is ever sensations borne within
Unless the feelings inside remain true
Until then I remain deeply in a trance
So fascinated by the rhythmic motion
That only takes both lovers that know
No true meaning of love lies dormant
But actions shall be more of intensity.


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Jeremy Farmer

And So To Sex

I could not come to poetry
without a love of words
words that play with imagination
inspiring words, teasing thoughts to
inspire words
more words connecting with the words in hand
and another held softly on my tongue
a sensual moment of spoken word
rolled gently over the lip
and sucked back in
to linger a little longer
before embracing the sound
of a poet's thoughts
as a word becomes his kiss
and as he crafts them into verse
the poet is making love.

-----

Evolving Senses

Woodland aromas caress his feet
bubble-textured moss massaging
his bruises; moist with the kiss
of the Earth
indigo skies scatter starlight
inviting his dreams to begin
as he slumbers
beneath the chestnut tree
with a splintered branch
an echo of a storm the year before
he awakes covered by the quilted blue
anorak wrapping of a sleeping bag
before his hungry fingers break
biscuits of gratitude
over breakfast.

-----

Liturgy of the Devil

Temptations; tormenting the senses
sweet and succulent innocence sacrificed
devoured unsavoured and swiftly forgotten
like discretions of virtue
held to account at the day of judgement
by sceptical questions and
cynical thoughts against injustice
doubts; uncertainty forever doubts
disguised in the drab shrouds of denial
illuminations disturb the memory
echoing the juvenile screams
they silenced
in the silent demolition
of corrupted creation.

-----

On a Train

Speeding between Exeter and Leeds
discarded words lay on an empty seat
yesterday’s news for reading today
the Beeb is getting another bashing
Dave has been told, not that he listens,
"go and take that cod-faced George with you".

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Gerry Moon

Comet

This young girl couldn't
read but she would write
with an inkless pen, her
parents would fight locking
her away for days in a
concealed den with a thin
window, she write about the
fading light of dying stars
and how the darkness hid
her scars. Between her parents
wars the girl watered plants
and flowers with an empty
watering can on rare days
out in this little garden
with the endless drought.
Once again back in her hidden
den she observed a comet and
prayed for it's fire to fill
her inkless pen and on the
wall she wrote in flames about
her parents awful games, this
fiery writing could not be
blown out.

-----

Nightjar

At night my friend and I would look up at the stars
without a telescope we would pour the night into two jars
my mother claimed that in our chimney lived a ghost
he would elude the flames and do his utmost
to make mischief creating shapes out of the smoke
By the fire my Mother would tell stories of the nightjars
they were as elusive as fire of the nearest stars
under the moon at night I would hear my Mother sing
our intelligent sleeping ghost would wake, joining in whistling
In the morning my jar was filled with the splendid sounds
of nightjars my friend and I slowly searched the grounds
for this elusive bird in the graveyards and the local park
we watched the swans take flight close to dark
uplift from water to wing was like a gift of gold from castle to king
with beauty gone we were like a ruby separated from it's ring .

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Leny Roovers

All in a Days (Voluntary) Work

Waking up
Feeding the cat
Cleaning her litter
Having breakfast together
A quick coffee, then on with the job
Meetings, brainstorms
Reading and writing reports
Home again for lunch
And off again
Evaluate, plan, networking
Back home to dinner
Doing the dishes together
Relax to talk over espresso
Listen to music
Do yoga, write or bridge a while
Meditate - then cuddle close
To sleep blissfully.



-----

Carving

Slowly we are changing into a pair
Where one plus one becomes just more than two
As less and less our feathers get ruffled
The wrong way, we develop a pattern
In which gracefulness and understanding
Prevail; our step is light, in harmony
With our mood, there's room for joyful love.
No longer we stand in each other's way
So often, as nimbly we walk around
The bumps and blusters of our former life.
We let it be just that, not forgotten,
But accepted, integrated in this
Both fragile and formidable twosome
We are gently carving from once rough stone.


Rodin - Eternal Spring

-----

Giulio Cesare, G.F. Handel

Yesterday we went to the opera,
Handel's Julius Caesar we enjoyed;
Its music and soaring voices
Sang of jealousy and treason,
Loss and courage
Crowned by enduring love.

Act I told of the war,
Won victories and death
By murder,
Then love was sowed.
As tempi changed, the stage was set
The cello wept, lamented Egypt's fate.

Act II brought scenes of hatred
Counterbalanced by warm love.
Revenge and true fidelity
Alternated in the human heart
The horn, accompanying Caesar's loyalty
Moved the audience to tears.

Act III rose to a climax
At first vile evil seemed to win
Then Fate took pity -
As Cornelia and Cleopatra were freed,
Sesto revenged his murdered father -
Cleopatra will reign as Caesar's Queen.



-----

I Wonder

I wonder
If one really can lay one's past to rest,
Or will it surface and surprise time after time?
Embarrass, blame and shame without mercy,
Unforgiving,
Or will it slowly loose its fangs,
Grow mellow with age,
Dissolve into the patient substance of the One?
I wonder,
If one day it will be gone,
Past faults and failures forgotten,
Freedom at last for mind and soul.
Acceptance offering balance
To a heart once more
Able to know
Boundless joy.
I wonder.



-----

Meditation

Enfolding, far reaching spirit of God
I bow for Thee as my innermost Self,
I lose myself in Thee,
To Thee I commend my soul.
As you are the sea, I am a droplet,
Part of Thee, always returning to Thee.
Indissoluble, inseparable.
I am pervaded by Thee.
I'm opening my mind, invite you in,
Contemplating your name I feel you close.
I welcome you into my heart,
Your grace fills my soul with peace.
Part of Thee, always returning to Thee.
Indissoluble, inseparable.



-----

Of life and death

We come into this world alone,
Welcomed by loving parents
While a warm crib awaits us
Then we sleep.
We are looked after,
Brought up and educated
Until we can live on our own.
If we're lucky
We'll meet a loving mate
Get children of our own,
Share life with friends and family.
Our offspring leaves
To build their home and family,
Together we move on in life
We enjoy our days,
Our freedom and prosperity
Till death begins to visit
And takes away our loved ones
One by one.
Grandparents, parents,
Closer all the time
Until eventually we're left alone,
Just as we started life.
From now our world is narrowing
But in the end it's not the crib
We started in, but still a bed
In which we sleep our final sleep.

And then, what next??



-----

Spring Blossoms

Spring's sun has kissed my garden,
Woke up flowers from their sleep;
Buds bob on the morning breeze,
Open petals, look around,
Raising faces to sun's touch.

Blue periwinkle's creepers
Extend long fingers, searching
For the best spot to put roots,
So new sprouts can grow, mature -
Blue bells peeping from fresh green.

Lungwort's pink and lilac cap
Slowly turns on slender neck,
Spreads her dotted leaves around,
Covering still unused soil.
I find new shoots everywhere.

Blackthorn's blossoming pure white,
A bridal veil of flowers
Now conceals her prickly thorns.
Moving her arms gracefully
On spring wind's sweet breath, she sighs.



-----

Thoughts

The mind can be bewildering,
Where does all thought originate?
Why do we associate, form links
Between loose threads
At first glance unconnected?

I am the witness of my mind,
Watch wisps of thought solidify
And grow from misty shores
Beyond my conscious reach -
Fighting for my attention.

If I can stay detached,
They are like drifting clouds
That pass me by untouched.
When I am weak and unprotected,
Thought-clouds thicken and attack.

Determined to be strong
I sit and exercise my will,
Train my mind to follow me
In listening within
Until silence blossoms.



-----

Thoughts about life

When we are born
Our soul can still fly to
Join the brand-new body we received.
If we're lucky, it is unblemished,
No faults to be seen yet.
Looked after well,
It will last us a lifetime,
Only occasionally needing minor repairs.
Yet not all of us
Get such a first-rate vehicle,
Some have to make do
Will a faulty one, likely
To break down every so often.
Not able to meet the demands of life
Either physically or mentally,
Their structure is less solid
And might become a burden
One has to endure and accept.
Illness can try to wear us down,
Bend us or break us
Until death comes to relieve
Our soul from the imprisoning body.
Then she is free to fly once more.



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Peter Willowdown

Dawdlers and Warblers

Dawdlers and warblers,
tinkers and tailors
and, far off on the white-capped horizon,
sail-trimming sailors
a'singing of fair ladies!

Lizards and wizards,
plaiting their beards and patting their gizzards,
grumbling, rumbling,
like volcanos and old kettles
or Timothy Goblin when he tripped over an old root
and landed in a bed of nettles!

Storm Horse and Ned the old Norse donkey,
both of them friends despite Storm Horse's evident nobility
and Ned's complete lack of even a birth certificate...
once I saw the pair of them nibbling cornflowers
at the edge of evening.
I tried one myself as an experiment
but had to spit it out.
Oh it was nutritional enough I suppose
but one of the petals got stuck in my throat.
Storm Horse shook his mane and whinnied
but Ned eyed me disparagingly.
I daresay if he spoke the good Queen's english
he might have suggested that I stuck to biscuits
but donkeys are never particulantly fluent
even in their native Norse,
Ned less so than most.
I left them to their munchings
and made my way home to half burn some toast.

Dawdlers and warblers,
happy days between the hills,
watching dandelion clocks gambol,
doves and pigeons on my doorstep,
sitting on stiles to write silly poems,
watching white clouds composing koans.

Summer in Wales,
busy bees buzzing,
silver streams singing
and swift rivers running.
Who would not wish to dawdle
in such a pleasant place,
warblers whistling plangently
in the hedges and breeze tossed trees,
butterflies the colour of honey or marmalade for company,
dragonfly's wings painted with all the colours of mystery,
the hills and beckoning copses competing
with each other in hospitality
and off in the distance the mountains
looking wise and lordly.

Sing a song to the Lady for me,
you navigators and mariners
with joy in your hearts
and salt on your eyelashes,
passing over the edge of the world
as if invited to a wonderful celebration.
Tell me of the delightful gown She is wearing,
flowers in her golden hair,
forever veering to some marvellous
Paradise in the West.

-----

Dreams of Rain

Dreaming of rain
flowers in pain
cold reign of the winter pretender
crouched upon his Iron Throne;
behind his face a mask of bone,
skull songs echoing in the rafters
of his icicled and cobwebbed hall
where all the hereafters are tired and grey
and the clocks all stopped one melancholy Thursday
fifteen thousand years before
when his sweetheart passed away,
murdered by his own hand, some say,
though in reality she was slain
not by any mundane weapon
but by a cruel jest
and a crippled bird imprisoned in her breast.

Dreaming of sunset
and an iron rainbow hangs in the sky,
frozen gods trapped in passage
upon its frosted, sky-arching span:
heroes and men, poets and thieves,
caught in the space between two footsteps,
waiting for the world to release
its tightly held breath,
another heartbeat from the chest
of the World Maiden wrappped
in her chains of roses and thorns,
her chill respiration hanging in stalactites
down from the Moon,
only the raven of Ravenna
immune to her chronic swoon
and the sparrow of Seth
hopping in the silent wastes
that are the plains of Midgard
searching for worms,
lively eyed but dull souled expressions
of the Dark Lord's disregard and sullen reverie:
there is no future or yesterday
only the dim impenetrable fog of today,
a Fimbulwinter that has lasted fifteen thousand years,
a tear despite itself, ice-bound in the eye of time.
Dreaming of the Sun:
was it yellow? was it round?
was it made of something called fire?
Even demons cannot remember,
their cracked leather skins
and once burning scales of half-molten sulphur
stiff and fossilised upon their backs,
their captive souls trapped inside rune-written sacks
buried deep in aeon old glacial cracks
so lost beneath miles and fathoms of rime
the ticking of the cosmic clock is stilled
to an unheard leaden boom
as of an immense wave that never quite reaches the shore,
infinity reduced to a single airless room
where the ghost of God and the skeleton of a Rose
dream of rain and flowers in flame,
the momentary laughter of sylphs and September
and fifteen thousand other things
he cannot clearly remember
but cannot wholly forget.

-----

Extracts from Willowdown's Emerald Almanack

Compiled and translated by
Trimegistis Azurethighs
at the Royal Bequest of
Queen Lucinda Blackletter the First

Empress of All Underwood
and Pellucid Avatar of Mimbish.

Welcome

Before there were computers there were books.
Before there were books men, women, kings, warriors, children and grandmothers would sit around the campfire and listen to tales told by shamans and wandering musicians.
Professional storytellers and travelling bards were well established in cultures as diverse as ancient India, Africa and the Americas whilst here in Wales the power of the bard was such that his skill with wit and words was respected and feared by all.
A satirical song or poem could swiftly spread across the land and topple an unpopular chieftain.
In most cases these wandering minstrels served two purposes. Not only did they maintain a well-memorised oral tradition of culture and genealogy; they also served to spread new ideas and news from village to village, land to land.
Historically, as our early ancestors forsook a hunting and gathering lifestyle and became more settled in specific places
the arts of writing and keeping records developed.
The practice of keeping records began as long ago as the third millennium BC, when the Babylonians inscribed and stored information on clay tablets. From early in the 4th century BC collections of writing were kept in Greek temples and by 340 BC great libraries, such as that of Aristotle, were widely known and visited by scholars. The library at Alexandria in Egypt, established at around the same time, came to be regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. China also has a long tradition of record keeping and book collecting, in private libraries as well as in centralised government libraries.
In Europe, the monasteries became repositories of knowledge until the advent of printing and, as the Renaissance encouraged the spread of literacy, libraries expanded in response to the new desire for knowledge.

Now, at the beginning of the Computer Age, we have

WILLOWDOWN'S EMERALD ALMANACK.

Tower of Flowers.

They built a tower of flowers
to touch the perfumed stars,
they built a shrine the size of a city
to house a pebble washed up by the sea;
they had words for thirteen different types of twilight
and spoke in quiet tones
unwhispered this side of the Pleides
- but when you refused them a lock of your golden hair
a great blackness consumed them
and they vanished utterly
from the face of the Earth.

They herded strange sapphire-blue pigs
from silver streamed realms beneath the soil,
they erected complicated patterns of stones
in the shapes of flowers, snakes
and non-existant creatures;
they had books of paper-thin metal
with pictures and writing all of miniature jewels
- but when they heard an idle song praising summer,
lilting on your lips
they turned their backs on all these things
and became sullen and morose.

They took to living in towers
built of blocks of solid-hewn Night,
they refused to look at the stars
and took to wearing dull, featureless masks
of unpolished metal and glass.
they avoided all woodlands where songbirds gathered
and eschewed the sight and sound of running water.
they ceased to commune with women and men
and slowly, moss and creeping vines
hid their habitations completely.
Their tower of flowers
lost its heaven piercing petals
to the bitter winds of winter
and the neglect of uncaring seasons.
Mortal bards ceased to sing of their curious ways,
their emerald hair,
their gold and violet eyes.
they became little more than fairy tales for children
and eventually, even the children forgot.

They built a tower of flowers
to touch the perfumed stars,
they built a shrine the size of a city
to house a pebble washed up by the sea;
they had words for thirteen different types of twilight
and spoke in quiet tones
unwhispered this side of the Pleides
- but when you refused them a lock of your golden hair
a great blackness consumed them
and they vanished utterly
from the face of the Earth.

-----

Faeries of the Old Green Hills

Faeries of the Old Green Hills
- do you linger still
wandering over upland moors
between the frost-limned doors
of menhirs and lichen-speckled dolmen,
communing with moon-sylphs
riding the wild lightning horse
gathering dew-moist berries at dawn
hunting in lush hollows for honey
beguiling guardian bees with song
tickling wildcats tummies
with blades of feathery grass;
snoozing through the golden noon
beneath the gaze of curious cows
and inquisitive squirrel.

Afternoon sees you eager for mischief:
disrupting the dull routines of farmers
laying false trails for sheep dogs
mining hatstacks with pine-needles
to prick unwary lovers,
whispering salacious rumours in the ears of priests
making faces at babies in cradles
frightening midwives and village Post Mistresses
waylaying delivery boys with tales of adventure
and thimblefuls of wildflower wine;
tricking Old Owl to give you free rides
tying tails of @#%$-willow onto Grandpa Mole
lighting beacons on dusks rim
to dismay local watchmen
blowing conch-shells and ancient bugles
stolen from old barrows
disturbing the peace of both the living and the dead;
filling the balmy atmosphere
with screams of laughter
and shrieks of dread...

Faeries of the Old Green Hills
- although you are coeval
with the woods and hills themselves
you maintain the aspect of perpetual youth
and only the most foolish
or thought-addled of men
would measure your ancestral wisdom
against conventional truths...

It is twenty years now since I first glimpsed
the stray cavalcade of your revels
against the evening skies
and something of my mortal soul went out to you:
a sigh snatched from my wide open mouth
by nimble fingers devoid of blod.
Is it too much to ask
that one day it might be returned to me,
that I might mix and talk with simple men again
without eliciting their sidelong glances
of scorn or dismay?

-----

Guru Puja

I offer up these tiny flowers to you,
the sweet and fragrant rose
and the faded, wilted blooms of yesterday;
the fresh open-petaled faces of my joys
and the puckered, withered faces of my sorrows
-for only you love both equally.
The vibrancy and vigour of youth,
the brown and crinkled desuetude of decay,
both are your equally beloved children:
you make no distinction between
the hale and the lame,
the dark and the bright
so I offer them up to you,
my worthy and unworthy thoughts,
my black and white desires,
my laughing wide-eyed children
and my doddering old men.
What you might possibly want or do
with either I do not know and cannot imagine
but I offer them anyway,
my Lord of Coloured Flowers
in your garden of space and time.



-----

Offering of Flowers

I offer up these tiny flowers to you,
the sweet and fragrant rose
and the faded, wilted blooms of yesterday;
the fresh open-petaled faces of my joys
and the puckered, withered faces of my sorrows
-for only you love both equally.
The vibrancy and vigour of youth,
the brown and crinkled desuetude of decay,
both are your equally beloved children:
you make no distinction between
the hale and the lame,
the dark and the bright
so I offer them up to you,
my worthy and unworthy thoughts,
my black and white desires,
my laughing wide-eyed children
and my doddering old men.
What you might possibly want or do
with either I do not know and cannot imagine
but I offer them anyway,
my Lord of Coloured Flowers
in your garden of space and time.

-----

Red Robin and Brown Finch

Red Robin and Brown Finch,
how pleasently you spend your days
singing happily in the Greenwood
in praise of the Immortal Lady.
I once saw her descending between
the tall boles of needled pines
as squirrels called out happily to her
from their branches.

Now, I hear, helicopters fly over regularly
with heat seeking equipment to locate
nature loving wanderers who stray from the path
and the Warden comes quickly in his jeep
to put them on a designated track
and does not even wish them good day!

Oh Red Robin and Brown Finch,
I think you must have new sad songs in your repertoire
and Old White Owl now gazes up when the Moon is full,
lamenting the so-called superiority of Man,
who, although he looks and understands much
wants to keep his wisdom to himself
behind neat barriers and tidy hedges
and does not want his fellow folk
to wander where the spirit calls them,
through glades of glistening sun-dew
where nodding puffballs and stinkhorns
sway in the breeze and silver owls dream
in the high trees,
where elves sip molasses from invisible fountains of sweetness,
sharp teeth already stained with the purple juices of berries,
laughter in their eyes,
lucky white heather stuck behind their ears
and tucked into their braces
and the only traffic is the hard-hatted Warden
and his grumpy misdemeanor.

Thankfully the helicopter is loud in its warning
and lets me flee before I must suffer
the Warden's insufferable lecture.
Dont ride your bike on the path but push it,
he admonishes from his four wheel drive
- you'll damage the ecology.

But poets ignore his grudging warning
and distrust his salaried philosophy:
we slip betweenn the silven boles
to walk on newly forbidden ways
and dream of green-leafed wonderful days
and Owl swoops low and sings,
Hoo, Hoo, Hoo are you
and a little way off the train from Southport to Liverpool
is running two minutes slow.

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