Category Archives: Poems

Golden Dreams

The book of Genesis proclaims
Jacob, son of Isaac, brother of Esau,
Father of the chosen people
went out from Beer–sheba, toward Haran.
When the sun was set lay down to sleep
with stones as a pillow and dreamed a ladder.
Moats of dust thrown up by angels’ feet,
bearers of souls to life everlasting,
a golden path between earth and heaven.
The foot rested with the dreamer at Bethel,
the holy House of God.
At the top of the ladder was Yahwey.

The book of Pharmacology proclaims
Benzodiazepine, Yellow Ladders
on the street, to ease anxiety,
give dreams the colour of the sun.
Pushers peddling on concrete pavements.
Two milligrams of alprazolam
to dream the dream of Jacob.
Ascending the ladder to touch
Yarwey, God of the chosen people,
mischievous entity, celestial clown,
assigning the land of others
to the seed of the false firstborn of Isaac.


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The Rhinoceros

Head down, short neck and broad chest heaving
in the hot savannah sun.
I see the prized horn rising as
Askari wa kifaru, the rhino’s guard sees me coming,
the Oxpecker bird, flutters, twitters and flies.

We are brothers in this land of thorn and scrub.
Now he hears me, boots on dry earth
Now he smells me, cordite and tobacco.
The rhino snorts and its odd toed hooves rub
the earth and raises the dust as he charges.

My heart beats louder than his thundering approach.
I raise my dart loaded rifle
the shot aimed behind the mighty head
He staggers in his stride, eyes blind with reproach,
falls to his side on the thorn barrier.

We measure the body and the prized horns
Quickly fix the radio tracking device.
Cut an iron tipped arrow from his side.
As he stirs we leave him in the crushed bed of thorns.
Another friend saved from extinction.

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What of duty now?
Is it in the loss of visionary dreams?
Looking to achieve the hopes and aspirations of youthful folly.
Is it in marching to the drum and fife?
Seeking after heroic deeds of valour and the shades of glory.
Is it in sacrifice of precious time?
Hours spent working on the mundane issues of community.
Is it in serving family and friends?
Striving to achieve a life style to be admired by all and sundry.
Is duty now a fantasy to beguile the spirit?
A malignant tumour, devouring ambition,
seeking the commonplace.

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Diagnosis unclear

Crown of iron weighs upon the temples
No circlet of champion’s laurel wreath is better recognised.
Soon needles creating boreholes will allow
pinpoints of exquisite pain to transfix the mind.
Reflex movement of the hands fight the recurring jangles of chronic shock.
But nothing can block the daggers, which will penetrate and dull the brain.

Each dagger thrust twists and screws
Carving through synaptic impulses denying messages of relief.
Body convulses, muscles tense, prepared for flight
genetic behaviour taking over the unequal contest.
The soul revives the conscious being to exist in purgatory everlasting.
Then submission as the next crescendo crashes through the rendered brain.

Confusion and dismay bring temporary respite
as autonomous body mechanisms function out of natural order.
Then chaos defeated, briefly the body triumphs,
the challenge a small victory in a long campaign.
Equilibrium restored to patiently await the next descent of the iron crown
That grows weightier drawing substance from the boreholes into the living brain.

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My Daughter Lorna

I was there that summer’s night
holding your mother’s hand
when you were born all in a rush.
Bottom first and legs in the air,
covered in a soft dark down.
They put you in my arms
and I was lost for words.

Now I look at the beauty you have become.
Long blonde tresses, sun bronzed,
a grown up woman
full of life and vitality.
And when you hug me close
I am still lost for words.

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Flanders Friendship

 Mud seeps through sinking unseasoned duckboards.

Tired puttee wrapped legs stumble in the mire

dragging up onto the fire step facing grey clad hordes.

Clear sharp volleys leave bodies hanging on the wire.

Whistles blow and subalterns urge men forward

through shell torn earth soaked with autumn rain.

Khaki brown lines, bayonets fixed, struggle onward

into no-man’s land where men scream in pain.

Maxims’ deep chatter spread a hail of death,

impartial, recognising neither grey nor brown.

Clinging, mud-choking slime stops their breath.

Their God is the same with his thorn-ringed crown.

On the bloodstained duckboards a man lays dying

No charge to glory, just a bullet from a friend.

No pomp, buried in a blanket, widow left grieving.

No matter how they lived, death claimed all at the end.

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