We. We are. Already free, alone, we are:
Our salty waters for aeons unfrozen,
Green-tongued, inceptionless ages;
From fresh umbilical finger-frets
In the firmament, we leap:
Our cries volcanic vents,
The seas soft with our tears;
And, then, suddenly, sometimes,
Silence spreads itself upon us
From within our own circle,
Sprinkling delectable nectar
Where our newfound sprout.
From infinitesimal seed,
Terrors embrace even us,
Exposed in scorched star-fields
Where matter roils
Out of black, and we, child-cruel,
Destroy, simply to renew
At such holy instants, it thrills us
To down-cast our-selves, sundered,
Into new-minted night-time,
Not our own creature,
Moon’s dry wink, laughing sorrow
Behind our photon-streaked backs;
Here time-tendrils out-fold themselves:
Tease open pristine fleshy fabric, form
Luscious playgrounds, bloody towers,
Whenever – delirious, we care not –
To be in-filled:
By incomprehensible sloths,
Albino toucans, glass tigers,
And every we-thing,
As yet, by us. US!
Swooping mist-swathed eyes
Taste mud-pools rich,
Hot moans fragrant
Slicing moist grove’s sleep;
Steeped in charcoal shadow
Balmy prayers for
Seasons’ briny birth –
Water with tears
Our memories’ journey,
Since dream-blown waves
Hurt not the longing seeds;
Let iridescent dust-
That cosmic lotus-clouds
Burst into thought.
[South Wales Evening Post: 03/10/18 as PM]
From language we are never free,
For far inland or deep at sea,
It reaches out its grasping hands,
And wordy death kills many a man.
With angry cries that pierce the soul,
Or lovers' tenderness untold,
Words suffocate, they steal the breath,
And leave you panting, close to death.
But as you try to stem the tide,
Of hurtful lingualistic jibes,
It beats you down until you tire,
And with a squawk you soon expire.
Sages teach of life's great goal,
Priests pray to God to guide the soul,
Science states that death's the end,
Mystics claim the veil may rend –
Few tearful mourners at the wake,
None yet can tell it's all not fake,
That all that speaks one day is vanquished:
Drowned in the tumult we call language!
[South Wales Evening Post: 13/02/20 as PM]
Life's a puzzle, life's a dream: life a penny-dreadful scream.
Each year, Sothis, waspish,
Lick-spits grit-grains, seeding
In-between space with larvae,
Our caterpillar veins;
Dull-whetted, urges us, pulsing again.
Life's explosive, life's extreme: life's a bust machine:
Azure recycling smother,
Sky-ink blotted altogether;
Ineluctable cloud-cuckoos cluster:
Intervening? Not ever.
Life is liquid, life is clean: life a self-made meme.
Somewhere, salmon run, lightninged
By unchosen glorification;
They rustle their scalene folds,
Up-river torrent unperturbed.
Life is flimsy, life's surreal:
Always invisible; on soft margins, lurking,
We pretend to witchcraft, caressingly rendered;
In day’s grand schemes, merely implicated;
Finding ourselves inconsequential:
Self-schooled in venal symbol-rousing;
Where lukewarm logic trumps scorched living
Life, stolen; as
Desire out-acts shrugged-off deed.
Life is life.
[South Wales Evening Post: 20/09/20 as PM]
It is the time of the Great Liar,
Sulphurous shadows begin to fall:
He who bridges the whimpering ocean,
Slinks up to the city walls,
Those spire-topped ramparts, strong as adamant,
A protective soul-shield for all.
Then with tempting chains of plenty,
Sweet ligatures of lies,
Let in with unthinking transgressions,
Even by the wise:
In sins of anger, greed, repression,
Of self-regard, and lust,
An echo of hoarse breath is felt,
Turning love to dust.
None is spared by the spectre,
Cringing in its ghostly embrace,
A parasite in our civic blood, passed,
Stealthy, from place to place.
Corruption weakens strongholds,
Squeezing sneering serpent coils.
Thus, the best become as liars –
In falsehood’s yoke to toil!
[South Wales Evening Post: 13/01/20 as PM]
Today, taut, tanned torso tensed,
Tingling, twitchy, truculent,
Trim tendons tempered
To trounce, tear, transform;
Toiling to topple trite
Televisual tropes, trussed
Tight to tricky, trumped-up
To terse, turgid,
Terminally tropical torpor,
Tantamount to tragic tribulation.
Tossed tides turn; tonight, tomorrow,
Tessellating twisted twilight;
Time to trumpet tirelessly,
Together, tenacious --
Transgress tawdry tyrants'
Trendy, toxic taboos!
[South Wales Evening Post: 18/07/18 as PM]
In this land of al-Ethea, strange sacraments slip
Straight into the spines of the uncertain few,
Swaddled in burden’s lush black wool;
As libations call forth inhibited lust,
Loosing the symbols inscribed in the cells
Of those who journey but are always encumbered,
Defiantly lugging aboriginal roots;
Where, in catacombs far from fugitive folly,
They erase the links of long-jailed love.
Animal homecoming’s solemn fulfilment
Inverts lost language’s unclear bounds, as
The quick scrape thick sounds off tongues’ cloudy edges,
Delve shared pasts with communal toil,
Romping through tales carved from primal mud.
Then, nurture, forgiving, heals gnawing perfections,
Spans zinging zip-wires over school’s spoiled wastes;
At last hope’s rare balms melt memory’s falsehoods,
Soft-soaping stark secrets in unfiltered light,
While creased grins fill in doubt-scored fault-lines,
Abet contentment’s mushroom-cloud growth,
Re-forge taboo thoughts as proud friends of freedom,
Hampering the slick of wire-barbed fame,
Key-gouging achievement’s rash, smothering howls:
So, ambition’s fanged ramparts begin to crumble,
Salt-seeding the dung-rich humus of life;
As the book of moments fills up with wonder,
Sly sky-god winks, dribbling satire from on high.
You course the depths, a chalk-grey shroud,
Corpse-wound on chill child, soon to be
Worm-churned, consumed by careless ground;
Your eyes coin-closed, no more to see
Moon’s borrowed light play on spent surf,
Clayed ears to hear dawn’s wounded mirth.
Beyond eternity you’ll lie:
Potential sins ground then to dust;
Thus no more shall swift spirits fly,
All earthly treasures rendered rust,
By million lye-tears pleading wrung;
With hearth-crushed lullabies once sung.
No starry vault cracks at my cries;
No absent gods flee my heart’s wrath:
What icy sword now stabs my side?
Will your face always sear my thought?
My mind’s a cursed ship, tempest-tossed;
My second’s lapse: your future’s loss.
[South Wales Evening Post: 26/02/20 as PM]
The snide liar propounds grand
Untruths with a vehement zeal,
They stream forth from his mind like
Harsh waves of cold moon’s jealous fire;
With vile songs does he wage
Bleak war on your unwilling ears,
With dire sights does he make
Your eyes cry hot tears of blood.
The few who are faithful are
Tested beyond all human strength;
Those who surrender themselves
Become fat on the wages of sin.
[South Wales Evening Post: 18/07/19 as PM]
This information age entraps us all,
A web is woven twining worldly-wide,
Enchantments icy silence new ideas,
In hash-tagged handcart, go we, quick, to hell.
Dawns death’s new day as springs forth doubt indeed,
Desire destroys us, lacks with, us doth damn,
As passions we pretend; on screens import
Hypnotic happiness, that makes us harsh.
Now absence angry henceforth over-awes,
Exploiting even souls’ exploring eyes;
Avoid we always making things of art,
As hearts grow heavy, weighted down with hate.
So means machine by which we much transmit,
We should eschew that human nature shine
From mouth to mind; no interface is meet,
When forthright face spreads love’s consuming fire.
[South Wales Evening Post: 03/09/18 as PM]
Amidst three spent volcanoes, puppet-bobbing on the brink,
Where fireflies eat soft silences, propagating musky silk;
Past’s story-snout sniffs trenchant roots, heart-truffling question flakes:
Sweet memories of debts once sung dissolve in torpid lakes:
In sudden syncopation, I recall the urge to jump,
Deep slathered up in twilight; for if any soul should slump
Exhausted down in wisdom’s bed, then moonlight bloods the sea,
Unravelling boredom-laden ropes to gambol in thick haze
With indecisive rashness, by false joy’s charms set free,
As ruffled night struts up and down, entrapped in a liquid maze:
There mediocre choices leave a dearth of forms to wake,
Though discord’s swifting scions breed new lies from plastic hate.
My gaze breaks day’s cool back-bone, forcing two to split to three;
Horizon’s scalpel neatness shows more holy insight’s gained,
From raving poets’ garbled chants than shrouded monks’ vain prayers:
Gestating long, those mocking vines transect our ocean layers;
Then thought-flick, short and savage wired, beyond pain’s wastrel chains,
Claims bitter mind-field sacrifice, as doughty myth-wrights flee.
In sliced-out word-cage spaces, strange imaginings appear:
All shrink-wrapped hopes turn quick to rust with shriek of tightened screws;
While meaning boils, earth gyroscopes, expelling lava tears;
Taut ware-wolves hail their long-scorned troops, ready-mustered for attack,
More ironic than in former lives, whose fealty shall I choose:
Despotic godling hosts, sun-drenched – staunch rebels, winter-wracked?
Cold wind blows, destructive
To silent, vulnerable trees,
The end of their glory
Under the wrath of sullen
And vindictive clouds.
Like kings deposed – stripped –
Of their finery none remains,
But lies forlorn; no longer bright,
It decomposes, somehow
Eventually to fade away –
An incidental death –
In the unreal half-light
Of a weak and slowly
Tortured sun. No-where,
Where doom hangs heavy
In the air. Omnipotent.
The coming storm.
[South Wales Evening Post: 11/12/18 as PM]
Manhattan, Casablanca, and Baghdad
Watch natal radar star-call gallant hands,
Tram-track away past's fragrant back-scratch fads:
Aghast as swarthy bad-lads grab vast lands.
Havana: Sabbath blackjack play has sway;
Grand Harvard rajas' wands fast charm crass arts;
Canasta bars stalk Arkansas’ sad ways:
Far paths awash, as card-sharps cast blank charts.
Harsh war-clangs blast daft chaps that stand apart,
Bland vandal packs thrash Satan’s ramparts brash:
As fatal scandal’s vacant flashbacks start,
Dark sand-man's mantras, cash-mad vagrants trash.
Calm charlatans walk Panama’s flat tracks:
Warm days can’t last; slack chalk-wan quacks, all wrack.
[South Wales Evening Post: 12/12/18 as PM; A Lipogram-A Sonnet]
Repeat, return, recant ye not
This charnel-bound incarceration;
Your absurd soulless lives live out,
Thrall to contagious generation;
Accept escape be not your lot
You’ll not be saved from last damnation;
For friend and foe alike do plot –
Life’s blotting out, in conflagration!
[South Wales Evening Post: 18.10.18 as PM]
Sullenly we mouth a wordless curse-prayer
For those stellar burn-outs who fade away
Like overwrought, opportunistic, Milky-Way wrecks,
Gone vastly awry at ultimate End of Days;
Ragnarok blood-bathed, blemished, battered,
Banished, blinded, besmirched, burned;
Erased, effaced, as twisting Cosmos tumbles,
Ever-exhausted, expanding infinitely outwards.
Oh, let their heads be crowned forever,
With laurel – in oblivion!
[South Wales Evening Post: 11/07/19 as PM]
How the moon in his sky
Shines cold through night’s long day,
And covers with the clouds’ mirth
All his loveless features.
Proud light creates a path
Straight to Heaven’s lych-gate,
To bear up life-shorn souls
In time’s ocean shipwrecked.
[South Wales Evening Post: 17/08/18 as PM]
After I out-birthed my womb-tomb,
The room was warm,
Chemical was the smell,
Thick, the relief oozed,
Sluggish teen mum beached up
On linen, crumpled and bloody:
It was all so ... messy.
A world away, perhaps, the team’s better half,
(Allegedly) spasmed, choking on cross words, whilst
Guilelessly chowing down with his eyes
On the ragged red-top flesh, having
Just nipped out for a fag (he defiantly did not need).
There was a ruddy gleam about his face
(The bargain multi-pack of mind-masher
Rendering the vision of the rustic
But honourable swain moot indeed).
He hadn’t apprehended (yet, oh dear!)
She’d popped the cork, indoors.
Elsewhere, portly cherubs puttered,
A siren nibbled the tarmac’s peace,
The moon tried to cloud-surf,
Machines hum-drum-thrummed, lovingly:
Wonder was beginning.
‘Now this is all that there is,’
Baby-thoughts licked me,
‘Living, spawning, dying.’
Thus said fear – was it lying?
Lady-life eiderdowned me with a slap
And a tickle. She had only just about noticed;
Rejoiced in being lazy.
Neither wanted nor needed to query:
Was the whole damned palaver not crazy?
I exhausted myself framing clever questions
About life’s meaning; reaching to stare direct
Into her gently warm, knackered face,
Or whisper in her cockled ear-shell,
Or just to get any attention, really.
Well, I flopped and chortled,
Enjoying Mum-mum-mummy's breast:
Oh, everything was so very ... very.
[Written for the "New World, New Beginnings" poetry workshop as part of the Swansea University "Being Human Festival" in November 2020,
led by Owen Sheers and Eric Ngalle Charles]
Our barnacled surf-bodies hug soft nameless remnant-bones,
Which slumber, counting blessings under slithers of moth-moons,
In a doubtful foreign country where lost love-boats don’t capsize,
And Eden’s flame-girt gardener hums sheepish ghost-dog tunes.
Land-locked sluggards, slow evolving, pay no heed to soul-less shoes:
Passion-forging wanton swan-machines to cross boundless time-tossed seas;
Thought-foxes microscopic explore dusk with ice-cream cries,
Snuffling sorcery earth-scented, carving myths from word-whipped breeze.
Young rat-boy later tags his art as if weighing mountain fog:
Clay-shod imagination-leaps, just his way of sailing proud;
Alternate self-conceptions sprays, with volcanic rock-melt grace,
Anthemic, hardcore drumbeat rousing stern nocturnal crowds –
Cloud-crowned in sleep’s oblivion: cloaked in grave-beholden shrouds.
[South Wales Evening Post: 20/08/19 as PM]
What are mates for –
Friends we once trusted –
Who use us then stab us,
Fleece us, do us over,
Maroon us there,
Boiling in bile?
They demand extirpation:
Who cannot but abhor beasts like these?
Oh, resolving these issues
Lets the shrinks, cons, tall-talkers,
Prating anodynes, chuckling,
As they gorge on our soul-shards,
Grow fat on our anguish for years!
[South Wales Evening Post: 21/01/20 as PM; apologies to Philip Larkin]
Smallest baby leaf,
Are you dead or sprouting forth,
Wrapped in crinkled gauze?
Single stalk back-bone,
Yellow edges dry and furled –
Green sap ebbs away!
How must spring have been,
Fragile thing – vulnerable;
Born only to die?
Just like a child’s hand,
Keenly grasping the most air;
And yet it escapes.
Maybe you recall,
In this ghostly withered form,
All whom we have lost –
Then drop without fuss,
From the weeping mother bough:
Ah, life is so cheap?
[South Wales Evening Post: 26/11/18 as PM]
How great is fate –
I'm skint but glow with bliss!
But why was I not born real sad
And then again –
I used to be jealous
Of bankers who're rolling in money.
Although now I grin when I dream of their empty
Has provided the camels
With blubbery humps
That they glide not away
Through needles' eyes;
The fatted merchants
Who farm them, however,
Have few qualms
About them escaping.
Meek who hunger,
thirst, and peace-keep:
Mourn those just,
kept poor, who
Pure of heart, miss
Lucre – truly spawns such
Filthy fruit with feckless
Loving – Well, that's only if you
So – forgive,
Bland skies above,
Blind thieves' misdeeds;
We make them play the king –
Then swap our jests
[South Wales Evening Post: 16/10/18, 17/10/18, 28/12/18, 21/11/19 and 29/11/19 as PM]
[These were written for California Institute of Arts "Sharpened Visions" Poetry Workshop (Coursera Certified) in 2017. They all began as examples of "American Cinquains" based on either stresses or syllables but have morphed somewhat in the process of publication!]
Icarus, liminal ljúfsár, on acid-keen oxygen sky-high:
A bittersweet brew of being: horonigai,
Becoming glykópikros, cupped in boyhood’s cusp:
Hair-sprouting youth, pait-tam-is, embracing manhood’s flush;
Taívanska intellection sizzles technic power,
Transcending earth-bound pull, a halu-wamir billowing flower
Seeds meme-pools ewute with lingering tongue-kiss;
Lynch-pivot back-bucks two-edged olubuhlungu bliss;
Too-gold amăruie truth-glinting dusk thus dawns,
Second-splitting inkling, fate pahit-manis spawns;
Half conjures full life-chalice for acıtatlı sacrifice to sup;
Giggling wings ‘nzeviero melt hubris, wax up
Sea’s stupor, excite bitterzoet sun’s sweat:
Ecstatic gas-ball sings chwerwfelys threat:
Alowvelkí gulping woody nightshade breath:
Surf-spume sardonic gorʹko-sladkij laps sweet death;
Gazi-goza language berries scarlet word-wounds cry,
Lisping to stunned keserédes scream, then silent flies
Death-light blue, damp-dark feathered, agrodolce oxymoron
Pesonamu – spews out object – kawa-reka – foreign;
Over-grasping, so self-lost: forever katkeransuloinen.
[Note: the words in other languages all mean "bittersweet"]
How breed thoughts’ precious links?
Fish-lightning sparks they spawn,
Escaping neural nets,
Trapped not in barbed-wire lines
Of academic texts –
Pure ideation’s dawn.
Unnamed, thought splashes forth,
Mind sips moon’s dreamy foam,
In night’s green salty steeped,
Inscribing rocky truths
On creeping dunes iron-hewn:
Hot facts we’ve always known.
Thought dredges life’s abyss,
Where earth-made bodies drown;
Dissolving fractured hearts,
Illusions melt away,
Black hole embedding hu–
–Man whole, is me –
[South Wales Evening Post: 01/10/18 as PM]
The woodsman sent to fell the tree
Attacks it with his axe:
He cuts and gouges, green sap spurts,
He groans and grunts his job is hard,
The effort of destruction is as much
As he can bear.
And then exhausted by his work,
The great oak starts to topple, and
The more it tips the worse it screams,
Its roots from earth are rudely torn,
It flails, it falls, with final sigh
It settles, silent, on its side,
No longer standing proud, it dies.
Another life by man wiped out –
But many more will grow, no doubt?
[South Wales Evening Post: 15/09/18 as PM]
I clamber the mountain of madness,
Wrapped in blue-milken dreams;
Where starving hearts growl, stone-cloaked
In obliquely riddling screams;
Feral child-wolf lonelier than angels,
Toe-top-full with apple-metal zeal;
Doomed to delve chthonic snake-twined stronghold,
As tear-nail winter falls on failing wheel.
Up fox-path sly I scramble,
By deathless glacier-lake,
Abyssal rock-wall shades me,
As I pursue sun’s withering flake.
Atop culled vale’s cruel tombstone,
Grim scree-wraiths whimper vacant names:
I decant into sleep’s dead corner,
Strength devoured by sin-smithied flames;
I watch sky-fields breathe in ultraviolet,
Night-gazing from giant’s chair;
Slurp bleak neutrino-splattered star-winds,
Waltz with astral denizens fair.
Then – raw honks torn from geese escaping
Our uncertain, heedless world,
Usher cracks in the sheer sapphire casket
Within earth’s taut rainbows furled:
Coiled matter-strings vibrate on time-fronds,
Dense coal-orbs itching to howl;
Peace suffocates, marrow-icing;
Fungoid fruit stench, pinewood air befouls.
Next – welt-scourge holly-berry birth-screams,
Ever softening as unnamed ones slip near:
Those vile snow-coat, rust-eared hate-hounds,
Scything souls into Otherworldly mere;
World’s frame disjoints – Strained nature dies;
Boiled chrism anoints – Palm-reeds outcry;
Cruel judge appoint – Soul quaking spies;
Frail hope aroints – In fragments lies.
Crazed jet-faced huntsman Acamar,
From frozen house in far fiery flood,
Wild-iron, rut, rieving wrath spills,
Culling transient soil-sprouted love;
I cower babe-bare before desolation:
Fear-spoor leads beast-king straight to me;
My flesh-raw yell cleaves impotent silence:
Rage-spawned magic at last set free –
Born of astral background echo,
Scalding thoughts before language fly,
Honing dream-forged symbols into weapons:
Ochre mirror-shards slice myriad demon eyes!
Blazing misery of warped assimilation:
Routed spectres banshee-screech themselves away;
Just-germed word-wright lies stupefied in dawn’s breast,
Until roused by sneaking tendrils of harsh day.
Void-gazing psyche’s forever splintered:
Twinned supernova and vacuum I now contain;
Bards or maniacs descend that gaunt hilltop:
Is he both; are we one; art thou twain?
So, scratching out entropic cosmic roiling
With honeyed hand and bloody tongue:
Asking always canny, harrowed, questions:
From creation’s mumbled vowels not yet wrung —
Technoglossist, Ling-wiz’d am I become
… Nunc egō Essendī Incantātor sum
… Y fi ydy’r Dewin sy’n ‘neud aur o blwm!
Proud peals of church-bells cry out death or marriage;
Not, though, for youthful fighters sacrificed
Knee-deep in mire where mortars scorn their passage,
In soon-embracing bomb-blast waste of life.
Blind mud-beasts feral stalk the foreign trenches
And mock with sudden salvoes muttered prayers,
Sent up by mournful choir that doubts its senses,
Far-flung from home and hearth, entombed by cares.
Crazed fanfares call these patient lambs to slaughter;
Choked gas-ghosts ravish boys’ lungs in fresh Hells,
Where, ears still ringing with their sweet-hearts’ laughter,
Sad eyes torment with candles of farewell.
Wrecked poppies now their only memory;
Blood-tears of parents whom they’ll no more see.
[South Wales Evening Post: 10/11/18 as PM]
Plutonic rime or Martial flame:
Which element's most meet to frame
Your hope's demise? – If scorn sprouts first,
With scalding numbness you’ll be cursed
To feel your nascent ardour die –
No longer etched in rose-hued sky,
It retches, snivelling, packed in snow:
A shrivelled weed too weak to grow.
The second option, cut-glass passion
Destroys us in a different fashion,
When red-hot pulsing hearts command
Disdain for suitors' weak demands
For mercy! – Then the gore-drenched fight
Proceeds relentless, day and night,
Until, at last, both lie consumed–
By lust unfettered, hell-wards doomed!
[South Wales Evening Post: 31/01/20 as PM; apologies to Robert Frost]
As an exercise.
An experimental poem.
Distilling raw content into this tightly honed form.
Fooling around, so playful, with the bubbling growth of syllables, a clover-clothed hog,
Immersed in creative flow, set free from all concern by attention to kind convention’s straight-jacket details,
oinking out line
But then again, I thought, it might be better in some ways to be a hound than a swine.
For mutts don’t get lost in internal mud-wallowing.
Nor are they made into bacon.
And stimulating as art is.
[South Wales Evening Post: 15/08/19 as PM; This "Fibonacci" poem starts with lines of 1 and 2 syllables. The third line has 3 syllables (2 + 1); the fourth has 5 (3 + 2); the fifth, 8 (5 + 3); and so so. In this example, the maximum line-length is reached in the middle, and the pattern then reverses.]
Spent ash embalms ambition’s roots:
Once mighty fire-eyed coals;
Forlorn, Death’s trumpet asphodels
Black map-less voyage call;
This inside-out flesh, self-consumed,
My once hard heart cajoles;
Now, new-found, guilt-wracked ownership
Lassoes my selfish soul.
So pain-clothed pity’s wretched child
Time’s barren beach patrols;
And bastard breath’s tar-ravened lungs
Mind’s fitfulness paroles;
As cancer’s crab-like pinions
Sweet tissue-cake enfold;
Excruciated childish sobs
Score life-tree's withered bole.
Lost memories chimerical
Embalm inverted eyes;
While jagged pain-flash ravishes
Pure nature’s black-out tides;
Then amber nerve-flints insolent
With aching dreams conspire:
That grunting current, arrow-panged,
Coiled sleep, shock-jawed, denies.
Through metamorphic, drug-laced nights,
Frenetic sweat melts bones
Of slack-limbed man on wilting bed:
Calamity's mad throne.
What whip-sick questions' fractured sense
Form scorn-wrack mouth intoned,
Do I dare spurn, with silent curse,
To him, cast down, alone?
[Heddwch i'ch llwch, TMD: 09 Rhagfyr 1946 – 15 Mawrth 2012]
Soon the skies' dumb-struck dam-walls shall
Break, loosing waters of strife,
Unleashing from bondage, thorned
Hope's scourging flame in men's hearts;
Then, the ice-torrent shall pour forth,
A fierce fresh-cleansing flood;
That blood-tide that bestirs
In soft flesh red-hot magma of life;
A shock-charge that slices
Fear's fetters with truth's subtle knife.
And at last the lost sheep shall be sealed
With the gentle rose tint of love’s kiss;
And cracked hearts be sent forth
To repose in the crystalline stars;
A song of rent stone shall snatch you
From death’s vast ravenous maw,
When you take your appointed seats
By the turquoise throne.
Let all those who love life echo praise
To the poles of Earth’s globe;
And oblivion's vile servants
Be exiled in dark evermore!
[South Wales Evening Post: 18/11/19 and 29/11/19 as PM]
Here, cruellest April withers those sanctified
In this chill ghost-garden, this locus of dismay:
Unsoldered harmonies shear off sideways,
Decanted down profane brass trumpet’s craw,
Shepherding legends’ life-shattered heart-beats –
Jagged notes milk spit from tooth-cliffs’ jaws;
Hollow choir’s song seeding unshed tears.
Hardly alive, perpetually sight-shorn,
Funeral foundries siphon all
Earth’s cruel colours, rainbow ringing,
Through unwilling slag-stuffed throats,
Flash-fuse flesh’s candle tombs,
Seal us steel tight, yet culpable still,
In durable dungeons of bloody wax.
With rapacious kisses
Beast bones slough off splendour;
Exchange sinewy scraps:
Echoing hopes, which
Cease now their skulking:
Effaced while intelligence, surly, elopes.
Ah, such strange lacks greet the dumb-struck lovelorn;
Our inchoate sobs, clayed with clammy fat;
Empty thoughts fill immensity, fast making
Misery, courage; cunning, mystery’s fool:
So, indolent river over-spills lost lake,
Offers endings better, endlessly open,
Always more bitter, innately less true.
In deferring your grief we diminish our gift:
Thus, never henceforth will you gaze on our likeness,
Looking-glass hallowed, slithering down days,
Swift seeding sunsets, wantonly sour.
Slit, then, your wrists, that you too might slumber:
Surrender to suffocation under al-Ethea's limp green veil.
No: we silent sleepers shall not speak to you again.
Minuter than amoeboid mitochondria,
Insta-child sprung from linseed grain;
An incendiary kiss awakes me,
Born asleep inside green marble vein;
Pollen-blown by cheeky germinating pain.
In rare monkey-shade I magic walls:
Roof, hearth, fire, smoke, yet no heart-home;
There chequered breeze cuts rainbow wrap
Of ferny-fence and wormy-dew,
Leaf-veiny growth in fresh-corn sap;
Fields serenade slip-ooze.
Then – sniff, stop, slurp, start, search, stop:
Wild tendril talks to stone;
As concrete heads clack scarecrow beaks,
By candle-light on sun-baked sea,
Wound-wiggling creepers hound.
Sole arctic fox, rust-furred with hurt,
Whiskers spruce with salty comb;
Warm lacy wind drips ceaseless rain,
From hope’s far side, delving under-tales,
Where copper flame scores runes.
Black dance of frozen maggot-scenes
Deep drops my own balloon;
Dumb life-clock winds its slow fat spool,
On tin-plate spoons plays zigzag tunes,
As red-hot fish lick fools.
Chaotic, love-drunk universe:
Dark beast-birds prowl wild velvet round,
Hid forever in aubergine cool,
Where light eagle claws stroke souls,
Lost in calm cobweb pools.
So, blue-eyed death with midnight mouse,
Quiet-breathing crab-bright boon;
I milk-quick thistle-down myself:
In time’s locked tower, not crazy-cracked –
Cajoled by lusty trance-mad moon.
[South Wales Evening Post 20/05/20 and 30/04/20 as PM]
Sun’s ruddy passion fondles lunar echoes,
Days’ turnings birth our father’s years untold;
Stone mansions of desire burst into flower
As slow brown river flows through engine soil.
Moon’s depth springs of still night yet blindly craze;
Tears unbelieving brethren paraphrase,
When all earth’s oceans ochre spill in rage,
Unthinking efflux to earth-mother’s grave.
Knotted fingers fold blue exhalations
And summer’s children’s lead-laced shadows loom;
Imagination’s meanings lovers whisper;
Of darkling discord only prophets moan.
Swifts wheel high in glory’s blushing orange
And cloaked with birds the creaking branches dance;
Zephyr’s music ransoms brittle heart-break
And ears with thudded discourse silent pulse.
Sharp mountains dance and trees fade fast,
Frost’s etching knife writes cutting knots;
With grace and power of flux unstopped.
Cold anguish grips deep earth-sunk roots.
On flame-kissed landscapes fog descends
And turned-earth furrows, snow fills in;
As wisdom’s seeds hide underground –
Spent drops of rose wine tender spilled.
So birth and growth and change of state,
Stars’ photons wreathing empty space,
Time’s tidal seasons soon negate,
As fading grain-seeds germinate.
With captivating passion fertilised,
Love’s drunken fantasies conspire to sprout,
Despoiling willing heart-soil’s virgin flesh,
Green hair strewn thick on once bald forest head.
[South Wales Evening Post: 30/08/18, 31/08/18, 01/09/18 and 18/11/18 as PM]
Nights shred summer's silk,
Sun-hazed gadflies strafe, blood-fed,
Routing slipshod dreams.
But – when cool breath breaks,
Soothing thought-bees' muddled hive,
Honey-salving fears –
Then we heal old sores,
Word-blind earwigs lacing wounds
Years had let unzip.
[South Wales Evening Post: 12/12/19 as PM]
At last does human speech
With magic fire infused
Transcend the earthy realm;
Ascending to the skies –
In silence we shout loud
As joy replaces pain;
And with words felt not said
Our hearts sing their true song:
For we are one, again.
[South Wales Evening Post: 16/01/20 as PM]