The gulls cry to be fed
and the woman raises the sound on the TV.
Hungry for love, the gulls screech
and the woman preens her hair.
Desperate, they beg.
slings slices of white bread
They land just within reach
She straightens their feathers, takes
them to a place where a man
coils words around their beaks, their eyes
framing their formal guise
places the portrait
on the living room wall.
The gulls see.
This must be love, they say.
Switches on the TV
to drown out their squall.
The gulls grow.
raise families of their own.
Their polite poses
crowd the woman's wall.
Not a hair out of place,
Many mouths saying “Cheese”
many obedient eyes gazing
into a stranger's face.
He clicks, and it's done.
He clicks, and the children - for
they are children - stretch their muscles,
The proud matriarch of three generations
turns from the TV
and and reaches to make space
in her spick and span home
for another trophy.
Jacket on, my fingers
for the latch
which leads me
to the other side of the door
which would take me outside.
Its arrival is always
sometimes a surprise, yet
routine as the seasons,
pumping through my veins like
a sullen child dragging me back, like
a whining child unwilling
to go outside.
Out loud, I say
you can do this,
it's just laziness,
but the tainted blood
through my heart.
I call myself a coward,
recall the feats of my youth,
the heights attained,
the dangers faced and erased, yet
my feet refuse to move and
my hand is stayed inches
from the door.
I say to myself, I can do this
Silence but for the hard beat of my heart.
Can I do this today?No, yet
I trip over the reply, doubting
my level of intent, feeling shame, even
as the shudders wither my brain - even
as the room sways.
I need milk and a dozen other things. Please
let me do this today.No. The reply comes from deep inside.
No no no.
I back away,
back to safety,
back to my lair,
Defeated, I glare at the cars passing by
beneath the grey horizon.
Milk, vegetables and eggs
will wait another day.
You can't think straight. The reins
were always slack. They slipped
from your hands again. You can't
remember when; could've been
in your sleep or while you
escaped into butterfly flight,
clicking: once, twice, watching
colourful wings flit...
could save you...
anyway you let go or maybe
those reins were stolen and
now there is no escape from
the claw that clamps your flesh,
back into the cold
of an echoing cave.
I am entering a new chapter in my life… so… this morning I got out of bed uncharacteristically early – roughly the time normal people are expected to rise. I switched my computer on to find that all of the unpublished poetry I have written over the past six months – including the poem I was planning to post today – has disappeared. Gone forever! I shrugged my shoulders, smiled and glanced out of the window. That’s when I saw the feather. I wrote this poem:
A pale feather swims,
leaving no scrape on the empty sky.
Swept by the wind
from a dying bird, it flies free,
distanced from risk
of dirt and decay.
Then I edited it…
A pale feather swims, gently ascending, leaving its modest breeze on the clean sky. Swept by the wind from a bombastic bird, it flies free, distanced from danger of jabbering shame.
over finding food to spoon between our
perhaps forgetting that if nothing
goes in one end, the other end
tends to become
To clarify; toilet rolls
were the first target of panic buyers.
Only when the bits that we hide
between butt-cheeks and thighs were ensured
of a year’s supply of snowy wipes
did we think to mind
Shoppers scraped up
every scrap of Potato, Pasta, Paracetamol… and
— being a nation of animal lovers —
Purina Pet Phood.
By the time I set out
for my fresh supply of modest gruel
the shelves were stripped of Quorn, Quark
and Quail’s Eggs.
(Note the poetic liberty; to my knowledge,
Lidl shops don’t stock Quails eggs)
fortunately, there were lots of bouquets
since we were warned away from floral displays
on UK’s flayed Mothers’ Day.
Last night, my
tulip bourguignon was a flop.
The vase-water gravy might have been
a grave mistake. I won’t go wrong with tonight’s recipe;
chrysanthemum bolognese lightly sprinkled
with kibbled gypsophila.
hangs in the balance
He lopes home
hugging a rain-drenched
bouquet to his frame, hunching
keep rain from staining petals, hoping
the beauty, the ruby hue, the perfume
of these hot-house blooms will halt
the drift. He’s humming a tune.
He walks in, singing
Roses are red
He presents the spray
She feigns cat-lick surprise, yet
her greedy eyes betray
the end of the line.
Cheapskate flowers again;
hints for a cruise, or at least
a long weekend in Spain
were in vain.
At cocktail hour when summer fails
bright colours vacate to the Mediterranean
Skies slide into leaden grey,
grumpily gunning to fulfil a bleak threat of rain,
their perfidious clouding slyly announcing
that dusk is well on its way.
Brittle twigs cling to knotted limbs.
Catatonic in the bitter air,
their scribbled criss-crosses laid bare,
bereft of the layered frock that veiled
the bland dwellings which crouch, blind-eyed
beneath my lofty window.
Spring’s brave growth crumbles to mulch,
all pride, grace and levity faded away,
its flesh consumed for future gain.
I pause mid-thought, my mind
resorting to fantasy:
might these spectral skeletons recall
to make safe hiding places for fledgling birds?
Perhaps they remember saluting the June day sun
their emerald hands swaying in celebration,
and nudged by a temperate summer wind
dancing, jiving, twirling.
Perhaps they relive
the betrayal, the brittle break,
the skittering fall.
Maybe they grieve, and yearn
the loss of green youth.