By: Stephen Kingsnorth
When writing verse – it fills long hours –
I like a hook to hang it on;
it may be conversation heard,
or observation of the herd,
a picture with its questions posed,
or challenge, teaser, crossword clues.
The theme established, pleasure flows,
in exploration, phrases, words,
and finding where the rainbow ends,
most times, to me, a pot of gold,
so even when poorly expressed,
I’ve learnt of others, more myself.
I’m sad that, wrestling, only some
can understand my eroteme;
but then that pathway’s mine alone,
while readers’ road, another turn,
so common ground will be reduced,
without appeal or ring of bells.
My metric from my breathing, lungs,
the beat of heart which chimes with soul,
its rhyming blank, no forced pretence.
If further, find concerns addressed,
and join me, interrogatives,
what more could would-be poet ask?
Quick Win, Slow Lose
Tree felling today – toil, flume, soil,
fresh dawn eroded, tap roots sluiced,
bound harvest leaves clean washed away,
in timber chips, chute, mound found lost,
gush sediment sunk river bed,
the delta claiming mountain head.
With winter’s ways the seed preserved,
straight drill or furrow ploughed for home
land loam loaned as its growing ground,
but currency of quick return,
reaps unintended consequence;
if a trained fool will tell you, sound,
myopic sight still turns eyes green,
creation’s green blind-sided, greed.
For everything, a season
The soil receives its autumn dead,
for re-birth in the spring ahead;
until we till and turn the ground
intensively, and grain rebounds.
We store in barns, where mounds surround,
some millstone, ground, knead, feed our needs,
but leave the hungry round the globe,
to fill our stores with cupboard love.
Then turn that land once more around,
to bury tarnished treasure there.
The cycle, seasons, we endorse,
the buried seed, with unearthed greed,
though fruit now processed, plastic wrapped,
that human mark, blot, intercede,
our stewardship, what God provides.
A poem for the music man
or music for the poem slam,
an interchange of scoring charts,
where beat and rhythm takes them both;
the Nobel shock to classicists,
that guitar, mic and tousled hair,
acoustic to electric strings,
could contribute, to those who hear,
a mastery of literature.
So what’s the box you put him in –
for some The Magic Roundabout,
with hippie rabbit, stylised,
for Zimmerman, new living room;
son of the sea, born ocean waves,
where thrash of rock dredged deeper folk,
back onto Highway 61,
all changing like a rolling stone,
next year’s octogenarian?
Dad speaks of war and Vera Lynn,
as does her majesty, the Queen,
knows oil, mechanics, truck engines;
his prison cell, square metric space –
though he measures imperial,
is lockdown shield, vulnerable.
The landline wire, invading space –
as minefields crossed on D-Day beach –
brings voices to his muddled head;
his rations set outside the door,
a smiling wave, like semaphore,
retreats down-wind, escaping air.
He scans his album, photo leaves –
no change to Facebook, Instagram –
new lamps for old, of no appeal;
ironical that more have called
beyond the birds on terrace struts.
Tweets alone brought company.
He wonders that claimed crisis draws,
new guidance – now instruction termed –
improves his daily living norms;
but when the plague has been seen off,
will loneliness return to stare –
or will the neighbours yet appear?
Love in the Time of Corona
Both our houses plague-locked down,
rings of roses blooming soon,
tissues captured, sneezes thrown;
eyes of wights too close at hand –
will it soon mean we fall down?
Love is stretched, a metre plus,
party line agreed by both;
skin masks now become our front,
bubble wrap scarf, calmer throats,
fear in the wind as sailing by.
Cataclysmic, silent fiend,
rescind rape, pillage image;
water, earth, air, fire descend;
winding sheets may play their part
in shaking palms, laughing friends.
Global bell takes toll with us –
hear it ringing in our ears,
campanile towers too close;
wedding peels now funeral biers,
isolated, own, alone.