Mother

When this apple tree is axed and carted to the yard

its old leaves stripped, its twisted branches cut and carved;

when birds and errant squirrels are summarily dismissed,

and mistletoe is torn and puckered lips unkissed;

somewhere beyond the function of its analytic brain

beneath the anxious beating of its heart, the alignment of its grain

we will get down to the nub, that grande dam the tree would be,

except artful years bore sweetest fruit contorting destiny.

Thaw

Forgotten

in locked allotments

bracing brass monkey feet

she

dug

deep

with clenched teeth

through frozen clods

customarily turning over old leaves

 until

she                                                                     slipped

and gripping glass

g

u

i

l

l

o

t

i

n

e

d

her pinkie finger tip.

.

As shock welled

to fill iced water butts

she saw her isolation reflected hard as winter

and lifting her mangled digit

in surrender

staggered bleeding to the gate.

Rainbow

Today, in the town squares of all great cities

around this beautiful globe,

we will, by common consent,  remove divisive flags

hung by history’s tainted shreds of angry pride;

folding them away like old aunty’s table cloths.

.

And see draped instead, from mountain heights,

a more fantastic sight; our real heritage.

Reflective of all earth’s passion and intensity

absorbing in amazement all our pain,

this is our rainbow – and the music of a shared song.

Old Year

Old Year rolls towards the edge:

all but cliff-tipped and crown-cropped,

he grizzles over sticky mince pies

and thrice cooked turkey,

downs a last guzzle of mulled liquor

and stuffs his pockets with fruit cake.

.

He will have none of party preparation –

“like celebrating my own execution”.

Instead, he catches up on old TV

plays Cluedo with the kids, who call him Mr Black,

and packs for emergencies:

no-one knows how it will happen this time.

.

Still,  warm gloves, tin of family biscuits,

and swimming goggles,

he’s ready to put his legs in one elastic

and catapult himself  into the next place.

If it turns out less than nice,

chances are, he won’t be there for long:

Years generally quit before outstaying their welcome.

Boxing Day Exchange

We are in the queue,

me and you, we know it too:

our front line fallen.

Best not push too hard

or we’ll be displaced

and lives could tumble.

.

If we two could pick

any darn box we desired,

ours would be blood red,

filled with comrades lost

when choices were made

by God, them or us.

.

But we can only

push on with compromised hope,

chipped swords and hearts drawn

in desperation.

Come, let us exchange

pretty distractions.

Christmas at Our House

How can we have Christmas at our house?

The rooms look like there was a riot

the table’s strewn over with gas bills

and the reindeer are all on a diet.

.

How can we have Christmas at our house?

The tree is hung over and wonky

our turkey ran off with the tinsel

and we never did order the donkey.

.

How can we have Christmas at our house?

It’s too cold to put out the fire

so Santa will struggle to reach us

and so will the heavenly choir.

.

How can we have Christmas at our house?

but wait, well then maybe we can

there’s a bucket of love up our chimney

and hugs in the fridge and the pan.

.

There’s sweet figgy pudding and music

our voices are merry and bright

we’ll hide nuts in a massive red stocking

and drink ginger wine late at night.

.

So let’s all have Christmas at our house

we’ll cook up a magical banquet

and after the games and the laughter

we’ll cuddle up under our blanket.

.

We all know the New Year is waiting

and we have to work hard and dig deep

but beautiful friendships will give us

the gift of this Christmas to keep.

Moon Man

There is a man sits in our crescent moon tonight

with jocular face and monocle.

Hunter-warriors beware,

he will rock away this precious slice of light

should you prey on easy meat from a high-handed horse.

.

There is a man sits in our crescent moon tonight

tickling xylophones with whiskery fingers.

As ice drops flicker

give time over haste to winter tunes,

to taste his gruffle-sung stories of stars and wonderment.

.

There is a man sits in our crescent moon tonight

making immortal space for us.

He cradles kindness

in extraordinarily long arms,

and gifts weary travellers with chuckling beneficence.

Transition

The train is leaving, but there is the head of a child

Resolutely wedged in my door of change

A sense of submerging as the old breath runs out

Nasty phobias manifest at times like this

Surrendering, the final click  elicits a sick shiver.

.

I begin again with an awkward moment.

.

This is how life pans out on my emergence

I walk strangely into a squeaky new room

Only when I am firmly ensconced, do I open my eyes.

.

Now though,  once again, my Mind is in the Gap, MIND THE GAP, MIND THE GAP!

The Curator

Economically, it was a difficult  time

women itched in woollen scarves

men stamped their frosted minds

a cruel wind blew till their steaming chips were down.

..

Socially, it was a treacherous climb

He clung to the frozen earth with hooked toes

vertically

.

.

impossible

pebbles snapping like dragons’ teeth

stressed grass grazing his aching knees.

.

Astrologically, he read the perfect sign

and chose this day to set his sight

at the hill above vast unmolested sea.

.

At the summit

he would put down his heavy pack

lean his broad back against a small patch of undamaged sky

and watch history unfold.