PenDragons

 Dedicated to my circle of delicious poets: John Etheridge (http://bookofpain.wordpress.com), Elizabeth Cook (http://serialoutlet.wordpress.com) and Jordan Roe (http://tierceandhum.wordpress.com)
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Working virtually
the PenDragons are poetry’s
rough hewn ships on the tide of life
casting inky anchors deep, 
diving minds for matter,
sifting happenings for collateral
worthy of our keep.
 
We make no promises
seaweed catches on our bows
best intentions dashed
by errant storm, becalmed
by sleeping muse,
yet still compelled, we push
through ode and villanelle
divining subtle truths.

Hand Recital

These two hands are both my boundaries and my open gate

raised up to signify life and catch my breath, and as I ponder

they take the pen to write, dipping sotto voce ink,

and hearing hidden passion with sentient finger tips.

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How these two friends push and press and work together,

folding over dough in pas des deux parenthesis,

gathering to cup a warming brew or comb through hair,

iced blue in deep snow pockets, in summer – full red and ripe.

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Comfortable in prayer, who would judge these anguished two

for uncommon deviation; a desperate grab in tightened times?

Ignited in knuckled protest, closing angry fists as if to fight?

Look down then to your left and to your right.

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My industrious two return to sew and knit and thread

and wrap and cut and spread and meet and reassure

and weave between expression and caress.

And when you go they’ll wave and wipe, go mix a cake.

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Each day they pick and pour and weigh, these two hands.

In doubt they shift and shy, but regrouping bear me up,

my loyal retainers, remaining after fair has faded,

brushing ebb and flow as time is plucked and dropped.

On Writing

Sweet words chew me

like tooth-clagging sticky toffee

in their luke warm ink shower.

Poetry addicts, they get in the flow,

spilling me out more tastily

than life intended. It is in their interest:

these gourmandising friends are wise advisers,

but their candy grabber misses often,

only occasionally dropping good.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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Socially, it was a treacherous climb

He clung to the frozen earth with hooked toes

vertically

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impossible

pebbles snapping like dragons’ teeth

stressed grass grazing his aching knees.

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Astrologically, he read the perfect sign

and chose this day to set his sight

at the hill above vast unmolested sea.

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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.

Offering

In the old place, as you snatched your gaze away from me

I saw our futures in the furniture behind your head,

carved from antithesis, set in stone;

you rolled your eyes across an over- stretched conversation

and years flexed and flew.

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While I pirouetted into semi dark,

you stuck your colours to the nearest domestic lamp

and remained  stoically moth-like. I hardly dare knock

at our last closed door, fearing the beat of distressed wings,

but I come with fresh baked anodyne,

and if you answer, it will make this new morning blossom.

Winter Chill

The grandfather clock coughs

and then they are all at it,

armchairs belch their stuffing,

tables drop all their leaves, cushions deflate.

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The radiator complains of a temperature;

the bed winces when I lie on it, so

I perch near the moaning fish tank

watching eczema paint peel from sore throat walls.

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Later, I grab my guitar, but it winges and slides

out of tune with the day,

offending the aching ears of the television

which begs me to turn the sound down

real low.