Come Closer and Listen

I reckon if someone calls a book, ‘Come Closer and Listen’ they ought to have something to say.

Something vital, urgent, new. Provocative.

I leaned real close and listened. I wanted to be shocked out of my stodginess.

Take something away, to share with my mates at the pub Friday night.

Something revelatory.

But there was nothing.

Admittedly the poems are well crafted, And there are a few good ones

and even one stand-out poem but that’s it in 60 + pages.

But really it’s the same old stuff as in the previous 10 books.

God help us, we;re all in danger of repeating ourselves and if I do I pray someone

calls me out.

But it’s like I said of the Seinfeld book.

You coulda done better, Charles. You coulda done better.

Calm

I like to read calm sentences, she says.

No ugly exclamation marks that bully and harass.

No question marks that interrogate.

No dots or dashes.

Nothing jittery or jagged

Calm.

Calm sentences.

Placid as a billabong.

Soothing as slumber,

Pachelbel’s  canon.

Wouldn’t it be Nice?

Don and I were having a chat

about the magician’s rabbit,

the one my dog killed,

and the killer instincts dogs seem to have;

It’s in all animals, Don, I said.

‘Nature red in tooth and claw.’

Ahhh, that old Tennyson chestnut , he replied;

that would explain why ‘Cilla and Ralph [his cat and  dog]

are often at each other : ‘kill, kill.’

We’re no different, Don:

you ever felt like throttling someone?

Do I have to answer that? he said.

Of course, you’re right: but wouldn’t it be nice,

if we could take off our nasty ‘genes’

as easily as we take off our denim ‘jeans’?

Don’t Throw Away Yr Old Stuff

Don’t throw away your old stuff.

You will never have enough

new material to work with;

writing can be tough.





Put away your frail and flaccid.

put it in a book.

And in an idle moment, open it,

lighten up, have a look.





Give it iron, backbone,

a new voice, beat

find it a new form.

Let the old be reborn.





Everything will have its place.

Everything its time

the giddy, garrulous, the gruff.

Don’t throw away your old stuff..

Parable of the Tea Towel

I was halfway through the dishes when a call of nature distracted me.

When I resumed I could not find the tea towel anywhere. Where’s it gone? I said.

It’s on your shoulder, my partner laughed & there is was, dangling like a limp flag.

Made me think of that line from ‘Hey Jude’ , ‘the movement you need is in your shoulders’

& I thought, that’s it! that’s the answer: not carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders like Atlas

but shouldering your way through difficulties, so they part before you like the Red Sea did for Moses.

The Blossoms

You hear of early risers

but these apple blossoms take the cake

five weeks of winter to go.

Couldn’t they have waited?

Slept in?

Hibernated like bears?

But no, something drove them on,

something shiny and imperious.

Hope maybe? Faith that some

would get through?

They certainly brighten the street

lift the spirit in these cramped covid times.

Little blossoms of faith I photograph

to remind me, and I can’t help hearing

someone whistling in the back of my head,

with his hands in his pockets

always look on the bright side, and I start

whistling too

One Perfectly Round Ear

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Locked between his headphones

the scraggly haired beachcomber

scours the beach with his detector

its one perfectly round ear

listening to talk-back from the sand

music to his ears :

dollar coins , gold ear rings

or bottle tops , tin cans —

relics of summers empire .

On and on he goes

in his hand a miniature spade

and a blue bucket of hope

 

  • pic by senila ilinykn from Unsplash

Looking for Silver Linings

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Ever since the Corona virus took hold,

I’ve been trying to write this poem about silver linings,

about looking for them in the darkest of days,

and I know there’s a name for this condition,

for someone who’s insistently optimistic: Pollyanna —

& I think of Haley Mills who played the part

in her film debut for Disney, only she was thirteen,

female and wore pigtails, while I’m a senior,

white male and insistently balding; but Optimism,

like Corona, does not recognize age, ethnicity or gender;

we’re all in this together and can find silver linings

in the darkest of storm clouds

 

  • what silver linings have you found during the past few weeks?
  • is there cause for optimism?

Talking to You

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Talking to you was great.

I felt the weight

lift off me right away.

Going to you was like

passing from night to day.

You gave me validation.

Said what I was feeling

was okay.

You were the genie that took

my anxiety away.

No more heft, no more gloom.

I floated out of that room.

* have you got someone to talk to who can lift the weight right off your shoulders?