Poems 2018

13th November 2018

The Guitarist, 2018

The guitarist plucks at his strings
the metallic tumult begins.
Like legends of some Gothic age
being given eagle-like wings.
We can see the shape of the man
on the venue’s dimly lit stage.

Rage breeds, as the vocalist roars,
slapping shockwaves into your face,
as the mounting tension outpours,
wielding thunderbolts like a sword,
the drums set the thunderous blows
of the songs that everyone knows.

The man is a god of the strings.
His open shirt showing his chest
and the sweat to his jawbone clings
they all know that he is the king
the greatest that they’ve ever seen,
and their excitation takes wing.

As they savour the savage sound
the crowd waves their lighters around,
fists clenching, they punch at the air,
prodding fingered horns at the crew.
For people, the devil may care,
if he misses a note or two.

As they watch the twist of his hips,
enthralled by his glistening hair,
they long for the touch of his lips.
For them, he is Eros defined.
Their clamour is not for his mind
his pulsating body is there.

At the end of the set he bowed
and the crowd erupts in applause
the screaming and shouting are loud.
Off stage, the musician withdraws,
and his heart is swelling with pride
and, of him, the band is so proud.

The musicians start packing away.
They pick up their amps, and feel strong.
The performance turned out quite well,
for many they cannot go wrong.
Tonight’s gig – a very big throng –
and next time, more tickets they’ll sell.

Pursuing the call of the bars,
stinking with old perspiration,
the stubble of weeks on his chin –
ready to conquer the nation,
Guitarist’s about to begin
his meteor rise to the stars.

So when he is in the arenas,
thousands of fans, grouped in thickets,
Will he recall the admirers,
the ones he began to impress,
the fans who first bought the tickets,
thus paving his road to success?

Will singer think back to the start,
when playing those shit-venue dives,
the small ones he had to endure,
for the sake of his grinding art,
as he plods on, tour after tour,
will he think back to all those lives?

Does he love those women that crave
masculinity, music and charm?
Girls worship the man who gets pissed,
the man who can do them no harm,
the singer who’se always the rage:
the legend call The Guitar-ist.


Poetry Day

Poems for poetry day

4th October 2018

Today is National Poetry Day, 2018. To mark this, I publish three of my poems based on history and legend.


Antiochus, 1965

A thousand slaves on Nemrud’s height did toil
and raised a tumulus of such might
that snow lay on its body, huge and bare.
Six Titans sat, carved from titanic stone,
and guarded Antiochus, lord of Commagene,
whose mortal ashes, in his tomb,
no longer can be seen.


Some lines depicting a Greek legend, 1966

Wild chaos, like a milky void, was there
and from it, through the very beats of time,
arose a Goddess with a graceful form.
She found no solid thing to rest upon
and so divided water from the wind.
She made the boundless sea with flowing tide
and danced upon its ripples and its waves.
She danced upon the universe alone
and grasped the tameless wind between her hands:
she rubbed it and behold! A serpent grew.
The star-crowned, black-winged goddess of the night,
before whom even Zeus must stand in awe,
was courted by the wind and made an egg
of silver which she laid in Darkness’ womb.


Artemis, 1966

Artemis gazes from above
with hornéd creatures by her head.
She fills the world with stormy love
and constellations of red dread
lie throbbing on her many breasts
above the aching chasm’s floor
that once contained her great incests –
rise now with human gore.

All composed during my teenage years when ancient history was a new-found interest of mine.

Poems from 1969


from 1969

Marooned, 1969

I was a small boy;
perhaps I was twelve.

“Me an’ me mates
were over on ‘ayling Island.
Trev – ‘e’s me best mate –
‘e went back to the mainland on the ferry
but I couldn’t go, ‘cos I didn’t ‘ave
enough money. So Trev went over and
said he’d come back for me.”

I stood on the island shore
watching the tide pour through
the narrow channel between the islands
in a churning current.
Watching the figures on the mainland shore
hoping that one of them would come back for me.
I stood there alone, penniless…

…with a strange feeling deep inside me…

a feeling
a feeling

of being utterly alone
stranded, in a strange place,
far from home.

I was not afraid
even as the tears
momentarily blurred my vision.
I felt challenged to survive.
Independent. Self-dependent.
With a strange feeling,
an odd sensation deep inside me.

Stranded on an island far from home.
Across the raging water,
just three hundred yards away,
there was my friend.

I did not know
what that strange feeling was
but I called it

Since then I have
felt it again.
At times it creeps back;
when I am faced with
momentous decisions
when I have to make important plan
when I end a love affair.

On my island of life
I look across at the world.
I feel alone.
I am far from home.

But the challenge is to survive.
That dispels the blurring of my desolation.
Maroonia returns.

I did get back all right.
I did get home.
But now home is
eighty miles away.
I am an adult.

But I am still alone.


Room, 1969

Room with a view
and a gas ring
a hot and cold sink
a hot and cold bed
Bare walls distempered blue
and carpets fitted – more or less.

Heavy lorries roar
in Cromwell Road.
The gas fire hisses
at the coldness of my feet;
drafts carry away
the precious little heat.

I am here.
They are there,
all around me
boxed in little rooms
human units
anonymous entities
unrelated existences.

Roar, roar thou winter lorry;¹
thou art not so unkind
as Georgian architecture.

¹ a play on words from Shakespeare, As You Like It (II, vii)

My mind, 1969

My strange existence:
it is heavy like a rock
it is shallow like a stream
it is clear like a loch
it is false like a dream

From bubbles to butterflies
it changes, like passing clouds,
and winds that blow away
leaving the air to be still

I seek it with searching eyes
I seek it with straining ears
I seek it with with groping fingers
I seek it with quivering heart
quivering with frustration

I reach, at last, the truth:
Alas! The bubble bursts
the butterfly flutters away.

The Wind, 1969

I feel it blowing through my mind,
this wind of evening, warmed by the setting sun,
as light as the fleecy clouds, high in the radiant sky.
I feel this wind: breathing, gentle, ponderous,
softly in my heart, living in sentiments.
It blows faintly through deep bones and organs,
whistling in hot blood, collecting in the clear eye,
whirling around in the darkness of the brain.
My life is a wind of change, eternal transience,
but I, always ineffable, say
“I am I, for ever, come what may.”

Though I may suffer much, I never cry
from the bleeding rack of bloodied time
and unavoidable age. I never cry:
the wind will dry my tears before they fall.
I never cry. But, do I ever laugh?

My inner wind is never calm. From gales,
to fairest whispers, I am beaten down
by the movement of feelings,
emotions, sentiments, stinks and essences
of my life, my destiny, my death.

I never cry? I laugh, only to die, for a time
and I have parted friendless from enemies.
Be brave, for courage is
one’s only untaxed asset.
And tears fall in the drying wind of change.

Poor, sad eyes: dark pools within
the face’s wan virginity.
Dear wind: blow! blow!
My tears are drops of dew
in your desiccating kisses.

See also

A Poem of Tajihi

A Country Walk 

A poem of Tajihi, 1968

A poem of Tajihi, 1968

‘Cranes call, flying to the reedy shore;

how desolate I remain

as I sleep alone!’¹

Here lies a boy with empty arms,

his soft hair lying on the pillow.

When the sun bears the golden fruit

and lifts his head to melt the frost

and summon up the cock

he will awake and hear the sound

of reeds rustling in the morning breeze.

Then he will remember the evening passed,

he’ll see again the amber sun

reclining in a bed of rosy clouds.

That call again will echo in his ears,

the cranes will settle in their nests

and he will wander back

to his small bed – alone;

and on the way he’ll pick a fading rose

and sniff its mellow perfume,

he will lay it on the table by the book he read

last night. Then he will look

across the valley to the little town

where all the people live.

But now, he lies asleep

with no one in his world,

to make his fresh young heart

beat faster in its ruddy nest.

Those eyes of his will fade

before their dewy brightness

can be seen.

Cranes: call no more tonight!

Quoted from An old threnody by Tajihi Yanushi, an envoy, composed in grief at the death of his wife.

See all poems on poetry home page

A country walk 1966

A country walk, 1966

I walked all wreathed in bliss and happy thoughts,

bathed in the pleasant sunshine of the noon,

with grass, a happy carpet for my feet,

the trees were clothed in leaves so rich and thick,

the sky was blue and shining like the sun,

and all lived in the country’s earthly peace.

The sadness and the grief of concrete wrong

had left itself away, a journey long.

I wandered in the heart of nature’s breast,

and had no future, in my little life,

I was a cow, a ship and roaming beast.

I knew no place of living; here was rest –

it lay about me on the verdant grass,

There was no ardent torture for a climb

to higher ways and better means of life,

such things were lost in dim, historic time,

entombed beneath the joyous here and now

it was as though to heaven I had gone.

See all poems on poetry home page