Summer Lines (short poems)
Hopefully I’ll think of something.
Dark shadow, of a gull
Like a midsummer night
Her hands moved along
Opening up a world both within
And beyond the trees.
She sat so long,
On a rock
That it was she who imagined sailors,
But the horizon cloud was a cloud, not a whaler.
The young lovers, eyes
Were focused, blue on brown;
In love with sense of perfection
Pain was a frown on the face of the town.
He carved a statuette in her image
Made from his thoughts in bed
And the words across the limits of town,
That the missing voice had said.
There was an air of magic in the evening
Sunset putting wonderful new light into a cloud,
Salmon pink fusing with grey like a disappearing fish
The poet thought
He was having a fallow time,
Till the candle beckoned
For its tallow time.
The heat exchanged
By two horses, one neck placed on another
Is something seen on an afternoon train,
By passengers who faintly remember a lover.
I’ve never seen an eclipse,
He said, but just a perfectly serviceable Moon
Then he sang a song,
Which eclipsed the tune of the moon.
Disillusioned with the illusion
Of art, he blessed the blazing sun
Then he looked across the bar
At a sympathetic painting of a dog. Weight lifted: A tonne.
A moth settled on the nose
Of a flower, wings flat to the ground
A butterfly settled on a leaf in a summer shower
Wings up, rain beating its quick shower sound.
Bees take the praise for pollination
Away from Beetles, and other crawly
Things. Men saw a starling in a flap
And thought, “It must be easy to fly, with flapping wings.”
The early morning sun balanced on a branch
Like a Cheshire cat;
A woman walked her dog behind the centre.
The feint moon above, and all that.
The 24 hour, news
Agents in a town
Just the right size for a midnight walk
All the way around.
The moving leaves, rose bush within
My sight. Thinking of Winter’s snow queen
But remembering the Turkish delight.
Abandoned nest, in an old tree
Some on the high street
Some in the woods, near me.
Do the foxes go back in a line
Through all our changing times?
A link with the primitive
Or are the savage the ones smiling
Their destructive arrogance.
Dressed up in feathers, a crow’s
Flat footed dignity doesn’t mind
Flying off at a footstep.
FACING THE CHECK OUT
Eyelashes in profile
The veins of her foot like roots
Looking for someone real,
Waiting at the check out.
FORGOTTEN BUS JOURNEY
Passing rusty full
Size goal posts on a wild grass
Pitch. Abandoned like the fall out
From a game. Someone in 1979
Said, “It’s my ball, you’re not playing…”
Missing passport photo,
Found in a library book
I put it there myself,
And didn’t have the nerve to look
All that’s changed is changed forever
And you’ll never feel the pain
Cause I am stronger than it
In the July rain.
A solitary bee stung
Lips on a face you can’t ignore,
A blue bottle who sees you coming
And dodges your advance, and then some more.
You won’t remember the walk
Back from primary school,
The snow melting on the spot
The air so cool.
2 empty play parks, a roundabout
And the sense that in some words
You can feel everything.
When the sun is going down,
It’s a small token
My life’s work,
Doesn’t seem to matter that I feel broken.
He was old,
But that oak tree had always been.
And the crows were black
As new or ancient as they had always seemed.
Waking up, felt like a gift
It didn’t matter what age,
The sun shone down the main street stage
Giving everybody a spirit lift.
CITADEL — I CAN’T WAIT
A citadel in the mind,
We were in love in an 80s music video
Time kept moving on,
And we kept moving with it
Not by choice,
Latent memories are in body heat.
Winters have contracted,
And summer’s were swell
But in bed we go back
It’s something that’s difficult to tell.
Warm black night
In our darkness;
Misty river rush being
Your depths of the sea
Or shallow sunshine sparkling
On the turning tides of the early morning bay.
I woke up
To dream of stars
Like eternal eyes
Clutching at darkness
All too readily.
We held fast
And closed our eyes
That when we opened them
We were in the night skies,
The nearest street lamp
A while away.
A scattering of birds,
Starlings busied on the green
Dunnocks in the hedging
The day fresh and clean;
Pigeons walk around
Looking for things to do
Duck quacks in the canal
Protecting, they’re all like me and you.
Walking past a stadium
That goes to the dogs,
I walked one crisp winter morning.
A goose flew in over my head
To the park,
And my thoughts started forming.
The pond had elegance,
The goose looked and looked away;
The swans had seen such things before
So they just paddled away.
The moon spins,
We spin too,
Luckily when my head is spinning
Gravity sticks my feet to the ground like glue.
It’s a strange design that allows
Such chaos not to reign
I stand shifting weight foot to foot
Waiting on a train.
The big clouds, or the sunset in a cowboy picture,
Not a modern one,
One with a technicolor tincture.
We aren’t so different, from those times
When they had more scope to think, and read
And dream up cloud like rhymes.
In the distant blue
An aeroplane flies;
Makes me think of holiday destinations
Or the engine of a boat in warmer seas
Making its good vibrations
THE MOON IS A PEARL
The warm nights are drawing in
Like the draw string
Of a black velvet purse;
The evening comes
And bad feeling goes,
Like a curse.
Of the Chinese take away
Amongst a warren of back gardens
And fences, discarded his n hers vodka half bottles
Standing on the wall.
No proof that anyone lives here at all,
In this quiet evening, until someone is called for dinner
A child or a spectre, I’m not quite sure.
But least the smell of the Lucky Orient wanders with me.
The swallows conference
Like a moonlight flit
It’s July, it’s nearly time to go
On the great adventure, the sky painterly lit.
Shutters down town,
Grass where they used to picnic
Streets where men chatted on corners
Windows need cleaning that used
To be house proud. Till the dust settled
Like a shroud, or a cloud.
Peer in a window, and the curtains
Won’t be drawn on what happened
Pit boys and trappers, stay at home mums
Boy plays football by himself
Unaware of the doldrums.
EARLY HOURS FILM
A Parisian airport,
Step off, already some scarf in chic
The day fresh and new
A layer of sadness removed from the partition glass
A weight of dust off the shoulders,
The exchange student looks back
On his adventure. Telephone credits roll
On an old film from the late 70s,
Building modern shown off as something
To be proud of. The music of its time,
The wonder, the modernity
How to keep this post modern.
It was a notion when I was a student in the 90s.
They’ve reclad the buildings,
The grey has gone away
The skies are still grey
But I looked at some weeds on the way
Green, or rust coloured butterfly bush
I’m trying to find the positive in colours
And that’s the truth.
The seagull spent so long staring
On a gable end,
Of the building across from me.
That the roof tiles were like Japanese waves
In a painting.
It stared so long, it must be bored,
Maybe we should both go to the cricket
Instead of waiting, for a golden ticket.
What are they like?
I kept one light on
The block was quiet
Still I kept wondering
If the people I knew were alive
To what they’ve said.
The God star and memories,
And hopes are all we have
To make a person real.
Again. And again
Summer had ripened with
Days like those, and warm grey clouds
And more days, till the thrill of it went away
To come back again, today
With the sense of it leaving for good
Of the Autumn, and dark nights creeping in
Like a shadow of a feeling from so many summers before.
Days like today make you learn to love summers more.
On the high street,
After sleeping away the afternoon
Maybe here too soon,
BBQ scents tried to wake me
Feeding a pigeon with my sandwich didn’t make me
Stop feeling that I might still be dreaming of a street.
An appointment with a dream of shopping that I had to keep.
GILD THE LILY
Balmy golden evening, still
Dips into the sunset
Flies past not seeing how it looks
To me. A gilded Lily.
Set in poetry.
Standing in the kitchen
The music is coming through
Filtered like coffee
A rotating planet always offers something new.
An August day,
Warm, shoals of wind
Keep things cool,
Amongst the South side tenements
People and shop fronts take me away
To far off lands; seagulls and breeze
Green leaved trees, I imagine I’m at the seaside
Without a train ticket, or a desire to travel
Further than this multi cultural road.
But it’s just a foolish way of passing time
Until I sit with a book and rum coke and lime.
Billows the trees.
A man sits on the bench
At a graveside. Some names
Some dates; he’s waiting patiently for his
Love to appear.
Across the town,
Young folk in a twilight herbal haze
Not sure how to feel adult
Apprentice on the bus thinks of younger days.
Sweeps away at its doorstep,
A coffee is needed
Before meeting a friend,
When I make my compilation
I know I’d rather be nobody else.
FOR EDWIN MUIR
The late wasps,
Hive in decline for another
Year of heatwaves, sometime.
Perusing your Sunday paper spread
Jams, already off their head
In bottle bins, vodka and red bull
Soon to be laying on the cooling earth
Like a pair of stilettos, from the long walk
To the taxi rank with no hand to hold
But the promise of autumn colours in the cold.
The comments section
Like the “Belongs to” label on a school
French text book. A trail of thought
Back to the 1970s, in memory of
People sat at this window,
Wind blows, towards what’s now a Tesco.
The church at the bottom of the hill, 1972 engraved.
In First year, 1989, it seemed so long ago
Now it gets closer, as the Autumn winds begin
To blow. Long grass seeds are fun to sew
Still as I approach 50.
In a tin that gets thrown in the bin
Had Indian Ocean, Mauritius
Printed on the label,
Far off lands, choppy seas, unstable,
To beach so effortlessly, on a table
On these island shores,
With our social mores.
Wine from Provence, grain from Ukraine
A factory in Cheshire making processed cheese
In poetic rain. With humane pain.
Someone told me,
That the make up of a star
Can be told from the colours.
I think of this, as an aeroplane
Blinks its red and white lights across the night sky
And the components of the plane are interesting
The lights, the people who made the plastic,
The light in the eyes of the people on their way
To a holiday, or coming back
Into Glasgow, a planet of white and orange
Street lights. The dear Green place
Is the face of whoever you love.
The man set down some words
Looking for an edge.
Or the grit, to produce the pearl
In the shell.
But he was feeling old, and wasn’t sure
If his new direction was just his anger projection
Onto someone young, who still had to have their fun.
His poetic imagination, was in danger of stagnation
Projecting blame, and his own particular shame.
CHRISTMAS PAST — KING STREET
Christmas in old Glasgow,
An orange, if you were lucky.
The buildings washed their faces
Of soot, some of them,
If they were too dirty.
We mill around the old architecture, some like massive orange
Squeezers. The spirits of old Glasgow
Peer in our shop windows,
One day our spirit will surely leave us.
ONLY AT THE BEACH
Bleached blue sky
A gull, high
A lady at the beach, legs
Lotion, all the forgotten dreams,
Clouds spin out in reassuring reams.
Let the sunshine in
Many people have been lost
Suits, ties tight up, up tight
Bottling some values, at the bottom of the ocean
A draught that time hasn’t let taste right.
…But the price is right.
Invisible in the field
Nothing is revealed.
Because the grunt is the thunder
And the bull has gone
No lambs in Spring either, on a Sunday morn.
Came to blows
With the darkness of the night.
Eyes of beholders
Tried to get it right.
Rutting and tutting, the weather doesn’t care
People just want to relax one day
In an easy chair.
WHO IS IT?
A fresh air chill
Not since June.
No duvet, tartan sheet covers the bed,
Dreamed of a poem I
For is it I?
Couldn’t remember, under the solid moon.
So I woke up instead,
To a hint of winter’s waxing treachery.
It’s under a blanket,
And inside the covers of a book
That I can heat up by reading tales of others,
And day dreaming of future lovers
Under the covers.
Crow, not for show
Just plodding till tea time
The Willow tea rooms
Takes the fancy biscuit
But for a photo
Of a crow, odd looks
I’m willing to risk it.
In the city,
When nobody makes
A music box of
Liquid grey evening skies
Is where the sullen day has led,
Crows and seagulls stay up later
When the birds have gone to bed.
When you wake up tomorrow
In a meadow of better thought,
Autumn will warm itself by your fire
Sharing the food and wine you have bought.
BRIC A BRAC
Empty high streets
Mall cafe, we drink to the dregs,
One day maybe
Bric a brac and bespoke
Will wake to fill the emptiness,
Could be the future
A dream soon to get out of bed.
Till the morning
A candle lights
Up a corner
Of the sky
A window picture
It was day
So only one star lit up
The sun was here
Having its say
Look at the ground
Dandelion like suns,
And flowers a planet
The universe’s chosen one.
China town, beating heart
Of a couple who are loves
Young dream. The chef
Appears occasionally, working with his wife,
A team. Unsociable hours
Neon streaked April showers. His customers are friends. Other friends
Are seldom seen.
I walked Hadrian’s wall
Within the quiet walls of the library. The staff
The new books still live on
And it’s like a heaven
I have just to myself.
Of the folk
Not the music
Or the cloudscape
Away, to the petrichor wet.
They’ll try and take
Or break you
The leaves a chorus
Whispering a sound;
If you are being bullied
By one or more,
You have something they lack
And just see them
As they are… toxic bores.
Up a magician’s sleeve
The leaves appear in spring,
Like a sunshine patch
For our cat,
A woman learning again
Passed by here
A distant farmhouse
The cars drove
The cattle rove by
Under a sky that doesn’t turn to
Winter. It would feel good
A bench at the memorial
Wreath thrown for a community
Of farmers, who overlooked
Their rolling dreams
Rolling up cigarettes
I try to remember
Lest I forget.
Dark as a jackdaw’s feather
Street light buzzing
As the rain taps
Steady then fast
Puddle making silver bangles
The dance of the night,
The report like a match day.
Candles lit for memory
A waiting room
Television you saw when a boy
A place to think on tomorrow
A stranger’s smile.
Cat watching you from a hedgerow
In a street that looks like
God has arranged the windows
To make it look like someone lives there
A woman, waiting at a gate
For a good morning. Her interaction
For the day.
They gave us words,
Hug and cake
The mystery of language
A raindrop making ripples
In a lake,
And we wake to these wars
And conquests, with the language
Saying Vikings gave us words
A humane look after the wars
An eye looking for an eye.
A cosy pub,
Girl in a jumper
Long black skirt
A hand through her hair
But not to you.
But don’t worry, Edinburgh
The girl will always be there.
Laps at the shore
A dog naps
So does its owner
Still the evening
Walk in the dusk
Turns to the colour
Of grocer’s van rust.
SEA, SKY, SOIL
Beams like sunshine
Wiping the brow
Of the hill.
A flotilla of clouds
Travellers from lands far away
Full of strange aliens still.
I’ll open a door
In your mind
And you can walk through,
To a wonderful land
Where you picture a door
That opens to your favourite view.