pulsar poem

pulsar

(Just trying out a new way of posting. This is a recent poem written quickly after listening to Jocylyn Bell talk about pulsars.)

travelling too close to a pulsar

at the start     only a throb

like a lighthouse beam     sweeping

the dark in narrow arcs     beware

spaghettification as you    get closer

you’ll find your head      separated

from your feet     your chest pulled

violently from your    abdomen

the magnetic field    will wipe

your credit cards    clean

along with     all your memories

On False Perspective

300px-hogarth-satire-on-false-pespective-1753

Most writers and poets say a poem should stand on its own without reference to an image, if that is what triggered the poem. While I agree, I find this drawing so fascinating, I have no hesitation in posting it with my poem! No doubt my attempt doesn’t do justice to the drawing, but there you have it. The technical term for poems which re -interpret other works of art is, Ekphrasis.

On False Perspective

After William Hogarth

See how our concave faces confront contradiction,

we can never read what’s inside; each daily meeting

gouges a deeper groove. Lets face the facts

to avoid false perspective: from a mile away

a man lights his pipe from a candle

held by an apparition leaning from a window next to us.

Sheep grow as big as cows as they wander into the distance;

we stand still as the path beneath our feet speeds along;

a rock face descends as we cling to its cragginess;

horses stand while the bridge moves under their hooves.

*

Two-faced Phil folds into a clock tower; waits his chance to strike.

*

The moon in a dewdrop shows its full face

yet we can’t see both sides of a church

if we stand in one place. Two-faced Phil

jumps out and strikes his lover dead. The murderer’s

reckless act can only return to innocent reflection

in the moonlit depths of a puddle.

Summer

nightingale

At our last Writer’s Group we took one of Bernadette Mayer’s prompts. Pick a phrase at random and let your mind play freely around it until a few ideas come up. Seize on one and begin to write. I took the anonymous poem ‘Sumer is icumin in’ and played around with representing bird song by using phonetic spelling which I hope is onamatopoeic!

Sumer

Apologies to Anonymous (mid 13th century)

Sumer is icumen in sing cuccu

cuccu summer is icumen sing

sing soprano nightin-gal nu-ipp

nu-ipp nu-ipp tweeeeeeeeee pi-oo!

Jug-jug-jug choc-choc zeeeeeee!

Summer is icumen in sing sing

cuccu cu-cucco cuccu cu-cucco!

70th Birthday Picnic

eric70picnic2 008

It has been a while since I’ve posted here due to my working on my book. You can just make out some of us playing French cricket in the background! I had about twenty guests – not a bad turn out for a semi-recluse! The weather was sunny on Sat 6 August and it was good to see everyone enjoying themselves. Friends came from my Yoga group and Writers’ group.

The poem is a bit of intentional semi-doggerel, if there is such a thing! (I was rather pleased with the rhyme for ‘cricket’- in the last stanza.)

 

Birthday Poem at 70.

The day dawned like any other day;

I’m still standing and not yet lame.

Seventy circuits of the earth around the sun,

I hope I’ll never need a Zimmer frame!

*

My daughter asks what’s it like to be seventy,

I reply no different to being sixty nine.

A friend writes keep the child within alive,

keep writing poetry and you’ll be fine.

*

Lets give thanks and salute the sun today,

play French cricket in Saltwell Park

eat chocolate, Barack Obama and samosas

before our journey into the dark.

*

If I live to be a hundred, I wouldn’t want a plastic heart

In all honesty I don’t think I could stick it;

I wouldn’t want Botox or any replacement part;

I’d just like to be able, still to play French Cricket!

*

Note: Barack Obama is what I called barm brack cake.

The Morning After

sf image

I am busy writing a book for publication so will not be posting so often from now on. I will try and post something once a month though! ‘Weddings’ was the topic for my writers’ group this week.

I can’t remember any church bell

but imagine we drank many a toast.

You danced and pranced like a young gazelle

but I recall snorting candy the most.

*

I can’t remember giving you a ring

but can see your purple wedding dress.

You said you didn’t want a freaky fling

I said these days we couldn’t care less.

*

I admired your beautiful blue eyes,

you said you’d travelled fast and so far,

I wondered if you often told lies,

we sped home in a spanking new car.

*

I caressed your shapely malachite ears

but wondered how you saw with three eyes,

you told me you’d travelled ninety light years

from a world of terrible red skies.

Blaydon Races

Blaydon races

An Extra in the Blaydon Races; a Painting by William Irving

This painting is displayed along with a key and sound commentary at the Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead.

I’ll be reading this poem of mine as part of the Late Shows on 14 May at the Shipley.

*

I told him I wanted to be recognised, immortalised –

why he painted that bloke with his upside-down pipe

and starving whippet on his arm beats me.

He’s stealing my thunder, elbowing me out of the way,

I’m barely visible. I told him to paint my new hat

with the betting slips prominent but I’m too far away, more

an extra rather than a leading player. Surely as manager

of Spencer’s Iron Works I should be in the foreground.

My nether regions have gone; obliterated, why I don’t know

my legs and feet are up to scratch, I’m only half the man

without my twill trousers and brown leather shoes.

It’s just not on; he should have shown me his sketches

before lashing out in oils. Anyway sitting here isn’t fun

the bairn behind me’s bawling its head off; The Punch

& Judy man’s slipped in the mud for the third time.

That’s Nancy in the pink dress sitting on the grass

with her bairn asleep on her lap; hope she doesn’t

recognise me – she can talk the hind legs off

the proverbial. A newspaper’s handy that way – you

can hide behind the small print. Why did he have to

have so many bumpkins -look, there’s goggle-eyed Mally

and Fester the Jester doing a jig; centre stage please note!

There’s some right low life here, a pick-pocketers

paradise to be sure. I don’t trust that card sharper

or the Dick Turpin character on his horse. I wish

the Scots Piper would go and blow his bags

somewhere else or leg it back to bonny Scotland.

*

It’ll soon be time for the three o’clock – I’ve backed

William Irving three ways, lets hope I win some notes!

As a betting man you can bet your bottom dollar

I won’t be recognised in fifty years’ time; no I’ll just be

another extra – a portrait in oils my foot!

Voyager

voyager-1-ultimate-destination

I don’t pretend this amounts to much as poetry – more of a rant? But I needed to get it off my chest. I think it was Carl Sagan who referred to planet Earth as being a dust mote caught in a sunbeam. Voyager took this photo as it hurtled away from the solar system. The image was recently chosen by Sky at Night as one out of ten iconic/significant images taken by telescopes/cameras.

What came to mind was the insignificance of the Earth on the cosmic scale and comparing its relative physical size with our triumphs of the spirit and our depravities – which of course were not recorded on the gold disc in the Voyager space craft! So although it is unlikely that any intelligent aliens will ever come into contact with it they would get a rather sanitised picture of what we are like. Perhaps I tend to be pessimistic about humanity but on the other hand I think it is important to acknowledge the dark with the light. That’s just being realistic!

How can a dust mote caught in the solar wind

contain a nightingale’s song

or the awful trumpeting of the last elephant?

How can a dust mote caught in the solar wind

contain Michelangelo’s ceiling

or Bach’s Mass in B Minor?

How can a dust mote caught in the solar wind

contain so much incinerator smoke

or the bits and pieces of suicide bombers?

How can a dust mote caught in the solar wind

contain the nightmares of a million children

sleeping in the streets?

How can a dust mote caught in the solar wind

contain the lobster’s quadrille

or the Cheshire Cat’s Grin?

How can a dust mote caught in the solar wind

contain the watery dreams

of the last few cavorting dolphins?

How can a dust mote caught in the solar wind

contain Ivan Ilyich’s redemption

or weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in?

(Soon to disappear into deep space

carrying our triumphs but

leaving our depravities unrecorded.)