Dirty Water: In the depth of it still, wishing it would end, or that I would . . . it was time to do this, to purge myself of it all . . and yet still it took me many many more months to even begin. The river of my life still runs, but somewhere, into a wide ocean, I have poured a lot of dirty, painful water . . for which I am eternally . . well, just sorry . .
Edge: Was supposed to be an inspiration to myself but, I realise, with a tweak, it was more prohetic than I might ever have dreamed. Such light in the east there was, and now, this morning as I post the poem here, the same light in the east describes to me a sky that is "The Colour Of Love" . . . wow!
Again: Is the first of a good few poems from this period of unbelieveable pain and torture. I didn't think it could get me again, i thought I was safe, inside a bubble but ever is complacency the enemy and stupidly there were lessons I forgot, I was like Nero, my Rome burned and all I could do was fiddle . . .
<untitled>: is the first in a series of mystery / witch / pagan poems, trying to show that we are one with our land and spirit of the earth. Its got a bit of an "Old Doreen" beat to it too . . . .
Probably needs no explaining!
Song Of The Bretheren: Was actually written for my dear old companion, Yvonne as a gift before her wedding. It refers also to Max, Roy, Stu et al. My brothers who are all scattered and all wed now (except one old fox)
Where Shall We Witches Meet?: was written as a chant for the Eostar (Vernal Equinox) ritual I wrote in 2003 which we worked at the barn in times of great light and happiness . . . again, it has a distinct "Old Doreen" rhythm. We had different quarters calling the different lines as appropriate and it worked rather well . . .
Always: was written for a friend from university but as those years slide away behind me I have come to realise that it might well have been more than one. We never quite made it together but maybe that is for the best.
And The Chill Grips Tighter: I wrote this in Banff after a dream about a battle, there's more than a hint of my friend Tony Clarkin's style in there, see "Les Morts Dansant" from the album "On A Storyteller's Night".
Another Dream: was from my stream of consciousness period, I was wandering the desolate wastelands of my emotions and thought I was sowing the last of my wild oats, a poor harvest in the end I fear.
Another Night: See above. I did (and still do) truly believe I flew and lay with angels during those years, I have great fondness for those magic days.
Apple For Teacher: A spoof on Roy Harper's "The Game", a piece of work that has come to play such a great role in my understanding (and quoting) of the human condition. And yes, she was a teacher.
Autumn In Sioux Falls: A landmark in my great journey across America. I used to see her each evening and always wondered what her story was, I hope this was not it.
Bootleg: It was indeed a great night when Magnum split up. Many saw me cry in the wings of the stage that night, a good few wrote to me afterwards but few realised I was losing a girl as well as a band. too many tears obscured the pheonix rising from the ashes that night . . . and oh what a phoenix it was!
Burnt Apple: How proud I was of this very early poem. This particular girl missed the boat with me . . . or was it I with her, I shall, of course, never know.
Dragon Boats: I saw her there in a dream, her childhood gone but her dragons (she collected models of them) still sat around her. A poem of hope.
Eden Outside: I was working in the oil industry, life no longer stretched before me and I was in darkness. The poem speaks for itself, it is what it is, there is no hidden meaning or parallel with my life here, just a description of the mother world we murder so contemptuously.
Every Morning Now: Living in the shadow of Mouth Rundle up in the Rockies waiting for my long lost love to visit and wondering what I should do. She never came, perhaps that was just as well.
For Elliott: To my friends, a son was born. Christened on Rememberance Sunday, the world those men died for was the one he inherited, a poem to wish that he makes it into the future they died to protect. If he does then they will have been reborn in him. And his godmother, ah, sweet Louise . . . .
Givings: Rather abstract and tangled attempt to say that self-satisfied smugness as we whoop into middle age is exactly what will kill our world. Am I just as guilty? Read on . . .
Horizon's Hours: A reflection on love as it so often found me, alone and lost but happy to be so close.
Hussein: was written on the day we heard he threw the NATO weapons inspectorate out of Iraq, it was a beautiful morning in Nottingham and I just wondered . . . .
I Took Your Picture: How long I grieved for losing my first love. The first cut, for me at least, really was the deepest, how was I to know there's be innumerable other trials for my heart ahead?
If Morning Comes: Ah, those smouldering eyes. What fun it was stood in the queue at the blood donor centre (where she worked) with a bunch of roses. The poem smells of roses too. And innocence.
If You Had Wings: My travels, oh my travels! "Sleepless Citadel" = New York. "Windy Prison" = Chicago. "Twin Cities" = Minneapolis / St Pauls. Lacerta is a mythical beast of the Rocky mountains. I wanted to go back to Banff, I still do, it may not now be until I am ready to die when, of course, my heart truly will take wings.
Inno(s)cent: More of the same, looking back on what might have been, but a sweet thought, don't you think?
It Must Be Said: Dedicated to the unknown victim of a caring society (sic). How we nail them, how we never realise that our uncaringness breaks us too.
Just A Game: As I mentioned earlier, ah, sweet Louise. Those evenings on Longleat's long lawns, the sunsets and sandwiches, the chess board before us, the chewing gum, the bingo. Lucky it was all so meaningless . . . otherwise we might have been hurt.
Letter To A Dead Love: This one really did it. I got harder to losing love until this. I was crippled and paralysed when I learned she was killed in a road accident just a few months after my selfishness made me leave her. Poor girl, I would have died in her place a thousand times over, really I would.
Love Inadequate: Another very early poem, I knew so little then but expressed so much. Selflessness = love? Well there is a thought there to consider.
More Required: My restlessness! Why could I not see how happy I was there in the mountains? Why did I have to keep pushing for more? Was it because I knew that there was more, that I was duty bound to seek it out? Have I done so yet? The answer is that since I am still alive, no, I have not yet done all that is reqired of me.
Night's Tall Fortress: If the night is like a castle then this poem makes sense. The nights up there in the mountains in a tiny tent in absolute solitude are just like that, I know.
No Room: Ah, if only my dear friend (she of the poem "Always") could have seen what harm she did herself when she let him come back. She survived in the end . . . I imagine.
Not Leaving Sooner: How often this one has been true? How often have I believed it only to find later it was as bold a lie as ever passed a serpent's lips.
On Hearing Your Voice: Waiting in the mountains for her (see "Every Morning Now") and then that voice on the end of the phone, I think I'd made up my mind long before I realised it.
Once Upon A Space: Out of the blue, out of the ashes came the phoenix, Louise was her name. I trusted her as it said in the poem, what has remained of us? Who can say?
Once Upon A Summer: At the end I knew she would leave me quite a while before she did. I grieved for Louise before she ws gone, that was a crime indeed for had I not done so she may never have left. Then again, had I not done so my heart may have died when she did.
One More Tear: The aftermath. I was so stirred, I tried to reach out into other worlds, I did so and learned many secrets but the pain that drove me to it, that pain may have been too high a price to pay. Lacrimae Mondai, the tears of the world.
One Night: Ghosts again, how pale, how distant, how long?
Over The Moon / Sick As A Parrot: Football is not a matter of life and death - it's far more important than that. The great Bill Shankly said that. It certainly was when I was a youngster, sucking the ball into the net from behind the goal on saturday at the city ground supporting Nottingham Forest, reliving it every wednesday in the school team. Ah, those days, those days . . .
Paradox: I have to push just that bit too hard. I have to seek just that bit further than my soul wishes me to go, will it kill me in the end? I hope so for I can think of no other death so fitting.
Perfect Moment: Oh, Louise, how it felt that night, that summer of glory, do you remember it I wonder?
Poem For Kirsty: She is in my life now. I love her it is true. The half-loves mentioned in the poem were Louise (in the aftermath) and Melissa (in the cold and dark). Lou "helped me to my innocence", Melissa was the other. My emptiness was filled, Kirsty alone could have done that.
Right Choice: Life is choice, how much better the world would be if we realised this: Choice is absolute!
Seconds Out: Did I really believe that this girl could be interested in me? Oh, I did, I did! We did meet again but those equations remain to this day unsolved.
Sermon: After the shooting of innocent school children in Dunblane a local vicar told of how comforting the chruch had been to the parents of the victims. How comforting to know he later left the church disillusioned with its distance from God and from people. I didn't publish this one, it wasn't my place to say it, perhaps it still isn't.
Shortest Of Crystal, Ice: This one I leave for you to work out or re-define, it deserves that.
Snowdream: Ah, what might have been, sweet Louise again.
Solitude: I have been left as often as I have done the leaving, this time it stung more. Those words now are only that, but knives in my heart they were when first I heard them - "We need to be more together". Hmmm . . .
Sounds Of Love: On the road with Magnum for the last time. Hotels have thin walls, I had thin feelings. In the end "neither" was the real answer, but it was so uncertain then and a good thing too.
Still Hours: What a fool I was. Imagining I could speak the truth from my deepest heart and get away with it so early in a love affair. I didn't but I learned.
Still Life: In the end it is still life that we lead. A double meaning, still = motionless, still = enduring.
The Actress: The turning seasons, the four worlds, the four primal powers, life turns within life, without life and we are a part of it.
The First Passion: Sex for the first time is a rare and beautiful thing. For one to whom virginity meant purity then it was a gift of great magnitude, a gift deserving of reverence and of great care, I hope I did the gift justice in my gentleness and my passion.
The Kinetics Of Drowning: Definitely better spoken that read. It keeps rocking with the waves this life of ours.
The Lesser Man?: Paul was my boss for a while. He loved skiing and was prepared to work as a laundry manager (and I was prepared to work under him) so that he was free to prsue his love of the slopes. I wrote poems while I worked my shifts, this was one of them.
The Mass: You can read elsewhere of my views on the Christian church, this poem captures my bile at the wrongness of it all, the new hats and shiny shoes, the suspense of reality into degrees of disbelief, the mocking christ.
The Party: A story of innocence, but it was a close thing! We danced to the whole Meatloaf album that night in front of the whole party. Jason, if you're reading this, your sister Nicola is a rare beauty, I would have loved more but am sated with what we shared already. No, I did not sleep with her.
The Performance: She loved him in the end. He loved her while we were playing those concerts and every night she turned him away. They made it together on the last night, I wonder if they stayed together afterwards? Who knows?
The . . . Finds Her Gone: This series of poems is a typical exercise of mine, all comedy and irony until the bite of the last bit. I've been all these characters at one time or another, none of them are people other than me really, that's the best irony of all.
The Ring: It was cheap, so were the promises I made on it. I flung it away the night she left only to find it the next morning right outside my window. I kept it then.
The Stanza Commander: Poetry is ok, but it's not a way of life. I mistook it for that once and this poem is deliberately flawed and cringeworthy to reflect that. I deliberately wrote it to show I did not take my poetry as seriously as others thought I did, it helped.
The Waiting King: And still he does, the king of the land, the lord of the land, the hero of the hour. The once and future king of Britain, he sleeps now, one day he will awake again in the hearts of men, I dreamed this, so must it come to be.
Thoughts On Death: Turning again. I read this to an angel and she wept for the beauty she saw in it. Whatever other falsehoods she went on to perpetrate this was her truth, she could not hide it and I loved her for that then, that night in a hotel in Bradford, ah, that night, that night . . .
Tree Picture Poem: I linger on what might have been, but always I know I must go on, always I do.
Undercover Agent: I hate it when I am feared for being true to my heart, true to my feelings. Lover is not a title that excludes friend, I had to demonstrate this more than once, I've had to again recently . . .
When You Smiled: The ballad of sweet Louise. Longleat, the oranges, Goose Fair . . . so much of our time together is here in this poem, so much more is not.
Who Do We Think: God? Well, the allusions in this poem are deliberately spined and bristled. So much is wrong with our world, so much we could make right if only we tried, if only we stopped believing its all "God's will" and started exercising our own will to change it. If only . . .
Why I Hate Cars: I was so upset, weeks it took to write down how it made me feel to have done this great hurt to the world. What injustice I was responsible for. If I could go back I'd still gladly put the car through the hedge and into the ditch if this one innocent little life could continue.
With Fresh Eyes: Ahh, Yvonne, my muse and great friend! The only sister in my brotherhood! Yes, your wisdom guided me through my darkness for weeks, your love brought me back from the edge of despair. You sent me a scarf for my birthday and a postcard of a tree in leaf - gratitude? No, I would have done the same, you know it.
A friend of mine who keeps promising to visit but rarely does.
She sometimes sends a postcard but always it never happens, everybody
dies in the future - she wouldn't have it any other way.
The slip: Raised like a child, the slip is my error, my injustice that rears up when I sail with the future. Not only that, a nod to the great game of cricket, a sport so pointless it expands to fill whole days, whole summers, summers I belonged to once long ago.
The empire: When I grew up there were a lot of undercurrents in the stream of society, a secret understanding of how English life operated, a club I was excluded from exuding the discontented noise "sub atomically" i.e. below the surface. Stiff upper lip, Mother England, the empire don't you know. I had my suspicions then, bald faced disbelief now.
Valium/geraniums: The valium helps, until a big pharmaceutical company realises there's a profit in it - we are the drugs we take right from the very air to the migrane tablet and we live under the watchful gaze of big brother. When I was a toddler my grandfather would do all the DIY you could imagine, if something broke in our house us kids would say "Never mind, Grandad will mend it". I kicked over and snapped a geranium plant of my mothers and told her that Gradad would mend it - even he couldn't.
Shooting star: I always thought I'd like to have been famous, now I've seen the plunge from stardom to wisdom among my friends I'm not so sure - something still dares me to try though.
Genetics: A nod to the great science we have discovered, Darwin & Huxley to Hawking, they just can't be wrong . . . . or can they? Read on.
Presidential Armies: The authority of our government, did they all set out to be as corrupt and amorally selfish as they are? Maybe not all but there's some who are greed incarnate. What makes a fundamentally bad person? I do not believe in "fundamentally bad". Then again there is Michael Howard . . . .
The parable: Carved in stone, the good book, "thou shalt not" stamped everywhere. (Dylan Thomas said it was on the wall, which wall?)
Lion Cubs: I held one at a circus as a youngster, it was more scared than me, unlike it's mother. We both grew up somehow, I left the circus that night, I don't suppose he ever did but I was learning. Life isn't fair, no one promised it would be fair, I was (and remain), like us all (right?) a space cadet, a rookie, but praeter human, from somewhere beyond a bag of genetic material and electrical impulses. We are not home in this space / time illusion - entropy will prove me right, I'm certain. For now it's "best not to speak of such things" - God may be angry.
God: There he is, cropping up again, the excuse for another war. If he exists I feel sorry for him, he's had a bad press, the nutters of God around the world self righteously preaching from the thick end of a rifle. All in his name, we die, yes WE! Kids in Iraq, God decrees it so - or so the temples claim. Yep, God, if he exists has had really bad press, even Saatchi & Saatchi couldn't save his poll ratings now. The again if he does exist (she exist?) then that's his (her) own theological dichotomy to sort out, I'm outta this one father, forgiven or not. Perhaps he should step up and, for all those who kill in his name, he should show them he's above that, "something that we're not". Even if he did they'd have him re-interrpreted and spin doctored quicked than you could say jihad or genocide.
The soup: the primordial soup, the gene pool our ancestors crawled out from as reptiles and fish. We are 4 billion years old, who knows, maybe it's our birthday today. And yes, for all our hot air and space exploration we are timid and incincere - why can we not wake up and realise we are in this mess and on this planet T O G E T H E R - and for all you less developed planets out there: the secrest is to bang the rocks together guys.
Apocalypse & growth assured: We've tried war, next time the global consequences will be too much. We all know that, it's simply a truth. But still they promise us we need nuclear weapons, armies, the great benevolence of the USA to guide our world. The world those men died for in the first two wars was the one the grey men in offices now think they own i.e. this one, those men gave us the world they were promised, we have to wake up and start to find the beauty in it, however fading or fleeting. The grandson he never knew knows this, if you're out there Grandad Mortimer, with your medals and your sniper's bullet in the brain you know it too. Instead we have those who would riot cannon any who dare to stand up for it, those are the same grey men who sent so many young lives to their doom in front of the howling guns, so thoughtlessly, with such guile that they convinced, who knows maybe even themselves, it was not a product of their own fears, it was true. Their truth fell down twice, in such ringing choruses.
The internet defeat: The web is a source of information, a highly volatile opportunity to share something of ourselves, to communicate globally with other human beings. So we dress ourselves in electric suits and indulge in cybersex, unsexual union, misplaced erotic non empathic apathy. But wait, we are just learning, soon we'll have virtual reality in truth, a democracy of language and agrement, what then shall we conclude?
The ark: Back to thomas Huxley & Charles Darwin - we will evolve, leave the world to the young people, the ones we berrate on all sides, those whom we fill with our own fears, the world we create for them in which we give them no say. Whay can't we see that? It's the whole point to the first passage in the poem: WE MUST WAKE UP AND SEE THAT THEIR (the kids) FUTURE IS IN OUR HANDS. Why can't we? Do we mean won't instead of can't?
I go mad now. The whole spectrum of these questions sounds global, and indeed it is, but it is personal, individual. We must all act alone in order to bring about humanity. It is up to us as single cell intelligences to act accordingly and unify the organism as a whole. the poem goes suddenly personal but it is vital that the personal goals, triumphs and conflicts are commensurate with one man's hope for his world. The demons of doubt try to stop us making this link.
His name is doubt, self doubt.
The rope: From umbilical cord to gallows, the rope, the swing, the drop. Finally the knot.
The mire: Yes, space time is a myth we invent in order to progress, a convenient model for us to hang our ragged reality on. We lose sight to easily of how we are imprisoned (willingly) in the trap of seeing existence as bound by only three dimensions of space and one of time - absolute spatial and chronological reality is a lie, they are both relatives, relatives who come to visit and won't leave - the sort who always hog the bathroom in the mornings when you're trying to get up and go out.
The blade: Yes, a sword of power needs to be wielded, I have to sever the rope, fight off the demon and slay the serpent. The mire is where the dragon sleeps, the sword was given. There's more than a little nod to the great saga of Myrrthin and Artorius, not to mention the rest of the legends of Britain - personally I like Percival (Parsifal) my kind of guy.
The serpent: Is released into the garden by a faithless lover, exposure of all personality to the viperous brew of derision. Beware lovers, they are the ones who are given this power to so wield - I recovered, I never thought I would but then I never thought she'd become the one to release such a serpent. I slay the beast again as I meet someone new, someone who (dare I believe?) is worthy of the trust I put in her, those instants where we met are relected in glories untold.
The clock and the drum: Time is only a relative, a way of measuring the distances between events, a clock does this (though its mechanism makes events too) the drum is an event, without it time is nothing.
The retreat: How often the drum has beaten my retreat. Now it beats off the retreat but in so ding reminds me of darker days and summons up more of my fears, reminds me to beware of false lovers, hardening my core to woman.
The Game: See Roy Harper's song of the same name. Life is the game.
As I love you and admit as much I love you enough that releasing the serpent is an act I can only watch you commit, your wrong is my schooling for the future, my lesson, it moulds me then breaks the mould with a hammer of hope.
Rain, storming of:
Nod to a lyric in Roy's song "The Flycatcher".
Unconditionally insane: There's no conditions on insanity, I am insane, I have not the barest whiff of conformity to any rules, I do not hear the voices.
God (again): Yep, here he is, speaking out now, as the judge, against the humanity he has watched parasitically ruining the planet. Using lies like politcs, teaching kids not to tell untruths then shoving Santa Claus at them.
The cuckoos: A bird that robs the nests of others by implanting it's own young there who grow up and oust the other chicks. Cuckoo = human? think on . . .
A native American indian saying attributed to several cheifs goes "Only when the last tree is felled, the last river poisoned and the last fish dead will we realise that we cannot eat money". That of course was before the genocide of people, religion, culture and humanity that took place in North America during the latter part of last century.
The Thunderbird: Mythical being of the Native American culture - symbol of hope, herald of the sky father.
The East: Probably where the next world conflict of arms will begin. Baghdad maybe.
The knight & the princess: The sagas and tales of our heritage are true! How long for me to discover this. Simply because the dragons are no longer great scaly beasts but more diffuse enemies and the knights and princesses are us, ordinary people makes no less of the heroism that is part of our lives. Great things are happening in every street in every town, they are just better disguised these days. I am that knight, my princess rescued me, brought me back when I was dying, I am a part of a great tale.
And now the final re-iteration of the point - Love is all we have left, it is all we ever needed anyway no matter how many inventions and gadgets science can create. The secret to saving our world is to save ourselves, that salvation can only be in discovering love, love in all its forms, in all its glories, its triumphs and, yes, its failures too. Love is with us always, moonlight is her daybreak sometimes, she's a contrary companion but she brought me to my princess - the one who made me kind again, who made me whole, who showed me my heart was not broken but new and strong. this last passage is a tribute to the lover who did this for me for no better reason than love, because for all my cleverness, my deep analysis, my creativity, poems, music, magick and everything she was something I as not when we met, she was someone who knew love when it found her and who stood up to my denials and injustices - she's still doing that, long may it be so for in love is salvation and resolution. This poem is my way of saying that I can see that now . . . oh, and that I am back in love again where I belong.