There Should be Storms

 

There should be storms, not the calm, still sky.

There should be storms, and dark castle walls.

This faded coffee shop, half empty, in the shade,

Is not the place to watch your life crash down.

 

I wait for you, and you are late again.

In the corner, reading a cheap magazine,

A woman droops and, trying not to yawn,

Turns the page to new adulteries.

 

I check my phone, there’s nothing new from you,

Just half an hour wait and waiting still.

I wonder if you know what waits here, crouching,

In this faded, shaded, tired coffee shop

 

Two girls behind the counter, talking low

Of boys and school and last week’s hair.

They bend the paper clip from next week’s hours

To try and free the block in the machine

 

They sound so young and earnest, taking care

Warning each other about the burning pipes

Promising to be there at the club

And one will lend the other their new dress

 

The woman yawns again and leaves the place

Out into the bright and shining mall

Past the old rabbi playing careful chess

Facetiming with his friend in Tel Aviv

 

The two old men talk with kindness, they are kind

And measure the words they use across the miles

What words can I use to you so close

When I stare across the table at your face.

 

The old rabbi taps his hearing aid and shouts

A gentle, kind goodbye across the miles.

Packs up his chess and leaves into the mall.

I am reading the left magazine

 

The coffee shop is shutting with the mall,

The sun is draining down the peaceful sky

There should be storms.  I text you, ‘It is over

Do not contact me again.  Goodbye.’

Originally published April 23rd 2016

Harbour

Image from WikiCommons, taken by Rev Dave and used under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

I have a dream where the dusk is falling

And I can hear the sound of the sea birds calling.

The wind is soft and the air is warm,

The storm has passed and the sea is calm.

The fishers are home on the turning tide,

Their boats tied tight to the harbour side.

The steps lead down to the quay below,

Clean and safe in the lamp’s soft glow.

Just step, I know, on the wide, stone stair.

Just step, in the soft and dreamy air.

A gentle path to a solid quay.

And a harbour safe waits there for me.

Originally posted December 2nd 2015

Displacement

 

The cupboards need cleaning, I’ll turn them all out,

 I can check all the contents and move stuff about.

I’ll rotate the cans of the sweetcorn and beans

And won’t have to think what a eulogy means.

 

This floor is disgusting, I’ll get it scrubbed clean.

I can move out the chairs and sweep in between.

I can polish the legs of the table and sink.

I can scour and rinse and I won’t have to think.

 

The table needs moving, it’s in the wrong place

And tablecloth’s edged with the wrong kind of lace.

It all needs renewing or at least turning out,

Which means no time to think what tomorrow’s about.

 

I’ve dusted the top of the doorway and door,

I’ve counted the candles and twice mopped the floor,

Tomorrow’s the funeral, but I’ve no time to think,

As it’s far too important to scour out the sink.

Originally posted September 5th 2015

Frost on the Moon

There’s a frost on the Moon

The cold, shivery light is tumbling down and the frost comes with it

It gleams as it slides over the twiggy trees

There’s a frost on the Moon

I rest my hot, hot face against the cold, cold bedroom window glass

The heat of the argument ebbs out into the cool, clear night

There’s a frost on the Moon

The street is silent and pools left from this morning’s rain

Reflect back at the empty sky and the falling frost edges them

There’s a frost on the Moon

The silence is scattered by a strolling cat

As the knocked can rattles into the empty street

There’s a frost on the Moon

The frost is falling and slipping down the street

My hot heart’s pain fades and drains as I watch

There’s a frost on the Moon

Originally published July 1st 2015

I Kept My Word

Tell them I came, and no one answered,

That I kept my word,” he said.

– Walter de la Mare, The Listeners

 

‘Tell them I kept my word,’ he said

As the storm clouds gathered overhead

With the setting sun tainting them red

 

‘Tell them I came, as was my right

But the locked Great Hall was shuttered tight

And the echoes mocked in the fading light

 

He rested his head on the deep grained wood

The sunset glowed on his travel stained hood

‘Tell them I came as I said I would.’

 

‘Tell them I travelled over the seas

Across the great rivers and under the trees

But I kept my word and I held the keys’

 

A raven cawed in a twiggy nest

The wind was rising in the west

‘Tell them, say that I did my best.’

 

‘I saw strange stars and stranger skies.’

But he listened in vain for the listeners sighs

‘I kept my word, all else is lies.’

 

At the edge of the sky the thunder growled

And the rising wind wept soft then howled

At the dead Great Hall the traveller prowled

 

‘I kept my oath and now am free

I no longer approach on bended knee.’

He opened his hand and dropped the key

 

It seemed like no stroke of luck or chance

That the heavens threw down their fiery lance

As he rode away with no backward glance.

 

He felt the heat hard on his back

The Great Hall flamed from the lightning’s crack

But he still rode on down the weedy track.

 

I seriously recommend the original, and you can read it here

Originally published July 1st 2014

The Craft Kit

This is a prompt from the Trifecta Challenge, to write between 33 and 333 words on the third definition of the word ‘Quaint’.  

 

The Craft Kit

Finally, the new kit’s here

I’ve waited for the post all day.

The door is shut, the table’s clear

The furniture is pushed away!

Okay, I put the screw in here

And tighten up the bracket there

And slot the tab into the rear

And push it in, hard as I dare.

I sand it here, and rub it there,

I add the paint and wax and buff,

The fumes are stuffing up the air,

I wonder if I’ve buffed enough.

The picture’s blurred, is this quite right?

I’m sure I got the stencil straight.

Is this quite the shade of white?

And will it really hold the weight?

Oh no!  No visitors today!

I shove the thing across the floor,

Push a chair to bar the way,

And rush towards the knocking door.

The mother of my husband’s here.

She doesn’t like the kitchen blind

She doesn’t like the new veneer

She doesn’t like the box I’ve lined.

She checks how full my cupboards are,

And is my laundry all inside,

She lifts the cushions, now ajar,

And spots the kit I’ve tried to hide.

She picks it up and turns it round

And touches the still-drying lace

An opportunity she’s found

To put me firmly in my place.

She sneers with praise that’s damning faint

“A painted footstool, oh how quaint!”

Originally posted January 20 2014

My Lion

My little lovely tabby is looking rather sweet

The elegant and tabby tail is curled around her feet

Expressionless she looks at me with bland and secret eyes

Assured the plate of sausages was dinner in disguise

I want to read the paper but my lap is occupied

A tabby cat is dozing so I’ve put my read aside

And though it’s really painful as the claws are sinking in

The sound of cat contentment keeps me tickling her chin

It’s as if a dozen devils are fighting on the floor

And a screwed up piece of paper is tossed from paw to paw

It’s thrown, bit and fought and then chased across the stairs

Then the tabby runs in panic from a fright that isn’t there

My cat lies soft in sunlight and her fur is golden bright

Her eyes are slits of slumber as she turns into the light

She stretches like a lion sprawled who drowses in the heat

And dreams of Serengeti mice are twitching at her feet

My tabby’s meditating and her limbs are all tucked in

Her head is nodding forward as she draws herself within

And who knows if she meditates to the fire’s gentle hum

Her focus will reward her and a lion she’ll become.

Originally published April 13 2013, commemorating Evil cat