Dancing on the Beach
We looked for a place for our children to grow.
When we arrived we were forced centre screen
bold and blood red …..into the glare of home office inquisition
and told to await a decision from a man in a suit.
To avoid the transition transportation……deportation
into scenes, sights and sounds too unthinkable to articulate,
words buffered in the brain ….. imagination died.
Feebly, we presented our case, in unfamiliar language,
we gave our reasons why we seek permission
to stay; leave to remain, not to go back and so
we wait for a decision from the man in a suit.
And while we wait………….
we dance on the beach.
After gang-rape by soldiers we fled with the children
to a place of healing….of leaving the scars, the bruises.
A dream too much…. of a decision, permission to stay in this place?
so we wait and play with the children on the beach.
Five years since we escaped from bullet and bomb;
five years since we came with our hope, to live without fear.
One child’s starting school. The other plays football,
He shows promise they say.
We still wait. For the letter, the knock on the door
for the decision of the man in the suit
to give permission……
To day it arrived from the man in the suit:
‘ Go back!
Return to the ruins of your homes and your schools.
There’s no one alive so there’s no one to kill and you’ll be alright’!
‘And I’ll be alright,’ says the man in the suit,
for my figures will tally my targets be met.
I’ll have sent in my quota and that will be that’.
The tide of hope turns.
In the shallows the children paddle;
Curled up on a rug Mother weeps on the beach.
In 2007, Newport Justice and Peace Group took local asylum seeking families on an annual outing to Porthcawl on the South Wales coast. I wrote this as I watched a group of Iranian women doing a traditional dance , others who had undergone unspeakable experiences were playing with a bat and ball . That morning one of the women had received her letter from ‘the man in the suit’.
( After a long legal battle this family were eventually given leave to remain in this country)
Man lying on a Wall
A painting by R.S. Lowry
I lie flat on the wall straight and true to its line.
I’m a brick. I am slick. I’m a company man.
I am set in cement, level in spirit, a plumb line….
that drops….straight…..true to its line…..
I am a corporate man….who’s a brick, who is sick,
who has shrunk to less than I am.
Which way shall I fall?
Inward to pick up umbrella, unrolled; document wallet, shut, locked?
Shall I roll over,to what ? to where?any where
as long as I’m not
just a brick.
The Lowry picture was given in a creative writing class as a stimulus to poetry writing. At the time my mind was exercised with the difference between ‘having work’ and ‘having a job’. I had been to a ‘gig’ where a local band were playing. One of the musicians publically pointed out a members of the then DHSS fraud squad standing at the bar. Musicians, Artists and Writers ‘ work’ but it is not considered gainful employment and are being made to take ‘jobs’.
The Martyrdom of Anne Boleyn
The morning is bright, almost cloudless blue skies.
Our standard blots out the sun from our eyes.
Today I will die by the edge of a sword.
Its cut will be final, it will be the last word.
The carnival starts out there on the hill. Round up the crowds for the sport of the kill!
While deep in the vaults of Guantanomo’s tower, Witness is racked by those who seek power;
So I can be led from my celebrity cage, An oblation offered on history’s page.
But this May day’s so fine, I don’t want to die,
I don’t wat to die for this terrible lie
while there on the block, death will be my fate
For treason against this terrorist state.
A Sonnet to Time
Rooted in its corner, an oak grandfather clock;
Its omnipresence ticking off a pattern in the home,
We measure its rhythm with each clicking stroke,
Exacting and precise, a ruthless metronome.
The angle of its hands daily rules our lives,
We sleep and work according to its chimes.
By earth’s diurnal motion we survive,
Exist within the table of its time.
Unheeding hours will you not let us be
To hold one eternal moment in our grasp?
Forgotten days and years go laughing by,
Through womb and grave the generations pass.
So we will wind the clock, to keep us going still
To set our days in stone for good or ill.
The Reluctant Cinderella(for Harriet)
She didn’t want to go to the ball.
She couldn’t be bothered , got nothing to wear.
Never wore skirts, just wasn’t a flirt.
Besides, she had to lose weight. Being size eight……. she was far too fat !.
And that was that.
Then Fairy Grandmother came on the scene.
‘You shall go to the ball. We go into town and buy you a gown.
It won’t be so hard; I’ll wave my magic credit card!’
After six hours Fairy Grandmother’s powers were beginning to fade.
Shops, boutiques and department stores,
And changing rooms with no seats!
‘Have you tried red dear? What about green?
Yellow? purple?….. How about blue?…No?’
‘Sleek and sexy? Full and girlie? Long? Short?
Please try this blue.’
‘No! Blue isn’t cool.’
Fairy Grandmother now was feeling uncertain.
But as she drew back the curtain……Transformation! Elation!!
There stood a girl, a vision of youth, of beauty, of joy.
who laughed as she twirled. ‘Oh Grandma, I love it.’
‘But darling it’s blue?’
‘So? I love blue. And I shall go to the ball.’
A Love Story
Time doesn’t half go slow
It hangs upon my hands you know.
I dusts a bit there
I dusts a bit here.
Well it helps to make the day go
Then I polishes the chairs
For the second time this week..
There’s rubbish on the telly
So I’ll make a cuppa tea
But that’s the fourth today
Can’t have any more,
It’ll only make me pee.
What time is it? It’s only ten
So I’ll dust around again.
Then came the day I met Pete
On the bus, and he offered me his seat.
Coy like I stuttered ‘Thankyou’
He smiled and ‘My pleasure!
Cor my heart was all a flutter.
Then the bus came to my stop
And I had to be getting off
But guess what Pete came too
Seems he lives next door
In our residential home
Round the back of Waterloo.
Now the time goes fast,
Don’t know where it goes.
I meet with Pete twice a week,
And so the hours pass.
Nothing is All
in empty space.
mantra, mantra, lotus breathing
in out; in out
in the distance empty space,
in out, in out)
love is beckoning.
out there in the night, the music is calling.
so much to think, so much to do,
images, intellect, memory and will
compete with the soul
for the need to be still.