Silence

Sometime soon, the song will end.

Then we’ll find the silence.

No more lines, no tune, no tempo,

Just a floating silence.

Please be glad the words were broken,

That was half their beauty.

You may miss their imperfection

When you hear the silence.

 

Long ago the song was growing,

From an ancient silence.

Like a plant that’s free and fertile,

Soon it filled the silence.

When its notes were soaring skyward

All our ears were open.

So we danced with joy and laughter

As we lost the silence.

 

But the song grew more discordant

As it lost the silence.

Soon no pause could break the turmoil

Left in place of silence.

Though we loved the notes we added

Harmony escaped us.

Now we need to calm the clamour.

Give us back the silence.

Ghost song

So, all the ghosts line up to sing the song

And I am swayed by their determined tune.

I know their thoughts are only shades of mine,

Undone too soon.

They step so lightly they might not be there

But for the cold that takes the place of breath.

Unseeing eyes have served no use at all

Since meeting death.

The soul can find what perfect sight cannot

But fails to hold it so it slips away.

Why ghosts demand a chance to hunt it down

I cannot say.

In life we dance between the broken lines

Of waking life and silent, dreaming pain.

To seek the hidden place where these two meet

Is less than sane.

But sanity is not a treasure dear

When holding it must block the chance of sight.

The ghosts regret the follies that they shunned

To keep the light.

So all the ghosts line up to sing the song

My voice rings out although my lips are still.

I hope this tune will be the last they chant.

I doubt it will.

Kirkdale Bookshop’s Sestina

For those who love the night the moon brings comfort.

She spreads her sultry rays of gold and silver,

Inspiring in their hearts a sense of longing

That takes them to a place of special wonder.

Wherein, the moonlight brings a mood so tranquil

That time itself is lost in her reflection.

 

And who can find themselves in this reflection

Yet not become beguiled by promised comfort?

Allowing lapping shores to be so tranquil

That nothing could entice them, even silver,

To leave the moon behind and lose her wonder,

Condemned for evermore to restless longing.

 

By whom can we be freed from futile longing?

And would we choose such freedom on reflection?

It seems as though the choice might make us wonder

If gaining one’s desire would bring forth comfort

As precious as the light both gold and silver,

For which the price is never to be tranquil.

 

But such is the temptation to be tranquil

That dancers in the dark may cease their longing

To see a time that’s bathed in rays of silver,

Without the fear of catching our reflection

When life has served to rob us of our comfort,

And touched our days with sorrow and no wonder.

 

I once reached for the moon and she did wonder,

How I could sit there in a space so tranquil.

When, touching only dark, I felt that comfort

That comes with being bound by loss of longing.

She challenged me to catch her wan reflection

Upon my passive lake of silent silver.

 

Sometimes I hear her tones of liquid silver

And freeze upon the broken hour in wonder

Believing in the truth of her reflection,

Absorbing all her words to make me tranquil.

Admitting I can spend my life in longing,

‘Though I can see no welcome sign of comfort.

 

Those who desire the silver won’t be tranquil.

They wonder if the moon can heal their longing

To end their dark reflection with some comfort.

 

 

This was suggested by Kirkdale Bookshop and has a very strict form which I won’t explain here.  I chose the 11 syllable per line form favoured by Danté.  It was quite a challenge!

The Artist

She cannot dance with sharp and breathless grace,

No subtle steps to hold a watcher’s gaze.

No nimble feet, no elegant display,

No spinning glory on a darkened stage.

 

She cannot speak to turn a listener’s mind,

No eloquence that brings their thoughts in line.

No ruling words, no tricks to suspend time,

No means to change the way they will decide.

 

She cannot play a tune to melt a heart,

No melody to send the spirits far.

No soaring notes, no chords of special charm,

No air to be a rival to the lark.

 

She cannot run as though her feet had wings,

No turn of speed to halt a rival’s sprint.

No swift pursuit, no challenge to the wind,

No stirring cries will rouse her racing limbs.

 

But she can make a pencil or a brush,

Caress the paper with a gentle touch.

To find the form, to hold its beauty up.

These riches of her art are gift enough.

My brood

Aside

My little boy no longer, but a man,

I wonder at his strength, of many kinds,

Such as the gift of writing that he can

Use subtly to capture people’s minds.

His songs, his tales, his poetry just soars

And frees me from the mundane and the dull,

He turns a laughing eye upon my flaws

And makes my glass perpetually full.

 

So many times I look at him and see

The tiny child that clung onto my hand

Who’s still inside the man in front of me,

To whom I tilt my head up as I stand.

I see his skills and know he will achieve

Those things that form the substance of his dreams,

And all who watch him work also believe

That he will be the master of life’s schemes.

 

She’s full of life and promise, on her way

To a future of her own unbound design.

She says things I would never think to say

I don’t know how I dare to call her mine.

She makes me laugh too often to recall

The words she twists and turns to make her own.

She leaps with style although she  fears the fall.

She’s not a sheep, It’s she who sets her tone.

 

My little one, the baby of my four,

Displays to all the world a certain grace.

A dancer who can halt the room before

Her as she sets a sweet and measured pace.

She’s finding where she fits as time goes by

By trying every chance that wanders in,

By asking what and when and where and why

And when it’s time she lets the song begin.

Absence of Sound

When the sounds fell down, I saw your face for the first time.

Not guarded with murmers or words of pretence.

When the sounds fell down.

 

When the sounds fell down, I knew your name, felt your silence,

Deafening, stifling in its cloak of ignorance.

When the sounds fell down.

 

When the sounds fell down, I set time free for the last time.

Its wings wide and wild and shimmering with ice.

When the sounds fell down.

 

When the sounds fell down, the whole world swayed to a rhythm.

Feeling, not hearing at the brim of forgetting.

When the sounds fell down.

 

When the sounds fell down, I stopped the dance I hated.

No more steps or spins to bind my life.

Then the sounds rose up.

Why I think I did something really bad in a past life.

You find me in a great mood. (Yes, that was sarcasm.  It doesn’t always translate well to the written word.  Imagine me saying it in Basil Fawlty’s voice, when he’s talking to Sybil. That might help.) I should explain; especially since this is a blog and just telling you I’m in a nark and putting ‘The End’ would be weird.

I have this car.  It’s a Renault Clio, aged 11 years, which in itself is probably not a good thing, but this particular car was a driving school car for a few years before it was mine.  Now, you may not drive, yourself, but I assume most of you have some concept of what a driving school car goes through.  Its poor little wheels have been scraped into thousands of kerbs during parallel parking, effecting a turn in the road using the forward and reverse gears and just general driving (learners aren’t always as good at steering as they would like).  The gear box has been put through such heinous things that Al Qaeda started a petition for legislation to put an end to it and after being subject to many driving tests in its weary lifetime the Clio goes into spasm if I accidentally bring a rolled up newspaper or clipboard into it.  This seriously curtails my desire to swat flies or carry out surveys in my own vehicle.  It’s something of a disaster.

As well as the trauma wrought upon the car by its driving school days, it also has other problems relating to age and shoddy workmanship.  It rains on the inside, like Dali’s Car, but not as fascinating and worth considerably less.  You have to use magic movements to get from second gear to third and, although I do it every day, I am in no way able to explain what those movements are.  I just know that I can do it, but other people can’t.  If it were human, even ATOS wouldn’t send it to work.  Dr Gregory House would look at it and say, ‘Sorry.  It’s beyond me!’  We’d all nod our heads and know deep down that it was for the best.  But it’s not human.  It’s my car and I have to drive it pretty much every day.

 

And, more or less, finally, there’s the problem with starting it; there’s a special way to do that as well.  Again, something I can’t explain and didn’t really appreciate until this morning.  You see, today, my husband had an appointment for a test-drive and he had decided to take the car and get it appraised as a part exchange for the potential new car, which would probably knock £40 off the price and leave me to inherit his old car.  Which doesn’t work properly either, but at least you don’t need an umbrella to drive it.  Well, yesterday, I spent hours getting it clean, wiping down the upholstery to get rid of the smell of damp, dead dreams and desperation, to the point where one of my arms stopped being fit for purpose and I was hallucinating from the cleaning product fumes.  I imagined the car looked passable: ridiculous! Then this morning my husband took the key, went outside and killed the car.  It sounded like it always sounded at first, then started to protest and finally choked into a racking, tubercular cough and died.  But because he was on a tight schedule he had to go to his appointment anyway, leaving me with this problem; how do you get a 12-year-old in a Las Vegas style dance costume to Ormskirk on Ladies’ day with no car and all the trains packed with 7 inch platform soles, orange spray tan and fascinators?  Answers on a postcard to: ‘I want a divorce or a new car’, Flowery Watts, Liverpool.

The End!!!

Dance of the Dead

There’s nothing left to say, it’s all been said.

It’s time I lined my hands up with the dead,

Whose eyes can’t see the misery they cause.

They understand their own pain, never yours.

And there we’ll sit in solitude. Unfound.

Without a hint of warmth, without a sound,

Until the day the author wanders in

And then the solemn dancing will begin.

Around, around we’ll weave our sorry tale

Of bleak regret.  Of how we came to fail.

Our efforts gouging pieces from our lives

As though they were the frozen ghosts of knives.

The dead will cease their dance, will lose the fight.

But I will dance until I find the light.