Charge of the brexit brigade.

With acknowledgements to Alfred, Lord Tennyson (who wrote the initial poem about the disastrous charge of the light brigade in the battle of Balaclava) and Julian Armistead (who came up with this analogy).

Charge of the brexit brigade.

1854 and someone has blundered,
as is now evident
from the latest intelligence:
‘They have guns to our sabres’,

But orders are in place now
and orders are orders:
charge means charge,
and you do not review orders,
– only execute them –
(too late for intelligence).
So: ‘charge for the guns’
and ‘there’ll be no ‘U’ turns’

Ours not to make a reply
but to carry our flag
with brave and glorious acquiescence
and charge on into the valley of death.
Ours not to reason why
for ‘charge means charge’,
and charge we must:
‘charge for the guns’,
with sabres held high,
Ours but to do and die.

Advertisements

Oh do go gentle into that good night

Oh do go gentle into that good night,
Old age can find deep peace at close of day;
For love outlasts the dying of the light.

And wise men at their end need feel no blight,
For the light is safe with the wise that stay.
Oh do go gentle into that good night.

Good men, inspire those left with just how bright
Our deeds can be, and model us the way,
For love outlasts the dying of the light.

Wild men who find out now they’ve been in flight -
It’s not too late, take comfort on this day,
Oh do go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, with your last dwindling sight
Look in eyes around – love them whilst you may,
For love outlasts the dying of the light.

And you, dear father, may there be no fright,
Let go in calm release, and know the way:
Oh do go gentle into that good night,
For love outlasts the dying of the light.



(For those who dont know it, this poem is based on a villanelle 
by Dylan Thomas. I have always been a fan of the man, but not so much of 
this one - though I love the form.) Here is the original:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
 
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

 

No Windows

This is a poem about the death of a friend of mine a few years ago in what I consider to have been horrific circumstances. It has been a long time incubating – as if the event caused a narrowing around itself of the arteries that carry words.

Having written the poem I also wondered if I should share something so bleak. Isn’t there enough that is difficult for us all to contend with without adding to it?

But in the event it did not feel like I had much of a choice – I felt compelled to get it ‘out there’, in this small way.

So much of writing seems to be about finding a way out. Finding a way to open windows and release the thoughts and feelings that refuse to remain bottled inside and are pressing to be included in the outside pool we all share. I would not want the flow into this pool to be restricted just to that which is joyful /pleasant/uplifting – that way, in my view, the water is in danger of becoming too shallow or even of drying up altogether. The pool needs to be sourced by the full range of our truth. And perhaps, too, our joys are only made possible through contrast.

No Windows

No windows in the room that he died in
no natural light
no day time, no night
just an airless stench of blight
and machines wired in tight
and his mind and his might
and his insides in plight
with no outside in sight
no saving insight
he lost his long fight
in the room with no windows
that he died in.

No soul in the room that he died in
no release and no healing
just white walls and ceiling
and a body beyond repair
and nobody there
just the silent shout
of my hopeless despair.
No place for a soul to reside in
and no way to get out
of the room with no outside
where he died before he died.

Much later I met up with myself 
in the hospital car park
and looked for the stars
so that I could worship them
for both of us.

 

Twilight parade

The kingdom has diminished 
of late
- contracted through over-familiarity,
and the king has lost the nerve 
he once had
in the spring,
when his territory was unmapped,
roads unlaid.

Yet still he clings on - 
high shoulders stiff with entitlement,
marching the perimeter, 
and staring over ramparts to check 
if the horizon is advancing.

At twilight he parades his troops ...
they are outwardly subservient
but party in the stores at night.

 

Pebbles

Along the curling lip of the beach
the ancient head of the land
rises vertical
and tall, drunken, cliffs expose
folds of solidified time:
unearthed, split, rolled, churned, 
returned.
Compressed eons leak from staggering seams
and fall
below
to join trillions of pebbles 
in slow motion waves 
in the rub 
between land 
and sea ...
They are tooth-white, ochre, green-grey, blue-grey,
grey-grey, powdered black, blush-red, flint-orange,
translucent cream ...
miniature planets, comets, asteroids
retaining their detail 
all the way down
to the tiniest particle ... 
Jewels made smooth
by the sea's erosion of time.

Travelling at 243 miles per second
we sit on the pebbles
gaze at young light photons 
bouncing off the sea
and eat avocado and crisp sandwiches.



 

Sweet Mystery

Sweet mystery:
I am ready.
I want no more from you now:

not an immortal soul 
not a promised land
not a sacred goal
not your guiding hand
not to remain
not a transcendent view
not to come again
in the morning dew
not an absolute confess 
in a cleansing rain 
not your forgiveness 
not an end to pain
nor to fear, nor strife
not an impregnable peace 
not a bargain for life 
not a joyful release 
not a brand new start 
not to merge with you 
or know we were never apart 
not to understand you 
neither an end, nor no end
not any thing, or no thing ...

I am ready.
Awake.
I take off my clothes
and prostrate myself
flat to the ground
with no agenda
and in full surrender:
worshipfully,
gratefully.