The Child Prodigy’s Choice

Do you think she knows?

I wonder if that youthful vision blinds?

The promise floating from the shimmering

Brilliance, the warmth of line – melody

That cuts to the chase, singing the sadness

Of the world, the harmonic mystery

That uncurls the protective thorns hiding

Our fear and need, those seed beds of beauty.

 

 

There was sacrifice; it was important

That we knew her links to the great, her prize

Winning potential; not though out of pride,

More to show the question – was her decision right?

Had she taken the stage, turned to applause

From the hardships of family life,

We may have talked of her, wiped the odd tear

From our eyes before a Mozart cadence,

Joined with the general admiration.

 

 

She made her choice however, through wisdom

Or instinct I know not. But I do know

Her decision changed me, opened the door

For me and for many others, to life;

To go from watching, listening to others,

To creating, living the music we find

Hiding in places we’d never entered.

So her choice was to live and to give life –

Surely she must know.

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True Poetry

There are odd moments as he blunders
through the dark corridors of erudition,
fearing the Minotaur’s savage hunger,
and wrapped in scholarship’s revered fictions,
when he steps into air, sun on his brow.

Blackbird’s bel canto, the smell of mown grass,
the flow of water brown peat turned to gold;
these bedrocks of beauty need no classic
allusions, no dictionary trawling.
What he sees in all his simplicity
is partial, his own creation, soft edged
and commonplace. Here in the light he clings
to the hope for an escape from nature
into a personal vision, and stamps
the full force of his mind on sunlit hills.
He wears his learning like mating plumage,
ermine robed claiming a place next to Kings
before he falls back into darkness,
to where no Latinate exactitudes
or exquisitely refined perceptions can
lift him back to the sun. He must reach out
to companionships of confusion
held by simple memories as the sea
rolls its mundane course in the grey moonlight.

The Ramble

The grey shadow

Cuts through the grass, green

With the surge of new life.

It makes its unsteady way

Sure of its goal,

But the sloping land leans,

The wind buffets

And the walkers’ minds drift,

Letting their feet

Meander in the sun.

 
The grass, silver,

Steeled against the sun’s

Interrogation,

Formed a guard of honour,

Blades swaying

In a Mexican wave, led

By the fresh breeze.

Now the downward slope

Pulled the walkers

Each to their own retreat.

 
The sun dimming

Turns from the grass, dulled

By the muddy remains

Of Winter floods that swamp

Life in stagnant

Pools, and drown the pathway;

Forcing the walkers

To shared study of their steps

With smiles and laughter

That defy the gath’ring clouds.

The dream of enterprise

Do we lose our history

To the fruits of discovery?

 
The tidal wash of in – fluence,

Freed from innumerable homes,

Escaping the stale air of death

Lurking in the familiar,

Sweeps through our nurtured certainties,

Planes the grooves through which we have mapped

Our tribal journeys. Freedom blows

Away the drag of our shared past,

Scatters the dust that had gathered

Unnoticed in our quiet days,

That we now find, connected us

With a world in which we were small

But known. Now we are blown away

Free, alone and amongst strangers.

Land of Hope

The traffic groaned, we did not hear,

We wandered gravely furrow-browed,

Oblivious, our minds unclear,

Our senses numbed, our shoulders bowed.

 

No blackbird song can pierce our world,

Our thoughts were fixed on stranger shores,

Where truth was dreamt midst currents, hurled

By home events and distant wars.

 

 

We stumbled on; we stumble on

As if we had a noble aim

In view, whilst nature’s treasures shone

In sunlight’s golden evening flame.

 

 

The track leads up towards the woods

Whose shade and dappled sunlight kiss

The lids of tired eyes, cool the blood

That haunts us with its silent hiss.

 
This dusty path is marked by those

Who comfort with their lolling tongue

And pleading eyes; in the hedgerows

Lurks the nettle’s sting, cobweb hung.

 

At last we come to where the view

Unfolds, and draws us out to scan

The distant hills, no longer blue

But vague, where our ambition ran.

Dawn chorus

What we do not see stirs the woods to life

The hidden spark of dawn fires a babble

From survivors of the darkness.

Music it is not; just a cold rhythm

Crying out in fear and hope for the light

For safety in enmity.

 
What if the light came to hushed disregard,

If the first cry was met with indifference

And no bird sang in reply?

So, safe in the crooked branch of the tree,

No one to challenge his supremacy

He must surely die voiceless

Sir Alec Guinness

The grown-ups are dying

Not the old people but

The men and women that make the world,

That see how it is and

Walk through it confident

And with a kind of stability.
They wear suits, quiet ties

Strong sensible shoes and

Functional spectacles. Their passion

Is private, and quietly

Modulated by experience.

They have learned to respect

The triumphs of daily

Endurance and imagination.

 

His gentle voice combines

Sadness with soft smiles, and

Provides a resting place for we who

Have not been reconciled

With ourselves and our worth.
He is not trying to change the world,

But observes, listens, seeks

To learn a craft, offers

A truth wryly, accurate and sharp.