Unlocked

I went to the cliff top
I crouched in the dark
And heard the waves crashing below
The wind shook the grasses at me and said:
“Remember that you are WILD!”
Oh yes, I remembered, of course I’m wild
And I sank my fingertips
Into the grass
Swore to be a channel
For truth, love and beauty
And speak up for all my siblings

Then I went to the beach
At 2am
I stood at the edge
The waves rolled up to me and said:
“Remember that you are FREE!”
Oh yes, I remembered, of course I’m free
Then I knew that the sea is a lake of tears
Shed in pain, shed in joy
And I shed mine too
She mingled them into her vast body
I sent love and healing
To those I’d shed tears for
And I grew strong

Then I went to the trees
And stood underneath
At the quietest place I know
No people no traffic no birds made a sound
Through the night breeze spoke the trees
“Close your eyes, weary traveller.
Remember that you are LOVED!”
Of course, I remembered, I am loved
My head fell back
Like a baby sister
I couldn’t understand their conversation
But I felt included
And bathed in the deep easy love
Of the trees

I am wild I am free I am loved
And that must be enough
But, I have to REMEMBER
And tonight is the night
To turn everything round
Charged with the magic
Of nature in darkness
Listening rather than looking
I can return to earth and rest
Safe in the arms of my rock

Silent Spring

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When, years ago, we heard Rachel Carson speaking

Of how one day would come a silent spring

We couldn’t know that when it did take place

The silenced ones would be the human race

It’s likely that we’ll never see again

A spring like this with all the wild aflame

Hedges, verges, lawns all gone unmown

No cars gives animals the right to roam

And as they window-shop the empty malls

I wonder if they think it’s worth it all?

Is JD Sports worth poisoning the rivers?

For the catalogue of Argos will the animals forgive us?

Or will they, puzzled, wander round the towns

And wonder why we’re chopping forests down

To have new lines in Zara every week

I bet it leaves them feeling pretty bleak

Oh rejoice in this silent spring my friends

For we will never see its like again

The humans will all soon come out to play

And all the animals will hide away

And all the parks and verges will be mown

And birdsong be drowned out with traffic drone

And late at night their young will gather round

To hear the animals tell how they once went into town

‘Those humans are a funny lot for sure

Let’s just hope that they evolve a little more’

 

Video here: https://youtu.be/OTjZVSgB68E

04.04.20

 

fall

And so another moment

In which life is swept away 

The rug pulled 

Revealing that we were standing on thin air the whole time 

 

Another test of my resilience 

I don’t know if I have much more of it 

It’s hard to know why to try 

Again and again 

And lose again and again 

 

I keep going for other people 

Though I’d like to just lie down 

Lie down forever 

Somewhere far away 

And just stop trying altogether 

 

Accept that nothing ever 

Will come to fruition 

And that the world beyond this 

May be so changed 

That simply surviving together will be the best that we can hope for 

 

We are dust motes 

On the wind of life 

Existence will provide they said 

But no-one seemed to realise

That Existence provides 

Tragedy and cruelty as well as joy and abundance 

 

And all my brothers and sisters on this Earth 

Who have no safe shelter 

Who will be sacrificed 

To ideology and venality 

I weep for them until I cannot bear it any more 

 

We are just small and fragile animals 

Getting up again 

Time after time 

Laying down another rug in thin air 

And standing on it 

 

Forgetting the trick played upon us

Forgetting that the only thing we have is each other 

That love and friendship are our only security 

Will we forget again 

Once this is over? 

Atomised

jun23

 

When I come in

I have to scrub you from my skin

And it feels so horrible

Every time

 

Scrubbing away any trace of the air

That may have passed

From my lover’s lips to mine

Where once we shared breath

So joyfully

Our bodies do not touch

Our eyes reach out

Across the metres

But even our gaze

Feels too intimate, feels like it breaks the rules

 

When I go out

Performing the dance

And fearing the breath

Of my neighbour

Holding my own as we pass

Because there is not space enough

But the space that there is

Is vast

The distance grows between us

How do we come together now?

 

Last year we occupied the streets

And all over the world

We stood together

Raged together

Now we all rage indoors, alone

My life reduced

To a slab of rare minerals

Fifteen by seven centimetres

A tiny window on the world

A tiny mirror of my mind

 

It’s an addiction, an obsesssion

I cannot get enough

I am hooked

Hooked up, hooked in

Scrolling for indignation, scrolling for hope

I pay heavily with my consent

I pay with the highjacking

Of our wheezing politics

Which has died without a ventilator

In a cardboard box on the doorstep of the Apple Store

 

And since my hands are gloved

And cannot reach out and touch yours

All I can do now

Is the dreaming

The dreaming up of the world to come

I want to make a new world

Where we all hold hands again

But tighter than before

So no-one slips and falls

And gets trampled underfoot

 

Where that tiny window

Does not become my jailer

Or my narc

But still lets in the oxygen,

Lets in the light; and makes us space to be

Where we can breathe

This new, fresh air together

And feel the warmth and sweetness

Of another human’s speech upon our face

Like a caress, not a contamination

 

When I come in

I have to scrub you from my skin

And it feels so horrible

Every time

 

Video at: https://myshorten.com/K2t4 or https://youtu.be/le0T6K4ykG4

01/05/2020

workers_day_sharable2

 

May Day, May Day, May Day

This is a distress call

May Day, May Day, May Day

Can anybody hear me?

 

I am trapped indoors

With a man who beats me

I am out on the streets

Coz I can’t pay my rent

 

I am forced to work

In dangerous conditions

I am made to risk my life

To deliver Amazon parcels

 

May Day, May Day, May Day

This is a distress call

May Day, May Day, May Day

Can anybody hear me?

 

I have been told

To inject myself with bleach

I have been arrested

For being outside

 

My future’s being stolen

By liars and cheats

My government hates me

And wants me gone

 

I have to walk 200 miles

To reach my home

A fire is raging

Throughout the camp

 

I don’t have any water

To wash things safe

I am losing my mind

Alone in these four walls

 

May Day, May Day, May Day

This is a distress call

May Day, May Day, May Day

Can anybody hear me?

 

My planet is being attacked

By ravenous beasts

My brothers and sisters

Are struggling to breathe

 

My mother died alone

In a care home bed

I have been beaten up

For ‘looking Chinese’

 

My fear is being

Exploited for profit

I am being pursued

For a banker’s debt

 

I’m being mugged

For all of my data

I’m watching with horror

People dying around me

 

From out of this crisis

Hear me cry

May Day, May Day, May Day

Yes I hear you

My sisters and brothers

We cannot go back

To the old ‘normal’

Because it was broken

And this virus

Has magnified

All its flaws

 

May Day, May Day, May Day

Let it remind us

Of what we can do

What we have achieved

When we all strive together

For a better world

They may take our money

Our homes, our jobs

Our very lives

But don’t let them steal

Our love or our hope

 

May Day, May Day, May Day!

This is a battle cry

May Day, May Day, May Day!

Can everybody hear me?

Video here: https://youtu.be/aNbiAtEHqlg or Facebook/Taratronic

A Delicate Dance

jan13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the delicate dance that we perform around each other

That brings a tear into my eye

These little acts of caring

Like love across a two-metre divide

 

She stops around the corner to let me pass

I walk out into the road to give him space

To breathe freely, without fear

Polluting every waking moment

 

The bigger acts I cannot see:

The nurses and the doctors

The carers, and those making food

For other people without food

 

The people working round the clock in labs

To understand, identify and map

This pathogen. And all the people

Still at work so that the rest of us can shelter

 

And it all makes me cry, because, unlike the

Films and series on TV, we do not riot,

Attack each other out of fear and greed

Instead, we all of us take on this burden

 

We queue and wipe and wear a mask

And stand apart and some of us alone.

I choose to believe, because it makes me happy,

That’s its not just blind obedience and fear

 

That makes us do this; no – it’s love.

It’s solidarity. It’s the only thing we can do

Since the only ‘Safe Pair Of Hands’

We can rely on is our own

 

She stops around the corner to let me pass

I walk out into the road to give him space

To breathe freely, knowing that

This is a delicate dance of love

26/04/2020

This is a VERY rough piece, but the first thing I’ve been able to write in weeks. Hope I will be able to start writing again more (and better!) regularly now I’ve broken the dry spell! #DemandANewNormal people. Stay safe xxx

 

During this lockdown
I have been shut down
I have had to keep it all shoved down

I can not fit my rage
Onto a page
How can I express
My distress?

Lockdown inequality
Highlights every disparity
In wealth, class and ethnicity
With results that are clear to see

I see my human family
Treated so unequally
From nation to nation
No co-ordination

I cannot fit my pain
Into this refrain
My horror and disgust
Leave me nonplussed

These murderers are cowardly
They do eugenics silently
They prey upon us bodily
And charge us for it ruthlessly
The vultures smack their lips with glee
At this shambolic policy

And it’s more clear than ever to me
That we were never really free
That this is no democracy
And it’s not run for you and me
It’s about productivity
A brutal ideology

And I watch from the sidelines
Observing Government guidelines
Impotent and heartsick
As the excess death toll upticks

During this lockdown
I have been shut down
I’ve kept it all shoved down

But no more

 

Video at: https://youtu.be/DzMPq82j_5c or facebook/Taratronic

The Magical Heart

atisha2When my heart is full of pain

and fear and righteous anger,

it can be overwhelming.

It can feel like I’m drowning.

If I am feeling wise that day,

I will remember

Atisha’s transformation meditation

 

When the world is full of pain

war, hunger, prejudice and sorrow,

it can be overwhelming.

It can feel like I’m drowning.

Atisha’s transformation meditation

is the key

 

When my heart feels all alone

full of resentment, failure and regret,

it can be overwhelming.

Instead of drowning,

I try to remember

Atisha’s transformation meditation

 

Build compassion:

I breathe in – and with that air,

I breathe in all the hells, the miseries,

of all the creatures of the Earth,

including my own.

I breathe in all the darkness

into my aching heart

 

The heart is a magical crucible

heated with the heat, the light of love.

It con-fuses all things in the Universe,

distils life to its purest essence

 

Build compassion:

I breathe out – and with that air

I breathe out all the love, the bliss

the joy and benedictions

I can muster

to all the creatures of the Earth,

including myself.

From my magical heart

 

When we lose heart, lose love, compassion

that’s when we fail. We fail each other and ourselves

When we use heart

the eyes of love reveal another world

Every face a friend, every tree a sister, every bird a sign

And the air that I breathe in, so dark,

breathe out, so light,

surrounds me like a mother’s arms.

It can be overwhelming.

It can feel like I’m drowning

in love.

If I’m wise enough that day to remember

Atisha’s transformation meditation

 

https://kadampa.org/buddhism/atisha

Another Time, Another Place

Sometimes, at random times, odd times

And also in the month of May

I catch a glimpse, receive a transmission

From another dimension, where you saw life.

 

A bright-eyed baby with lots of hair

And golden skin.

Another time, you were six

Or thereabouts

You were drawing, quietly, absorbed

In a farmhouse kitchen.

Your long hair his light brown colour

And fineness, shaped by my curls.

 

From the age of twelve, his sense of adventure

And my defiance,

Your aunt’s determination and sense of right,

Made life turbulent for that other-dimensional me.

But, oh, my god, how stunning you were!

Your rage lit up my pride,

Your fearlessness my heart.

 

And now you are nineteen and off you go

On your travels, on your journey.

And other-dimensional me

Heaves a sigh of relief,

Cries a river of tears,

Misses you like an ache.

I can feel it all, across the gap.

 

So excited for what your life will be

As one of the freest women ever to stalk that Earth.

So sad that she will not be there beside you

To see everything that you do

To marvel at you, to protect you.

To hear the very startling things

That come out of your mouth.

 

And though the loss of you propelled me

On so many adventures of my own

Tonight I feel jealous of other-dimensional me

And the life she has with you in it,

Amazing you.

And I am glad that these other dimensions exist

And that, in one of them, at least,

You see life

Matriarch

nans'eyesHer eyes are robins, bustling and darting

They can stop a baby crying at fifty paces

Embarrass a handsome young man

At twice that distance

Her hands distorted lobster claws

From polishing up all her pride and joy

For so many years

Her handbag arms, so strong

In taking care of others

In taking charge of others

 

Her 1950s hair and posh ‘Toosdays’

In the right company

Turn into curlers and long-drawn ‘Ooooh!’s

The chink of spoon stirring cup

At home in her blue and gold

John Lewis splendour

Her heart broke when they made her

Step down from her high heels

 

She is outrageous draped curtains

Whiskey and gin, a clutter of objects

She is too much food

That wants to be eaten up

She is nosier than cats

Cheekier than squirrels

And pulling her skirt to just above the knee

To tell you her life stories

 

Softer than butter

Wrapped around a brick

And though the Pear’s soap

And the petal skin

Might fool you

She is a whirlwind

Confined to an armchair

A storm in a teapot

Always ready to pour me a cup

 

Thanks to the lovely Chris White for his workshop on metaphor where I began to write this poem. Please go and see Chris any time you get the chance, and don’t miss his amazing show Moist Moist Moist