Monday, 21 September 2015

Heartbeat OR Waking Up to the Power of Positive Thinking

Please remember that my blogs do not accept comments, but I always reply to emails. Some readers have said they have problems using AOL, in which case try I look forward to hearing from you.

Now, who hasn't despaired now and then of even getting up in the morning?

People sometimes tell me that they have given up on love. I tell them, never even think about it.. Love can happen along just when you least expect it. Besides, as I’ve pointed out many times on the blogs, love expresses itself in many shapes and forms; it doesn’t have to be sexual. Love between lovers is special, yes, but then any love is special; for family, friends, pets, even places.

Give up on love and we might as well not bother to get up in the morning, for all life is worth without love in it. We just have to see what’s on offer and GO for it. Take me, for example. On days when I feel down and there’s no one around to talk things through with (or I may not feel like talking to anyone anyway) I’ll most likely take myself off to be by the sea for the day, often Brighton (Sussex) because I love everything about the place and always feel so much better for going there.

Oh, and as regular readers will know, just because I am not religious, and don’t accept the God as portrayed by various religions, doesn’t mean I am unreceptive to succour from a sense of spirituality. Only, I get it from nature, not religion.

This poem is a (yes, another) villanelle


No heart beating in vain
under anaesthetizing darkness
at a new dawn

Left wondering when
(if ever) its turn for happiness…?
No heart beating in vain

Will sleep’s half-open
portals close on or let in distress
at a new dawn?

If dreams bring pain
where life and death paths cross…
no heart beating in vain

Late invitation
to troubled souls seeking redress
at a new dawn

Where light bursting in,
nature filling us with its life-force,
no heart beating in vain
at a new dawn

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2015

[Note: Revised (2015) from an earlier version that appears in 1st eds. of A Feeling for the Quickness of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005; revised ed. In e-format in


Saturday, 19 September 2015

Whispers in the Wind

History is a great teacher of love and peace; the pity is that humankind is (such) a slow learner…  


Whispers in the wind
like autumn leaves, ever drifting
time and space…

Love poems in the heart
like tears of a rose, harbinger
of autumn

Hymns to nature voicing
hunger for change and peace
of mind

Bogeyman at every corner
waiting to pounce, force-feed us
its prejudices

Drop-ins along every street,
ready to lend an ear, teach us

People of all persuasions
asking no more of life than love
and peace

Grim Reaper harvesting
humankind’s failure to settle
its differences

Whispers in the wind
like deaf ears, perpetually drifting
time and space…

Copyright R. N. Taber 2015

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Landfall, Infinity

Now and then, readers of one or other (even both) my poetry blogs  - all ages, both sexes, gay and straight - email to say they are in London or coming to London and would like to meet up for a chat (about anything and everything) over a few drinks or a meal. I always enjoy these get-togethers, have met up with some very interesting people and keep in touch with many of them if only by email. So feel free to contact me any time, even if a meet-up is never likely to be on the cards. While I don’t allow comments on the blogs, I will always reply to emails; a lively exchange of views and opinions is always fun.

Dreams and daydreams are more a part of us than we care to admit, carefully – or even carelessly - stored away in some shadowy corner of the mind waiting for sandmen to come along and explore, rather like a children  rummaging through the contents of an attic and turning it into an adventure as only children can. Quite possibly, too, they instinctively recognize the worth or worthlessness of whatever they find there…as only children can.

Like it or not, few if any of us leave childhood – or at least its natural instincts – behind altogether; naivety and innocence may be tiresome from an adult perspective, while both harbour an honesty unfettered by the so-called ‘wisdom’ that comes with maturity and invariably urges discretion if not total restraint…for (our) survival’s sake if nothing (or no one) else’s.


Sun going down,
leaving our daydreams to float
on waves of twilight
where some are sure to drown,
others washed up
on green-gold shores of infinity,
the rest left drifting
on a vast sea of darkness,
flotsam and jetsam
of human nature to be claimed
in the passing of time
by that old beachcomber, Sleep,
and re-appraised,
reworked by sandmen, guardians
of our secret selves

Twilight dimming,
anticipating thoughts drowning
beneath wintry waves
of abandoned hope, ambition,
darker aspects of nature
and human nature sure to drag
the human condition
into an unfathomable despair
were they not there
to watch over us, keep us safe
in dimensions of Being
beyond its everyday assumptions,
painting picture-poems
on closed eyes anxious to open
closed minds

Man in the Moon
overseeing black holes for worms
and makeshift coffins
made up of pillows, duvets and sheets
where monsters lurk, waiting
to pounce unawares on consciences
left exposed and vulnerable
in the absence of any conscious effort
to make the kind of excuses
we need to half-believe in or spiral
into a state of half-living,
inciting us to try and beat The Reaper
as his own game,
losers all, we bit players in the greater
scheme of things

Sun resurfacing,
lending passage to lion and lamb
and all of nature’s own
going about the business of living
much as we human beings
if more protective and protecting
of its species and spaces
in spite of the world’s demanding
of Earth Mother far more
than its share of natural resources,
but all’s fair…(so they say)
and the human beast needs must
be the best of a bad bunch
occupying Her territories, fighting
over them for centuries

Cold light of day,
taking us through everyday motions
many if not most of us
think of as living, taking for granted
every ripple, every wave,
carrying us to the very edge of a world
created for ourselves,
all-comers welcome while remaining
in their seats lest they rock
this Ship of Fools chartered by ‘betters’
to take the rest of us
towards a landfall some call ‘Heaven’
where no going down
of the sun, no pillow promises made
at dawn cruelly broken

Man on a Mission
like a dog at a bitch on heat inciting
priority attention
as becomes nature’s motivation to fill in
time’s blank spaces
with living, loving, thriving species,
meant to mature,
(since such is the cycle of natural life)
by filling in their own blanks
with living, loving, thriving issues,
and any black holes
with light enough to show we were here,
we bit players, we flotsam
and jetsam, we bringers of all history
coasting shores of infinity

Copyright R. N. Taber 2015

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Home Truths, Martyrs to Love

A reader once got in touch to say he feels such a fool because he can’t help loving his girlfriend even though she continues to see other guys. 

That same day, there was an email in my In Box from a gay guy relating how he could not get even begin to get his head around his boyfriend's wanting an open relationship. While I, personally, would walk away, I do not underestimate either the power of love  or of well-meaning (if often ill-advised) pressure from family and/or friends - reminding us of our various 'responsibilities'; in other words, we mustn't be seen to let the side down. (Better to let ourselves down...?)

What can I say except these are among many men and women around the world who, for centuries, have settled for less - sometimes far less - in a relationship than, at heart, they desire and need. Some people, of course, can live with open relationships; for others (like me) it is asking too much.

It has to be one of the saddest facts of life that many potential partners cannot always see the other person’s take on love or…each other. Yet, many of us will settle for a one-sided relationship than no relationship at all, and the threat of loneliness; the latter reason perhaps why the world is full of martyrs to love.

Relationships between two people can only work if both partners want it to work, and neither should forget that everyone has a choice.


You warned me not to fall in love with you,
that it was sex alone, never love, spurring us on,
for love is only for fools (you said) its course
set and steered by wet dreams; we worldly types
know better (you said) while tonguing words
of intimacy as if rites for a benign conspiracy

Keeping up appearances, it was nothing more
(never love) fuelling inspiration. Gladly I’d let
your fine body take mine, clung to the hope
that you’d come to love me, despairing as each
frantic, mindless, orgasm ripped through us
like that double-edged sword we call honesty

A culture of hypocrisy concealing human needs,
never quite able to satisfy the loneliness it feeds
Copyright R. N. Taber 2007; 2015

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Spoils of War OR A Measure of Progress

A slightly different version of today’s poem first appeared in the Poetry Now [Forward Press] anthology series, London and Home Counties (2001) I included it in in my second collection the following year. Somear. Some readers may well prefer the original, but as regular readers of the blog aware, I am often inclined to give in to a feeling for revision where certain earlier poems are concerned. I see revisions as extensions of a poem, not simply replacements. 

Now, can we honestly call the rape of our forests and woodlands…progress?

Humankind needs to balance its own humanitarian needs with the needs of nature to help sustain them. If we are not careful, nature will get the upper hand sooner rather than later, destroy us before we can destroy it or even ourselves. 

Whatever, to the victor, the spoils as the march of today’s Titans of big business and entrepreneurial skulduggery proceeds all but unchallenged and unchecked...


Shadows gathering
like crowds for an execution;
storm clouds rumbling
like a malediction on the planet;
challenging us to bow out
here and now or put things right
(if it's not already too late);
for our children, prepare a future
in harmony with nature

In a spotlight of sunshine,
luminous corn circles invoking
the mystery of eternity,
human parts all but played out,
hearts put to  rout,
hounded by a native savagery
plaguing the purer, simpler, 
beauty of a common humanity
haunted by history

To nature, allow its dignity
or ‘progress’ a poor victory

Copyright R. N. Taber 2001; 2015

[Note: A slightly different version of this poem appears in 1st eds. of First Person Plural by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2002; 2nd (revised) e-edition in preparation.]

Friday, 21 August 2015

Deserving Praise OR Living with Parody

Sometimes, we do our best, and yet it never seems to be enough for some people while others simply take our efforts for granted.

Yes, it hurts when all we seek is a little encouragement, and all we seem to have to show for it is grains of sand.

It is so often the case that people do not mean to cause hurt, yet fail to see their comments as a parody of their finer feelings towards us.

We all need to think before we speak sometimes, learn to acknowledge and trust our better instincts, formulate our ideas with care instead of (all too often) falling prey to so-called 'public opinion'. Easier said than done, though, this refusing to either rush to judgement on others or let ourselves fall victim to those rushing to judgement on us...


Alone on a beach
among restless white ponies
panting heavily,
rearing at me for they know
a storm is coming,
although not yet a while;
time yet to let me see
the Old Man smile as I drop stars
through tearful fingers
relentlessly measuring out
the rest of my life

Air hot and stale
like the stillness of a coffin,
funeral prayers
long since dead and gone,
tossed to playful waves
as we’d throw a much loved dog
a bone and watch it run,
tail wagging, anxiously homing in
on its reward
for whatever, only ever needing
to deserve praise

No bones here,
only  flailing limbs of ghosts
in dark water
striving for landfall, but sure
of nothing,
like flotsam and jetsam taking turns
to see which will
fall into loving hands anxious
to shape an art form
if for no other reason than needing
to deserve praise

What to do?
Needs must…choose well
or wait for a stampede
to render me less than hoof prints
in the sand,
all human potential left
to natural erosion
unknowingly hastened by fishers
of men rushing to judgement
if for no other reason than needing
to deserve praise

Nothing for me here,
but rage and pain in a pool of stars
at my feet,
urging me to jump a feisty pony,
let it take me where it will,
escape not only storm but wreckage
as sure to follow as day
follows night and tides of humanity,
the course its nature sets us
if for no other reason than failing
to deserve praise

Yet, treasures to be had,
sparkling views of sea, sky and sand
filing the inner eye
with memories of (far) kinder times
filled with faith in dreams
nurturing mind, body and spirit
no matter where the spotlight
on everyday lives may choose to fall,
urging that we follow the course
nature sets us if for no other reason
than deserving praise

Copyright R. N. Taber 201; 2015

Monday, 17 August 2015

Love, Open All Hours

Readers often comment that my love poems could apply to anyone, gay or straight. Well, that's the whole point.

Regular readers will know that my partner died long ago. We did not have many years together. Yet, our love is a part of me still and always will be. At the same time, we should never compare lovers or even friends because that’s not fair on anyone.

Invariably, we change as we mature; so, too, does love. If we're lucky, we mature together.

Sometimes, for all kinds of reasons, love falls behind. Meanwhile, the lock on our heart's door may well need removing. Nothing will be the same. Yet, if two people want each other in their lives, it is always worth leaving the door open. Be
sure, it’s not the dead who keep the door shut; only the living can do that. True love never knowingly closes the door on itself.

As I have said many times on my blogs, moving on does not mean leaving anyone behind. 


The day you died,
I tossed my heart in your wake,
could but weep
for its loss, letting mine break…
Why you had gone,
no one thought to confide
as I watched you into the sunset
on a pale horse ride

Where had you gone?
I fiercely rejected all speculation
for believing  
in a custom made hell or heaven;
the last words I heard you say
were on living this life to the full
as yours passed away like sunshine
come nightfall

I looked up, saw a cloud
steal your sweet smile  just for me,
felt your kisses like rain
inspiring this poor body of mine
to live, even love again…
I watched the cloud move on
with thanks for its letting my heart  
know where you had gone

Long after you died,
a new love is making vows I yearn
to return, return…
Born again, risen like the phoenix
from the same sweet smile
I’ll see in every passing cloud
where you’ll look to reassure me
it’s no betrayal

Copyright R. N. Taber 2013; 2015