Monday, 24 October 2016

Two Poems for Halloween

Halloween is almost upon us. Yet, it is not only at Halloween that we hear talk of ghosts at various social events and celebrations.

Now, Halloween is reputedly a time for witches and warlocks. So did witches and warlocks have no time for love? Moreover, what of their sexual persuasion, and who are we to make assumptions? As for ghosts…I dare say we all have our share of those.

In effect, Halloween is just a date on the calendar. We may well associate it with ‘Trick or Treat’ but I suspect most if not all of us find ourselves playing mind games now and then; with our various selves as well as with others, and they with us. (Let’s face it. Halloween isn’t the only time some of us love or even prefer to wear masks - metaphorically speaking, of course - so no one can read our faces.)

True, Halloween may well be as good a time as any to choose whether to let our ghosts persist in personifying our worst nightmares or invest them with benign fantasy and give peace of mind a fighting chance, whatever it takes. Gay or straight, though, who needs Halloween for that...?

Now, what’s this, general and gay interest poems for Halloween on the same page?

Many people (gay and straight alike) ask why I don’t necessarily treat gay-interest poems as a separate literary form, culture or issue. (Why should it ever be an issue?)  By default, I have gay-interest and general blogs although my fiction blog includes general along with gay-interest fiction and my Google Plus site also includes both gay-interest and general poems. .

As I have said before on the blogs, as far as I am concerned, no art form deserves to be singled out for its content alone in so far as that content relates to any sexual persuasion. In a nutshell, a poem is a poem is a poem just as a person is a person is a person, regardless of any LGBT or heterosexual associations. It is what goes into a poem and what readers may (or may not) get out of it that matters; the same principle applies to any art form. As for people it is not what but who a person is that's important, how and where he or she matters to others, not their sex or sexuality nor, for that matter, religion or ethnicity. 


One Halloween at a full moon,
come the witching hour,
live wires humming our tune

You had left me, oh, too soon,
life tasting, oh, so sour,
one Halloween at a full moon

Walking on, an autumnal rain
but a heavenly shower,
live wires humming our tune

A hand slipped gently into mine
like spring to a flower,
one Halloween at a full moon

Love, treading a rare timeline,
kept me company there,
live wires humming our tune

It lifted me, a spirit all but divine,
sure to last forever,
one Halloween at a full moon,
live wires humming our tune

Copyright R. N. Taber 2009; 2016

[Note: This poem appears under the title ’Taking on Halloween’ in Tracking the Torchbearer by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2007; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]


Come Halloween,
I met a warlock, as wicked looks
as I’d ever seen

Full lips at my ear
murmured a spell that effectively
made us disappear

Into a candlelit place
he swept me, on wings of a night
configuring my face

In a mirror, a stranger
took my measure, quick heartbeat
sounding no danger

A fire was lit in my soul,
my body fuelled by its welcome heat
till first light fell…

The warlock only smiled
and a fierce kiss said I was free to go
back into the world

I told him I’d prefer to stay,
nor had his charms been wasted on me,
but let me see I’m gay

Gladly, into a glorious dawn,
we moved on, warlock and I, soulmates,
spoils of Halloween

Copyright R. N. Taber 2007

Monday, 17 October 2016

Travelling Hopefully, Arriving on Time OR Love, Raison d’Être

I have often heard people say they feel they have missed out on love, and it saddens them because they feel life has left them feeling incomplete.  Perhaps they have never been ‘in love’ or a partner has died young or a lover may have let them down in their eyes…

Whatever, love is neither so easily defined nor confined to the context of being ‘in love’. As I have said before on the blogs (and dare say will say again) love takes many shapes and forms that can be as real, inspiring and life-shaping as a lover.

Me, I haven’t had a steady partner for many years and we only had a short time together, but knowing him was a learning curve in many ways, not least in learning to take nothing for granted, especially love. It is possible, even likely, that platonic love between good friends can be as enriching in its own way as the love shared by lovers. A love of certain places or simply for travelling and experiencing new places can be wonderful nor less so the love of home life and everything it means to us, even if we rarely if ever step out of that particular comfort zone.

Different people want and need different things from life, but so long as we keep our eye on love, and always remain aware of and nurture its presence, the least likely we are to ever look back on our lives and find them wanting.

Few people, in my experience, can say they feel wholly fulfilled, Yes, I envy those that can, of course I do, but we should never let envy of others blind us to our own blessings, even when the latter sometimes seem somewhat thin on the ground; be assured they will pick up, but only if we open up to them, fill our senses with them, see them for what they are through our own eyes, not someone else’s.  Yes, I know it’s pretty obvious, but SO many people fail to see the proverbial wood for trees planted by someone else.

‘Where there is love, there is life.’ - Mahatma Ghandi


Hey, listen out…

Hear that lasting beat 
whose remit to feed
the sweetest memories
to a hungry heart.
long after its life force
carried away
on wings of a day set aside
for sorrow

Hey, look there…

Discover cloud shapes
whose remit to relay
best (and worst) times
to an inner eye
long after losing sight
of friendly faces
to hands on a wall clock
stuck fast

Hey, have a smell…

Where grass is greenest
and leaves bring
the scent of summer roses
to the mind
all but closing down
in keeping
with a winter all but gone
to earth

Hey, get the taste…

For honey on the tongue
on what we may
liken to a ‘soul’ having left
its lasting imprint
on such as we may care
to call ‘spirit’
in the lamentable absence
of poem

Ever get the feeling…?

Earth Mother, nurturing
the beauty
of our seasons going
full cycle,
constructive comment
even on dreams
of each hopeful tomorrow
left unfulfilled

Hey, reach up, touch…

Where the heart beats out
its hopes
for such peace and love
as may or may not
run true, but much the more 
worth the dreaming
for filling all my senses
with you

Copyright R. N. Taber 2016

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Poetry of Fiction OR Getting Intimate with Human Nature

It seemed a good idea to publish the poem here at the same time as answering a number of queries about publishing my novels (and poetry collections) as e-books to Google Play over the next few years, thereby, making those that have only ever been on sale in the UK available to readers worldwide. UK sales were very encouraging, and first (and only) print runs sold well. Even so, I am definitely more of a poet than a novelist, although I enjoy writing fiction, and enjoyment has to be as good an excuse as any.  [Few publishers have shown much interest in my fiction and not all those serialised on the blog or that will appear on Google Play have been published; copyright to each, though, remains exclusively mine.]

While most of my novels are of special interest to gay readers, it will come as no surprise to anyone that many among the heterosexual majority - men and woman alike - enjoy gay fiction. Oh, and why not?  The novelist writes for the pleasure of others as well as if not more than his or her own. Besides, a novel is a novel is a novel so why discriminate on the grounds of any affinity with a particular persuasion, sexual, cultural, social…whatever. It it’s a badly written and thinly plotted, of course, that’s something else; at least, I used to think, so but with some clever marketing these days….

As a librarian in public libraries most of my working life, it would both amuse and sadden me to see hot-blooded heterosexual readers hover near the counter until no one else was waiting before presenting any gay-interest items (a novel,  DVD, biography of a gay icon etc.) to be issued or discharged. Many UK libraries have now installed issue/discharge machines that will spare them any such embarrassment. Yet, why be embarrassed?  Imagination is an Open House. I can only put it down to human nature’s preoccupation with a ‘guilt by association’ ethos and habitual inclination to jump to conclusions.

I wrote this poem while thinking about writing my first novel, ‘Dog Roses; a Gay Man’s Rites of Passage.’ The book was never published except on the blog. No publishers were interested, but that did not matter. By the time I had finished writing it, I realised why I had so needed to write it in the first place. Putting aside aspirations of fame and fortune (just as well) I needed to stop thinking about exploring human nature through fiction, and get on with it, give it my best shot. I have no regrets; it has provided as rewarding an experience as poetry but via different routes and from different angles. As for talent, well, that’s something else altogether…and up to you to form your own opinions.

This poem is a villanelle.


Exploring the human condition,
its good, bad and ugly
life forces stranger than fiction

Its flaws demanding attention
for all a subtle simplicity
exploring the human condition

Nature, seeing its contribution
side-lined by egocentricity;
life forces stranger than fiction

Satirised, the art of retribution
(reasoning a moral propriety)
exploring the human condition

Its art, a caricatured rendition
of this life’s tragicomedy;
life forces stranger than fiction

Word-pictures in an exhibition
for whosoever cares to see;
exploring the human condition,
life forces stranger than fiction

Copyright R. N. Taber 1997; 2016


Each serial on my fiction the blog is preceded by a separate synopsis post. As each complete novel is published to Google Play in e-format, it will be removed from the blog and I will post the relevant Google Play link as an update. To access updates from time to time, go to: 

I don’t allow comments on the blogs but anyone is welcome to contact me at my AOL address (See blog headings.) Feedback (favourable or otherwise) is always welcome. When I started writing, I understood only too well how no one can please all people all the time, but if I please some readers some of the time, it has all been worthwhile. 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Tides of the Heart OR Love, Flotsam and Jetsdam on a Sea of Poetry and Prose

Love can be as fickle as it is desirable, while sometime misinterpreted as fickle when simply unable to reach a decision for one reason or another.

Could it be that many of the world’s lovers (LGBT included) need to talk to each other more…? Even love can be guilty of taking too much for granted…

Whatever, can any of life’s challenges be tougher than faced by the long distance swimmer on tides of the human heart…?


Sat on a beach,
watching the waves
roll in, out,
and back again…
like love’s promises
to me

Just out of reach,
waiting for your love
to roll in, out,
and back again…
like the finest poetry
and prose

Winging, calling
to you among sea birds,
now high, now low,
nature’s wry comment
on humanity’s tides
of life

Alone on a beach,
its beachcombing hearts
on the look-out
for any such as ours,
among love’s flotsam
and jetsam

Copyright R. N. Taber 2002; 2016

[Note: An earlier version of this poem first appeared under the title 'Secrets, Ebb and Flow' in an anthology, As Waves Pass By, Poetry Now (Forward Press) 2002, and subsequently in 1st eds. of my collection, First Person Plural by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2002; revised e-edition in preparation.]

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Art, a Posthumous Consciousness OR A Measure of Home Truths

An art teacher at my old school once told the class that we should not only learn how to look at art but how also to feel it. That was a good half century or so ago, but I am grateful for the tip to this day.

When we look at a painting, for example, it is obvious what we are looking at; less obvious is what lies behind the paining; how the painter saw his subject through inner eye and various absorbed impressions. The artist’s choice of colours and their shades, the force of certain brushstrokes, all are clues to what he or she is saying not only about his or her subject but  also about themselves.

The best art forms are not only delightful on the eye (or ear) but also draw us into them and thereby into ourselves. In this way, many art works survive centuries and a posthumous consciousness remains available to be tapped into by the discerning art lover who may not even be an expert, simply open to ‘live’ impressions.

This poem is a kenning.


Looking at me, its’s likely
that far more
than all you see will touch
mind, body and spirit,
sufficiently firing imagination
to give inspiration
a voice for home truths
ghosting paths of times past
and present…

Observing me closely, find
the inner eye
homing in on brush strokes,
the lighter here
and heavier there, colours
chosen for warmth
or cold, and touches of light;
dark, dreamy twilight,
moody gloom…

Seeing is not always (quite)
believing that creativity needs
an audience;
desires one, yes, if only to share
impressions of mind,
body and spirit laid bare
in such a way
as to make a presence felt
that would out

Art, a psycho-creative presence
redefining subject and audience 

Copyright R. N. Taber 2016

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Spirit Lake

Several readers who cannot access You Tube on their own computers for some reason and have seen the video on someone else’s have asked me to reinstate it on the blog.  (See video below). Many thanks, by the way, for their kind comments regarding my blogs.

The original You Tube video is available at:

OR access my You Tube channel and search by title:

The lake at Stourhead (NB ‘Spirit Lake’ is simply the title I have given to the poem that I read here and video footage) is artificially created. Following a path around the lake is meant to evoke a journey similar to that of Aeneas's descent in to the underworld; passages telling of Aeneas's journey are quoted in the temples surrounding the lake.

Read more about Stourhead on Wikipedia:

The video is one of three shot by my close friend Graham Collett, and I wrote the poem especially for the occasion. We hope you will enjoy both.

This poem is a villanelle:


World of peace and tranquility
(looking out for its own); 
Earth Mother’s greater legacy

Time playing games with history
(myth into maturity grown);
world of peace and tranquility

Dreamland lake in all its serenity
(solitude, yet not alone);
Earth Mother’s greater legacy

The very best of prose and poetry
(open minds freely shown); 
world of peace and tranquility

Watch ripples pausing at eternity
(life force unknown)
Earth Mother’s greater legacy

Each heart, wing, flower and tree
(life arts, ever windblown);
world of peace and tranquility,
Earth Mother’s greater legacy

Copyright R. N. Taber 2014

Monday, 26 September 2016

H-E-L-P, Echoes Across Contemporary Landscapes

We all need something or someone at some time in our lives, but asking for help is not always easy; sometimes, pride gets in the way or we may well be at such a low ebb that we cannot get the words out.

There is no shame in asking for help; the first step is acknowledging to ourselves that we need it while the next (sometimes the hardest) is finding someone we can trust to listen without judging us or simply telling us what they would do in our situation.

Failing at the second step is invariably down to the inability of many if not most people to use their knowledge of a person to be able to offer constructive advice. We are individuals, all different; telling someone what we would do in their situation is rarely much help.

The listener is the greater source of inspiration because any advice forthcoming will be based on what he or she has heard; heard us out, encouraging us now and then by all means, but not interrupting or prompting along lines we think the other person is trying to say,

Need is not always obvious; too often, it is left to fester simply because there are none so deaf as will not hear. Where the listeners of this world are a rare breed, the friend who listens is a friend indeed.

This poem is a kenning.


I haunt the human spirit
as an alley cat might its territory,
fight off every challenge
until grown weary with battles,
ready to admit defeat,
yet without (quite) conceding
surrender of the kind
that sheds dignity like a second skin
for caving in to despair

I worry the human mind
as a dog might a flock of sheep
that knows no better,
simply goes with basic instinct,
chancing life and limb
to the farmer that will shoot
on sight, worth the risk,
beats gnawing away at an old bone
just because it’s there

I taunt the human heart
where expectation often misled;
parental satisfaction,
peer-led competition egged on
by target-centred education…
chalices passed from generation
to generation, mistakes
coursing its veins like a slow poison
too often left untreated

Call me poor, inarticulate, Need;
on life’s leftovers, I feed…

Copyright R. N. Taber 2016