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.

H-E-L-P, ECHOES ACROSS CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPES

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













Friday, 23 September 2016

The Challenge OR Beyond Cloud Nine


Some readers cannot access You Tube for one reason or another. One such reader has been in touch to ask me to post this poem/video on my blog, having seen it on You Tube at a friend’s house. (See bottom of the page for the video.) The reader asks why I bothered to film clouds; there a story behind it my fascination with them. Indeed, I have written several poems about the inspiring nature of clouds.

I wrote this poem in the early 1980’s. I was over the worst of a nervous breakdown resulting in several years of unemployment and struggling to recover a sense of ‘normality’ (whatever that is). I had started a new job, and although it would take a good few years yet before I felt really well, it was motivation enough to sustain me; this, along with my having begun writing again a couple of years earlier.

As regular readers know, writing has always been the best form of creative therapy for me, given that I am someone who has been prone to depression since childhood.

Cloud shapes (in good and bad weather) not only fascinate me, but have long been a source of inspiration for my poems, also my novels. [If interested in the latter, by the way, you will find them in serial form on my fiction blog apart from Blasphemy which I recently uploaded to Google Play.] All my novels and poetry collection are out of print and I hope to upload revised versions to Google Play over the next few years; that is to say, so long as the Grim Reaper doesn’t have other ideas as I will be 71 in December, and have already been living with prostate cancer for 5+ years.

Readers who can access You Tube may prefer to click on the link:

OR

Go to: http://www.youtube.com/rogerNtaber  and search under title.

Let's face it. Whoever and wherever we are, life itself is a challenge, probably biggest challenge any of us will ever face; we may win a battle here, lose a battle there, while the final victory lies with whomsoever discovers his or her innate humanity and be guided by it in the face of a sorry world's inhumanity on all sides.

THE CHALLENGE or BEYOND CLOUD NINE

There is a bridge between clouds
where we pause
who ponder on the purpose
on living just to die,
where the spirit unfulfilled,
the heart strayed
across certain boundaries society
has imposed (conventions)
so much the better to disguise
its worst intentions

There is a bridge between clouds
where we pause
who ask why the world below
has let us down…or did we
let ourselves and each other down
in the end
for never ceasing to demand more
than our fair share
of whatever peace and love
to be found there?

There is a bridge between clouds
where we’ll wait
our turn to cross…or be left
wishing deeds undone,
words unsaid, lies left creeping
under the tongue,
never to see the cold light of a day
when we must answer
to all its invidious shadows
may have heard us say

We can but cross, we children of Earth,
rise to the challenge of life over death

Copyright R. N. Taber 1984; 2010; 2016




Saturday, 17 September 2016

Henge, Pillars of the Earth

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._N._Taber

Visitors to the UK who have now returned to Australia have asked me to repeat the post/poem that accompanies one of the Avebury videos on my You Tube channel. It appears they enjoyed visiting Avebury with English relatives who later showed them the channel, but for some reason cannot access it now they are back home.

I have always been fascinated by ancient history so was delighted that Graham chose to pay special attention to the magnificent stones that comprise Avebury Henge. I did not have a poem to do justice to the images so wrote 'Past into Present’ (originally ‘Henge’). Hopefully, viewers will feel the poem comes close.  [Discover more about Avebury Henge on Wikipedia.]

Readers who can access You Tube may prefer to click on the direct link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_T15pcXsFo

OR any readers can view the video below.

We felt that a build-up to the poem might help give the viewer something of a feel for these incredible icons of ancient times which is why it comes in later than in other clips.

For other videos on my You Tube channel. Go to:

http://www.youtube.com/rogerNtaber

HENGE, PILLARS OF THE EARTH

Where some may but marvel at old stones,
the inner eye discerns far more,
history restoring dead flesh to its bones,
relating times past, creating folklore

We can but ask how the circle came to be,
search within the stones for an answer,
discern (or imagine) stark images of history,
walk away enthralled if little wiser

Look, read in the stones tales of long ago;
everyday lives, everyday ways
of making love, fighting wars, baking dough,
whatever tune each piper's sponsor pays

Splendid creations of sun, wind and rain,
secrets hidden in ageless metaphors;
Earth Mother's diary of her grief and pain
for humanity's neglect of its sores

Oh, omnipresent monoliths marking time
until Armageddon strikes the Earth;
love poems made to surrender their rhyme,
reason fighting madness for all its worth

Yet, whatever the future has in store for us,
be sure lessons are and will be written
in brave stones such as these by its survivors
to engage with humanity and pass on

Henge, the poetry, power and magnificence
of a ravaged Earth's sacrifices to existence

Copyright R. N. Taber 2011; 2016


Friday, 16 September 2016

Firstborn


I wrote this poem for the daughter of old friends and her husband whose first child was born only recently; hopefully, they will be OK with my sharing it with you.

Every child is special just as every child is different. Nurture involves encouraging a child to find his or her way on life’s learning curve; sadly, some people see nurture and dogma as mutually inclusive and/or try to mould a child in some parental image that fails to take into account the concept of individuality.

FIRSTBORN

Firstborn, evergreen flower
of a summer that will ever endure
in fair memory’s living tower

Once tiny, now see it mature
sweet child of eternal Earth Mother,
firstborn, evergreen flower

Every second, minute, and hour
a life to share in, store and nurture
in fair memory’s living tower

Parental pride, mother and father
to the very life-force of human nature,
firstborn, evergreen flower

Mixed emotions, some undercover,
all that makes a happy home on offer
in fair memory’s living tower

From the off, a person like no other,
a lifetime of ups and downs to discover;
firstborn, evergreen flower
in fair memory’s living tower

Roger N. Taber 2016

Friday, 9 September 2016

An Everyman's Portfolio of Wishful Thinking


Few of us can say in all honesty that we have no regrets, and have made no mistakes. Even so, there is no point in crying over spilt milk. (As good a philosophy as any, I say.) Besides, sometimes we need to make mistakes in order to discover our true path in life; we can but try and learn from them and move on. Life is a learning curve, after all.

When I look back at my worst mistakes I can also see how some good has come from having made them. Whatever, if you want to do something badly enough, I wholeheartedly agree with giving it a go; if it turns out to be a mistake, better regret having tried and failed than wonder how things might have turned out. [Story of my life…]

I am often asked by heterosexual readers if I regret including gay-interest poems in my collections and if it has damaged my reputation as a poet in the wider arena. The answer is ‘no’ to the first question. As for the second…yes, it has probably adversely affected my reputation as a poet in the wider arena (and why the arts media practically ignore me) but…no, I have no regrets.

I can't expect to please everyone with every poem I write (nor do I exclude myself) but have received some lovely emails from readers all over the world who enjoy reading them. What poet can ask for more?

Oh, and do feel free to email me any time on any subject. I will always reply as soon as I can. If you don’t like my poetry, but still want to exchange points of view, no problem. Contact rogertab@aol.com; with ‘Blogs’ or ‘Poems’ in the subject field ot it will not be opened.

This poem is a kenning,

AN EVERYMAN’S PORTFOLIO OF WISHFUL THINKING

I move without favour or prejudice
among men, women, children;
To whoever calls me out, I will
always answer, no one denied
the music I bring, Blues I sing;
rich, poor, famous, infamous, saints
and sinners…welcome to tap
into a wisdom some like to call Fate,
lessons learned too late

I touch without favour or prejudice
the loose thread missing a button,
that odd sock, empty vase in rooms
yawning with boredom for what’s
on TV and must have heard that CD
a thousand times (surely?) though
any sound has to be better than none,
answerable (finally) to a plaintive purr
beside a lap tray set for one

I bury without favour or prejudice
forgotten dreams, misspent ideals,
all wishful thinking on falling stars
meant to light a kinder, better world
that’s not meant to be though
we mull over old letters, photos, poems,
home videos…as dead as the cat
whose meow we miss and listen for
at every mealtime

Call me Regret, configuring half-lies
for poetry’s own Bridge of Sighs

Copyright R. N. Taber 2007; 2016


[Note: A slightly different version of this poem appears under the title 'Regret' in 1st eds. of Accomplices to Illusion by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books 2007; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Memory, the Art of Self-Portraiture OR Random Notes on the Human Condition


Who are we? What are we? Where are we at in life’s journey, and how long may we stay? Where next, and what will we find around the next corner? More of the same, perhaps, or better, worse…? 

Whatever, we can but continue trying to work through, make sense of those parts of us that make up the human condition; in so doing, shape and reshape ourselves and each other, hopefully for the better than worse.

MEMORY, THE ART OF SELF PORTAITURE or RANDOM NOTES ON THE HUMAN CONDITION

Names, names, and more names,
crowding the mind…
like passengers on a rush hour train

Faces, faces, and more faces,
collage of the heart…
like pictures in an exhibition

Places, places, and more places,
focusing the inner eye
like home movies at a birthday party

Good days, bad days, and less so,
ganging up on us
like a well-meaning consciousness

Regret, regrets, and more regrets,
like grains of sand
passing through a custom hour glass

Mind, body, spirit, and all it takes,
getting the better
of our worst fears, come what may

Copyright R. N. Taber 2016




Monday, 29 August 2016

Love, a Flower for every Beat the Heart Skips OR Remembrance, Time in a Garden


Today, our thoughts fly to the victims of the recent devastating earthquake in Italy; the living and the dead.

Nature, as we have seen, is constantly reminding us that humankind, for all its progress through the ages, remains vulnerable. (As if we need reminding!) No less vulnerable, the human spirit, but also an indomitable life force.

Now, memories are no compensation for reality. Nothing and no one can compensate for the loss of a loved one; family member, lover or close friend. Even so, it has been my personal experience that memories can keep good times as fresh in our minds as when we first shared them, and in so doing any tears - in time -become more like spring rain than some relentless wintry storm.

Such is the power of love that that it will inspire the human spirit for generations to weather any storm, repair close-knit communities damaged by events beyond their control and, most importantly, concede love the victory over grief. 

Did I say it was easy…?

This poem is a villanelle.

LOVE, A FLOWER FOR EVERY BEAT THE HEART SKIPS or REMEMBRANCE, TIME SPENT IN A GARDEN

In thoughts so near, so far away,
inspiration visits old Memory Lane;
love’s young dream, here to stay

Whether or not we choose to pray,
love will survive us time and again
in thoughts so near, so far away

Deep sleep, no guiding light of day
nor dark, only kisses like spring rain,
love’s young dream, here to stay

Come despair keeping life at bay,
cue for human love to take the strain
in thoughts so near, so far away

Though a body retreat world affray,
a good heart repeats its finer refrain;
love’s young dream, here to stay

Though life bury us in colours grey,
trust human goodness ever to remain;
in thoughts so near, so far away,
love’s young dream, here to stay


Copyright R. N. Taber 2016