Sunday, 15 October 2017

Death in Vegas OR Public Opinion, targeting Legends on Tablets of Stone

All our hearts must surely go out to the families and friends killed and injured in the recent Las Vegas massacre.

I have known Americans for and against existing gun laws in the U.S over many years; the latter, invariably sick of always being shouted down by those for whom any change in laws enshrined in the Constitution would be tantamount to an infringement of their human rights. Even some family members and friends of the many who have been killed or maimed in terrible shooting incidents like that in Las Vegas recently continue to demand what they seem to see as a natural right to protection by arming themselves. (How does stricter control of the sale of guns infringe anyone’s Human Rights?)

Many argue that existing gun laws in the U.S. should not be seen as having been inscribed on tablets of stone; not only more appropriate to its pioneer days than a modern America but also  responsible for continuing outbreaks of violence on its streets, including such carnage as witnessed in Las Vegas. Relatively rare such shocking events may be, at least on such a scale, but isn’t it high time for some serious, informed, common sense debate on the subject without the powerful gun lobby invariably getting the upper hand by such under hand tactics as accusing the opposition of disloyalty to - even betrayal of and disrespect for - their country’s finer democratic principles?

Readers may think that, as an Englishman, America’s gun laws are none of my business and they may well be right. Even so, people from all over the world visit the U.S. for pleasure and business. I enjoyed a 4-week stay there myself some years ago. Doesn’t everyone deserve to feel less at risk by antiquated gun laws that simply need tightening?  

Should any law be considered sacrosanct in its original form where a few common sense amendments might well save even just one human life? I suspect we all know what the dead would say if they had a voice so maybe it’s time they were given one…? Don't all those comprising democratic societies bear some responsibility for that?

'Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind...' John Donne

Ah, I can all but hear one American friend say, but Donne was an Englishman and the English have no idea about other cultures. That may well be true, but - not least because I am gay man, I am reminded of the African-American writer Ernest J. Gaines on record for asking, 'Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?'

Food for thought, at least, surely...?


Country ways in the city,
music for building dreams by
for eye and ear

Grass growing greener
in a city pretending not a care
in the world

Celebration on location,
sunny faces wreathed in smiles,
poetry of joy

Suddenly, out of nowhere,
all is chaos, devastation, grudges
out of the past

Random shots at the sun
if only to show Man's darker side
(for what, sport?)

Ask the birds and the wildlife
whose freedom was meant to count
for something

Ask folks on Las Vegas Strip
one October evening about legends
on tablets of stone...

Copyright R. N. Taber 2017

London, UK, October 3rd 2017

Monday, 9 October 2017

A Leaf out of Time

Another old poem, this, recently unearthed under layers of dust in a cupboard; it reveals a love affair with rhyme that has lasted the best part of a lifetime although I seem to have rekindled  another on-off affair with blank verse recently.

At school, more years ago than I care to remember, we were sometimes given homework by our English teacher, ‘Jock’ Rankin the title of which would comprise just a few words. We were expected to o comment at any length (or brevity) on these words and what they meant to us; subsequently, the best comments would be shared with and debated in class another time.  One such title was Beginnings and Endings. After much head scratching, I asked my mother what on earth there was to say about beginning and endings other than they…well, begin and end?

My mother merely shrugged over the ironing, “It depends how you choose to see either, I suppose. I mean, some of us see endings as no more or less than beginnings that have run their course and are up for something new…”

Jock was impressed and asked me where I had found the quote. When I said, my mother, he asked me to thank her for making his day.

Oh, but I love autumn, so beautiful if tinged with sadness; memories of spring and summer held in safe-keeping by Earth Mother to be rummaged and enjoyed over and over through even the worst winters...


I floated on an autumn leaf,
in a world still half-asleep,
kept company with sparrows,
saw willow trees weep

I watched the hands of time
sign warnings to passers-by
concerning the fall of Icarus,
its so-easy How and Why

I saw a fox home in for a kill
heard its victim’s last cry,
protesting an ages-old truth,
a time to live, a time to die

I heard a camp queen singing
a love song, loud and clear,
lasting memories of a summer
though its winter draw near

Breeze dropping, the leaf too
that once had pride of place,
tossing me aside, end of a ride
through time and space

I fell into moss, no harm done;
indeed, a lesson learned,
how each new day, as being gay,
but turns in Nature’s hand

Copyright R. N. Taber 1982; 2017

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Lost in Thought, an Autumn Reverie

As a student of English and American literature at the University of Kent in Canterbury in the 1970’s, I enjoyed reading the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne. I dipped into his Notebooks and could  easily relate to this entry then just as, in my 70’s now, I still can, notwithstanding a mobility problem:

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house."

[Notebook, Oct. 10, 1842]


Autumn leaves on a lake
caught like flies in a spidery web
of glittering sunlight

Breaking free in a breeze,
skimming feisty ripples, courtesy
of a north-westerly wind

Some taking off, low fly past
over sad trees standing at attention
for once-time companions

Others, caught in a sudden lull,
returned to the lake or as prodigals
to the earth’s safe-keeping

Somewhere, woodlands sounding
its Last Post by way of acknowledging
all its seasoned veterans

Glittering sunlight on a lake,
dead leaves like flies in a spidery web,
observers lost in thought

Copyright R. N. Taber 2017

Saturday, 30 September 2017


There’s a wintry chill in the air. A neighbour remarked how she dreads winter, not least for its contagious sense of despair. True, in a sense, of course.  Even so the natural world never quite gives up on spring - however it may seem it has sometimes - and neither should ours.

(Photo taken from the Internet)

A wintry frost,
but nature not (quite) done yet
with downpours
of splendid reds and gold,
so easy on the eye

A wintry smell
but nature not (quite) done yet
with the scents
of kinder seasons lulling humanity
into false hopes

A wintry song,
its message never (quite) finding
preparing to make an heroic stand
against an ill wind

Redbreast, candles to help us see
through the dark

Copyright R. N. Taber 2017

Lines on the Fall and Rise of Everyman

Having a good clear-out yesterday, I discovered a forgotten poem among a pile of old notes and scrap paper; it is what was then an unusual departure from my predilection for rhyming verse, and possibly – if subconsciously - why I have returned to blank verse more often in later years.

As regular readers will be aware, writing poetry is as much a form of creative therapy for me as an art form. Today’s poem was written during the latter days of a nervous breakdown I had in 1979, just as I was beginning to see a glimmer of light at the end of what had been a very long, all but pitch black tunnel. By the time I had finished writing it (albeit untitled), the glimmer had become brighter, clearer, and promising better times ahead; a promise that was fulfilled although it would take some time yet.


I used to so-dread storm clouds,
ganging up for the kill

I used to slump as tears go by,
wishing and hoping…

I used to let a singular teardrop
shipwreck a despairing self

I used to endure a so-heavy rain,
for its sense of empathy…

I used to, oh, so fear a red sunset,
signal for lonely nights

I hated dawn for its insensitivity
to a growing distress…


Storm clouds, precursors to kinder
times ahead

Wondering as tears go by at nature’s
glittering kaleidoscope…

A singular teardrop, cue for restoring
the critical self

Heavy rain leaving a misty rainbow
to lift hopes sky high…

Red sunsets, promising peace of mind,
and love for the asking
Dawn’s first eager light and larksong,
inspiration for brave new days…

Copyright R. N. Taber 1982; 2017

Monday, 25 September 2017

Tellers of Tales, Singers of Songs

I have to confess that writing poems at the moment is my way of staying calm and positive in the face of various side-effects of a (daily) high dose of antibiotics following my recent operation on an infected elbow. At the same time, while rising above the threat of depression which once (years ago) all but consumed me, I am able to testify yet again to the healing power of nature. Regular readers will know that I take a strong sense of spirituality from this as opposed to finding it in any religion; where religions divide the world, nature remains a reassuring force for unity, bringing peace of mind enough to make room for stoicism, hope and inspiration.

Given the trail of destruction left in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean, as well as  the terrible earthquake in Mexico, it may well seem insensitive  to speak kindly of nature where people’s lives have been so tragically affected. Yet, human nature can be no less perverse at times nor can its kinder, nurturing side be as relied upon as Earth Mothers to be always there simply for the seeking out. For me, reassurance is by way of inspirational
sights and/or sounds, which is perhaps why I am an agnostic.

Where G-O-D means different things to different people, for me it is nature.


I listen to old trees,
that tell me tales of long ago,
seasons of childhood,
youth, and advancing years
in those I have known
and loved, others I’ve never met
or even heard of, such
is the poetry, prose and mystery
of a storybook meant
for inner eye and ear to seek,
hear, listen, learn

I weep by old trees
that tell me tales of long ago,
a History of Man
never found in library tomes
or any archives,
of war and peace within us all
as we endeavour
to reconcile certain home truths
with a responsibility
not infrequently out of sync
with basic instinct

I thrill to old trees
that tell me tales of long ago
of aspirations, hopes,
left shattered among the ashes
of disillusionment
yet rising on wings of a phoenix
to rediscover peace
of mind in that peculiar victory
over hard times
due all who cherish an innate
capacity for love

I engage with trees
shaping the slopes of Parnassus
with free verse,
rhyme and reason, spoken ballads
now put to music
telling of happenings so long ago
they may have been
but yesterday while comprising
all our tomorrows
in a rustling of leaves and birdsong,
rhythm of life

Copyright R. N. Taber 2017

Tuesday, 19 September 2017


Readers sometimes email me to say they find browsing the blogs a problem as there are so many poems. A good way is to use the search field in the top right hand corner to search under subject; e.g. family, positive thinking, history, war etc.

Follow my Google+ site where I paste links to historical as well as recent posts/poems most days:

Oh, and if you enjoy at least some of the poems please recommend the blog/site to others... although I appreciate that poetry is not everyone’s favourite art form.


Not long out of hospital here and on a high dose of antibiotics to keep nasties like Sepsis at bay. I had a bad night and woke up suspecting I would have a bad day so decided to try and write my way out of what was not a promising start. Well, it worked, for me at any rate, and (who knows?) it may work for you, too. The power of positive thinking never fails to amaze me.


Dark, my world,
animated shapes conveying
little or nothing
to ease a so-restless mind,
unquiet spirit

No cheery sounds
of laughter over corny jokes
or cheery singing
out of tune at the washing-up
after dinner for two

Nothing and no one
to home in on for comfort;
shoulders to lean on
but shades of wishful thinking
on scrap paper

Kafkaesque, dragging
on senses that, oh, but faintly
offer resistance,
yet creating just space enough
for breaking dawn

Light, proving a match
for its nemesis, now a gathering
of sun nymphs
inspiring wings of a skylark
to force an entry

Song, waking the heart
to possibilities and potential
enough for mind, body,
and spirit to be curious, wake up
to the challenges

Copyright R. N. Taber 2017