Friday, 18 September 2009

It's All About Taking Control

Sometimes well-meaning (and less well-meaning) people try to tell us how to live our lives. By all means, we should listen. But is our life, not theirs.

We should not let other people take over, but take control of our own lives…and the responsibility that comes with it.


Walking hand in hand
towards the edge of a day
that’s closing down,
monitor going to sleep
but not quite yet

Time to savour the fruits
of far kinder words selected
from friendly clouds
than spiteful mouth electing
to cause us hurt

Pink leaves above us
singing songs, balm to sores
of broken promises,
resurrecting hopes meant
save us

Pink hues scattering
like ripples on a pond once
a stone flung
to smash the circles,
kill the magic

Walking hand in hand
far beyond the edge of day
that’s closed down,
monitor gone to sleep
but for Re-start

Blackened leaves, weeping stars,
pink fingers tapping in to Venus

Copyright R. N. Taber 2009

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Arthur Atkins (Painter-Poet) Liverpool/ San Francisco

I love Liverpool but rarely get an opportunity to visit these days. Among many places of interest there is a wonderful little bookstore called News From Nowhere.

Only recently, I got chatting to a young Liverpudlian (in a pub, where else?) initially about the bookstore. He seemed genuinely interested in my poetry and was even familiar with some of my better known poems. However, he was even more interested to hear about Arthur Atkins, not least because he shares the same surname. While he thinks it is very unlikely that he is related to the painter, he promised to do a genealogy search and confirm.

Arthur Atkins is something of a romantic figure to me and one of my heroes, so much so that I dedicated Love And Human Remains - volume one of my poetry quartet of the same name - to him.

Arthur Atkins in Bruce Porter's studio, spring 1898

William Arthur Atkins - known as Arthur - was an English artist, raised in the Liverpool area. He studied art in Paris but never exhibited in Europe. His paintings were frequently on show in the San Francisco Bay area of California before his untimely death at the age of 25. One of a group of painter-poets responsible for an arts magazine called The Lark that was published in the San Francisco area during the late 19th century, this remarkable young man has long been an inspiration to me. His grave overlooks the same Piedmont hills he loved and painted, although now encroached upon by urban spread. A friend of mine in the US (also a painter) owns several of his paintings and has made contact with descendants of Arthur's immediate family.


Spirit of Liverpool, burning bright,
like autumn leaves in the glare of day;
Sombre, in twilight - kaleidoscope
Candle holder, seeking here and there
all the naked eye cannot see;
Visions of the mind, across
Braveheart, ventures to France, Italy,
exploring paths of creativity,
imploring the soul
a native anxiety;
Bursts upon a New World society
chasing gold tales. Let love, art
and poetry leave their
own trails;
To the landscape of a land
in its flowering youth - the lonely,
lively passion of a pilgrim
seeking truth;
Life, snuffed like a candle by Nature
left unmoved, even by devotion;
Persists, the subtle flame - of
a painter-poet's passion…

in each tawny leaf that falls, among
crowded Piedmont hills

[From: Love And Human Remains by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2001]

UPDATE: More about Arthur at:

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Last One Home Is A Green Pig

Whatever happened to childhood? Given that we carry much of those early years into maturity, we may well ask why adulthood often resembles a green pig…


Spots of rain on the pavement
heading home, marked out
like hopscotch and whose turn
to throw the slate?
A hop, skip and jump, anxious
to land well clear, stay ahead,
aware that last one home
is a green pig;
Rain comes faster than an enemy
at the gate, wiping out all effort,
obliging someone - to
pocket the slate;
What next, computer games?
(No one at home likely
to insist we must
take turns);
For slate, read mouse, dying
to score (Oh, the lives little
people play and always
up for more!);
Sun’s out; pavement dries
to a smug grin, like
the face of a pig
coloured green

[From: The Third Eye by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2004]