Saturday, 20 March 2010

Leaves From A Journal

[Update (March 2016): A German reader has been in touch to ask if my poetry collections are available in German.  However, none have been translated into other languages as I self-published. (No publishers have shown any interested in general poetry collections that include gay-interest poems.) Even so, as first (print) editions sold fairly well here in the UK and the number of readers accessing my blogs worldwide continues to grow, I am very encouraged. Eventually, revised editions of my books (published and unpublished in print form) will be available in e-format.]


‘Jenny and Alan’ readers from Birmingham asked me to include this poem in a collection after reading it on the blog back in 2007. I was delighted to oblige and hope you and they will find lots to enjoy in whole collection.

Family Group (in bronze) by Henry Moore (1950). [Photo from Internet]

This poem is a kenning.


I am a mother, keeping things together
even as they are seen to be falling apart
at the seams, nothing as it seems to eyes
homing in from this street, that fence…
failing to see through slats in blinds down
for the duration (a ritual celebration?);
Mother love, putting out feelers for ways
to end wars between brothers and sisters,
in-laws and neighbours

I am a father, owner-occupier, mortgage
repayments having to take priority over
designer gear, latest PlayStation, school
trips to Paris…not to mention a new car
that’s smarter, faster, than the one before,
sure to put theirs next door in the shade
and, no, we can’t just pile more credit on
cards unless you really fancy explaining
bankruptcy to the neighbours

I am a child, weary of the rows between
mum and dad, a sibling rivalry that’s not
half as bad as everyone’s making out…
and who cares if the neighbours have cash
to flash about for cool vacations in prime
locations, digitals galore telling tales sure
to have us wagging tongues, scaling rungs?
Sure, it’s ok to have this ‘n’ that - but not
if it means we keep scaring the cat

As spring to a branch, autumn to its tree,
I make, I take, I am family 

[From: On the Battlefields of Love by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2010]

Monday, 1 March 2010

The Stickler OR Agenda for Holier-Than-Thous

Someone recently commented to me that, “I have no problem with gay people as such. But, like all those who choose to flout convention, they are attention seekers and would probably change their tune quick enough if they didn’t get any.”

I couldn’t believe my ears, especially as it was clear the guy was sincere. I put to him that sexuality is in the genes and has nothing to do with deliberately choosing to flout convention or be a focus of attention.

He would have none of it. “Where would society be without its conventions,” he demanded. “Without golden rules to live by, you’d have anarchy.”

Funny, I had never thought of myself as an anarchist…until now! Yes, of course we need golden rules to live by. At the same time, thank goodness for some golden exceptions, too, among which sexuality is but one...


I know my place, would teach
others, though some refuse to learn,
take me for an enemy, refuse
to see I have their well-being at heart,
would prefer not to toss them
like flotsam and jetsam on such waves
as mother-god Society enjoys
making for those who dare question
if its integrity fit for purpose

I know my place, would teach
others to know theirs, better by far
to tread in footprints already
leading the way across snow and ice
than take another path,
making out it will lead somewhere
when there’s no guarantee
it will lead anywhere at all, so those
follow but heading for a fall

I know my place, would plead
with others to know theirs and lead
by good example
into the quiet waters of expediency,
leave politics and religion
free to hoist colours that barely flap
in a breeze, anxious to please,
avoid looking closely at the integrity
of a sexuality fit for purpose

My place, rejecting any re-invention
of society's old stand-by, convention

Copyright R. N. Taber, 2010; 2016