Thursday, 28 April 2011

A Common Garden Snapshot

After a great evening yesterday, I just had to come and tell you about it. Now, I am no artist, not least because I don’t think visually, and have the greatest admiration for those who do. So I was thrilled to be invited to a private viewing of 'Authorized’ by artist James Howard. It is his latest solo show, and  a very exciting experience.

The show proved to be very different from anything of his that I have seen before, yet still characteristically sharp, satirical, entertaining and (very) thought provoking.

Regular readers will know that I have enthused about this young man's work before. I have known his parents for years and will continue to watch his creative talents develop and evolve with great interest. His work reflects ways of seeing and feeling that arouse all the observer's senses as if waking them up after a restless sleep. One cannot help but come away from his 'Authorized' with one's own outlook on life and art (and perception of self) under review.

Find more about James Howard at:

Enjoy! [Above all else, any art form best comes into its own once it is not only shared but also enjoyed.]


Friends  often comment that I rarely take photographs even when on holiday or passing through new places. My camera is my mind’s eye and it encourages me to write poems.

I get a feeling for places, people too, that I frequently shape into a poem that I can share with others just as they might share their holiday snaps. Such was the case when I visited Scarborough to give a poetry reading there a few years ago. By way of illustration, the second poem is one I wrote about this very pretty and friendly town on the Yorkshire coast.

Welcome to my garden. [Sadly, I don't have my own where I live in London although I do look out over one.]


Leaves, strewn about in the mud
like underwear torn from a washing line
by a freak wind

Lies, piling up like dead leaves
providing sustenance for the very earth
that nurtured

Hearts, now joined together,
now ripped apart, like bread fought over
by sparrows

Hopes, tossed like underwear
on a cruel wind over hungry graves ready
to gobble us up

Chase the wind, stumble in mud,
retrieve underwear for the washing machine
or stand by and watch?

Choices, a gathering of sparrows
debating how best to survive a bad winter
through to spring

Graves, wearing hard won badges
of flowers and dead leaves, each telling lies
about us

[From: Accomplices to Illusion by R. N. Taber. Assembly Books, 2007]

Monday, 11 April 2011

A Shared Antipathy For Beer Can Rings OR Marine Life Under Threat

Regular readers will know I have always loved Brighton (East Sussex) and been a regular visitor there for more than fifty years. I often go there on my birthday even though it is in December; I started writing this poem there on my 63rd birthday and finished it on the train back to London.

Several readers have kindly contacted me to say how much they enjoyed the poems I read in Brighton for YouTube last December.

[Find these and others at: ]

Thanks for that, folks. Encouraging feedback is always gratefully received, especially as I find reading outdoors quite hard since there are always so many distractions.

I included today’s poem in my latest poetry collection. Regular readers will also know that all my poetry titles are listed on (with some readers’ reviews) if anyone is interested. They can be ordered at any UK bookstore. Alternatively, (signed) copies of most of my collections are available (now FREE + Postage) to overseas readers as my collections are only on sale in the UK. [Contact: with ‘Blog Reader’ in the subject field.]

My poetry books contain a mixture of gay-interest and other poems, divided into themed sections for easy reading; there are about 20 – 25 poems per section so readers can just pick one and then try another section another time. [I should say that my critics complain I crowd my books with too many poems. I take their point, but readers seem to enjoy having six or seven little poetry books in one. So I think I’ll stick with my readers rather than pander to the critics for my next collection in 2012.]

On the whole, Brighton beach is kept remarkably clean and tidy; all the more remarkable for the way some people simply toss their litter away where they stand (on the beach or even in the sea; both present a danger to wildlife) rather than find a waste bin.

This poem is a villanelle.


We kept the most curious company,
watching waves clear beer cans rings away;
clouds, a crab, two seagulls and me

A spring twilight glowing beautifully,
footprints unable though longing to stay;
we kept the most curious company

I wondered, what do they think of me?
Could we converse, whatever would we say,
clouds, a crab, two seagulls and me?

Clouds, lamenting pollution, I dare say,
crab and gulls much the same of the sea;
we kept the most curious company

On one thing we’d be sure to agree,
the world doesn’t see things nature’s way;
clouds, a crab, two seagulls and me

A sudden rush of waves hit me angrily,
a smoky dusk making a meal of us per se;
we kept the most curious company;
clouds, a crab, two seagulls and me

[Brighton, East Sussex (UK), May 2008]

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

PS The use of 'per se' in the 6th stanza is yet another example of the liberties I often take with 'hidden' rhyme; i.e. sounds that are similar but not an exact rhyming match.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Passers-By, a Collage

Life is never as dark as it sometimes may seem in our personal space just so long as we always make room there for love.

Where it may sometimes seem that even love has forgotten us, we need to remember that though loved ones may be far away, even dead, moving on does not mean leaving anyone behind and their love will continue to sustain us through thick and thin...if we let it.


Time, it’s passing by me,
all alone;
Stress, getting worse each day;
Love, it’s all around me
closed to us…
who do not see for its tears

Society, it’s hacking me
in pieces;
human remains everywhere;
Religion, it’s leaving me
half dead,
trying to make sense of it all;
Politics, it’s deceiving me,
so weary
of hearing lies and half lies;
Power, it’s killing me,
crying out
to cloth ears for peace of mind

Hope, it’s imploring me
rise up
against the unfairness of life;
Life, should it not be teaching us
for each other’s differences?
Differences, once hacking
at each other,
learning the lessons of history;
History, busy reworking
ages-old myths
surrounding and dividing us;
Us, a common humanity,
world guardians,
a duty of care to generations

Time, it’s passing by me,
listening out
for the timbre of its every heartbeat;
Love, it’s all around,
healing us,
who could not see for our tears

Copyright R. N. Taber 2011