Sunday, 30 October 2011

A Question Of Timing

Today’s poem last appeared on the blogs in 2009 and I am repeating it today especially for a ‘L. P.’ who has been in touch to ask how best to tell family and friends he is gay. Another young man once asked when I thought might be a good time to tell his parents he had no intention of marrying the young woman his family have chosen for him. I also told them both that, it is their decision and theirs alone, but the longer they wait, the harder it will be. Nor should we blame ourselves for any hurt caused by standing out ground when we feel the need. We are not answerable for the shortcomings and/or short sightedness of others.

Is there ever a right time to tell someone something with which they may feel uncomfortable? Home truths, for example, never go down well at first if at all.

Ah, but we should not underestimate the power of commonsense, and even less so the heart’s capacity to argue with questionable reason...and win.

Just as gay people need to make time to tell family and friends about their sexuality, so those among the heterosexual majority who decide to go against parental well-meaning for their well-being and choose another path likewise need to choose their moment with care. Yes, with care, for diplomacy can only ever help win over the opposition.

In some instances, of course, there will never be a ‘right’ time to raise this matter or that. Yet, the more serious the matter and the more intensely it concerns us, the more important it is that we make time to let the people who matter to us know that it’s the way in life we propose to follow, and are confident it is right for us, whether our attempts at diplomacy succeed or not.

Did I say it was easy?


Doors half opening, half closing;
windows flung wide, slammed shut;
roads stretching, bending;
children born and growing so fast;
parents coming, going,
working, and trying their hardest
to make out they won’t
even mind dying, but only so long
as the timing’s - what, right?

Earth flung, heaped, piling up;
nature’s buds opening, now closing;
dirt tracks stretching, bending;
world's birds singing while nesting;
parents coming, going,
and working at trying their hardest
to make out they won’t
even mind chicks flying off so long
as the timing’s - what, right?

More flinging, slamming about;
hungry mouths opening, now closing;
bony legs stretching, bending;
a capacity for love born, growing fast;
doubts coming, going,
working at trying their hardest
to fool us they not only
have our very best interests at heart,
but their timing’s - what, right?

Where natural instinct a stronger calling,
find common humanity a fragile thing

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2011

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears in 1st eds. of A Feeling For The Quickness Of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005; 2nd ed. in preparation.]

Friday, 28 October 2011

Hollywood Boulevard

Many of us dream of fame and fortune, especially when we are feeling low and life is not working out too well for us. Fortunately, most of us have both feet planted firmly in terra firma and begin to mull over the down side of fame and fortune; lack of privacy, petty jealousies and one-upmanship, not forgetting critics who haven’t a creative bone in their bodies yet feel qualified to judge the creative performances of others...

Better by far to settle for the best of things on our side of the proverbial fence. Even so, a little daydreaming does no harm...


Walked with Fame one afternoon, watery sun
and a misty rain;
man, woman, couldn’t tell - Humphrey Bogart
or Lauren Bacall?
Better than any movie, the suspense
was really getting to me,
and where would I be by the end of the day?
(Good question...)

Strained to hear what my companion
had to say about it, though abysmally scripted;
caught words like fate, jealousy, love, hate,
sounding as trite as Mother’s plastic mac worn
to fend off a heavy summer storm;
only, no storm broke nor did any ghost
call me out, settling for thinly disguised threats
and nagging innuendo

Should I take the bait? Oh, I thought I might,
but - no!
Rather, I quickened my step, widening the gap
between us,
hardly able to see hand in front of face
for tears,
a now glaring sun hastening to dispel mist, rain,
and human anxieties

Copyright R. N. Taber2005; 2009

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears in 1st eds. of A Feeling For The Quickness Of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books 2005; 2nd ed. in preparation].

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Footprints In A Field Of Dreams

Today’s post is duplicated on both my general and gay-interest blogs.

Many thanks to those readers who have been in touch with kind words about my latest YouTube video filmed in the Memorial Garden in London’s Grosvenor Square created in memory of the British victims of the 9/11 attacks. One lady has asked me to repeat the direct link:

And if it doesn’t work, just go to my YouTube channel:


How many times, I wonder, do we ask ourselves why, oh, why do we bother and just what is it all for?


The world, it’s so big;
we, we’re so small,
and, oh, what’s the point
of it all?

The flowers, they grow
only to rise and fall,
and, oh, what’s the point
of it all?

Some people succeed
where others fail
though they try so hard
at it all;
others, they struggle on
at hardship’s call,
the most deserving among
us all

I look from my window
and feel so small
but, oh, that’s the point
of it all;
expanding its parameters,
walking tall,
and where doesn’t matter
at all

I’ve watched flowers die
where their petals fall
but, oh, that’s the point
of it all

It’s love peace and beauty,
though they be fragile
will see us win our wars
after all

Copyright R. N. Taber 2011

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Moving On

A reader who can only access the Internet at an Internet cafe has asked me to repeat the links to (a) my poetry reading on the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square back in July 2009 as part of Antony Gormley’s One & Other ‘live sculpture’ project and (b) my YouTube video of the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park; they are: lasts an hour)

For the Princess Diana memorial, go to my YouTube channel:


A friend  asked me recently how I coped with the death of my partner years ago. His own partner had just died and he was in pieces.

Having lost various people to whom I have been very close over the years, I could only repeat what I have said on the blog many times, that moving on doesn’t mean leaving anyone behind.

Trite, maybe, but true; my partner, my mother and others long dead are still a comfort and inspiration to me.


Only for you the most beautiful song
this sad heart of mine can hope to compose,
a hymn to true love ever rich and strong,
like the sweet smells of summer in a rose

Only for you the most beautiful words
this lonely soul of mine can hope to write,
echoes in the wind, love song of the birds,
a stirring of petals come dawn’s first light

Only for you this broken heart’s mending,
remembering a promise to move on;
though love come again, ours never ending
like the lifelines on twin leaves evergreen

Keeping faith with you till the end of time;
my life, a love song, your death, my poem

[From: A Feeling For The Quickness Of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005]

Thursday, 6 October 2011

A Family Connection OR Time Travel, First Hand

I can be whimsical, even quirky in some poems. Some readers enjoy this, some hate it while it would appear that yet others can even feel inspired.

Today’s poem has not appeared on the blog since 2008. I have been asked to repeat it by ‘Angela’ who has been in touch to say, ‘ inspired [me] to start tracing [my] family tree, with such amazing results that I am now passionately into genealogy.’

Good luck with that, Angela.


One day I visited a churchyard
looking for a gravestone;
I found it, but only after hours
foraging among weeds;
I knelt down and cleared away
years of moss and grime;
in time, I could even make out
a legend, dates, a name

I felt cold, cheated, no feelings
of compassion for the dead;
here lay a total stranger, albeit
of my family line (so what?);
it filled a box on the family tree;
the rest, but photographs,
letters, and a diary with pages
faded or missing

I’d found what I was looking for
so why linger there?
I tried to leave. My legs refused
to do as I wanted;
I couldn’t move, even after a few
conspiratorial drops of rain;
then the stone opened like a door,
and I needed no telling

I entered, began feeling my way
along a gloomy tunnel;
in a light at the end stood a man,
his features obscured;
as I closed in, he spoke. I strained
to hear a choked voice
saying it was ages since anyone
had sought him out

He said I had the family likeness
and it meant a lot to see;
then he was gone and I was left
staring at a gravestone;
that day I visited a churchyard
looking for family,
I found it, and was infinitely
glad I’d come

Copyright R. N. Taber 2008

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Blame Game

We see politicians and religious leaders at it all the time, but can any of us say in all honesty that we have never played the blame game?


It’s a so-secret game people play,
that never stays a secret for long;
before you know it, they'll leak it,
and put local gossip in overdrive

It’s a so-nasty game people play,
that will always get much worse
before it just might get any better
for anyone caught out in the loop

It’s a so-sorry game people play
that will invariably end in tears,
star players likely cut to the quick
(although few if anyone cares)

It’s a so-lonely game people play,
never quite one of the in-crowd
after pointing an invisible finger
(see human kindness, belly up)

It’s the blame game people play
by way of creating a diversion
from worst errors of their ways
(fun masks passed off as faces)

It’s a game we all love to deplore,
though most if not all of us play
at keeping local gossip machines
turning over if not in overdrive

Copyright R. N. Taber 2011