Sunday, 29 July 2012


I loved listening to Dusty Springfield from her time as a relatively demure looking young woman with The Springfields to her days at the top of her professional tree, by which time she has acquired all the sophistication and charisma of a pop icon.

Who cares that Dusty was a lesbian?  Has a person’s sexuality anything to do with his or her ability to perform in any genre or our appreciation of it and them?  All I can say is it is a very narrow-minded, bigoted person that answers ‘yes’ to that question. 

My being a Dusty fan has nothing to do with the gay ethic and everything to do with her talent and my eternal gratitude to her for having shared it with millions of us fans around the world..

Dusty is greatly missed by many while her distinctive voice will surely continue to enchant and lift our spirits to dizzy heights for many years to come.

Photo: Dusty Springfield 


Among the greats of pop history,
songbird flying high,
a much-loved legend called Dusty

Eyes like a picture postcard sea
voice like an angel’s cry,
among the greats of pop history

Drawn to Soul’s darker mystery
(tears in a wistful sky...)
a much-loved legend called Dusty

Find gay and charismatic artistry
chancing passion’s die
among the greats of pop history

Where passion’s fruits fall but softly
as dreams pass by,
a much-loved legend called Dusty

In a wintry mist we call immortality,
rediscover summer’s fire;
among the greats of pop history,
a legend called Dusty

Copyright R. N. Taber 2012

Friday, 27 July 2012


I have been a Shirley Bassey fan for many years. One of my favourite numbers is probably a lesser known song called I Reach for the Stars. ( Check it out on You Tube, folks.)  It is a beautiful song' as always, this incredible lady does it more than justice.

It was a great thrill to see how electrifying this amazing woman continues to be at the recent Jubilee concert that was part of her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

No poem can do justice to Dame Shirley Bassey’s unique talent, but I hope this villanelle will go some way towards expressing express my personal admiration and gratitude for years of first class entertainment.

Photo: Dame Shirley Bassey [Internet photo.]

Update (April 2016): A 20ft high gold-painted statue of Dame Shirley Bassey by artist Marc Rees, Caenarfon Castle, 2016. [Internet photo]


Feisty tigress from The Bay,
inimitable mistress of popular song,
stealing our hearts away

Burning passion holding sway,
heartfelt feeling for right and wrong;
feisty tigress from The Bay

Gesturing for love to have its say
where tears for its fears, too, belong,
stealing our hearts away

Bringing life to shades of grey,
to wintry spirits the delights of spring,
feisty tigress from The Bay

A voice, lifting the darkest day
like a sunburst where clouds still cling,
stealing our hearts away

Go the stars, the Bassey way,
a rare privilege just to be tagging along;
feisty tigress from The Bay,
stealing our hearts away

Copyright R. N. Taber 2012

[Note: 'The Bay' refers to the Tiger Bay area of Cardiff, South Wales, where Shirley Bassey was born.]

Thursday, 26 July 2012


Hello everyone!

I can’t keep away at the moment although I am busy with other things. I have nasty infections in both ears so cannot wear my hearing aids. It is very stressful and there is no point in my seeing as much of friends as I usually do because I can barely hear what is being said!

It can get lonely when you live on your own as I do. When I write up the blogs, I feel less isolated and in contact with a whole range of people across the world. It is a GOOD feeling.


In the past, I have posted poems inspired by my favourite singers such as Doris Day and the late, great, Ella Firzgerald. Several readers have asked if I have any more poems like this so I am posting one today. (I will post another tomorrow, too, for the incredible Shirley Bassey.) I am also working on a villanelle for the late, great, Dusty Springfield.

At nearly 67 years-old, I am probably one of Kylie Minogue’s oldest fans. I only hope that if she ever gets to read it, she will enjoy this villanelle written especially with her in mind. (It is especially nerve-wracking trying to write a poem for a special person or event as I just never know how it will be received, but I guess that goes for any poem...)

Photo: Kylie Minogue (taken from Internet)

Update (25/2/2016): Congratulations to Kylie and her fiancĂ© Joshua Sasse on their recent engagement.


Sunshine bursting free
of wintry skies,
a woman called Kylie

Lark on a dawn spree,
spreading happiness,
sunshine bursting free

Modest in her bravery
sharing her fears,
a woman called Kylie

Awe-inspiring artistry
come to entertain us,
sunshine bursting free

A haunting personality
deserving applause,
a woman called Kylie

To life’s darker tapestry,
bringing fair reprise;
sunshine bursting free,
a woman called Kylie

Copyright R. N. Taber 2012

Saturday, 7 July 2012

7/7 Remembered (Two poems)

Update [March 26 2016] There have been other terrorist atrocities around the world since I posted this poem and our thoughts including close to home in France and Belgium. Our thoughts have to be with the dead and injured, their families and friends. Inevitably, though, our we cannot help but wonder, where next? Wonder, yes, it is only natural, but we cannot let ourselves brood on the question or let it dominate our thoughts, dictate how we get on with our lives.  If terrorism exploits the very worst of human nature, the human condition itself is better and stronger than that which is why the love, peace and goodness in this world - and we only have to look around to see there is more of it than the media often suggest - will always triumph over any hate, wars and predilection for sheer evil.]

Today is the 7th anniversary of the London terrorist bombings in July 2005. My close friend (and cameraman) Graham and I were asked some time ago if we would film the 7/7 memorial in Hyde Park especially for a friend of someone who died in the terrorist attacks in London on July 7th 2005. He lives and works abroad and has been unable to visit the memorial. He has also read the poems and asked me to read them.  Yesterday, I uploaded our efforts to You Tube. Hopefully, no one will find either poems or video intrusive:

Now, feedback suggests that some of you cannot access You Tube for one reason or another so I am repeating poems and video here today.

Yes, anniversaries have an important place in the public consciousness. Yet, for anyone caught up in the events of that awful day and/or directly affected by its terrible consequences, every day that passes is a day of remembrance. Our thoughts should be with them as well the fifty-two people for whom the memorial was created.


Memory, smoke and screams
that left fifty-two fine people dead,
forever haunting our dreams

Innocence ripped at the seams,
where terrorism rears its ugly head;
Memory, smoke and screams

Despair takes all or so its seems
where hope on its heels often misled,
forever haunting our dreams

Where light but faintly gleams
that tracks the everyday hero’s tread;
Memory, smoke and screams

See inhumanity’s dark schemes
leave its enemies free if badly scarred,
forever haunting our dreams

Faith’s dark side, no love redeems,
its Heaven, even to its martyrs barred;
Memory, smoke and screams,
forever haunting our dreams

Copyright R. N. Taber 2011


Let us all remember, years on,
loved ones who passed away
one July 7th in London

Injured, bereaved, battles won
so terror shall not hold sway;
let us all remember, years on

A mother, father, daughter, son…
deaths, in our lives, parts to play
one July 7th in London

On fanatics, a martyr’s light shone
though humanity too has a say;
let us all remember, years on

Where hate and despair raging on,
find hope in the cold light of day,
one July 7th in London

Love, if sorely tried and put upon,
will always find its way;
Let us all remember, years on,
one July 7th in London

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

Friday, 6 July 2012

Saluting Bomber Command

[Update May 16th 2018]: On the night of 16-17 May 1943, the RAF's 617 Squadron carried out an audacious bombing raid attacking dams serving the Ruhr valley, leaving German factories and mines badly damaged.] RT

On June 28th, almost 70 years after the end of the war, Her Majesty the Queen unveiled a memorial in London’s Green Park to remember those men from the UK and all over the Commonwealth who served with Bomber Command during World War 2; it is in bronze by sculptor Philip Jackson.

Thousands of brave young men died to bring all of us peace in our time, and it is only fitting they should have their own memorial here at last.  They helped bring Hitler’s Third Reich to its knees and, yes, cities like London, Berlin, Coventry and Dresden suffered terribly, but such is the awful tragedy (and reciprocity) of war.

This poem is a villanelle that I wrote to mark the occasion and will include in a final collection - Diary of a Time Traveller - scheduled for publication in 2015 (when I will be 70).


Where Bomber Command once flying
the gamut of heavens and hell;
so many young men, so few returning

Among birds of prey, resolutely diving
a ghastly, deadly, smoky swell
where Bomber Command once flying

For many, no glorious homecoming
nor a single passing bell;
so many young men, so few returning

No glory, only necessity in the bombing
and a faith that peace will prevail
where Bomber Command once flying

Haunting the brave veterans surviving,
a face for every bomb that fell;
so many young men, so few returning

Our thanks, far too long in the waiting,
its last crew, a fitting memorial;
where Bomber Command once flying,
so many young men, so few returning

Copyright R. N. Taber 2012

A Lancaster bomber dropped 82,000 poppies over London to remember those who died. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Catch Me If You Can

Readers keep asking about my fiction blog and when any unpublished novels there are likely to appear in print. Well, I am through with being let down by literary agents and most publishers show no interest in a writer unless he or she has one so they are unlikely to appear in book form. However, I plan to upload them to amazon as e-books at a later date and will let you all know when I do so. In the meantime, you may care to take a peek at one or two of the gay-interest and crime novels I have serialised so far:


I am delighted that the blog has recently acquired some readers in Australia. Here’s a BIG welcome to you all. I lived there for a short time many years ago and always intended to return, but life had other ideas. Sadly, even the least expensive travel insurance for someone with underlying health problems (in my case, high blood pressure and prostate cancer) is exorbitant so I will probably never make it now. Oh, but it’s a great country, and my personal experience of the people there is a very positive one.


Today’s poem is a kenning that last appeared on the blog in 2010 so methinks it deserves an airing. Reader ‘Glen’ shares that view and I am delighted to wish him a very Happy (70th) Birthday today! (I am not far behind you, Glen...oo-errr!!)


Poets have strived to catch me;
But how to capture a lark’s song
bursting on the ear with mere
simile, metaphor, rhyme…
or convey a rousing waltz in time
to the rhythm of a spring breeze
playing for the coming again
of all things bright and beautiful,
all creatures, great and small?

Painters have striven to catch me,
but how to capture the blue of a sky
on a summer’s day, or its hues
of red and gold at the sun’s setting
or at its lively reawakening us
to the jewel that is life, for all its ups
and downs, hopes lost and found,
left in pieces if never past mending
in time for a happier ending?

Musicians claim to have caught me
in an embrace of song whose beauty
must surely equal the sweet lay
of a nightingale at the closing of a day
seen all that’s best in Man and Beast,
the worst forgotten, let fade away
like blood stains in some watery sky
recalling how all is rarely (if ever?) fair
in love any more than in war

Dearer by far than all we'll ever own
is love’s setting, not its stone

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2017

[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; rev. ed. in e-format in preparation.]

Monday, 2 July 2012

Fairy Tales Are An Endangered Species

Many thanks to those readers who have been in touch to say they are enjoying some of the storylines serialised on my fiction blog. I hope to upload them as e-books later this year or early next:

I have even had positive feedback from several straight readers who are enjoying the gay storylines. Wow, that’s nice!


Whatever happened to the fairy tale?  On the one hand, an endangered species, while on the other hand...

Could it be that the metaphor of fairy tale has finally shrugged off its magic cloak for an even darker reality? Oh, for a return to the world of fairy tale and happy-ever-after endings...! [Whatever happened to those?}


Forests, a kaleidoscope
of colour, patterns ever changing
even as we look, like pages
in a child’s book bringing fairytales
to life for us

Six swans, six brothers,
winging spring skies, seeking an end
to enchantment but must wait
until their sister, like us, finds a way
to make the change

Knights in armour, wielding
swords that spark a summer sunshine;
rose petals dripping the blood
of rivals challenged and taken to task
for the sake of winning

Snow White in a glass coffin,
no hope of resurrection, the wicked
witch has won? Our turn to woo
the mirror now, autumn skies exposing
a festering of wounds

Dragons, breathing fire
that would kill off the trees to please
property developers who
have no time for fairy tales - or
the likes of us

Latter-day knights, wielding
words that spark a wintry sunshine,
robins dripping the blood
of rivals arguing over the last prize left
to us (a glacier coffin?)

Copyright R. N. Taber  2007

[Note: This poem has been slightly revised/updated from the original as it appears in  Accomplices to Illusion by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2007; 2nd (revised) e-ed. in preparation.]

Sunday, 1 July 2012

A Seaside Calendar

I spent another lovely day in Brighton, Sussex (UK) recently. I love it there and always enjoy time spent at the seaside. 

I have read poems ‘on location’ in Brighton for You Tube that some of you might enjoy although don’t expect the quality of the videos to be up to BBC standards; just follow the link and click on ‘videos’ to browse and view any that might interest you. (I read different poems on each Brighton video):

Meanwhile, as a song goes with which UK readers especially will be familiar, Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside...
{Photo: Pendower, Conwall, taken from the Internet.]


Laughter, freed on summer-scented air
bursts on jaunty wing;
glad eyes shine the dipping gull,
excite twin waves – returns
excelling. Sun on sand.
Oh world, on hand
to greet me

Joy but hushed, the autumn year
devours the sky;
sad eyes shape the dipping gull,
endure each wave – returns
excelling. Sun on sand.
Oh world, on hand
to greet me

Hopes reviewed, wintry ways
break their silence;
bright eyes applaud a solitary bird,
brave each wave – returns
excelling. Sun on sand.
Oh world,on hand
to greet me

Comings, goings, to’ings, fro’ings
in playful flight!
Wide eyes consume a mating pair,
glide twin waves – returns
excelling. Sun on sand.
Oh world, on hand
to greet me

Copyright R. N. Taber 2001; 2012

[Note: This poems has been slightly revised from an earlier version that appears in 1st eds. of  Love and Human Remains by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2001; 2nd (revised) e-edition in preparation.]