Monday, 27 January 2014

Nobody Listens to Ghosts


Now, readers get in touch from time to time to pour scorn on my ‘preoccupation’ with ghosts while others endorse an affinity with the past and its subsequent influences on present and future behaviour (for better or worse) both from a personal and global point of view.

I believe we are all subject to a posthumous consciousness to which we can choose to pay attention or ignore, feel inspired by past achievements (including any bookmarked ‘failure’) or simply confirm our worst suspicions.

Whatever, let the inner ear and eye have its way, and any of us may well identify a ghost at his or her shoulder urging we listen and learn…

NOBODY LISTENS TO GHOSTS

Stranger
on a garden fence, watching
flowers growing,
can’t decide on the best
for the picking
and taking home, then cocks
an ear to a passing ghost,
pleading, for all our sakes, leave them
alone

Teacher
at a local school desk, watching
children growing,
can’t decide on the best
candidates for success
(perhaps even fame) then cocks
an ear to a passing ghost
pleading, for all our sakes, treat them
the same

Cleric
on a classic high horse, watching
everyone listening,
can’t decide on the most
likely to want grooming
for paradise, then cocks an ear
to a passing ghost
pleading, for all our sakes, leave them
a choice

Politician
on a popular soap box, watching
audience reaction,
can’t decide on the best
cues for winning
an election, then cocks an ear
to a passing ghost
pleading, for all our sakes, talk down
speculation

Ghosts
on passing storm clouds, watching
a world in chaos,
unable to agree on the best
strategy for achieving
lasting peace, turning cloth ears
to its children
pleading, for all our sakes, come good
for us

Copyright R. N. Taber 2014

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Rhetoric of Peace, Politics of Blame


It has to be one of human nature’s greater ironies that it invariably deflects the greater blame for its worst tragedies away from itself.

It is called politics.

It is probably fair to say, though, that most if not all of us are no less guilty sometimes than those who tread the Corridors of Power.

RHETORIC OF PEACE, POLITICS OF BLAME

Last seen standing on the edge of war,
strutting bravery, dreaming of glory,
no conception of carnage gone before,
rewriting, in blood, a nation’s story

Heads high, content to answer duty’s call,
faith let fly in the wind, its flags unfurled,
no one suspecting how many might fall,
prayers unanswered around the world

Victory (as ever) fell on time’s sword,
eleventh hour, day, month, 1918;
no action-replay, we gave them our word,
only to break it again and again…

Rhetoric of peace, about making excuses
for blame games gambling all our futures

Copyright R. N. Taber 2007; 2016

[Note: Revised (2016) version of a poem that  appears under the title The Rhetoric of Blame in 1st eds. of  Accomplices to Illusion, by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2007; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Weeping Ozone, Changing World


It is GOOD that (at last!) the world is starting to take climate change seriously, and accepting some responsibility for it. Even so, I can’t help thinking it is too little too late…especially as humankind is, on the whole, inclined to put its immediate needs first; immediate, but often (well) above and beyond the basics. Food, shelter and affordable housing are constantly put at risk by corporate greed funded by the wealthy intent upon getting wealthier and supported by the kind of back-door politics at which so many politicians excel.

There are, of course, a lot of good people out there if outnumbered by the bad. (The expression, 'the smile on the face of a tiger' springs to mind…)

It will be down to future generations to make the best (or worst, as the case may be) of the mess we have made and  continue to make of our planet with whatever resources available and, hopefully, a generous dose of sound common sense.

Whatever happened to priorities? It is bad enough that many people continue to bury their heads in the sand and pretend global warming is a fiction. How a significant number of those same people can continue to rage against gay relationships, for example, while playing down if not ignoring what has to be one of the greatest threats to the human race we will ever face is beyond my comprehension.

WEEPING OZONE, CHANGING WORLD

Terror in the sky, likely to bring
about the destruction of our planet;
rivers run dry, poisoned plants,
beasts of the wild starved of a will
to live, birds of the air unable 
to take wing, too weak to sing even;
fishes in the sea, last to survive
nature’s very own Armageddon,
no end of tears in the ozone

Fear enough to melt glaciers, 
seed mountains, valleys, urban oases 
of wishful thinking among
fortune hunters quick to seize the day, 
make a killing for profit (or kicks) 
in human as well as animal trade-offs,
heartsleeves of the best cloth, 
faux promises dead in the water, 
potential eulogy for humanity

Panic in forests stripped of trees
meant to protect us in streets where
androids forced to their knees 
by silicon gods compete to be first 
to clone eternity, any semblance
of morality but vainglorious sterility 
glossing over forsworn obligations 
to generations left rummaging nature 
for crumbs of survival

To the earth, a relentless rush of pain
its peoples shrug off as acid rain

Copyright R. N. Taber 2014; 2015 

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears in 1st eds. of The Third Eye: poems by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2004 under the title 'Under Threat'; revised ed. in e-format in preparation]

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Object of Obscure Desire OR Scapegoat...?


Now, I have to confess to occasional mood swings since I began my hormone therapy treatment for prostate cancer. Fortunately, my closest friends are very patient with me and are very supportive.

Funny, isn’t it, about some people? Family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues...Some rally round in a crisis and others run a mile. Not everyone appreciates that love, friendship or just being a good colleague involves teamwork even or perhaps especially when the team comprises of only two. 

Some people are not into a give-and-take scenario. They see something in someone they want and feel entitled - if only by association - to take, take, and take again. They have discovered an offload Channel, but not a two-way one. (Reciprocity is not in their vocabulary.) When it comes to giving something back, they don’t want to know since any relationship has to be on their terms or not at all. For the most part, they are not nasty people in the least (just being human?) and can be good company when life is running smoothly, but are too self-centred and self-absorbed to be anything but takers; being a giver requires too much effort, imposes on their personal space and makes unfair demands on their time. What we see is far less than what we get. (I remember thinking that once on a school visit to a waxworks museum.)

Meanwhile...

Reason not the need,’ cries King Lear in what is considered by many (including me) to be the greatest of Shakespeare’s plays.

It is true that need sets itself above reason in the sense that human nature rarely answers to logic. So when a follower of logic puts to a follower of religion, that he or she might explain what they mean by God, any reply is more likely to pertain to a personal  need than anything reason can attempt to rationalize. Oh, there will be references made to Holy Books and the usual get-out clause about Faith having less to do with reason than trust and/or divine inspiration, but that doesn’t really answer the question. 

As regular readers will know, it has long been my personal belief that religion has far more to do with a person’s need to believe in God than the existence of God as anything other than a metaphorical force behind all that is good in the world as opposed to all that is bad. That isn't to say, I don’t respect that need,. I do. Moreover, I can relate to it far more than I can relate to any personified God. I respect all Faiths, too, but can neither enter into any nor would want to because, for me, Belief is not enough. I need to ask questions and keep on asking questions until any answers I may find begin to make some kind of sense rather like pieces in a jigsaw.

You, me, us…we are all parts of the same jigsaw.

If a sense of spirituality inspires me to ask questions, I take it from nature, my mentor in such matters even in childhood where religion offered me nothing no matter what I was told to the contrary or how hard I looked.

This poem is a kenning.

OBJECT OF OBSCURE DESIRE or SCAPEGOAT...?

I am the curator
of a waxworks museum
down your way
where people come to see
whatever it is they need
to see, smell, do a double-take
or relate or turn a travesty 
of humanity’s shortcomings
to their advantage

I am that object
of obscure desire haunting
darkest hours,
inspiring orgasm sublime
just for playing time
at its own game, letting its tides
take the blame,
any old scapegoat will do  
for its shortcomings

I am the creator
of that waxworks museum
down your way,
threatened by all creativity’s
burning desire
to expose this or that travesty
of humanity,
as good a scapegoat as any
for our shortcomings

Some call me God in Heaven,
who need me to fall back on

Copyright R. N. Taber 2011


Monday, 20 January 2014

Outlook Unsettled OR Potential for Survival


Today’s poem was written in 2,000; it first appeared in an anthology, Feelings of Solitude, Poetry Today [Forward Press] 2001, and subsequently in my second collection the following year under the title, 'Outlook, Changeable'.

I suspect we’ve all been there (especially in winter); feeling low, yet slowly but surely feeling better and determined to survive.  If the world’s flora and fauna had feelings (and who’s to say they don’t?)  I dare say they would feel much the same given that so many species are all but extinct and natural habitats being destroyed.

Has there ever been a louder call among ordinary men and women in the world’s highways and by-ways for positive thinking and common sense to share its Centre-stage? 

Oh, and let’s not forget the children. Children, too, deserve a voice. After all, it is they who will be expected to deal with the final fall-out from a succession of leading socio-cultural-religious-political players on the world stage all crying ‘Foul!’ Any show of teamwork  - and there is plenty in evidence - is likely to be undermined by trouble makers (invariably groomed to believe they have right on their side by those more interested in power) if only because they are inclined to shout the loudest and thereby grab most if not all the attention.  

It is my belief that the natural world will survive whatever humankind in its preoccupation with one-upmanship throws at it or takes from it, but at what cost? If G8 summit rhetoric and the like is anything to go by, that is in the hands of those more concerned with staging a play (invariably with their own agenda in mind) than the play itself.

Now, there’s food for thought enough to make anyone feel as if he or she is on their own and up against it.

After even the worst winter, there is always spring. Well, that is provided we give spring a chance....
  
OUTLOOK UNSETTLED or POTENTIAL FOR SURVIVAL

Smoky old town,
draped in a pretty, oily twilight
during a winter rain

Among glistening spires,
a tolling bell openly conspiring
to wake the dead

Memories blur in each
woolly head desperately seeking
clarity of sorts

Gay kisses, easy target
for poison darts, snipers in a badly
junked-up bloodstream

Heavy air, dragging
on bony feet like fear scared stiff
of its own shadow

Latest storm, all but passed;
nature, keen to prove its capacity
for revival

World, counting the cost
of reassessing its laurels, the better
to credit our survival

Copyright R. N. Taber 2002; 2012

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears under the title 'Outlook Changeable' in 1st eds. of First Person Plural by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2002; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Keeping Faith with Love OR A Healing Within


When a loved one dies, we need to give grief a chance, allow love a healing process of sorts so that its wounds can be tended rather than be left to congeal and possibly leave the body physically as well as emotionally damaged for the duration.

Love must be allowed to run the gamut of regret, anger, bitterness, disillusionment, even guilt so that it can emerge from the long, dark tunnel of loss refreshed and strengthened. There will be scars, of course, yet we should let grief clean them with our tears so they, too, are not left weeping, but become landmarks of love to guide us through the time we must spend without the loved one, help us see that where a door closes on our lives, a window really will open for us if we’ll only it.

I have seen people spend the rest of their lives behind that closed door, rarely letting anyone in; for those of us permitted even limited access, it is painful to witness what is essentially a process of disintegration.

We can keep faith with love, and still move on if only because our loved ones would have it no other way. Besides, love’s place is among the living; only there can it thrive and preserve its losses.

This poem is a kenning.

KEEPING FAITH WITH LOVE or A HEALING WITHIN

I bend like a flower in a cruel wind,
sing sad songs learned from the trees,
sink to my knees among shadows
like monks in shabby cowls kneeling
in prayer urging me to do the same,
but I cannot pray for the only feeling
left in me is a pain that is all my own,
yet there is another as much to blame
for leaving me here alone, so alone

I prostrate myself at the altar of Time
that sees all, spares nothing and no one,
cold within the folds of winter’s dark,
angry at the cheerful song of a skylark
circling above, predisposed to celebrate
the natural world, precious little thought
for the fragile nature of a human heart,
broken, as mine, into insignificant pieces
no one will spare a second glance

What would you have me do, skylark,
get up and dance? How dare you deny me
this moment of cut-throat bliss that is
(they say) but the other side of happiness?
Leave me! Let your sweet song beguile
ears anxious to hear, not mine, closed now
to cheery sounds and smells of summer
where autumn has shed its tears and long,
lonely winter days sure to last for years

Yet, I am Grief. Once rested, a kind breeze
through time, keeper of its pain and peace

Copyright R. N. Taber 2009


Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Peacemakers


We all need others to help us ease the burdens we carry just as they, in turn, need us. So it has always been and will always be…

Just as we may well find inspiration, comfort, hope…whatever… in words and achievements we find in select pages of history so, too, we should bear in mind that we all become history with each passing moment and what we say or do, great or small, may yet encourage (or discourage) those who come after us to work through any of life’s bad times into its better, kinder ways…

 THE PEACEMAKERS

In the rain, acid rain, find them there,
easing the burden of our despair

Let the world roll out its history,
consigning us to memory,
clouds forbid even Apollo to weep;
in my dark, your light I’ll keep
though the flesh little more can stand
yet rejecting Death’s hand,
lessons of history vowing to learn
treading muddy graveyards but softly,
ever wary of disturbing dreams

In the rain, acid rain, find them there,
easing the burden of our despair

Though the world blast into infinity,
find its many life-forms designed
to endure, nurtured by Apollo’s heat
and Earth Mother’s gentler tears
upon its vast, sprawling killing fields
trusting that the  Children of Time
shall rise above to make love not war,
do their best to reassure restless ghosts
fearful of dying all over again

In the rain, acid rain, find us still here,
easing the burden of global despair


Copyright R. N. Taber 2013

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Misty Memories OR Inner Eye, Open All Hours


This poem first appeared in Poetry Monthly magazine (April 2007) and subsequently in my collection the same year. It was written with a friend in mind, but also for the many thousands of people diagnosed with dementia and their carers to try and give them some encouragement and help them through the early years of what is a heart-breaking condition

My friend does not know who I am now, but his friends and family know the person who is my friend is still inside the person he has become because every now and then he finds a way - if only fleetingly - through the thickening mists that is dementia to tell us so.


MISTY MEMORIES or INNER EYE, OPEN ALL HOURS

Let love be painting pictures on the heart
for the soul’s grasp forever to retain,
so the mind’s eye, less clear than at the start
and peering through mist, may enjoy again

Though memory’s jigsaw may fall apart,
fitting its pieces, we make wrong choices,
the mind’s ear, if less clear than at the start,
is still listening out, hears love’s voices

Our finer senses, heart and soul shall hone,
if seen to work in mysterious ways,
so Memory, though fair stripped to the bone,
to the inner self stay true all our days

Though love but shadows in a timeless mist,
take heart, all whom its poetry has kissed



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

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Please, Listen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._N._Taber

I am posting two versions of this poem as some readers have said they like to see how and why I revise original poems from time to time. I have yet to decide which version will (eventually) appear in a revised edition; in e-format if I can't interest a mainstream publisher.  In the past, poetry publishers have been unwilling to publish my poetry because I  have always insisted on including gay-interest as well as general poems. I self-published some collections, but these are now out of print; although I did not lose out financially as they sold quite well, nor did any marginal profit justify all the hard work. At 70+ I have no interest in self-publishing again, but keep a record all revisions with the intention of producing new and revised versions, probably in e-format, one of these days. Meanwhile, all revised versions are on my blogs. (I am pleased to say that feedback suggests most are well received by readers.)

Sadly, come of us grow complacent about love and take it for granted while others cannot find the right words to express their feelings and assume the other person is a mind reader. Not a good thing for any relationship.

We should tell people we love them more often or (at the very least) go out of our way to show it while those of us on the receiving end need to respond accordingly, not simply assume all is as it should be in a relationship that may well be in need of some fine tuning.

Yes, it’s good to talk, and it is every bit as important if not more so to listen…


PLEASE, LISTEN

Your head on my shirt,
my heart saying all I long to say
in words it doesn’t know

Can’t you hear? No?
Please, listen, let my heart
tell you so

We were made for one another;
soulmates forever,
sharing life, love, and dreams,
looking out for each other
when hope falls apart at the seams,
passion no smouldering hearth
but electric shards charging the earth
in a summer storm

My heart, it can be heard
singing across earth, sea and sky,
wherever lovers go

Can’t you hear? No?
Please, listen, let my heart
tell you so

Copyright E. N. Taber 2002; 2013

[Note: Revised (2013) from an earlier version of this poem as it appears in 1st eds. of First Person Plural by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2002.

PLEASE, LISTEN

You lay your head
on my shirt, listening to my heart…
Does it tell you…
all the things I always long to say,
but never find the words?
Do you hear…
a love song composed for us
by garden birds?
Don’t you know…
I need you more, far more
than I can show?

No? Then listen, let my heart
tell you so...

We were made
for each another, soulmates forever,
sharing life, love, dreams,
looking out for each other when hope
falls apart at the seams
until it fnds its way to make peace
with troubled dreams,
passion’s heat, no smouldering
hearth, but electric shards
charging the Earth wherever
its winds may blow?

Can’t you hear? No? Then listen,
let my heart tell you so...

Copyright R. N. Taber 2016

[Note: An (earlier version (c2000) recently discovered among old files and slightly revised (2016)]

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Calendar Days

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._N._Taber

Love, like life, has its seasons and, yes, we all know how changeable seasons can be while always making their presence felt. 

Much the same can be said of time. (We only have to look in a mirror to work that one out.)  

Yet, of one thing we can be certain; whatever our colour, creed, sex or sexuality and, yes, age too, spring will always follow winter as sure as sunshine follows rain.

CALENDAR DAYS

When I dream of you, we are in springtime
among high hopes I’ll not forget

When I think of you, it is midsummer,
(that rainy day we first met)

Your kisses linger on my lips, invoke images  
of autumn leaves gently falling

When I hear someone speak your name,
it’s but a winter robin calling

To love, like nature, a splendour all its own,
and we, though parted, never alone


Copyright R. N. Taber 2007; 2013

Monday, 13 January 2014

Love, Getting the Better of its Nemeses


Who cannot, in one way or another, relate to a love poem? 

Personal though they may be for the poet, love poems are (like love) for everyone whatever their colour, creed, sex or sexuality...

Love is not only timeless in the sense that it exists within the human psyche forever in the form of remembrance, it has the capacity for rising above any prejudice or whatever thrown at it for reasons best known to the its nemeses. 
  
LOVE, GETTING THE BETTER OF ITS NEMESES

Spring showers, ever overtaking us 
like hours in a day,
recalling a Once-Upon-A-Time 
we let love have its way

Summer storms, ever overtaking us
like months, years,
since first we dared kiss as lovers 
through bitter-sweet tears

Autumn leaves, pausing as they pass
to write songl lyrics
about lovers the whole world over
disproving cynics and clerics

Dead leaves, drifting past my window,
trees (for now) bare…
signs that even cock robin’s bravado
cannot deny winter is here

Nature, a mirror to our every season;
love, even by time, never overtaken


Copyright R. N. Taber 2009

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Anatomy of a Smile


I have always been an avid reader. Once, when I was very unhappy, my mother tried to coax a smile from me. ‘What is there to smile about?” I snapped irritably.

“Every smile has a happy ending,” she said, and then added with a knowing smile of her own, “but you have to read the whole book to appreciate it.”

It was years before I really understood what she meant.

When someone dies, remembering them can hurt...until you start turning the pages of the book you wrote together and happy memories leap out at you like the best photos in an album to cherish always.


ANATOMY OF A SMILE

There’s a face
at a window I always see
whenever I pass by;
it’s always there,
smiling at me, and I know
the reason why

There’s a face
at a window I always see
if rain makes it blur;
it’s always there,
laughing at me, a rare joy
to remember

There’s a face
at a window I always see,
day and night;
it’s always there,
telling me, for each wrong
there’s a right

There’s a face
at a window I always see
whenever I’m down;
it’s always there,
to lift me, make damn sure
I move on

There’s a window
I always see in smiley faces
passing by;
it’s always there,
reassuring me that our love
will never die

Copyright R. N. Taber 2011


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Sometimes Dawn Is A Long Time Coming


In 2010, a set of unforeseen and unexpected circumstances once forced a close friend of mine to walk the streets of London all night. In my younger days, fate dealt me a similar hand. 

More than once, I have forgotten or lost my keys and been unable to contact friends who either kept my spare keys or would have gladly helped out in such an emergency. At first, I’d panic. In no time, however, I would become philosophical and resolve to make the best of a bad situation. Eventually, though, I confess I’d be past caring.

My friend said he’d felt much the same way. Even so, we agreed that the experience was a learning curve. Moreover, neither of us will ever observe people sleeping rough on park benches (or wherever) during the day, probably having walked the streets all night, in quite the same light again.

Every town and city has its share of homeless people. For my friend and me, it was really no big deal, but for homeless people it is a way of life. What kind of indictment is that on this 21st century of ours? These people need help, encouragement, and incentive to be integrated back into mainstream society albeit, it has to be said, the same society that let them down in the first place...Is it any wonder then that, vulnerable as they are, many are driven to alcoholism and other forms of drug addiction?

This poem is a villanelle.

SOMETIMES DAWN IS A LONG TIME COMING

No wanderer more alone than I,
heartbeat fading fast;
weary streets, indifferent sky

Tears cornered by the inner eye,
defiant to the last;
no wanderer more alone than I

Old Man smiles, asks not why
I look to the past;
weary streets, indifferent sky

Ghosts, anxious to probe and pry,
midsummer night’s die cast;
no wanderer more alone than I

Nature stirs, world reborn, a cry
and dark ghosts dispersed;
weary streets, indifferent sky

Lost and found, the will to try
my best nor fear the worst;
no wanderer more alone than I,
weary streets, indifferent sky

[London: August  2010]

Copyright R. N. Taber 2010

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Casualties of War OR Regrets, In So Many Words...


A number of blog readers have expressed a wish to read some of my poems again, but don’t have access to my collections or time to browse my blogs. For a while, therefore, I have created temporary, historical records on Google Plus with past as well as any current posts, deleting some and adding others on a regular basis so there are never too many poems to browse. The preamble to some posts may well be out of date, of course, but recent feedback suggests it doesn't bother anyone. Besides, readers can always skip preamble and go straight to the poem.:

https://plus.google.com/118347623673930289606/posts

Now, much of human nature is about love and hate, finding peace and making war with ourselves as well as if not more so than with others. 

Among many wounds we inflict upon ourselves - and far too often leave to fester - I suspect that by far the greater are words spoken in anger that can never (quite) be retracted and words of love never spoken at all. More often than not, blame lies with a failure to communicate properly between the parties concerned; ironic, in a twenty-first century where communication has never been easier if also (perhaps for that very reason?) more vulnerable to misunderstandings and/ or misleading assumptions invariably down to expressing ourselves poorly or not at all..

When was the last time you told someone just how much you love and/or forgive them?

This poem is (yes, another) villanelle.

CASUALTIES OF WAR or REGRETS, IN SO MANY WORDS...

So many words unsaid
on this life’s battleground,
comrades left for dead

False hopes seeing red,
warned not to make a sound;
so many words unsaid

Misgivings hastily shed
where love’s tears confound;
comrades left for dead

Truth but to history fed,
as better sought than found;
so many words unsaid

Honest mistakes misled
for hurt pride to compound;
comrades left for dead

Nature by nurture misled
costs peace the upper hand;
so many words unsaid,
comrades left for dead


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


Sunday, 5 January 2014

An Affinity (of sorts) with Winter


Some readers will recognize this poem as I once posted it over the Christmas period as one of my Poems for Christmas. However, I have decided to make several significant changes which I think makes the poem more perennial…like the Heath itself.

The editors of a delightful Hampstead Heath site that includes the original among other poems will be editing accordingly. ('Culture' button.)


I am so fortunate to live within easy walking distance of Hampstead Heath. I love to stroll there in all weathers.  Conscious of walking in the footsteps of giants - Keats, Turner, Dickens…to name but a few - I feel similarly inspired. I cannot compare myself with their talents, but suspect I am filled with much the same sense of love and peace as they for communing with nature in all its shapes and forms. 

Photo: Hampstead Heath in winter

AN AFFINITY (OF SORTS) WITH WINTER

One wintry day,
I strolled on Hampstead Heath,
snow almost ankle deep
in a world whose very life-force
fallen half asleep

A deafening silence
hurt my ears as I made my way
among trees like chandeliers,
ran a gamut of moon shadows
and winter’s tears

Apollo’s footprints
buried among kinder memories,
yet every now and then
I would chance to catch the eye
of a custom snowman

I had started out alone,
but not for long, friendly ghosts
of seasons past anxious
to keep me company, lend hope,
transcend worst fears

Redbreast, too, began
conjuring up images of a lasting
love, comfort, and peace;
songs composed by Earth Mother,
plagiarised by clerics

Mind and spirit so inspired,
every host body welcome to share
(no matter whose or where)
that holds this life’s finer dreams
close and dear

One wintry day
I strolled on Hampstead Heath,
snow almost calf deep
in a world posturing life balance
on the edge of sleep


Copyright R. N. Taber 2013


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Broker for Peace


Let the flame of love die, and civilisation will surely perish. Precious little chance of that (he says with fingers tightly crossed) but should the human heart ever let it die, there are many (me included) that would say its host body, too, is dead. Yet, there are other hosts to human life; mind and spirit host and help form the very nature of who we are, and who's to say they are not as seeds in the wind  once the body rejects them likely to settle elsewhere, even take root and grow into a new Self...?

Fanciful perhaps, to the sceptic, (and believe me, I am one) but we see it in nature all the time, death and rebirth  so why not in human nature also? While I do not subscribe to any religion - of of the chief sources of division in the world - I have to say I have never been able to dismiss altogether the prospect of a natural, posthumous consciousness. 

Now, when people speak of love, romance springs to mind and lovemaking. Yet, love comes in all shapes and forms, to each a unique signature of its own; close friends; pets, favourite places; music to make us feel we love everyone (while it lasts); stories that inspire and remind us that, for all its ups and down, we are in love with life...and if we’re not, we need to do something about it.

This poem is a kenning

BROKER FOR PEACE

I feed the fire that keeps
the light in your eyes burning brightly,
inspires the Sandman
who revisits you nightly till dawn breaks
and it’s Apollo’s turn
to take over the reins of inspiration
seeing us through everyday
frustration and confusion, politics
of disillusion

I am your guide, who needs
no telling which path you should take
through life though
you make one mistake after another,
even lose your true self
among its twists and turns, misleading
signs pointing this way
and that, each promising the fruits
of fulfilment

I am the ghost of lives past
calling from some distant other-world
of its own making
anxious to be heard, reassure us
that life is for living,
each to our own, following feelings
we can’t always explain,
trust the spirit of nature in whose womb
we were born

I am Love, the heart's broker for peace
whatever it takes, nothing less...

Copyright R. N. Taber 2012, 2017

[Note: Both title and last stanza have been revised since this poem first appeared under the title 'The Keeper'in Tracking the Torchbearer by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2012; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]







Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Heart Expects


I wish you all peace and love for 2014 and beyond. In the absence of peace, may love comfort you and see you through to better times.

Oh, and in the (apparent) absence of love…?

Think again, for love isn’t just for lovers. Look harder, and perhaps closer to home….

THE HEART EXPECTS

Old year done and dusted,
a new one begins;
troubles, regrets, even sins
like blades of grass
beneath a layer of snow,
kept by nature from
growing before their time
till spring again...
its bitter-sweet harvest
of expectation, sown
and nurtured with loving care,
only to be found wanting,
an uncertain future left to face,
caught fast between rock
and hard place, confronted
with love v life under
threat of this or that heaven’s
well-honed knife

Laughter lines exposed
for half lies…
a whitening of the hair
as snowflakes
falling on a looking glass,
one for each trouble,
regret, even sin, conspiring
with Earth Mother
to let the grass grow again,
inspired to sing
about love, peace, joy,
and harmony
of sorts among nature’s own,
while confronting
yet another year of irony
heaped upon irony
by an inclusive humanity
deserving better

Copyright R. N. Taber 2008