Monday, 31 January 2011

When

When I'm feeling small,
When I'm sad,
Walking just inches tall
Through the wasted time I've had;

When I'm feeling down,
When I'm alone,
With no friend around, 
To make this place feel home;

When I'm feeling low,
When I'm hurt,
My body hating so,
And feeling numb, inert;

When I'm crying,
Drowning in my tears,
My will to live is dying,
Stifled by my fears;

When I'm screaming
To the heartless night out there.
Afraid that I'll start dreaming
But the dark brings another nightmare; 

That's the time I need you, dear,
To make me reach up high.
That's the time I want you, dear, 
To help me to find blue sky;

That's the time I long for you, dear,
To cast away my fear;
That's the time I love you, dear,
Forever I'll love you, dear. 

 

27 September 1971 The first line of a Simon & Garfunkel track inspired this

 

Saturday, 29 January 2011

The Sun, The Waves And Other Things

Soft blue wavelets
Gleam shrilly in sunlight
Flashing gently
In pinpoints of beauty
Cascading in harmony.
A cool splash of water
Comforts hard rock and
That stubborn silhouette,
Shielded in shadow,
Will soon melt and then smile
At the blue sky above.
Waves break over sand
In snowy white laughter,
Caressing so carefully,
Teasing tumbling pebbles
Which roll in pursuit to
Float freely in the blue,
Dancing weightless on the surface.
There's a seagull over there
Walking on the water,
Happy to be
Part of life's natural splendour.

 

3 May 1971 Kilrenny beach 

Friday, 28 January 2011

Seagull

How incredibly absurd
Most people say
To talk to a bird
Throughout the day.

I talk to a seagull
And he talks to me
Which makes me cheerful
And we seem to agree.

We get along fine
Just talking of friends
Whilst all the time
A concerned ear he lends.

We sort out ourselves,
The the world we debate
Then file onto shelves
To get things straight.

He flies through the sky
Finding somewhere to land,
Starts wondering why
People don't understand.

Free to think up there
And sort out his mind
About why some people care
But most are unkind. 

The next time you see him
Smile and say hello
But don't try to catch him
Or to the clouds he'll go.

Surrounded by cloud again,
The quietest place -
His very own fast lane -
Safe from your gaze.

Where he has the sun
Shining so bright
And he's free, the only one
Who can really see the light.

5 April 1971 Kilrenny beach

 

 

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

It Is

It's nice to be sure
That when you leave for a while
You will soon long for
That welcome home smile.
It's good to realise
Whether near or far
There'll be those deep brown eyes
Wherever you are,
And feel happy to entrust
All that you own
When you really must
Be left all alone.
It's cheering to be sad
Just for an hour,
Putting pen to a pad
And draw a red flower.
It's beautiful to know
You're being followed around
Wherever you go
Yet not hear a sound.
It must be beautiful
To be
Beautiful. 

 

30 March 1971

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Milk Float

A little milk float is standing
Just over there.
It looks happy, proudly bearing
Its daily burden.
An old lady is talking to it.
She's smiling.
She lightens its load
Slightly.
The little milk float is moving
A little further along ...
Just over there.

 

30 March 1971

 

Monday, 24 January 2011

Rabbit

When the sun shines in a clear blue sky
It just isn't the time to sit down and cry;
Tears for love or distance, so think and hope
Under blue above, to dance, then elope
With day dreams and summer's warmth and beauty,
Away from ties, trains, people and duty.
Run, skip or jump in a field with some lambs,
Watched in wonder by ewes and rams.
Invite them to join you, then climb some trees;
They'll refuse and scorn you, but do as you please.
Tumble and fall off a branch to the ground,
Smile then laugh at life, now scattered around.
Reassure the rabbit - leave Alice to chase
A white rabbit vanishing into the haze -
The haze of your very own Wonderland
Now losing reality without her hand.

You must wake up and see her before the red queen advances
So near that you'll forever sleep amongst chess board trances.
Mushrooms are blocking your path to humanity
'Behead!' is the order, screamed by insanity;
The sunlit warmth is now a cold steel glint
And the countryside assumes a blood-stained tint,
The lambs are enormous, their teeth are bared,
Frighteningly different from those whose joy you shared.
In fear you run, stumbling, lost in the grass,
Then suddenly halted by a wall of glass.
You sit down in despair, wondering if you matter at all -
And that very thought seems to shatter the wall.
Step through and adorn shirt, tie and collar,
Clasp that briefcase and rolled-up umbrella.
Jump on a bus and go for a ride.
Look out the window -
It's raining outside. 

 

30 March 1971

 

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Mirror, Mirror ... Who?

I drove away from the road
And climbed into the back seat.
I lit a cigarette and watched
The smoke curling round.
I looked in the mirror
And saw a face; it smiled, querulously. 
I smiled back.
"Is it I?" I asked,
"Encased in that two-dimensional world of yours?"
"Yes," the mirror replied
"Since I am you."
"But you only show a picture," said I. 
"Yes," the mirror replied
"Since you are but a picture."
"I am more than that," I hoped.
"Yes," the mirror confirmed,
"Since you think that you are."
"But other people think that too," I remarked.
"Yes," the mirror repeated,
"Since there are no other people."
"There are no other people?" I repeated.
 "Yes," the mirror repeated,
"Since I see no other people,
And I am you." 
"Thus I am you?" I repeated, reversedly,
Wonderingly.

 

30 March 1971 The first of a whole batch of writing I did sitting in 'The Cardinal', my 1957 Wolseley 1500, parked in The Booksellers' Retreat, Kings Langley at the end of my second term at St Andrews University.

Friday, 21 January 2011

ISITANDTHINK or just ISIT?

It's not easy to say
That you love someone else.
I said it today...
It's true, not false.
It's not easy to watch
A shiny tear fall
From one you loved much
And would once give all.
It's not easy to hope
That she'll understand,
And be able to cope
Without your hand.
It's not easy to see
Into two tender eyes
And convince her that she
Will soon realise...
...And very soon know
That while I'm away
Three into two do go -

At least, that's what I say.

It's not easy to mean
'I love you'
When it's easily seen
I love her too.
At least that's what I say.
And it's not easy.
It's not easy
To love. 

3 January 1971 

Thursday, 20 January 2011

I Smiled

I smiled today
At a baby
Who didn't understand.
I grinned today
When a child
Didn't understand.
I laughed today
At a youth
Who didn't understand.
I cried today
When a man
Wouldn't understand.

28 May 1970

 

 

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Chase

I'm being chased by the world
Across the universe
By glass people.
Senseless and dumb.
Press a button, flick a switch,
And they'll work for you,
Speak for you, hear for you;
But they can't feel for you:
There's no trigger in the mind
Of a gun that shoots the heart,
And wounds you, kills you.
Then you're a dead person,
No longer being chased by the world,
No longer being hurt by the world.

The gun's been fired
Too many times
By too many people,
Already dead, killed by the world
In the chase.

Catch me if you can. 

 

27 May 1970

Break even

Gold
Is what you find
When you lose your heart
Then get high again.
Gold,
Just enough to pay
For the trip.

 


 

High -
ho! -
Silver!! -
Lining. 

 


 

The root of all evil
Is beneath the
Tree of Knowledge 

 

May 1970 Three little notes when things seemed good but weren't really after all.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Sentient being

I can see
I can hear
I can touch
I can speak
I can feel
And it hurts. 

 

May 1970

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Perhaps 2

Perhaps one day
One girl will talk
To one boy
Who's not just looking on
But listening.

I drove home that night
Faster than ever,
I felt like shouting out
"At last we're together!"

The air was warm
But I was shivering'
I felt so good
I couldn't stop quivering.

I didn't need to dream at all,
Just lay awake for hours,
Clinging to the wonderful -
'Perhaps one day' was ours. 

A dream that came real
Of love that was real
Creating a smile
And a glint in the eyes.
Something now that I'll
Not want to disguise.

Morning came soon,
But could not bring me down
From a cloud of reality
That just would not frown. 

 

April 1970 See Perhaps a while ago.

 

Wild white wilderness

A robin's red breast stands out in the snow.
At this time of year even he has no foe,
Except, that is, the cold wind and frost
Devouring so harshly precious breadcrumbs he's lost
In a wild white wilderness that chills all men.
Yes, Christmas time is here again.

 

December 1969

 

Saturday, 15 January 2011

I am black

My ears are deaf
To people's words,
My eyes are blind
To their curious gaze,
My mouth is dumb
But replies silently,
My mind is dead -
Slaughtered by hate,
My limbs are broken -
Just parts of my body -
Buried in a black coffin of skin
Six foot above the ground.

 

December 1969 [It's just occurred to me that I hadn't ever seen a black person then, except in a newspaper or on tv.]

Friday, 14 January 2011

And silence.

Awoken by some instinctive alarm
You get up out of bed
And yawn.
You grab a pair of grey flannel trousers
Wander into the bathroom
And wash. 
Swing a tie round your neck,
Drop in at the breakfast table
And eat.
Complain about having to go to school,
Wrap up and rush to the bus-stop
And wait.
Watch two yellow spots grow larger
And two red ones grow smaller
And go home again. 
Climb out of father's car at school
Turn up in the formroom
And talk.
Get hustled over into an abbey.
Mumble about Maths prep
And sing.
Sing silent anthems
To one who wears a veil
Even to fervent believers.
Between verses -
A silent question,
A silent reply,
And silence.

Probably 1968 - St Albans School days

 

Empty

Just sitting here, looking
Out of the window
At the blue sky
And the sun so low; 
Just sitting here, thinking
Of how happy I am:
I haven't a care,
I don't give a damn; 
Just sitting here, dreaming
Of life's reality:
Violence, pain,
Apartheid, inequality;
Just sitting here, bleeding
From wounds to my mind
Caused by others' words,
Harsh and unkind;
Just sitting here, wondering
Why
I'm just sitting here, blind.

 

December 1969 Not at all sure where this came from! [Nor the next one coming tomorrow! ]

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

When I'm 72

In the year 2024
I am going to die.
Because I'm Mr Average.
I have already lived
One quarter of my life
And have only just started living.
Every day that passes
Brings me nearer to my grave.
If I save a penny
For every day of my life
I will have only
Eighty one pounds -
Not even enough
To change my name. 

November 1969 Presumably this arose from the Zager & Evans No.1 and a Beatles' track. The calculation is right, £1 = 240d then!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Umbrella

The wind has blown his umbella
Inside out.
What a pity.
That's what life is all about
In the rain
In the city.

November 1969 London commuters on my mind this month but no idea why as it was a year before I would become one.

Bowler Hat Blues

He wakes up.
He gets up with difficulty.
He quickly swallows
A cup of tea
With two sugars and not too much milk.
He catches the 8:17 to Euston
And arrives on time.
He's dead. Dead to a dead world
Of dead on time people,
Thriving on punctuality sandwiches.

The train was late today.
There was an accident near the station.
Some stupid young chap
Threw himself under the train.
Now he's dead. Dead to a dead world
In which to dying for life
Seems better than living to die.

November 1969 

Monday, 10 January 2011

Beautiful, just beautiful

When the pale moon grows bright
And the silhouetted trees
Move on the horizon
In a cool night's breeze,
And a hand in your hand
Holds you warmly,
And lips on your lips
Speak without words,
You realise that
No longer are you standing alone
But floating together on clouds
With your mind in the sky,
Dancing to Venus' tune.

October 1969 Fond memories of Abbots Road, Abbots Langley.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Good Boy

One of these days
I'll jump on a bus
And take a free ride
And go bathing
When it's high tide.
One of these days
I'll throw stones at police
Carry a banner
Demonstrate for peace.
One of these days
A new day will dawn
That'll be the day
That I'll be no longer torn
Between what I should
And shouldn't do.
It's hard being good
And being myself too. 

October 1969

Saturday, 8 January 2011

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen ...

I awoke that morning
To the smell of bacon
And trudged downstairs.
'Hello," I said, as
I sat down
At a bare table.
A joyful shouting drifted
Through the wall with
That smell of bacon.
I tore at a crust.
'Happy Christmas,' I said .

December 1968


 

Friday, 7 January 2011

Immortal Fear

The coldness of the grey stone wall behind you,
That dampness that mingles with the sweat on your hands.
The sight of the lamb that escaped the culler's blade
Only to meet a fate far worse 
That, thank God, her tiny mind never understood.

The wind cries as it rushes through
The paneless windows
In search of shelter that doesn't exist.

The bitter taste of the crisp air
That will forever haunt your lips
As does that of a death that you once deferred
And now long for. 

January 1969? Where did this very dark stuff came from? Possibly Vietnam TV coverage.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Perhaps

Every morning
At the same bus-stop
At the same time
The same girl
With the same boy.

Another looks on,
Yet another talks
To the one looking on
Who's not listening.

One girl, three boys.
One talks, one looks
And the other talks
To the one looking on
Who's not listening.

The same bus arrives.
Now one girl, two boys -
One looks, one talks
To the one looking on
Who's not listening.

Perhaps one day,
One girl will talk
To one boy
Who's not just looking on,
But listening.

March 1968 Waiting for the 322 bus from Abbots Langley to Hemel. Carole Young in the queue.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The Fool On The Hill

Bulging eyes stare,
Fingers search abysses
Of toothless mouths.
Middle-aged women
With the voices
Of 90-year-old men
Pick their noses
And play hide and seek.

Then someone shrieks.
Someone else laughs,
The first falls,
The second runs.
Men flood in
And, one at a time,
Tear at the body.

Later, satisfied and bloody,
They fall to the ground,
Fast asleep,
With yellow grins
On mellow faces
Of 6 year-olds.

They won't sleep for long,
No-one ever does.
They can't.
There's always someone -
Laughing, grinning, mocking
at the man in the house
At the top of the hill.

He's frightened to come down, they say.
He's built a wall
So that he can't get out, they say.
He plays music
So that they can't hear him, they say.

He has windows
So that he can see them coming, they say.
He's different - queer, weird.
He has weird, queer things
And he grows
Things
Behind the wall.
They say. They say say say.

He looks wrong:
He has two legs
Two arms
Two feet
Fingers
On both hands
And other things
Other things
They say.

Yes, there's always someone
Laughing, grinning, mocking
At the
Fool
On the hill.

January 1968 Influenced by The Beatles' track of the same name on their newly released Magical Mystery Tour EP

It's a free world?

No law was broken
No advantage taken
No offence committed
Except one, admitted,
Improving the bank balance
With too many advertisements.

But their freedom was curbed
and although quite absurd
They were forced off the air
By men with white hair
And oaken walking sticks.

So now on two sixty-six
Just a fuzz of air -
No there's nothing there.
Now's there's just two four seven,
And that stops at eleven!

In protest at the curbed freedom of Radio London - thus disbanded 15 august 1967

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Psychedelia


Purple
Deep Purple
Deeper purple
Dark purple
Darker purple
Darkness
Blackness
Black clouds
Velvet shrouds
No feeling
Ceiling reeling
Vision and hearing
Light that's searing
To a brain
But no pain
Don't blink
Don't think
Just realise
That your eyes
See. see lights
That your ears
Hear. Hear sounds
Sight and sound
Exist for a second
Every other second.

Heavy rock playing at a disco. August 1967

Nothing

Swirling patterns,
Black discs revolving,
Grooves spiralling
Never endingly
Towards a centre
That doesn't exist.

Velvet blackness
Unable to darken
The room completely
For flashing patterns
Of discordant colours
That don't exist.

People moving
To an individual sound
They only can hear;
No reason, no feeling,
Just grooving around,
No love, no fear -
They don't exist.

August 1967 about people on drugs at a disco

Monday, 3 January 2011

Another World

A cool breeze
Wafts through fields
Green, gold and brown.
What he sees
The country yields
To the tourist from town.

They can't realise
The pace of life
Is slowed right down,
Nor why those eyes
Are focussed on the wife
Of the tourist from town.

Every tensed muscle
Relaxed in the green
And, oh, what a pity
That amid all the bustle
Only grey can be seen
By men in the city.

A country lane
Twisted to a sign
Where two tracks parted.
He turned to the right
Then came back again
To the very same sign
Back where he started.

Yes, those fields of green
That form our countryside,
Where pastel colours flow unfurled,
Are by many people seen
Not as a place to abide -
But quite another world.

You Cannot Conquer Time

The rocket was prepared,
Everything was polished,
Everything was streamlined
To the last rivet head
Or menacing tail fin.

Just climbing into the cockpit
Was the gallant Professor.
According to his theories
If one travels round the earth
At twice the speed the earth
Is revolving, then after two days
One will be precisely two days
Ahead of Earth time.

Those who couldn't understand,
Those who wouldn't understand,
Those who dare not understand
Had told him
"You cannot conquer time."

The countdown began:
10 - 9 - 8 - 7
6 - 5 - 4
3 - 2- 1
Zero!
With a fiery blast of red and yellow
Followed by a thunderous roar,
As if Nature herself were rebelling,
The rock took off.
The Professor set out on Tuesday
On his journey
To conquer time.

He was alone up there,
Haunted by the ghostly stars
In the silent blackness
And by his thoughts -
Other people's warnings -
"You cannot conquer time."
Echoing round the round room.

Soon people began to realise
That if the professor landed
Two days ahead of them
They would never see him,
never catch up with him.
His prize for conquering time
Would be to be alone in their future.

On Thursday people said
They saw a shooting star.
However upon examination,
A round cockpit was revealed,
Encasing a shrivelled burnt body.

The Professor had avoided the sentence
But couldn't
Or, perhaps, dared not
Conquer time.

Time Span

I wandered
Across the hard, monotonous, concrete yard,
Past two modern, indifferent houses
And past their immaculate, boring gardens
Coloured, not by blossoming flowers' colours,
But by litter, or children's toys, new,
But unnoticed while newer ones were free;
Through a gate painted a conspicuous green.
Perhaps, three years ago it would have blended
Into a background of green trees and meadows.
Now only a noisy butcher's van
And the occasional drainpipe were green.
Then I came to a bridge -
Not modern and angled
But old, very old, and delicately blessed with moss
Whose gentle curve was just slightly slippery enough
To catch unawares the well-dressed young man
Who, in a hurry, had chanced the short-cut
Through the uncivilised to civilisation.
Here I stopped, but my thoughts wandered on...

My thoughts wandered
Across a muddy, ever water-logged field,
Past the ancient ruin of an ancient house, waiting,
Waiting to be put out of its agony,
And past its overgrown, yet still bright gardens,
On whose tangled growth no litter dared alight,
Through a gate, broken down yet still a gate -
It kept foes out but let friends in.
Everything was brown or green or shades of these.
Then no man had dared spoil Nature's d├ęcor,
Only Nature herself,
Who had made the sky and waters blue.

Then suddenly a new colour had pervaded the scene -
When the sky turned grey
And the waters turned grey,
Bright yellow streaks shot through the sky,
Straight and angled, fast and fierce,
Followed by a noise that rumbled and terrified.
Perhaps Nature had seen into the future
And predicted, only too truly, to man
The angled shapes,
The bright lights,
The noise.
Life,
That was to come,
And to stay.

A Day In The Life

A boy woke to the patter
Of rain on the window
But that didn't matter -
He was already feeling low.

He got up out of bed,
"What a terrible day,"
Was all that he said,
But his thoughts were of  another day.

Such a day - he'd never forget
When he went for a walk...
The pretty girl he met...
When they started to talk...

It all came out. He'd seen her before
And felt she was the one.
Their hours couldn't be more
Filled with laughter and fun.

Hand in hand they strolled.
Together through the town
Neither really very old,
She in blue, he in brown.

Both about fourteen
And perfectly content.
Age. What does it mean?
What had it meant?

That day was timeless
Or so it was seeming
That first caress -
Surely he was dreaming?
But it was real
And it was true
But they knew and could feel
That the day would soon be through.

They soon decided
That they would meet again.
Let their age be derided
They felt no shame.

Yes a perfect day
That seemed to stop time.
They could have stayed all day
And lain in the sunshine.

The sun was just sinking
Later behind a night cloud,
Alone the boy was thinking
How to dispose of the shroud
Of disgusted glances
That were shot at the pair,
The shroud that enhances
And hangs in the air.

Why can't those who've lived long
Try to understand
That there's nothing wrong
In holding a girl's hand?
Why this segregation
Of teens from adults?
Forcing separation
Like two different cults.

Yesterday was fun -
My spirits were high,
And happy I'd become -
Yes that boy was I.

I had often dreamed
Of that special day -
A day that seemed
To, come what may,
Dispel everything bad
Or, rather, just delay
All that was sad
Until today.

May 1967 About the first time I actually went out with a girl called Gillian Hawkins in Hemel Hempstead.

Boxes in the garage

I've just found some boxes in a garage. Inside there are all sorts of things that I thought I'd lost years ago. The things I'm especially pleased to have found are poems, school homework and drawings from the 1960s and 70s, with another pile from the early 1980s.

There are hundreds of bits and pieces and this is me starting to publish them all, well, most of them. It's going to take ages but brings back so many memories that I get completely lost in the past, remembering how happy, mischievous, sad, in love, angry, frustrated, confused I must have been in my teenage years and, indeed, later years too by the seems of things!

I hope readers will enjoy some of these too.