Poem: Celtic Call

Beck, Barbara, b.c.1927; Pant-y-Goitre Bridge over the River Usk

Rapid runs the river Usk,
Snaking into serpent’s foam,
Divesting self of scaly husk
And pained dragon bone

Swallow well the windswept grass,
Jesting through greenacre jaws,
Pushing through the private pass;
Last eve of earthly laws

Now knight the nape of darkening sky,
The loss of life we leave,
Callous crush of clawing cry
Gives back the green we grieve

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Poem: Memories of Bath

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Among buildings of golden Bath stone,
Broadways and alleyways,
Terraced falls and tiered fountains,
The promise of love lurks as a soul refreshment,
The physical geometry of spiritual enmeshment

With half a stout in me,
Stirring my spirit into a state of whimsy,
It’s easy enough to steer into a labyrinth,
Seduced by the scent of a bookstore’s amaranth

Looking at you between the shelves,
Casting sly-glances over page-gorged tomes,
Wanting to place a bookmark in your brain,
A passage returned to again and again,

Memories haunt me of faded loves,
Swiss women nursing me back to health,
Giggling together like drunken vagabonds,
Pissing in the park below The Crescent

How the wind blew cold then!
Hurtling down streets in icy carriages,
Warming our love in a mahogany haven,
Sharing pints in a booth at The Raven

I loved you then in a manner faultless,
If accepting of its brief terminus,
Never quite an Austen romance,
Dying before I reached The Continent

And if I’d been to Berlin, what then?
Would my presence in that metropolis,
Lost in spy-logged Grunewald,
Have made the blood between us any thicker,
Boundaries forged and dissolved in liquor?

No,
The ill-matching of souls and forms,
Miscreates the attraction desire deforms,
Like snowmen built at winter’s end,
All passions must melt away,
Disappearing to hell without delay,
To present Death their resume

So, looking at women between the shelves,
Casting desire down goldstone streets,
Admiring the curves I taste as wealth,
Love must come now summer retreats

Poem: Hospitality

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Oh God,
It’s the body conceals the flame,
Animating the thirst poured into us,
Engendering fools, anxiolytic almanacs,
Tearstains in tarot cards,

The divination proves the pain,
The crucifixion of feminine archetypes,
Placed inside a thorn-filled coffin,
Mausoleum of toxic loving,

Nobody to think fondly of,
Just the stains from spilt dreams,
Nightmares hatching from the corpse
Some stranger dumped at your door

And finding brotherhood in putrescence,
I become all I abhor

Poem: The Invalid

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I could not get home,
Every way I turned,
I was met with demons,
Barroom fiends brandishing broken bottles

They inflamed my nerves,
Converted me into an invalid,
The sick bed my cocoon,
My sick head a rotting womb

I needed nurses to move my limbs,
Help-meets to remind me of my vital functions,
But I would not sing the machinery hymn,
Or taste the wafer of medication

Now, I can just about sit up,
Spare a minute without vomiting darkness,
Yet, being only half a mile away,
I’ll never walk home again