Tuesday, 19 July 2016
(FOR MY FATHER)
You picked splinters
with a pin each day
from under blackened fingernails;
shreds of metal
from the shipyard grime,
minute memories of days swept by:
the dusty remnants of a life
spent in the shadow of the sea;
the tears in your shattered eyes
at the end of work.
And your hands were strong,
so sensitive and capable
of building boats
and nursing roses;
a kind and gentle man
who never hurt a soul,
the sort of quiet knackered man
who built a nation.
Dad, I watched your ashes float away
down to the ocean bed
and in each splinter
I saw your caring eyes
and gracious smile.
I think of your strong silence every day
and I am full of you,
the waves you scaled,
and all the sleeping Tyneside streets
you taught me to dance my fleeting feet along.
When I fly, you are with me.
I see your fine face
in sun-kissed clouds
and in the gold ring on my finger,
and in the heaving crowd on Saturday,
and in the lung of Grainger Market,
and in the ancient breath
of our own Newcastle.
‘This is one of the poems I'll never forget. I see the struggling of my own dad in your words.
Thanks for your fine poem.’ (Klaas Drenth)
‘Beautiful poem. Loving, moving memories. Most excellent Keith.’ (Strider Marcus Jones)
‘Love the poem Keith. That’s my dad.’ (John McMahon)
Annie Sheridan ‘Beautifully visual Keith, nice to share your memories.’ x
Imelda Walsh ‘Lovely poem, loving memories too.’
Kenny Jobson ‘So, so good, Keith - I'll share this, if you don't mind.’
Thursday, 14 July 2016
(for Helmut Bügl)
On this evening flight,
necks stuck out,
we dart in formation
to a Stuttgart dream.
we share a common French wine
to celebrate clouds.
With your rough words,
you ask me what I do.
“Write poetry”, I say,
and sign away a verse or two for you,
hovering in mid-air, between snow and sun.
“And you?” “I breed pigs I do”,
flying home from a swine seminar in Montreal.
To prove it, you sign me a photo of six of your litter,
the Swabian breed of Helmut Bugl.
It’s a flying cultural exchange,
a rhyme for a slice of time.
The stars are sizzling in the thrilling sky
and, tonight, pigs might fly.
Tonight, pigs might fly.
Saturday, 2 July 2016
The dejected men,
the lone voices,
in this seaside rain.
Their words shudder to a standstill
in dismal corners.
Frightened to shout,
behind quivering faces.
No one listens
to their memories crying.
There seems no point
in this democratic deficit.
For years, they just shuffle along,
in their financial innocence.
They do have names
that no lovers pronounce.
They flit between stools,
miss out on gales of laughter.
Who cares for them?
Nobody in Whitley Bay
or canny Shields,
that’s for sure.
These wayside fellows
might as well be in a saddos’ heaven
for all it matters
in the grey world’s backwaters.
Life has bruised them,
Bones flake into the night.
I feel like handing them all loud hailers
their oppressed passion,
to move them
red murder at their leaders -
those they never voted for;
those who think they’re something,
some thing special,
For, in the end,
I am on the side of these stooped lamenters,
the lonely old boys with a grievance
and the uncaring;
and how switched off
this government is
from the isolated,
from the agitated,
from the trembling,
drinkers of sadness.
Kenny Jobson absolutely excellent
Davide Trame This is a great, powerful poem.
Libby Wattis Brilliant poem x
Gracie Gray Very evocative Keith. x
Sue Hubbard Very strong
David Henry Fantastic! A powerful and very moving poem
Strider Marcus Jones A great poem full of so many truths.