Poems of marching to war

The Last Full Measure

Towards the field of bloody battle
We march the long straight road
To answer the sabres metallic rattle
Of a godless foe who would goad
Peaceful nations to stand and fight
And sacrifice our blood and treasure
For honour, freedom, peace and right
We will give our last full measure

Pastoral Heaven

Capricious clouds, cherubic white
Gaze through the gossamer light
From the vaulted pale blue sky
Swallows fly high on zephyr’s sigh
As we march ‘tween Gallic leas
Amidst the tall and slender trees
That stand in line, a guard of honour
As pale cattle of content demeanour
In lush and verdant pasture graze.
I look upon all this and dream of days
Of peace that are, God willing nigh
And we will walk this path, you and I

***

Two more poems for my epistolary project. The theme is marching towards the front line . My soldier character has yet to experience the reality of warfare.

Twilight star

Dogs converse in the dimming light.
A blackbird embroiders the dusk
with song, to the background thrum
of sluggardly traffic homeward bound.
A bee on its last shift of the day
flits amongst the flowers as petals fold.
A star takes shape in the horizons haze.
A pulse of light that has travelled
through space for three millennia.

In the twilight I watch and wonder.
When the starlight began its voyage
did Pharaohs walk in the shadows
of the columns of Luxor, while slaves
laboured to build their tombs.

Three thousand years from now
will there be a twilight watcher?
Wondering what triumphs and tragedies
unfolded here on this small planet
when the starlight began its voyage.

 

The Precipitation of Tears

On the streets of London, Manchester
and Kabul
In the homes of Syria, Paris
and Mosul
Is there a Richter Scale
to measure the sadness?
Or a depth in fathoms
to describe the grief?
Can the precipitation of tears
be gauged to tell us
when the weeping will end?
Is all this, this heartbreak
how it will always be?

 

 

Beautiful dance of death

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The sun, a pale orb, looks down
as chill winds careen and caper
through the tracery of branches
Thrumming timeless hymns
Nature’s long forgotten songs

Perching on swaying boughs
Funereal crows in mourning clothes
Flap wings black and feathery
trapeze artistes seeking balance
As they cry their discordant chorus

Leaves lose their tenuous grip
And fall, cascade to the ground
To join the multicoloured cavalcade
of prancing harlequins dancing
Across slick grass and uneven slab

I stand silent, listen and watch
This wintry beautiful dance of death

***

Don’t be late, again

 

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When I waited in spring
Under the cherry tree
As the blossom fell
Like confetti
You were late

When I waited in summer
Under the cherry tree
As the green leaves
Shaded me
You were late

Then I waited in Autumn
Under the cherry tree
As leaves fell dead
To the ground
You were late

Now, I wait in winter
Under the cherry tree
As snow flakes fall
In the cold air
Don’t be late, again

Just fucking don’t

Waiting for news

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I wait.
A sunbeam holds me
Like an anxious actor
In an unforgiving spotlight
His lines forgotten
His script missing
I too, have no words
For my audience of
Sightless, still statues
As I wait.

I wait
The sunbeam shifts
On its timeless journey
Across the cold marble
Releasing me
As I stand petrified
By foreboding
As the bloodless effigies
Look on, indifferent
As I wait.

I wait
As we agreed I would
I am waiting for you
To hear your footsteps
On the hard marble
A bearer of news
Of a battle lost
In this silent room
Of lifeless artefacts
I wait

Where the ground lies still

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Inside the
thin carapace
of our heads
In our mind’s
dark landscape
Tectonic plates
Our thoughts
Our dreams
Constantly
Shift and move
Colliding
Crushing
the bones
of our souls
Creating
unassailable
cold mountains
Of angst
Of pain
Creating
fault lines full with
the sediment
Of regret
Of sorrow

Is heaven
a place where
the ground
lies still
Where forever
we will
walk in peace

Winter’s last battle

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I am winter
bringer of darkness
and death
Like Bonaparte
I have laid waste
to your lands
Chilled you to
your very souls

You, Spring
bringer of light
and life
Foolishly
you thought I had left
Retreated in defeat
from this never ending
battle of the seasons

You, Spring
began to celebrate
Rolled out floral carpets
to colour the land
Began to unfurl leaves
banners to joyfully wave
Birds sang songs
of victory

I, Winter
have returned
To drain your world
of all colour
Smother your lands
with pale snow
and silence the birds
This is my Waterloo

The caress of Spring

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Spring arrives
The tantalising
slow caress
of a lovers hand
on my body
as I awake from
deep sleep
dark dreams

Spring arrives
The disinterred
dormant plants
seek life
thrust through
winter’s ruins
dead leaves
brittle twigs

Spring arrives
The released
leaves unfurl
blossom
spills colour
to welcome
the warmth
the Sun

Spring arrives
The sunlight
dances on
my face
colour fills
my eyes
birdsong
my ears

As the arc of time passes

 

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As the arc of time passes my given span
And turns relentlessly to the moment
Now I too must soon pay the ferryman

Will I need a holy tome, a Bible or Koran
Or a book of good deeds and sins I repent
As the arc of time passes my given span

Will you meet me, your son, now a man
Recognise me, this time worn remanent
Now I too must soon pay the ferryman

Will we talk of our life shared if you can
Before you were taken, your time spent
As the arc of time passes my given span

Will you ask me how went my life’s plan
Does my book of days tell of joy or lament
Now I too must soon pay the ferryman

Will I tell you that life perdured as it began
Days of light, and shadow, without relent
As the arc of time passes my given span
Now I too must soon pay the ferryman

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My writing group project this week is to write a Villanelle. I have never taken much interest in poetry. I had heard of sonnets and blank verse in a general knowledge sort of way, but not a Villanelle. Six months ago, before joining the writing group, I would thought a Villanelle was an ice cream dessert. How my literary world has grown……..