Wish we had done things differently And moreover, never had to.
But the moment has always been there – Buried in the small print
Of the pact we entered into All those years ago
Never once imagining We’d ever have to live it.
Having had a heart murmur for a number of years, our beloved whippet is now in congestive heart failure. No longer a case of if but when we will need to make A Decision, and probably sooner rather than later. I know there are many bigger, and far worse things happening in the world now: it’s still hard. Dogs are wonderful, but they do put you through it sometimes.
Another day dawns grey in Brexit-land. The red tape piling up like rotten snow That chokes and slows the flow of daily life; Doors close, shelves empty, phones no longer ring. And still the lies from those who won it all; Insouciant, delusional and glib They prate their nonsense to the credulous And never own the chaos they unleashed. We warned of this, we millions you ignored, Denounced as traitors, told to suck it up; We did not wish disaster on our land And take no pleasure in our being right. Reality is biting. Far too late To save us from this self-inflicted fate.
My father believed Like his father before him Hard work was its own reward: Nothing worth doing came easy; Nine counted less than the one you lost And the clear, bright notes of your own trumpet Were a form of noise pollution.
Of all the fears that flourished in that dusty soil The deepest stares back from the mirror still; But with your native music, romantic whimsy And cheerful shrug at all tomorrows You break the power of my ancient dread And step into the world with easy, springing stride Leaving behind the tattered banners Of my own quiet rebellion.
For my daughter, who is all my greatest hopes and fondest dreams made real. I couldn’t be more proud of her. N.
For the first time in my life I am despairing. Our worst fears realised: sickness, hatred, strife, corruption Spreading through the land; our leaders gross, vile, uncaring As we’re heading, deep in denial, for destruction.
When I was younger, stronger, I might have resisted. But I no longer have the will to fight; defeated By depths of greed and lies I never knew existed. And deed by wicked deed the coup’s completed.
So to the wood, the field. In their quiet rehearsing Of good, timeless tales, truth is revealed; no agenda. I regain my voice and strength. The dark is dispersing. My choice is stark but clear. I will not surrender.
The Celtic droighneach is probably the most challenging form I’ve encountered; although it looks simple enough, to my mind only the sestina comes close in terms of metrical constraints and complexity. It’s so taxing I can manage only about one a year, but it’s always fun to do (in hindsight, and following a stiff drink and a lie down in a darkened room). N.