Tag Archives: existential

Apologia

Who will remember the Days
when they are gone?
who will sail the Sea
when it is dry?
what tears shall we shed
when we can no longer cry?
who will furl up the flag
when the war is done?
who will stand guard
when the armies are gone?
who shall tend our grave
and sweep away the leaves
of an autumnal season
long out of step?

What songs will Nightingales make
when there’s no-one left to hear?
what pictures will colours make
when there’s no-one to paint
the scene of old men on
the park bench by the lake?
who will remember the days
when diaries crack with longing
for missing fingers to turn
pages that fade and crumble
for want of eyes to read again
the names of those things
unspoken by lips long sealed,
who then will there be left
to remember the days?

The Stranger’s Absence

I recall him saying,

” of all the possible possibilities isn’t it possible

that there being no possibilities is amongst them? “

To which I countered,

” We cling obsessively to those pieces of a jigsaw

we’ve somehow come to accumulate by chance,

accident or ulterior design, only for those pieces

never to fall into place or even bear any resemblance

to a discernible outline or pattern or a promise of coherence. “

I contemplate the solitary glass of absinthe

that sits forever stationary on a marble top table,

un-paid for and un-drunk until The Stranger returns,

and quaffs it savouring the liquid’s unique indifference

as it surges down his gullet;

We are only led to imagine such things

because we imagine that the Stranger,

long since absconded into the obscurity of the world-at-large

might somehow re-appear unannounced as if by chance,

fate or ulterior design,

And then we might recommence the desultory dialogue,

the Stranger and me

that dialogue which he chose peremptorily to abandon

with his trademark flaneur disquieting insouciance;

and so I sit and toy with the pieces of jigsaw

left me as a memento or perhaps not,

some pieces are clearly missing and

the glass of absinthe requires that I pay for it.

……………………………………………………………………..

Author’s footnote:

My previous poems featuring “The Stranger” are

The Stranger,One Last time ( 23/4/2019 )

A Stranger Returns (23/4/2018 )

Encounter with a Stranger ( 3/10/2017 )

Orientation

What do we see when

we see what others saw?

what do we hear when

we listen to what others heard?

what do we know when

we know what others learned?

what do words mean when

we speak those words spoken

before by others?

Should we somehow exchange places,

and in that exchange

become them,

as they become us,

and looking back

at our former selves

we no longer recognise

who we are?

Interstellar

Standing in our stockinged feet

on the surface of an alien world ,

wondering whether we can ever go back

go back go back again to that

place where we started from ?

So very far away so very

long ago that somehow we left

somehow find ourselves in our

stockinged feet standing and staring

staring across an unfamiliar horizon

wrought of jewels burnished with gold ,

dazzling and shining and when

all is done and all is told

we simply stand with one question

remaining on our lips ,

How do we get back home ?

Now

Now

is forever,

now forever,

the long wait

of disappointed days

appointed

to be afar off

and away;

out of reach

of our grasp

that flails forlornly

in the air

striking at

shimmering

apparitions

that were never here

never real

in the now;

that forever now

that finds us

flailing

with outstretched

mendicant hands

grasping at pity

for pity’s sake,

until the shimmering itself

stops,

and we awake

from dreamless dreams

and sleepless sleep

staring agape

at

where we were

and are

in the now,

forever

A 1960’s Northern Town

fading back the years,
to Friday-paid dirt-nailed
stand-up straight-razor guys,
smoke-stenched, beer-drenched,
immersed in Willy Dixon’s words
strung like wire
barbed across their hearts;
lost in deep resonances
of factory-line steam-hammers
raw and edged
like John Lee Hooker’s
“BOOM…BOOM…BOOM “,
drunk on too much scotch
and too much weekend parfumerie,
unrequited by Howlin’ Wolf’s
plaintive primordial lament
“ won’t you come back to me? ”
its timeless patina of weariness
covering the night that goes crashing,
its braggadocio getting swept aside;
the only consolation
is in the cold clear air
of Sunday morning.

Surveillance

He watches the lives of others through the end of a telephoto lens.

It’s 5:42 a.m. on an ordinary suburban housing estate and he’s been squatting for the past 6 hours in an unmarked delivery van when he catches a fleeting glimpse of a window-framed face. The same face that’s appeared at the same time at the same window on each day that he’s been here.

Parked in the driveway of the house opposite, he’s taken on the role (at least in his own imagination), of ethnographer studying and recording for academic posterity the esoteric habits and rituals of an hithertofore unknown indigenous society.He records in the neatest handwriting the ephemera of the lives of others.Their daily routines timetabled in line-ruled pocket notebooks of which he keeps more than sufficient under his seat.

Outside his ethereal realm as disembodied observer, in the lives of others a telephone rings.

Its receiver is lifted. It’s followed by a rush of silence.He adjusts his earphones and enters a menacing voicelessness.The spools of his tape-recorder engage.”Click , click ” as though a conductor is tapping his baton bringing an orchestra to order.

There is to his mind a haunting absence of noise. When telephones ring and their receivers are lifted, conversations follow. Except when they don’t and he catches another fleeting glimpse of the window-framed face that he saw just a few minutes ago.

Inexplicably, the receiver is replaced,” Click ” .The tape-recorder stops.

It’s 5:52 am and across the city in a sound studio on the fourth floor of an otherwise unremarkable office building the voices he’d captured less than 24 hours ago are on playback. Their rhythms and cadences mimic the lives of others.They hear him listening to them, listening to him listening.

Observed. Recorded. Collated. Analysed.

“Click”

A Passage Through Time

Time was forgotten

by time itself,

even those that

remembered and knew

of its harsh cadences

fell into a silent repose;

where no time

no longer mattered,

for in essence

time itself was no more,

no morrow,

no morning

mourning as it all fell silently

into an oblivion

it had created for itself

throughout its ceaseless computations

until the numbers themselves

ran out..