The news broke today about Peter Mandelson‘s return to the British Government. The Government had trailed this as a minor re-shuffle and the secret was well-kept. Quite a coup. ‘Brussels’ will now have to think through the ramifications for its own business.

To a poetry-reading session in the evening, at the home of a good friend, Lucy Elliott. Marvellous Polish hospitality, including delicious food. Lucy belongs to two different writers’ groups and she’d invited people from both, together with their spouses and partners. There was a great atmosphere, intimate but open. We could read out some of our work, if we wished. It was good fun. I am not a poet, but I do try to write poetry. You can read what I read out by clicking ‘Read the rest of this entry‘. Comments and criticism welcome!

Giants in those days

There were giants in those days;
Men with great hands and gentle smiles
Worked the earth,
While the womenfolk cooked
Wholesome wonders.

In the marbled ministries of capital cities
Throughout the continent,
Selfless and wholly reasonable men of state
Got things done.

Children slept without fear
And the world was at peace.

Strasbourg memorial

It was a chance event;
As we passed, she looked up,
And I saw the tearstains.

The wreathed monuments
Loomed alone in their
Clipped yew sanctuaries.

Beneath the low, grey sky
The trees dripped
Their inexorable truth;

One day, my dear,
You will mourn for me,
Or I will mourn for you.
Crushed Salamander

The vined hills massed expectantly
As we left the field and headed
Down the track towards the stream.

Colour flashed in the rutted lane;
A crushed salamander, vividly dead,
Spread gut-strewn in a puddle.

The straggling blackthorns shrugged, as if to say;
‘You may have been able to walk through fire, my friend,
But you were no match for a tractor.’

Profondeville, Profondeville!
How deep run your waters?
And how still?

Gazing down from the Strasbourg train,
I glimpse your emotions through the rain.
As we furrow past, splashing light on your trees,
I sense low drama and ordinary deeds.

Those garage doors, so tightly shut!
That toy abandoned on a lawn;
A dent in a bumper, grass savagely cut,
And netted windows mysteriously drawn.

Wide, empty roads, a rural lane;
An ominous crow, and a sleep-drugged dog;
Domestic froth flooding from a drain,
And ivy strangling a fire-scarred log.

There’s carnage behind the deserted station;
A ploughed-up field and a grubbed-up plantation.
And then we are through and racing away,
As your sleep-shocked inhabitants face up to the day.

Oh! Profondeville, Profondeville!
How deep run your waters?
And how still?

Grant us the faith

Grant us the faith that asks not why;
Give us blindness, give us lies;
Give us theories, half-believed;
Give us clichés,  truths received;
Give us science, give us facts;
The certitude that emotion lacks.
But grant us the faith that asks not why
My younger brother had to die.

For with his death my childhood ended
My mother went mad and life was upended
My father wept, fun was forbidden
And my mother’s smile was forever hidden.
The gap where he’d been grew ever wider,
Whilst my brothers and I grew sadder and wiser.
My mother’s grief howled back to the womb,
Which is why you’ll find, written on his tomb;

“Grant us the faith that asks not why”.