Thursday, 21 June 2018

Cathedral


                        Kaleidoscope


When the night falls over
The grounds of Carlisle Cathedral
One can hear the Paen of the
Ancient bells keeping time,
Telling us in a melancholy rhyme
That they can see vast forms
Moving fantastically past the
Worn-out sandstone bricks of
The lofty walls that rear their heads.


Like a kaleidoscope, images of
A distant past parade themselves,
Incongruous, fleeting, through
The immemorial grounds. Near the
Fratry, look, there goes a Roman
Centurion who marches in long
Strides to the Jupiter temple in
Search of an oracle to interpret
His dream in the hope of a good omen.


Now, walking past the glass-stained
Window of rainbow hues, there
Goes a Viking warrior brandishing
His evil-looking axe in the direction
Of Odin’s temple. He is in a hurry
To make an offer so the god can
Bestow upon him his blessings,
And grant the warrior a successful
Night of pillage and mayhem.


When the bells toll the
Latest hour of night, a
Hooded monk detaches his
Shadowy figure from the
East wall, in search of the
Grave inadvertently moved
To other haunts, far away
From his original resting place
Which was left undisturbed for centuries.


The kaleidoscope turns once more;
Several other spots in time can
Be seen in a single night
Juxtaposing, and then vanishing
Over the ancient haunts where
The cathedral stands, lofty, proud.
When the bells toll the merry
Tunes of morning, all is gone.
The multitude of images rooted
In the past soon departs because
This kaleidoscope can only
Be seen at ungodly hours.


Saturday, 12 May 2018

Yara

                          Yara


When the full moon is
At its highest noon, the
Pale face smiles down at Yara,
Who, perched on a rock,
Must intone her song
Without words, to lure
Into her cold arms
And into the restless
Heart of the Amazon River
One more human offering --
One more token for the ruthless waters.


A fleecy cloud passes,
Brushing past the moon.
Yara, wrapped in a cascade
Of hair as green as the surface
Of the river, sings of joy departed.
She remembers the days of yore,
They are sheeted memories of a
Glorious past that will be no more.
In one night she was able to lure
Three lovers to the depths of the waters
With her despondent-toned dirge.


Now the electric lights blot out
The moon’s smile, and the night
Frowns at the rubbish strewn
By the margins of the proud river.
The jungle shouts of revenge
Against the human race who
Befouls the waters and cannot,
Will not, listen to Yara’s song.
Mankind is deaf, sings Yara;
And green-tinted tears run down
From the depths of her eyes,
Green like the river’s bosom,
Green like the jungle’s soul.

As much as she intones her
Melancholy song, with a voice like
A lyre of supernatural notes,
Nobody comes searching for the lure of her tune.
With a sunken heart, Yara dives deep
Into the welcoming current of the waters
And withdraws to the unreachable
Bosom of the forbidden jungle.
Her harp is now broken, her voice will
Be heard no more. She won’t haunt
These spots any more because the days of yore
When men responded to the beauty of
Her song are dead, buried and long gone.









Saturday, 21 April 2018

Peter Rabbit


                           Mocking Rabbit

When I paid a visit to Hill Top Farm
In search of that spot in time
Long left behind in childhood, I
Walked past the wrought-iron gate
That led to the vegetable garden.
Out of the corner of my eye, I
Spotted a brownish shadow that soon
Disappeared amongst the rhubarb leaves.

Discarded in a hurry amongst
Cabbages and carrots was
A half-nibbled onion with
Marks of sharp teeth imprinted on it.
Happy to be so close to my beloved
Peter Rabbit, I searched for him
Everywhere, but he didn’t want to be seen.

Inside the tea room, whilst I
Gazed through a window, I
Glanced by pure chance at
My childhood hero rushing
Past the flower garden and
Hopping behind a lavender bush.
There I went, after the rabbit,
Determined to have a long look
At my first love interest, the hero
Whose soft back I’ve secretly longed to pet.

Amongst forget-me-nots, bleeding hearts,
Snapdragons, sweet williams and fuchsias,
I meandered in vain-- that elusive
Rabbit had vanished like the delicate
Petals of love-in-a-mist, blown
By the wind, over the hills and far away,
To the dreamland of childhood that will
Remain forever out of bounds for me.


Sunday, 21 January 2018

Muses

                          Wilful Muse

Wilful, stubborn muse, why don't you
Grace me with your presence,
Offer me solace, place your inspiring
Hands  over my head like a 
Halo of art, like an artist's shield?

Day and night I pray you will
Take pity on me. I place offers
At your temple; I'm ready 
To do anything you ask me.
The vilest act cannot be vile
Enough if you, muse, demand it
As a sign of your allegiance.

I'm ready and willing to
Sacrifice myself for you, 
To throw this undeserving
Body at the pyre of your
Redeeming fires, to be consumed
By the flames of artistic inspiration.

Don't think, muse, I haven't seen you
In my long, sleepless nights of
Artistic despair peeking at me
With scorn in the darkest corner
Of the room, and vanishing into the
Night through a slit in the window. 

Don't think I don't know you
Paid regular visits to the
Dissolute, impoverished artist
Who lived in that filthy attic and,
After a brief life, died of consumption. 

You, muse, are like a cat who
Comes and goes as you please,
Bestows your affection at
Random and seems to take
Pleasure in breaking the hearts
Of those who love you dearly. 

For all this, wilful muse,
I respect and worship you.
Forever out of my reach,
Forever haughty and scornful,
There is nothing I can give
That will please you and
Make you sprinkle upon me
A tiny portion of your golden dust.

Your realm will be always
Barred from my presence
With iron bars, lock and key.
You never go to those who
Want you the most, but you
Suddenly drop like a whirlwind
Upon the ones who don't quite know
What to do with your fire and, in the end,
Are scorched by it, unwilling sacrifices
In the shrine of artistic genius.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Clouds

                 like cut out puppets
                 the clouds in the sky
                      I peek at heaven

Chipmunk

                       a flash of brown
                 vanishes amidst the green 
                             chipmunk

Friday, 21 July 2017

Hallow's Eve

             Hallow's Eve at the Manor House



On a moonless night of Hallow's Eve,
The ghosts at the ancient manor house
Decked themselves in layers of luminous ectoplasm.
Attired in their ghostly armour,
They made for the boundary
Between their supernatural domain and
Our physical world, squeezing
Through the narrow portal of
Compressed space and time.


Some intended to haunt the
Chambers in which they were killed,
Howling and blowing bone-chilling drafts
In the ears of the terrified occupants.
Others extended elastic tendrils
Into the minds of their victims
And provoked ghastly nightmares.
A few decided to go even further,
They were the revengeful lot.
With their horrific appearance,
They expected to cause mayhem and
Perhaps some fatalities among the living.








While the cursed night lasted,
The ghosts in the ancient manor house
Went on haunting the living
Without pity, because
No pity was given
To them in their fatal hour.
They didn't relish their deeds,
But they were compelled to
Wreak misery upon the living.





Otherworldly forces drew them
To the haunted manor house
Every moonlit Hallow's Eve.
Like shadow puppets on silvery
Strings, they obeyed, again and again,
Reliving the agonizing moments they yearned to forget.
But to no avail: theirs was a sorry destiny.
The destiny to be condemned to the past
And forced to remain there for eons
And eons more without the bliss of oblivion.


















Thursday, 13 July 2017

Sacrificial Mask

                         Sacrificial Mask


The blade of the knife reflected
The rays of that scalding,
Merciless sun. At the bottom of
The temple people danced
To appease a hungry god
That must be fed bloody,
Tepid hearts still pulsating
With the dregs of a dwindling life.
The victim, drunk with potions
And the fumes of burned herbs,
Cast his eyes over his last sight,
The perfectly-carved slates and
The mocking grin in the terrible,
Horrible beauty of the mask.


Now the object that once caused
So much anguish and so much pain
Acquired an honour seat behind
Glass and temperature control. 
It is the gem of the Aztec exhibit,
A unique artwork, a masterpiece. 

When you look at it, grinning
Fiercely behind the glass,
You are, for some seconds,
Enveloped in the mist of
Burning herbs and in the 
Music of those ominous drums
That beat in an ever-demanding crescendo.

Frenzied people will swirl under the temple
In a maddening dance; and you, still in a trance,
For only a few seconds, will be able to fully
Understand the terrible, the horrible beauty of the mask. 



Wednesday, 26 April 2017

War Fairy

                             The War Fairy

She will never be seen hovering
Over the garden and sprinkling
Fairy dust over flowers and trees.
This is a fairy who thrives in
The bloodshed, smoke and 
Slaughter of the battlefield. 

She is not a cruel being,
Despite all that has been said
Against her and her ways.
She is just the naughtiest 
Fairy among the fairy folk.
Her dress is made of tiny
Colourful squares, each of them
A flag from a different country.
The war fairy is fond of
Nationalism, and any talk
Of sovereignty makes her giggle.
She knows what follows after,
She knows she will have her fun.

As much as she likes conflict
And tension among nations,
Her favourite type of warfare is
By far the feared civil war.
Nothing delights her more
Than setting brother against 
Brother, father against son.
From the masts of warships
She watches destruction and
Mayhem, her hands supporting
Her alabaster face shaped like
A cupid's heart, because,
Contrary to the popular belief,
The war fairy is a lovely girl.

When the war is over,
She hovers above the
Wreckage of the battlefield
And her almond-shaped eyes
Supervise the pillage, looting
And fires in the ravished city. 
She dances in the air,
Claps her hands and
Inhales the fumes of war
Until the moment of surrender.
The fields belong to her and
She alone reigns over the carnage.
Is she cruel, is she mad, this
Heartless, out-of-character fairy?
No--she is only the naughtiest
Fairy among the fairy folk. 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Cherry

                           the badge of spring
                              in a chunk of dawn
                                   cherry blossoms