Poem for R & A wedding; August 2017
A Balloonist’s Guide to Marriage
A hot air balloon is instructive for life;
So take note, take heed,
Listen to your wife.
Lesson One: Staying afloat
A hot air balloon achieves lift,
Not by some magic, trickery, clairvoyance,
But for the relative density of the air inside.
And don’t from these words,
That I’m instructing you to idiocy:
Though…Ross… this may naturally occur,
The right and correct lesson,
(That all would concur,)
Is that you keep all things light,
While joined in flight….
Lesson two: Effort
The balloon cannot self-inflate,
It cannot self-sustain;
And though clouds don’t obscure,
The dreams stars endure,
It takes effort:
The effort of fire, thought and trust,
To inflate the balloon,
To give it thrust;
Or towards earth it plummets,
To rubble and dust.
Lesson Three: Flying
Flying is controlled falling,
And this is why we call it falling in love:
A cosmic event on the smallest of stages,
The same everywhere,
Throughout the ages:
A dance of loving descent.
So while the balloon falls around the Earth,
And the Earth around the sun;
While stars glimmer, sashay and burn,
Ross and Alex fall for fun.
Long May they fly;
Long may they fall.
Poem for S & E wedding; July 2018
Steve and El go together
Like Southend and Zurich,
Like ink and water;
Yet in the margins of this unlikely story
There is a binding, of lives enwinding;
And fibres whose laminate becomes
The paper on which dreams may come.
In the to and fro of learning to grow
The shape of selves etch into loving stone;
And contrary to human predilection,
(To write each other to our own perfection),
The real, true and permanent fit
Is reverse complexion:
The negative bit.
And this is where we’re surprised to find
Immiscible substances nevertheless combine,
For the lesson of lithographic love is this:
To reflect the best parts of you
Ink surrounds, traces and pools
Spaces and gaps to make the image whole:
A landscape to frame; a Joy to behold.
Today the paper on which they sign,
Though thoughts of GSM so usually inclined,
Is but tracing paper;
Behind the parchment inked hereupon
The full weight of their lives
Turns, reads on:
To each their lithos, their immovable stone,
Upon which they write, and print their own.
In your absence I wrap myself in a cotton blanket,
An obvious choice for warmth and comfort;
And in lieu of your support,
A zimmer frame I call to transport
To the boiler, as it packs in yet again;
But no matter: the stove on which I might rely,
Had I some wood not forgotten to buy;
But no Worry, no hurry, to the neighbours I go,
They’re bound to have some kindle to throw –
Alas, these winters days, they’ve used more than they need
And in a warming bliss, close their door to my cold abyss;
Could they not see, perceive,
Their lack of help in my hour of need?
Understand they do not,
That loneliness to each of us comes,
Stark, naked, and honest,
Loyal like a friend at no-one’s behest,
Not wise, not even slightly,
For it cannot comfort you with its words,
Support with its absence,
Be relied upon for assistance,
Or bear your scolds with angelic patience,
Nor understand your contradictions,
Set you straight in wild fictions;
Be loyal in letting you alone when required,
And return to your side when you apologise.
Yes, friends are terrifying:
For fear they are not there.
On this wicket the toss is false economy;
Ambivalence sets confidence on edge,
Its wings fluttering light and terrifying,
The wicket indifferent; conditions changing.
I opt to bat: a martyr to my confidence;
Clouds cover, wicket cracks, sledges reach their peak;
Will it swing, seam, turn, or carry?
Will they be fast, slow; bounce or cut?
Under fire I block, leave, duck and weave,
But at no point do I believe
That I can weather this storm.
Then a thin edge, a wafer;
A glimmer, a chance, a certain romance,
That sets to still the world,
But for the motion of my stroke,
And beneath it, cupped hands, welcome, forebode:
Is it a catch or will I be dropped?
Purgatory is over-thinking
Buoyed on with red-wine-lies
The stage framed like Punch and Judy
But nobody laughs, ever.
I appeal to rationality
Within, without: somewhere;
And yet with each sip of this lie
Comes the heralded cry:
The rhythm in thinking; in thought; in expression
I thought I’d try a practical approach,
To finding the rhythm in my thoughts,
But I hadn’t ‘counted
On the rhythm in thinking first;
Let’s try that again:
I tried to capture the rhythm in thinking,
Apart from pen strokes, pauses, blinking;
To run alongside my galloping self –
But again I hadn’t ‘counted for its fleet of foot.
This is difficult:
Trying to find the rhythm in expression:
And now I’ll begin.
I look for something through which to enter this world,
But each one presents as unappealing an opportunity as a slap to the face,
Just mild enough to impress a blush
That outmaneuvers the on-rush of blood
To a scene of violence.
I imagine the two – shame and pain –
Locked in a battle to the death,
And wonder which I should want to win;
In which way I would like to be flayed
Or indeed flay myself:
The price of entry seems steep.
Yet, like taxation at the point of earning,
It is a price paid daily,
Deposited on stakes whose market is quantum physics,
And whose payout gives the illusion of understanding.
Surely somebody – somewhere – gets it?
And if they do,
From me to you,
From you to her,
We plea for existential relief:
We pray for wisdom.