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SHROPSHIRE POEMS
SONG - poem and picture

the contest

sitting round the edge of the circle
a number of vague holes

sometimes faces emerged from them
sometimes they were deep pits

at the centre of the circle
a granite chip sat waiting

the air was gradually being stolen
from the room - there was a nasty

smell of silence into which the scratching
of black thoughts sniggered like rats

when darkness fell the vague holes
glowed with phosphorescence - the chip

stuck in the night's flesh the air died
and each hole emitted a long stench

when the gases ignited (in the explosion
the weird lights distended the granite

chip into monstrous proportions but when
the real sight of the world came back

each hole was a jagged and bloody crater
the chip stayed in its place unmoved

 


gatepost

i don't believe there is a love
my disbelieving
suddenly scars you
horribly in my imaginings

like duncan's blood though
i can't wash my hands of you
when i've cleared you out of my room
there you are sitting at the table

stop being so bloody natural as though
you understand me all and forgive me most
of course i love you love you love you
it's just that now i'd sooner be a gatepost

sacked

fog owns the town

in its palm
lawyers nibble each other's fingers
the churches take their cut

at the fat lunch
the men of business
carve themselves prayers and praises

the fog comes to my window
and lisping in says

i've drained the town of you
and you of the town
come outside
and let me smother you
to the border

no person calls
and only the headless
watch and watch in the street

 

thought for the ordinary

be moved by your own time
but move it too
the sun hasn't all the answers
it can be made to listen to you

however adamant the pavement
it's a book of feet
though they need it to take them through town
people control the street

from the irreproachable mountain
wisdom drips down
spray it with your own salt
manacled clown

DRAMA OF LIFE - poem and picture

 

 

speedboats

when
one summer
everything opened out
and nobody close by
was quick enough
with needle and gut
to stitch the blue sky away
from all that fresh flesh
how we splashed about
in the red lake

daggers skimmed in and out
of each other's wake
like speedboats
thirsting for death

 

 

teeth

when the dark crashed upon him
and the lights screamed
into the untouchable
recess of his head
he groped towards the imprint of a face
and stuff came away in his hands
old hair whose rot
infected his fingers

the carcass of himself
had nowhere to offer him rest

even when the terrified light came back
and the face whole
and she began to speak again
and her flesh flowed through his like a clear river
there was a tremble in the earth's gut
that bore the deep ruts of a visitation

the hand and the terror pacing the space between them
have never had such teeth as they have now


mildew

there's something about language
that won't behave in its day
as it will do
as it will do
when its sheen has fallen away
and its time is crawling with mildew

WORD - poem and picture

radical

ban all fires
and places where people congregate
to create comfort
put an end to sleep
good cooking
and the delectation of wine
tear lovers apart
piss on the sun and moon
degut all heavenly harmony
strike out across the bitter ice
and the poisonous marshes

make (if you dare) a better world

CONCEPT - poem and picture

 

 

drowned

when the stars came together
to peer into the well

the water dragged them under
and they coagulated into a face

the sky was drained
ideas had nowhere to fly to

and at the heart
the face began to rot

 

 

   the watchers

against their beliefs a blue spot came slowly
out of the green

nobody expected such a thing to occur
on a thursday

the watchers switched over from their electronic
eye to their notes

the evidence undeniably placed thursday as the day
of the pink circle

they recorded having seen another pink circle
in a strange light

which had (explainably) created the illusion of
being a blue spot

(blue from green on a thursday meaning disaster)
no one need panic

to ease minds they laid a complaint against the probity
of the machine

the next thursday the pink circle again appeared
to be a blue spot

the watchers congratulated themselves upon the circle's
sense of humour

and on the next thursday the earth came out in a
rash of blue spots

the watchers (finding themselves sitting on one) were
the first to die

 

GRANDEUR - poem and picture

 

ulster

fancy shooting a man dead for an old label

but think
if there weren't any old labels
nobody would ever be shot dead

and all those poor people
whose livelihood depends on making guns
would have to be left to starve

make up your mind
who would you sooner see living
men with bullets in them
or thousands of ordinary people
going about their decent business

there's a lot to thank old labels for

 

watch it man

anything will do for a bomb nowadays

look too long on a grain of sand
it will as soon take your face away
as sit on a beach

eyes that stroll
into yours full of laughing
may be wired to a countdown
and a mountain fall on you


[artwork by Pat Gregory of Bournemouth] MUSHROOM - poem and picture

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