That plump little woman standing in the doorway Was, to all intents and purposes, simply opening up the shop.
But those who knew, those who watched From the lace covered corners of an innocent window, Knew she was waiting for her lover, her creamy cheeks A sudden flush of pink as he came striding, Strong, imposing and beautiful, smiling at her. Someone else’s lover, yes, but longing to take her, And she, longing to be taken.
The early morning street was silent, the brick and stone, The wood and shining glass of the great Bank behind him Waiting for him to return one minute to opening time.
Only the sudden scream of brakes of a lorry labouring past them Disturbed the peace, echoing the scream of her own heart As he stepped out of the shop doorway, one minute to nine.
Going back. Returning. Returning to where he would always come from, That place where she didn’t exist. So, here she was then, the hidden widow.
I love the sea, so I have always been very fond of this Norse myth
of red monkeys under the ocean feeding iron bars to the serpent. They
did this because when the world was made it was too heavy, so the serpent
was given the task of coiling around it to keep it together. However, the
serpent would get hungry so the red monkeys were given the chore of
feeding it iron bars to stop it uncoiling in search of food, as that would
have been disastrous!
SAIL AWAY TO NOWHERE
Little boat On the horizon Sailing away to nowhere
Rough winds Send you skirling Across impatient waters
Fiery suns Smash colour rainbows Into the roaring silence
Darkening skies Threaten spiteful rain To savage and to sink you
Under the ocean Red monkeys feed iron bars To the world’s serpent
Respect the serpent Whose coils save the world From abrupt and violent ending
Little boat, come home Steer quietly into safe harbour Where I am always waiting
When I was a girl, I was sent away to Kent, to a kind of hospital school to make me better. I was only there a year yet that year has given me memories for a lifetime, good and bad. The Kentish woods helped me settle because they formed a link to my much loved woods of home.
I walked the spine of morning Whilst the birds slept. Their little feathered bodies Absorbing the melody of leaves, The quiet breathing of grass, Waking to the delicate sounds of light changing, Their tiny anthems gathering strength Enough to fill the woods with song. Drowning these cool Kentish pathways With joy and praise.
Where, last night, a falling star Tumbled through the trembling leaves Shoring up this world’s quiet beauty.
I saw it fall. The little wren and the robin at my shoulder, The nightingale singing into the morning light. Our eyes clinging to the long radiance Of Jupiter and Mars shining briefly Onto that star ridden path.
Setting that quiet Kentish wood ablaze With the glory of falling stars, Of little birds singing.
Mario Lanza began to sing And from a far corner of the crowded room, Another Mario joined in. Another and another, Until the whole place rang With song and laughter.
Then, in his far corner, Elvis stood, Quietly singing of love and loss, Singing of a real reality Until, one by one, they all fell silent. Even the drunks hushed their slurred words, Listening to a song of loss and loneliness So intense, life meant nothing.
The Bar was silent, breathless with memory As Elvis sang, and when he was done, Mario began again. And beer was passed from Bar to drinker. Someone ordered a cheeky Campari, With bright red cherry and a paper umbrella. Whoa! Hold the soda.
Night pressed against the Pub’s lit windows, But no-one wanted to go, To be swallowed by the darkness, Wanted only to stay here in the mad brightness, Listening to the singing, Listening to the daft loons laughter, Gulping Lager in the corner And watch the girls swinging On the tiny, tiny dance floor. Dancing as if dancing could conquer The songs they were hearing. As if being young could conquer everything.
Strange to meet Mario and Elvis here, Two bony young fellows singing to the drunk and to the sober, Singing to drown or lighten the drinker’s sorrows.