Thursday, 8 March 2018

Norway Poems: Arctic Flight


Arctic Flight
Viewed from above, clouds have form: valleys,

Bobbly hillocks and dried river beds.
Change:
Flattened herringbone patterns like a quilt.
Change:
Occasional 'windows' show real landscape, 
Snow, rock and barren trees,
Gone.
A cloud wasteland returns with few shapes
Until we glide lower and in an instance 
A Kirkenes town plan flashes past:
Suddenly the clouds are back where they belong,
Above.

Norway poems: Hammerfest 1945


Hammerfest 1945
Pictures in the museum bring back

its past: destruction and reconstruction 
in waves. Bombed; pretty again and then
Burnt to the ground: 
A German swan song
To their losing war.

Architects huddled in huts to rebuild,
start life again amongst the stony shapes
left on the ground, of past living, loving.
Rubble is reworked,
The town reinvented,
Church towers rise up:
Defiance of spirit will overcome evil.


Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Norway Poems: Light Play

Light Play
In a world of little awe
The night sky and all its works
Can be overlooked. Background
Mostly, but massed stars amaze
And shrink us. Then we wonder
About higher things.

On a clear arctic evening
There are few stars but a wave
Of smoky white arching the sky,
Subtly, slowly changing shape
Changing colour, turning green
It grows, fades, begins again
With new streaks, intensities.
Always moving from lines to mass
Until the time is right, then,
The light dances, flickers, moves
Bouncing the emerald specks
This way, over there, here, playing,
But then the timing alters,
Whiter tones re emerge and
The Beholder breathes once more.


Norway Poems: Cod

COD
Tails tied and headless, they are yoked
Astride the wooden frame to dry,
To become food for months to come.
There was no romance in the trade
Hard exploitation was at work.
Cod brought riches to Lofoten
Money for churches, barter, style,
Owners of the fishing grounds played
Gods toying with the fishermen,
Sometimes paying, mostly charging
Til at last, a law decreed 
The seas are not 'property' 
They are fishing free spaces.


Norway Poems: Bergan Street Art

Aloof, alone on his pillar
Stands a Bergan worthy, unseen
Twenty feet above eye level. 
His glories are not regarded now.
A notable on a lower plinth
Fails to make us stop also, his
Clothes, stance, history don’t connect. But
Ground level has more modern takes:
A scowling naked boy, an urn
In simple mosaic lines and
Framed in a McDonalds' doorway
Stands a stone loner, endlessly
Waiting, painfully real in boots
And a weary air of wistfulness.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Dragonflies in the snow?

Finely balanced, like weights on a bar,
July, is poised between the end of hard slog
And the beckoning of freedom, space,
Adventure.
A parcel arrives, round and bulky
Unexpected, intriguing, from 'Will'.
Wondrous goodies tumble out, defying diet,
A few pages of Glastonbury technical directions,
Tucked between, so useful as writing paper:
Secret Santa has delivered his bounty.
"For last Christmas or next?" asks a friend.
Reindeer, sleigh and a bulging bag in July,
Time is pleated like a fan.
The adventure has begun.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Levissi (Kayakoy)


In 1923 the new country of Turkey had been created. Greeks living there were expelled as they were no longer welcome despite having lived side by side with the Turkish Muslims there  for generations.
The town of Levissi (Greek name) Kayakoy (Turkish name) is now a ghost town following the 'repatriation' of the Greeks. Turks however did not want to live there so the ruins have become a haunting reminder of this forced Diaspora of people.

Last Day
The guitars have strummed all night,
not in lament but defiance. We will enjoy,
though our souls are being torn apart;
we will sing and dance, and not think.
The war had been hard and we'd lost,
lost far more than a war, and tomorrow
we will pay the price. The rhythms
grow faster, silhouettes swirl, people
burning away their hurt and pain with dancing.
Oozo is not enough.
Around us the buildings of our lives 
have been emptied, packed, things chosen
rejected, re chosen, crammed in  but 
we can take only what we can carry.
Our pitiful packs cannot contain us, our community,
our Greek lives in a country now called Turkey.
We are Greeks and tomorrow begins 
our forced march to a land where 
we will be known as Turks.
Our gardens will grow unkempt,
brambles choke and weeds devour them,
but inside ourselves, the flowers and herbs
will smell sweeter and bloom with greater joy
than ever reality could produce.
Now however, Deportation, is our truth.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Dorset Coast


Coastal path

Yesterday there was a pilgrimage
From Golden Cap to Lyme: we missed it.
We walked the route anyway, puffing 
Up hills, loving the summits, treading
Carefully down, striding the flat and
Counting flowers- 33 species,
But always watching the silver sea.
God was not forgotten, he was there
In every glance and pause for wonder.



  
Brilliance
Night was falling fast
The cliffs were looming
Dark, when suddenly
One section glowed warm
Orange: the lost sun's
Dying rays brought glory.
For a few moments
It transcended all.







St Gabriel's Chapel

An outline of what was, once, remains:
Four stubby walls, open to the sky
A Gothic doorway, with cows beyond.
There's little for the imagination: 
A small church whose congregation 
Are long unremembered. Only faith
Finds God here now, but old prayers
- and new- keep the space holy.









Charmouth

The sea is petulant tonight:
Crashing and bashing the beach
Trying to claw back attention
From 'eyes down' fossil hunters.
Their attention is not on tides
But transfixed on the lump of rock
Which might produce treasure. The chip,
Chip of hammer on stone rivals
The waves, counterpointing its smacks
And slow withdrawal over shale.
Their thrust is to find, hold and have
Proof of millions of years old, life.
The sea is irrelevant to them.




'Don't climb: unsafe cliffs'.
Two prats ignore signs, get stuck,
The life boat is called.