Lost at Sea

It seems a long time ago that my man boarded ship,

On board that great frigate to sea,

As the months rolled on by I was held in the grip

Of despair, ’twas a long way to china for Tea.

 

Those early days shortly after he left

When I could still feel each and every kiss,

I could never have thought I would feel so bereft,

Nor how much he would be missed.

 

His face still shone brightly each night in my dreams

And I shuddered with wanton desire,

We could look at the same moon whilst he was sea,

As I sat and felt lost by the fire.

 

Through the day my feet wandered the pathways of home

Those streets which bustled with life,

I counted down the days until he would come home;

‘Til the day he could make me his wife.

 

Each day by the harbour I would stop and pause

And watch as each new ship came in,

The smell of the sea permeated each pore

And such pride would explode from within

 

The depth of my heart, such a feeling of love

I could barely breathe it erupted so strong,

And each night from my window I would look above,

And think of him who had never done me wrong.

 

But as the weeks passed and my loneliness swelled

The whirlpool in my breast could not heal,

Tormented by thoughts of rough, twelve-foot high swells,

The misery I could not conceal.

 

Oh! so much could go wrong and I would never know

Until the homecoming ship docked,

No letter could be sent to my man in the bow

And each worry would make my heart stop.

 

I’d while away the hours as memories poured

To each fond caress and each touch I would cling,

I would busy myself, twicely do each chore,

And of my abject despair I would sing.

 

I would wander those pathways so close to my heart

Those paths we had trodden together,

But yet in the night when I sat in the dark,

I would try to picture him aboard his vessel;

 

Laid in his hammock which would rock and sway,

I would Imagine myself sat astride

His manly form, where we’d made love in the hay

And how he’d held me in arms open wide.

 

Each sensuous touch and each soft caress

Would fill me with yearning once more,

I would remember and moan at how I’d drowned in his kiss

And at how we’d laid naked on the floor.

 

I could not escape; my heart filled with passion,

Unquenched with desire which would burn,

The thought I could loose him would turn my face ashen

And to see him once more I would yearn.

 

But as such ladies know when their man is away

The time will go by on its own,

And so down to the harbour on his homecoming day

The relief in my heart had been sown.

 

I woke in the dawn and made my way to the dock

And there! The frigate was anchored,

In anticipation all those women flocked,

And they chattered with excited banter.

 

Each sailor disembarked and reunions were cried

In a wealth of emotion and tears,

But not for me did it come, those arms opened wide,

My man was not there, as I’d feared.

 

Despair wrought me in two as I collapsed to the floor,

The knees ‘neath me could not hold my weight,

‘Twas then that I new that my man was no more

And oh! How long had I waited for this date?

 

I struggled on home, to keep my grief battened down

Yet once through my door the torrent broke,

Ne’er again would he walk through this town,

What ever would I do without my bloke?

 

For three solid days I cried and I wailed

And all food that was brought; went without,

Ne’er again would I look at a ship as it sailed,

And was constantly overcome by loves drought.

 

So I sat in my grief and could not go on,

‘Til at my door was a tentative knock,

It was my man! Oh! how I’d been wrong,

Seems he’d thought to get off at an earlier dock;

 

At Portsmouth he had boarded a train;

To arrive early my surprise,

But he couldn’t know t’would be in vain

For there had been a delay on the line.

 

I smothered him with kisses and cried tears of relief,

My heart was now whole once more,

No more will he go to sea, for the thought of my grief,

Was enough for him to now stay indoors.

 

What did I do?

If you ask that Airman what he did in the war,
All he would say is “nothing at all,
I missed it all, got there after the fight,”
Yet did he ever know he saved one little girls life?

All he did was dole out the aid of some water,
After all, he got there after the slaughter,
Yet the decaying carcasses of buildings half torn
In the transmontane rubble still lay limbs half shorn,

The shattered backbone of staircases ripped from each empty shell,
The half-eaten destruction of buildings which fell
Domineer the landscape, now broken beyond recognition,
In that unjust war for the extremists attrition.

The refugee camp where thousands displaced,
O’errun with effluent and foul stinking waste;
Crammed like small fishes into a tin dish,
Foul creatures once human now scavenge and pick

In vulturic fashion; a hope to survive—
Those once proud families now hopelessly deprived
Of the most basic comforts; food, and a warm bed,
Lost, all sense of propriety as they pick through the dead.

That little girl was so aged beyond doubt,
Feeble and weak, thousands hit by drought;
Water was life and could not be found,
Unless the Royal Air Force brought it in-bound.

Men who despised the free western culture
Stockpiled and hoarded, their people now vultures,
The incomprehensible regime in the name of Allah,
Those treacherous militants whose retribution would holler;

Their religion a tool when used in the extreme,
Where evil men triumphed, their persecution obscene,
No thought at all of the loathsome extermination
Of those mothers and children of their own proud nation.

So when is religion excuse for a just war?
When should someone’s opinion be loathed and abhorred?
Are we not all entitled to freedom of speech?
Are we not all entitled to hold our own beliefs?

For that little girl ’twas beyond understanding,
Dehydrated and starved, her insides were cramping
As her body craved the most simple of fuel—
Just bread and water; the deprivation cruel.

She made her way out to the post set for aid;
Walked miles in the dust for the water they craved,
And yet, when she got there the crowds were immense—
How could she ever hope to get the aid they dispensed?

Trampled and pushed she got lost underfoot,
Bloodied and bruised, filled with scratches and cuts,
Out of the dark her eyes blinded by tears;
Old before her time, aged beyond her years;

She resolved to give up, too tiny for hope,
If she could just find her feet, now lost in the smoke
Of the strayed R.P.G. which had missed its target,
The only chance for survival to pay through the black market;

But that was for people who had something to trade,
Not such as her, who was such a young age.
O’erhead came a crack and a loud screeching wail,
The loud crack of gunshots and bullets which hailed

Down a rain of shrapnel on all in its path,
Then, in the brief eerie silence of the aftermath;
She was swept off her feet—picked up by strong arms,
Cradled with care so she was safe from harm.

The R.A.F. Flight Lieutenant had scooped her up,
Dusted her off and gave of her water to sup,
No words could be spoken, their barrier their language,
Yet he held no prejudice ‘gainst the innocent in carnage.

He made sure she was safe, that her wounds were dressed,
His compassion was pure in her moment of distress.
Then his job was done, he simply went on his way,
Aft’ he gave her her ration of aid for the day.

And so years later, she never crossed his mind,
He’d just done his duty as he was inclined,
He went on with his life, for he was nothing special,
He just tried to be good and live on the level.

Many years later he decided to revisit
After he had travelled the world aboard a great ship;
Sat hot in the sun of a newly built plaza
He remembered in hindsight the destruction of Gaza.

Over a pleasant hour sat out in the sun,
The feeling of being watched he could not overcome,
A beautiful woman came and sat by his side,
Her outpouring of thanks never affected his pride.

For that little girl had gone on to grow up,
She became the woman who now refilled his cup.
Embarrassed by her thanks and her words filled with joy,
He could not remember the girl and he sat there all coy.

So just remember all you good men abroad,
Who ‘just do your job’ and think you are flawed;
‘Thank You’ is just two words oft’ misunderstood,
But to protect the innocent? You are undoubtedly good.

Untopia

The unworld, birthed in an explosion of sin,

The monstrous dwelling of beings contained therein

Feed on the gluttony of execrable waste

A congealed mass writhes in slumbering disgrace.

 

A red desert wasteland studded with oblique remains,

In its vastness ensures none seek travel to gain

Entrance to the despicable home of the Wrythe,

Vexed in its mien and unpredictably sly.

 

No warmth can encompass the cold desert land

Striated and tigered the red and black sand,

The Wrythe slithers its journey from nest to nest

Eating the young where the adults have left

 

On their own perilous journey for want of victuals,

Whilst others are slaughtered in unpurposed ritual

And then with the descension of stygian night,

So begins again the survival fight.

 

The wheel will still turn on the declivitous shore,

For the actions of us feed the sin through the floor,

Into the bowels of that hellish wasteland

The depth of our sin feeds all ‘neath the sand.

 

Stick or Twist?

As Grandma read my misfortune

The deck spread in macabre array,

She asked again with the last card

“Stick or Twist? Tis your display.”

Shaking, I shook my head and declined.

 

Perhaps I should start at the beginning;

What should have been a congenial afternoon,

Soon took on a twisted imputation,

And left me appalled, festooned

In drowning fear.

 

We made tea; steeped potent leaves,

We planned to take it on the porch,

The heavens poured and all asunder

Ran from the torrent as it surged;

Now consigned to a dark sojourn indoors,

 

Grandma took out the pack of cards

And laid them on the table,

Ominously I eyed the deck,

My Grandma’s beloved staple;

She read the tarot.

 

“You play Pontoon?” She asked with fervour,

Her eyes shone their wicked glow,

I sighed in relief, Tis only a game

One I had a long time since outgrown,

She shuffled expertly and dealt two cards.

 

“The first must stay, it can’t be changed,

Yet the second can be usurped,

Tis but your choice,” she paused and watched

My face, as the first card she upturned,

Before proceeding with the rules.

 

 “Four hands I’ll deal as is the way,

For each seasonal equinox of the moon,

Listen to what each reading says,”

My Grandma, the Tarot Tycoon,

Looked so serious, I laughed.

 

She slapped her open palm down hard,

And tea spilled from her cup,

“Tis not a game, it’s started now,

And must be finished, you can’t give up.”

Sternly she continued to deal eight cards.

 

In pairs of two and four along

Faded blue backs the face,

I looked upon the seven of diamonds

And waited to hear my fate,

As she sucked her breath through her teeth;

 

“Thhsss,” she spat and warily

She overturned the second

The Four of Spades

She spat again, portentously she beckoned;

“Stick or Twist?”

 

Bent over in the poor twilight

She looked withered, gnarled and cruel,

“Twist,” I sighed, I must go on

Or else face a crippling duel

Of wills, I was bound to loose.

 

She pushed the deck across to me

From within I chose the next,

The three of hearts I folded back

In my eldritch fortune quest,

And waited for the interpretation.

 

“These cards… not good, they are a warning

Against uncharitable tongues,

Someone with no prudence or tact,

You must watch or their mouth will run.”

Was that a look a fear which crossed her face?

 

 

The next card she flipped, the Queen of spades,

The widow, dressed in black,

“This woman will cause you many ills,

Malicious, unscrupulous, and lack

Of any affection other than for themselves.”

 

A diamond nine, the fourth she turned

As I watched her face for any sign,

“Stick or twist?” she enquired again,

And I chose to twist this time,

If it had been Pontoon I would have stuck with Nineteen.

 

“Another warning,” she frowned and scowled

Her wrinkled lips puckered in a pout,

“A misconceived enterprise my dear,

If you can you should get out.”

Hand hovering she moved on to the next.

 

Another seven she overturned

This time the suite was hearts,

“An enemy lies in your midst,

A faithless friend whose art

Lies in misdirection and conniving.”

 

As she turned the ten of spades

The sixth card in my spread,

Her glaucomad orb began to weep,

And the black card I thought was death,

Though not, it still wasn’t good.

 

“Tell me, you still seeing that boy?

The one from the wrong side of’t sheets?

This card is evil imprisonment

And shortly the judge he’ll meet.”

The seventh she turned,

 

The King of diamonds, caught in red,

“A fair man vindictive in mien,

Tell me, does he have a violent temper,

One you keep unseen

To the rest of us? How long have you been hiding him?

 

Stick or twist?” Her voice now cracked

As I looked at the ace of clubs,

That cruel upturned impaled heart

I thought was no omen of good,

“Twist again please Grandma.”

 

“You should have kept that card you know,

A sign of wealth and a peaceful house,”

I held my hand to stray the turn

But she grasped at my thin blouse,

“Too late, take your pick.”

 

I chose my last card filled with unease

For Grandma had spoken true,

The fair man he was beating me

I thought I’d kept secret, what else could I do?

“Oh my. The impaled deuce.”

 

The two of spades stared up at us,

And Grandma filled with grief

Swept every card from the top of the table

And would give no explanation nor brief.

“Grandma what’s wrong?”

 

“Nothing.” She barked as she took herself off

And tried to busy in the kitchen,

“Grandma, won’t you speak to me?”

I asked “Not even a smidgen?”

Carrying our empty teacups.

 

“Tis death that card, the only one in the pack,

The removal of a loved one from life,

But given the rest of your tarot dear

I fear yours will be filled with strife.”

She never made me do the tarot again.

 

I hear you ask, was any of it true?

Or was it just an old woman’s game?

Oh yes it was true, each card I played

And my fair man still beat me all the same

Until one day I fought back.

 

And fighting back did me no good

Even though he now resides in a cell,

For do you know just what he did,

My husband the ne’er do well?

He strangled the life out of me.

 

A friend of mine in a jealous rage

Had complained to his mother

A widow, who praised her only son

Was told I’d been seeing another

Man, whilst he was off sleeping with my friend.

 

And now my apparitive state

Fades its ghostly wane

In sight of my poor Grandma,

Who never read the tarot again.

But she always knows when I am near.

 

Waiting

The shining sovereign star

Gleams upon her proud breast,

Serene in the face of

Unsurmountable fate.

Whispered conversations murmur,

Caught in the muggy breeze,

And yet, hope everlasting

Still gleams in the eyes of her children.

As her clock strikes its end,

Out of time, out of sync

With the rest of her kin,

She sees what we cannot;

And goes proudly into the night.

Smokin’ Bunny

 

You ever heard of the Smokin’ Bunny?

You ever seen it smile?

You’d know it if it crossed your path,

It ain’t summat you forget in a while.

 

I first seen the little fucker

At the end of a bakin’ July,

It stopped in my path as I walked  home

And gave me the evil eye.

 

It sat up, ears twitchin’ flies,

As it pulled a choking draw,

It looked me up and down, distaste,

Then yawned its gapin’ maw.

 

Vampiric teeth it gnashed at me

Then floundered into’t field,

Tremblin’ at the omen, sick,

I fled wi summat o’ zeal.

 

For the Smokin’ Bunny’s an albatross

Or so mi Granny allus said,

“If you see the ‘orrible bastard,

It means someone you know’s now dead.”

 

Sombrely I walked on home,

Hair stiff, and drained in fright,

A police car sat outside my door,

As a copper set ‘is fag alight,

 

A trolley trundled out the door

Its black bag neatly piled,

The contents that there were therein

The Smokin’ Bunny’d reviled.

 

T’was our Liz, the copper said

As he ushered me through the door,

And there, broken, by the wall,

My Mam sank to the floor.

 

The ladder overturned its course,

And glass; sharded, viscous, keen,

She’d fallen, had my sister, Liz,

And in doin’ so ruptured her spleen.

 

October then, as we tried to move on

From the loss of my dear sister,

This time t’would be my pooer Dad

As he filled the cars’ demister.

 

That mornin’ I’d done the delivery round

On’t back of’t old milk float,

And whilst slugging down the cool last pint,

The little fucker popped up to gloat!

 

In’t middle of’t path he sat and watched

As he lighted a bent Woodbine;

Smokin’ Bunny, he leered at me,

Flicked ‘is ash at me; who this time?

 

Tremblin’ stood on’t courser edge

I couldn’t move mi feet,

Hair all stiff, in grief augur,

I had never thought to meet

 

The devils advocate once more,

Curlin’ smoke rings he blew

Up into my face, and showed me his tail

As he flipped me off and threw

 

The depleted fag into the scrub

Of unkempt privet hedges,

He sneered and smiled before he waved

Then offered me this pledge;

 

“There’s summat about you I do not like;

The eyes, like an old hunter,

I think we may cross paths a while yet

As I grow restless with my hunger.”

 

So off he hopped into the grass

As I stood there blazing, fumed,

And in that moment I did vow

If another of mine was exhumed

 

From life, by the little beast,

I would seek him all my days

I’d buy a gun and silver bullets

And on his flesh would graze.

 

That’s how it began this quest of mine

To shoot the albatross,

I’d walk my roads, my fields and woods,

So no other may feel the loss,

 

The pain, he brings with each foretoken,

The fear, in the midst of despair,

I vowed if it took me all my days

I’d find the little fuckers lair.

 

Ten year passed, that wa’ back then

And now there’s no-one left,

If it’s the last thing on the earthly plain I do,

I’d put a bullet through his breast.

 

What’s in’t pot? You ask all coy,

Yet you would share this meal,

The woodbine sits still smoulderin’

And his skin lies wet, discarded, peeled.

 

Escape from the Last Chance Saloon

This last chance to redeem his fortune,

‘Fore he fell into abject despair,

His portend rang opportune

His almost empty purse ensnared

 

At rousing card tables, loud with gin,

Roulette, and Black Jack, too,

Now poker the last game of’t evening

In the choking fogged saloon.

 

He played his hands as he supped on gin,

The ladies in whoring prime,

Surprisingly he began to win,

And he wagered more each time.

 

Seeing his unbroken streak

Of luck, and purse now filled,

The landlady with courteous beak

Offered him a creditors bill.

 

He won each hand ’till all were broke

And mused upon his success,

“Please stay the night, we’re honest folk,”

The landlady’s bequest.

 

The other patrons tired and sore

Their heavy losses felt,

The landlady strode ‘cross the floor,

And eyed his money belt.

 

“Come sir, and see what pleasures lie

In the bridal chamber upstairs,”

Her tame expression did not belie

Her intentions, as he was ensnared.

 

He took his pleasure with a blonde,

And satiated, he slept,

‘Till the thought she may abscond

With his money, in fear he almost wept.

 

His purse lay as it was before

Upon the tangled clothing,

He picked his trousers from the floor,

Still tied with fraying string.

 

After such success and spoils

He was famished and starved for food,

His shirt stained and darkly soiled,

Did nought to dampen his mood.

 

Upon return, the bar was closed

And only had three patrons,

Their disposition predisposed

They clasped his hand with elation.

 

The landlady, her beady eye,

Had seen him raise his glass,

She brought the bottle and the jug of rye,

And roasted meat for his repast.

 

Content he ate as the others declined

To join him in his meal,

Drunkenly he tried to recline,

As one offered him a deal.

 

“Us four will play, for stakes so high

You’d do well to guard your life,

For with your winning streak my friend

Beware the oastler’s wife.”

 

He snorted, thoughts of jealousy

Sobered his expression,

“Play your life, not your money,

For we learnt hard this lesson.”

 

They played hands, the landlady brought

Whisky laced with powder,

In his opiated state

He was aware his voice was louder.

 

Soon she retired to her own room,

And left them with the deck,

“Now listen up, before you swoon

And lay decaying in the dreck

 

Of the slaughtered refuse waste

In the back of’t butcher’s yard,

She has eyed you, stayed in haste,

And has laced your whisky hard.

 

She will wait for you to fall

Before she robs you blind,

And then just to top it all

She’ll stab you from behind.

 

All for your purse, t’has swelled with coins,

Her greed knows no submission,

Be warned for we’d not have you join

Our wretched souls contrition.”

 

Blearily he eyed each face

Stark and serious in the dawn,

Of animosity there was no trace

Cept’ for the occasional yawn.

 

Each in turn he tried to regard

As up his spine unease

Crawled ‘neath his skin, heart beating hard,

These cowboy hands displeased.

 

“Even now she waits upon

Her draft to fell you hard,

Believe us when we say abscond

Our you’ll loose more than you bargained at cards.”

 

“What would you know?”

He slurred as though his tongue had swelled in size,

From behind a deadening blow

As he found he could not open his eyes

 

A pain so harsh it caught his breath

As he staggered to his feet,

Still in bed, he feared his death

As he stood proud to meet

 

The enslaught of the screaming banshee

Rushing across his room,

He swung the chair at the snarling landlady

And only now realised his doom.

 

For tied to her garter ‘neath her skirts

Was his overflowing purse,

He touched his head, it sorely hurt,

But was relieved he’d missed his hearse.

 

Woken starkly he still reeled,

Of the other players no trace,

He took back his winnings eyes still peeled,

For the oastlers angry face.

 

He almost fell descending the stairs

Into the barroom down below,

And three fading apparitions

Showed him the way to go.

 

“Good luck my friend I wish you well,

For you escaped our curse,

Go on your way, and you may tell

Of how you nearly lost your purse.”

 

He wandered through the dawns pale light

Grasping his money to his breast,

“T’was a lucky escape I had last night,”

He thanked the heaven’s for the guests

 

Who had suffered before his time,

Before his luck had run,

For they had suffered in their prime

For the money they had won.