Sunday, October 23, 2011

Women of Poland












Against all odds,
Through hawk filled skies
A pair of homing pigeons fly.

Warsaw draped in swastikas,
The cobbles echoing
To goose-stepping boots,
Camps under construction,
New industries in the making,
Mechanising death.

Life goes on.
In every city, town, village,
Birds flock to the trees,
Codenamed wagtail,
Codenamed owl,
Codenamed sparrow,

Innocent, harmless birds,
Birds with two faces -
Teacher/intelligence officer,
Housewife/arms smuggler,
Countess/nurse,
Factory hand/saboteur,
Schoolgirl/courier.

O lost little sister,
How did you spread your wings?

Who could tell, from this
Sepia-toned studio portrait?
Rigid shoulders, high,
Defiant cheekbones,
Tight lips, the set of her jaw,
Flint in her eyes,
The bitterness, every morning,
Of facing the mirror, seeing
Her own mother glaring back.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Portrait of the Poet
















Portrait by Alan Perry

Dust












The grey jaws of Asbest open wide.
Mile after mile slave miners
Tunnel deep, before dawn breaks,
Long after dusk. Caverns echo
With the tell tale coughs, racking
Their bodies until they drop.
No one notes how many die.

Journey’s conclusion, the end of the line,
The trains disgorge direct into the mines.

A mother’s nimble fingers, and nimbleness
Of mind, a fluency in Russian, a fluency
In lying, a shortage of skilled workers,
The tumblers fall in line. A mother and
Her daughters set to work not
With picks and shovels,
But with thimble, needle, threads,
Fashioning uniforms for the Reds.
Better raw hands than raw lungs
Perishing inside.

71 years later my son played for Wales in the Chess Olympiad in Khantiy Mansisk. He was just fifty kilometres away from the place where his grandmother cheated death.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Parting







Bleak beech wood backdrop,
somewhere east of Warsaw,
unscheduled stop.

The train wheezes to a standstill,
guards, bedraggled Red Army pioneers,
spill onto the trackside, cursing as youths will.

Rifle butts thump on truck walls,
doors slide open, prisoners respond
blinking to their captors’ calls.

A wall of foetid air,
the night’s stinking straw,
no one stops to stare

as the first corpse hits the ground,
not a word is spoken,
all thoughts of it are drowned,

just one more who never made it through the night,
shovelled to one side, left in plain sight,
a reminder of what can happen, or what might.

Some prisoners head for the privacy of trees.
The guards pay no heed.
There is nowhere for anyone to flee.

My grandmother warns her daughters not to stray.
Two cling tightly to her anyway.
What went through the other’s head? Who can say?

Clutching her new found friend by the hand,
she giggled and off, unstoppable, they ran,
oblivious, beyond command.

This was the moment the hawk-eyed pilot chose.
The screaming Stuka stooped, guns ablaze,
scattering a cloud of warning crows.

The guards beat the prisoners back into the train.
The Luftwaffe hero fires again and again.
The gunfire, the screaming, the unbearable pain

Of knowing too late,
as they rumble to safety
two little girls are abandoned to fate.

Back in the forest, the rascals are fine.
They both know where home is -
At the start of the line!

There’s no turning back.
The train’s out of sight.
The two girls turn west to follow the track.

In the gloom of the truck, her face turned to stone,
A mother lies cursing that one child alone,
Praying, for her own sake, that she’s dead and gone.

This is the first in a new series charting where I have come from and telling a story that is long overdue to be told. The picture, taken today, is to celebrate my 64th birthday and that I'm still here to enjoy it!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Now you've gone too far ....








Listen, you can keep your offshore account,
The ‘well-earned’ bonuses you flaunt,
The upper class tarts you mount,
The media empire that you own,
Your eminence grise behind the throne,
Your god given right to rant, rave and moan,
All the judges that you’ve bought and sold,
The Swiss banks that keep you out of the cold,
The teams of surgeons paid to prevent your growing old,
Your mansions in the country, your penthouse flat,
Your Bollinger, foie gras, your rolls of fat,
Safe seat in the Commons, where you’re seldom sat.
Pay attention, you toffee-nosed Tory twat,
I can take all kinds of crap, but not that.
Don’t dare come between us, me and my cat.

This is the extract from Theresa May's speech to the Tory Party Conference
"We all know the stories about the Human Rights Act. The violent drug dealer who cannot be sent home because his daughter – for whom he pays no maintenance – lives here. The robber who cannot be removed because he has a girlfriend. The illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because – and I am not making this up – he had a pet cat."

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Nightfall









Draw near my faithful friend.
Come take my jewelled words.
Their journey nears an end.
The forest throngs with silent birds.

Follow the path, across the hill.
There is no other you can take.
Climb up where the air is still,
High above the shimmering lake.

Follow the kestrel’s sun red wings.
They’ll lead you to the water’s edge.
Tread carefully as he brings
You down to cool slate ledge.

Then swing back your mighty arm.
Aim as you sense my heart begin to swell.
Aim at the centre of the calm
When that moment comes, only you can tell.

Jewels cast away no longer charm..
No need to mark their hiding place.
Now watch a skin of ice begin to form
Memories of a once familiar face.