Not Just Some Other

Not Just Some Other

I am black

I am white

In restful dark

And shining light.

I am yellow

I am red

I am hard at work

And resting in bed.

I am albino

I am brown

I am in grief

I am a clown.

I am in tropic

Or on the tundra

Even in the Land Down Under.

I am in lush forest

And on arid land

I have an open

And a closed hand.

I am a child

I am old

Sometimes I tell stories

Other times I am told.

I am you

And you are me

Together we can all be free.

You are my sister and my brother

Together we are persons

Not just some “Other”.

Simon C.J. Falk 29 November 2020

A Cornish Turn: Charles Causley

Cornish Coast at Lands End, c.2012.

I’m very grateful to Polly at Rocks and Bones for drawing my attention to Charles Causley, a poet from Cornwall. Raised from humble beginnings, this sailor, teacher and poet is quite a chap. We began chatting about Welsh poets. Then, turning to Cornwall, I asked about Cornish poets and Polly sent me Charles Causley’s very fine poem Timothy Winters. It is dreadfully sad and you can find excerpts of Timothy Winters at wikipedia.

Here is a fun one called Colonel Fazackerley Butterworth-Toast.

Colonel Fazackerley Butterworth-Toast
Bought an old castle complete with a ghost,
But someone or other forgot to declare
To Colonel Fazak that the spectre was there.

On the very first evening, while waiting to dine,
The Colonel was taking a fine sherry wine,
When the ghost, with a furious flash and a flare,
Shot out of the chimney and shivered, ‘Beware!’

For the remainder of the poem you can read, listen to, or both, at Poem Hunter. As is often the case, writers become acquainted with other writers. As we see from wikipedia

He was corresponded with well-acquainted with such writers as Siegfried SassoonA. L. RowseSusan HillJack Clemo and Ted Hughes (his closest friend) — and a host of other figures from the literary, publishing and wider cultural spheres around the world, as well the southwest region. In addition to Causley’s poetry dealing with issues of faith, folklore, memory, his wartime experience and its later impact, landscape, travel, friends and family, his poems for children were and remain very popular. He used to say that he could have lived comfortably on the fees paid for the reproduction of ‘Timothy Winters’.

Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath would be known to other poetry fans and I have mentioned Plath before.

It is wonderful to be taken on a poetic pilgrimage to new poets from other lands.

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The Emperor Had No Clothes Then No Mask

The Emperor Had No Clothes Then No Mask

The emperor had no clothes, then

No mask.

Bare necessities

Or not

So it seems.

Strutting stridently

On his

Self-styled stage.

Emperor or jester?

Which side

Of the coin?

Simon C.J. Falk 11 October 2020

Hay Fever Muses

Hay Fever Muses

For all those who know who you are!

Achoo! Achoo!

It’s a sneeze for me and a sneeze for you.

Achoo! Achoo!

No, it isn’t COVID too!

Hay fever, hay fever.

With a sneeze and a wheeze

And a drippy nose

As red as a rose!

Itchy! Itchy!

Eyes and nose and the

Scratching goes all over!

It’s Spring! It’s Spring!

The blossoms bloom

The birds will sing.

And hay fever.

We love our Spring

But our ears do ring

Our eyes then run

When we’re having fun

Achooooo!

Simon C.J. Falk       13 September 2020

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Late Allusions Among Frost and Others

This post is an apology to those who have written splendid comments, thoughtful phrases and lovely sentiments on my blog posts in recent weeks. So sorry to have not replied sooner!

I am very grateful to you all and hope that I have replied to each one. Life has been rather full of late and I was not able to give them the attention they deserve.

Speaking of late, there have been some fabulous poems written that include the theme “late” or something similar. Thanks to poemhunter.com for the excerpts and links.

Here is a excerpt from one of Robert Frost‘s – A Late Walk

I end not far from my going forth
By picking the faded blue
Of the last remaining aster flower
To carry again to you.

Full poem here. Frost is often remembered for A Road Not Taken and Birches. But A Late Walk is splendid too, as is the poem!

Here is a fun one from Rebecca Ryan – I Am Always Late For School

I am always late for school;
The reason why is obvious.
I am always in the pool,
So much, it is obnoxious.

When I don’t get there on time,
The teachers there get mad.
But if I could read and rhyme,
Surely they’d be glad.

The late and great Carl Sandburg wrote some as Poems Done On A Late Night Car. This one is powerful.
NB: it may trigger painful thoughts and feelings for some.

II. USED UP

Lines based on certain regrets that come with rumination
upon the painted faces of women on
North Clark Street, Chicago

Roses,
Red roses,
Crushed
In the rain and wind
Like mouths of women
Beaten by the fists of
Men using them.
O little roses
And broken leaves
And petal wisps:
You that so flung your crimson
To the sun
Only yesterday.

Mary Havran writes of Late Of Love

Love came late
Not shouting
Not leaping
Not looking to move mountains
Only tapping softly on my shoulder
As I tapped away
at my keyboard

Love came late
But bringing with it all
Love ever had to offer
Asking only
For my open heart.

There is much to dwell on “late”. Perhaps it could even be a writing prompt?

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Blood is Thicker Than Water in Thin Places

Blood is Thicker Than Water in Thin Places

For Hans and Dolores

Blood is thicker than water

So they say

Where the blood of lineage

Seeps through

To cells of

Absent

Distant kin

From the same lands

Of the ancestors.

Where the very ground cries

Out to unify.

In what the Celts might

Call thin places

Transcending time

And place

And life

And death

To union.

Our genes

Lead a way

No rational rendering

May dare to say.

So

As a German chef

Is blended in me

As an Irish voice

Finds my familiar ear

Tears flow

At the loss of either.

A parting is felt

As thin places

Pierce

And pierced we are

In the poignancy.

Simon C.J. Falk  1 September 2020

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Featured Poet: W H Auden

downloadImage from poets.org .

As those who have long suffered this blog may be aware, this is primarily about poetry.  I have been remiss in featuring other poets for some time. But, as I led a funeral yesterday, a poem was read. No, not the predictable Emily Dickinson, but W. H. Auden (1907-73). The poem was his well known “Stop the Clocks”.  You can hear it read in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral, here on this youtube clip.

Poets.org tell of Auden’s life as born in York (UK), where his family later moved to Birmingham and Oxford. He was influenced by other poets and had a private collection published in 1928. Well travelled, he also showed interest in protestant theology, play-writing, editing and essay writing. More of his biography can be read at poets.org.

Here is an excerpt from another of his works, As I Walked Out One Evening

‘O look, look in the mirror,
   O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
   Although you cannot bless.

‘O stand, stand at the window
   As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
   With your crooked heart.’

It was late, late in the evening,
   The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
   And the deep river ran on.

More at poets.org.

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Night scene of the Lima River, Ponte de Lima, Portugal.  Taken while walking the Portuguese Camino in 2018.

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Returning Themes – A Pingback Pair

Some recent events and discussions have taken me back to some of poems or yore.

One is about discovering, finding, uncovering, our voice – Finding Your Voice.

The others are about those feeling on the edge, alone, in a physical or personal isolation or separation –  Out On The Pier and The Great Alone.

Don’t get too lost in them.  Best read some happy ones afterward.

Lost Soles?

Vincent Van Gogh did a number of studies on work shoes. He saw the meaning and story behind them.  Even the philosophers, such as Martin Heidegger, would write about it.

This frivolous verse seems light and vague at first. Beyond the humour is more. 

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Lost Soles?

 

Dropped

Discarded or

Lost.

Lost soles

Looking and

Longing

Lingering.

Oh the hide

Of separation!

Past postured parable

Perhaps?

Of the lost soul

Who lost them.

Booty of the bereft

Isolated

In lack

For a place

To pace

Where soles

And souls

May roam free.

 

Simon C.J Falk  27 April 2020

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On the Prospect of Not Celebrating Easter this Year

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On the Prospect of Not Celebrating Easter this Year

Will Christ not rise again

This year

For us?

 

Is he in fact

Still

Dying among us?

In those succumbed

To COVID-19.

 

Or is he

Still

Dead?

Is he in the tomb

With us?

Quarantined from life

Before rising

Infected and decaying

With the virulence

Of toxins?

Of needy-greedy panic

Grabs at shopping shelves?

As panicked voices

Constantly ask questions

What about this?

Or that?

What now?

What now indeed.

 

Will there be no people

As the body of Christ

Holding their candles

Light in the Lord?

Signs that Christ

Has risen

And shines

In us and

Among us?

 

Or are we consigned

To private piety,

In our own place,

So foreign

To genuine faith

That seeks to hold us together

As parts of the body

Of the Risen Lord?

What of this distant,

Isolated,

Seclusion?

Dying alone

In the dark

And waiting

In the tomb?

 

When will we rise?

When shall we hear?

Magdalene’s cry:

“I have seen

The Lord!

And heard his voice!

 

 

Simon C.J. Falk 21 March 2020

 


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