Interior of tree in Dorset

Poetry with anger and love

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There's only room for a few of my poems below: Kai'ymay People, Half Past Midnight, Pacha Mama laughs and Thorny Afghan Flower. I plan to replace them with others every few months. However, many of my favourites have also been published in my poetry collections "Travels of a Spider" and "Travelling East by Road and Soul". You can find out how to order those by going to my Publications page. Watch this space for details of my next collection, "Gaia's Children - exiled, displaced and lost"

The first Governor of New South Wales remembers the Kai'ymay People

Early days beside the Northern shore,
a happier time, your wading out to meet us,
twenty of you with spears and smiles and courage
(don't think, for certain I did not, of bad intentions)
seeing you stride so boldly through the shallows
rainbowed from waters parting at your waists
and sensing we saw the masters of this shore-line,
your manly bearing such a strong impression -
men meeting men in genuine friendliness -
I gave the name of Manly to this cove.

My mission was first contact, exploration,
to govern convicts and be representing
what I first thought a greatly distant nation.
It soon proved not so distant, close behind us
accelerating shadows, ships brought followers
of Business, State, Religion, each with interests
(but none, I swear, required your swift destruction).
As each fleet came the toll of souls that turned
to me for food, land, justice spiralled upwards;
faster, perhaps, the fuse to your deaths burned.

After, worn out and ill, I sailed for home
a friend wrote he'd designed a residence
to stand on ground above the Manly Cove.
I urged him to be mindful of your needs
but he replied that no-one lives there now
(bitter it was to hear of your demise)
Nothing remains of Kai'ymay on the Northern shore.
Your painted caves now stand untenanted.
And only I remember you, wading the shallows,
laughing as only young and free men can.

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Half Past Midnight

Half past midnight,
where are you going to, my love,
my little one?
Half past midnight
now you are going fast, but where
my darling one?
Half the time left
out of our limited supply
has slipped away.
Half the time left
seems to have shrunk a bit in size
as you have done.

Time we should share
trickles away in sighs and tears
and wasted breath.
Time we should love
washes right past my grieving face
towards your death.
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Pacha Mama laughs

As the wheel of the world turned
the river of stars across the sky
came to stand upon the banks
of the river of Earth called Amazon.
Greater and lesser brothers were they
in the sight of Pacha Mama,
equally beloved.

And the moon
was a riding light that swung
from the rigging of a boat uncertain
what kind of river it was sailing on.

Then Pacha Mama laughed:
the aarsh-hish-orth of waters
on the shores of San Cristobal sang
with the aresh-aresh of wavelets
against the black sands of Floreana.

It was night, just before the dawn rush
of a brand new day, still dark enough
for the stars humming to chant the joy
of Pacha Mama and her glory.

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Thorny Afghan Flower

From mountainsides being slowly torn apart
the rare darting thorn of a half-open flower
became embedded in a crevice of my heart.

Dragging your shrapnelled body in a cart
friends begged each hospital in turn until the hour
your inner mountain simply fell apart.

Rose-pink - as blood on stones in Kandahar
mingles with white of icy Helmand showers -
shredded petals are embedded in my heart.

Urging me to make a meaningful new start,
your courage gathers round itself the motive power
of mountainsides being slowly torn apart.

Failed by the system, you vanished from its charts
but not in vain, Afghan sister, thorny flower,
leaving mountainsides being slowly torn apart
your memory lives embedded in my heart.

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