For the last two years I’ve joined in the #atozchallenge, namely to post every weekday in April using each letter of the alphabet in turn. In 2015 it was places I’d been to, in 2016 it was London themed. This year it is a dictionary of my family, recounting incidents small and large that have taught me lessons down the years, caused me consternation or generally seared themselves into my memory. I hope you enjoy them. To find other bloggers doing the challenge and maybe be inspired yourself, check out the A to Z Blogging Challenge Blog, here.
I write poetry on a few occassions; dad wrote on many. My favourite form is the sonnet. I’ve published a few before on this blog but I thought, at this point in the A to Z to share a few that haven’t seen the light of day before and ask you to decide which you prefer.
If they really believe all this began
With some sort of enormous explosion,
They desperately lack imagination
To have labelled it simply “Big Bang”.
And some of them see no starting place,
No stepping off point for any of us
But rather conceive a continuous
Expansion, spreading through time and space.
And that idea, however well meant
Is flat and devoid of all passion,
Which leaves the way clear for those who are sent
To teach us a different construction.
That one day, long gone, a Devine hand
Fashioned some clay and gave life to man.
I’ve lost years to selfish myopia,
A self-inflicted Miltonian curse;
Ne’er imagined such poetic utopia
When reading Chaucerian verse.
I’ve honoured the Bard from a distance
Whose Marvel’s have Donne me no good;
And Swift has been my resistance
To Keats’s autumnal soul-food.
And when Hopkins near sprung me from prison,
I relapsed and began doubting Dylan.
But, at last, I’ve changed my prescription
Revealing a lost world so rare.
I can now read that famous inscription:
“Look on my works, enjoy: don’t despair.”
Global Warming: The Future’s Hot
His skin is a sticky backed plastic,
One he made earlier. A white
Crust forms, pores oozing their oily mastic,
Like a shield displaying the toiler’s blight.
He bows his head against the drooping sun,
Leans into the teeth of the harsh solar wind;
Effortful tears round his farrowed eyes run,
Each suppurating drop leaving him blind,
False-stepping from trimmed field to tangled Web,
While arrogant man thinks he’s in control;
The future’s a desert, his life-waters ebb,
Jet-glazed, he continues his skills to extol.
For our children the tide will lap them with dust;
Our bequest will be fields we have covered with rust…
A sonnet of acceptance
The hard edged square of a wide open beak
Is the way to acceptance for the eyeless chick;
And the out-partied youth, so in need of sleep
Accepts his bed, candle burnt to the wick.
The ruddy faced vagrant, familiar, alone
Hates taking the coin, but accepts through need.
The guilt-crusted husband, who wants to atone,
Accepts degradation, the price of his greed.
Bashful young suitor, twice married lover,
Each pray for acceptance in plighting their troth.
Just a nod from their significant other
Let’s free the excitement of roué and youth.
Now it’s our turn to be asked to appear
And we shall be there, at 2, never fear.
Improbable arcs, they shape with simple grace,
Higher by far than Herculean gods.
They dive, like salmon, in an old millrace,
Fake scaled, in black, mocking friction and the odds.
Four lycra saddlemen of apocalypse,
Impossibly close till they swoop up high,
While a peacock prepares his triptych blitz,
Both men and gravity does he defy.
Water, earth and air limit simple men,
But those honed gods are made of sterner stuff.
After four toiling years, they reach a point when
Their efforts lift the fog, they’ve done enough
To know what has been their goal all along:
To leap higher, go faster, and be strong.
The hand that guides
Your consoling hand sits light on my sleeve,
A Macavity tap to release me on four;
We set sail, in step, gliding with ease
Past blind spots and honey pots strewn on the floor.
I fumble to catch that elusive toe-tap
Which, if I could, would allow me my head.
You remind me, by way of a quick finger snap,
Of the dangers where taking that path might lead.
I continually try to do it my way,
To give into weakness of flesh and of soul
But you hold the leash tight; I cannot stray
And we remain linked; two parts of one whole.
May it always be thus as we gib and we tack;
You looking forward, my hand at your back.
Lost in Communication
On first meeting, you were an ugly lump:
More than a handful. I had to shout
To be heard. You needed a good thump
To behave. The future? I had my doubts
That you’d make a difference. You began
To absorb my life: names of friends, each love,
You knew my needs. You seduced me as Pan
Captured each victim in the web he wove.
I succumbed as you stayed by my side
A devoted, besotted starry-eyed bride.
I sit now and dream of that point long ago
Before you appeared and I coped all alone;
My struggles were useless, like that of Echo,
And now my life is in hock to my phone