Plump Fruits; for a randy friend

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Ha ha, Girl, you know who you are…

*

I meet her sometimes when I’m walking

She’s as ripe as the fruit in the hedge

Today on the corner, she’s talking

Of the virtues of sex, and of veg

 …

She shows me her favourite carrot

Like a rabbit, she says, oh I see

I’ve read about those in me garret

They look a bit scary to me

My voice gets her all of a flutter

Oh bless her, so randy, but sweet

Like the apples she turns in to butter

And the jam that she makes for a treat

 …

We both prefer men, she’s just flirty

And her light innuendos are fun

Next to her I feel slightly less dirty

And more like a well behaved nun

 …

Oh, she fizzes like sherbet fountains

And no rose be as fresh, or as pink

And as for the plump of her raspberries, well

I’d best leave it there, I think

 *

© Gail Foster 28th October 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here, Again; The Autumn Equinox

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This poem was written for the Avebury Gorsedd; 24th September 2016

for everyone who was there, and for those who were not…

*

I’m here, again…

Come riding in, upon the western wave

My hair all wove with golden leaves, my breast

As pale as moonlight on a hidden grave

And all the sins of summer long confessed

I come, again…

In sweeping skirts, with white swan feathers strewn

To brush the summer dust from weary grass

Make ash of aspen, damp the flame of noon

Before the frost freeze water into glass

I bring, to you…

Windfallen apples, berries from the hedge

Long shadows on the barrows, and the chalk

Wild winds to stir the willows and the sedge

And mist, and myth, down every path you walk

I’m here, again…

The promise of the harvest to fulfil

The energy of autumn, streaming through

The swirling springs that spiral round the hill

To drench the land in red and russet hue

I come, again…

Between the longest day and shortest night

To fill the blood and marrow of your bones

With all the orange glory of the light

Before the dark descend upon the stones

I bring, to you…

A cornucopia of ripened fruit

Dark juices of the vine in bottles bright

To nourish soul and body, to transmute

Your thought to dream, your dream to second sight

For I am She…

Am Autumn writ, in every field and tree

Am mistress of the Owl and running Hare

So yield unto my kiss, and blesséd be

And dance with me, oh Druid, if you dare…

 *

@ Gail Foster 23rd September 2016

 

bromham fields

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*

autumn rainbows stripe

vegetable september

across bromham fields;

roundway island, hazed in mist

on a marrow orange sea

wiltshire sunbeams fall

gold on the cockle pickers

green fields, fishermen;

down fruit littered ditches glint

glitter strewn rivers of light

 *

© Gail Foster September 16th 2016

 

All Out For In, Boys; Vote Remain

I’m all out for In, Boys, I’m all out for In

I’ll not consign dear Europe to the bonfire or the bin

We’ve fought too many flippin’ wars to call this thing a day

And isn’t such division just a little bit passé?

We’re a tiny little island, all surrounded by the sea

And the days of the Empire are consigned to history

Let’s not be cast adrift, Boys, in some Captain Pugwash boat

Vote to stay in Europe, Boys, it won’t dry up the moat

What say you?  Immigration?  What, the white ones or the black?

Which ones, which precisely, are you wanting to send back?

The ones who work for naff all cash, in dirt and sweat and mud?

Or the ones who ran from ISIS just to save their children’s blood?

What say you?  Benefits?  Well now, you’d best look in to that

It isn’t quite that easy for them all to get a flat

There’s rules to do with public funds, and residence as well

And doesn’t all that tax evasion leave a nasty smell?

And what about Intelligence, and Military Alliance

Employment, the Economy, and Human Rights compliance?

What will happen if we leave, well, lovely Boys, it won’t be pretty

There’ll be rhetoric on rhetoric, committee on committee

And all of flippin’ Europe will be looking down its nose

“You’re not with us, you’re against us” will be how the anthem goes

And Boris, hey don’t start me off, don’t listen to the bloke

Unless you went to Eton you’re the punchline of his joke

“More Bolly, Boris?”  “Do you know, I don’t mind if I do

Oh dear, I fear I’ve drunk the lot, and now there’s none for you”

And Dave isn’t much better, though he’s talking far more sense

Hey, even Ms Claire Perry’s on the right side of the fence

And what about the Berlin Wall, the night that it came down

You could hear the cheers from Germany from old Devizes Town

We all thought that was progress, some sure sign of evolution

How can leaving Europe be a sensible solution?

And would you trust the Government to sell you a used car?

I’d rather have them supervised by Europe, thank you, ta

So, Votey McVote Face, it’s all down to you

I’m all out for In, Boys, and I hope that you are too

*

© Gail Foster 2016

 

The Work; Summer Solstice, Avebury

Written for the Gorsedd of Caer Abiri, Avebury, Wiltshire;

a Druid rhyme of seven verses

***

Across the land this morn, a roll of light

Gave birth to shadows, cast from chalky hills

The larks ascended, sang away the night

Vibrated sky to waking with their trills

‘Tis Summer; round the circle swirls the breeze

As darkness yields unto the swell of day

As every meadow hums with birds and bees

And scent of elder steals the breath away

This is the time, when earth craves heaven’s kiss

All full of lust, all bursting in its bloom

All lost in heady momentary bliss

Before the fall, and crashing down to doom

Now comes the wren, as if from nowhere blown

Within its beak a lively twig of oak

And suddenly, forth from a door of stone

Springs sacred fire, and wild midsummer smoke

And from within the smoke the King appears

From black stream spilled, the son of mountain high

With shield burnished bright by virgins’ tears

And salamander flame within his eye

Upon his head a crown of acorns sits

He holds a horn of gold from faery lands

Across his face a flick of fear flits

He plants his feet on earth, and solid stands

And She; blue butterflies around her head

Bare breasted, barefoot, riding a white mare

With piercing speedwell eyes to blind the dead

And poppies red all woven in her hair

She rides, in to the circle, on her horse

Dismounts in silence, looks him in the face

Above them both, the sun, stopped in its course

For here is now, and only now, this place

He touches her, he places sword to cup

She speaks some ancient magic without sound

Above their heads the heavens open up

Bright waterfalls of light pour to the ground

She touches him, and fossils shake from sleep

Electric rivers rise with shock and force

To flood the sky with fire from the deep

All light in circuit, flowing back to source

Just now, oh now, now come, now come; now gone

All energy subsides, and colours dim

They rise up from the ground they laid upon

He steps away, and bows, and She to him

A feather from a lark falls gracefully

To land among the flowers where they sat

He fades into the smoke, and so does She

And so The Work is done, and that is that

The wren returns, and sits upon a stone

A holly berry glistens at its feet

It sings a song through all the ages known

A song of earthly bliss, and heaven sweet

For all the Gods are one God, sang the wren

All Goddesses one Goddess, ‘neath one Sun

And we are one another, Gods, and men

As God and Goddess, joined together; One

***

© Gail Foster 2016

 

Franklin the Flag Man; England, Devizes styly

This happened this morning, in Devizes…

Today, in The Vize, there is rain, falling in a warm fine drizzle through the grey of the morn.  As I lock the church and walk to my bicycle I see a man with a flag, by the flag pole at the War Memorial on Long Street.  He is small and elderly, with bright eyes, and is wearing a cap.

I’m interested in watching him put up the flag.  There has been debate on a local Facebook site about the correct way to display it, and I can never remember which way up it goes.  It’s the Sunday after the Queen’s birthday, and there will be a Parade.  I say hello, and he smiles in a friendly manner.  He’s Irish, and could have been a jockey, perhaps.  He’s from the British Legion.  “They call me the Poppy Man” he says.  He’s happy to let me watch, and humours me for my interest.  He shows me the line and the toggle, and explains that the correct way to display the flag is with the broad white band uppermost on the top right.  “Apparently lots of people display it wrong” I say.  “Well, now, that would mean distress” he says, and tells me about how the flag was displayed like that during the Indian Mutiny.

I’m English.  I ‘identify’ as English.  My Great Aunt Betty, who wore a silk turban, was a genealogy enthusiast, and traced my family on my mother’s side back to the twelfth century.  I am related to a strange poetess who lived in a nunnery on the Isle of Man, someone who apprehended Guy Fawkes, and a young bloke who managed to get out of being executed for the Mutiny on the Bounty because he had friends in high places.  We were vicars and ladies-in-waiting.  We ended up being what used to be termed lower middle-class.  My grandad was a clerk.

I am a liberal patriot.  I’m entirely uninterested in sending anyone back to somewhere they may have arrived at from here anyway.  Come and live in my country, by all means, whatever the colour of your skin.  Chances are I’m dimly related to you anyway.  Practice your culture as you will, but don’t compromise mine.  Pay your taxes if you can, and don’t chop up yer daughters.  Understand that, if this is Rome, certain things have to be done as Romans do them.  I’m sorry that you have to do all the dirty badly paid jobs that the English feel are beneath them.  I hate racism.  I love you.  We are one another.

I’m ambivalent about the monarchy, but I respect the Queen.  When she was young, she looked like my Mum.  I don’t want anything bad to happen to the Royal grandchildren.  In my view the Queen is as much responsible for the crimes of history as I am for the Inquisition.  But the wealth is embarrassing, and the Duke of Edinburgh is not my homeboy.

Oh how I love my country, with a passion; every green and rolling hill of it, every church, every tower block, every blade of grass, every hymn on the wind, all the palaces, the pictures, the books of our history, and our circles of stone.  I belt out ‘Jerusalem’ in church like there will be no tomorrow.

Here we are, me and Franklin, at the flag.  He shows me a sheet bend, and chats.  His mother had a sense of humour, he says.  His name is really George, but she had the habit of calling her children by their middle names.  He handles the flag with reverence, paying great care to securing the knots.  He tells me that he takes even more care since once he didn’t secure the flag properly at the bottom, resulting in it flapping inappropriately wildly on the mast.  He tells me about the time all the little crosses, each with the name of one of the Devizes fallen from the first two World Wars, were planted in sand by the Memorial.  He hoists the flag.  It sticks to the mast behind the rope and he shakes it a little to free it.  I wish that I could take a photograph, of Franklin and the flag at the War Memorial, but it is still drizzling on the two of us.

I shake Franklin’s hand, and thank him.  He smiles at me.  Franklin with a ‘i’ and not a ‘y’, I establish.  He walks one way and I walk the other.  But hang on, who is that looming grey figure with a dodgy looking hand-held machine by Franklin’s car?  Franklin has chosen to park on the road by the War Memorial near the zebra crossing, and Community Enforcement Officer WN085 is looking awfully smug.  It’s an ‘immediate issue’, apparently.  He’s too near the zebra crossing, Franklin.  It’s Sunday, just before nine, and there is no-one in sight other than Franklin, WN085 (who has a faint air of Cyborg about him), and me.  I am a strange poet, and I am not happy at all.  “Are you going to give him a ticket?” I ask, striding towards him.  “Yes” says the Cyborg.  He likes his job.  “But he’s putting up the flag for the Parade,” I say, “is there no scope for a warning, in this circumstance?”  WN085 thinks not.  Franklin is still smiling, disguising his frustration admirably even though he is, understandably, slightly miffed.  “It’s OK,” he says to me, “don’t you worry.  I’ve broken the law, and that is that.”  I appeal to WN085 one more time.  The sound of stuff falling on stony ground is deafening.  He won’t be influenced by strange poets, or patriotism.  He wouldn’t know how to climb out of a box, never mind think outside of it.

I know when a battle is worth fighting, and when it isn’t.  I say goodbye to Franklin, and he smiles and gets in his car.  I have enjoyed meeting him, and am grateful for the flag lesson.  I am sorry that he has got a ticket for his pains, but have been blessed to share time with him.  I walk to my bike.

WN085 strides purposefully towards town feeling well pleased with himself.

This, my friends, is England.

© Gail Foster 2016

 

 

Fantasia Lavender Fortescue-Prendergast and the Curious Cocks of Brownsea Island

*

an epic tale of innuendo

*

Fantasia Lavender Fortescue-Prendergast

Philosopher, poet, and muse

Wore Victorian skirts that swept up the dirt

And peculiar button up shoes

Fantasia Lavender Fortescue-Prendergast

Found herself suddenly slighted

Bereft and bemused, and less than amused

And suffering love unrequited

The effect on her verse was dramatic, and worse

‘Twas inspired by horns and baguettes

As hysterical rage seeped through pen to the page

Like some awful poetic Tourettes

Eyebrows were raised as her work was appraised

It was said she was caustic and crude

A potty mouthed tart with a poisonous heart

Who was totally randy and rude

Fantasia Lavender Fortescue-Prendergast

Watched her story unfold with dismay

Watched her petticoats slip as each vulgar quip

Made a whore of her more every day

So she packed up her quill, and pink ink for a thrill

Spare petticoats, perfume and papers

Her smelling salts, eye mask and lavender bags

For random attacks of the vapours

I will go to an island, Fantasia said

I will contemplate beauty, and truth

I will take me a train, travel far, and regain

The lost innocence of my youth

The romance of islands, Fantasia thought

All lost in the shine of the sea

Supernaturally kissed in a glimpse through the mist

How inspiring, how perfect, how me

The day on the train was a bit of a strain

There were some sticky moments with tunnels

And the bit where the guard blew his whistle real hard

Made her tears of mirth flow in runnels

Much to her shame, the boat was the same

Flushed her delicate cheek to a bloom

Oh, the sniggering joys of seamen and buoys

Being tossed on the wave and the spume

The island was lit by a mystical light

And the breezes blew scents warm and heady

Like a virgin, she thought, that has never been caught

Although many had been there already

She started to feel profound and unreal

No man is an island, quoth she

An island’s an island, a man is a man

And neither’s the other one, see

She undid her bonnet, inspired, and on it

Licked her quill and began to create

A verse about loneliness, islands and stuff

Solemnness, sorrow, and fate

It was peaceful and sweet, there were flowers at her feet

And the soft sound of sea through the trees

All became gentleness, sweetness and light

Purity, poetry, ease

For a moment, a moment, Fantasia there

Channelled a serious grace

Although anyone else would have just seen some bird

Looking mad with a gurn on her face

Gone was the gut churning river of smut

That had streamed from her mouth and her pen

I am making a vow, Fantasia said

No more innuendo or men

The universe heard, every well-meaning word

‘Tis the way that the universe works

And God likes a joke, like a mischievous bloke

Who plays practical jokes upon jerks

What sound is that, our Fantasia thought

Absentmindedly watching a deer

Like a low distant grumble, a curious rumble

Got louder, and odder, and near

Suddenly, far in the distance, a herd

Of curious cockerels appeared

Oh my goodness, she said, and reached for the salts

For a sniff’s always good when a-feared

They’re coming, they’re coming, the curious cocks

They’re growing, they’re growing in size

Not surprising as they were much nearer by then

Running swifter than any crow flies

The cocks are upon me, Fantasia cried

Like a rabbit in lamplight she froze

As, eager to play and all puffed in display

They peck, pecked, at her skirts and her toes

They were all shapes and sizes, blue, green and red

Some aggressive, some shy and retiring

Some had a wild beady look in their eyes

And one had no cylinders firing

It was surely a shock, the appearance of cock

In the midst of the island idyll

Ironic in fact in the light of the pact

Fantasia had made with her quill

Fantasia Lavender Fortescue-Prendergast

Suddenly knew what to do

For all that was needed to scare off the cocks

Was the swish of her skirts and a “Boo!”

Growing smaller, and smaller, the curious cocks

Disappeared as fast as they came

‘Twas all quite astounding, Fantasia thought

And the universe reckoned the same

*

Fantasia Lavender Fortescue-Prendergast

Philosopher, poet, and muse

Inspired by the tale of the curious cocks

Penned a verse to surprise and amuse

The wink of the sailor boy on the way back

Made her flush with a blush that was red

There was something about him that floated her boat

“Just call me Fanny” she said

*

by Gail