Desist; a ghazal

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*

Shatter glass, spit out your bay, desist

Lustful dogs who bark and bay, desist

Cold as silver shadows list on stone

Sun’s last ray and heat of day desist

Oracles insist, and dead men know

Luck and fickle lovers may desist

Words upon the wind; I told you this

Take your magic, walk away, desist

Time to reap the harvest you have sown

Silence, let your mournful lay desist

Scry no more, lest death thy mirror kiss

Havoc, all the angels say, desist

Madness, this, to love by will alone

Yield the ghost, Felicia; pray desist!

*

© Gail Foster 2016

 

The Mystery of Love; for Olly Michael Lancaster

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I wrote this poem for my friend Mike Hopkinson’s little grandson Olly,

who will be three at the end of August

*

I am Olly Michael Lancaster, a special little lad

I love my brother Ryan, and I love my Mum and Dad

I love my funny Grandad, and I love my Nanna Sue

And we all love each other, like all happy families do

I like a little tickle, and a cuddle, and a rub

I like the feel of water when I’m floating in the tub

I like to giggle in the car when Grandad’s house is near

And I like it when you brush my face, and when you stroke my ear

I know you by your kindness, and I know you by your smell

I know you when you’re far away, and when you’re near as well

I know you by the way your pattern weaves within my heart

And I know that we are children who can only know in part

Oh, show me all the colours of the earth and sea and sky

Show me bright and pretty lights, and all the birds that fly

Show me shining mirrors that reflect my smiling face

And I shall show a mystery, and you shall see my grace

Oh, tell me tales of happiness, and joy, and fairy lands

Tell me funny nursery rhymes, and hold my little hands

Tell me all the stories that your Mum and Granny heard

And tell me all the wisdom of the world within a word

Oh, teach me about flowers, about butterflies, and bees

Teach me how the blossoms change to fruit upon the trees

Teach me of the moon and stars that twinkle high above

And I shall teach you with my life the secret lore of love

For I am yours, and you are mine, and all of us are one

I am the light in darkness and the shadow of the sun

I come to show and tell and teach the truth the ancients knew

I am Olly Michael Lancaster, and I love you

*

© Gail Foster 2016

Beautiful Bitches (I See You, Girl); for Sarah Cox

Sarah Cox

*

I see you, girl, with your lovely face

Your painted lips, and your fiery grace

Scorching the earth with the steps you trace

Oh how we shine, how we shine

I see you girl, with your heart undressed

By pain of joy and sorrow blessed

All glory, and all sin confessed

Oh how we love, how we love

I see you girl, with the tear in your eye

Falling like sun in the rain from the sky

I see you girl, I hear your cry

Oh how we weep, how we weep

I see you girl, we are beautiful bitches

Mischievous muses, and angelic witches

And ours is the earth and all its riches

Oh how we burn, how we burn

*

© Gail Foster 2016

(photo courtesy of Sarah Cox)

Mercy; a sonnet

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*

Is this then all there is now, only me

And all there is now left for me to do

Cry ‘mercy’ to the unforgiving sea

And bury all the love I had for you

Beneath the sorry roses in the shade

Of yew trees, in the graveyard, by the wall

Let tenderness and fondest feelings fade

Until the day there is no you at all

Within my mirror, only empty sky

And tumbleweed across the arid ground

No answer to the question of my cry

Just silence; oh my love, in you I found

A heat too sweet and gentle to forget

Have mercy on me, love, don’t leave me yet

*

© Gail Foster 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guilt and Shame in the Market Place

*

The sun bore down on the Market Cross, where Guilt and Shame were sat

Guilt was clad in a penitent’s rags, and Shame wore a dunce’s hat

The steps were strewn with sticks and stones, and faggots had been lit

And smoke rose up to the pinnacles where shadows of psychopomps sit

“It was you,” said Guilt to Shame, “‘twas you, that brought us to this place”

Shame hung her head as her cheek bled red from the whip of the flame on her face

“‘Tis maybe true,” said she to Guilt, “for I was ever this

Destined to burn in the Market Place for the sake of a stolen kiss”

Guilt fell silent, angry tongues flicking ire in the light of his eye

“‘Twas you as well, my love,” she said, “who brought us here to die”

Then she fell silent too, as snakes of flame hissed in her hair

And the stench of smoking human flesh pervaded the summer air

Above the Cross the sun bore down, and the wheels of justice turned

Guilt and Shame in the Market Place; by terrible passion burned

© Gail Foster 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Racist Bloke

*

I had a racist boyfriend once, we’ll call him ‘Racist Bloke’

I dealt with the whole ‘racist thing’ by making it a joke

I used to call him out on it, and then I just gave in

Discarding my morality like fag ends in the bin

“Never argue with a bigot” I would laugh, and make the tea

“I’m not a racist” he would say “it’s witty parody”

It just got worse and worse, until we couldn’t watch the news

“Dirty Muslims this,” he’d say, “those filthy effing Jews”

I’d leave the telly off in case the sight of one black face

Would flush his chain and cause him to start ranting about race

And start blaming all the women who had ever given birth

In the dry and deadly desert, for the failings of the earth

He’d read up on the history of Jews throughout the ages

(it took him quite a while as there were quite a lot of pages)

Liked to rant about the Rothschilds, thought he’d got me with their riches

Expecting me to then agree that Jewish girls were bitches

“Women” he would say, “just shouldn’t have to wear the veil”

As if veil equalled jihad equalled every Muslim male

He was bad enough when sober, but when drunk it was profound

He’d be pissing venom down the pub like urine on the ground

He’d reduce a room to silence, and could empty out a bar

With his verbal racist violence, going further than too far

And then he’d order curry, oh he liked a bit of that

“Hey, did you know Mohammed was from some dark clot begat”

He would say as he was waiting for his naam bread and his bhaji

Like some hungry little Hitler rocking ‘rat arsed and Faragey’

It was painful, and embarrassing, it filled me with dismay

It was always, it was everywhere, and every flippin’ day

And yet really, to be honest, was I not as bad as he

All smug in my self-righteousness “I’m not a racist, me”

Sticking proudly to my principles in public mass debate

Whilst I broke bread with the shit and chose to zone out all his hate

In all that sick scenario ‘twas me that was the joke

I was the girl who sold her soul because she loved a racist bloke

*

© Gail Foster 2016

 

Smoke And Roses Blow

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A Villanelle

*

Beyond the veil where daylight fears to go

Behind a swathe of heavy silken mist

The heady scents of smoke and roses blow

Along the paths that secret lovers know

Are wood and blossom tangled in a tryst

Beyond the veil where daylight fears to go

Within the subtle stream’s beribboned flow

Whirl pools of love and darkness in a twist

The heady scents of smoke and roses blow

The sun sinks in to shadow smooth and slow

Through willing earth too wanton to resist

Beyond the veil where daylight fears to go

On perfumed air a drum beat, soft and low

In perfect time without a rhythm missed

The heady scents of smoke and roses blow

The wild in love the sacred orchards know

Who go to be by passion’s madness kissed

Beyond the veil where daylight fears to go

The heady scents of smoke and roses blow

*

© Gail Foster 2016

The Trickiest Mistress

*

Desire is the trickiest mistress

A strange unpredictable beast

Tickled by fancy and circumstance

Afflicted by famine and feast

A delicate matter to master

An unruly monster to tame

Lightening flash turning wood in to ash

Fickle wind flirting with flame

The shock of a shot in the darkness

Rending the fabric of reason

Twist of the moon in the bloodstream to

The flow of the earth and the season

A flicker of feathers, a furnace

A shaft through a crack in the gloom

A kingfisher flash, and a cymbal clash

Stunning a moth to its doom

The lustre of dew on the morning

The rushing of rain from the heights

Soft light of the haze of a lazy day

The scream of a curse in the night

Dark tryst, with the forces of fury

Sharp wound to the breast of the brave

Tears streaming forth from the altar

In penitence down to the grave

A hypnotist, haunting the astral

A soul sold for pennies to Death

Dark lies from the lips of a lover

Spake on a sorcerer’s breath

A trickster who picks the wrong moment

A joker who laughs at his joke

The strike of a flint over kindle and lint

Drawing flame from a nuance of smoke

A trigger, a shiver, a whip crack

As swift as a swallow in flight

A shimmering dust of desire and lust

On a mirror upturned to the light

How it craves for its own consummation

And seeks its own purpose to feed

A bottomless well that can never be full

A cup all half empty of mead

‘Tis a mare that the Gods cannot master

As the wildness of wind in a tree

A force as elusive to harness

As the unbridled waves of the sea

Desire is the triskiest mistress

The riskiest creature to catch

For there in her eyes and the cleft of her thighs

May morality meet with its match

*

© Gail Foster 2016

 

The Last Dark Magic of the Keys

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The time is now, you said, let it be done

I come to cause you one last piece of pain

You chose a day in summer when the rain

Fell soft upon the road like private tears

To work the last dark magic of the keys

There was a time, and not so long ago

I held your key like Smegal held the Ring

As if the holding of it meant some thing

Some plastic crucifix, some rabbit’s foot

Some lucky anchor in the wild seas

The time has come, you say, for you and me

To stand before each other one more time

In some symbolic moment quite sublime

Where I shall fall before you like the rain

Like some dead broken rose, upon my knees

There was a time, not very long ago

You had the key to me, and to my door

But all your rights to me you have forswore

And I shall fain deny you this last wish

To see my tears, and your dark purpose please

For now the time is mine, so come, and go

Come find your key beneath my Welcome mat

Beneath a grey rock under gaslight sat

Before a door forever locked to thee

For I have for mine own heart mine own key

*

© Gail Foster 2016

 

The Return of the Gay Knight

For my friends in the BM, and for Will; a fairy tale

*

To a fanfare of horns

The young knight returned

With a tale of slain dragons to tell

The princesses blushed

And the old queen flushed

And the gay knights were happy as well

He had cast down his cross

From the height of his hoss

And left the thing there where it fell

For the great and the good

Were in need of the wood

To stoke up the fires of hell

He’d only been back for a moment before

He was begging a poke with a pardon

And a giggle, and “Push!”

From a quivering bush

Could be heard from the end of the garden

No need for a graven memorial stone

Or the ring of a funeral bell

The young knight was back

And well up for the crack

And all in the kingdom was well

*

© Gail Foster 2016