Too Late For Words

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Oh, when they were alive we never said

The things we say about them now they’re dead

Too far away now, too far gone to hear

Gone, never to return or reappear

Too late to say how much they meant to us

Just hollow words, and funerals, and fuss

And sorry tears, and memories, and pain

And wishing we could see their face again

That gaze exchanged by eyes when last we met

That lingered a split second, we forget

That precious image, vague, so hard to find

In cupboard corners of unconscious mind

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Why didn’t we just tell them they were great

Too late today, too late now, all too late

We had that thought that day, we didn’t call

What if we never called that much at all

Or when we did, droned on and on and on

No chance to listen now they’re dead and gone

And our last words, a blessing or a curse?

A dirty joke or elevating verse?

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And what if it was bad, so very bad

Unreasonably difficult or sad

Too late to shake hands now, forget, forgive

For they have gone and we have stayed to live

To reconcile our difference alone

With icy wind and cold unyielding stone

With questioning, with anger, fear and prayer

And all the time just wishing they were there

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They change us most, our dearest kith and kin

Lay waste the landscapes that we dwell within

Leave shattered palaces in ruined wake

Leave with that part of us they chose to take

Make waves rise up on ponds in silent glades

Blast particles of light through sunken shades

Part oceans with their leaving, break the sky

Leave fish upon the shore line high and dry

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And even those we never thought we knew

The ones we thought were simply passing through

However long the number of their days

Do change us, in small subtle little ways

Make dust prints on the table in the hall

Leave crumbs on plates, and scuff marks on the wall

Blow gentle breezes soft through window crack

That whisper ‘I am never coming back’

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The more we loved the more we miss, the more

We yearn for some strange loophole in the law

Unwilling to concede the battle lost

To pay for love, and ever count the cost

We search in dream, in lonely mountain walk

For one last touch, for one last quiet talk

And briefly, in the corner of our eye

We see them come, and go, and wave goodbye

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At every funeral we stand and swear

That next time we will say how much we care

Say that we love them, call them on the phone

To let them know that they are not alone

And every time we fail and forget

That well intentioned heartfelt course we set

I loved you, did you know that, tell me true?

Unanswered echoes coming back at you

Dark holes within the soul and endless night

Bright angels lost in distant blinding light

The empty vase, the upturned empty chair

Deep lesions of the heart and songs in air

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by Gail

The Tale of the Wobbly Bog

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On the subject of the unwanted water feature down Wobbly Way…

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 Water, water, everywhere

In rushing rivers down the wall

As loud as grand Niagara’s Fall

In to the Wobbly Bog

Pouring, pouring, endlessly

Insistent flow of running streams

Unwanted runnels carved through dreams

Swelling the Wobbly Bog

Soaking, soaking, soggily

The puddle deep, the muddy ground

‘Tis said there was a postman found

Drowned in the Wobbly Bog

Dropping, dropping, gravity

Bleaching brick with scale of lime

On damp of wall the mark of time

Shadows the Wobbly Bog

Gushing, gushing, noisily

Unbalancing the Feng and Shui

No wind to dry the churning sea

Flooding the Wobbly Bog

Madness, madness, sanity

By white noise of incessant drip

Is sunken like a sodden ship

Wrecked in the Wobbly Bog

Misty, misty, spookily

By moonlight come the boggy sprites

With mischief and their tiny lights

Haunting the Wobbly Bog

Wishing, wishing, hopelessly

That some good knight with tool or sword

From Aster or the Water Board

Might conquer the Wobbly Bog

Watching, watching, grumpily

The paint that never dries; dismay

As Wiltshire waters pour away

In to the Wobbly Bog

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by Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satire and The Soul

Kevan Manwaring, in his book The Bardic Handbook, suggests that we

satirise ourselves in order to see how it feels…

 

With satire comes responsibility

Thus spake the bard, regarding cosmic law

‘Tis true that thought and act and speech are free

But heed the truth learned by the bards of yore

What goes around and round will soon return

To that dark human place where it began

And pain shall be the lesson he shall learn

Who points his pen in anger at a man

Lest he forget, we none of us shine bright

That are not sullied by some silent shade

And he who seeks another man to slight

May curse the pen that bore the words he made

For what we see in others, we have known

Some simple human neediness or greed

The weakness we perceive is like our own

Who knows a tree that has not seen a seed

So satirise yourself, so spake the bard

Before you dare another man to mock

And turn upon yourself a light as hard

As that with which you wish a man to shock

Unshadow your shortcomings, write them true

Or fall upon your failings like a sword

For this is what you would to others do

And thine own self hast thine own pen ignored

Now weigh the pain you draw like blood from light

With cut of blade, of swift and vicious pen

Look down upon yourself from lofty height

As you would fain look down on other men

What do you see, but merely flesh and fear

A naked frightened soul that cries for love

All sorrow bound and clothed in darkness drear

With eyes up turned in hope to light above

Have pity, spake the bard, for every word

You wield will have the power to wound or heal

Remember what you here have seen and heard

Think twice before you cause a man to feel

The lacerations of your jagged wit

The schadenfreude of your savage ire

Lest you be made to join him in the pit

Lest you be so consumed in that same fire

He snuffed the candle flame, picked up his book

And left the poet, wise from sorrow shown

An unveiled mirror’s face in which to look

At imperfection that was his alone

 

With satire comes responsibility

For what goes forth returns, of that be sure

And you are that which you in others see

The naked frightened soul the poet saw

 

by Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holding Your Nerve

Well, knock me right down with a feather
It’s true that some faith in whatever
And holding one’s nerve under fire
Can result in the things we require
Being sent to us served on a plate
By God, chance or synchronous fate

So, cross fingers or whisper a prayer
Take small practical steps up the stair
Fret ye not and have hope for the best
And watch time take good care of the rest
Who can say what the future will bring
When we wait for fat ladies to sing

by Gail

 

 

Love and The Art of:

Motorcycle Maintenance

 

 

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Cold and careful hands

Dismantle love’s elements

Methodically

The eye detecting

Fragile fractured copper threads

Dispassionately

Concentrating fire

Melting metal, soldered wire

Mending circuitry

Testing, one, two, three

The current, interrupted

Now set flowing free

How beautifully

Cool flux and hot flame restore

Conductivity

Love’s analogy

Motorcycle maintenance

Electricity

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by Gail

Told You So

A work of poetic fiction 

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He said that he was broken

She told him she was broke

Neither took much notice

When the other person spoke

Far too bl**dy much in love

To weigh the implications

Not much need to forecast then

Future complications

She rationalised the broken thing

He thought that she would change

He thought she would make money

She thought he’d be less strange

You’re not broken, love, she said

And chose a metaphor

You function on most channels

Just not on Radio 4

She’s pretty good in bed, he thought

She’s bright and going far

Shame she’s getting on a bit

And hasn’t got a car

The years went by so quickly

She watched him getting odd

Sometimes he was wonderful

Sometimes a total sod

She had to use a dictionary

To study mental health

He watched with disappointment

Her indifference to wealth

I told you so, he said, and she

Said she had told him too

And both of them remembered

What they had forgot they knew

He really was an odd one

And she didn’t have a dime

And nowt would ever change those things

Not age nor luck nor time

There’s nothing here for me, he thought

Her interest rate is falling

She’s still in social housing

And her prospects are appalling

Love moves mountains, so she thought

I love him sane or mad

She thought that he still loved her too

She really had it bad

In the final conversation

They reviewed the words they’d spoken

How she had told him she was broke

And he said he was broken

I still love you so, she said

He shrugged, his eyes grew dim

With all the faith she had in love

She said these words to him

Take me, love, or leave me

For I always shall be poor…

At that the b*gger got his coat

And walked right out the door

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by Gail

Gnawing Resentment

Some folk never let it lie…

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He gnawed on his resentment

In public and alone

Like a dog he kept on worrying

The marrow from the bone

Till he gave himself an ulcer

Till his teeth got small and stumpy

Till other dogs said, Hang on, Fang

You’re starting to look grumpy

He wouldn’t leave the thing alone

Just wouldn’t let it lie

Time to put the bone down, Fido

Go on, try

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by Gail