What’s it about for you, then?

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What’s it about for them, then

Loneliness, poverty, pain

Bang of the bailiff at the door

Death in a ditch in the rain

What is it like for the Joneses

Bigger and better you think

Posh port and pigs in blankets

Sick in the kitchen sink

What’s it about for him, then

A clock, and an empty chair

Picture of her on the mantelpiece

Candle smoke curls in the air

What is it like for her, do you think

Hairdo and heels and hurrah

Hampers and champers from Harrods

Packed in to Daddy’s car

What’s it about for the Christians

Return of the sacred child

Under a star in a stable bare

Jesus, meek and mild

What is it like for the Druids, then

Stood in the circle at dawn

Frost on the moss on frozen stone

Lit by the sun reborn

What’s it about for the children

Mysterious, glittery, bright

Hope of a mythic benevolence

Come as a thief in the night

 …

What is it like for us, then

Rushing and spending and stressing

Cursing the souls in the queue at the till

Kissing a friend with a blessing

 …

What will it be like for you, then

What will you will it to be

Riotous ostentation, or

Peace and sweet charity

 …

What it’s about for me is this

One white and holy dove

The silence after the shops have shut

And love

 *

© Gail Foster 3rd December 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fall and Rise; for Phil North

For Phil North, on the occasion of the election of Donald Trump

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Phil North, the Hyperborean

Doth know, as a historian

That kings and empires big and small

All fall and rise, and rise and fall

His studies of the ancient lands

No mere mortal understands

Greeks and Celts and bloody Romans

Dodgy cults and phallic gnomons

Ask a question if you dare

And he will tell you then and there

Dark mysteries of war and men

Of what they did, and why, and when

And show you where it all began

Beyond first cause and fall of man

Where you will find what he has found

Just gyres, turning round and round

And ‘neath the sun no new surprise

All rise and fall, and fall and rise

 *

© Gail Foster 9th November 2016

Glad Eye

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for Steve Doolan

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A man saw a maid, dancing high on a hill

She was wild as the waves of the sea

I’m thinking, he thought, that she’s looking my way

And she sure has a glad eye for me

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?

No, sir, she said, ‘tis a trick of the light

You’re deceived, for I’m looking elsewhere

And ‘tis only by chance that my mischievous glance

Has been caught by your curious stare

 …

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?

 …

How she danced, how she danced, on the top of the hill

How she swirled like a cloud in the blue

Appearing to flirt with a flick of her skirt

And the bat of an eyelash or two

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?

 …

She was here, she was gone, she was there, she was gone

As the moon on the wings of the fay

For a moment, the light, then the fall of the night

Then the smile, then the looking away

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?

Now your man was a no nonsense sensible cove

And time waits for no man, nor he

It was tea-time, and late, so he asked the girl straight

What’s with the glad eye for me?

 …

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?


She stopped for a moment, up high on the hill

And she blushed to the prettiest pink

Why, no sir, she lied, there’s just stuff in my eye

And your man is mistaken in drink

 …

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?


He thought for a minute, there wasn’t much in it

And tea had a finer appeal

So he bid her good day, in a chivalrous way

Doffed his hat, and then turned on his heel

 …

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?


Come back!  she said, ‘Twas all bullshit!  she said

Though my fancy is fickle, ‘tis true

You may take me, or leave me, but better believe me

I so have a glad eye for you

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no?

 …

He thought to himself, she’s a right silly lass

But she sure has a glad eye for me

So he beckoned her down from the top of the hill

And took her back home for some tea

 …

I may do, I might do, but how would ye know

Whether my glad eye’s for you, boy, or no

For truly it’s really quite tricky to tell

Whether your man has a glad eye as well

 *

© Gail Foster 5th October 2016

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strange Simony

 

St. Cuthbert's Island

 

For Good Friday

 

Another man

Another plan

Hung on a

Godforsaken tree

One dread kiss

And then

Was this

Eternal calumny

How bitter

Seems the glitter

Of dark silver

Simony

No shining glory

In this story

Just shame

And death

For all to see

In the daylight

And with hindsight

Could not there

Light and mercy be

For it was writ

This would be it

That all these things

Would come to be

The portrayal

Of his betrayal

Haunts our own

Humanity

No kudos

For poor Judas

Only lonely

Ignominy

 

by Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Me In

 

Knock, knock, who’s there, and art thou friend or foe?

Why knockest thou at this ungodly hour?

I am the Light, whose face and word you know

I bring you sheaves of blossom trees in flower

So many moons have passed since we last met

How shall I know that it is really you?

I am the Light no darkness can forget

I bring you skies of bright and endless blue

Why comest thou, now I am nearly old

With fainting faith and blood flow slow and dry?

I am the Light, returning as foretold

I bring you Life, to raise you true and high

How glad am I, to see you at my door

Come, cast your crazy sunbeams on my floor

 

by Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight Mass; St. John’s

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Church on Christmas Eve

Experience of spirit

Secular delight

Candles flickering

Stirred by one communal breath

Casting bright shadows

The choir whispering

Mournful cadenced melodies

That bless the silence

Drunken folk giggling

Respectfully hiccupping

Noisy chundering

Strange and precious faith

The uninitiated

Wary, questioning

Through agnostic eyes

Such peculiar mystery

Custom, novelty

The truth hides in love

Ancient priests and children know

Its simplicity

The door is opened

Out in to the night The Word

Flies on sacred wings

Midnight Mass; the light

In darkness comprehending

Emptiness with joy

*

by Gail