Gareth Southgate

I remember nineteen ninety six
like it was yesterday – the penalty
the way that Gareth kicked the ball and missed
I bet he never thought that day that he
would ever be back in the game again
his name engraved in Lions’ hearts, their
lips aflame with songs of praise, and men
in waistcoat shops, and women swooning where
he might have been. You’ve got to love a man
who wears his pride so modestly, who’s cute
who wears a new suit stylishly, who can
(if dream we dare) bring home the Cup to boot
If on that fateful day he’d walked away
we wouldn’t be here, would we. Let us play.

© Gail Foster 11th July 2018

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The Cynic Speaks of Love

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A Sonnet for Cynics for Valentine’s Day

*

The Cynic speaks of Love; What lie is this

But lust dressed up in silky swathes of lace

In pretty words, and promises of bliss

Come pouting in her petticoats, her face

All flushed with rouge and scarlet on a smile

With kohl around her cold come-hither eyes

Come lie with me, my love, a little while

She’ll say, and pat the bed, and part her thighs

And flash her stocking tops gone all awry

And secret places oh so sweetly blessed

And you’ll believe, the Cynic said, as I

Who once was by her magic so possessed

In Love, when she is nothing but a whore

That’s forty quid, she said, and that’s the door

*

© Gail Foster 14th February 2018

Ceres

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A statue of Ceres watches over Devizes from the top of the Corn Exchange…

*

My name is Ceres, Goddess of the Corn

I stand above the Market Place and stare

With stony face, half dressed, and with a horn

Towards the North, the hill, the over there

I’ve lovely hair, but long the days have passed

When men admired the firmness of my rack

I’m old, and to be fair I can’t be arsed

Once had one’s day is never coming back

I’ve sewn my seed, been fertilised, and borne

My little birds and thrown them to the skies

Seen men come to the Market Cross to mourn

Seen marryings, and mayhem in The Vize

I’m old, but oh I see, from up on high

The secret things, the glory of the sky

*

© Gail Foster 5th January 2018

Burning Angels; Winter Solstice, 2017

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for the Druids of Avebury, and my muse

*

So many kings of old have come to me

At midnight, in the winter, at the still

In crowns of holly, clothed with mystery

Come riding proudly down from yonder hill

With torches flaming, salamander eyes

Ablaze with ancient summers full of lust

And I have had them all within my thighs

And I have turned them all to ice and dust

Except for he who keeps my fires alight

When darkness falls too deep to understand

Who lies with me all winter, till the night

Recedes, and spring returns to seed the land

With him I make, beneath the mistletoe

The burning shapes of angels in the snow

*

© Gail Foster 16th December 2017

Sad Solstice Sonnet

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*

This time last year, at Solstice, love, you came

To lie with me, as ancient lore decrees

We drew the sun to earth, and kindled flame

Between us blessed the flowers and the trees

And I wore poppies in my hair, and you

A crown of acorns proud upon your head

How swiftly round the ring the magic flew

When you and I made Avebury our bed

But that was then, and this is now, today

I come without my power and alone

No sign remains of you, or where we lay

No shadow on the grass or on the stone

Another summer, and another ring

I am no longer Goddess to your King

*

© Gail Foster 16th June 2017

The Light Is Not A Solemn Thing, It Shines

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for Sarah

*

The light is not a solemn thing, it shines

With merry glee and mirthful gentleness

Will not be held a hostage, in confines

Of darkened halls where little ones confess

The sins of fathers that they never chose

Nor be a slave to chapter, scripture, verse

Be boundaried, or fettered in its flows

It is the joy of blessing, not a curse

It isn’t how you said it was.  You lied

I ran, and left your lies behind the door

And here I am, and oh, the light is wide

Mysterious, and infinite, and more

A wildly wilful, free, and feisty thing

I wear a ribbon in my hair, and sing

*

© Gail Foster 26th February 2017

This sonnet was written for my friend Sarah, who left the Plymouth Brethren.  In accordance with the Brethren’s belief in the Doctrine of Separation, those who have left are no longer allowed contact with their friends or families.  In recent years former members have developed the custom of writing their loved ones’ names on yellow ribbons as a symbol of love and remembrance.

Sorrow Weeps For Me

*

In dusty cupboards, far from prying eyes

I hide my dark and private miseries

And dress for town in bright accessories

With reddened lips, and silkly stockinged thighs

And sickly smile, in magical disguise

For there be war to fight on days like these

Dark demons to defeat, and gods to please

And light to draw down from the sullen skies

In dusty cupboards, Sorrow weeps for me

There be no place for cowards in the fray

Nor dark despair, nor moaning misery

To dull my fire and fill me with dismay

Or worse, betray me to the enemy

– I’ll catch you later, Sorrow, I’m away…

*

© Gail Foster 28th January 2017