Watch My Soul For Me

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I wrote this rhyme when I was young, and sometimes I say it to the moon…

*

Glide high, my glimmering crystal moon

Across the mirror of the sea

Mother of water and blood

Watch my soul for me

Curve, pendulum, clock of the night

In your swing, in your sway

In your shadow of light

Watch my soul for me

*

© Gail Foster 1980 something

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The Jester’s Tea Party

Simon Griffiths at The Round Tower, Frome; a poetic review

Images may not be reproduced without the express permission of Simon Griffiths http://www.simonjgriffiths.com

*

I went to The Jester’s Tea Party

In the tower with the winding stair

Frida Kahlo manned the door

And God and the Devil were there

The artist was stood in the shadows

Silently summoning me

To stand with him like a tiny child

At the edge of an innocent sea

He showed me the sadness of circuses

And the violent colours of night

Swept by the brush of his sorrow

Upon canvases heavy with light

He showed me the bones of roses

Strewn on a luminous land

Yama and Dali and Karma and Kali

A heart in a mannequin’s hand

He showed me a skull full of sinister dolls

The ink on a baby’s skin

The wild provocation of beauty

And the unsubtle presence of sin

He showed me unusual clichés

Arranged in original ways

Dudes in the gloom of a glorious doom

Rocking the Ancient of Days

He showed me a girl with an earring

A boy sat alone with a scream

The mischievous mosh of Breughel and Bosch

Through acrylic satirical dream

He showed me the judgement of jesters

The torments of transient lust

The whirling of dervishes whipping up wind

The imprints of pride in the dust

As he showed me his rainbow emotions

His passion, and bright neon grace

Solemn tears came tumbling down

His secret and hidden face

When I asked for the key to his magic

To his powerful mystical prayer

He turned

In silence

And pointed to

The lonely clown on the stair

 …

‘Tis time to face the darkness

The words of the flyer had said

In Simon Griffiths’ art I found

The light of his soul instead

 *

© 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

 

Scatter Me

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Scatter me there where the winds are sweet

To the blue of the sky and the sun’s bright heat

On Oliver’s Camp where the dragon lines meet

Scatter me there on the hill

 

Scatter me there where the waters flow

Where the weeping mourners come and go

Down by The Wharf where the ducklings grow

Scatter me there on the bridge

 

Scatter me there where the earth sees all

When the pond is lit by a moonbeam’s fall

Where the children play and the drunkards brawl

Scatter me there on the green

 

Scatter me there where the griffons play

Where the waters pour the hours away

In the pool of the fountain on Market Day

Scatter me there in the stream

 

Scatter me there with the silent dead

Where ages of souls have been buried and wed

And the angels cavort among coffins of lead

Scatter me there by the church

 

Scatter me there where the townsfolk cried

And strew flowers on the steps when Diana died

On the stair where ’tis said that Ruth Pierce lied

Scatter me there on the cross

 

Scatter me here and leave me be

On every street, under every tree

Until I am dust and memory

Scatter me here where I’m free

 

by Gail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

*

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?

*

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

*

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

*

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’

*

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

*

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

*

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