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

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Not In My Name

 

*

I wonder how she feels today

The Muslim girl I spoke to on the bus

The girl who had so many things to say

About how she feels free and safe with us

I wonder if today she feels the same

Dear child of the warm Damascan breeze

Cry God and Allah we are all the same

Not in my name, not in my name, please

*

© Gail Foster 23rd March 2017

Come Rise

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Written for the Gorsedd of the Bards; Avebury, England, Spring 2017

*

Can you feel her in the blood

The turning tides, the shifting of the skies

Or hear her on the wind, or in the cries

Of gulls that wheel above the drying mud

Come rise…

Can you sense her in the urge

Of flames that lick the furze and lambs that leap

Of sap that rushes sudden from the deep

In swirls of sacred water in the surge

Come rise…

Can you feel her in the stone

The ancient fire, the spark of energy

The force that flows through river, rock, and tree

The movement of the marrow in the bone

Come rise…

Can you taste her on the lips

The heady scents of grass and honey wine

Of sun warmed earth and rain on celandine

Upon the tongue, upon the fingertips

Come rise…

Can you feel her in the beat

Of wing on air, of drum, of run of deer

Or see her colours on the hill appear

All blazing bright, alive with pulsing heat

Come rise…

What are you, man, but water through her hand

The winter’s ashes and the summer’s dust

A flick of life and then a flare of lust

Then back into the earth on which you stand

Come rise…

Be still, and feel her raw and naked power

Come forth as lightening, set the trees alight

Set hares to run and horses to take flight

Through alder grove and furrowed field in flower

Come rise…

*

© Gail Foster 18th March 2017

Kittens

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*

I’ve never even touched a man, she said

And now I’m old most likely never will

I’ve never really understood the thrill

Or felt the need to take a man to bed

Perhaps it was the way that I was bred

But just the thought of kissing makes me ill

I may have missed a trick, perhaps, but still

I’ve read, and had my animals instead

A man had loved her once, he came to call

With chocolates, and roses, pink and red

She didn’t like the smell of him at all

And hit him with an axe till he was dead

And put him with the kittens, by the wall

Beside the baby birds, behind the shed

*

© Gail Foster 28th February 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.

Many Mansions; for Sister David Lewis

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Photograph of Sister David Lewis reproduced by kind permission of Scott Coleman

Sister David Lewis taught for many years at St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Devizes in Wiltshire, and will be remembered by many with affection and gratitude. 

*

I’m crying for a Catholic nun

Who once was kind to me

As I sat there in my miniskirt

Bad mother, C of E

“Sister David, the police came round

And battered down the door”

“Well, do you know, my dear,” she said

“I’ve heard that one before”

And she blessed me, without blinking

With a smile on her face

And I knew I was forgiven

Hail Mary, full of grace

And I can hear as clear as day

The words she said to me

“In my father’s house, my dear,

There many mansions be”

*

© Gail Foster 29th December 2016

 

Plump Fruits; for a randy friend

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Ha ha, Girl, you know who you are…

*

I meet her sometimes when I’m walking

She’s as ripe as the fruit in the hedge

Today on the corner, she’s talking

Of the virtues of sex, and of veg

 …

She shows me her favourite carrot

Like a rabbit, she says, oh I see

I’ve read about those in me garret

They look a bit scary to me

My voice gets her all of a flutter

Oh bless her, so randy, but sweet

Like the apples she turns in to butter

And the jam that she makes for a treat

 …

We both prefer men, she’s just flirty

And her light innuendos are fun

Next to her I feel slightly less dirty

And more like a well behaved nun

 …

Oh, she fizzes like sherbet fountains

And no rose be as fresh, or as pink

And as for the plump of her raspberries, well

I’d best leave it there, I think

 *

© Gail Foster 28th October 2016