Friday, 5 May 2017

Guernsey. 1945.

Cold morning dawned over the mirrored sea. There had been no end
to gazing out at blackness, no moon to light the coming
of invaders, no warmth of light to break away the chill.
Eyes searched, bored, from our concrete fortresses.

Secure the islands, we were told. Churchill wants them back,
so buttress, shore up all defences, reinforce the
reinforcement, coerce this once-gentle shoreline to
brace against all comers.  Be ready.

They never came. Instead we, night after week after month,
yearned for our homeland, for beer and sausage; the smiles
of frauleins. Five long years we occupied those ‘dear’ islands,
rocky outcrops adrift mid-Channel.

Morning dawned over the mirrored sea. Soon
our occupation would be over. Starved of all
we needed, liberation would be welcome. Even

for us:  Germans.

Stitches in time

The door yielded gently, catching on the ruffled rug. Memories flew up, dust
dancing in a beam of sun streak.  A patchworked quilt of recollections lay
crumpled on the bed, hues faded. Soft curtains barred the light, muffling thought:
the air, cloaked in kindness, hung soft.

Worn fingers had woven stories in stitches, darns of in and out
throughout the turnaround of time. Creases in her skin spoke of a weft of adventures
athwart the warp of years. Holes in the heft of life, cobbled together by
the innocence of children, made beautiful in gentleness.

Air breathed, dry papery with age. Needles, thread, scissors
Beckoned on the dresser. Neglected rag bag nestled next to embroidery silks
spilling joyously from their box. An invitation: past to present, skill to artist’s

Silence smiled, remembering.

School games

I hurtle, unwilling ball hit with the racquet of contempt. Flying helplessly
towards the past, overtaken by small unkindnesses
I am again a seven year old. Outcast by the playground wall, eying up
confidence with curiosity. Perfect pigtails take wing
in rounds of merriment,

jeers and joking, laughter and lies, merry misery of games without fun
and I play alone. Who talks of the ‘innocence of children’?
Such who do suffer false memory, yet I KNOW.  Set up for mockery,
 humiliation of a tender heart;

wishing invisibility, edging slowly towards cold haven classroom,
I am halted by the sound of my name. She tosses dark hair from honest eyes.

“Would you like one?” Cautiously, I accept a lifetime of friendship.


Unlocking the treasure chest of yesteryear,
Initially, distance creates fondness, the patchwork lying below
indistinct, colours blending happily. Landscape of the mind breathes
with the contentment of time, viewed hazily through a cheerful heart. But then, the Jump
back into the past. Emotions plummet, skydiving towards the mess of memories.

The door yielded gently, catching on the ruffled rug of memory. A
patchworked quilt of recollections lay crumpled on the bed,
hues faded with time. Soft curtains barred the light, muffling thought:
the air, cloaked in kindness, hung soft.

Yet something seemed to stir. Some awful thing lay unmoving,
maleficent, a lacerated fur of innocent creation. Shrieks sparked at dust,
a howling heart left alone among dark conifers. Innocence wept in loss.

“Hush, child of my heart,” came the whisper, “you were not deserted.
Rescue has come: do you not perceive it?” Time had trickled onwards,
tender oil healing mercifully, pouring into wounds and healing scars.

But not enough. That cruel cloak still lurked within the closet, waiting
to be used once more in dreadful daylight. What I longed for
was annihilation of those destructive memories. No awakening. Ever.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

False dismay

There are tiny acts of unconscious unkindness
which pierce the sensitive self.
The unwitting exclusions
the snide remarks
the obvious put-downs
all these are noted, absorbed, built into
the corrupt decaying false image
of who I really am.

Such an edifice
can only be taken down
by the Living Water.
The unrelenting love
which may fiercely flood
washing away flimsy defences
or sometimes trickles gently,
eroding the foundations.
as long as I do not build dams or moats to withstand it.


Friday, 8 July 2016

Departure. Again. August 2014. July 2015. December 2015. July 2016

My face aches with tears
shed in sorrow
unshed in bravery, keeping courage up.

My skin is sore with melancholy
tingling with misery
at the very thought of loss of loved ones.

My eyes are gritty with grief
stinging in a wash of tears
bottled up and stored.

My heart.
My heart is rent, pierced, breaking.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Teachers' Christmas carols...

Away in a classroom, no time for a rest,
A teacher, so weary, still tried her hardest.
The head in her office looked down from her perch
to see her poor staff member left in the lurch.

The teacher is crying, the children run riot
but the head does not notice the distinct lack of quiet.
We love thee, dear headteacher, look down from above
and give us some respite for the sake of our love.

Be near us at breaktime and beg us to stay
working hard in the classroom until the end of the day.
Bless all the dear children in our tender care
by giving us a workload which all will deem fair.

Hark! the little angels sing
"Did we hear the break bell ring?
A piece of cake, and some crisps too
Will keep us going all day through."
Joyful, all you children, rise
Join the queue to eat mince pies;
With the teachers all proclaim:
"Break will never be the same."
Hark! the little angels sing
"We're sure we heard the break bell ring."

Our head, by all the school adored
In her lessons, never bored.
Late she comes, to teach us last:
the afternoon is almost past.
Dressed in her best, a sight to see
she lets us see she is Queen Bee.
Hark! the little angels sing
"We want to see her diamond ring."

Hail! Inspector Ofsted comes
to see if we can do our sums.
Work and strife is all he brings
Flying on discouragement's wings.
Stern he lays his laptop by
Stern he frowns up at the sky
Stern he judges all our work:
"It's plain to see that all have shirked."
Hark! the little angels sing
"We're so glad that you're going."