By Colin Butcher
I first began to write poetry way back in the 1970’s, when as a scruffy long-haired teenager, I was introduced to Thom Gunn, Ted Hughes, Dylan Thomas, Roger McGough and even John Betjeman, as well as the traditional poets of the romantic age, Tennyson, Barrett, Browning, Keats, Shelley and William Blake, which had
been dunned into me from the age of 7. This new subversive incursion led me to Auden, Masefield, the war poetry of Sassoon, Rupert Brooke, et al and even the new breed of poets, such as the Barrow Poets and Ivor Cutler. This whole miscellany of fresh inspirational “noise” led me to try tentatively to write my own verse. The collection here is from the period, then it was fresh and sparky and naive, with schoolboy errors and a wanton disregard for form and span. However, it is mine and I
offer it “as is”. Some has been amended with obvious spelling errors corrected, but it is 100% me. It’s funny how some of the poems I can remember vividly how they were written and when, others I think, did I do that? What was I thinking?
So here they are; join me a dip into the pool of nostalgia, to the days of carefree living, no mortgage, no children at times even no girlfriend. The days following decimalization, but before the three-day week. Before College, Poly’s and Uni, before work and the weight of the daily grind.
Poem for a book Hello book, I’m back again!
Ready and eager,
Greedily fumbling for you, slipping, “Oh so roughly” inside you.
Dipping, tripping, ringing a passage, flipping a page.
Carelessly bending the binding.
I’m so used to doing it to people.
The poem on a wall
I saw a poem on a wall,
Normally, of course, I wouldn’t notice,
But something made me look.
I tried to imagine who he was, maybe it was a she.
Whoever it was, must have been an exceptional artist.
Now that is real talent; so expertly painted,
It really was.
Perhaps, perhaps it’s a new craze?
Well, it makes a change, it certainly beats
Dear St Peter
My heart gave out on me, last Saturday, yes it must be.
It took quite a while for me to realise, you know how it is?
Anyway, I thought I’d better lie down. Eventually I decided, well what else could I do? Basically, it’s why I’m here, can I come in please?
My own personal raincloud seems to follow me about. No matter where I go, it’s there.
Sometimes I feel like doing something to it. Pull its wooly tail, prod it with a broom, a well aimed rock or two. Oh, I know it wouldn’t work; it’d be back. Probably bringing a couple of friends,
My own personal rainstorm…
Where’s the broom.
Wild windless whirling dog, day, grieves, silently sorrowful for the running cat silent night, playfully rolling the skein of wool earth over endlessly. Suddenly pouncing, night reaches out, clawing day into the agonising might of winter.
Plane screams, dawn flight, skywards into the blue.
Down below, wakes another weekend; rising to another cornflake and toast crunching, football and beer swilling, sing-along Saturday.
And you go to work, and I,
Because it’s Saturday.
Kidnap quiet, the soft pad of latent dawn, steals headlong into the overburdened night.
Flowing, panther soft, around nights comforting cloak.
Noiseless as a burglar, soft as a sunbeam. Dawns token early light slowly glimmers, before bursting loudly into sight.
Sun slowly soft, tracing taught arcs. Safe from astral games. Burning celestial fingers reach with warming flames.
Soft safety, afforded by your breast, leaves me sleeping, catnap quiet, in your presence. Home in my Dreams.
The poetry you give,
Is not the poetry of words.
It is the poetry of your heart.
Seven Weeks Seven weeks tomorrow, my lady sighed, seven whole weeks by your side.
I smile a smile.
Blush a blush.
Taking time, no hurry, no rush.
We sigh a sigh,
I held a hand,
Wandering on in wonderland.
Seven weeks tomorrow, I smile in reply.
Seven whole weeks, you and I.
Life is like a game of chess,
With human souls at stake.
For only two moves remain
And both will lead to mate.
Mirror Mirror Indulging, by reference to none,
Only adds to the pleasure and fun.
But the only way, to really say,
What’s to be said,
in a way, that will not offend,
Can’t be done.
Life below Kelvin
To take a 10p scenic ride,
Across the artic wastes of your mind.
To find a way to explain,
No! To reason.
Satisfy my curiosity,
Settle my doubts.
Can I be the odd one who’s out.
Gripped in a numbing pain,
Life below Kelvin.
I may be fast, but my response is slow,
I wasted time, towed no line.
Still, I was wrong.
My morbid curiosity satisfied.
I’ve travelled across your finite bounds. Explored your inner space.
See, tragedies tear, worn once only, on your face.
Was I really justified in two faced lies?
I accept no blame, I hold no ties.
I respected you, well once upon a time.
A million murmured meanings,
Wrap’d in a sea of time,
Seven separate seasons,
Traveling in a line.
Two trusted tenses,
Repeated line by line.
One twisted mind,
Such a pity it doesn’t rhyme.
Soft sloe-eyed nocturnal star,
Feels a starship glistening by.
Who can tell the thoughts of your Cyclopean eye.
Hypodermic probe, speed of sound, travels parallel to unseen bands.
Inside your soul, a pilot feels for your promised land.
Skipping through the sea of space,
Hydroxyl stream your only trace.
Not for you a stagnant Earth,
Carry your seeds to a new death.
Slowly sliding, heeling, dipping,
See a new moon, orbit gripping.
Tender touch, tacit trembling.
Life’s new dawn is slowly ending.
A thought, a reason.
Just because… I
The painted clown rose to be,
Something we all could see.
But no-one listened at all to me.
For they’d all slipped away.
Nothing happens in Clapham,
But in Montmartre, well
That’s the naughty partre.
I wish to be in gay Paree,
I’m in bed,
Veldt Tiger stood,
Flared nostril seeking, sensing,
Coiled compact, body carefully walking,
Pace amended by eye, alert now.
The final bounce, springs, bringing antelope preying death.
Nurtured now by food, dozes, beside a wide silken stream.
An Elephant wallowed, wading innocent mammoth. Trunk showering cool water. Hide creased and rutted, scoured by time.
Water drips off of the armoured sides. Lumbering through the ooze, back to the bank, hardly disturbing,
The lazy, wrinkled, sleepless crocodile, eyes wide, log-like it slides into the stream, beginning to drift. Daydreaming of;
Straying Gazelle Tender young Wildebeeste
Even now, picking, skyscraper tall,
Succulent immature leaves, joints splayed, smooth coated, then hoofing lightly over the Veldt.
Home sweet Home Stunned silence followed the flow,
Startled statues, faces aglow.
Disbelief first footing without cheer,
The news too garbled, unsound, unclear.
Partisan proud, soft stumbling, the parents numbly gawk,
The lovers wishing they’d gone for a walk.
But now is the hour, the price to pay,
“Mum, Dad, there’s a baby on the way.”
Melancholy moods swept away,
On an oceanless tidal wave,
Brightest day on darkest night,
An insight into the inner light.
The coldness creeping as the gloom
Leaves only a figured room.
Floating motions of the tongue,
seek for the long-lost son.
I think I’ll go on back,
to the land of story time,
To mice and chocolate bars,
Princesses and dragons winged.
This is the way it is,
How it must always be,
I can’t say I want you,
Do you really want me?
You say you’ll give me pleasure, a place to store my trust.
Your life and dreams are like an iron bar,
Dissolving into rust.
Metamorphosis To give it one more try,
To laugh before I cry.
Must I always play to win? Will I sink before I swim?
Metamorphosis, they assured me, can change an identity, but can identity change me?
I smell with tears of rage,
I read, as none, a page.
Is He to blame for me?
Or am I alone justly?
How can I see fair play,
Is a rainbow tuned to A.
They say no tears can lie,
I may laugh, or I may sigh,
Is all Life just a change?
If so, then spread the word,
I trust and I am absurd.
I can only, of desire,
Free my mind
And as all your kind despair,
I dreamed of you,
clothed in a thousand twinkling hues,
Radiant as only you know how.
Swanlike among lesser beings,
That you should turn to me.
I crave but one brief smile,
wish for your very bidding.
Smile, show the birds the reason for song.
I humbly walk behind, your servant, shield and guide.
Thoughts It takes two to decide, but one to lead.
It takes one to fly, but leaves two to grieve.
One plus one is two,
But that’s a dangerous game.
For one plus one adds another one,
Again and again and again.
Wisdom is like insanity,
It seldom follows a pattern.
It’s not civilisations destiny to be a whole,
Merely an interpretation of this.
The price of coal put us on the dole,
The price of bread will leave some dead.
Peace is the salary of life.
For contentment you’ve got to work overtime.
Dawn brings the feeling of truth.
Can it last?
Time will tell,
Let’s dream on,
For what of the world.
Leave them to their own devices.
Love is stronger than society,
And never so base as their coinage.
Almost entirely Friday
Face appeared, eyes wide in the dark.
Haunting her window, preying on the light.
The dying rays, the stray rays, curtained and veiled rays, leering in the shadows.
Slavering in the ink black night.
Gutters down the street, swims past lamplight lagoons of light.
In rusted lust, the voyeur waits alone,
Ultimately a business transaction,
Delivery on cash.
Half a pint and a vodka.
“Just to liven things up eh?”
Something died in the aftermath.
New deals, other lives, more customers,
Futile embarrassment at the fumbled goodbyes.
Dazed by the daylight.
Setting sun memories and an unmade bed, almost a trademark.
“Millions of satisfied customers.”
Makes a great Neon,
“Still no time to lose,”
All’s fare in lust and whores.
Train-ing Inter City Man.
Newspaper broad backside, cramped,
Within the confines of your First Class world.
Smug, among your season ticket cronies.
Snapshots of your Times and Telegraph bred babies,
your privately educated, Eton equal friends and Spain ’74
The suburban Sultan,
Pride of a dozen semi’s.
Among the no hawkers, no circulars, beware of the dog, proud avenues.
Seven AM alarm crashes the bacon and egg, toast munching morning alive.
Pinstriped, bowlered, brolly waving , crumb spatter, train, sprinting, Homo Regularus.
Reveling in your increment impotent mind.
Dream I watch the rain fall fast
Cross the valleys of my mind.
Drifting back to days got e past,
Remembering things I never find.
Chastened by cathedral chimes
I brush past forgotten souls,
Wandering in a land of time,
To find my only goal.
Now watching, now waiting,
Slowly a light Vries.
Tis the morning of my soul
And you, my dawn, arise.
Night Bleak peaks sweep strangely past,
Silent smug, snuggling safe soft.
Crows cawed, cackling, crowing.
Trees tripped, tinkling tapping.
Softly sighing, slowly slipping,
sunken Souls sang of the Night.
The Gift Giving comes from the heart,
Not the purse.
Caring comes from the mind,
But the heart makes it work.
Loving lives in the soul,
For better or for worse.
Neuron Truth, a badge of office, lies behind my mocking gaze.
Sanity answers, satisfied.
I can give no love,
I feel only pain.
Past events, like a conveyor belt,
Pass by, in my mind.
I love, was loved, can love.
Who but my mind knows me?
Will I even lie to you?
If so, I am not worth the basest feeling of care.
Throw me to the furnace of life.
I have grown, will grow.
Because I love?
Only you know, tell me?
Let me into the haven of my mind.
I cry in the pit of my soul.
For lost innocence or lost love?
Who but you can tell,
For I cannot.
Dusty coat, evil eyes,
A bottle will anesthetize.
Just a fag, a gobbing grunt,
Spilled your guts all down your front.
You revolt, you have no care,
Park bench sofa, easy chair.
Lift your soul, a plate of food,
Hide your head, your manners crude.
Lying in a pile so neat,
Lying dead at someone's feet.
Curse this world, for you no care.
Curse those bastards for being there.
Earth Seeker Rambling broken, rotted with age,
A stinking hulk, of incalculable sage.
Once wise, wisest of three,
can I direct you, I cannot see.
Help for you ended ages past.
Help for me comes far too fast.
Seek on seeker, seek thy doom,
Perish, as we must, in your tomb.
Sigh as you slip away.
Sigh for life this earthly day.
For when the seeker finally falls,
Wait for the sound as heaven calls.
The seeker was the one who palls,
The seeker is you, the overlord.
Seagull Seagull, winging skywards, cross my sky.
Tell me, why do oceans sigh?
Do they sigh, as I, for a faraway ghost?
The ghost of my love, for she is many leagues hence.
Electronics, beamed, wired, amplified,
Cannot compare to the natural splendour, heard with my ears, as my eyes gaze faraway towards her.
Seagull, splendour of oceans, compare it thus, to my own serene sea.
The tides of her arms gather and recede,
the waves of her mind, crash in my head.
The deep sea pools of her eyes, reflect her love.
As she nurtures her own sea harvest of dreams.
Smile, sweetly, gently sway,
Sideslipping years pass away.
Dream of the future, so do I.
Dream of a partner, you or I.
A dream harms no one, nor will I,
Let me stay, for you I’d die.
Midnight flight Sadly absurd, the vistas of indulgent Pattened poets, paternal son, henceforth decrees; Pay the Piper, serve the bill. Give your due, as Shelleys ghost quivers.
A winged pigeon carried the sacred burning branch, neither the poet, nor his son, can handle so solitary a duo.
A sense of devastation has entered my room,
since you left this morning. I found your left sock on the floor, your ring and bracelet too. Funny how personal they become.
I keep expecting you, through the door, nightie nestling round your legs. Smiling and bouncing into bed. It’s a pity we don’t… but there you go. It’s something to look forward to.
Remember our holiday conversations, face to face, inquisitive, not a rude thought, or advantage, taken. Mind you… Well you know what I said this morning, well just enough to make you sleepy anyway.
The age of reason
Steps lightly across the river, into the forest of the world.
Tentative ten-toed footsteps, echo into the magma.
Gaily first footing, the error of her ways.
Who’d be a Teacher at Christmas Johnny said, “My Daddies dead, but Santa’s on his way.”
Whatever can I say?
Walks to the door,
“Mum says if I’m good, I’ll get a new daddy one day.
Do you think Santa will bring me one?”
Frowns, rushes off,
”Oh Johnny, Johnny, Santa’s dead too.”
Low sweet songbird sings, high melodic motions.
Touching tender, the sad sunset of the hills.
Passions passed, in splendid gold.
Seasons virtues, all are told.