Category Archives: Tercets

A Tale of Two Margarets


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I
 

Margaret sips her Tea,
shadowcast in pastel pleated light,
her muddled shoulders warmed
 

by the tasselled Kashmiri shrug;
a ‘gift’ when gifts were
still worth trading.
 

No-one left to fight now;
Bobby, gone hungry
to his tricolor grave,
 

the Argies defeated,
Las Malvinas – pah!
And Arthur and his boys;
 

crepuscular dust,
crushed beneath her
favoured Ferragamos.
 

The fire needs banking up,
she calls for Dennis
but he never comes.
 

II
 

Margaret sips her tea
in the sputtering light
of a saucered candle,
 

her scrawny shoulders
balmed by her grandmother’s
gifted nursing shawl.
 

No-one left to fight for now,
her man gone, his ashes
scattered on Garw’s slag heap.
 

Branded a ‘scab,’ shattered
by hunger and poverty, begging
scraps from neighbours;
 

driven to cross an
unrecoverable line. Just one
of twenty thousand ruined men.
 

The fire needs banking up,
she calls for Bryn
but he never comes.
 
 
 

~ Background information for those not familiar with British political history ~
 

The first Margaret is Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister 1979 – 1990. She was nicknamed the Iron Lady because of her uncompromising political attitude.
 

‘Bobby’ is Bobby Sands the Irish terrorist/political prisoner depending on your point of view on the Northern Ireland situation. He started a hunger strike whilst in prison in 1981 in attempt to regain the rights of paramilitary prisoners. In public she refused to budge and Sands and nine others starved themselves to death for their cause. He was 27 years old. Over 100,000 people lined the route for his funeral and his coffin was draped in the Irish tricolor.
 

In April 1982 Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas) which was occupied by the British. Thatcher’s government sent a naval task force to retake the islands. Argentina surrendered on the 14th of June after the loss of 900 lives, most of them Argentinian. The ‘conflict’ is still not resolved.
 

Thatcher was a driven woman when it came to the trade unions and was determined to crush them. She accused their leaders of undermining parliamentary democracy and economic performance through strike action. The biggest confrontation between Thatcher’s government and the unions was the miners’ strike. In March 1984 the National Coal Board proposed the closure of 20 of the 174 state-owned mines cutting 20,000 jobs. Two thirds of the country’s miners went on strike resulting in nationwide power cuts (which I remember, as will Becky, Alan and Paul). It also resulted in the striking miner’s families living in abject poverty and deprivation and many men gave in under the strain and crossed the picket lines. They were labelled ‘scabs’ by their striking workmates. Thatcher likened her fight with the miners to her fight with Argentina and called them ‘the enemy within’. After a year long strike the miners’ union conceded. 150 coal mines closed in all resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. Many of these were in the Welsh valleys, ripping the hearts out of communities. Decades on the valleys and its people have never recovered – economically or socially.
 
 

1 Comment

Filed under Free Verse, Tercets

Composition


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Point and click if you must,
apertured, cross-process capture,
naïve, fractured pixel weave.
 

Filter out chalybeous hue,
swift remove creeping gentian,
sift periwinkle powder blues.
 

Let alizarin bleed through shades
of melancholic monsoon madder,
choleric carmine, sliced away.
 

Leave only mellow ash blonde blush
lemon chiffon, naples yellow,
soft papaya, stil de grain.
 

Sundrench me in saffron timbre,
lutescent vignette, haloed amber,
incandescent freeze-framed hush.
 
 

1 Comment

Filed under Free Verse, Poetry, Tercets

Dissecting Frogs – L(atex)A(nd)B(ile)


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dissected Frog by Johann Rosenhof
 
 

Nausea lies just beneath
formaldehyde surface tension,
the stink of chemicals, latex and bile
 

violating torpid air. Amphibians
pinned to cheap chipboard;
skin surprisingly un-clammy.
 

Tranquilised, triple-lidded eyes
will not see the midday sun
rippling pond scum
 

or catch the quick swim of pollywogs
as they erupt gelatinous spawn.
Tiny tympani unable to hear
 

the nervous slice of the scalpel
or the greasy ooze of fluids
escaping the obsolete cloaca.
 

Liver, stomach and pancreas,
plump and ripe for removal,
cardiac pump a little harder to find,
 

but it is the minute testicles
that remain elusive, that dodge
the delicate tweezers
 

trembling between pink fingers
until finally located inside
the prone, olive body.
 
 

1 Comment

Filed under Free Verse, Poetry, Tercets

Creosote


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Abandoned; swaddled infant whimpers
in swaying cradle of civilisation,
parents propelled by poverty.
 

Dog-eared drachma dredged up once again,
left to tumble in the dust beneath the dusky
shadow of the impending troika.
 

Shabby-suits roam the poli, past
shuttered shops and clean-picked bins
while outside the city walls
 

the pungent swell of orange, olive
and lemon runs rancid beneath the
suffocating stench of creosoted hopes.
 

A country, peopled by thinkers
and philosophers, pitted, hollowed out
by each callous coal-tarred day.

 
 

Leave a comment

Filed under Free Verse, Poetry, Tercets

Caveat

No need to steal into my room,
the door’s open
and you’re welcome to visit at any time.
 

I’m elsewhere but my scent lingers –
pink pepper and lilacs lacing base tones
of amber patchouli.
 

My shape has shifted,
my absent form leaving a melancholy imprint
on the memory foam mattress
 

and faith has left faint scratches
where I hand-cuffed myself
to the creamy metal spokes of the antique bed.
 

The solid warm-wood chest
belies the mercurial nature of the
diaphanous garments secreted within;
 

slip-stitched silky knickers
sewn with shaky fingers,
invisible, unbreakable thread.
 

You may lift them,
lay them on the purple counterpane
and immerse yourself in their forlorn fantasies
 

but should you attempt to snip at their seams
unpick the hard-earned sutures
that have held together the woman
 

you will be left with disintegrating rags,
tattered remnants of the past,
while the girl you once knew walks away, naked.
 
 

Leave a comment

Filed under Free Verse, Tercets

Tumbleweed

Cloistered, showered,
smothered in smooth-looped luxury
designed to absorb.
 

Chamomile conditioned,
volition lost amongst the numb folds
of a Turkish export.
 

Hiss-spit-shed,
slip out into the drip-drop rain
of a soft-soaped sky.
 

Stride, naked, hoopy frood-like,
across the scarred lawn
for that line-dried scratchy rag
 

its abrasion welcome
if only to feel something
rough enough
 

to slough off
ophidian skin
and watch it blow away.
 
 

1 Comment

Filed under Free Verse, Tercets

Sinkhole

Dreading dawn’s vertigo ache of first-wake light,
sound bite quietude a hushed interlude
as carnassials gnaw at gut.
 

Nausea burns constricted throat,
fingernails scrape at chalk dust entrails
of a dismantled reality.
 

Cotton-sheathed, saline-soaked wretch,
wracked and ruined, slinks back down
into caliginous midden.
 

Though light climbs agile through the blinds,
the damned diurnal will not dredge up
the dregs of fragmented flesh today.
 

2 Comments

Filed under Free Verse, Poetry, Tercets

Lailatul Qadr

Rheumy-eyed, pitted
in the dirt, ignobility
a derelict companion.
 

Defeated, deflated defenders,
soldiers whose only fortune was
to fall on this twenty seventh night.
 

Astaghfar susserates
as those captured as enemies
are released without enmity.

 

~ Lailatul Qadr means the night of honour and dignity. It is one of the most important nights in the muslim calendar and is usually on the 27th night of Ramadan. The night is spent in prayer, one of the most important prayers, Astaghfar, being that of seeking forgiveness. In Libya a group of Gaddafi supporters were captured by the rebels but later released in honour of Lailatul Qadr. It was a symbolic gesture and hopefully one that will lay the groundwork for future peace and unity.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Free Verse, Tercets

Lick

For Marty who turned me on to Billy Collins and for Billy for getting me back on track in the tropics

Most days heat welds words to the page
making it impossible to lift them
and savour their subtleties


exhausted from my daily game
of dodgeball with the sun;
the swaying fronds of palm trees my only friends.


But this morning, after the rain,
laying on my still damp, blue and white stripey sun lounger
with only a pretty pink bikini separating us


Billy’s words dance from the page
with the rhythm of the soft calypso music
drifting up from the beach


and as they drench my parched senses I realise
that their deliciousness is matched only
by the cool coconut milk sliding down my chin.

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry, Tercets

The Door

The bedroom door has always creaked,
though more of a squeak in the early days.
Should have dealt with it then, a bit of tender
 

loving care, a spot of oil here and there
would have gone a long way. Not a problem
in the day, all the noise and bustle,
 

just at night, when the kids are asleep
and quietude creeps that it disturbs.
It’s the hinges you see,
 

been corroding for some time. Rust – just
sneaks up on you from behind, and suddenly
it’s everywhere.

19 Comments

Filed under Free Verse, Tercets