Poem: ‘Mother & Child’

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Of course
you were always there;
I still see those dark eyes
like warm pools of love,
such intimacy poisoning
nearby attention.
And whilst jealousy
and estrangement
have enmeshed silence
around us ever since —
family is everything,
it’s all we have to
fall back on,
to stand up to those
moving to destroy us.
So mother, I honour you,
archetype in my mind,
fulcrum of my heart:
And may siblings forgive
each other.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

dVerse open link night here

Murder At The Gallery (Tuesday Poetics dVerse)

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It was at the Turner Exhibition.
Hutchings was a quiet lad, for a copper;
he had a passion which no one suspected — and it got him killed.
I took the call and we all piled ’round.
There he was, wrapped up in bubble wrap,
sequestered in the store room
next to ‘Snow Storm’; not one of my favourites.
Someone had taken a scalpel to him,
a right mess he was, poor lad.
When we got to his flat there were art books all over,
though not a morsel in the fridge. Evidently Hutchings —
I shall call him George — used to feed on art.

https://what3words.com/Feed.quiet.copper

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Who Are You? (Flash Fiction) Prosery

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He said his name was Jophar Vorin, that he was looking for his long lost brother. I showed him a map, though it only seemed to confuse him more. “Where was Sakria and Euplar?” he asked. The funny thing was… we truly believed him.

Finally the Berlin authorities took Jophar; we never heard of him again — except in our endless musings ever since. I have to say it, I think the most enlightening speculation was written by you, my dear friend: “We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time.”

Jophar Vorin

Link to prompt

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Lychgates – Signs and Symbols

IMG_1221 (3)

Lychgates, also sometimes called resurrection gates, are a curious English (though not exclusively) phenomenon.

The name derives from the Old English word lych, or lich, meaning body, referring to entrance to the churchyard though which the body of the deceased was carried. This was seen as the beginning of the path towards resurrection by being buried in holy ground.

In medieval times, signs and symbols carried a lot of weight as most of the population were illiterate. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to think that signs and symbols don’t carry as much weight today. We just have to read and understand them.

Poem: Your Kiss

English: A young girl kisses a baby on the cheek.
English: A young girl kisses a baby on the cheek. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)I was unaware

 

I was unaware

of your kiss at first, on forehead

and cheek, maybe even on

my foot – you know, when babies’

feet are cute and pristine, before life

gets too serious and rinds the soul?

Then later, and with equal ignorance, I

noticed your lips, though they’d always

been there. Now the way you walked

and talked

and brushed your hair – suddenly

you were magic! A vision! My lips

against yours, the most natural

avenue in life and love. Then

all too soon, you gave me air

kisses at weddings

and christenings

and funerals, the social graces

that count, their passion sucked

out by convention. And right now

I’m all too aware of

your kiss, on my forehead,

my cheek once more, though you stay

clear of my foot. You realise

that I am slowly leaving, retreating

into soft make-beliefs

of self, sheaths which soothe

the cool airs of emptiness

 

poem © copyright David F. Barker 2013

Poem: The Creative

Enkidu
Enkidu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inspiration is a leech on the
creature of conflict. How much
better it would be if our lives were
merely plain and ordinary, transcending
this light and shade, our existence
reliant only on plucking fruit
from a tree, cupping clean
water from a stream; and that
all my words and lines,
such as they are,
derived solely from love and light.

But we’ve seen to it, you
and me, have decided
to find out and exaggerate
every little nuance we have, to look across
at each other from these
dubious divides with poison eyes, our fixed
minds like two scorpions in a bottle.
And what we can’t steal or bribe or starve
from each other, we will fight for
to the end, till every last
sap of strength and all our blood is gone –
for that sweet taste of victory.

We’ve all spoken these platitudes,
though only seldom act
or relent. Even in our shadowy beginnings
the weary Gilgamesh knew; primeval
battles between dark
and light still raging on inside.
His remorse and grief leap out
at us from figures in dried clay like
they were made today, a reflection
of ourselves, our tears,
the lessons never learned. So,
if you must – go ahead.
Do your worst! Though please
make it your best
and I will write, endlessly

poem © copyright David F. Barker 2013

Poem: Girl with a Cello

cello

In a diamond city night we’re
taxied through floodlit streets

angled snow alabasters old facades
medieval histories beyond all guessing

Flanders is frozen outside this misted glass
the two of us sitting nose to nose

our tongues loosening aperitif smiles
white burgundy cutting through brie

making heads light and cheeks flush
and toe touch toe

Our eyes meet when bare soul strokes calf
kissing slim fingers one by one

plied each day to taut cello strings
sneak previews to plots and suites of night

image and poem © copyright David F. Barker

* sorry, but this is an oldie!

http://millyreynolds.co.uk

Maverick

English: The Milky Way arch emerging from the ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At what point do you realise you’re
not alive? I’ve watched
pedestrian slow to
moribund, the colour
drain away like a leaching wound. Life
without verve is no life at all
and my verve shot away years ago. He left
on this tangental course, a maverick
fired like some devil who may care. Oh,
he’s fine by the way and living it up
in a lush valley somewhere, high
on peyote and painting the tall
arid peaks where
the air is clear and the milky way
whispers sweet nothings
in his ear, the shining girl who
once curved my night sky

poem © copyright Dave Barker 2012

Two Guitars

2guitars

How far could we have pushed it? How far did we
dare? The cold didn’t
hit us so much then and our bones weren’t

the barometers they are now – not
so plainly breaking
down. And time, he was our slow

playground friend casting his long spell,
fooling us to think that
what we had was real.

But a new chord
could send our minds off in tangents to those
places of colour, much better imagined

than experienced. Two guitars, two
minds playing like John
and Paul, though minus their gifts, their

backgrounds; all still ideas
in the ether surrounding, mingling even with
Alexander’s breath, the vapours of many

great men – and
where are they? Great only
in books, and how much

lesser are we?

© poem and image copyright Dave Barker 2012

Poem ‘October’

English: Pumpkins
English: Pumpkins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October comes and suddenly
there’s too much change.
Enough already with trees going bare,

without having to alter clocks
to appease the North
which might not even care.

While some see beauty in decay,
all I find is a reckoning, revenge
in Hallowe’en’s red-eyed stare,

where we fare no better than pigs
fattened and slaughtered,
sentenced for nothing

by callous clowns in wigs.
So I will kick through the leaves,
as is the custom

in my search for a soul,
or a silver-lining in death,
wrapped up like a sausage

against the first icy blast
which blows away all joy
and steals the breath.

© copyright David F. Barker 2012
*First published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, Night Publishing, available at amazon.

Poem ‘Perpendicular’

I’ve been baffled by this talk of
perpendicular, amused by the students
drifting by
in lurid hats and long scarves. Some are arm-
in-arm, quite oblivious to me, their
languid strides taunting
my age.
It’s a peculiar English thing, this style
of architecture,
(I know it hurts you to say) but I pretend
not to care, because my
recall of art history class is minimal
at best, a choice
that perhaps I regret now in these
idle moments,
sitting hunched in this cafe on
the square, bleeding its pasts. Maybe I’m jealous of
these boys, their short-skirted girls
with dark tights going on forever. And that bell,
it has a continental ring; I see
other occupants here, the shadows
of angular men in martial grey, mingling
with the smiles and chat of stylish women. But
now I have to watch you eat, your
gannet-eyes sucking coffee, washing
down the sachertorte you wolf. The mere
thought of those cobbles out there just beyond
this warping glass— you know
they are as hard as the freeze
which grips this place, the tissue of
your frozen heart

© copyright David F. Barker 2012