Poem ‘I could live with it’

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I could live with it,

I mean an endless sun,
sipping cool pina coladas
in bottlegreen shade,
watching boats and glimmers
on the steady seas,
smiling abroad in January
like it was wilting June

Yes, right now I could go for that,
especially in this reluctant spring,
where complaints about drought
are already here.
Hosepipe bans hit headlines
while I watch daffodils being battered
and bowed by sheets of savage rain.
And I’m pestered
by cats attacking bare feet;
like me, they’re already tired
of watching drops clatter on sills.
Unlike me, they resort
to playing hide and seek,
upstairs and then down—
flying all around.
I’m sure they think it’s me
with the weather remote
and today I wish it was

poem © copyright df barker 2012

Poem ‘Weapon Take’

Weapon Take

No rusty blade
ever turns up here,
no shadow of a ship
or bejewelled belt;

no iconic helm
to add credence
to our wounded identity.
Not even signs

of a mystery hillock
rising in hugging mists
to excite or intrigue
those metal detector men.

Merely one vast industrial
scar, scoured of feature,
almost of life, tamed,
or destroyed,

depending on your view,
turned inside out
by Angevin priors
and inscrutable Dutchmen.

I come from a long
line of diggers
and dark-eyed women,
grown out of this morass,

hardened to sweat
and pitiless Ural winds.
People who made-do,
though never in

any doubt they
were the subjected
men of their Hundred,
the brave new Wapentake,

where the councillors
still speak in a
double-Dutch behind
tall, timbered walls.

poem and image © copyright dfbarker 2012
*poem first published in collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available at amazon.

** Wapentake was the Danish word for the English Hundred (a small, political unit, originally meaning a hundred homes). This word is still used in the ‘Danelaw’ counties of eastern England.

Poem ‘Underground’

Underground

By night the town paints clandestine shapes,
broach spires pierce a black arras
and decorated naves of Barnack rag
drape like sepia backcloths for ghosts
and revellers who may pass unaware
on equal terms, merely inches
yet centuries above charcoal rivers
channelled underground,
flushing silently till the night
draws out heat
and chatter of day

Streets swarm with strangers now,
unspeaking shadows in recesses
cupping whispers of gamy tongues,
smoking pipes like brittle bones
with fresh memories of tides
and the deep keeled boats
dragged up onto gravel headlands
by gangs of gruff rovers
and rippling Thracian soldiers
from legions awake to chance,
their unwrested sin

poem and image © copyright dfbarker 2012