Poem: April 2

daffodils3

No longer will I bore you with my
mother’s life, and how I wish I could change
the way of her death. Thirteen years

is a long time, abridged by events that
just happen down this road. Though more
and more, this life seems impersonal, like

watching a new born lamb, sweet
to touch and then later to taste. How does
this lover turn carnivorous at a stroke?

And the lamb, like its mother, is a mere
vessel – when you’ve seen one, we all
know how we’ll react. So don’t get me wrong,

but Mum, you were a function, a role you
played so well, and no matter how
I embellish your memory at this time – well,

there you go, I have done it once again

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Poem: ‘Clothes’

clothes

These are my favourite clothes, I
wear them for days on end.
See?
They retain their shape,
my shape,
even when I toss them
into wardrobes, or hang them from
skeletal frames, dis-
assembled, waiting for warm
odours of my living
return.

So say you’ll never throw them
out, and resist all
temptation to wash. Simply
lay them on a chair or bed – though
mark the creases,
the bulges of cotton limbs, fleshy
legs which have moulded denim,
now hanging in threads. And make sure
to study the greasy collars, precious
oils of my skin. Then take
hold of this shirt, stretch the faded
fabric in your hands and breathe in
the smell of years. Remember
the walks and our talks, when
there was only time to kill. For these
things, which may be nothing now, are
still worthy of note, the relics of
a single life
and not without right

image and poem © copyright David F. Barker 2013

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 ‘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 ‘October 15’

Electric soldering iron

Electric soldering iron (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 15

Lingering smells of vinegar and fish,
red and green smears on an empty plate,
a solitary bone in a serving dish.

The constable pours tea
in a room drenched in sunlight;
an incongruous joke becomes light relief.

At his age a simple case of lights out, it’s said,
something you have to believe.
Only an hour before he stood at the door

complaining of chest pains that
Alka Seltzer would not relieve.
The neighbour walks in wiping her eyes,

tells of a conversation by the fence.
She cups her drink, shakes her head,
unable to make much sense.

Light another round of cigarettes,
though wherever the eyes fall
there are many reasons for regret.

So stand, walk around,
peep through the net curtains where
the ambulance casts its shadow – no sound.

You’re numb with facts that won’t ingest;
a still hot soldering iron, pliers, cut wire,
like something from the Marie Celeste.

poem © copyright David F. Barker 2012
* first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available at amazon.com

Poem ‘Mrs Wright’

Holland Cemetery: A rural cemetery in northeas...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mrs Wright

We approached her, standing stiffly
outside her cottage on the corner,
while she tended those remaining roses.

The sun was in his fall
with Michaelmas giving way to cooler winds.
She turned with some difficulty,

but still greeted us with a bespectacled smile.
She always had time, especially for me
and her roses, her world seeming slow

and certain, just like the green bus
we caught that hour on the bridge.
By the time we got back,

tired and ladened with groceries,
the sun was still out, sinking intensely
over the evergreen cemetery.

We saw no sign of the ambulance,
or the policeman’s bicycle.
Not even her son’s hastily parked car.

There was only a flutter
in the curtains across the road
as we struggled on by.

Such had been her last afternoon
upon which we had paused.
We hurried home having no idea,

doing up our light coats
in the stiffening breeze.

poem © copyright df barker 2012, first published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, available digitally at amazon.co.uk and amazon.com (latter for the book itself).

Poem ‘Unforgotten’

Fire

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unforgotten

“All I see is fire — this room
and that wall of books.
The whole building, all on fire.”

I could see that she meant it,
there was a frightening certainty
in her eyes. A conviction

But there was more

She spoke in a way
that would make me remember

Fast forward three years
and a new location:
a radio was blaring.
The name on a news bulletin
made me flinch, go cold
with the dreadful details,
yet somehow half suspected,
in shocking anticipation.
I could see her, so clear,
the way she was looking.
And now, how could I forget?

poem © copyright df barker 2012