‘Whitby’ (A Gothic Folly)

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It’s the same sounds all round the harbour,
the cries of birds immemorial, echoes
through the cliffs of stacked up buildings, over
masts of twee named boats, men’s bobbing toys.

Your voice is still fresh in my mind, I see
yesterday’s tears in your eyes — that won’t see
me again, our little talks cut off by that corporate
guillotine. It had nothing to do with me.

But didn’t I say you should come here, to Whitby?
Simply to sit, drink it in, watch the gnarled men with sticks
hobble over cobbles, their tight permed wives
with ice creams, moaning, putting worlds to right.

The goths gather here, swarming to darkness,
and the name of Nosferatu, with steampunk dress 
codes posing, mingling with transient gulls 
strutting their stuff through archaic streets,

owning the place. Enough of my platitudes,
our shared liking for Camembert. You made
your choice, it was the mortgage and the dog,
tethered to the post called debt. It was sad, perhaps

I expected more. So is it sheer folly of me
to hope you read these words? — This tired old man
who just wanted to show you Whitby,
that we might make small talk once more.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

dVerse — Poetics 427 — Mussenden’s Temple

Deafening Mime

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The mime artist confronts me,
lithe and contorting,
nuancing as best she can
with her eyes.
Masked and distanced,
her gestures rage out loud
and proud,
yet I do not understand,
I can’t even take her hand
to console, to reassure;
so now she’s rubbing her eyes
with feigned clenched fists
but the sorrow doesn’t translate;
such sobbing falls on deaf ears,
yet it screams to my soul:
She’s in her world, I’m in mine,
dimensions apart,
both of us born again infants
deprived of facial cues.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

*dVerse: Let your words ring out. I taken a ‘left field’ approach.

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

Poem: ‘The Return’

photo of person walking near orange leafed trees
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She was sat
on the old porch, a piece
of me I’d left
behind
in some spring
long ago. I knew it
in an instant, as
soon as she looked up—
our minds dovetailing as if
nothing had happened
in those draining,
intervening years. A part
of me wanted
to leave,
to move on and deny
what my heart was insisting, but
the spark was still there,
some sweet, indefinable
thing.

She tapped
the space beside her and
I sat down
on the creaking pinewood. The air was
still,
a low September sun
buttering the track
in front of us
and the turning trees
all around us
and the pale skin
of her arms, her legs,
and that gentle,
dappled face.

“Do you remember
when we were spring?”

I nodded, watching
her lips break
into that dimpled smile. In
her eyes I saw again
the boats
and the blossom,
like promises, journeys
only taken in our minds

poem © copyright Francis Barker 2012

Poem: ‘England’s Glory’

man person men old
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He taps the roll up on his weathered
seat, strikes the match
towards him as an old man should, a box
of ‘England’s Glory’ and tobacco bag
thrown at me, as if they weren’t
all his worldly goods.

“No thanks, I don’t.”

He shrugs as if it’s my loss,
cups the yellow light with
the nonchalance of a friend, his hands
raw and dirty. He draws, a near
toothless mouth collapsing
like worn bellows;
he exhales, deftly aiming a spit
of spare flake to his right, while knotty
fingers wipe wet lips— the sound
of sandpaper on wood. And so
the coughing starts. There’s little else
to fill the new day.

* ‘England’s Glory’ is a brand of match

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

 

Poem: Blindfolds

think2

There is no crisis
that’s never been made, no war
we’ve ever had to join. Why
don’t you stop! – look

at what you’re doing? Don’t
accept it,
turn off the TV and ignore
the paper headlines stacked

in front of you, they lead you into their
traps,
their pigeon-holes.
What are you? Can a jackass

stare back from the mirror? Even
gods call you sheep, creatures who
need to be brought in – whoever said
this

should be so? The more I say no, each
time you refuse to
toe the line, so much sooner
you and I become us

and then we

© copyright David F. Barker 2013

I am not a pacifist, but most conflict is avoidable.

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 ‘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

Poem ‘Meditation’

Sometimes I hate you, I must
avert my eyes.

Other times I love you
and I’m crazy, I can’t leave you
alone.

Mostly though I’m indifferent,
you’re something there out
of my window on any
random day,
like the sparrows who chat huddled
side by side
on their privet hedge.

But whether you’re friend, enemy
or mere acquaintance, you are all
outsiders—
intruders in this precious
secret space

poem © copyright David F. Barker 2012