Solstice

solstice

I stood alone
with you,
like it was the end of our world, an
eerie glowing sky reflecting my heart, with
the solstice on its way. You
turned to look at me, that smile
I knew so well, your gracious nod
I’d never seen in real life. My hand
went through you – you were not
there anymore, just an echo like the
sonorous bells over pantiles, made
uniform by the morning rime. You said
I looked ‘frit!’ in the dialect
brought across to your city,
the voice of your
distinction. ‘Your life is not
your own,’ you said, ‘even the sun
never stands still, only seems to.’
So you told me not to worry, not
even care, to let it all go
now, that it’s better to die trying
than do nothing,
a short life
with meaning and all its
tortuous crosses borne, can become
a pilot light of inspiration. You
walked towards the sea, smiling
once more and unafraid, before vanishing
out of time into the
low glinting sun, a promise
of far off warmth
and the revelation to come

image and poem © copyright Dave Barker 2012

Poem ‘Hurricane’s Grave’

Hurricane’s Grave

A copse can be an intimate
friend. Most days he roamed there, always
finding something to love, a life of
reasonable expectation.
Late winter was a favourite time; tree tops
took on reddish hues and
there were further signs other
than snowdrops
and blue tits’ brighter songs, of the
burgeoning spring

Today was different. Large boots
had been this way,
their wearer, like
a stump line of grey, stood
barely seen by an old fence, through straight
saplings in sunlight.
He approached the figure, which seemed
to dissipate like mist in the sun, something
he’d mistaken for form
and life

But it was more than
a notion that had led him there. The fence
overlooked a rolling field, familiar lumps
and bumps of pasture unchanged
for decades,
where lords in their demesnes might
still rule for all he knew.
He leant on the fence, it
gave way in his hand. A piece of torn
grey cloth freed from a nail, flopped to
the damp ground.
He held it,
felt its old thick weave— like a uniform

He pondered the scene in front
of him, gave space to wartime tales,
the remembered lumps and
bumps which might easily hide a
hurricane’s grave

image and poem © copyright david f. barker 2012

* The Hurricane here, is a British WWII fighter plane

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

New Poem ‘Apparition’

Apparition

Standing by the patio doors,
an early sun was shining through
I thought I heard a gentle tap
no – I didn’t expect to see you

But I asked you in, made us some tea
and we sat in that warm rear room
Said you’d been away, started a book
Just didn’t think I’d see you so soon

When the sun went in I looked again
Somehow you weren’t quite the same
You hadn’t touched the cake or your tea
and now I couldn’t recall your name

So I took the pots through, confused
Nearly went outside for some air –
it was then I began to remember
but when I got back you weren’t there

© copyright David Francis Barker 2011