Haiku: ‘Never Too Old’

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Been around the blocks
Challenged because of my age
Always beginning

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Poem: Smoking

black and white portrait person smoker
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He sits smoking in his room,
fingers like the jaundiced walls
of degradation.
Staring out of windows
will serve for entertainment, 
hope lies in the sound
of crunching steps on the gravel,
a letter falling on the floor,
until the day he can make that trip
no more

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Poem: Yarborough Road

road closed signage
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I remember years as dark as this,
in rooms overlooking that old racecourse,
a world in slow decay
like mental states and empty plates,
days with nothing to do but sit and stare
or walk the drab streets
like a plodding hobo in search of a meal.
More than forty years fly by
but how little has changed.
The same weary mind
perceives this empty life,
these unknown vistas
funnelled into one cul de sac

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem: Old Man

action adult affection eldery
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Old man, you have a story to tell,
brought up to respect those around you,
the parents who gave you life,
the country which supported you.
But no one wants to know,
your croaking, hesitant voice
may bring sympathy and platitudes,
though no one really listens
to the wisdom and light
you shine on a distant, distorted age.
Soon you will be silent,
like you had never been here
but the world will be emptier,
devoid of the smiles and hope
that you stood for

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem: Age

grayscale photo of man
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You reach a certain age
and assumptions are made.

You don’t need a job
Your mortgage is paid
You’ve had your life
Your opinion doesn’t count
Soon you’ll be gone
and the world will be mine

What kind of world is that?

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Empty Promise

N60-90, E120-150
N60-90, E120-150 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Strange to say, but as the snow
falls your nosebleed is like
a punctuation, something else
we can remark upon, something

other than this relentless cold,
our sparse Siberian spring. Harsh
economics brings with it
other extremes; people

who must choose between
eating or heating well into
April’s empty promises.
Some of them I know,

not the tragic ones who stare
at me from television screens,
directors tugging the stretched
strings of my heart. No – these

are stalwarts and forgotten
heroes, men and women
who have given their lives
once and don’t complain while

they slowly freeze or starve
in little houses, not so far
from me. Now they give up
on living so cold hearts

can balance their books.
But we fixed your nose, it was
easy in the end, though who
fixes this town and this world, is

anyone’s guess

© copyright David F. Barker 2013

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).