‘Old’ — A Poem

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They think I’m losing my mind,
that my time to live is almost done.

They say I’ve had my day,
that I don’t deserve what I’ve spent

my whole life saving up for,
these few short years which fly by

at an ever increasing speed,
toward some stark oblivion,

a fate which awaits even those
who would question my worth

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

*Our elderly population should be valued, treasured, not criticised simply for existing. Every life is precious.

Poem: ‘Delivery’

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You see the old lady over there?
The one in the blue mask
heading for the church.
She delivered me, though
no, she’s got no idea who I am.
I see her quite often
alone having coffee,
a bagel and jam.
Many times
I’ve thought of saying hi,
but what do I say?
“You may not know me
but you brought me into this world.”
So I guess I’ll leave her again,
to struggle with handbag and stick
towards her cleansing nave,
while I wrestle with my faith

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haiku: Distances

distance-london-milestone-4427481
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Remnants of old worlds
The places forever changed
Distances remain

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Old Books Are Great – Railways!

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Ok, it may not be in the best condition and the photos, apart from the cover, are in black and white, but I love this little book.

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I’ve had it since childhood and I still love to read the information and study the pictures. I’m not a railway buff, but I think I could have been if I had allowed myself to get drawn into that world.

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As a boy, I used to dream of visiting these places, experiencing the different European and other cultures, which all had their own distinction.

I fear much of that uniqueness is disappearing, along with the trains. Of all the countries, Switzerland does appear to be retaining its sense of place, aided no doubt by its particular geographic location.

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copyright Francis Barker 2020

Haiku: A Friend In Time

accuracy afternoon alarm clock analogue
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Who knows what time is
A cold distant relative
who's left you behind

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Tanka: Special

boy and girl sitting on bench toy
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The child was special
The teenager even more
What have I become?
Some reach their apogee late
This is my blaze of glory

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem: Ballad of 2019

person reading the daily fake news newspaper sitting on gray couch
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I may talk of philosophy
I might say there’s some relevance
in the movements of stars
spinning round in this canopy above – but
I don’t have an answer, really I don’t.
I’m getting older but not wiser
The information age confuses me
subsumes me in a sea of mediocrity
where what is real and fake
feather into an ambiguous morass
where what humanity remains slowly drowns. Yes
that’s the thing
I can still remember what it was like
to be a human being
to have hope and belief but all that
is gone
replaced by some vague notion
that this can’t be the real world
merely a joke and a sick one too
And what lies beyond
is an ever increasing irrelevance
though the sense of that dawning oblivion
does not cause panic or fear anymore –
merely the weary acceptance of release
and what peace might be

copyright Francis Barker 2019

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