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

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Poem ‘Mare Incognito’ (for J)

Mare Incognito (for J)

Somewhere between
Southwold and Saltfleet,
that’s all I’m prepared to say.

Where eastern seaboards
lose out each year,
glacial moraines fall away

with no answer to tides
that even kings couldn’t resist.
England crumbling in eye and mind.

Cliffs.
Now that could be a clue
but they’re not too high,

though high enough to sit on
and savour the grey seas,
the view, such as it is.

Does it matter?
Fine days won’t do, not to this mind.
Sea mists, fogs, or battleship skies

which leave enough to be imagined,
whose easterlies cut me into me
whatever I wear—they’re best—

when the only way to keep warm
is to keep moving, jogging
below the sleek aerobatics of herring-

and black-backed gulls,
super-marine harbingers of storm
doing their best to bring life to

Mitchell’s drawings of seaplanes—
and the spitfire.
Such an elegance in death.

But I’m here to forget about war,
about politics which can only
divide and kill.

Grey days mean I’m alone
in a moody make-believe.
I turn my back on all that was,

think about what might be,
where nightmares a few miles away,
that lost world within my right hand,

might just be gone when I return
or answer the bleep which says
I’m connected, branded for life.

Leave me now.
For a little while longer
let me say I’m free

image and poem © copyright df barker 2012