Haiku #17

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Shopping for flowers
I choose these pink carnations
for the living room

Copyright Francis 2021

Marks and Spencer to close all stores on Boxing Day to give staff a rest — The Sun (Reblog)

MARKS and Spencer’s is to close all of its shops on Boxing Day to give staff a rest. The high street food and fashion chain said today that it has gone back on its decision to open 200 branches on December 26. The high street staple is closing on Boxing Day M&S boss Steve Rowe […]

Marks and Spencer to close all stores on Boxing Day to give staff a rest — The Sun

English Town Centres In Need Of Support

people walking on street
Photo by Krisztina Papp on Pexels.com

Town centres and high streets in England have been in decline for some time, yet action by local and central government has been slow, inconsistent and at times non-existent.

Now, at last, it would appear some concerted action is being organised.

What is puzzling is that is has been clear for some time that the odds are stacked against town centres. Three factors should have been recognised and addressed over a decade ago:

  1. The growth of out of town shopping malls has detracted from the town centres.
  2. The internet has discouraged people from visiting shops so often and certain shops have been slow to develop their own websites which could actually boost their trade if applied intelligently.
  3. Business rates are invariably too high.

Until the government seriously addresses all these issues, English town centres will continue to experience a slow decline and eventual death.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem: ‘The Return’

photo of person walking near orange leafed trees
Photo by KIM DAE JEUNG on Pexels.com

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

Milly Reynolds’ new book out soon on kindle

Web

This is the cover of Milly’s new book, ‘Death for Art’s Sake’, soon coming out on kindle, and later on smashwords.
Eighth book in the Mike Malone series, this time Mike finds himself drawn into a macabre murder, all in the name of art…!

image © copyright Milly Reynolds 2013

Poem: Girl with a Cello

cello

In a diamond city night we’re
taxied through floodlit streets

angled snow alabasters old facades
medieval histories beyond all guessing

Flanders is frozen outside this misted glass
the two of us sitting nose to nose

our tongues loosening aperitif smiles
white burgundy cutting through brie

making heads light and cheeks flush
and toe touch toe

Our eyes meet when bare soul strokes calf
kissing slim fingers one by one

plied each day to taut cello strings
sneak previews to plots and suites of night

image and poem © copyright David F. Barker

* sorry, but this is an oldie!

http://millyreynolds.co.uk

Sad Songs

sadsong

Where have all the sad songs
gone? When I was young I sang
the saddest songs; there was

a depth, a yin as well as
yang, like the love
of a minor chord, or a melancholy

walk by the sea –
and it was all so much bigger
than me. Something

tells me that I can’t be
ageing well, not when
all the songs sound the same,

where the tide never rises again

© copyright Dave Barker 2012

Poem ‘October’

English: Pumpkins
English: Pumpkins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October comes and suddenly
there’s too much change.
Enough already with trees going bare,

without having to alter clocks
to appease the North
which might not even care.

While some see beauty in decay,
all I find is a reckoning, revenge
in Hallowe’en’s red-eyed stare,

where we fare no better than pigs
fattened and slaughtered,
sentenced for nothing

by callous clowns in wigs.
So I will kick through the leaves,
as is the custom

in my search for a soul,
or a silver-lining in death,
wrapped up like a sausage

against the first icy blast
which blows away all joy
and steals the breath.

© copyright David F. Barker 2012
*First published in poetry collection ‘Anonymous Lines’, Night Publishing, available at amazon.

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 ‘Floss’

Floss

And I followed you,
holding desperately your trailing hand.
From dodgem screams in head-on collision,
to long kisses on carousels,
sitting the wrong way—
facing you,
holding you—
Yes, I was daring you!
That smile behind your eyes like a loving sun
which I met devouring candy floss,
sugar highs spinning lips together,
meeting and melting our cares;
suspended in ghost trains,
scaring you, opportune for me.
And later, strolling slick sands,
the far bass thuds
tripping our hearts,
setting off our lives:
Still in motion

poem © copyright df barker 2012