Photograph: ‘Light and Faith’

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Photo copyright Francis Barker 2020

Poem ‘Meditation’

Sometimes I hate you, I must
avert my eyes.

Other times I love you
and I’m crazy, I can’t leave you
alone.

Mostly though I’m indifferent,
you’re something there out
of my window on any
random day,
like the sparrows who chat huddled
side by side
on their privet hedge.

But whether you’re friend, enemy
or mere acquaintance, you are all
outsiders—
intruders in this precious
secret space

poem © copyright David F. Barker 2012

Poem ‘Harmonium’

Harmonium

You cut the harmonium strings
and I’ll tie them up each time,
pedals getting higher and higher
till almost vertical, unplayable.
And for what?
Does it spoil your peace?
Do my attempts at sounds,
at music, offend you so?
This family doesn’t do talent, I know.
There is only work.
But you needn’t have worried:
When I came down today
there was this space, gaping,
and through the kitchen window
I saw the fire in the yard,
the contented man, smoking

© copyright df barker 2012

Poem ‘Rain’

Rain

He was looking at the rivulets
stuttering down the glass,
ignoring the sodden cat on the windowsill
and the puddles in the grass.

Sitting down, I braced myself:
He’d say it wouldn’t do any harm.
I suppose it was his way of seeing things
when in the safe and warm.

Never mind that spring was passing,
never mind that I’d forked the grass over

for five darn days on end,
to drain away the numerous ponds.
Yet still there are some who insist
that we are the lucky ones!

So I put on my best April gear,
braving the cold and the wet.
I had to get out of his face, you see,
to hear some pessimism instead,

about the weather, the world,
or the state of this or that.

Sadly though, I have to say,
rain makes even the shy ones talk,
though they’d better watch out —
because I’ll be stabbing with my fork!

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012

Poem ‘Hole’

Hole

The hole where a fire used to be
has stared at us for fifteen years,
begging to be filled.
We know we’ve put it off too long,
put up with the inconvenience
and balking at the cost,
hating the insecurity of change
even if it might be for the better.
And then there’s the fledglings
flapping down the chimney each cruel May,
hopping around wide-eyed in darkness,
to be finally coaxed out of injury
through deftly placed curtains,
framing the clean glass of open windows,
an escape into the harsh light.
Remember the circa ’73 newspapers
we found stuffed up the chimney?
Those warm smells of old print and soot,
eyebrows raised at garish red mastheads,
the uneven letterpress lines
telling innocent stories of slower days.
And the Eagles were on the BBC.
For too long we’ve ignored
the unsettling sounds
of western borne gales
raising roof tiles like rattles of doom,
making us state more firmly each year
that something must definitely,
must finally—be done.
But still we continue to shiver
and rue that darn hole
where heat and heart should be.
Another twelve months nearly done, then.
Right now we’ve settled on fresh flowers
to see the winter out, knowing nothing
will ever quite conceal the truth

poem and image © copyright df barker 2012

Poem ‘Think of Me’

Think of me

please pay your respects
to the dust trodden into carpets,
ingrained in chairs
and in curtains,
all along these tired window ledges

Then will you write my name
on the dusty shelves
where my books used to lie?
For in truth
they were more surely me

image and poem © copyright dfbarker 2012

Poem ‘What Goes Around’

What Goes Around

At last I can leave
the window ajar
to sense those languid
sounds of the street

like life itself returning
from some distant place
a world woken up
by a warm gentle kiss

Promise too in the bee’s
tender tap on my window
busy on beatnik rounds –
I am wishing him luck

on a maverick wind
in the cool melodious rain

poem and image © copyright David Francis Barker 2011
*First published in Shot Glass Journal in 2011

New Poem: ‘Windows’

Windows

we admire the window’s
fine proportions
giving out
onto bare trees
a grey sky
those pervading
stillnesses of space

and the coffee
is good and strong
good enough to take black
to sit back with
and to savour

and listen
can you hear the
crows calling?
they’re telling of
eastern winds
bringing on the winter
which arrives tomorrow

but against
this crackling fire
our comfort is fixed
by your hand in mine

© copyright David Francis Barker 2011