Fire

For the want of alarms, the people slept.

For the want of sprinklers, the fire spread.

For the wanting of gentrification, so the rich people living nearby did not have to look at an eyesore,

despite the protests of the inhabitants,

the cladding went on, and, when the fire came, caught it and threw it joyfully upwards

to the floors above.

 

When smoke filled the corridors leading to the way down to the only exit,

the people who were awake waited, as they had been told to, in their flats,

behind their doors which were not fireproof, or smoke proof,

for the rescue that could not reach them

because of the fire.

 

For the want of care or responsibility or any kind of humanity, the company who ran the building did nothing to answer the warnings of the people that lived in the building.

For the want of care or responsibility or any kind of humanity, the council did nothing to answer the warnings of the people that lived in the building.

For the want of care or responsibility or any kind of humanity, the government did not bring in legislation to make the fitting of sprinklers mandatory which would have saved the people in the building.

For the want of care or responsibility or any kind of humanity, the government failed to give the go-ahead to a safety review for tower blocks which would have saved the people in the building..

For the wanting of money, did the council let the tower blocks degrade in order to make way for new luxury flats in their place?

This terrible thing did not happen because fire burns.

For the want of care the people were lost.

These flames will burn for eternity.

 

Lament for the Vice

Once there was some artistry in evil;

Some finesse.
Some showmanship.

Once, we gave the devil a run for his money ..
Made him sweat for it.

Time was, vice would hide its face; would ‘smile and smile and be a villain’

Not now.
We live in a world unmasked.

Now, villains stalk the world bare.
They don’t care;
They are no longer actors.

Why go to all the trouble to disguise;
To mimic goodness;
To dissemble?

Why echo your victim’s voice,
Borrow his words, pretend to be friend,
Not fiend?
Lead him oh so gently down the primrose way
To the everlasting bonfire?

No need.

No need to deceive someone who doesn’t believe anything anyway.

Who knows it is all fake news.

We are all trained.

Trained to hear
And not hear.

Trained to believe that they care
And not care
that we know they don’t.

We bite their sounds
And accept that they crumble to dust
In our teeth
And leave our stomachs roaring.

I am a villain!
They say
I will destroy your world!
They say
I want it all for myself
And you can go to hell!
Vote for me!

Ok
We say.
Ok.

And we turn our robot heads to the front
And slide the shades down on our robot eyes
And march, obediently,
Headphones on
Until we tumble over the brink
And feel the fire

And know
That it is real.

A Cautionary Tale

Once upon a time

There was a mother eagle
Sitting on her nest
Bumpy with eggs,
Who dropped off.

As mothers do.

While she was asleep
A crafty cuckoo crept
under her broody feathers
And shoved and pushed
And elbowed
and crawled out again..

When her three eggs hatched,
two
Were bald and handsome,
But one had a bright yellow crest
Like a cuckoo..

Two chicks grew and left,
But the third..
Oh dear.
The third,
Sprawled in the nest, took up all the room, and wouldn’t budge.
It wanted food and attention and scratching behind the ears and if it didn’t get it
It tweeted.
A lot.

She learned to stroke it
And soothe it
And bite its worms up into little short pieces so it could digest them.

But one day, when the chick had worn her out,
She fell asleep again,
On the edge of the nest,
And dropped off.

And nothing ended happily ever after.

You’re fired!

Didn’t anyone watch The Apprentice?

Didn’t anyone notice what a perfect apprentice dictatorship it was?

Trump decided what they would do;
And they did.
Trump decided what they were worth;
And they were.
Trump decided who would go;
And they went.

And that is how he is ruling America.

Of course, there is more to come than Comey..

When you fire a man,
he doesn’t explode into a mushroom
cloud …

Macron

This one’s for Carole…

 

A vast sigh of relief
breathes
across Europe,
across the plains of western democracy,
sets the hope dancing.

Young face,
Burning eyes,
Bit short,
No matter.
Smooth skin,
Jut of jaw
Raised flag
En marche!

Deja vu.

Will this one too,
rebuild,
reboot,
unite Europe under his flag?
Or will they give him the Elba?

Ghost

 

A shifting in the air;
A sense of something
Someone
Unseen
Significant

But there is no time to pause
To look
To probe
the nature of that significance.

It is all too difficult.

And besides
There is no time.

Perhaps someone really was there.
Perhaps not.

But

I know I am here.
I feel my heart beat.
I feel my pain
My sadness.
My lack of a connection.

The desperate pressure
Of thought, passion, unsung songs,
Unspent energy, turning to dust in my hands as the clock ticks.

But the air shifts in the wind of your passing
And I cannot reach through it
To touch you.

The Great Game

 

The hand
Comes
Out of the dark
And plays
The hand.

Impossible to know
Who.
Or why.

Are they playing?

Or being played?

Against the dark wood of the table
Under the swinging lantern
Only the dim shape of the cards can be seen.
Their pattern blurred,
greasy from much playing.

What lies on the table?

Is it
A trump card?
A winning streak?
Or a busted flush?

What is the game?
What are they playing for?

We know nothing.
We are not even inside the hut.
We stand in the cold dawn
On the uneasy grass
And wait.

All we know is that the stakes are high
As we look up
Fearful
Into
An empty sky.

Look for the silver lining

In the widening circles of Hell radiating through Syria,
Khan Sheikhoun
glows
with baleful fire.

But let us be grateful for the comfort
it brings in its wake,
as the vast, compassionate arms of Donald Trump
stretch
wide
over the world,
promising an end
to the brutality and suffering of humankind.

Let us stand united
against the cynicism that suggests
a failing president might
go to war
to save himself.

Who could believe
he would stride fearless
into the icy depths of the forest
to tomahawk the Great Bear
if he has been secretly rubbing him behind his ears all this time?

Look for the silver lining.

And God Bless America.

Written on Water: The Lantern of the West

1499

After the Saxon Abbey was a distant memory, and the first great Norman cathedral, built on the same spot, had also fallen without trace, our own Abbey was created because of the most famous dream in the history of Bath; the dream that began the Abbey we have today, and displayed itself in the ladders on the front, where the Angels toil ever upwards towards heaven – and, sometimes, plunge downwards to earth.. Bath Abbey – The Lantern of the West..

The Lantern of the West

By night,

Across the valleys and the hills,

streams the light;

 

By day,

sun pours through windows,

painting stone

sapphire,  emerald and gold ..

 

The Lantern of the West.

 

Inside

music rises to Heaven

painting the air

sapphire, emerald and gold..

 

The Lantern of the West.

The Lantern of the West.

 

Outside,

Angels climb stone ladders.

Like music,

Reaching

up to the Father..

 

Father! Father!

 

The Lantern of the West.

The Lantern of the West.

The Lantern of the West.