120 – Porcelain

Poem number 120
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Porcelain
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Oh for the wings of a porcelain gull
Polished daily by wrinkled old hands
Never could porcelain ever be dull
To the spinsters stuck fast through the land,
The knickknacks and ornaments filling their shelves
Are a substitute, that much is true
But the ladies would never admit to themselves
That they’re lonely – there’s too much to do.
.
There’s dusting and wiping and polishing too
Every ornament shown to its best,
When accidents happen they’re mended with glue
Then put back in their place with the rest.
Oh for the wings of a porcelain dove
Such a gentle and limitless charm
The unexplored mystery of falling in love
Unlamented. A porcelain balm.

131 – Daddy

Poem number 131
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Daddy
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I was younger then, and fitter
When I’d run you up the hill
My feet flying, the pushchair squeaking
Your shrieks. Delighted, shrill.
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I was younger then, and stronger
When I’d carry you upstairs to your bed
The day too much for you, rest needed
Your arms round my neck. Head against my head.
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I was younger then, and busier
When I’d plan my days around your feeds.
Your eyes twinkling in delight at the sound of my voice
Your goodnight cuddles all that a father really needs.
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I was younger then, and tireder
Exhausted by nightfall, sleeping little, waking soon
Your 5am cries for attention heralded another ticket for the merry-go-round
Your demands for breakfast. The way you’d always drop your spoon.
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I’m older now, and weaker
There are no demands. My time is my own to do with as I please
You’re grown up and you can feed yourself
But I’m bored. I wish I still had to plaster your bleeding knees.

136 -A Temporary Parting

Poem number 136
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A Temporary Parting
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See you then, it’s time to go
My body’s had enough
Time goes fast but pain goes slow
I’m feeling pretty rough,
Farewell, so long and toodle-pip
I’m going on ahead
But when your breathing days are through
I’ll see you when we’re dead.

194 – Spinster

Poem number 194
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Spinster
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It’s four pm and Countdown’s on, a steaming cup of tea
In a china cup with saucer, and a cat upon her knee
The house is scrubbed and perfect, daily dusting is the law
But now the light from Countdown shows a crumb upon the floor
And she doesn’t move to fix it, doesn’t move to brush the mat
Doesn’t tut in pure frustration, doesn’t mutter at the cat,
For her heart – so fiercely guarded with a wall of pure disdain,
Never given to another, never broken nor in pain –
That heart so independent has just voted now to leave
In the middle of the afternoon, and nobody will grieve
For there’s no-one else who’ll notice that she’s sitting in her chair
With her silent eyes still staring though her brain’s no longer there
There’ll be no-one ’til next Tuesday when the postman rings the bell
And notices the cloud of flies and smells that awful smell
So for now she sits there stiffly, by her final cup of tea
As the Countdown clock ticks downward on her elderly TV
Whilst the crumb down on the carpet, unmolested, rests in peace
And her heart, so long imprisoned, can rejoice in sweet release.

244 – One Trick Pony

Poem number 244
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One Trick Pony
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I’m a simple, one trick pony and my trick is wearing thin
I am faded, I am jaded, I have no more plates to spin
I try to peddle what I have and hope that people buy
But as time goes on my skill is gone and folk just walk on by
For my pony trick’s transparent as an emporatic suit,
My talent’s old and weary and my trumpet’s set to mute
I have no choice or option but to peddle day to day
My trick is all I have to give, though long since dulled to grey
And a pony is a pony, whether multi-skilled or not
And you have to flog your pony if a pony’s all you’ve got
So I pedal and I peddle what I have with no remorse
I am jaded, I am faded, and I haven’t got a horse.

255 – Beneath The Gibbet

Poem number 255
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Beneath The Gibbet
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He hung beneath the gibbet
Spinning slowly in the breeze
The flies around his open eyes
And dust around his knees.
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Beneath his feet Old Faithful lies,
His head upon his paws
A glistening skein of dribble
Hanging from his aging jaws.
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Beneath the dog, a beetle
Resting gladly in the shade
He’ll wait there ’til the evening
When the heat begins to fade.
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Three souls, three fates, three stitches
In a tapestry of death
Three different stops along the way
Towards that final breath.

297 – Breakfast Mess

Poem number 297
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Breakfast Mess
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You never wash the breakfast bowls
They’re there each afternoon
Still caked in dregs of porridge
Welded fast to dirty spoons
You never put the milk away
There’s sugar on the side
The honey on the table
Leaves a streak six inches wide
The crumbs, the knives, the dirty plates
The pan I have to clean
The jam so red and sticky
And the cheese that’s going green
All of these are you, my love
You’re there when I get in
I see you in the dirty cups
And smudges on the bin
A life we had, for all that time
The mess, the crumbs, the smears
A thousand dirty breakfast bowls
Three dozen precious years
And though you’re gone, and turned to dust
I leave the house each day
With the breakfast mess un-tidied
In that same old sacred way
In the hope that when I get back in
I’ll find you there inside
And I’ll get the chance to scold you
For the plates left on the side.
But you’re gone, my love and turned to dust
There’s nothing left to see
When I come home every evening
But a mess that’s made by me.

318 – Everyone Hears the Bell

Poem number 318
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Everyone Hears The Bell
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They give you free buses – you wish you could walk
Your tv is paid for – you wish you could talk
They pay for your heating – you’re still always cold
The pension they give you reminds you you’re old
They’re trying their best
To soften the blow
But you’re always aware
That your time will soon go
The things that they give you
Are less than you had
Old age is a bastard
And time is a cad
But no-one’s immortal
And no-one’s immune
You’re young for a moment
Then death comes too soon.