Does a poem need a picture?

Does a poem need a picture
a tapestry of thread
layers of a fabric
in your stead
 
for what came before it –
the tapestry of mind
interpret as it’s seen
or as it’s read
 
like a quilt – a covering
a line of stitching – all in sinc
does the poet rely on more
than merely what the pen may bring
 
the web of inspiration –
haiku, elegy or rhyme
does the poem need a picture –
 
Art –
The embroidery of time

The tree trunk brought him solace

The tree-trunk brought him solace
a place to rest his hand
the man more Irish than his whiskey
was not long for this land

and his bayonet and musket –
ingrained in him that day
on the ground called Little Round Top
lay with him, bleeding, as he’d say;

we fight for that man Chamberlain
(manly was his speech)
with majesty and guile
eye to eye, he cried, beseeched;

do it for me this day m’lad
fight for honour ‘cos you can
do it for me this day m’lad
this day become a man

their eyes pierced each others,
(so sincere)
as Chamberlain implored;
my men are angels, pure angels
great deeds they’ll do, be sure

his Irish friend spoke one last time –
they’re Killer Angels, barely read
they’ve got that killer instinct, Sir
they’ll fight until they’re dead

they’ll hold that hill
with guts and will
you’ll lead them ‘til they’ve bled

their soul will sing
the devil’s dance
the mainstay of the band
as Chamberlain reached out, so dear –
reached out, and held his hand

you may be gone my dearest chum
but in my heart you live
and strive to be the essence, we
of courage found within

I’m with you, Sir, I’m by your side
though from backgrounds, so severe
go forth and hold –
be brave and bold
away your Angels’ fear

you will return to Bowdoin, Maine
and live a life of large

and as you do
(may God be true)
and war be far apart

yet reflect – on boys to men –
for their mother’s, they shall weep

fight your good fight
and in the dark of night
think of me – now sound asleep.

————————————————-

Footnote: this poem is based on the only fictitious character, Buster Kilrain, in the movie, Gettysburg (1993), written and directed by Robert F Maxwell, and the novel, The Killer Angels (1974), by Michael Shaara.

dead poets

The teacher, on the table, stood

(to some a block), a plank of wood

yet there stood a scribe with task

to feed those beyond mere reasoning

 

a calculated world we’re living in

with textbook teachings of the past

think, my friends – with majesty

within you is the test to see

 

dead poets, yet immortal ‘sons’

quiet though their presence be

more than words – they sing to me

and to those who live beyond

 

rip it out, lads – go on rip, rip some more

the man stands proud – his text decried

dismiss and you’ll be better for

forefathers land yours to refine

 

there’s one way forward and one way through

arise young men, well read and true

choose your course and wisely too

for poets dead live on in you.

 

 

footnote:- this poem is a tribute to the inspiration derived from the movie Dead Poets Society (1989) and its main character, John Keating, played by the late Robin Williams (1951 – 2014).

Max

Max was a magical, marvellous man

hard as a nail

soft as sleet in the snow

 

done best he can do

‘til sleep surrounded –

miraculous Max – one day

found confounded

 

Max was ‘tall’ –

a drinking man? no

tawdry at times

a frugal face

once judgemental

 

with big heart

brave and bold

and views fundamental

 

Max knew things – more than most

markedly smart with sweet soul

family first, old or young

family always had been

 

home by six was his mantra

to play with the kids

luscious his love –

his smile, serene

 

gasping yet gracious

inviting pillow that night

the room was enveloped

the feeling so keen

 

gasping, so gracious

everything right

gaspingly gracious –

Max said;

Goodnight!

Now

Forever is ever

will never be lost

in trees in the woods

in the snow’s early frost

 

always is tomorrow

and days yet to come

now is the moment

we delight in the sun

 

the sky may be mourning

the wind saddened, it seems –

the tsunami of senses

that comes with the breeze

 

becomes something more

in the wings of the trees

from a bud to a blossom

in the Spring-time we see

 

no need for eyes –

our senses will tell

when we smell freedom

no longer under the spell

 

of life told to us

like a story-book, read

sitting upright

with a pillow

under blankets in bed

 

and once upon a time –

…the end.

 

we will cry

 

now is the time

that never says its

Goodbye.

Wild days

Oh but for those wild days

Where the yardarm greets the sun

I could abate the little bird

And be the only one

 

Who stands upon a portal

And sings upon a rock

Who nestles in the silent night

Walking to the expanse of the dock

 

Why jump; one thinks and ponders

Why not; one thinks again

Happenstance sits over yonder

But serendipity, she sends

 

A message – in a bottle –

Coming from the heart

Entice the ‘castle’, built on sandy coast

And thought of, like a cart

 

That travails in her journey

To and from her homestead land

Ending bi-coastal adventures

That reflect a supple hand

 

That leads to ebbs and flows

In the ocean they call life

A choice of vice or virtue

In the afternoon’s delight

 

Does light shine upon you

Or does darkness build a hole

Where innocence is lost

And guilt, from pride, will take its toll

 

If we mislay our innocence

And find our fault-line again

Will uncertainty be censured

And life’s hypothesis be sent

 

To a man who sits, enraptured

Reading knowledge, cast as thought

And understands the notion

That wisdom can’t be bought

 

Yet on the ‘castle’ stands a King

Looking out upon the stone

Where the man sits viewing sunsets

From what he terms his ‘throne’

 

And throughout the night he ponders

And wonders at the world

His smile – captivated –

His life is now  unfurled.

The Artist

If no man fall asunder

then let no man stand apart

the one who only had a fleeting glimpse

enjoys the subtle art

 

The paint and brush and easel stand

before the man who’s thinking

the finished piece, like artist’s hand

shakes before its sinking

 

Art – thy name is woman –

‘fifty shades of grey’

the passion of a suitor lost

should not be lost this way

 

Like a rope entangled

a life lived is like an hour

like the wild garden blooming

the plant – budding – brings a flower

 

Is it black and white – definitive

or is it made of colour

does exploration start at home

or stranger’s cottage, over yonder

 

Within the cottage stands a piece –

art no man had savoured

not ‘til artist, on his deathbed

was thy work in favour

 

When people come

they will not leave

like leaves on the ground

in Autumn

 

Oh, if only he

was here to see

the boat anchored

in his harbour

 

‘If only’ –

two words strong enough

to bring a storm

of force

 

Need not be lost

in frigid frost

stand up –

and hold the course.

More than myself

Can I create more than myself
And if I can, must I?
Is livelihood (like solitude)
About to pass me by?

At times we associate
With a view  – a sight to see
A sense of fatal curfew –
Of our own mortality

Can I build a house to share –
Must I share it once it’s built?
As accidental as a romance
That is driving by me still

Still as can be, in situ –
What situation is
Movement denies my sense of self –
Of soft and supple bliss

Where did she go –
Where is she now?
Is one’s life a curse
To spend it without paying forward –
Could anything be worse

For time will never stay at rest –
It waits for no man – sure, not I
Hasten, hustle, hurry –
Catch up!
Before I die.

But a second

Absence of a tryst to love

Does not abandon thee

From amorous encounters

In a world of make-believe

 

Absence of a single thought

Wants not a lesser being

Yet, in time one cannot become

What one cannot see

 

For sight to some means knowledge

Powered by the mind

If one be blind, does it decry

To be of lesser kind?

 

Yet absence of a sense to some

Means stronger touch and taste

A life lived but a second

Is the kind one ought not waste.

I think of thought…

What do I think of thought

Or can I only feel

A touch as tender as the breeze

Or hard as bovine –

‘fore the veal

What do I think of thought

What does she think of me

As hard to the touch as a scab

Or soft and supple

Alike thee

Bereft of kindness –

Or genteel

Like an edelweiss to me

She sees the sun

And makes it real

Glistening – delights the sea

Gravitate to Earth without a force

Magic sensed and written on

Below – the park – a round-a-bout

A tree, with branches

Bark and frond

That listen to the overt mood

The cumbersome-ness of the room

They hear disorderly array

And come to right things very soon

What do I think of thought

What does she think of me

A touch so tender as my mood

So precious as the sea