Thursday, May 11, 2017

The art of . . .

With wool she
Collects holes
And holds them
Together
By manipulating
The needles.
And then
Later
With notes,
She waves
The silences
Together
By manipulating
The music.

(c) 2ndwitch, 11/05/17

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Speak not.

Perhaps,
All those years ago,
A forbidden name
Was uttered
By the fisherman
Out at sea.

Perhaps,
All these years later,
We are
Reaping the
Blasted harvest.

(c) 2ndwitch, 11/05/17

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

There is no picture . . .

There is no picture today,
Because the picture selecting feature has
Been temporarily disabled.
The picture enjoying feature has
Developed a fault in its
Algorithm, and is awaiting a bug fix.
The picture taking feature was
Rendered partially inoperative
Some months ago when two
New add-ons were installed,
As these have proved to be resource-hungry,
And have left the operator
Short of time to reactivate the
Picture-taking feature.
There is also no sense today
And a feeing of doom due to
Too much late-night thinking
About what is wrong just now
And not enough solutions
To apply to the problems.
It is to be hoped that some
Level of more useful
Functionality will be
Resumed in the near future.

(c) 2ndwitch, 13/04/17

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Schist


The stones lie side by side on the
sea-washed beach, all colours and
no colours, they do not argue or
fight, but mingle into a rainbow -
hued whole, sand-bound existence.
Humans too stand side by side upon
this given earth, but have not yet
learned the simple lesson of the stones.

(c) 2ndwitch, 16/03/17

My thanks to Hugh MacDiarmid for his poem, and to Ragnhild Ljosland for her existence in juxtaposition, who jointly inspired this poem.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Integrity, my dear, integrity.



The difference in the water level
Can be accounted for when the underlying
Level of the rock that you cannot see
Is considered.
The difference in the balances on the
Accounts can be explained by a lack
Of continuity underlying their
Maintenance.
The difference in people is less explicable
And it is hard to find any explanation
Or account that can illuminate the
Dark hearts of those who wear blinkers
And refuse to see the stark reality
Of everyday life.

Perhaps, just perhaps, time will educate
And more people will come to see that all
We are is people, we're all
Jock Tamson's bairns.

(c) 2ndwitch, 15/03/17

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Thursday, March 09, 2017

Pause



The cool grey light, dove-soft and feathered,
Strokes the surface of the loch, subduing the
Waves that earlier chattered to the passing wind,
And now they whisper, soft and low, of the
Day passing and the night as yet untold.

And in those moments the memories of
Pain, and loss, sweep back over the soul
Of the watcher, the one who awaits the stars
And the unstoppable march of the
Approaching night, the dawn-waiter.

And in time, the memories fade to sepia
And play silently, an old and tattered film.

(c) 2ndwitch, 09/03/17

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

The curlew's cry.




The wind that stroked the snows of winter hills
And broke that fragile unity of tree and leaf
Comes now to shake the reeds in springbound thrill
And to soothe the sheep-cropped grass's icy grief.
The cloud that crossed the white-horsed Peatland firth
And cast its gentle shadow on the ground
Is dancing now, in grey and white rain-mirth,
And shedding tears that drive this earth around.
The wheel of time our passing turns once, and once again
And winter soon will give its place to spring;
The last dead leaves of autumn are clinging, ill-refrain,
To the temptress song that summer's wandering brings.
Hope is showing now its green and spearing leaves
The daffodil and crocus, and snowdrops, blanket-weave.

(c) 2ndwitch 26/02/17

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

All will be ash.






In the soft light of a winter's day,
Cloud wreathed and dimmed with
The dull silver of damp and chill,
The flames burn bright and clear
And I burn, but I am not consumed.
In the morning light with clear blue
Sky reflecting in the ice-rimmed water
Below, the trees along the loch are
Sunrise lit, and they burn
They burn but are not consumed.
And as the evening dims to night,
Blue velvet spreading its mantle over
A sleeping world, star studded
And backlit from the rising moon,
The calls of those who have gone
Before echo back from the embers
Of the fire, and they burn, they burn
But still they are not consumed.

(c) 2ndwitch, 11/02/17

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Hands.






The smallest hand reaches out, blindly,
And expects that someone will grasp it.
The child places his hand trustingly into
The hand of his companion, and walks on.
The girl holds hands under the desk and
Is sure that the boy she sits with is good.
The guy on his first date shyly grasps
The other's hand, and then smiles.
The couple join hands at the altar,
And vow to love each other for ever.
And then it starts again, and again,
A cycle of trust and love that we are
Taught to believe in, through books
And films and plays and songs.
And yet for so many this cycle is a joke.
For the refugee who reaches out into
The dark and there is no-one there.
For the man alone in a hospital bed
The harassed but kindly nurse can
Only spare a brief smile, and move on.
For the woman sat alone in an unheated
Room, wishing she had family somewhere
Who would call, or write, or even exist.
For the drunk on the street, cold, penniless
And hopeless, nowhere to go, nowhere to turn.
For them there is no cycle of certainty,
And for them, we are letting them down.

(c) 2ndwitch, 15/01/17

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Some days, this day, one day.



There are days when ideas are alive,
And your head is jumping, buzzing and
Overflowing with words and thoughts that
Scrap and fight for attention.
And on other days it is impossible to
Decide if you want a cup of tea or
A cup of coffee.
So the job of the poet is to set traps
That can catch the elusive thought
As it flies determinedly away from
The head it originated in.
And having set the traps, they then need to
Check the traps and see what has been
Trapped in the traps, and see if anything
Has actually been trapped in
The traps
At all.
And then they need to take a word
Photo of the words and ideas and
Set them back free to explore the
World and perhaps meet other ideas
And mate and produce new ideas that
Will grow and teem in some other poor
Soul's head, until they escape and get
Caught in the trap set by the other poor soul.
And so it goes on and on,
And on and on and on and on.

(c) 2ndwitch, 14/01/17

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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

January.



The tendril fingers of cold stroke
Softly down your wind-kissed skin,
And remind you that many more days
And nights will pass before the
Sun's warmth will chase them away.
The dead leaves that carpet the path
Have stopped dancing in the autumn
Breeze and are now sluggishly
Clinging to the ground, and turning to
A slippery mush in the relentless rain.
The skeletal branches of the leafless
Trees wave in submission to the winter
Winds, and call a hoarse and deadened
Greeting to the first fall of snow.
Evening falls early, and morning is long
In rising, the day dull and thuggish
Under its cloak of steel grey cloud.
And yet, in the growing bud, the shoot
Just creeping through the cold and wet
Earth, the yellow on the gorse, there
Is still a promise that spring will
Not be so long in arriving.

(c) 2ndwitch, 04/01/2017

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Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Thoughts . . .




As I walk I wonder if you too can hear the
Echoes between the water that flows down the
Leven and the seas that pound the shore at the
Bay of Skaill; the slow ripple that perhaps was
Once a crashing wave, remembering the individual
Grains of sand that it caressed so many miles
Before, and the shape of the shell that rolled
Beneath its landfall, and now just a lazy
Ripple that sneaks between the banks of dead grass
And under the bare branches of the trees
And shrubs along the riverbank.
So long ago the sailors reached Scapa Flow
And settled in relief at the haven there,
In boats built along the Clyde, or at the
Mouth of the Leven.
Like the waves, and the boats, men
And women too have traveled between
The Leven and Kirkwall, the same cheek that
Felt the soft rain of a cold February beneath
The castle rock has also felt the sandpaper
Wind that crosses the Flow and sculpts
The land that is Orkney.
Connections and echoes, all is simply
Connections and echoes.
And perhaps the ardent Scot who condemns
The English voter has forgotten that
There is nothing more than connections and echoes?

(c) 2ndwitch, 03/01/17

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Monday, January 02, 2017

A futile plea!




I want to see smiles when I walk in the town,
I want to hear laughter and banter and joking.
I am sick of the everyday face and its frown
I am tired of the way all that is good is now broken.

I want to stand should to shoulder with men,
I want to feel proud of the people we are.
I want to hear positive news once again
I want to know peace in this world near and far.

I want to feel safe wherever I walk,
I want to know all men are happy and fed.
I want to listen, and to be open to talk,
I want every person to sleep sound in their beds.

So an end please to profit, and to greed and to pain,
Let's all work together for contentment again.

(c) 2ndwitch 02/01/17

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Falloch



It fell as rain, tears from the clouds, or as
Snow perhaps, soft flakes of sadness, blanketing
The winter ground, and touching the pine needles
With gossamer wings as it passed.
It slowly dripped from branch to branch,
Passing down towards the pine-barren ground
Below, and then through peat a slow seepage,
Until the burden it created was too much for the
Hill to carry, and then it flowed into the stream,
And started a journey past reed and stone,
Down past dyke and track, growing ever
Swifter, and press-ganging more to join
The river now, as it chattered and splashed
Over rock and grass, past trees and
Into the valley of pools and falls.
A torrent now, grown of the land it
Traveled through, and it crashes over the
Lip of the falls, a cascade into a deep,
Peat-dark pool, cold and unrelenting
Onwards to the loch, whose arms are
Open to welcome every cloud-tear-drop.


(c) 2ndwitch, 28/12/16

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It is not that they are dead . . .



 . . . but that we are still alive.
So many who gave us form and reason are
Moving on to other things, whatever they,
Or you, believe, that is where they are.
Perhaps beyond the stars, or lying in a
Deep velvet peace of nothing, or waiting
Patiently in line to come back again.
Perhaps they have solved the great enigma now,
And are laughing with god, or dancing with
Dragonflies?
But we are still here, and whilst we are still here
They are not dead, for what they did, and said
Lives on in our minds and memories, the
Soundtrack of our growing years has not
Been erased, but plays now with perhaps a hiss
And a crackle, and a jump where we were scratched
By the pains that accompany the role of being human.
We can still read their words, and hear their voices,
Feel their joy and sadness through the notes they
Placed together, and we can take that expression
And make it our own, so no, they are not dead.
But with each physical death, a little of us is
Diminished, a little of the colour that we
Scribbled into our pictures with crayons and
Felt tip pens, leaches away into the evening of
The day.


(c) 2ndwitch, 27/12/16

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

1988

The skies, cloud-girt and cold
On a dark December day, are
No sanctuary, but instead speeding
Through the wintered air comes
Death, a flame of agony, and
Metal snow, crashing to earth,
Meteoric in descent, and undiscerning
In landing where it fell.
And years pass, and still we
Remember that day, when the heavens
Rejected the invader, when
The evil ones won, and the
Innocent paid the price.
And years pass, and we do not
Learn from history, all those who
Died did so in vain, for it
All happens again and
Again and again and again.


(c) 2ndwitch, 21/12/16

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Remembering Eliot . . .



The cold December wind slices through
Clothes, and slowly numbs the skin.
The cold December wind mocks the closed
Windows and drawn curtains, and sneaks
Under the chairs to wind around your ankles.
The cold December wind reminds you that is
The ending of the year, perhaps the zenith
Or the nadir of growth and sunlight, or
The reign of moonlight over night.
It is when that December wind blows, lazily,
And with malice, around your ears and down
Your scarf-clad neck, then is the time you
Are reminded of the year gone by, and of
Those you have lost and will see no more.
And it is when the wind dies away, and settles
Into a soft sigh of frost chilled breath, that is
The time you think of the new year still to come.


(c) 2ndwitch, 13/12/16

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Friday, December 09, 2016

The Woods by Loch Lomond





I walked in the woods, watching the light
Play on the bare twigs of winter,
Spotlighting the long and wizened fingers
Of some many old crones, wise women,
Who dwell now in the woods above
Loch Lomond.
As I walk I remember the days of youth
When acorns were treasure, and the
Spinning jennies spun there web of dreams
Until they landed, faerie soft, on the moulded
Ground, and rested there, still and quiet.
I remember the voices of the child who cried
And sang in the shadow of the leaves
And who is now the crone in the tree.
I think of Hallaig, and all who lived there,
But are now gone, and of the loves who
Live on in the woods of Hallaig.
I think of the hunters who marched out
In pursuance of the noble stag, and of the
Ravens that croaked there return; and I know,
I know, that spirits who dwell still in Hallaig
Are much the same as those who dwell
Now in the woods that I walk through.
And I am glad to hear their age-wisdom
Voices on the breeze, and in the river-chatter.



(c) 2ndwitch, 09/12/16

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Sunday, December 04, 2016

Warm Embrace




Today I have seen the words that tell the tale
Today I have listened to the song that serenaded your going
And today I have looked back in time at the
Memories that are swirling, some bright,
Some faded into soft colour, some mono
And some greying into moonlit silver.
And today I feel again the knife that
Cut me to the soul, that took from
Heart of me all that I am, and laid
It bare before me, to see and realise
The pointlessness of it all, the lack of
Anything of point or purpose.
Your death took from me the hope of a new
Day, and it showed to the world that I
Am worthless and without substance.
Today I have revisited that day, and once again
I can see the entrails of a life wasted
Spread at my feet, to be kicked
And buried into the dust and detritus of
Other people's more worthwhile lives.
Today I have remembered the songs that cut
To the bone, the pictures sung that dance
In my darkest dreams and people my
Nightmares, today I recalled the truth of
The knowing that it is not for me, and that
There is no tomorrow, just yet another
And another and another yesterday.
Today I have remembered the
Yesterday that I cannot forget.

(c)2ndwitch, 04/12/16

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Saturday, December 03, 2016

The Survivor


And sometimes the feelings are more than words
The time that you thought was yours
Stretches and ebbs and flows
Until there is no shape or form, and your
Head and heart are feeling so full and
You feel as though you are drowning in
The black velvet of not understanding.
Sometimes it is like that, and other times
You know that there is no point in continuing
And no point in trying to fight on and
Take that next step, you want to sink
Into a grey and beige void of nothing,
Where you cannot hear or see or feel
Anything at all, where you exist in nothing.
And then sometimes you reach out and
Try to touch, you want to connect but
There are iron bands on your arms and
However hard you try you cannot make
Your fingers brush with another.
And those times there is only ever music,
And other times there is also music.
Never forget, there is music.
(c) 2ndwitch, 03/12/16

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sunset


I have looked with eyes and seen into the future,
A vista of colour and molten copper sea, with
Green hints and highlights, and it looked to be
Good to me.
But when I looked again I saw that it was behind
A glass screen, there to see but not to touch,
My future in a gallery, displayed only to
The gaze and not offered for living.
And so it is, and so it goes, and
So it always goes, forever looking
And never living.
(c) 2ndwitch, 23/10/16

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Hiraeth


A single word hangs, shimmering, in the late afternoon light.
A note, sung softly, chimes like a bell calling the faithful
To worship and revere a god that lives between dry pages.
A dust mote dances, and invites the watcher to join it in
A reel to the music of time.
And all the time, there is no time, but there is all time,
And time is measured by breaths, longer for the ones
Not taken, and the soft sigh of the falling dusk echoes
Across the faded gilt of the sunset's dregs.
No waves can carry back to the shore the hopes
That were cast overboard, no swift flowing tide can
Recapture the dreams that spun and wove a
Delicate web of promise.
Only the land is eternal, and yet it is not,
Only the seas can hold the tears that are cried
And yet they cannot, for all that is infinite is
Truly finite, and is held in the palm of my hand.
(c) 2ndwitch, 28/10/16

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Echoes


Memories, encapsulated forever,
Trapped, insects in amber,
Hiding in out of the way places,
Memories, the distillation of pain,
I wish you were here . . .
I wish you could hear . . .

The siren call of autumn
Floats on the August wind,
And promises the harvest
And then the deep sleep
Of winter's ice-rimmed death grip.

(c) 2ndwitch, 30/08/16

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

There is a time.

There is a time for all things, each event and occurrence
Will take its due place in life, each one of us
Joins and leaves the train of life at the stations
That suit our journey.
Sometimes the time is not now, sometimes
Things, events, people, happen when the time
Is not right.
And when this happens, the order of life
Becomes disrupted and the train may be
Derailed.
Sometimes this is temporary, and other
Times this is irreversible, a wrong that
Cannot be righted.
Whether now is the hour or minute,
Or whether that hour is in a year's time
Or whether it happened a year ago
Is not something we can change, for
When things have happened they cannot
Be unhappened.
There is a time for all things,
But there may not be a purpose
In all things.

(c) 2ndwitch, 26/06/16

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Monday, May 30, 2016

1976



Thinking back on days gone by, remembering
The rain that made the wipers swish, and the
Roaring splash of the tyres on the wet road.
Thinking back on days gone by, remembering
The smell of grass as the leather hit the willow
And the sun was so hot it burnt your legs.
Thinking back on days gone by, remembering
The dash reach the door before the raindrops
Soaked your hair, and then shaking the drops
Of the umbrella by opening and closing it.
Thinking back on days gone by, remembering
The way home-made ice-lollies became just
Ice by the time you got to the end.
Thinking back on days gone by, remembering
The ants that scurried back and forth, in and
Out of the cracks between the flags on the drive.
Thinking back on days gone by, remembering
Beach days, and park days, sandwiches and apples,
And tea from a vacuum flask that actually kept it hot.
Thinking back on days gone by, remembering

When life was promising, and lay before me, many
Roads to choose from, so much opportunity, so
Many chances to go wrong and throw it all away.

(c) 2ndwitch, 30/05/16

My thanks to Ray Hearne, whose song 'The Longest Hot Summer' inspired this poem. See http://rayhearne.co.uk 

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Monday, May 02, 2016

A thought.

I opened my eyes and looked out of the window
And I had a thought . . .
I wondered it is was raining.
And it was.
Hey ho.
Mind, it would have been raining
Even if I had not thought
So really that proves that
Thinking is a waste
Of
Time.


Sometimes!

(c) 2ndwitch, 02/05/16

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Reality, and pink cheese


On the internet it is possible to find advice
On just about any topic at all.
It is especially common to find well-meaning
Articles suggesting that the reader should
Stop living in the past, and
Stop criticising themselves, and
Stop being negative, and should
Go out and do what they want, and
Go out and live their dreams, and
Go out each day as though there were
No tomorrow; and tomorrow and tomorrow
Whereon creeps, said the man from Stratford,
Is when the innocent reader steps
Out of their front door, determined
To follow all the advice; and tomorrow and tomorrow
Is when again and again the innocent reader
Falls flat again and again; and tomorrow and
Tomorrow is when the innocent reader either
Realises that life is not a picture of kittens on
Some social media site, or does not so realise.
In the former case, the daily drudge doubles
In its burden; and in the latter case
The innocent reader is plain deluded.
It is not possible to go out and just live
Your dreams, unless your dreams encompass
Slogging round Asda, your boots leaking,
And the cat being sick on the living room floor.
© 2ndwitch, 17/02/16

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Singer.



The deep tones that echo, sonar-like,
Through the green-lit waters, and the
Bass notes that underly the wind.
The slow drawl of words drawn out
By notes that linger and echo and
Wind round the melody.
The rippling guitar that flows so
Softly and strongly over the rocks
Of the echoing lyrics.
All these, and so much more,
Mean that memory does not die.
And the singer makes me cry.


© 2ndwitch, 19/01/16

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Monday, January 18, 2016

The Musician.



You walked into the world, all those years ago,
With the promise of a glorious future, success,
Fame and adoration tempting you on and on.
You opened your mouth and sang, and people
Listened, and your voice had the power to entrance.
You ran your fingers over the strings, and
Allowed a molten gold web to be woven, and
Cast it across your audience, and saw them fall in love.
As the years passed, you moved from band to stage
To band, to studio, to band again and again, each time
Choosing a small part of yourself to reveal to
Anyone who was listening.
Slowly the life became harder, the audiences smaller,
The bookings less prestigious, and the appeal of
The things that blanked the mind grew ever stronger,
The beer, the wine, the wacky baccy, and
Late nights and smokes began to take their toll.
And so, eventually, you walked back out of the world,
With the promises not fulfilled, and broken now,
Disheartened, your muse defeated and laid to rest.
But just some of what you did lives on.
Some of your work will never die.

© 2ndwitch, 17/01/16

(My thanks to the owner of the guitar, who probably does not even know I took the photo, for the image.)

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Gannet's Farewell.







The steady beat of wings hums across the cold winter air
And the whirling blades carry them overhead.
The clear blue of the sky sings a silent song in tribute
As for the last time, the 'copters fly over the loch.
Later the clouds close in, and the first real flurries
Of winter snow obliterate the hills, and leaden waters,
Mocking the memory of blue and the answering waves.
There will be no such day as this ever again.

Another day, and the skies are grey, and the clouds
Overburdened with winter, and the flakes fall,
Like downy feathers, coating the rain-soaked land
In a blanket of cold, of ice crystals, soft and deadly.
And it seems a lifetime ago that the choppers flew
Overhead against the backdrop of a clear blue sky.

© 2ndwitch, 17/01/16


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Friday, November 13, 2015

Thought flies . . .


I stand and watch the parade, uniform clad and poppied,
Pass me by, each step a chapter in the history that has
Left wives as widows and made children cry.
I stand and gaze into the past, seeing each lost limb
And blinded eye, the illustration of humanity and the
Physical demonstration of our innate empathy
And kindness, one to another, across the tapestry of time.
I stand and look to the horizon, seeking there a future,
Bright-skied and starlit, moonshine falling on dew-decked
Grass, and the wind caressing the whispering leaves.
But future see I none. Instead, along the far vista, lies
A land of desolation, of despair and monochrome tears.
I see tomorrow, the day of reckoning, when all are called
Unto account, and there is no credit balance on this statement.
I see the wasted earth, the barren fields, the crops that
Cannot grow, the listless cows, the sheep whose fleeces
Rot upon their backs, and fall, tangled to rest in thistles.
I look back upon the khakied ranks, the countless faces,
Mute and sightless, the shuffling feet taking another and another
And another step, to a destination unknown, and wonder what
On earth they were fighting for, and why, oh why, they died.
And then I stand upon the deck as the boat sails across
The water, and see before me the island, slowly coming closer.
I see the single ray of sunlight break through the clouds, and
Old bones of the earth laid bare, sand-washed and clear, and
Hear the seagulls' cry. And I know, this is why they died.
© 2ndwitch, 13/11/15

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

In blue light.



The clock is ticking, slow and steady, beating out
A rhythm to breathe to, in, out, in out, and time
Is held, aspic-set, in suspension of progress, with
No hope of regress.

The fire spits, and crackles, now louder, now softer
With sparks showering the glowing coals from time
To time, and a gentle dying back until there is only
A dulling orange glow.

Outside, the owly moon casts her mystic glow down
Onto the silver loch, shading out the colours of the
Day, and bringing autumn to winter's heel, a promise
Of frost soon to come.

And inside, the memories of times ago are rising, waking
With the midnight hour, and jostling into view, the mixed
Voices of the past clamouring to live again, in one vast
And riotous dream.

And this is now, that was then, but what was then
Also is now, and there is no moving on, and there is
No moving back, no leaving the past behind despite
The creeping new day.

© 2ndwitch, 11/11/15

(These words were inspired by a badly lit gig, with the performer presenting an almost photographically negative image to the audience, with the blue from a string of fairy lights casting shadows across an ageing face.)

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Moonbeam and red wine


And as the day is dying,
Fading slowly into night
The red wine caresses the sorrows
And soothes them into a dull pain,
Making them feel more bearable
And at the same time
Harder to bear.
Memories, swirl and eddy in the
Wine glass in my hand.
The music changes to something
Sad and melancholy,
And the words echo in the
Wine glass in my hand.
And the day is dying,
Fading slowly into the
Dark hours of night, the hours
Populated with demons
And ghouls, and memories
The haunt and taunt
And pass their frozen fingers
Slowly down the spine, all
Shivering in ice and the
Wine glass in my hand.
Peace shatters, and shards of
Pain are sent flying into the
Softest flesh of remembrance,
Whilst the day is slowly dying,
And its grief is dissolved in the
Wine glass in my hand.
And there is born a desire,
A wish that will not retreat,
To scream and cry, and most
Of all to lash out and slap
Those whose insensitive words
Belittle the pain that is held in the
Wine glass in my hand.
© 2ndwitch, 23/10/15

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Thursday, October 08, 2015

An Ode to Jeremy Corbyn.



It is the day, only the day, today.
No matter who you are, for now, today
Is the only day there is.
Wherever you are, there is no change, your
Day is just today.
Tomorrow is in the future, and
Yesterday is in the past, so
Today, all we have is today.
Today we may not eat,
Tomorrow we may have bread.
Today we may shiver by an
Empty fire, ashes cowering in
The bent and broken grate,
Tomorrow we may have coal.
Today we may huddle in an
Old and threadbare blanket
By the back door to an office
Building, that no-one uses,
Tomorrow we may have shelter.
But tomorrow is in the future,
And before we can be in
That future, we have to live
Through the endless todays.
Politicians speak, and no-one
Listens, other than the sycophants
And party faithful who wear
The blinkers or red, or blue, or
Purple, or gold, or every colour
Ever known to mankind, and more.
But reality is monochrome.
Reality is deafened by the cries of
Its children, its starving children.
Reality stands in the queue to be
Sanctioned and humiliated
Again and again and again.
Again and again and again
We live through this endless
Today, and hope that one day
Something might change.

© 2ndwitch, 08/10/15

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

On viewing the morning through mist.



When the mist sweeps down and shrouds the tired leaves,
And the morning sun is water-coloured seeping through the clouds,
When the trees are casting off the summer's green canopy
Then we know that autumn has arrived.
The long and sharp-scented walks through the fallen leaves,
The early evening light that dims and darkens massing clouds,
The worn and fading grass that reflects the ageing sky's canopy,
All indicate that autumn has arrived.
© 2ndwitch, 30/09/15

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Stonymollan road



The long stone path, climbing slowly through
Bracken and heather, girt with popping broom,
Turns gently to left and right, always climbing,
Embraced by benevolent trees that filter the
Late summer, or is it early autumn, sun.

The dappled shade leopards the grassy bank
And plays an ephemeral game of hide and seek
On my hands and arms as I write.
The burn, down-flowing, provides the counterpoint, in treble
To the percussive broom, and the bass of distant cars.

Today is just one day, taken out of time, and held
Tight in my empty hands, it escapes my grasping fingers
And dances its onward way, cloud-dotted and pale blue.
Never, no never, again, will I see that bee
Visit the open gloves left by a passing fox.

Never, no never, again will that exact blue bottle
Buzz and bumble on the browning bracken.
But, for ever and ever again, this one
Encapsulated moment will live
In my mind's eye, preserved, a sun-washed memory.

© 05/09/15


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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The grieving of the year.




The first breaths of autumn brush softly
The now wrinkled cheeks of summer;
They kiss the fingers of August, in greeting
And farewell, sighing long and low over the
Blown roses and tired leaves; and then
The harsher cold of the steel-blue eyes of
A dying season casts its tendrils over
The final shivers of remembered warmth.
Autumn, fruitful autumn, heralded by clouds
And driving rain; a season of fading memories
And sobbing grief; hidden in the relentless drops
Of piercing water, the herald of ice and winter snow.
© 2ndwitch, 01/09/15

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Sunday, August 02, 2015

Hiding a tree.



Take me to the desolate place, where no man goes,
And let me sit and gaze up to the hill.
Take me to the place of rock, and summer-living snows,
Where I can stand in silence and be still.

Let me taste the wind that whips the spring-fruit rain,
And let me feel the velvet touch of night.
Let me drink the endless wine of autumn once again,
And let me set the endless wrongs to right.

I will ride the winged horse, and fly out in the dark,
And I will run and breathe the starry sky.
I will dance with dragonflies, and sing songs with the lark,
And in the golden light of sunrise I will die.
Across the hills, and through the vales, let the eagle soar
And carry wordless voices on a sigh.


A single wing beat floats, waves crash on the shore
And with soundless raindrop-tears I softly cry.


© 2ndwitch, 02/08/15

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

A caching poem . . .



One overcast and rainy Scottish summer day
A tired and harassed father was loudly heard to say:
"My little saints and cherubs,
Let's go and hunt for treasure"
And grumpy grousing children were hurried on their way!

No need to call for help, no need for 192,
Just keep following the arrow, its direction true.
Through the mud and nettles,
Over thistles, dodge the midges;
In search of hidden boxes, hidden well from view.

Y oh why, the children ask, what is our purpose here?
And daddy smiles and tells, all will soon be clear.
This one is a small one,
Underneath a stone.
And yes, they've nabbed it, their first cache is here!

Like a pirate map perhaps, where X marks the spot,
Now they race across the field, to find another pot.
Dodge the cow pat,
Over the stile,
Scrabble under the hedge, and another cache is got!

There is no Q to play this game, it's free to one and all,
Just use your phone, or similar, more fun than a ball.
Keep searching in the crannies,
The nooks that hide the cache,
And more committed cachers have yielded to the siren call!!

© 2ndwitch, 26/07/15.

Hidden in the poem above, (and I know it's doggerel, but 'tis only meant to be fun) is the tracking code for a TB that you can 'discover'! Just to help you, the first verse is the intro, the code is in the rest of the poem, and it is 3 numbers followed by 3 letters. Good luck!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

In memoriam


so kiss goodbye to romance
let her dance where the dragonflies dance
in the flash of clear light
where the day meets the night
let her dance where the dragonflies dance

let the mourning bells ring
and pause while the mockingbirds sing
where that one final tune
wreathes stars round the moon
and pause while the mockingbirds sing

stand and wait at the edge of the grave
while grass whispers and red poppies wave
the soft sigh of the breeze
calls to oceans and seas
while grass whispers and red poppies wave

breathe farewell on one last longing sigh
send your love where the butterflies fly
cast your grief to the clouds
wear your black cloth like shrouds
send your love where the butterflies fly

and take this, then, the last chance
to dance where the dragonflies dance
in that flash of clear light
where the day meets the night
you can dance where the dragonflies dance

© 2ndwitch, 24/06/15




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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

No going back.



Each step is treacle-bound, the effort of
Keeping open those eyes is almost
Greater than humanly feasible. Yet.
Still, forwards, forwards, and still
Forwards, there is no other route.
There is no other way, the roads
That used to be open are now shut,
And the turnings marked 'no entry'.
The white line never ceases, bending
Round corners and pausing. Yet.
Still forwards, the relentless hum of
The engine is mesmerising the driver.
And forwards, only forwards, there
Is no other way. Yet. Yet. Yet.

© 2ndwitch, 17/06/15

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

We're oblivion.



A reaching arm, slow and hesitant,
Touches nothing, and withdraws again.
A hand, softly sweeps errant hair
Back to one side, and then falls back.
One tear, fought against, but failed
Slides down the cheek, and dries.
There is no tomorrow, there is no
Today, and only yesterday, and
All the sorrows there within remains.
And all the sorrows there, faded to monochrome
And softing in grey, drape gentle
Cover to the grieving soul, always
Pretending comfort, whilst holding
Back the warmth of colour, and
The possible promise of hope
In the morning sunlight's pool of gold.
Secrets untold.
Secrets untold.
There is no hope, no looking forwards
Once your life has been set back.
Loss, longing, and never knowing.
And so many lies.

© 2ndwitch, 16/06/15

My thanks to several songwriters for thoughts and feelings that have combined to give life to the above, including Iain Thomson, Martyn Joseph, Dougie MacLean, Jim King; and to Ivan Drever for the melody that sits beneath the words.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

There will be no snowdrops in the rain.


So many times, the same words,
Round your empty head, echoing
And ringing with a hollow tone,
Each note a stiletto in your heart.
Dark, the friend of the aching mind,
Is oppressing the aching soul
And the clammy wind winds
Its tendrils round your sanity.
The snowdrops dance, the breeze
Teases them, and the rain caresses
Their petals, but no matter, no matter
They shed no tears, they are no
Sign of hope.
There is no comfort from
Snowdrops in the rain.

© 2ndwitch, 15/06/15

There is a reference to a song here, but as it is not really very complimentary in nature, I will not name the singer / writer, and merely acknowledge that the reference is there - if anyone is concerned by this, please contact me and I will give further information. Please note that it is the specific song that I dislike, not the person who wrote or sings it.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Ghosts.



When there is time to think, that is when
The day becomes soft, and grey, and fades
Into a colour of oblivion.
The small sounds, the glimpse that catches
You unawares, those are the things that
Have the greatest power to hurt and
That we cannot avoid, however
Hard we try.
And we try.
For each and every moment is another
Moment of battle, another battle in the
War that never ends, from now
Until then, whenever then may be.
Then, a destination, a place in the future
Or perhaps a shadow of yesterday,
That hovers over any one of us,
A raincloud of tears and recriminations.
The shimmering dancing wavering
Branches imprint on the water
Sunlit in waves, and tempting
The watcher to drown in unknown depths.
A wingbeat of time, a heartbeat away
From death, and calling for the
Greying of day into night.
A cool breeze that caresses with steel.

© 2ndwitch, 13/03/15

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Monday, March 09, 2015

Hush, and listen . . .


My voice is no louder than yours.
Sometimes it is very quiet.
But I still have things to say,
I still have an opinion.
You should listen to my opinion,
For it is valid, and just as relevant
As your opinion is.
Please do not try and shut me up.
I have something to say.
It is the small people, the quiet people,
The almost silent people, the ones on the margin,
The ones who dare not shout,
The ones who fear the blows of misfortune,
The ones who work to stand still;
These are the people who hold our world together,
And these are the people that need to speak up.
Together we have a voice.
Together we can be heard.
Do not try to shut us up, we
Have things to say.
When the people speak.

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Saturday, March 07, 2015

A cloud in my coffee . . .



You think you are so wonderful, so marvellous,
Everyone must love you, want to touch the hem
Of you oh so long black leather coat, or kiss the ground
That your highly polished tooled leather boots
Walk across.
You look down on mere mortals, smile an alligator smile
And pass on, content that there is nothing to interest you.
You accept the plaudits, the praise, the sycophantic lies
That you believe to be true.
The jewel in your ear glints in the spotlight,
Your medallion is lying half hidden by your
Immaculate shirt, so artfully open just the right amount,
And when you are on show, your smile is warm and
Welcoming, and so shallow not even a newborn infant
Could drown in it.
You think you are the best, the top of the tree,
A chart buster, desired and loved by all.
But you are just another human, frail, damaged
And hiding in a shell of false glamour.
The rings on your hand are hiding the bruises
Your fingernails made when you dug them in
So deeply as you fought down the waves of panic
And fear.
Your sleeves are long so that the marks on your arms
Do not show. You never smile with your eyes,
If you let your eyes into the game then
All they would do is shed tears.
Your mask is cracked, your armour is rusting,
One day no-one will care, and you will
Finally have to accept being real.

© 2ndwitch, 07/03/15

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Friday, March 06, 2015

Monochrome.



There are days when the longing for what once was
Overcomes the pleasure in what is now.
There are days when the times gone by sing their
Lament in your ears, and block the sound of the
Soft day breathing. There are days, there are days.
If you have never loved, or never lost, then you
Cannot know the same days.
You will know days, you will ignore days,
Some days you will cry with a pain that was born
When neolithic man walked this earth, and
Will find that pain unbearable, and so sharp,
And so cold and so hot, you will know those days.
Others will know other days, when the softing light
That filters through the silken grey of winter clouds
And caresses you with ethereal limbs, and strokes
The warmth into a chilled submission, and when the
Memories engage in a macabre dance of death,
Those days will seep into your heart, and sap
The hope from your very soul.
The days when the longing for what once was
Is so strong that you feel yourself bending and
Breaking, your roots are torn free from solid ground,
And you are tossed on a torrent of grief and regret
That crashes and roars and carries you unwilling
All the way down to the infinite sea.
There are days.

© 2ndwitch, 06/03/15

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Sunday, March 01, 2015

On the first day of March.



Sighing song, on the wandering wind
That plays with each step on the waterside walk.
Taunting tune, haunting and ethereal,
Reflected in the clouds that shroud the hills,
And veil in mist the vagrant view.
Raindrops that run, inexorably, down
The walker's neck, and settle soggily somewhere
Below the chin.
The whispering waves, washing
The shore, and sending shivering shimmers
Of water to caress the roots of the trembling trees.
Yesterday was winter, soon spring appears,
And the mad March winds will buffet
And toss the lingering dead leaves, and the
Drooped and dying grass into a
Frenzied swirl of the distant promise
Of summer.
But for now
It is winter with nature and me.

© 2ndwitch, 01/03/15

(Some time back, I found a version of the Robert Tannahill poem 'The Braes O'Gleniffer', I must have had the copy for ages, but had never 'listened' before - it is the last track on one of Ivan Drever's albums. He is a good singer, a superb guitarist - and he has nailed this song totally. I was walking along the shore of the loch, north from Firkin Point today, and the words of it came to mind for some reason, and so the last line of my poem is kinda stolen from RT and ID. I would love to know more - like where the tune is from (ID being a composer of note it could well be his) but feel it would be impertinent to ask! Or sycophantic - and I hate sycophants!)

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Forget-me-not.



A slow walk, paced step by step, to the floating notes
Of a mournful slow air, in a minor key,
That keens with the wind.
Looking round, and everywhere there are people
In two, hand in hand, or side by side.
People arguing, laughing, sharing comments
And glances, complete, a circle that cannot
Be broken.
And the slow walk, alone, paced neatly, mind
And heart fixed on anything but the obvious.
"Wouldn't you rather be dancing,
When there's a chance of romancing?"
And which of us wouldn't, really.
Which of us, the silent lonely ones would
Not love to feel an arm round our shoulders
Sometimes?
Which of us does not wish that someone would
Tell us "You got my number"
And hope that we call?
The world is smaller when you are on your own.
You are dependent, and that causes problems,
It causes all sorts of problems, and it makes
The keeping of friends harder and harder.
For they do not understand.
Or are content together.
The world is designed for couples.
If you are not a couple, then you do not fit.
If you do not fit, then the world rejects you.
Condemned to a life of people watching.
And a slow walk, to the music of time,
Beating slow and with a death march sound,
Keening condemnation in a minor key.

© 2ndwitch, 26/02/15

(I suppose I ought to apologise for the photo that accompanies this - not to the general reader, but to the guys who are part of the band pictured - so I kinda do. I won't name the band, but I will say that one of the quotes used above is from one of their songs, which is why I used this photo. I could not choose the singer of the other quote, as I have never taken his photo - yet!)

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

BOGOF



Shopping is not fun.
It is not one laugh after another, trawling
The supermarket shelves for a bargain,
For something you can afford.
Rooting through the reduced chiller, and
Walking up and down the fruit and veg
Looking for that tell-tale sticker.
But at least I can.
And as I walk the aisles in the co-op
I think to myself, so little stands between
Me, and needing the help of the foodbank.
I am no MP, I have no expenses account,
Just a few hundred pounds a month to
Put fuel in the car, coal on the fire, and
Food into the fridge. But the little I have
Is enough.
It is not luxury, it is not excess, it is not
Tolerant of waste and the purchase of
Fripperies. But it suffices.
And so, as I walk those aisles, and plot my
Course from onions to reduced meat, to
Kindling and frozen peas, I add to
My trolley the odd one of those,
Two of these, one of the other
And a handful of this at four for
A pound.
Because I can.
Please can you?

© 2ndwitch, 25/02/15

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Thoughts of September.



When one door closes, another closes at the same time.
The one behind slams shut, and bars the traveller from returning
Whence they came.
The door ahead, so tantalisingly ajar as he approached
Is now bolted, and no amount of shaking and banging
Can persuade it to open again.
The door to the left is locked, solid and unmoving,
Whilst the one to the right has not been opened
In my lifetime, it is painted shut, and set like stone.
When one door closes, the traveller needs find
Another door.
But there is no other door.

The land of birth sets strong the tendrils of blood
And anchors them within the ribs of the growing man.
Stand proud and claim your heritage, my friend,
Until that day when you realise that all you think
That you inherited is so much dust and hot air,
The dream a mirage that can never be for real.
And then you turn your back on that never land,
And look to another future, look for a horizon
That heralds a new dawn, and a new day.

In new land, the fight continues, the daily battle
With prejudice and hatred never ceases.
When the native man opines that he does not
Hate you, but . . .
And beyond that but is a myriad of hating thoughts.
When the native man speaks a tongue you cannot
Understand, and laughs in your face if you ask
Him to explain.

And so the traveller find himself back in that
Dead-end hall, with four doors all shut against him,
And no clue as to where to go now.

© 2ndwitch, 23/02/15

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Reflecting.



The light of snow-cloud and rainbow-sun danced
Across the wind-tossed waves, and touched the trees
On the far shore.
Silver-grey plated hills deigned to stoop
And kiss the winter-watered loch.
And a robin darted and bobbed on the barren branches.

Memories of summer days hovered, just out of reach,
And the ghosts of evenings round the campfire
Sang soundless songs to the winter air.

A phantom sunrise taunts the winter afternoon,
And promises that this day too will pass.

And this day too will pass.

© 2ndwitch, 21/02/15

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Recalling a Wild Cat - for Becky's Dad.



May the wind be gentle as it fills your sails,
And your boat skim the waves as it heads out from the bay.
Set fair your course, for a land that is sunlit,
Where there are fires on the shore, fish to catch,
And a kettle to boil at the end of the day.
May your pennant fly bravely, and dance in the breeze,
And your hand on the tiller be steady and firm.
May your journey be endless, the charts of the heavens
Show stars to plot your course, and the wind
Fall at sunset, to let you sleep the night in peace.
May you find islands and shores of plenty,
Laughter and grace wherever you go, and a safe
Harbour that takes you safe within its walls.
May the life on the other ocean be calm, and may
Memories be the legacy, and your smile live
On in dreams.

© 2ndwitch, 20/02/15

(I should probably not publish this poem yet, but I have kept to publishing at the time of writing for all of this blog, so can only hope those that were so much in my mind as I wrote will understand. I will revisit and perhaps explain in due course - maybe.)
(Added note - I mentioned a very special friend in a poem the other day, sadly her dad has died. I discovered, not so long before he died, that he and I shared a deep love of the Lakes (actually, I knew that bit!) and of Swallows and Amazons. I knew he was dying, and I wanted his passing to be as peaceful as it could be, and that wish expressed itself in the above poem.)

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pain is black and red and spiky.



Stop this merry-go-round, pause this roundabout, I want to get off.
Stop swinging the swings, swinging is making me sick.
Flatten the slides, let me stay on solid and stable ground
For a few hours, or even a few days.
Please?
When the world spins around in dizzying circles, throwing
The unsuspecting hitchhiker out towards infinite space,
And then halts, and changes direction, and the finger tip
Grip on reality is loosened, and the ground shakes and trembles,
When the noise of living is deafening, and the colours of the
Noise are glaring and flashing, like neon lights,
Beating an uneven rhythm on my mind,
Then, then, yes then, I need the world to stop revolving.
I need time to halt, I need to suspend in space
And not be for a while.
No-one will let me.
They make me carry on.
And then I scream, and cry, and try to tear the pain from
Beneath my skin, digging in nails to gouge it out in lumps
And to let the agony bleed into the parched earth.
That is when I cannot be as you want me to be,
And that is when you tell me I am wrong,
I have failed, and in failing I am failing further,
And falling, falling, falling, through the cracks,
No arms are held out to catch me, no-one hears
Me when I scream and cry for help.
And then I want it all to stop.
I wish I was not.

© 2ndwitch, 19/02/15

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Guardian.


Soft wings that beat a gentle tune
And wind that whistles in the air.
Gossamer colour, and rainbows
To dream, and chase away tears.
Send me a unicorn, let it fly
High over clouds to my side.
And then let it sing to me once again,
That all may be well.

© 2ndwitch, 19/02/15

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

For Becky.



When life is closing in, and choking the very life
Out of you, when the panic is strangling you
And every breath is a battle in an endless war,
Then remember, remember this,
You are loved, and there are many
And many who walk this road beside you.
When the night is pressing down on the happiness
You have treasured, and kept hidden inside,
That is when you must remember,
Remember this - you are truly loved,
And your time on earth is precious,
And each smile, each word, each shared tear
Is a jewel in the crown that you wear.
When the day seems so long that you
May never see its end, that is when
You must remember, remember this,
You are here, and the reason you are here
Is that you are here.
No-one else can take your place on this earth
And no-one ever will.
And so you keep on keeping on.

© 2ndwitch, 17/02/15

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Position vacant.



The space sits, vacant, empty, waiting
For something to fill it.
The space is silent, filled with the
Screams and howls of lost souls.
The space is a cacophony,
Made up of the noiseless grimaces of pain
And loss.
The space is within each one of us.
Some of us are afraid.
Some of us seek the space.
Some of us embrace the space.
Some of us seek to fill the space.
In all of us is the space.
And all of us are within the space.

© 2ndwitch, 17/02/15

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Monday, February 16, 2015

In a minor key.



Small shivers of anticipation
Shatter the brittle glass of complacency,
And send the shards of disappointment
Spinning and shimmering
Across the room.
But it makes no difference,
The day is not yesterday
And tomorrow is an unknown
That we will never understand.

Shout, scream, stand up
And be counted.

Tears that should be imprisoned
Escape and slide, sneakily
Down a frozen cheek,
And then melt into the raindrops
That curtain the view.

A single shaft of sunlight
Pierces the green grey gloom.

And somewhere, somewhere
Shadows dance.

© 2ndwitch, 16/02/15

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

History repeats itself . . .





A slow sad song
Sung
By one person
And then another
And another.

A melody
Played alone
That another picks
Up and plays
A countermelody to.

A chorus,
Standing up against
The majority
That do not
Want
To listen.

Perhaps
Perhaps
One day perhaps
It will be heard
And the glory
That is love
Will prevail.

© 2ndwitch, 25/01/15

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Without permission . . .



Cold and clammy fingers that creep and caress.
Feet that tread, slowly and surely, across the ice.
Trees with white-shroud branches.
Shrubs bent, weighted with winter.
And then there are the footprints in the snow.

In the dark hours, when no-one but the moon
Is watching, comes roving the fox, hunting
In the starlight, and passing under the windows
Unseen and unheard, but leaving the mark of passage.

When the sun rises, the silver-grey-steel shimmers
And draws lines across the landscape, cold
Water and snow-lapped shores, together
Marking the season's progress.

Cold hands, gloved but chilled, clasping
The hot mug of tea.

© 2ndwitch, 21/01/15

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