Free?

With a sickening squelch I pulled myself free

Letting the remains of that which had engulfed me

Fall heavily    and shatter

Into delicate fragments

Plinking and pattering

Like so many pills strewn across a worktop

I pushed forward

Hardening my heart

Ears straining to hear

The pieces being picked up and slotted back together

Eyes forward. Do not crack.

Do not waver. Don’t turn back.

Do.

Not.

Look.

Back.

 

So of course I do. Of fucking course I do. I have to.

I peer carefully over my shoulder.

And shatter.

 

When I Was Seven

“There is great stupidity in this, or at least minimal imagination, which is more or less the same thing only morally worse.” -Stephen Fry, Moab is My Washpot

When I was seven they sent me away

Away from the country in which I played

Off to a place where my parents would pay

To give me an education

 

I got on the train, rattling and roaring

And perched myself next to a man who was snoring

And sat for two hours, long stiff and boring

Until we arrived at my school

 

Tucked away in a green and pleasant land

Closer to mountains than seaside or sand

Where every day was drawn up, closely planned

And they would teach me to study

 

When I told others they said it was cruel

To send a child to eat bread and gruel

A hundred miles away at a school

How could parents do such a thing?

 

I smiled politely, for they were dumb

To think it cruelty on the part of Mum

Even though I was still sucking my thumb

When really they hadn’t a clue

 

I retorted, “why ever should that be?

To private school went my mum, dad, bro, me,

So punishment would be school primary,

I would wonder what I’d done wrong”

 

But they shook their heads, and tutted at me

That I was damaged and I couldn’t see

Ever so sad is a private school boy

Defending a place that beat him

 

Well yes I was beaten, and rightly so

A terror I was, the whole school would know

Wherever I went trouble would follow

I could hardly complain my lot

 

Though I was naughty, though I was bad

And later my mind couldn’t overcome the sad

For my schooling I can be nothing but glad

To be given an education

 

 

 

 

A note:

Another from my University archives, written sometime in 2011, this is loosely based on some experiences relayed by the legendary Stephen Fry in his first autobiography, Moab is my Washpot. For the longest time I had the audiobook on my iPod, and would listen to it over and over whilst walking the dogs in the summer. Good times.

Dark Walls

Dark walls against the grain

Lonely tables take the strain

Cues bend ‘neath failures pain

And clear spirits take me

 

Slapped backs and kindly words

Barbs blunted, once like swords

Words try cross barren fjords

But veiled punches bruise me

 

Faces I try to control

Lash out with vitriol

No faith, face, lost it all

The mystery confounds me

 

Sunshine and happiness

He sings, takes the piss

Laughing yet hit and miss

Feeling overtakes me

 

Slurred attempts at kissing

Draw sour parents hissing

Don’t know what their missing

When were drowned in vodka

 

 

 

Context

One of the oldest pieces in my archives, this is from 2011 and  is one of the most coherent examples from my “writing poetry on nights out, whilst drunk” phase. This phase covers the latter part of first year, and most of second year of uni, a period involving sheer quantities of alcohol that would render me useless for days now.

Something Beautiful

“Come on boy!” I shout out, as rubber soles pick out a steady rhythm

Weather hardened paws pattering beside, sleek black fur flowing

Six legs churning, muscles warming, one more run on a familiar road.

As we pound down the hill, over old loose tarmac that crunches and cracks

Past a pretty smile that sparks instant fantasies,

In a mind that knows they so rarely come close to reality.

My mind wanders easily, drawn up by eyes that can never stop roaming

Taking in a pale sky, blue outshone by waves of slowly undulating cloud

Burnished a bright metallic pink, the last gift of the sun before it slips

Further round to light someone else’s dawn a thousand miles away.

Over a road, we slide between cars but give them no thought

As then the first sight is caught, of water and rocks, a leap and then

Smooth asphalt gives way to gritty sand, damp and clinging,

Constantly shifting, toes digging in, thousands of pebbles shifting and scraping.

Metal blaring into ears, spiking adrenaline, I see myself a superhero

Sizing up walls, I launch myself up one, fingers scrabbling for the lip

Muscles now hot as I pull myself with ungainly precision to the top.

We follow the sand, past dog walkers and phone talkers

The former giving indulgent grins, the latter turning as if we’d listen in,

The tide has sunk, uncovering as with an archaeologists brush

A cliff base of cracked and tumbled rocks, salty pools

Waiting for the patient return to the great blue

I launch myself up and over, left and right, as Dash weaves below

We two intrepid explorers of this newly revealed land

(Though rediscovered every twelve hours)

We revel in our earthly powers, laughing and barking, leaping and bounding

Clear, and now over lonely sands pounding.

Ness beach, round the headland, a sanctuary unbroken by sound

Other than endless channel waves, pushing and sloshing day after day

We two boys race along, claiming each inch for as long as we can

For as long as there’s no other souls to be seen

Nothing but sky, cliff, sand and sea.

We pull to a halt, heels and claws digging sodden grooves

Soon to be wiped out by the sea’s encroaching moves.

I turn out to sea, and stop.

And breathe.

The white lumps of plastic fall from my ears

Suddenly the waves are all that I hear

Waves below, while up above the still pink clouds surge

Out to sea, away from me, rolling on endlessly

Perhaps to rain on another land, another sea

I open myself to unearthly beauty.

No, that’s not right. This is as earthly as it gets

This is earth, the best it has, the pink waves of cloud

Mirroring the waves, still so very loud

The feel of wet and grit between my fingers

As I stop and stretch and linger

The claws that constantly clutch at my chest as I struggle through life

Ease and lift, and all that I now wish is for someone to share

Someone to show this incredible moment

When dusk lights everything, and all humanity

All our thunderous machines and blocky unlovely structures

Are hidden from sight. Just someone to share

To know I’m not the only one in the world to feel this

Sudden filling up of an unrealised emptiness.

But I do have Dash. His whines break the reverie

As my valiant companion, with brave effort attempts

To lift in his jaw a rock the size of his head.

I can’t help but grin as he gives up and pads over, ready to run.

Run we shall, back along the sand, past another pretty face

Another smile, answered but no doubt forgotten as soon as the first

Back over rocks, rubber squeaking slightly in its gallant efforts

To grip to sea-sodden stone, soon to be reclaimed

By the endless grey that I can see is now rising.

Back past the headland, back to civilisation, where with a pang I notice

Countless pinpricks of yellow over the river, our own artificial galaxy

Shining hard light onto harder surfaces.

The pink is gone, the few clouds now slowly drifting over

Steadily deepening swathes of sky fail to glow, just float, dull and grey.

I ponder and we patter back up the tarmac hill,

It’s damp pimpled surface, faintly shining a harsh yellow under streetlights,

The momentary wonder, that only existed for me, and only for a minute.

There will, no doubt, be other pink skies, other rolling waves of cloud,

Other lonely beaches, with waves crashing loud,

Even other lonely boys, wishing to share that moment

With someone other than a sea-soaked dog

But this one will never come again

And will only live in memory

Which too will someday fade to black.

But maybe. Just maybe. These words will survive.

To tell of a moment that was somehow extraordinary.

A sweaty run on a damp beach as dusk fell.

The right place at the right time, to see something beautiful.

 

 

 

Context.

Written sometime in 2015, this is by far my personal favourite of my own poetry, and therefore seemed the best thing to put forward as my first post on a new site.

It was such a beautiful evening, the words started coming even as I was running home. Desperate to get it written down, I threw myself onto my laptop and, still soaked with sweat and sea spray, ferociously tapped the above out in about an hour.

If only inspiration like that could come along a bit more often