Advent in November

christingle

 

Advent in November

I remember we’d troop off to Grandma’s old church,
(My parents not having a church of their own),
And there, with my brothers and cousins, we sat
Through the joyfulless carols and reverent drone
That tried to cajole in us love for lord Jesus,
And bribed us with candle-and-currant Christingles.
We’d dutif’ly queue up, us kids, at the rail,
For our symbolic fire-risks – and catch the first tingles:

The season had started !  The countdown was counting !
And even before the first door was prized open,
The tension was banking, the pressure was mounting –
The avarice simmering, quaintly called ‘hoping’.
Our candles were dripping, the service was over,
So back home to Grandma’s for crumpets and cakes,
And writing our lists from the big book of Argos,
And tingles that gradu’ly built into shakes.

The Critic’s Lament

detail from The Art Critic by Norman Rockwell

The Critic’s Lament

If you don’t like this then you’re a moron,
If you do like that then you’re a lout,
If you’d rather t’other, then I guess you’re on your own –
For even when the way is shown,
You’d rather do without.

If you don’t like this then you’re a cretin,
If you do like that then you’re a square –
Yet now, for all my years of selfless vetting of the muse,
So you masses never have to choose,
It’s like you just don’t care

How can you reject my spotless taste
In favour of your own ?
Or let my perfect wisdom go to waste
Despite my megaphone ?
For who will sing the praises of the chosen
That they’ve scarcely earned,
And who will prick the egos of the posers
Once their backs are turned ?

So if you don’t like this then you’re a heathen,
And if you do like that, you’re thick as planks –
For I alone am high priest to this seething sea of stars,
I’m crushing dreams, inflicting scars –
Yet still I get no thanks !

Fingerfluffs

Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

Fingerfluffs

Ev’ryone makes typos,
Where a silly misspelled rush of prose
Is hiccupped in its fluency –
Careless hands work careless labours,
Jumping cases, catching neighbours,
Letters standing in for others,
Covering their brothers’ truancy.

For as our fingers run and leap
And waltz and peck,
Too busy to go back and check,
So in the errors creep.
Too quick they ran, too soon they leapt,
And where our eyes should intercept,
They’re mesmerized by finger-dances,
Only sparing random glances
At the all-important screen.
Or else they stare out straight ahead
To read instead the words unseen,
That float midair, as thick as flies –
The copytext behind the eyes.
But if we’re lucky, underlines in red
Will warn us what we’ve said
And give us chance to clean.
But otherwise, each error cries unheard,
Each mangled word and un-snipped thread
Is slurred by digits over-keen.

So ev’ryone makes typos,
Where our textual flows get bent and dented,
Letters get disoriented,
Weakening intent –
They may look careless and inept,
But these days we’re all quite adept
At reading what was really meant.

History Never Changes

painted fore-edges by Cesare Vellecio

History Never Changes

The trouble with the past
Is that the past is pre-determined –
So we know just how it goes
Because it’s all already been.
Now at the time they must have felt so free,
Yet they’re confirming
That the past is fixed forever,
With no wiggle-room between.

Little did those little people know
There’s just one way for things to go,
And ev’ry time we play it back,
The same old things are still on track.
There’s no way to keep hold of dinosaurs
When dead is dead –
There’s no way to replay the wars,
Or Anne Boleyn to keep her head.

But wait – if there’s a script to act,
We write it out together
From a million potential drafts
That could go either way.
For just like us, they got to choose
But once they chose, they chose forever –
The past is post-determined,
Just as we shall be, some day.

Hide

The Watcher – Tribute to Edward Hopper by David Wickline

Hide

Shhh…let’s lie low here for a while
And let our camouflage do its thing –
Let’s watch the daily rank-and-file
As it passes by on the wing.
Birds or people, far or near,
They flock till they part their ways.
If we keep still, they’ll never know we’re here
As they chase their busy days.
It’s good to sometimes sit and think
With a patient air and a weather eye –
Let’s slow our breaths and barely blink,
And watch the world go by.

Dig

God Speed the Plough by Henry Gawthorne

Dig

Turning the soil is Autumn work,
Ploughing, forking, hoeing the loam,
Breaking it up before it freezes,
Driving the moles from their home.
Airing the worms out, harvesting stones,
And mining the black to bury the brown,
Dredging the roots up, combing the waves in,
Leaving the fields quite upside-down.

Sleep

detail from Sleeping Girl by an unknown 1600s artist working in Rome

Sleep

I’ve heard there’s folk who sleep but never dream –
That must seem a waste of a night,
When I think how my mind is a-gleam with delight.
But point of fact, they do alright,
Just shutting down for hours on end
Affording them time to mend,
While not distracted by the random streams
That dreamers love to wend.

Coral

Coral by Elena Kraft

Coral

Coral, that was her name –
Not Carol or Cora, but Coral del Mar
Dressed in yellowy-pink, she came,
As if from an attic trunk or bizarre.
Prickly brittle, broken free,
Yet often shrinking into her shell –
She loved to watch  the shallow sea
As if in want of a diving bell.

Traps

DSC_5185 by Iwtt93

Traps

The books call this an igneous province,
As if a country of lava –
They also call these rocks an intrusion,
So more of an empire, rather.
But due to the terraces up the plateau,
They mostly call them traps –
As if they’re prisoners to their nature,
Till their lands collapse.
Rocks push up from underneath
By stealth or by explosion,
To reinforce the battle
With the forces of erosion.
The books call these the flood basalts
That roll across the shield
Unstoppable, a stony horde
That sweep the battlefield.

Rocket – To Boldly & Beyond

JCSAT-16 Launch by Celestial Images

Rocket – To Boldly & Beyond

Strap in, guys, and hold on tight,
It’s gonna be a bumpy flight –
Heartbeats thump and circuits hum,
As heavens here we come.

Countdown into single figures,
One last breathe and pull the triggers –
Engines fire and thrusters thrust,
And Jupiter or bust.

We’re up, we’re up-and-away !
Too late to pray,
Too late for anything but onwards.
Course is set,
But don’t blink yet –
Don’t want to miss the great beyond…

We’ve slipped the bounds,
But don’t look down,
Look straight ahead into the future –
Feel its kick
In spine and ribs,
And don’t be sick when coming to.

And after all that smoke and fury,
All that science, all that glory –
Now it’s all so strangely still
Atop the highest hill.

But oh, the view is worth the trip !,
As earthly problems loose their grip.
Cast off and sail the weightless sky,
Till the hydrazine runs dry.

And yes, that line is meant to say loose and not lose.