The Unfeted

agriculture clouds colors countryside
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The Unfeted

Remember when we dreamed
Of all the ways we could conceive
To change the world ?

Remember when the future gleamed
In rainbow rays ?
And we were so naive
To really think that we would change the world.

Remember when it seemed
Those early days were just the eve
To our success ?

Remember when our promise teemed
In endless Mays ?
And we would soon achieve
The riches rightly due our just success.

But a simple application of statistics
Should be enough to warn us
Of our herculean mission:
When our pe·ers too were flush with optimistics,
No dais could have born us
Till so many faced attrition.
We thought enthusiasm was the only vital spark,
We didn’t see the chasm till we woke up in the dark.

Remember when we schemed
Of what to play and what to cleave
From all of life ?

Remember when frustration screamed,
With cold dismay ?
We could no more believe
That we were brash young kings enthralled with life.

 

 

The Layman of Shalott

I am Half-Sick of Shadows
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by John Waterhouse

The Layman of Shalott

On either side the river lie
The fields that stretch into the sky –
Whose lowlands raise the beans so high,
And grow the barley and the rye
That feeds the folk in Camelot.
And all this land beneath the hoe
Is owned by she who will not show
Her face to those who plough and mow –
The Lady of Shalott.

She lives upon the river isle
Where blow the lilies, mile on mile –
Although she hasn’t left awhile,
Not even to ride out in style
To dance with knights in Camelot.
She keeps within her ivied keep,
Unseen by those who sow and reap,
As if a hundred years asleep –
The Lady of Shalott.

So life goes on and seasons pass,
As sheep are grazed upon her grass –
And any surplus we amass
Is carted off by weight and class
To market-day in Camelot.
But any profits from the trade
Are not for those who turned the spade –
Instead, our labours all must aid
The Lady of Shalott.

I’ve heard it said by those who say,
That she is cursed in some strange way
To never see the livelong day,
To never be allowed to stray
To many-towered Camelot.
All the world, they claim, must pass
Reflected in her looking-glass,
And what she sees, so weaves that lass –
The Lady of Shalott.

But as I dig another ditch
And break my back to till her pitch,
I think about my Lady’s hitch –
And slowly I can feel an itch
That none can scratch in Camelot.
If she is cursed, then who’s the hexer ?
Why would they choose this to vex her ?
Such a fiddly yoke bedecks her,
Lady of Shalott.

And do I really set much store
In curses, blights, and ancient lore ?
They’ve tried to pull this stuff before
To keep them rich and keep me poor,
In temples all through Camelot !
My Lady, is it really charms
That keeps you warm and safe from harms,
While we must shiver on your farms,
Oh Lady of Shalott ?

So what would happen if you leave,
Or look direct at what you weave ?
Just who would care and who would grieve ?
You are, I fear, the most naive
Of any girl in Camelot !
But take a chance, and take it swift,
And you may find the world will shift –
And if you die, at least you lived !,
My Lady of Shalott.

So Mistress, step out, if you dare,
From out your crack’d and gilded lair,
And pull your weight and crop your share,
And help us haul it to the fair
That summons all of Camelot.
Or else, when comes the Winter’s freeze,
And I need fuel and have no trees –
I’ll raid, and burn, your tapestries,
Oh Lady of Shalott !

This of course is a take of the famous Tennyson epic.

No News from Nowhere

road nature trees branches
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No News from Nowhere

They slope off and they mooch back,
But where do they go, by-and-by ?
Don’t bother to ask, for there’s no chance of craic –
“Oh, Nowhere”, will come the reply.

I never observe as they’re leaving, alas,
Or fathom the paths they must tread.
There’s no point in asking where lies the green grass –
“Oh, Nowhere” is all that is said.

For they all are real Nowhere Men
When all dressed up with Nowhere to go.
Then there’s nobody home till I’ll see them again,
From the middle of Nowhere with nothing to show.

I’m never invited to join in their trip,
And they never announce their departures, I find.
So the seconds and minutes and decades will slip –
They’re all going Nowhere, and I’m left behind.

They then reappear with a look on their face
That they must have forgotten was there.
It’s happy or guilty or staring in space,
But don’t bother asking, they’ve nothing to share.

A dark place of nightmares or land of their dreams,
A dawdle with boredom, a dance with divine –
They all of them head off to Nowhere, it seems,
And it’s ev’ryone’s business but mine.

 

 

Now When They Heard About the Resurrection, Some Began to Scoff

Oak Pulpit
Oak Pulpit by E E Cowan

 

Now When They Heard About the Resurrection, Some Began to Scoff

…………“The Church of England expects its attendance to continue its decline for the next thirty years.”
      ……………………………………………………………………………………………..– The Sion Times

Here I stand, in my pulpit,
Looking down on yawning sands of empty pews –
And in the Sunday papers,
The stats and graphs and surveys tell the news.
Of course, we know the culprit,
This modern life is secular and on-the-go.
The Devil’s at his capers –
And yet, he seems to lack the will to spread his woe.
So year by year and prayer by prayer,
The congregations slowly cease to care.

We’re mocked and feared and left behind –
The faithful die, the faithless breed, the undecided shrug,
And life goes on.
Some are anxious, some are angry, some are smug,
But most are happy, most are kind.
Thirty years from now, then who will save their modern souls
When we are gone ?
But then, they will not need our help, according to the polls.
Can I begrudge their proof and doubt,
When Satan’s reign is peace and love throughout ?

 

 

The title come from Acts 17:32, slightly paraphrased from the various translations.  Of course, the world isn’t quite ‘peace and love throughout’, but as both Harold Macmillan and Steven Pinker point out, we’ve never had it so good.

 

 

Tags: Poetry Poem Religion Christianity Church

A Cat in Hell’s Chance

close up photography of gray tabby cat
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A Cat in Hell’s Chance

They say our chances of success
Are on a level, more or less,
With those that face a cat in hell.
So don’t you see, we’re looking good !
We still could make it – yes we could !
Just like the cats, we’re doing swell !
For felines prosper ev’rywhere…
In slums and pits without a prayer,
They’re never doing less than well.
So even in the underworld,
You bet the cats are snugly curled !
They damn well make a heaven out of each abyss they dwell.

 

 

To the Love Unwritten

Priestess of Delphi
Priestess of Delphi by John Collier

To the Love Unwritten

The sweetest thing you ever said,
Of all the loving things you said,
Is when you murmured in our bed
That we were never meant to be.
No karmas chimed when first we met,
No stars were crossed, no fates were set,
No providence in gold and jet,
No single-hearted entity.

For no-one had foreseen us,
Nor our destinies fore-planned;
There was not a plot between us,
Nor an ever-guiding hand.
It is no spook, but just a fluke
Your years are spent with me.
For you and I, the augurs sigh,
Were never meant to be.

The sweetest thing you ever said,
Of all the loving things you said,
Is when you whispered through my head
That we are nothing more than chance.
For we are random in our bearing,
In a universe uncaring;
Kismet never kissed our pairing,
Nor the twists of Fortune’s dance.

For no-one had foreseen us,
We were never on the cards;
The statistics couldn’t glean us,
Nor the sibyls, nor the bards.
It’s only luck that we have struck:
You were not sent to me –
For you and I, the prophets cry,
Were never meant to be.