No Month for an Atheist

half-skull
Unfortunately, I have been unable to discover who the artist is

No Month for an Atheist

October is the month when all the dead
Are brought to life again –
In our imaginations spectres tread,
And sceptics howl in vain.
So why must we be common-sensers,
Jaded cynics, sober sisters ?,
When the world wants will-suspensors,
Playful panics, logic-twisters.

What the Hell !  And if it’s Hell you want,
Then take it – take it all !
Mine’s a holy water from the font
With a twist of lime, served tall.
At least it’s safe, when Satan is
A dentist wearing plastic horns.
It’s ketchup blood and dry-ice fizz,
And no-one’s killing newly-borns.

October is the month when all the dead
Are brought to life again –
In our imaginations, streets run red
With ev’ry guilty stain.
We’ve all got demons locked within –
Let’s keep them in until they’re slayed.
For that is worth believing in –
The luxury to be afraid.

What the Hell !  Take all the Hell you need –
I mean, at least it’s warm.
Mine’s a chilly wisdom, I concede,
In the face of an eerie storm.
So have the month, enjoy your frights,
And call me killjoy all you like,
It’s fine – we’ll all sleep sound at night,
As once again the dead don’t strike.

The Sisters McBloom

Photo by Elle Hughes on Pexels.com

The Sisters McBloom

The first to blossom was Daisy,
Yet still a rather homely lass –
Though pretty in a common way,
She spent all year within the grass

The next to blossom was Iris,
Bursting out in the warming Spring –
Showy, delicate, desirous,
Over quickly – just a fling.

The next to blossom was Poppy,
A gothic girl in crimson red –
A heady mix of sharp and soppy,
Fascinated by the dead.

The next to blossom was Rosie,
A redhead maid with cheeks of pink –
Nothing about her was boring or prosy,
And lasting longer than you’d think.

The next to blossom was Heather,
Just as the leaves were starting to turn –
Sturdy and tough, whatever the weather,
And hiding a heart just waiting to burn.

The last to blossom was Ivy,
Much maligned, but on the climb –
Her bauble buds were small though lively,
Coming of age at Christmastime.

Autumn Layers

Autumn Layers

How far into the Autumn dare we edge
Without a proper coat ?
Using jackets and jumpers as a bridge
To keep our hopes afloat –
Pretending the Summer is lurking still
Whenever the morning’s bright,
But getting caught by an unexpected chill
That serves us right.
And yet, if we keep moving about
On the sunny side of the street,
It’s almost warm enough for going out
In the dying heat.
So please, just one more week before we don
Our bulky Winter coats,
When the pre-frost says that the Summer’s gone,
And the tardy North Wind gloats.

The 1st Day of Autumn

Photo by Valiphotos on Pexels.com

The 1st Day of Autumn

The third week of September –
Is it really Summer still ?
Does the heat of late July
Belong beside the early chill ?
Can we yet regard it Summer
When the leaves are on the turn ?
When the holidays are over,
When the sun has lost its burn ?
Let’s not cling to Summer
But embrace the golden time of year !
Why wait until the Equinox
When Autumn is already here ?

Revolution of the Seasons

work
Work by Ford Madox-Brown

 

Revolution of the Seasons

May Day – the start of the long, late Spring,
When early promise at last bears shoots,
And the frigid world of the Winter King
Is losing, day-by-day, its sting,
As underground, our creeping roots
Are undermining everything.

The dawns are dawning early,
And the dark is in retreat –
A wind of change is blowing,
And to some it’s blowing sweet.
The world is waking, waking,
To the march of springing feet.

Labor Day, when the Summer turns cold,
And all that promise, though showy, is fruitless –
Or just as our efforts are harvesting gold,
So they all dry up and lose their hold –
As footings, once secure, prove rootless:
Infiltrated by bugs and mould.

The dusk is gaining daily,
And the storms are in the skies,
While the chill is on the breeze
And the breeze is on the rise,
And the world is sleeping, sleeping,
As the hoar-frosts crystallise.

 

 

Pollarding

pollard

Pollarding

Last Autumn, all your leaves came down –
Just like they must each year.
But seeing them when dead and brown,
And unlike all the rest in town,
Is just too late, I fear.
I should have seen them all when green !
But now I wondered – what tree had we here ?

Big, they were, the largest, broadest leaves
In all this urban wood
And finger-lobed, for holding-up the eaves,
And poking now from gutter-sleeves
About the neighbourhood.
My thought was fig, with leaves that big,
Yet far too gropey to do Eve much good.

But I, alas, might never even know,
For once your leaves were shed –
The shears came out and brought you low,
As all your branches had to go
And left your trunk for dead.
No tree could sleep with cuts so deep –
You surely won’t be rising out of bed…

April was well underway before
Your twigs began to sprout.
And then, such tiny hands they bore,
As ev’ry day a couple more
To prove you yet were stout.
At this rate Fall would claim them all
Ere half the sun-grab hands were even out !

But then I looked a little lower,
Where some suckers crowd the roots –
While your wounds may heal the slower,
Round your foot you’re still a grower
Shooting out a dozen shoots.
Succour feeders, weed succeeders,
Sucking sunshine into fruits.

May saw plenty spindly upper twigs –
A hedgehog on each bough,
To carry leaves, so close, so big,
As if they’d snap right off the rig,
But seemed to cling on anyhow.
As June grew late, they put on weight
As fleshy forearms now.

By summer, something stirred in me,
A memory about the bumps
That swell no larger than a pea –
They’re really next’s year’s fruits-to-be.
But here, of course, there were no lumps –
For what life stirred was secateured
Down to your barest stumps.

So will I have to wait another year
To see your fruits in Fall ?
I wonder if I’ll still be here…
You will, of course, that much is clear –
You’re bursting branches big and small.
Unless your twigs are lacking figs
Because you never were a fig at all…

Song of Summer

butterfly girl
Luna, Goddess of the Moon by Donato Giancola

 

Song of Summer

Summer makes the Spring give way to her,
She makes the roses purr,
The strawb’ries blush, the bubbles grin,
As Summer brings the Summer in.

Summer makes the Spring her sideman,
Summer takes the stage by thunderstorm,
Her beaches swarm, her waltzers spin
As Summer brings the Summer in.

Summer makes the Autumn wait his turn,
But still the year must churn,
The days must short, the rain must spout
As Summer sweeps the Summer out.

Summer always comes again,
When Summer takes possession of the sky –
Her dragons fly, her birds give song,
As Summer shines all Summer long.

 

 

Suburban Antares

opposite of mars
Image crested in Stellarium

Suburban Antares

Right at the bottom of the Zodiac, he lies –
At the bottom of the garden, at the bottom of the sky –
Barely rising high enough above the privet hedges,
As he’s hugging the horizon – just a hello and goodbye.
Battling through the light-infested night (plus those long evenings),
Peeking out from skies that are perpetually grey –
From the top floor of a tower block, I bet he looks a treat,
But for us, he’s always hidden by the roofs across the way.

Harvest Song

nature sky field summer
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

 

Harvest Song

Reapers sweep the scythe
And sheafers bush the sheaf –
Gathering the harvest,
Gathering the grain –
Threshers thresh the flail
To tear the seed from leaf –
Gathering the harvest,
Holding off the rain –

Winnow-women winnow,
And siever-maidens sieve,
Prizing out the pearls
That the golden ears give –
For to the corn we’re born,
And by the wheat we live.
Bringing home the harvest down the lane.

Once it took a village,
And ev’ry boy to spare –
Gathering the harvest,
Stooked and ricked and mown –

Now it takes machines,
With no use for man or mare –
Gathering the harvest,
Gathered to the bone –

Children of the corn
And cottage-kitchen wives
Are spared the broken backs
And spared the broken lives,
With Summers never shorn
By the sweeping Reaper’s scythes –
So bring us home the harvest on your own.

 

 

Cucumber Time

pile of cucumbers
Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

 

Cucumber Time

Summer days, ah Summer days,
When the world is out-of-town.
The Commons and Courts are resting,
And the news is old and brown.
When gherkins are smooth and longer,
And the sunbeams are making them glow,
Then just ask Ernest and Algernon
How quick the sandwiches go !