Imagine (Part 2)

Imagine what we could create with our hands
China, buildings, gateways and trams
Imagine what we could think in our heads
Places, spaces, textures and threads
Imagine what we could share when we speak
Healing, friendship, books and technique
Imagine what we can show with mere gesture
Sadness, love, hugs and conjecture

Copyright ©16/07/2015 Beth Stratton

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The Fox and The Hunt

When in solitary half-dark of early light
Standing in the odour of that barmy morning
You made a decision to take flight
The world stopped and you changed
The world stopped
You changed

That was the beginning of it all
That was the time when you looked out
Could no longer snuggle and be small
Bristled close and nestled in
Bristles close
Tucked right in

All about you was the long grass
The wide fields, the broken tracks of hedges
Your eyes blinked you could not pass
The sound called and you ran
The sound called
You ran

The hooves beat fast at the ground
Splitting, drumming as the light broke clear
Calling and braying cacophony of sound
Coming at you like a pack of wild animals
They sort you out
They sort
You Out!

Copyright ©14/07/2015 Beth Stratton

Sometime, Maybe Never

 

Sometimes I want to dive bomb the day

Tell it, its over, it should go away

Jump on the Tube and lose myself

Hide in a corner like some little elf

 

Sometimes I want to embrace the sky

Feel I‘m invincible, think I can fly

Take myself off to another dimension

Somewhere without meaning or true comprehension

 

Yet, most times I just want to sit down and think

Shut my eyes tightly and try not to blink

Imagine a peace where my body can rest

Where everything simple and I can feel blessed

 

Today, though, is really not one of those days

I woke with a jolt like I’m lost in a maze

I wander round blankly and stare into space

Expressing confusion, that shows on my face

 

When can I be open to all things that come?

To having adventures and plenty of fun

And go where life leads me, and simply say ‘yes’

It will probably all end in a terrible mess

 

Copyright ©09/07/2015 Beth Stratton

Talking As Friends

You and I talk too fast
The clatter of tongues, the notes
Consonants that shape the point, not just our quotes
The interruptions interweave and overflow
With vowels that come and go
With lapping lulls, when thoughts pause meets quizzical gaze
And every phrase is softened with a giggle or a stare
When sentences stop short then mingle
As hands that gesture
Letting each and every word take flight
Mean conversations linger deep into the night

Copyright ©07/06/2015 Beth Stratton

Death

No longer bound inside with loathsome lashes
As down the bodies cradle cinder crashes
Fall all ripping lungs and air escaping
Fire pit coal red hot and all consuming
Twisted bones and sinews creeping
Meaty flesh to spit and set to weeping

 
Copyright ©21/06/2015 Beth Stratton

The Parties End

In the cold of the morning, the dark and the damp

I sit by the bank with that brash coloured lamp

You are my muse and you know you’re a tramp

Leaving a trail from our limbs and your stamp

 

Drunk on true pleasure, all merry and pumped

Passionate people, from steeples have romped

Throwing down quotes from the ladies that lunch

Who called with abandon ‘All Hail The Conch’

 

Waving and craving and sweaty and dank

Out from the window, the atmosphere rank

There sits my muse with the gramophone crank

Hair all dishevelled and laboured and lank

 

Rubbish that mounted, withered and tanked

Lovers that offer and coffer and thank

Carpets of dreamers messy and blank

Strewn with an order of moulder and stink

 

Parties and larks that sing on the brink

Cough out and splutter and swallow their drink

Then taxi the street like a vixen or Fink

And blow cheeky kisses and gutter and wink

 

In the cold of the morning, the light and the smog

I sit by the bank with my wine and my dog

You are my muse and you know you’re a frog

Leave me to wallow, and swallow more grog

 

 

Copyright ©22/06/2015 Beth Stratton

 

Almost Night

Shadows freeze, becoming stage lit, when full moon begins its ascent
And crowds disperse, rushing past like a bobbing tide flowing beyond and out to sea
With its conversational ebb, drifting away till it becomes a whispered mumbling hum
Murmuring, circling rumbling hum

Silvery grey light deepens to a subtle charcoal as our once eager vision blurs
And the free-flowing movements of arms and legs now transform into phenakistoscopic flickering
We watch carefully as the dark tiptoes in, as blackness begins to swathe surround us
It creeps as foxes creep, moving carefully, stealthily toward a darker time

Yet, we remain, you and I, clinging and gathering with the lost souls
Drawn near and huddling close under the canopy of a sheltering doorway
Our conversation softening, interspersing with mumbles from the passers-by
Eventually joining with the whispering lull that shows on each and every wispy breath

All is quiet now, the stillness settles in, we look out, contemplate
Our watchful eyes seeking a focus, a familiar point ahead so we can venture forth
The buildings, the road, the flow of the river, the city, its mark
It’s beat, imprinting, sinking in

Going the neon and the light reflected back from every pane of glass
No loud and sudden sounds to pitch and soar or startle us to flight
Just pinprick notes to a melody, like sinister spectral ghosts that dart and pounce
We go, you and I, ambling and wending our way back from whence we came
With coats wrapped against the moistening air, heading safely home
Our sheltered spot relinquished, our haven gone, the almost night at our back.

 

Copyright ©09/06/2015 Beth Stratton

“The Stroke of Midnight” (For my friend Shuichi)

The father’s feelings well, his skin grows cold
The pain so sudden catches then takes hold
Now all his limbs go slack, to fall and alter
And body drops, his mind and will, now falter
And all thoughts waver as his world spins faster
Yet self control, he knows, he must re-muster

The father lifts himself, is proud, stands tall
To take each step with care and not to fall
And when his body stiffens, starts to fight
He takes control with guts and all his might
Drawing in his burdens heavy load
Searching for new pathways and new roads

So when the father looks upon his son
His life begins again, as was begun
And though his voice will sometimes yawl and slip
And body take a heavy stumbling trip
He’ll still move forward, right himself and say
“I’ll start afresh its spring renewal day”

The son looks on and sees a solemn truth
It’s one he needs to know, to gain some proof
That life’s a journey hard fought to the end
With obstacles and lessons at each bend
Yet, as the father led the son when he was small
The son now helps the father through his pall

They both move forth and gain a steadying hand
To walk there side by side, just as if planned
Each with their comfort, wonderment and pride
The father gains momentum starts to stride
The son gains understanding and can cope
And learns determination brings forth hope

The father stops, takes breathe to look around
To notice all the strength that’s now been found
The hurdles climbed and challenges he’s faced
Slow at first, steady, calm and paced
He’ll see that when he walks all other lengths
He’s built a joyous spirit, extra strengths
And shown his mind and voice together weave
And let his pent up sadness fall like leaves

He’ll tell the son “I’m getting well at last; and
Soon all these adventures will be passed
My mind and spirits rising like the sun
The battles nearly over almost won”
The son now thanks his father, says his blessings, journeys on
The stoke of midnight marks the brave new chapter they’ve begun.

 

Copyright ©06/06/2015 Beth Stratton

Love is a Lifeless Life

[This is a poem about the death of a loved one through Alzheimer’s]. 

Despite being trapped within our little hallway
I hardly wander from your bedroom doorway
Pressed up against its dreary space, compounded
Left as I am, confused but not dumbfounded
‘Cos, you know I see your hidden weary shadow
And I bare witness to this self effaced repose
No longer can I be your humble servant
Who maintains your aching heart, my stumbling muse?

If I knew my clearer mind could now protect me
From your sly and ever haunting stone defence
Would my courage still prevail against your witness?
And my slyly reinforced and cold pretence
At last, these glass lit panes will have reflected
The worry lines across your granite brow
How true, that this is not what you expected
But I always truly loved you, then as now.

And my being here was never meant to raise you
Though I couldn’t, yet, express things I should say
And even though my presence doesn’t faze you
Or ease the deathly image of this day
I long to tell you now I’m glad you’ll leave here
So I can reinvent my notions of the past
That your life was long since gone before our parting
Though your breath was gasped and shallow till the last

So I’ll be the one you had, but never wanted
This wilful girl just travelling into view
You know you had me yield and unrelenting
“I’m me” I said, the girl that you once knew
And if you ever want to start my rhythms beating
By echoing your sad deathly refrain
That you were once my father for the keeping
And that I could let you leave, be free of pain.

I’ll tell you that I’m sorry and that I miss you
Remembering better times from long before
When we kept a stronger counsel of our feelings
And you’d sing and be the man that I adored
When I was but a child in your footsteps
When you could raise me high above your head
And I could take your hand and you would lead me
Safely to my warm and cosy little bed

Now it’s me that wraps the sheet about your shoulders
And sits to watch your long and weary plight
To memorise your every twitch and grimace
Could I ease you through this long and deathly night?
Then you set a soft and sweet, but bitter murmur
Across your sallow lips that final time
And released all of those tightly hidden tensions
That had kept you strong and vital in your prime

I knew that night had been to steal you from me
To take you from this airless room and roof
I felt cheated in my memories and defeated
So I gave you one last glancing look, for proof?
How can I view the past I’m now rejecting?
To venture forth without you through the door
To tell mother that your bodies lying cold now
That she should see you one last time and then be sure

And when we set you as a lasting vivid memory
An article enclosed within our minds
Should we forget, as you did, what our life has taught us
And see our senses fail and memories blind
If we struggle to recall that last expression
And imbibe our sudden sharp intakes of breath
We’ll remember that last lesson that you taught us
That our lives are simple consequence of death

 

Copyright ©05/07/2014 Beth Stratton

The Reunion

We meet outside Charring Cross station,
I see you coming through the crowd,
Recognise something…and yet,

Your hands, they are the same but different,
But where are you?
When we glance past each other we step back in time,
One year and twenty in the same single paced step,

I see your blankness of expression,
Confusion in your face as you struggle to find the right words,
Didn’t you recognise me? I say
Yes, but you are not the same.

 

Copyright ©05/07/2014 Beth Stratton

Aphrodite

Still like a standing stone, the Aphrodite,
As a thunder-stone in the rock with carnelian heart,
Hand-pressed she is baked stone,
Clasped, then soaked like a pebble cast into deep water,
She is folded,
Feel her solidify,
Yet Aphrodite tempers ready to snap,
Knuckled and kneaded into shape by the world.

Jagged sky-driven, the Aphrodite,
As thunder-stone in the night and set apart,
Hot, yet no richer than the earth,
With knowing embers radiating and sparking shards,
Crisp-switch,
Flashing ruby red,
All veins of blood spilling clear,
With opaline opaqueness flowing out at the world.

Still like a standing-stone, Aphrodite full of grit,
Stone-headed determination, cold-set as lavender jade,
Her stone-line carpet is laid down,
With crystalline clarity as she flexes her backbone,
All white marble,
Granite soul,
Crack through to the heart,
Aphrodite’s pearlised droplets of blood fall black as Jet.

 

Copyright ©05/07/2014 Beth Stratton

View

Weighted clouds roll on ahead,
Subtle waspish sky trails dead,

Washed across the Blue,
Crisp in windows dew,

All sky and love,
Suspended above,

Cast by,
Hung dry,

One-by-one successive,
Sometimes oppressive.

 

Copyright ©05/07/2014 Beth Stratton

Friend

I have an imaginary friend
Drawn from images inside my head
Someone past but never dead
Someone I talk to with things left unsaid

I love my imaginary friend
But not from where she was drawn
The concept with which she was born
Original changed and partially reformed

 

Copyright ©24/07/2013 Beth Stratton

Trek To The Library

.

Dewey system catalogues, classically numbered and signposting the way

This is the printed and neatly decoded DNA roadmap of my life

Not a simplistic trek for me, nor an easy journey from A to Z and back

I like intersecting aisles, narrow causeways and tumbling paths

That inch me slowly forward little-by-little, integer by integer, step by step

Stretching me as I leap from flat planes to steeply sloping page

.

Only by flicking and tip-towing can I be taken from my cosy centre isle

Up winding stairs to hidden gangways, on rocky climbs

Arms stretching higher and reaching out hand-over-hand

I’m grabbing at craggy piles, waiting for the landslide to reveal a new route

As I press flat against layered seams, striated with ingrained wood.

Eventually, I nudge quietly fourth, out to the shelves jutting edge

.

Where I gingerly survey the grey and lifeless towering blocks below

Cabinets for those damaged ones, simply too fragile to handle

Their hidden secrets jumbled together, surrounded by the lost and found

Safe now to consult my guide, noting the ‘referenced sections’,

Each one clearly spelling out a particular or practical danger

An un-seen meaning or some misunderstood phraseology

.

The pedants wait to trip me up and beguile me on the long walkways

Peopled as they are by ‘classic characters’ who speak far off languages

Each sounding richer, deeper and more meaningful than the one before

With every sentence more complicated, yet not totally indecipherable

So, how do I get to my mythic tales end; when all my days are so short?

.

There’s no other answer but to plod on, my eyes grow dim, shadowed by lost time

But somehow the looming mountains of ‘no-returns lead me safely back

To the archway of my trails end; back to the regular revolving door

I spill out, careful to leave with a word, safely freeing every marker from my jackets cover

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll I crack the numeric code that will allow me ultimate access

I’ll find that sacred book, my holy grail…

Until then I’ll have to seek it out by asking “Where do I go to find the book that answers all my questions?”

.

Copyright ©07/03/2010 Beth Stratton

I Am

 

Please stay where I can see you

Because I don’t want to feel invisible

I am never divisible

Nor am I merely insoluble

.

Is it really so inconceivable

That I am not invincible?

If my brain cells are so isolatable

Then why am I always immovable?

.

Please stay where I can see you

Because I don’t want to feel miserable

It’s right I can be inconsolable

But I’m real and truly believable

.

Copyright ©06/03/2010 Beth Stratton

My Child

.

Don’t take my child

He is so small

And I am feeble and weak

 .

He has no time to speak

I have no time to defend

 .

In the end

It’s my final judgement call

It’s not his choice to end it all

 .

Don’t take my child

I can not bear to be defiled –

By you?

 .

Copyright ©06/03/2010 Beth Stratton

Four Steps To Cililisation

 

We develop writing in drawn-out stages

Build monumental steps up to the sky

Give ritual and blessing for all ages

Spread our tasks between us till we die

.

Earth, air, fire, water

Man, woman, son, daughter

.

Nomad, hunter, gatherer, slave

Birth, union, children, grave

.

Copyright ©06/03/2010 Beth Stratton

 

Sharing Our Last Cigarette

.

Nan, you lie there peacefully still and calm

And yet I can not bear to hold your hand

Though I’ve touched it nearly everyday of my life

Hands in Mine

I take a cigarette from our secretly hidden packet

Close my eyes and allow myself to drift

Waft, rain over you like little dust cloud droplets

Cigarette Dust-Particles

In my last lingering memory of you

I watch you smooth my hair and ruffle it over my brow

As you inhale slowly, thoughtfully

.smoke, swirls and art

 “It’s going to be alright”, you say and I believe you

Still, I fix my eyes to yours, smile and give my little nod

Then blow a smoke ring kiss in your direction

cigarette Smoke4 Heart Ring

I am aware you’re gone, no longer lingering

That this, our last intimately private moment will pass

And that your body will seem to stiffen as I open my eyes

Teary Eyes2

As I blow your lovingly-returned smoke rings away

I imagine the dripping ash fall from your stained finger tips

It lands on the old tea saucer you used as an ashtray

Cigarette Girl

Tomorrow you will be cinder, my winter cinder tree

Ash scattering to ashes, like leaves that fall in autumn

Dust thrown down upon dusty summers dirt

Cigarette Winter Cinder Tree

My safety is gone, my shelter lost, my hands are empty

My right hand moves over to your right hand

Fingers mingle as spring smoke clouds disperse to nothing

Cigarette Smoke2

. 

Copyright ©06/03/2010 Beth Stratton

Mrs Jervis’ House

Marzipan hand rolled fruits, sugar candied angelica, sweet almonds and chocolate cherries

All laid out exquisitely in the tiered petit four stand in the hallway, our most cherished wedding gift

Welcome visitors, take one and nibble delicate bites as you wander through

Take care to admire my hand twisted pine cone swags shadowed in the candlelight

This is my last Christmas in Spitalfields before my china is packed away piece by precious piece

The bud vases are all empty now, but in spring they will all be in bloom again

Fresh with exotic vivid blooms, to reflect the colourfulness of our new surroundings

 

Denis Severs House

Our final evening meal was completed in a half drowsy stillness, the port; laboured over

Mr Jervis Senior is drained and exhausted by all our planning and extensive preparations

The weaving mills take their toll and his time, if he knows nothing, he knows this

Yet he half listens to my discrete conversation spoken with subtle glances; as servants enter and leave the room

The last bite of his sweet dessert pear now lays undisturbed and forgotten

 

Denis Severs House3

 

Amy shields her eyes with hands covered in soap-suds as she cries into the scullery dishes

Laden with sadness to think her mistress will soon be gone and the house empty

But full of worry at being left alone in this dwelling once filled with laughter, afraid to shut up the nearly empty attic rooms

But she knows instinctively that the rooms, once soaked through with tragic and pleasant memories alike, bear her no ill-will

 

Denis Severs House4

Going to bed for the last time, I remember the ghosts of my childhood birth and my mother’s and son’s deaths, in this our marital bed

All past sadness now buried as deeply as those interred in St. Mary’s Spital, once ‘neath our feet

Laid out neatly, like my cot all pretty in our adjoining room, where my daughter’s daybed now waits to be dismantled

.

.Denis Severs House2

 

When you were born, my child, here in this room; my screams were carried north by the steam train’s telegram

Its loving request to your father: ‘Come home your daughter’s awaiting your welcome’

You now allow yourself to be distracted by the decorative spider monkey climbing the towers of my bedposts

Imagining it will soon run down to paw and snatch at the travel dress, all satin and lace, laid out neatly for our departure

 

Denis Severs House5

 

Mr Jervis’ travels are of pure necessity, the gathering of fresh stocks to improve cloth production essential

Times are getting harder and competition with other mills much tougher

The building of a new gas powered mill in Oldham means expensive modernisation of our own smaller factories

And the Worshipful Company of Weavers whose motto is ‘Weave Truth with Trust’ demand higher and higher dues

Indeed, we have been forced of late to take lodgers, so as to afford the up-keep of our own once lavish quarters

A family of weavers now pays us rent for their lodgings in our draughty leaking attic,

But it’s cheaper now to close up the house and accompany Jervis than have them stay

 

Denis Severs House6

.

My sleep is deep now as I’m dreaming; no more visions of little white ghosts skittering ‘neath the Jervis’ looms, I’ll be free of that at least

Instead I see far-off lands, rich scenes filling me with anticipation and wonder

If you come with us on our adventure you’ll see the silkworms weave for real, in and out their sheltered cocoons

As we have no direct heir; Mr Jervis, Cassandra and I will travel the new world, as he trades in Indian cotton and Thai silks

And my daughter will be married soon enough, when her chattels can be exchanged with a suitable man, who can become the younger partner in our firm

Until that day comes she will be free of London’s squalor and can cast her net wide to capture a lifetime’s imagery

 

Denis Severs House7

.

Eventually when she and her husband return to promenade again in London’s parks

My grandchildren will run up and down the stairs of this house, like I once did

And the upstairs rooms will be un-shuttered as the Spitalfield Jervis and Co. Mills & Trading Company’s temporary offices become over-run with clerks and scribes

Then the cannons will pound out blasted rhythms, thundering out towards the foggy Thames ‘King Edward VII is dead Long live King George’

.

Copyright ©05/03/2010 Beth Stratton

This poem is based on a visit I made to the Dennis Severs’ house at 18 Folgate Street, Spitalfields, East London, UK

If you can not visit yourself, why not take a look at their website instead at : http://www.dennissevershouse.co.uk/

 
 
 
 

 

Death

 Barbara Hepworth Broken Shield

Death I know is merely redressing

Life’s final shield broken

A much truer blessing

And yet I do not feel its pleasures

Scattering my life’s endeavours

 

Death is life without true glory

Living on in others memory

With all its full and graceless measure

Hastening in, as cold and bitter weather

 

 

Copyright ©01/03/2010 Beth Stratton 

She Loved You

.

By Chance I saw you walking in the rain

Just for a second, for the briefest of moments

You were a piece of grit or soft sand grain

An irritation, a wet dream

.

You should have been gone

Disappeared from my memory long ago

But no: Life is more of a challenge than that

So you are here and I see you, we know

.

And so I remember

A past life which is no longer mine

I catch your eye directly

Are you pleasant memory or bitter wine?

.

You turned and smiled

Awkward like when I first kissed you

And for a moment we stood

Then I knew

That eighteen year old girl in some way

Has missed you

.

Copyright ©01/03/2010 Beth Stratton

 

Faith Is Born

Faith is the invisible light.
The belief in all hope.
In rising it beams,
So that by day it will shine.
In setting it glows,
So that by night it will twinkle.

But always,
In Faith it blazes and holds us near.
Encompassing all with a blessing.
So that our spectral Aura’s can be reflected.
And transmitted like a heart beat,
Pulsing back through time and darkness.

Leading us, showing the way forward,
To a conscious wisdom.

 

Copyright ©19/12/2009 Beth Stratton

Faith - Helen Keller

Dust Plains Of Forbidden Planets

Little wisps and waves

Of incomprehensible light

Their tiny specks swishing past

Coiling like copper solenoids

Twisted matter swooping round and back

Sparking interstellar trails

Gliding in momentary flight

These parallel trains of air and light

Drifting in the dark only occasionally

Blossoming unexpectedly

Revolving their diffused colours

Of multi-layered cloud spray

Onwards through space

 

To flow and mingle with the cosmic dust

Its larger particles pushing against surface gravity

And cascading into willowy plumes

Of refracted prismic rays

Whilst attracting magnetic forces pull closer

And exert vast field lines of tension

Colliding and pushing ever onwards

Towards hidden crevices of galactic chimney stacks

Perpendicular to their neighbours

Yet forever to be set poles apart

Until that instant, that bang

When the stars and worlds implode one by one

As all begins again

 

Copyright ©15/11/2009 Beth Stratton

 

Telling Tales

To the imagination of every the reader

I am simply a friendly word feeder

Spilling out my tales in concise review

Sending people on journeys, enticing and new

Telling my tales and planting my seeds

Giving them hidden character leads

Pointing them in the right direction

To my world on their page that is free for inspection

 

Copyright ©28/10/2009 Beth Stratton

 

Hibernation

Hibernation of the sun, wintering and in its night-time shade

Only rearing its head when forced or pulled out

Up, into its orbital arc of arching skyline to heat the lands cold furnace

But for now it is thickened fog that whirls, spinning pools

All waspish dust cloud blending with the glass spikes of silvered grass

Through the mirrored finished lakes of grey ashen rain

 

Frost which catches the lightly splintered hands of the tree beech

They reach down from the skylines over open concrete pastures

The bogeymen, waiting for their chance to fright

Whipping down lightening rods from behind their boughs

Crashing down on hunched figures, huddled, sheltering below

Unsuspecting, these giant urban monsters cast shadows

Their menacing looming blackness that stretches out

Like black holes sleeted by disappearing hailstones

Cosmically star-like, driven into that other universe

All planetary dust

 

Now the skittering sun slides from path to trunk to bank

Whilst its eclipsed crimson mask slips from view

It becomes lost in the limitless grey places

Blocked out by the statuesque bold towers, hell raised to heavens eye

The entrapped rouge ball of light refracts its prismatic trails

Right across the glinting fractured lenses of mirrored reptilian beanstalks

All is emblazoned glass and fiery metal

Even the nooks and ledges for the sheltering wintering crows

 

Blacker than the howling winds and quickening thunder claps

That drags in the pitted pewter platter of the moon

Now enthroning the candied cabochon of sun

To eat it whole like a celestial winter apple

Whose pips where spat out into the galaxy, to revolve

All dazzling in perfect frosted striations

Lighting the way home for those that seek a safe haven

Settled in cosy hibernation until the suns return

 

Copyright ©01/11/2009 Beth Stratton

 

Devon

Devon loam of planted seedlings and wild ponies

Where upon, I look out across rich orchards and heath

To moorland, pasture and tiled flatland

Surveying from this craggy hilltop the valleys

Cradling like a caddy my womb-like shelter

Where I, like rich bracken and tough bramble

Can be nurtured by this unsullied landscape of my dreams

 

Copyright ©01/11/2009 Beth Stratton

 

Suitcases

Suitcases, ribbed cages, closets

Protectorates of folded life span

Unpacked piece by piece

Stretched out, contorted

All seams of connectedness

It is the case that holds all!

Contained within is only part-formed

Holding mirrored sides to subtle invention

As we see its strength

We also sense its masquerade

Encased as others view its limitations

Not yet fully framed

The shell that compacts us

Holds us safe

But lets no-one in or out.

 

Copyright ©01/11/2009 Beth Stratton

Cartography

Where is the rootedness of such a soil as this?

That saw a foot so solidly planted

Each tread set down over drills and lay lines

Clay ripples of latitudinal certainty

Firm, weighted, trusted furrows

 

The mud-spattered sole traipses forth

Sinking into age old depravity and new found freshness

In peat soaked bog, black as charcoal

Feeling only warmth between its toes

 

The cold healed stone-based thuds

Leave impressions supplanted over and over

Freshly filling with watery ground swell

Dampness rising with each step on brethren land

 

These broken cracked fields and trenches of old

Every inch trod down, flattened with such surefootedness

The memory knows the way, no forging of new earth

Simply a re-tilling and re-mapping of the pathways

All hidden once, by time and history

 

Copyright ©01/11/2009 Beth Stratton

 

Travelling Light

The same one – I am taken out of my body’s bag

Placed on the bed in a new space, but same land

The me that was, newly cloned, primed to reproduce

But age already creeps into the eyes, their dual solitary pits

Whose wonder went by with a repeated flick of switch

And figurative death of self

 

The absence of child makes reproduction of self even more necessary

But impotent in a world which boxes you in, steadfast, tight

Categorises each part of the whole repeatedly

As new packaging, not solid in your space

A flimsy body reformed, reconsidered as fresh cuts

Merely facets of an old stone defence

 

In truth, the part that was me, is not the one of now

Although set down in this wide landscape

The view is limited by expectation, not anticipation

And the consorts and companions who knew you of old

Are now exchanged for bed : walls, space, time and rest

All that’s needed as you lie still, composed

Primed and re-primed for new adventures

Remembering somewhere in the back of your mind

That fresh journeys can only begin when travelling light

 

Copyright©13/09/2009 Beth Stratton

 

 

 

Futuristic Dreaming

Where is our wilful lust for life, if not in our dreams?

The future laid out in visionary ideals

Our hidden desires occluded in veils of hope and sleep

Always they are there for us to stumble on

As yet lying undiscovered until now

 

Is conscious thought, life, to which our dreams are privy?

The trailers they send into view real?

The newly created pathways they form seem real enough to me

Offering as they do a photographic modern advancement of self

Thought by thought, dream by dream

 

But only the core of our mind knows it all

Only it knows when to unfold our inner thoughts

Being the key to our survival

Our minds will always protect us from life

As well as showing us its beauty

 

Our brains un-burden us, preventing us seeing the whole view

Life the universe and everything, as were told

Yet our dreams pose so many questions

With the answers secreted, safe in their deep depositories

Dreams and thoughts will always inspire us

But, remember thoughts can ruin us too

So only little by little they flood though

Softly and wistfully provoking us to be

 

Only when we are truly ready for the next stage

Just as bodies mutate to further our advancement

Will the core of our being let us see what we can cope with

Always it starts with our dreams – In our mind’s eye

The telescopic sparks of life, in synaptic pictorial view

Burst into life through our meaningful thoughts

Creating the futuristic movies of our souls re-enactment

 

Copyright ©10/09/2009 Beth Stratton

Unblocking

Words catapulted onto the pristine blankness of the page
Which were once congested deep in my throat
Are no longer congealed or solidly bound
I know my own mind, I’ve found my voice
Not in speech, do I expound this bloody tenet
My tone too angry to wail out loud
The textualised expression of my inner thought
It’s bitter splatters, still born thrust out
Disconnected anguish drains its scrawling mass
My rhetoric machine-gunned lines of bile
No poetic soporific lulls of sound here
But, clattering spat out heaps of broken verse
Pages black with distastefulness
Spited freezing fur balls of letters and phrases
Dripping from my gappen mouth of thought
Salivary, spidery lines seeping out
Inevitably swamping the white clean paper
With red heat, purple brays and the blackest ink
No longer, my trapped aggressive will enchained within
The desire to blow my conscious mind, set me in motion
Unblocking my emotional need to bleed words

 

Copyright ©03/09/2009 Beth Stratton

Strong And High

golden speed

The walls that hold your secrets are trapped inside the light

They oscillate and captivate

Significant and bright

Against the sun

Yet always dark as night

Stone Wall

 

But you know…

Time is never easy

Space is never there

Knives are ever turning

Keys are always spare

Hearts are meant to be broken

Myths are simply a lie

Block out all empty promises

And always let them die

The walls that hold your secrets will keep them from their flight

They vacillate and tolerate

Significant and right

Beyond the stars

But always held real tight

But you know…

Wind is chill in autumn

Roads are far and wide

Whirlpools keep on spinning

Land’s often set aside

Hearts are always travelling

Waste was not to care

Glitter balls are twinkling

Whilst hope is always there

The walls that hold your secrets are sometimes past your height

They make you wait and fluctuate

Magnificent, yet slight

Far out of reach

Yet, safe from might

But you know…

Life is never eternal

A person is always a whole

Infinities a ‘you’ and ‘me’ circle

That crosses at the point of your soul

Perspectives are constantly changing

Whilst time maps the point of our place

But the walls keep us safe from all danger

These secrets our journeys embrace

 

Copyright ©20/08/2009 Beth Stratton

Moths – The Spiders Wistful Interlopers

In the taut redness nests a spidery blackness

Nested, hunched with legs curled, watching

Trapped under cover of embroiled rouge half-light

These flamed moths: Spies in holes of yellow dawn

 

Creeping away to an enclave of skirted cracks

Observed disconsolately from handcrafted corner

Beady eyed, prickling hairs feeling and sensing

Oh, these heretics that spread nought but dust!

 

Yet, lit sparks in the furnace flit disconnected

Luminous twitches, overhead, vibrations spin out

Open flutters of staged innocence in virginal flight

Angelic mimics, sky nymphs at mocking play

 

Left to spread out like a great dynasty migrating

Their kingdom would engulf this solitary creature

Weighted in harmony, hanging with rippled echoes

But blackness will surround them yet, in a timeless fashion

 

As crimson skies can always offer an advantage

To the predatory darkness of the nestled one

Demons can only feed on silken horizons, cottoned clouds

Yet, hellfire flames can cripple crescent crested wings

 

Your wrapped and speckled light of winters thread

Tastes flesh, turning them over as your bobbin’s twist

Black arms lacing yellow knots within the skein

Dust carcasses scattering a lonely pattern over and over again

 

Copyright ©03/09/2009 Beth Stratton

Seeing Life Anew

 

Woke up early this morning

Sunlight shines in my head

Light so bright, everything right

It must have been something you said

The daylight it warns of an early dawn

Like birds flyin’ in overhead

Thought about times when we were young and free

About all the things you said

I see they were true

I’m simply seeing life anew

 

I drifted out in the garden

Passing time in my mind

The flowers red, nothing said

It must have been like days gone by

Tip-toeing round, on sodden ground

In memories tumbling free

I know that life’s no paradise

Yet it feels real groovy to me

So I thought about the time when our ideas

Where pictures flashing on every wall

Use to think I knew so much back then

But I had no clue at all what to do

Spending time with you.

 

So when you died

I was lost and tired

I’d think about you all the while

Moments running wild and free

Of when I’d seen you smile

Knowing that you were in paradise

Stopped me from goin’ insane

You told me once it was were you’d be

When all life’s rivers had rain

And you were through

Feeling low and blue

 

And every day is a journey

It can be easy or hard

To relish it and to embrace it

That is the difficult part

To take a simple line in these modern times

Is easier said than is done

But with every step is another quest

Until the battles are won

A treasured soul, like a pot of gold

Isn’t something that everyone’s got

A little love goes a long long way

Whether we realise or not

When I’m missing you

Something pulls me through

 

So in the garden I captured

A glimpse of where you had gone

It’s better for those who take that journey

But what of them carryin’ on

With the many fears

I’ve had over these years

Thinking I’ll never see you again

But in the passage of time

I’ve come to realise

It’s simply just a matter of when

And in the mean time, you’re still alive

In everything that I say and do

This is so true

Simply being there with you.

 

Went to bed late this evening

Thinking of what I had seen

This life is merely a repeating pattern

Littered with wishes and schemes

I broke the silence with singing

The sound of a girl’s melody

Back in the wilds, when you were a child

And this was a comfort to me

The colours and sights, on lonely nights

When nothing is quite what it seems

I wish I were back in a safer place

My head just driftin’ with dreams

I’ll follow through

Seeing life anew

 

Copyright ©21/08/2009 Beth Stratton

String Theory

Rosen across the bow
As the strings are caught by light
Like a flickering quickness
Moves past the full gaze of conducted attention
Suspended
Set to a note so fine and rarefied
That the broken sting squeals and shudders with delight
As the filtering fly line whips the watery divide
Between that which is known and seen
And that which is beyond all strings weaves and flow
Music
Voices
All is air
Resting in connectedness
Joined in colliding melodies
Sounds ripped from their gliding arc
In and out of their own subtle resonance

Copyright©21/08/2009Beth Stratton

A Watery Clinch

 

I’ll hold you, cling tightly to all your body

You will be my lifeboat

And I a needy passenger with no wish to bail

Let’s set sail

Float

Drift

Taken by our watery clinch

 

If I drown

You all alone

Would sink down to the depths

Like a stone

 

Together we can cross the rift

You will be my buoy

Yet, I cannot bear to see you worn away

Stop the wash of my constant tide

Let’s glide

Not drift

Hold fast

 

Copyright ©21/08/2009 Beth Stratton

Surfers Ballad

 

Wilder and wide the shallows flood the shore

With gaseous streams of yellowed gasping spumes

The surfer paddles out

To float and toss upon that temperate main

Which suddenly in turning light did wane

 

The surfer’s dragged, then dips and dives

Flash floods crash and rip the tide

Weaving past the wash

Ove’ jutted jagged rocks

Carried forward through froth and moss

 

Taken fast, against the momentary tide

To brake, plunge, wash; then slide

He grasps for hallowed jetties

Seeks out their grained and gory side

Slips his hands through feted silken slime

 

As gapen mouthed pulled down

To splutter out in diamond droplet spray

And rue that he went out that day

Taken far beneath with every rasping breath

His water-choked lungs pull, rasp

Drawing into him his death

 

Stretching for the surface, his battered body dashes

But he crashes, brakes and thrashes

As he slithers through the reef

Then is thrust by callous guttering spray

And crashed from open waters deep

 

Dropped upon the pebbled shorelines shield

His broken body tragically concealed

By wave and glassy hillock, seahorses plume

The sea that once his friend did yet consume

He’s buried now in those drifts of subtle grainy sands

That lies betwixt those death-defying struggles and dry land

 

Copyright ©21/08/2009 Beth Stratton

 

Journeying From London To The Sea

The skyline jumps ‘neath paths that now lay trodden

With gathered tarnished leaves and rubbish sodden

By harbour walls and chains that cast with iron did pull

A glassy crack of ice splits light as faded rays now splinter

And trees in miles and rows bent forth with moon and laden winter

Was where we walked

 

The river turns for home grey with spoil, raised but yet defeated

Domes and cornices lit to reflect a quieter time completed

Horizons gathering winds that push towards the city centre

Concerted by sheer volume; where the concrete stages stilted

Rushing through and echoing the traffic’s tarmac by-line filter

Was where we hid

 

Consigned to twist and run from simple open spaces shining

Their construct bound in another time, yet centres naked pining

Footfalls heavy, tarmac ripples gather and then fall round statues

Arched abodes for conquering heroes gallant to remember

Like new ones cast adrift for now and left alone to wander

Was where we sat

 

Runways stacked with authors lit with writer’s wordy tombs

Lost in places yet more strange but not that hard to find

Spilt out on roads likes passages from deep within our minds

Told stories and read phrases of gifted insights, little signs

Stood silently by one another’s side and gave our breath

To stagnant air which gifted life and lifted death

Was were we laughed

 

Softer, yet delightful in repose, its brooding spectacle lays over

With tracks that wing a weary way to thunder

The bridge that takes things back beyond this time of thinking

To pavements wet with shadows, benches left alone to wonder

The depths of all we’ve known, but yet to plunder

Was where we thought

 

From concrete covered wooden floors and tables strewn with clutter

Coffee cups, cakes and books; their rhythm and their clatter

Introspective poems, songs and one child’s laughter

Mercifully delighted by the essence of the view

I was simply ‘me’ back then and you were simply ‘you’

Was where we lived

 

This love, this city, our momentary thought still long forever rooted

In all things known and taught my loneliness was tutored

The presence of this landscape with our broken bond in tatters

Is where we left our first hearts love behind; still beating?

With promises once strewn, your love abandoned now seems fleeting

Was were we fought

 

Dullness set the tone for people’s ordinary hum to follow

Buildings, empty office structures rattling and hollow

Left all reasoning behind, yet allowed me to move on

Closing doorways, seemingly defeated now have gone

Suddenly beyond all hope and in this wasteful debris

The question there was asked – ‘Do you still love me?’

Was were I found my heart anew

 

Moving back and forth like some unsettled hobo drifter

Wandering confused with each and every footstep littler

Nightfall leaves and dregs within the curbed streets to blow

In areas less travelled by the populace I shall observe

Footprints dwell, with no good reason the wanderers to swerve

Was where I came to rest

 

To suburb lines of crested brick and tilted hilltops nestling

My solitary wanderings, a wide expanse of vision resting

Where all of life is passing or safely sailing through

Surveying all the multitudes from peak on which I’m stationed

I seek the multiple possibilities and complex variation

Was were I came to stand

 

To pastures new I lead my mind to all that is connected

Like rills from flowing water; lifted and collected

Passing where the pieces now are scattered to remain

Rebuilding shelter, encircling sand filled coves, hung low

Cascading now the weary water reluctantly will flow

To where I live again

 

Copyright ©20/08/2009 Beth Stratton

The Tiger’s Child

I thought I saw the tiger’s child

With brilliant eyes that flash of fire

The one that rages day and night

With life and hope and more desire

Than any in this world could have

So always try to keep them close

Unleashed their powers are often brutal

To those they really love the most

 

I know that little tiger’s child

As others learned to spot them too

Their claws they dig so deep to flesh

To gouge at bone and stiff sinew

They try to keep emotions low

As running rampant they’ll do you harm

And cause such violent damage

With guile; and lethal loving charm

 

So if you see the tiger’s child

Try to pity, not judge their plight

As every threatened and unbridled creature

When feral, knows it has the right

To roam unguarded in the world

To snatch a hold on the pray it spies

And when taking hold of those it imprisons

It’s mercilessly cunning and terribly wise

 

I know you’ll see the tiger’s child

As fast within your sight it grows

To find that child’s not difficult

As each and every adult knows

You only have to glimpse them once

To let them cut you down to size

All the children on this earth possess

Those wiley glimmering tiger’s eyes

 

But can we tame the feral ones?

Guard them now and teach them well

Protect them in their majesty

Never break their precious spell

Let them beguile us whilst they may

Let them cling within our clutch

Show them care and they’ll repay

With every smile and look and touch

 

‘Cos if you raise a little tiger’s child

With all encompassing love and care

The tiger’s lore’s will be genuine

Of childish aspects you needn’t beware

But never let them take control

Just watch your wits and keep them close

It’s the children that are pussycats

Who sidle up; yet spit the most

 

Those tiger cubs within your lair

Will gaze through bright, yet wistful eyes

Like spears of light, they’ll prowl and bite

As they have such a sweet disguise

So try to out manoeuvre them

Don’t keep them separate or set apart

‘Cos if children aren’t reared wisely

They’ll find a way to wound your heart

 

Copyright ©20/08/2009 Beth Stratton

Card Games

 

He plays to win, six games lost, he scowls

The combinations stack up like the cards in his hand

But on screen it looks like a never-ending battleground

 

And the patterns like a maze, seem set to confuse

So he sits rigid in his chair as he contemplates

Then with the click, click, click of the mouse

He drags the block of graphics this way and that

 

He sings now, a ditty to pass the time

Whilst in his mind he connects each card to each card

Then a flurry of hand over hand, back and forth

Till the cards swish and mingle and recoil back to their pack

 

Another one won, but far too many lost before

But the odds may yet be stacked in his favour

So he plays another hand for luck

 

Copyright ©20/08/2009 Beth Stratton

Four Days -The Bridges Of Madison County

There are places where life goes

No man or woman living may now follow

Places where time and days seem hollow

Where memories take the breath of wind to gather

A glimpse that in your minds eye wanders

 

That fleeting place which on the landscapes drifting

Takes hold a feeling so remiss, yet sweetening

Catches heartfelt pleasures

Where views aren’t clouded by the sun

Plains and mountain where there once were none

 

There are places where life goes

Where bridges shelter rivers running shallow

And present time seems lost, so meek and fallow

Such long remembered glances once forbidden

In time become the essence of our being

 

The wistful gaze and snapshot quickly taken

Contained within that sheltered minute

Those pictured dreams that we were newly making

For this current time span, we have now forsaken

But the memories last a lifetime; there forever to remain

Where my heart is often said to drift

And where I lose it time and time again

 

Copyright ©20/08/2009 Beth Stratton

The Essence Of Sharing

The ‘I’ that was ‘you’ taught me many things

Your reflection of tastes

Rippling out for me to dive into

And for me, you gave.

 

For the ‘us’ that was only part of our own entity

I, the half that was ignorant

Broke through the surface of brilliant thought

Fed on your knowledge

Soaked it up

Like simple sponge

For and of  itself, for its own sake

Such was my need to thrive.

 

We dove together, delving deeper

I, into the half of you

That laid yourself down

Still and calm

Bare and open for me to squander.

 

Copyright ©02/03/2009 Beth Stratton

Equal Intelligence

If everyone can be equally intelligent

Then how will differences be found?

Between those with excellent memories

Who really are profound

And those who struggle and flounder

Whose memories are abound

With far too much frustration

Boundless hesitation

Endless explanation

And very little renown

 

Copyright ©14/03/2009 Beth Stratton

Looking And Longing

He looked at me and I at him.

A sight augmented by beautiful movement.

Artificially sustained glimpses.

To feel young like a moment of time.

 

He captivated my gaze.

I saw him glance though that lighted window.

Affectionate and coy.

I watched him mouth a word.

 

Where is his reflection now?

It withers in the pane.

Draining down the sill, slipping from view

His outline gone.

 

I catch his sight no more.

His head was inclined

I watched it wither from view without a nod.

Not to be reflected like mine.

Not to be an image of self or whole.

 

Oh, to see him glance now.

As I long for his embrace.

For a mirrors view.

For a moment in time,

Where nothing else exists.

 

A touch of fingers on fingers.

How long I have looked.

Wished for his eyes to meet mine.

To touch, to burn though the glass.

 

His gestures imprinted images.

Yet, they grow old like ripples.

Opaque circling shapes are viewed in the pane.

None of them his.

 

Whirlpools of stained glass offer no salvation

Droplets of crystal tears form.

I cry tiny slithered splinters

Now he has passed.

 

Copyright ©20/03/2009 Beth Stratton

 

Thought Sailing

This day I want to be thought sailing.

I want to say I love you to those that matter.

I want to climb like the wind.

Move ahead and travel far.

 

I am but a speck on that wind.

But my thoughts are mighty.

When I see the beauty of each day,

I know that someone loves me.

If it is man, then so be it.

If you think its god then that is OK.

 

I won’t be afraid to speak.

Talk about the suffering in the world.

Children die each minute,

Yet, no one knows their name.

They are but forgotten souls,

But not to me.

 

Let us all be strong, be triumphant.

Will the leaders to act and matter.

Let them make a stand as I hope we do.

To stop and think about others.

Feel the knell of those less fortunate.

 

We must be compassionate and brave.

As to think, is to dream and to wish.

Bring hope to each unwilling thought.

Break all unyielding steps.

Open up the world to others.

Let the thought sailing begin for all.

 

Copyright ©18/03/2009 Beth Stratton

Lovers Slumber

As you lie curled in our bed, head down beneath the silken sheet
Toes tangled gently, sweet to sleep
I’ll caress the curves of your skin, and linger as it gently weeps
Soft perspiration down from the neap of your neck to your feet

And in that light, dimmed low, night drawn in so dark and deep
I’ll be safe within your reach
As you cuddle me so tightly and hold me fast within your keep
To guard those precious moments as we gently, freely fall asleep

Copyright ©16/03/2009 Beth Stratton