Collection of Poems
I knew not love until you came to me
From out the faceless crowds that thronged my days,
To touch my heart, my soul, so tenderly
And guided me through all love’s wondrous ways.
You took my dreams and made them your own,
You laughed and sang with me through joyous years;
When joy was gone, on winds of sorrow blown,
You took and shared the chalice of my tears.
You were the beat, the pulse, within my heart,
You were the breath and bread of life to me.
When I from this now lonely world depart
I’ll follow you into eternity.
The love you brought me on the day you came
Age shall not dim nor death put out the flame.
The Prima Donna, LaStarria,
Fell over when singing her aria,
The male lead split his tights
As he heaved her to rights,
Grunting, “Madame, you’re too fat by faria!”
Enraged, she cried “Why that so rich is
From one who’s too big for his breeches!”
And each in rage
Swapped insults on stage
Which had all the audience in stitches.
The Producer, he rang down the curtain,
His opera had gone for a burton.
The music had stopped,
The whole thing had flopped,
It was money-back-time that’s for certain.
But the audience had found it so funny
They refused a refund of their money.
It had all been a bore
Till Madame hit the floor,
When it turned out to be a real honey.
The Producer, he took some precautions
Against any further distortions.
Lead singers, poor souls,
Had to take lesser roles
Till they’d scaled down their generous proportions.
Lead singers, if slightly enormous,
With the weight of a small Brontosaurus,
This warning should heed
Or instead of the lead
They might find themselves back in the chorus!
DEATH ON A BATTLEFIELD
Far from home and slowly dying,
Stinking dead around him lying,
About his head their stenches billow,
Blood and mud and dirt his pillow.
Racked with pain and dying lonely,
Calls upon the One and Only,
Lays this desperate prayer upon Him,
For to take this chalice from him.
No trumpets sound, no angels singing,
Yet to God his soul is winging,
Leaves the battlefield behind him.
Do not mourn him, you who find him
Where death’s odours round his pillow.
Blood and mud and dirt his pillow.
For he, as in the Saviour’s Story,
Suffered, died, and rose to glory.
The honeysuckle’s gone from Honey Lane
and dead the woods where once the bluebells grew,
the lilac here will never bloom again
nor violets peep through pearls of morning dew.
No rich brown soil where seeds may softly sleep,
no furrowed fields to nurse the slumbering corn,
the trees their springtime promise will not keep
in solemn tryst with resurrection’s dawn.
There is no place where birds may rest their wings,
no meadowland where green the grasses grow,
no sheep or cattle graze, no skylark sings
above the riven, ravaged land below.
All God-created things from here are gone.
A four-laned highway stretches near and far
in sacrificial offering upon
the altar of the man-made god – the Car.
As you go dancing down the sunlit lane
In all the golden splendour of the day
It seems I break the prison of my pain
And go with you once more along the way.
And go with you beneath the summer skies,
Laughing and free as in the days we’ve known
When there was love, not pity, in your eyes,
And all the world and you were mine alone.
And all the world was wide and fresh and free,
And God’s good grass grew firm beneath my feet,
When all the great Beyond was mine to see
If go I would where hills and heaven meet.
If go I would! O unforgotten bliss
Of ever-moving limbs that swiftly seek
The green horizons, and to feel the kiss
Of sun and breeze on breast and lip and cheek!
Of sun and breeze and field and sky and song,
Of leafy glades and hills where soft winds blow,
We took our fill, and all the summer long
We laughed and loved and let our loveship grow.
O false my dreams! I do but drink the drug
That palsied limbs desire, that cannot face
The fettered years and vainly seek to hug
The past is yearning, desperate embrace.
Dark is my world since the joys I knew,
The sun, the scented breeze, will touch me never,
There is no song, no field, no sky, no you,
And all is lost and gone from me forever.
And all is lost – but you, still lithe and free,
Go gaily dancing down the sunlit lane,
You, whose heart is emptied now of me,
Fly to your hills – and O, I must remain!
DARLING OF THE FOLD
“Baa baa, black sheep,
have you any wool?”
No sir, no sir,
no bags full.
Get some from my master
who sells it by the bale,
but I have to tell you, sir,
my wool is not for sale.
“No no, black sheep,
that won’t do at all,
black wool I am wanting
to weave my winter shawl.
I will feed you grasses
as sweet as honeydew,
and set you down in meadows
where none may graze but you.
And for your noon-day thirsting
cool waters at your feet,
weep-willows for your shading
against the noon-day heat,
if you will come and live with me
and be my loving pet,
the while I weave my winter shawl
from your fine fleece so jet.”
“No sir, no sir,
I fear that cannot be,
I have a loving master
who takes good care of me.
He sets me down in pastures
where greenest grasses grow,
on hillsides and in valleys
where sweetest waters flow.
And when the winds of winter
rage cruelly o’er the land
he gives me warmth and shelter,
and feeds me by his hand.
I am the darling of his fold
and nothing do I lack,
yet he takes nothing in return,
from my fine fleece so black.
“But will your loving master
when you are grey and old
still want to love and cherish you
as darling of his fold?”
That I cannot tell you, sir,
no more than you can say
that I’d still be your loving pet
when I am old and grey.
“Bye bye, black sheep,
I’ll trouble you no more,
I will buy my black shawl
from some department store.
Stay with your loving master,
till you grow grey and old,
and may you never cease to be
the darling of his fold.”