Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Three Lords of Materialism


THE THREE LORDS OF MATERIALISM

(from a painting by Peter Rogers)

I

I carry the weight of the world on my back.
Shielded from the glare of the blue sky
I think
I devise new ways of creating wealth
I sell the land back to its people
Their own oil, water, natural gas.
It adds to this weight my back shares.
It has grown heavy since we took it from Stonehenge;
The weather it shelters us from
Has rounded its edges.
I fear it might one day
Skim the ocean and I
Have no assets on the sea-bed.

II

I do not think
Like he who also shoulders responsibility.
I straighten my back,
Keep one hand planted firmly on the ground.
I build there,
My factories are not monuments
Though they will stand forever.
Diversify, accumulate,
Keep one hand free to speculate.
I fear only that should I ever try to stand
My back might break.

III

I keep these two in check.
I scan the lost horizon,
Keep the wheels turning,
Give a little here,
Take a lot there,
Never let the workers think we do not care.
I fear these two
Might one day let the pebble crash,
But when that happens
I'll be far away.

Lower foreground woman I

They're up there
And we're down here.
He isn't looking
But I feel his eyes.
I have not smiled for thirty years.
They've taken everything I never had.
They even own myself.

Lower foreground woman II

I follow you
But know by my flowing hair
A wind is blowing;
It is coming our way.
No-one has
Nor will ever own
Me.

© Gerald England

Composed: Gee Cross, 2nd January 1990

Publication

1998 LIMBO TIME (Hyde, New Hope International)


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The End of the 80s




              THE END OF THE 80s

              That last afternoon
              we went out in the car
              slowly up the hill we call the Low,
              wary of a traffic-shy horse.
              We found ourselves dead-ended
              where roads led only to muddy farms,
              dingy council estates or the moor's edge.
              Up the top of a hill we call the Down
              we stopped at the cafe
              for tea and toast and brocolli soup,
              then edged our dull way home
              across the mist-marooned moors.

             ©  GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Gee Cross, 31st December 1989

Publication

1990 Quickenings (USA)


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

One Over


ONE OVER

It was the day of the tiger,
the re-enactment of Bannockburn,
the laundering of clothes
and the final assault over the hills.

The hens had become cannibals,
indicators failed to work,
the Priory remained silent
while children declared themselves — full!

Somewhere near Scotland's only lake
a rainbow appeared over the island.
She counted the colours, each one,
and found, not seven, but eight.

© Gerald England

Composed: Port of Menteith, 14th August 1989

Publications

1994 Minotaur (USA)
1998 Gravity (Internet)
2002 Iota (UK)




Monday, 24 January 2011

Stealing Kisses



              STEALING KISSES

              He loves pretty girls,
              singles them out,
              goes straight up
              and plonks a sloppy kiss
              on their hand or face or cheek
              and looks for the twinkle in their eyes

              Because he is small
              and handicapped
              and loveable
              and totally irresistible
              they hug him,
              cuddle him and kiss him.

              I am jealous of my son.

              If I tried the same,
              they would probably belt me;
              certainly his mum would.

             ©  GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Banchory, 11th August 1989

Publications

1990 The White Rose (UK)
1990 Bardoni (UK)
1991 Hybrid (UK)
1992 STEALING KISSES (Hyde, New Hope International)
1993 Prophetic Voices (USA)
1997 Cyberscribers (Internet)




Sunday, 23 January 2011

Bennachie


BENNACHIE

There is a car-park
at the back of Bennachie
and a log-cabin loo in preservative green.
Forestry Commission firs populate the slopes -
these trees the new colonisers
of ground where men eked a bare living
before the lairds divided the land.

The cone of the Mither Tap
oversees all Buchan and Strathbogie,
this Iron Age fort now tumble-down scree
- granite lintels weather slowly.

Twenty-nine bullocks are daily led
to pasture under the mountain's side -
the thirtieth loner, sufferer of sunburn,
is left companion to the tractor.

A road leads by "My Lord's Throat"
where the larynxed Don is littered
by stone teeth that seem to be
as old as Bennachie itself.

© Gerald England

Composed: Monymusk, 8th August 1989

Publications

1990 Kangaroos & Beans (USA)
1992 STEALING KISSES (Hyde, New Hope International)
1995 Northwords (UK)
1998 Perihelion (Internet)
1998 The Endless Mountains Review (USA)



Friday, 21 January 2011

All Life is in Blackpool


Image © Gerald England

              "ALL LIFE IS IN BLACKPOOL"

              Inside the Tower
              mirrors distort,
              lights play music,
              children act out
              their fantasies
              in a mock jungle,
              while everyone dances
              to the organ
              that rises from the floor;
              there is laughter in shadows,
              an infinity of illusions;
              Victorian opulence
              and video creations
              share a world
              with pirhanas and cichlids,
              and turtles that collide in tanks.

              Five hundred feet and more above,
              the scene is of a model town
              where humanoid ants move about
              and toy cars park on roofs -
              tyre-tracks doodle on sand,
              the horizon stretching
              to far off cities
              and to northern hills.

              Up here is the clear view
              shut out only
              by the safety net;
              from here
              the only
                       way
                           is
                              DOWN.

              © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Blackpool, 22nd June 1989

Publication

1999 Manifold (UK)



Thursday, 20 January 2011

At St Govan's Head



Image © Chris Downer; source Geograph               

AT ST. GOVAN'S HEAD

              Perched between cliffs
              approached by seventy-four steps
              (or count them different if you will)
              St Govan's chapel rests.

              The roar of waves muffles
              the sound of gunshot.
              A red flag flys above:
              the coastal path is closed.

              Enough to wake the dead ?
              - test the patience of a saint ?
              We know almost nothing
              of the hermit who here sought peace.

              Perhaps his spirit takes revenge.
              A fat gull sentries the car-park,
              squawks defiantly on the sign-post,
              feed without comfort on crumbs.

              © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Walwyn's Castle, 1st June 1989

Publication

1990 2nd Rapture (UK)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

View of Stamford from the North



              VIEW OF STAMFORD, FROM THE NORTH

              That Great Roar -
              the old artery
              which sustained the town
              when coachmen would choose Inns
              for the merits of their stables -
              passes by this neglected,
              southern toe-end of Lincolnshire,
              separates it from old-pal Rutland
              now drowned in Leicestershire.

              Left in Burghley's tourist-shadow
              it might have become
              a small-time town where no-one laughs
              where life is a serious business.

              Landlords of those same Inns
              now serve bar-meals in yards
              which have become beer-gardens
              They extend the same welcome
              recognising that their visitors
              must choose to come this way.

              The town respects its position
              - even the Mayor shops at Morrisons.

              © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Great Casterton, 23rd May 1989

Publication

1989 The Third Half (UK)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

(g3)


              the yellow peril
              ravishing the countryside
              - fields of oil seed rape

              © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Featherstone, 15th May 1989

Publication

1990 Maple Valley Vine (USA)

Monday, 17 January 2011

(g2)

    friendly face peeping
    from an illumined white cloud -
    full moon on the Low

© GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Gee Cross, 5th May 1989

Publications

1995 Time Haiku (UK)
1998 LIMBO TIME (Hyde, New Hope International)
1998 NASA (USA)
2000 Mir (USA)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Nidderdale


NIDDERDALE

Bedraggled daffodils line the lanes
unnerved by April snows.
Only the curlew crying on the fell,
the short-eared owl stationed on his post,
know that summer still will come
as surely as the growing lambs will go.

By the lake where a myriad mosquitos hum,
only the bravest rabbit boasts
of the ability to foretell
how strong will be the wind's abuse,
how many elms will no longer grow
to offer shelter to the homeless crow.

© Gerald England

Composed: Ripley Castle, 23rd April 1989

Publications

1991 Hybrid (UK)
1991 Owen Wister Review (USA)
1992 STEALING KISSES (Hyde, New Hope International)
1992 International Poetry (USA)
2000 NO CHOICE BUT TO TRUST (Pittsburgh, UnMon America)
2006 Other Voices (Internet)



Saturday, 15 January 2011

(g1)


              power station plumes rise
              from frosty mist - in still air
              white clouds coalesce

             ©  GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Langsett, 11th November 1988

Publications

1989 New Hope International (UK)
1998 LIMBO TIME (Hyde, New Hope International)
1999 NASA (USA)
2000 Mir (USA)



"DENMARK IS LEGOLAND"

(Quote heard on the ferry from England)

Since the non-farmer
couldn't milk the pigs
he fed three in the morning
went tractor-riding — better far
than all the rides in Legoland.

For breakfast he discovered
the culinary delight
of sandwiches of cheese
topped by squelchy marmalade.

His football-crazy brother
kicked two around the lawn
and in and out the flower beds
went happily to his own.

Both were driven
along the uncrowded roads
through Bedsted, Grurup, Hurup, No,
to castles, deserted North Sea beaches,
picnicking on an airport car park
before flying in a four-seater Cessna
over velvety fields and farms displaying
the Danish flag on their individual poles.

Daddy rolled up his trousers,
paddled in the seaweed stream
sandal-footed at Binderup Strand.

Mummy met the lace-maker of Tønder
and at Sønderborg Slot was treated
to a rare private showing
of Rogoczy's vast collection
hidden from the light to prevent browning.

Legoland is Denmark
Denmark is not Legoland.

© Gerald England

Composed: Vestrupod, 14th June 1988

Publication

1997 Poephysics (Internet)

Friday, 14 January 2011

Listening to John Cooper Clarke on Radio Manchester


              LISTENING TO JOHN COOPER CLARKE ON RADIO MANCHESTER

              Between calls I listen
              to the punk performance poet
              sucking up to Susie on her birthday.
              The John Virgo sound-alike
              punches a haiku
              that judders in the pocket jaws,
              rattles a 134
              with a non-stop verbal chant
              culminating on the ninth floor of a block of flats
              in an unfinished pink.
              Susie probes his romantic inclinations,
              keeps the unembarrassing interview on cue.

              © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Oldham, 14th April 1988

Publication

1992 Krax (UK)

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Saturday Non-stop Rain


              SATURDAY - NON-STOP RAIN

              Beneath the ewe,
              chewing, guarding,
              lie two Easter lambs

              On the hill above
              a swollen stream
              waterfalls over

              The rain in Wales
              is inescapable

              Below Plynlimon
              a rabbit slowly climbs
              the steep brown slope,
              freezes to invisibility

                    * * * * *

              The Sunday cock
              crows thrice

              Silver dew shimmers
              under re-emerged sun.

              © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Meifod, 4th April 1988

Unpublished

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Waiting for the Kettle to Boil


WAITING FOR THE KETTLE TO BOIL

Torches flash
From children
Banned to play
Quietly in cars.
On the back seat
A dog shivers
Sniffs for sheep
Two fields away.
Over the hill
Snow clouds gather.
Mother makes lace.
Father does
The washing up.
The radio broadcasts
The forecast.
No-one listens
As the steam rises.

© GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Tong, 14th March 1988

Publications

1990 Bold Print (USA)
1990 Maple Valley Vine (USA)

*****

              ESPERANDO A CACAROLA FERVER

              O fogo faisca.
              As criancas foram proibidas
              de brincar. Estao quietas
              no carro. No banco de tras
              o cachorro treme
              cheirando os carneiros
              no campo distante.
              No alto do monte
              o ceu se carrega de nuvens de neve.
              A mae faz renda.
              O pai se lava.
              O radio irradia
              a previsao do tempo.
              Ninguem presta atencao
              quando o vapor sobe.

              GERALD ENGLAND

              Traducao por Teresinka Pereira

Publication

1990 POESIA INGLESA (Bluffton, International Writers and Artists Association)






Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Schrödinger's Thought Experiment



SCHROEDINGER'S THOUGHT EXPERIMENT

In the box there is a cat
and a capsule of cyanide.
The chances of the capsule
disintegrating, releasing deadly gas,
killing the cat,
are strictly fifty-fifty.

When we open the box
the cat will be alive
else the cat will be dead.

Until we open the box
what is the state of the cat ?

The relativity physicist
simply doesn't know.

The quantum physicist
is not at all uncertain -
the cat is both alive and dead -
in suspended animation.
It his opening of the box
that will resolve the matter
one way or the other.

The cat is an existentialist.

© GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Gee Cross, 10th January 1988

Publications

1990 Spider Eyes (USA)
1992 STEALING KISSES (Hyde, New Hope International)
1995 POSITIVELY POETRY (Hyde, New Hope International)
1997 Dark Planet (Internet)

*****


EXPERIMENTUL "PISICA LUI SCHRODINGER"

In cutie avem o pisica
Si o capsula cu cianura
Sansele capsulei de a se desintegra
Eliberand gazul mortal si ucigand pisica
Sunt strict egale.

Cand vom deschide cutia
pisica va fi vie
sau, in caz contrar, moarta.

Dar pana sa deschidem cutia
Care este starea pisicii?

Fizicianul relativist
pur si simplu nu stie.

Fizicianul quantic
nu are indoieli defel-
pisica este si vie si moarta-
in animatie suspendata.
Doar deschiderea cutiei
va rezolva problema
intr-un fel sau altul.

Pisica este existentialista......

GERALD ENGLAND

Romanian translation by Octavian Blaga and Florentin Smarandache

Publication

2000 The Fifth Season (Romania)




Monday, 10 January 2011

Christmas Time


CHRISTMAS TIME

No sooner summer's end
than supermarkets fill their shelves
with tempters for the Christmas spend.

Civic authorities string up lights
to glimmer through the gloom
of foggy mid-November nights.

Children open advent doors
in calendars revealing scenes
of cribs and candles and Santa Claus.

With the first of the season's pantomimes
or the knocking of the carollers;
Christmas begins at different times.

But the time that Christmas truly starts
is when we open up our selves,
allowing Christmas to invade our hearts..


                          © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 14th November 1987

Publications

1988 The Third Half (UK)
2000 Breathe (UK)

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Taking Her Mother's Advice


              TAKING HER MOTHER'S ADVICE

              Her mother adviced,
              "Lie back and think of England"

              She did
              England came
              She did

              © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 10th October 1987

Publication

1988 Haight Ashbury Literary Journal (USA)

Friday, 7 January 2011

Making Love In The Early Morning


MAKING LOVE IN THE EARLY MORNING

Orgasm approaching
Rumbles of distant traffic
Screech of brakes
where the two roads meet
at the "Cock & Crown"
Patter of elephants on the landing
Sheets quickly hoisted
Movement locked in a still embrace
"Daddy, it's time to get up! Mummy!"
"Thank you, son!"
As innocence departs downstairs
daddy is already up - mummy.

© Gerald England

Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 1st October 1987

Publications

1988 Agog (London, UK)
1990 The Affiliate (Canada)
1998 The Bohemian Forest (Internet)




Thursday, 6 January 2011

Bread


BREAD

              Nutty brown wholemeal,
              wheat germ, standard white,
              supermarket pre-wrapped cardboard,
              stale wedding reception left-overs;
              it's all the same
              to Bewick swans and Mallard ducks
              fighting for every thrown crumb,
              quacking and screeching
              at upstart gulls and starlings
              keen to encroach on banks.
              Only when the last bag of bread
              is emptied,
              the last child departed,
              will they retire
              fat to the island.

              © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 20th September 1987

Publications

1990 Aireings (UK)
1992 STEALING KISSES (Hyde, New Hope International)
1998 The Morpo Review (Internet)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

(c20)


              to light a candle
              in dark December's despair
              would be wasted wax

              © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 9th September 1987

Publication

1992 Quickenings (USA)


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

March Visit to Worth Valley


              MARCH VISIT TO WORTH VALLEY


              Past the sliced snow
              and the plough's U-turn
              the car slush-slides
              to Oxenhope

              Steam-smoke thaws
              the lineside trees;
              black tunnels emerge
              to the green and white

              Pussy willow at Oakworth
              pushes towards spring
              while early cameras click
              at Damens

              Unhooked the metal monster
              bellows,
              rail-runs to reverse the front,
              hauls back to Haworth.

              Over towards Hebden
              we ignore the sign
              "Road Ahead Closed"
              knowing it wasn't when we came.

             © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Worth Valley, 20th March 1987

Publication

1991 Aireings (UK)



Monday, 3 January 2011

Family Christmas


FAMILY CHRISTMAS

 children pre-rise the sun
 tear at wrapping paper
 while parents sip coffee

 prayers and carols in church
 trying to keep quiet
 adults worship a babe

 turkey and sage, white sauce
 with the pudding and
 all the afters you want

 a bugs bunny movie
 the queen's speech and a game
 of trivial pursuits

 to grandma's tomorrow
 the satisfied infants
 slip silently to bed

 © GERALD ENGLAND

Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 20th November 1986

Publications

1991 Quickenings (USA)
1992 Mad Poets Review (USA)



Sunday, 2 January 2011

Searchday Thursday


SEARCHDAY THURSDAY

(On Thursday November 20th, 1986 the search resumed on 
Saddleworth Moor for victims of the "Moors Murders")

                    I

Hattersley has a quiet look today
swept by the showers and the south-west wind
people wait at bus-stops still joking,
but at the Catholics' coffee-morning
the talk is of Ian and Myra,
of bitter resentment and a little hope
for the unrest of twenty-one years
will not lie down so easily.

                   II

noontime — a rainbow
reaches from Mottram — dark clouds
over Saddleworth

                  III

High above Dovestones
sixty police in orange suits
cordon off moorland,
dog-track across the heather scrub.

Half a mile away at the mobile caf'
where the Pennine Way crosses the road
ITN and others are parked —
watching, waiting, reporting.

It will not be a short time
for those who have waited twenty years;
their worst fears unconfirmed
their heartaches buried deep.

Whatever is found
beneath the imprisoning peat
not everyone's hope
will find release.

© Gerald England

Composed: Greenfield, 20th November 1986

Publications

1989 A POEM FOR DADDY (Whitby, Canada, Plowman)
1997 Lateral Moves (UK)
1998 LIMBO TIME (Hyde, New Hope International)
1999 Black Creek Review (USA)



Saturday, 1 January 2011

Ballade of Arthur Dent


BALLADE OF ARTHUR DENT

Damn the Sirius Cybernetics' Corporation,
there are things not said in the Hitchhiker's Guide.
I need some proper elaboration -
the Nutrimat seems to deliver pesticide!
I'm sure that my brain is about to collide
unless the mind in my head is an absentee.
There's one thing I've craved since I started this ride
- all that I want is a decent cup of tea !

Parts of the Universe defy exploration
but even Zaphod Beeblebrox won't know where to hide
when the Vogon's decide on redecoration
to fill all the lakes with hydrogen chloride -
such actions as Marvin could never abide,
but that paranoid android's only a draftee
in whom scatter-brained humans fail to confide
- all that I want is a decent cup of tea !

In Vogon poetry there's no melioration
but unless you appeal to the Captain's pride
the Heart of Gold won't see restoration -
only Bugblatter Beasts can breath carbon monoxide
and they actually thrive on cyanide.
Once I was an Infocom devotee
but now I'm considering suicide
- all that I want is a decent cup of tea !

ENVOI

Ford, I've followed you all the way across the great divide.
I realise there can be no guarantee
but seven sixes is the answer I'll provide
- all that I want is a decent cup of tea !

© Gerald England

Composed: Ashton under Lyne, 1st November 1986

Publications

1990 Weyfarers (UK)
1992 STEALING KISSES (Hyde, New Hope International)
1993 Periaktos (UK)






Swan



              SWAN

              To the little boy
              a swan is just a big duck
              - royal birds bend their necks

              © GERALD ENGLAND


Composed: Naburn, 12th October 1986

Publications

1989 The Old Police Station (UK)
1995 Sparrow (Croatia)
1997 Whoosits (Internet)

*****

                                        malom djecaku labud                                         je velika patka - pleminte ptice svijaju vratove

        Gerald England

           translated into Croatian by Marijan Cekolj

Publication

1995 Sparrow (Croatia)