Ode to a Travelling Man
As I fit the final items in my case, a sadness comes upon me,
As if I’m packing not my clothes, but my emotions.
Knowing that the part of me I save for you
Must be put away until I see you once again.
I know that when I reach wherever I am bound this time
I’ll open up my case and out will come an emptiness,
A desperate sense of loneliness and loss
That will probably drive me to the hotel bar
To drink in solitude; not belonging where I am.
Then, not having the tongue to talk to those assembled there
I’ll head back to my room and lie in bed in brooding contemplation
To think of you and I and what we should be doing now.
And, at end of day, when I return to my hotel,
The pathos of the night before comes flooding back.
I open the wardrobe door and all the lonely feelings hiding there
Envelope me and drive me from my room once more
To anywhere; the streets, the bar, a café; anywhere
That I can see others happy;
And I hope that part of their happiness
Will rub off on me, fortify me
Until I can share real happiness with you, at home, again..
Why am I doing this? I should be there with you
Living our lives; loving, sharing, being.
Not drowning in my cups, in some foreign hotel room.
I give you me.
As I lay sated yesterday
I heard a voice, “Thought for Today”
Talk of a man who having travelled far
Found the love he craved for here at home.
I feel the same, like I have thrown
An old pack in my wardrobe;
Which now I rarely touch
But just find comfort knowing that it’s there.
That’s my past life, it’s not baggage
But an old friend that I can call for help
If ever I need to; to give advice
And straighten out the things that sometimes cloud my soul.
I feel cocooned for the first time in my life
Knowing that you’re beside me
And that I don’t always need to talk;
Knowing what you’re thinking’s how I feel.
As we go on together, growing closer yet;
Now and then I think about my pack
And know it too is thankful that
I’s job is done and it can rest
Aback the wardrobe snug and dark
Secure in knowing that it’s contents now belong
In the hands and heart of one who’ll care
And who will keep the future of it’s friend
Wrapped as tight as that old pack has in the past.
So bear me well, my darling one,
Yours now the carriage of my love
My hopes, my feelings and my dreams
Are yours to share.
I can’t make head nor tail of love,
It arrives unasked and buggers up your life,
Like a gnat, buzzing around your head,
It’s a disease, confusing all your senses.
It makes you obsessive, possessive, irrational,
Disrupts the way you run your life,
Takes over when you just want order
Peace and focus.
The real thing is hard to find
But if you do, when you feel ‘this is it,’
Those all-consuming desires,
Passion, jealousy, fear, all of life’s emotions
Course through your blood, your brain, your heart.
Some say that true love is peace and contentment
Just being close brings serenity.
But that ain’t love,
It’s just acceptance of your lot
Having let yourself be ground down,
You make a hopeless wish
For all to be perfect.
Love is not like that.
It is a dread of being apart
A need to see and talk
Though often this leads to resentment
As you crowd each other’s space.
Can’t live with you, can’t live without you,
Would willingly murder you,
Is how you feel, and some have and gladly done the time.
Crime passionnel it’s called in French
It exists, I’ll vouch for that.
You don’t want to be controlled,
You feel trapped,
Sometimes you run away from it
Just to feel
Than you ever have in life.
I can’t make sense of it,
But thank or curse Eros,
Or whomsoever fires the barbs
That entrap you more firmly
Than a retiarias’ net
While the trident of attraction, lust and fear
Pierces your soul, killing rationale
More effectively than any gladiator could.
It’s God’s greatest gift,
Or greatest blight,
I don’t know which.
I only know it’s got me,
Never letting go,
Never giving peace,
And I thank him daily
That he has chosen me for this
And chosen you for me.
For this is love,
I’ve never felt it before
Always ran scared.
But now I feel as if
At last, after all these years,
We realise that we are blessed.
And from here on
We’ll revel in our love.
But never let’s forget
The nurturing years
The pain, the anguish, the fear
All catalysts cementing the bond
That has been forged for us
And can never be torn apart.
The Rolex that he bought in Singapore and wore in thirty lands or more
Often during times of war, is wrapped around his Grandson’s wrist.
He knows only his Granddad, the old man who taught him how to use his tools,
In the garden shed while Granny cooked some food. But Granddad was young once.
They’re all stood inside the church; his wife, his daughters,
His grandkids, many, many of his friends. Those friends
Have seen too many gravesides, lost too many mates of late,
And crave that there’ll be aeons more before they’re screwed down in their wooden crate.
I was with him when he bought that watch in Sembawang,
Proud as Punch, he showed it off, and me as jealous as hell. A Rolex Submariner,
The bevel black and shiny. Now there’s no enamel left, the years have chipped it off
Leaving it as shiny as the medals on his box.
Its provenance is long and proud; Northern Ireland, the Falklands, the Gulf;
And there were other conflicts fought before he beat the the jeweller down
That hot and sweaty afternoon. And when it was bought we went next door,
Into the Harbour Lights, and toasted its purchase with a Tiger beer or two.
His grandson will never know the half of who his Granddad was,
But we know, we grew up with him, went through his torments, were beside him
In bars and deserts and jungles, it didn’t matter where
As long as we had friends around to laugh and to share.
And now he’s gone, but only in body, and that as worn as his watch.
But his memory stays and makes us laugh and cry and brings back many tales
His grandson won’t be told. These are soldiers stories, not for family
But for those who were there with him, wherever it may have been.
It’s strange, but an old worn Rolex won’t lose its value, is worth as much as new,
And this one’s unique, with its wealth of stories from all around the world
Half of which would never be believed by those outside the exclusive club
Of which he was the Boss. But they’re true in all their unbelievability.
Rolex watches now are worn by tennis stars and such, fit young men or film stars
As a sign of achievement and success. But they knock a ball around all day
And know nothing of the stamina and guts it takes to patrol for days or weeks
No shower or a beer at end of day, just a hard and stony grot in a wadi somewhere.
We had our beers as soon as we got back, too many usually,
Fought the Redcaps, or the Paras if we could, acted like they’d trained us to be. But
Underneath we yearned to wear our Seikos, Rolexes and Omegas to a fancy bar
And then we’d look with scorn on the mere mortals drinking there.
When we are asked if we knew him, we’ll say, ‘Oh, yes,’ and smile a smile
While we stare off into the distance. ‘Oh, yes, we knew him well.’
‘What was he like?’ they’ll ask. ‘He was one of us,’ we’ll reply
While, ‘You haven’t earned the right to ask,’ we’ll think.
The Mysterie of Tonsolitititititis
I’ve been ill for a week or two
And I ain’t writ nowt, so that won’t do,
But I’m jotting now ‘cos the mood I’m in
Is enhanced by a shot of Penicillin
Three days later……..
It’s three days on, and me throat don’t hurt
The penicillin’s worked, me loins bin girt
‘Cos I’ve two weeks of life to catch up on
I’ve got to draw and write and sing a song – (or two)
General English Class 3
I have to go to school in a while,
Play hale-fellow-well-met and nod and smile,
When all I want to do is sit in the sun,
And write and draw and scratch my bum.
This morning I’m teaching GE3,
I don’t like them and they don’t like me,
They hardly know their ABC,
So I’m going to teach them defining and non-defining relative clauses, which are an integral part of sentence structure and which are also very difficult and confusing.
That oughta fix the little bastards!!
There’s a nightingale singing outside my flat,
He wakes me up, but he don’t know that,
So I’m thinking of hiring out a cat,
To hunt him down and eat the t**t!!!
( I’m not really. I like him singing at all hours of the night, sometimes ‘til sparrers. Sometimes he sings during the day, but if he thinks he’s getting time-and-a-half for that he’s sadly mistook. He even sings in the rain, but he ain’t singing at the moment, when, as you can guess, it’s raining. Now it appears as if the footnote is longer than the poem, so that’s one for posterity. Or in the posterior for the critics who will write reams dissecting the above jewel when I am a famous pote and pontificate over what is really only a bit of an observation.)
There’s some Mormon boys in the flat above,
On a mission, preaching about God’s love,
But their cistern leaks and drips and drips,
And drives me to the Devil!!!