Looking for Christmas.

A time of stillness and memories-
a gathering against the dark.
A time of roistering and foolishness-
dressing up and pigging out.
Silly jumpers, bright red trucks,
naughty elves and melted snow.
Flickering candles, holly wreaths,
home made treats and fire glow.

Memories are laid down,
milestones alongside the path of life
as the young rush forward.
Still believing. Still alight.
Christmas is always real to a child.
Thoughts of how things used to be
hide behind watching faces.
Still hoping. Still wishing.
They remember how things were-
before the season slipped away.

The world doesn’t stop,
but in the silence
you can feel it turning.
A pinprick in the darkness
revealing a star.

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Farewell to the Futurist.

When they send in the Wrecking ball
let them think of this.
Hidden in the rubble
are the ashes of those who queued together,
sang together,
laughed together.
Two thousand people,
united by the simple joy of being there.
People who didn’t get out much
and now here they were,
glowing red from the heat of the sun,
filled with fish and chips and warm beer,
ready to see their heroes walk out
from the fuzzy grey of a television screen,
bursting into life, colour and movement
before their very eyes.

Twice nightly.
All summer long.

When they fill up the skips
let them remember this.
A pool of light,
a space once filled with joy.
Bob Monkhouse times a perfect punchline.
Ken Dodd spreads his own brand
of delicious, delirious anarchy,
and Tommy Cooper walks out, live size,
to face a tidal wave of pure love.
Mythical figures from a far off world
set amongst glittering curtains,
magicians, dancing girls and acrobats.
A safe haven where life is in focus,
brighter, kinder, sharper.
A chance to reach out
and touch our dreams.

Twice nightly.
All summer long.

How Quickly We Become the Past.

How quickly we become the past.
So many things we thought would last
hang, half forgotten, in the air-
so vivid and yet barely there.

The scent of tall geraniums
on a fly blown window sill.
The engraved surface
of a warm sixpence
clutched tightly in my hand.
The sound of voices,
singing their way home.
The colours dancing
in an open fire.
A blue dress with daisies.

Sitting in an old black Vauxhall
outside a beer sodden pub.
Singing wide eyed hymns
about fights and battles
from a tattered roll.
Stretching out my splayed fingers
to pop a shimmering bubble.
Watching scattered raindrops
as they race down a window.
I’d love a Babycham.

How quickly we become the past.
So many things we thought would last
hang, half forgotten, in the air-
so vivid and yet barely there.

Moments when we realise
that the world has turned
without us noticing.
Fragments of a time
which has been discarded
littering our days.

We blink at the unfamiliar,
tripped up by the sight of an eyebrow,
the emptiness inside a closed shop,
a space where a tree once was.
We have become strangers
in a world that has been changed by stealth.
Little by little the dust has settled over us.
We have been stripped bare,
set aside, but still here.

How quickly we become the past.
So many things we thought would last
hang, half forgotten, in the air-
so vivid and yet barely there.

Sea Fret 3.

We walk in shadows,
flitting in and out of the light,
half seen by a pale white sun,
half known, misunderstood.
Faint wanderers.
Going nowhere.

We have stumbled
into a a chilled grey world,
a place of clinging secrets,
where unseen waves turn.
We walk among distant possibilities,
a mystery, even to ourselves.

I look up into the soft sky,
and examine the shades of grey
as they sharpen and fade,
begging for a burst of blue,
a blaze of light,
and life restored.

So close.
So far away.

Shards of remembrance.

Each time we remember,
we remake.
Each time we drift back,
we renew.
We are fragile,
like glass.

My childhood lies
broken around my bare feet,
clouded with dust,
shattered by time.
Jagged windows
which lead me back,
teasing out lost thoughts,
showing me myself,
reflecting me home.

Tiny diamond splinters,
shards of remembrance,
sink into my soft skin,
cutting, needling,
glinting in the past.
Some things are gone.
Only their brightness remains.
Familiar, forgotten moments
which fit together,
indistinct, incomplete.
Telling me lies,
even as they record the truth.
Was I really there?
Did I really see?
I hold each piece up to the light,
polishing it with my breath,
paying it attention,
allowing it to shine.

Each time we remember,
we remake.
Each time we drift back,
we renew.
We are fragile,
like glass.

Borrowed time.

There is a change in the air.
The soft, searching call of a dove
hangs in the damp morning
alongside the scent of mown grass,
grieving the last cut of the year.
The light is creeping away.
The children are gone.

There is no autumn beauty yet,
no falling leaves,
no firelight,
no songs.
Later the day will pull itself together,
take heart, and warm up
as though nothing has happened,
but we know.
The countdown has started.
The clock is ticking.
We are waiting for winter.

Doors.

A door bears the lingering, silent shadow
of each person who has passed through it.
A presence worn too deep to gloss away,
bled into the grain of the wood.

A door still feels the hand of each person
who ran a finger along its edge,
turned a knob or slipped through an opening
into the freedom of an empty space.

A door remembers slams, shouts and tears.
It holds a memory of each person who walked through it
looking back with reluctance, hiding fears.
A door bears scars.

A door remembers hushed spaces, secret meetings,
quiet giggles, passion and privacy.
It says nothing and sees everything.
A closed door is blind.

A door remembers running children filled with laughter,
times which never thought to end.
The happiness of a frozen moment, the scent of forgiveness,
the voice of a friend.

An open door holds a space where many wishes cross.
It is a place of challenges, of loss and gain,
a chronicle of coming and goings, sharp regrets,
and promises to people who are never seen again.

Shadows on the Door. Jiro Takamatsu. 1968. Installed at the Henry Moore Institute. Leeds.

Shadows on the Door. Jiro Takamatsu. 1968. Installed at the Henry Moore Institute. Leeds.