News of a death.

Sorry to tell you by text but dad passed away in the early hours.

The little boy is safe in his comfy seat,
snuggled into his granddad.
His round, shining face
is catlike and content.
Nothing can hurt him.
He is safe.
Chirpy.
Questioning.
Full of life and ideas.
He wants to know.
“Shall I show you my one inch punch?”
Granddad is wounded, loudly.
He watches the river outside the train window..
“Is there more water than land?”
There is.
“Can I open the hotel room door with the special card when we get there?
He can.
“I like doing that.”
His grandma points upwards.
“Can you see that up there?”
He can.
“Can you read it.”
He can and he does!
“Challenge me again.”
Train tickets are a thing of wonder.
“Five minutes to go.”
“5 4 3 2 1.”
“Minutes, not seconds.”
They have a staring contest with added wobbling eyebrows.
He wins.
She laughs.

None of us are safe.

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A Warm Bank holiday.

I look down upon a thousand stories.
A gull floats, twists and soars,
sending a shadow racing across the sand.
A small girl turns cartwheels
just because she can.
A dog trots out,
tail raised, snout up-
going somewhere.

Sounds drift upwards
on the still air.
Torn from their source
and floated into the past.
We have been here before.
Other children,
other gulls,
other dogs.

The Merry Go Round.

So long ago, too long ago,
when the world was new,
there were endless hours
with so much to do,
Long afternoons, gilded with sun,
so many beginnings,
a race to be run.
I sat in a blue ship
time spinning around,
sand on my feet,
ice on my tongue-
a tiny adventurer,
waving at mum.

Now I am watching
from the far side of the years,
listening to voices
which nobody else hears.
A small child scrambles
to begin a new ride,
waving and bouncing,
mum bursting with pride.
A few things have lasted,
though many are gone,
there is no bus, no motor bikes,
but the ship sails on.

Somewhere hidden
under thick layers of paint,
the times I remember
grow distant and faint.
Figures are waving,
sketched in black and white-
people I remember………..
almost out of sight.
Swirling in the shadows
as the world turns,
and the rhythm of memory,
slips away and returns.

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.

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.