Friday, 11 November 2011

My Waifs

These days, I seem to be collecting waifs
like others collect stamps
or the numbers of trains.
It’s a queer hobby, I know,
and not one I’d recommend!
Unless you have a strong heart
and much time to lend.
They pop up as unknowns
at the foot of my screen,
urgently requesting
my immediate attention.

Sometimes I am glad of the company;
sometimes I am glad to be in demand,
for it gets lonely in my basement study
now that I am home alone,
with time at hand.
Sometimes the request
is an interruption of thought
or a distraction from
one endeavour or another.
Sometimes a moment
of solace is besought,
sometimes advice
as from an elder brother.
Always there is a need,
always a life is fraught.
Always there is pain,
always there is despair.

Generally, they are reticent
and coy at first;
but all it really takes
is an invitation to share
A “how can I help?” or a “how are you?”
and a whole sad life-story out does spew.

Some of death too much have seen,
Some by parent abandoned have been.
Some fear rejection for telling their truth.
Some condemn themselves
for being uncouth.
Some with guilt and self-despite
are burdened.
Some are so angry and
with violence consumed.
Some feel wound up tight
and fit to burst.
Some feel unloved
and for love sorely thirst.
Some have broken hearts
that will not mend.
Some see too clearly of this life the end.
Some feel empty and so, so sad.
Some feel wicked and so, so bad.
Some despair of finding peace.
Some in self-harm seek poor release.
Some seek solace in vodka or rhy.
Some their death themselves do try.

Each bares the scars of despite.
Each one cowers in the night:
frightened of the darkness
that lurks there as a sickness
threatening in its slickness
to overwhelm their soul
and render them unwhole.

I do what little I can to help and mend.
I listen, affirm and tell them I understand
(Because I do understand,
for I have been there.
I have ridden the bucking nightmare.
I have felt the gut-wrenching sorrow,
with no prospect of a dawning morrow.
I have had my full share of strife.
I have at times lost faith with life.)
I try to give them hope,
when faith they do not know.

I tell them they are loved;
that mercy they must show;
and that they must themselves
forgive and loose the guilt
that holds them fast and
has a fortress round them built.

I tell them life can be
a glorious exaltation
something of sturdy
and stalwart stone and ice:
something of fluid
and playful conflagration
varied and multiform,
yet stable and precise:
an intimation and disclosure
of heavenly eternity
thrusting forcefully and surely
into earthly futility.

So much sorrow, so much pain.
So many people lost and forlorn.
So many people in need.
So many souls to feed.
So little that I can do;
but I do what I can, will you?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

The Popish Plot

Under the hallowed halls
the noble band had hid
cask on cask of powder
as stalwart Fawkes had bid.
The morn before King James
came to address his Lords
they crept unseen through darkest gloom
most unaware of their fell doom
down narrow ways unto that room
where waited men with swords.

To deeds extreme Fawkes had been led
by agents of the Crown,
who sought full long,
through shire and town,
some hapless man who’d loose his head
when he had carefully been fed
a silly, hopeless plan.

“Alas, we are found out!”
cried Fawkes, full of alarm.
“We are betrayed! Flee if you can!”
as he did spy the harm
that waited in the form of men
intent to thwart his naïve plot
to kill the King, the royal Scott,
and so to end the state’s foul rot
that stank as stagnant fen.
The brave souls were beat down
and trampled under foot
their hands were bound,
their necks were bent
their hope was from them cut.
They were brought forth in day’s sad ray
their love for Pope and slight of King
made plain for all the folk to see:
and they did anthems sing!

Unto a gallows tree
the plotters were soon brought
and they did dangle most merrily
as of the Earth their feet came short.
The people did rejoice
and tell with glee full keen
how good it was that popish plot
had wisely foilèd been.

And now we labour hard
’neath traitors’ iron hand
(of Whiggish temperament
who of their ill will not relent)
and hanker after that good Guy
who would have downcast tyranny
and set fair justice on the seat
so all might have what’s meet.