Poetry Blog by Chris Armstrong

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Recent Comments

Don Matthews on Sunday (2 days ago)

keith jeffries on Sunday (2 days ago)

Adam Rabinowitz on Mnemosyne  (Sat, 10 Aug 2019 03:35 pm)

Brian Maryon on Sin (Fri, 19 Jul 2019 11:37 am)

Jason Bayliss on Lord, Lord, how this world is given to lying! (Thu, 27 Jun 2019 06:29 pm)

afishamongmany on The Estuary (Fri, 14 Jun 2019 12:12 pm)

Devon Brock on The Estuary (Thu, 13 Jun 2019 10:42 pm)

Martin Elder on The Estuary (Thu, 13 Jun 2019 04:36 pm)

jennifer Malden on Eyrignac (Sun, 9 Jun 2019 04:36 pm)

jennifer Malden on Uchtryd's Summer Place (Sun, 9 Jun 2019 04:32 pm)

Sunday

The pomegranates
are ripe on the tree
across the road
and the swallows
are skimming beneath the power lines
and the soft blue sky
The washing on the balcony rail is dry
The village dogs bark
Church bells summon summer in
and the early morning peace
is broken as a tractor heads for the fields
The sun heats the soft grey
feathers on the pigeon’s back
and he leaves his chimney perch
abo...

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countrysideFlogitaGreeceSundayvillagevillage life

Wondering

I wonder now what sin is worse

As we destroy this fragile earth

Who should we condemn the most? Who curse?

The careless or he who cares not for its worth?

 

When we misfile our plastic waste

Do we sin more than those who double wrap;

When we buy packaged goods in daily haste

Is it our fault we fall into the plastic trap?

 

And when we recycle those plastic trays

Wh...

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coralsdestruction of oceansearthethicsfishgovernmentoceanspackagingplasticsrecyclingturtles

Mnemosyne 

There is always one sacred moment

when the night's ink black sky

allows some personal atonement

to my dull and once-blind eye:

a single white star's icy reign,

absent in the deepest dark,

until the second that my brain

is riven by its diamond spark.

That this sheer shining crystal blazed

while hidden from my careful scan 

can only leave me dumb, amazed

that the min...

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memorymindMnemosynerecollectionsightstar

Sin

"There is no sin except stupidity." Oscar Wilde -The Critic as Artist.

 

Mea culpa! Mea culpa!

Nostra maxima culpa!

Thus should we weep, we cry

As it all ends with a whimper, a sigh

It is the people's will, they say

Proroguing to get their glory day

Your vote was for an ideal state

For nation, borders, Keep Britain Great

Now, your vote means a total schism

As we se...

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BrexitChurchillEUEuropean UnionOscar Wildesin

The Land

Sitting to the east

Sloping down to the edge  

Of that other world

In the summer sun

In the winter chill

The sentinel watched over

The little family in the cottage in the hollow

 

Lately it had felt her sorrow  

It knew when she left Pant y Lleiniau

And walked slowly along the cart track

To reach the little bridge under the trees

Where she crossed Nant yr Efail ...

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Lord, Lord, how this world is given to lying!

Falstaff: 'Henry IV, Part 1' act 5, sc. 4

 

There is a man

Who would be a king. This is such stuff

As past dreams would make his many morrows

That he, Princeling, may strut upon life's stage

As one with pride.

 

Yet this is a man

Who must know a past. That is the stage

As present nightmare on which he played so sad a part

That he, Pretender, needs now attend our co...

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BrexitConservativesgovernanceliesparty leaderPrime Ministerstrust

The Estuary

I am

barefoot

on a far tide line

sand rippled

spread

with estuary shells

with oystercatchers

soft where rills run down

or the sea pools

behind a half-sunk stone

or a mooring chain

I am

watching

moored yachts

swinging to the tide turn

above their sunken reflections

angled lines of cirrostratus

echoed below the horizon

in the mirror gloss sea

...

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beachboatscloudsestuaryreflectionsriversandseaseaweedtidetide line

Uchtryd's Summer Place

In Mariamné's time

What trees would have grown so tall

What was there beyond the garden wall?

When she walked beyond the garden gate

Did she see the river's sudden spate

And did the rustle of a summer breeze

Mask the red kite's call above those trees

And did she hear the Spring birds' calls

Above the echo of Ystwyth's falls

Did she stroll her father's ways

And let the...

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CeredigiongardensHafodhillslandscapemountainspicturesqueriverRiver YstwythtreesviewsWales

Eyrignac

As I walked

through the garden dew

'tween clipped box and shapely yew,

'tween hard hornbeam and

'tween friends

a perfect peace descends

 

As I walked

from the round green room

past dusky shade and roses' bloom,

past shapely hedge and

past huge urns

the garden quiet returns

 

As I walked

in the lakeside glory

to the enchanted terrace torri,

to the ...

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companionshipEyrignacFrancefriendsgardenshedgesjardinstopiary

Sub Rosa

Where once her warm and sanguine heart

fell ashen grey to rest in cold base dirt

high over the familiar bush and shrub

proud crimson blooms pine for love  

 

Where their sacred beauty sings to my heart

they call forth the lovely nightingale

high in their cloudless summer sky

to sweetly sing their longing song

 

There, I too confess a secret yearning

silent hidden d...

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beautylovememorynightingalepeaceRosessecrets

Ystrad Fflur: Dusk

Who will ever tell or know

the unheard silent echoes

from passing lives laid low:

those ghosts of chanted psalms

once melodious in their praise

lie buried beneath the turf

within walls they helped to raise;

and who can see the cowled monks

whose ghostly whispered prayers

whose canticle or hymn

whispers through the evening's airs -

through the great stone entrance a...

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abbeyCeredigionduskghostsmistsmonasterymonksprincesStrata FloridaWalesYstrad Fflur

Evening Light

An almost mystic silence

descends on the lambent, lamb bent,

lamb bobbing fields

 

as the West sinking sun

leaves an early evening light,

the day has almost passed:

the bright pale green of the new larch buds

the rusty pink brown of the budding almond

the gold of a burgeoning dog wood

are set against

the solid darkness of a solitary fir tree

the soft clouds in a...

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Cambrian MountainsCeredigionduskeveningfarmslambslightsunsettwilightWales

Past's Prologue

The trees still sentinel stood

their green leaves whispering

rustling gently in the wood

 

in the same soft breeze

 

and I know some summer birds

sang in their canopy

a requiem without words

 

'neath the same blue sky

 

that through every passing year

quietly watched over me

safe within Ceredig's sphere

 

It has been too long a time

since our firs...

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cottagehearthhomelovememoriespastpeaceShakespearetime

Fight! Fight!

The magpies

nesting in the beech

began shouting

angry

to see a squirrel

in their tree

 

Attracted

like bad boys in the playground

more magpies

joined in

hopping from branch to branch

a harsh chatter

of anger

 

The squirrel

preferring a quiet life

 

left

by way of my garden

wall

 

 

 

Today the tree is silent

 

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beechbirdsmagpiesnestsquirrelstrees

Nadir

It was a strange

waking -

perhaps the wraith of a memory of a dream

lay with me,

offering some

hazed contentment

yet

a waking

knowing

the pillow

beside me

is

empty

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dreamslosssleepwaking

An Unknown Garden

Long!

Long I laboured

through the seasons

through the years

working

on the plot:

delighting

as digging blistered my palms

and the soil grew fertile

as digging pained my back

and plants grew strong -

grew verdant

beside the deep dug pond

with its little stream

where I placed fish

 

an unplanned golden feast for a heron

and an otter

 

And as e...

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beautygardenheronhorticultureotterpondwoodland

Broken

Broken

it is all bleak broken; half-hell-heard House, blight blasted, a

sound spoke maelstrom where we see no substance swirling over heads

and hearts unheard - untending - unending obstacles to speech where

he, bright-tied bright-eyed, oversees the game's communication farce fail

debate: debate dire-drowning in the noise.

 

Order!

 

Broken

it is all blame blighted; w...

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BrexitdemocracyEUEuropegovernmentparliamentPrime MinistersSpeakerUK

Cosmology 101

Chaos seems the wrong first word:

no light

no sound

no time

and nothing moving e'er occurred

 

Chaos speaks to me of chance:

a move

a crash

a force

that happen in time's dance

 

So before chaos, ah, but stop -

no before

(no time)

so just

stasis as creation's dark backdrop

 

Some cosmic joggle, as if perhaps

god sneezed:

atoms move

and ...

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chaoscosmologycosmoscreationMythosstasistime

Stranded High

Yet

My heart aches, and clouds hold fast my mind

Thought still I hear

The silence of the waves

The silence of their Siren pull

wash like hemlock through my senses

Their echoes crashing on my island shore

Returning to the sea

Unheard

Their hushed harmony

Foams surging up my beaches

A descant imprinted on my strand

Whispering back to the squalls

Unheeded.

Ne...

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drugshighsislandisolationmusicseaSirensvortex.whirlpoolwaves

Aubade

First, it is only that the tree

is more a presence

less a shadow

beyond my window

then other horizons

light their resting clouds

with a subtle pre-dawn glow

that slowly sets the first gold sun glint

on each high branch above

against a new pale blue sky -

will dawn chasten my succubus

end our companioned time?

that half-felt fragile warmth beside me

seems to s...

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aubadedawndreamsfantasiesghostlightlovernightsuccubus

Images of a High Tide

harbour entrance swell

river bridge

above the beach

the scraping rattle

millions of stones

sucked off the beach

returning to the sea

 

beside the harbour wall

crossing waves

rearing waves

joining

breaking in foam

crashing

onto the shingle

the vast pull

of the receding sea

the undertow of sound

 

the bay

grey brown sea

under a blue sky

...

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beachdriftwodfishing netsharbourseaseagullssurftideundertowwaves

Summer Seascape

In the sun's mid-day heat

I see the tall field grasses flow, swell

and come towards me in waves               

surging before the day's wind

the seed-head spume constantly bowing

seems to fall on the field strand where I stand.

The rhythmic onslaught of the waves

continues through the long afternoon - 

a tide of wind-driven swells and rollers

always flowing to my feet, w...

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beachebbfieldsharvesthayhay fieldsseaswellstidewaveswind

Y Lolfa

My rhymes form in clouds

over the arm chair

beside my note books

and the fire

 

My lines are captured

and preserved

in the remains of the forest

immortalised on its pulp
 

My words are held captive awhile

in the bright prison cells

where machines etch their pain

on smooth white sheets

 

My once quiet thoughts crash

noisily onto the leaves

again and ...

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linespoemspoetprintingprocesspublisherpublishingwriting

When She Left

the pain of the vacant page                                      stage

for the dance

of my pen

 

the fear of the frozen mind                                        blind

  to the hope

 of a rhyme

 

the silence of an empty house                                spouse

to the song

of my word

 

the hush of unwanted time                                      chime

t...

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inspirationlossMusepagepenpoetrywriting

The Shed

Hanging in the shed

Are four dead pheasants and a woodcock

 

On a makeshift table

Some half-eaten sandwiches and a thermos

 

A drab green waterproof

Hangs on a nail above some boots and drips

 

The man sits talking to a friend

And rubbing his damp hair with an old towel

 

Outside dogs are sniffing around the cars

Ignoring the rain one man is hunched over his ...

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countrysidedogsfarmersfarmspheasantsrainshedswaterproofswoodcock

The Old Field Gate

I rejoice to see that old wood five-bar gate

that still stands guard beneath the ancient beech

to a field sloping gently down the hill.

 

The gate from an old farm track - now lost to time -

has seen so many seasons, so many harvests pass

and must have known an age of scythes and stooks

of horse drawn harrows, ploughs and wooden carts.

 

What could it tell of the village...

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beechescelandinecountrysidefarmlandfieldsgatesharvestshistorylovethymewoodruff

Snow Fields

The soft blown snow that fell five days ago

Crisp frozen now by these five frosty nights

Still blankets all the fields and moors to show

Where pheasant clattered off on noisy flights

While footfall of the lesser birds is scribed

Less deep; and here a small bank vole has run;

There passed red fox and rabbit side by side

Though time kept them apart and saved the one

At the wo...

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countrysidefieldsfoxpheasantsrabbitssnowsonnetsquirreltrackswildlife

Dyn Hysbys

There are no wise men any more

their old wisdom is lost

no old spells that cure

no potions endure

where once they saved the farmer's herd

the mystery is blurred

and spells that helped a marriage spurned

are no longer learned

the people who once were in their debt

turn to the internet

 

There are no wise men any more

their actions show their flaws

no old spell...

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Brexitconjurerscunning mendiplomacyDyn Hysbysnegotiationsunderstandingwisdomwise men

One Last Frozen Tear

"Heavy Snow in Wales": 30th January 2019

 

A sheet of pure white covers her face: that land I thought I knew

frozen beneath its covering, buried ever deeper in its icy tomb

the contours I know so well:

every dip and valley; hill and gully

smoothed by this mantling shroud that descended

as time slipped slowly away, locking us in its white eternity

 

One last frozen tear d...

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cerementcloudscountrysidegullyhillsicelosslovesheetsnowsnowfallvalleys

Calon Cymru

I have always been

On the bleak bald mountain

I have dwelt through the ages

At the deep source of the fountain

Guardian of all knowledge:

Before they knew me

I was here

 

When this land was fashioned around my soul

Sole guardian uncrowned

Then  I loved this mortal mound

Tenured on God's holy ground

 

I have always been

At the brow of the hill

I was th...

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countryenglyn formenglynionlandmountainriverwaterswords

In the pale moonglow

In the pale moonglow when I awoke

somehow shadows seemed the darker

as mantling the land, that soft white cloak

of crystal shine leaves them starker

 

What cold mystic spell holds fast my hand

what eerie charm doth my fate seal

in darkling night whence daylight is banned

with what ice maid have I to kneel

 

As my eyes take in my ghost white bride

one last iced tear...

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brideicemarriagemoonmoonlightmysticismnightsnowspellswedding

Black Starlit Dream

In the frost sharp moonless night

the stars light the air

with a quiet and mystic brilliance

much closer than of yore

as a still quiet

blankets

the world below

 

Through the cold crystal dark night

a ghost drifts the grass

silent echo of a whispered flight

tree high above my eye

its soft locus

stalking

the land below

 

Through an ice star argent glea...

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darknessdreamsnightsleepstarlightstarswraiths

Juvenal 2 (: Europe 0)

I will! I will join Juvenal

at the North world’s end

on the frozen ocean ice

if one more lie is penned

another argument to slice

our country from its friend:

to make us pay the price.

Enough! We see the trend

let that one vote suffice

another will just offend

divide and not entice.

Let the peoples’ will transcend,

better not to ask them twice!

We’re doomed to...

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BrexitEUEuropegovernmentJuvenalparliamentsatiresUKuk governmentvote

Harvest Memories

Glorious was that day:

Star rich the summer sky

Amongst the sun warm hay

We stole a sack on which to lie

 

Warm was that night:

Grass framed the starry gems

Below the hov'ring kite

We kissed amongst the tall grass stems

 

Heavenly was that tryst:

Grass rough the bed we made

Below a dusky mist

We took our love as grasses swayed

 

Fierce was that lust:

...

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grassharvesthayhay fieldslovepassionsummer

Grandad's Christmas Reverie

He thought

All I want is here

the tree that reaches the ceiling:

with the decorations the boy had helped hang

and the lights he could reach

to pull off

He thought

I hope they like my gifts

the presents beneath the low branches:

with the labels that the girls had turned over

and peeped at to see

which was theirs

He thought

I am alone with Christmas

the many...

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ChristmasChristmas treedecorationsfamilygrandfathergrandsonpresentsXmas

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