Poetry Blog by Chris Hubbard (2017)
My studies have given me a legacy of interest in many and wide-ranging social, moral and ethical fields and concerns, as well as the politics of power. This piece is a manifestation of that legacy.
"The world is splitting open at my feet like a ripe, juicy watermelon." Sylvia Plath.
On her gravestone: “Even amidst fierce flames, the golden lotus can be planted.” Wu Ch'Eng-En.
Sunday 31st December 2017 11:44 am
This poem is a reverie and contemplation of my mother.
Time and Windows
If the past is a tattered old book,
then why am I a ghost
at my mother's window,
so clear I can sense her mystery,
and her brown eyes, so alive?
Look, I can fly to her
through the high windows
of my memory
until I'm so close that she disappears,
and the curtain flutters silently.
Friday 29th December 2017 10:44 am
The church yard is restless in winter shadow;
dying elms fret in a wuthering wind
beyond the wide hoar-frosted meadow,
whistling by headstones, cold as sin.
Then a raven croaks its grating chortle,
black eyes casting glances down
to where dark-clad people mourn a mortal,
who yielded her soul to Lucifer's crown.
One, a priest of tainted...
Sunday 24th December 2017 5:36 am
This is my vision of a certain cast of English village (not so much in springtime).
March winds stir listless eddies,
fluke in tired gusts over thin pools,
flare through fields of stubble
then flag, exhausted, sour and wheezing
from the blowing day;
coughing, rubbing arthritic fingers,
cold as a church bell sounds the hours.
Spring will be late this...
Saturday 23rd December 2017 3:13 am
Slow Train to Freedom
Have you ever had the feeling, late one night,
that you're pounding down an ever-narrowing path
without the strength to either flee or fight?
Your feet touch with fear this wanton, ferocious earth,
but the stars reflected in your teal-blue eyes
are the brazier-fires of a homeless hearth.
Then a slow train, velvet-clad under coated skies,
Friday 22nd December 2017 1:51 pm
“ …. every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness” (Beckett)
Be born, live, cry, die; always cry.
I am not on Earth
to fail to exist,
or any other madman's fantasy.
Sammy found something
Eat, move, create, decay;
earthen in earth
for the Archaeologis...
Thursday 21st December 2017 12:29 am
This poem has its origins long ago in a jaunt on the Mississippi river on board the paddle-steamer SS Natchez.
As water-light dances through cabin blinds
in scintillant counterpoint to her chattering bow,
a brooding threnody of whistles fills up the big boat's horizon-lines;
the mate checks the bearing of her painted prow.
Well-worn warrior of river life, paddles slap...
Tuesday 19th December 2017 12:18 pm
Cowaramup is a small farming and tourist community in the Margaret River wine region of South-West Western Australia. My visit long ago remains an unsettling memory of alienation.
The blue-black raven night
draws opal-scented folds
from quicksilver sparkle, scattered
like smashed glass over meeting grounds.
So it is, at this paddock fence
beside the scoop o...
Saturday 16th December 2017 2:40 pm
This poem was written in memory of my mother.
Stone of Love
Pietà lies abandoned
of Augustus, Caius, Caligula,
a kernel of rock
in the heart of Rome.
For love in stone
was never so feared
as the atrocious Emperors
who turned Love toward
and fixed pity for ever
with boiling madness;
yet Pity was feared:
Monday 11th December 2017 3:23 am
This poem follows from my earlier work "Wet", set in the city of Cairns, Far North Queensland. Having reached the place, the next challenge is to figure out how to survive in the prevailing weather conditions: 100 percent humidity and massive daily rainfall. Air conditioning helps, somewhat.
Summer was the waiting for the Wet:
On Water Street, old Queenslanders
Friday 1st December 2017 4:31 am
The Glowering Mists of Autumn
As I travel life's journey I'm often-times struck
By a vision both novel and possibly true; that serenity
In a dangerous world without luck,
Is impossible; but is there a temporal divinity?
Perhaps the root causes of wonder and joy
Really are in the sky, or on Dante's fine peak,
Or my fireside, where the dance won't annoy
In the compa...
Wednesday 29th November 2017 9:06 am
Bush-light shadowed footsteps
through seamless, speechless
followed as we trod slipping sandhills,
the sibilant, curling wind
twisting lips around;
pinned by envy like butterflies
on grey trays of jejune absolution:
tired eyes traced satellites in sun-fires,
as sirens whooped in our memories
and night m...
Tuesday 28th November 2017 9:57 am
Sometimes, inspiration and imagination have strange effects.
Swallows dive, swoon
like wind-swayed ink drops
down, and beyond the light:
swallowed by the sky,
flown blue, over
road-birds – honed
by simple flight.
Like arrows in Canada
in thunderhead afternoons:
clouds rolling, rutting hinds
in migration, pounding sand-trails,...
Monday 27th November 2017 9:56 am
While visiting the ancient fortified town of Chinon in the Touraine region of the Loire Valley, I noticed examples of both kinds of protagonists mentioned in this poem. Although the latter proved harmless (at least to our group) I much prefer the former, especially at sundown.
Great White Heron
A great white heron struts through
tangled water meadows
in search of boneless mor...
Sunday 26th November 2017 12:07 pm
Life by Numbers
1. My father walks the sea-edge and is young, as a child is young.
2. My father's voice is hardwood, and timpan drums.
7. My father's eyes are tired.
16. The cyclone clouds hang swollen sheets above.
19. I am afraid.
20. I shall put fear at the bottom of depths the deep blue made.
25. My brothers' arms surround me.
31. We sit on the brim of laughter, an...
Saturday 25th November 2017 9:08 am
Heidelberg light, hard edged;
not sharp-cutting wire
knifed thru fractured mica.
as old canvas turns
gold to sepia, brown to aged
ebony, in descending years
gone back, down, away,
to where we survive
and lie cocooned – like pupae
of paper wasps
in interstices of time, locked
in desiccated people-nests.
alive and dy...
Saturday 25th November 2017 8:32 am
The Harris hawk is sleek and fast; fine-boned,
she swoops free from an armoured glove
towards some distant, perfect perch,
only then to see and hear the falconer's call; to search,
then sweep down to the hand that feeds and nurtures.
A hooded hostage; in restless freedom she presents a bleeding dove.
Trimmed hawks hunt in packs on Argentine pampas...
Saturday 25th November 2017 5:10 am
Lady Porcelain Kindness
A lady with clear pale skin, few blemishes
mar her daily perfection, playing a flawless part
in her sharp European presence.
Inclining her head like a brisk marching soldier
into First Year lecture theatres, she convinces
the boys of the glittering sincerity
of her blue, blue eyes. Somehow wise
beyond her twenty-four years,
she does joie...
Friday 24th November 2017 10:14 am
The Tower of the Winds was built in marble more than 2,000 years ago in the Roman Agora (meeting place) of Athens. It is believed to be the world's first weather station (and public time-piece). Almost intact, its octagonal construction echoes the eight principal compass points. Saved from the depredations of Lord Elgin, who plotted its removal to Britain over 200 years ago, the restored Tower now...
Thursday 23rd November 2017 3:45 pm
I have always hankered after the life of the artist - including the world of the visual arts. In retirement I have the opportunity to follow that yearning.
The Humble Heart of the Craftsman
As corruption sheds its sting when seen
from lofty heights,
so humility shows its mettle
in the steady care of the gifted creator;
turning one's gaze from skilled hands
to the thi...
Wednesday 15th November 2017 3:29 pm
The Quiet Soldier
Why am I fighting these foes of mine?
(I know it's a soldier's fate)
to shoot my gun and die – yes, me as well as him,
when I see the blood on his cape
and his dead eyes shine;
by then it's too late for me and him alike -
but to the battle I return
with rifle and defiance primed
and hoards of bravado to turn and strike
when the muzzle-blasts out...
Monday 13th November 2017 5:09 am
When I am a sculptor, famed
in the shadow of Moore or
Hepworth, I shall fashion
in black marble an image of eternity;
Aphrodite shall dance a slow pavane
without her customary passion, and
shall shine within the foaming waters
of this brutal and ungodly Earth.
Wednesday 8th November 2017 1:26 pm
Please note that this poem is pure fantasy!
Oh, really, I find it so unutterably tedious
to be polite when faced with one so odious
as you. And yet, I must say
that you do, at times, take my breath away,
at least when I forget all your manifold flaws,
and the gold stashed beneath your creaky floorboards;
but I don't mean to be too unduly unkind,
Tuesday 7th November 2017 5:43 am
The Imperfect Gardener
Someone once said, long ago or last week,
that it's futile on a finite and populous planet
to seek a truth, or a finely polished apple,
in the still-life-on-canvas we daily behold,
and by such uncouth behaviour
we are mostly confounded, and fail to grapple.
So we're prisoners here, in uncounted millions,
unable to leap high or fast enough to...
Sunday 5th November 2017 1:25 am
Sun - Kings
The Aegean sleeps in sunbreath,
sparkling like a gift
to children on a beach;
splashing whales breach among the caïques
while drifting, effortless, to baked islands
harsh as truth, gentle as giants.
On shattered Santorini riders thread Vespas
along sea-shores and white-dusted heights; whores
cling tight with promises to come.
Corniche poseurs dri...
Friday 3rd November 2017 12:45 am
Arthur Stace, a First World War veteran and illiterate alcoholic, was known as “Mister Eternity” . For 35 years he inscribed the cryptic precept “Eternity” in yellow, waterproof chalk, using an inexplicable copperplate hand, on pavements throughout Sydney. Asked why, he would merely reply “Makes 'em think”. Arthur's dictum was sent around the world, emblazoned in huge letters across Sydney Harbour...
Monday 30th October 2017 6:41 am
This piece, over twenty years old, came to me largely in a dream about being a poet.
We sat on the wharf at East Balmain,
where the ferries make the Harbour
and Robert Adamson floated away
with grace on the violent tide,
as we looked on the streams
of the living
(as in air, we were in motion)
and in action, and relative calm...
Sunday 29th October 2017 2:21 pm
Who said reusable resources are a modern invention? Rubbish!
It's said that no-one should ever die wondering
on which road to travel, how not to go blundering
in dangerous places, when it's best to be pondering
why the rain plays its tricks, why there's no distant thundering. . . .
As the years pass us by we add to our history,
little by little we work out...
Saturday 28th October 2017 3:48 am
While poring over dusty corners of an ancient night
I sang in darken'd evening flight, a voice edged
by the pain of doubt, a tempered blade to fight
an inner shout; the fearful dredge
of insomnia, the purgatory of my silent gaze;
remembrance too of sultry Australian dog days.
South-West karris loom ink-black, and rustle
as night-walkers, stepp...
Friday 27th October 2017 12:55 pm
The Fire and the Rose
If death greets us singly, one-by-one, alone
And asks why we should not be taken back,
The brave will say (or else the wiser grown)
That little terror lies along that track;
Since each knows well he lives in separate rooms
Though sometimes letting others stay awhile,
But still the doorway closes as a tomb
Excludes affliction, slights the sinner's ...
Thursday 26th October 2017 1:05 pm
in a world of two colours
the rush of the wind.
Thursday 26th October 2017 12:58 pm
The Sugar Glider is a gliding marsupial, native to Eastern Australia and Papua New Guinea.
The sweetest thing
I ever saw
Was a Sugar Glider
In a syrup-of-fig tree.
I looked at her,
She at me,
And we swooped down
To canefields of Eden.
Thursday 26th October 2017 12:49 pm
This poem first suggested itself to me while looking at the magnificent mountain scenery of Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. Beautifully dangerous!
A Mountain Cameo
Silvered by many alpine peaks, an orange sun
reflects, glass-like, off still dawn meltwaters,
a fireball inside a snow-white aural gleam
thrown carelessly into a child's rockpool.
Streaming no r...
Wednesday 25th October 2017 6:59 am
Who can identify the town that is the primary focus of this lament?
The Sky Reflects Our Labours
Her calloused hands and tired eyes,
are grey and wet and green and steely;
her gaze is stoic, and often flinty
at the JobCentre counter, as her future dies.
The grey-blue smoking ramparts march,
graven beyond the terracotta houses;
their Wellsian vision of War arou...
Tuesday 24th October 2017 3:22 am
When the morning's flight
lifts the darkened blind,
and slows the speed of time,
be ready in your heart and mind
with gratitude, as you drift
on a sweet and quiet river,
lined by silent watchers;
remember their gifts, and the jewels
of the givers,
For that light is sure to glow
fierce and steady in your memory -...
Sunday 22nd October 2017 4:07 pm
The Eye of Morning
I am the arrow of dawn, and
rise as the archer kneels,
strains his bow, sets the sky ablaze,
dissolves at the borderland
between light and shade, Heaven
and Hell; his firebrands mere crass
cascades of incendiary petals,
guttering in chiaroscuro swells.
Behold the evanescent rose-glow
of morning's opening eye.
Friday 20th October 2017 1:41 pm
This poem carries faint echoes of winter in a Mediterranean climate, in this case the South West of Western Australia; limpid skies, stormclouds threatening, people in overcoats walking hastily. Rather like an English summer, I would have thought!
And Now I'm Old
And now I'm old as softening apples
left forgotten on a sideboard
after a windy day,
the murmur of the evening room...
Thursday 19th October 2017 11:09 am
"... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee...
— John Donne, Meditation XVII.
Saint Christopher Bell
We seem to be collectors
of memories and junk,
piles of the stuff;
both kinds lean against damp walls
in self-support, waiting
finding little but ...
Thursday 19th October 2017 10:19 am
This is my humble commentary on that matchless Middle Eastern and Indian story-book “One Thousand and One Nights”. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's symphonic suite of the same name is the perfect musical accompaniment!
Tell me, Scheherazade, how you fled
the evil emir like a bleeding lion,
his twisting, vengeful face now full with
requieted lust; your wisdom shines...
Thursday 19th October 2017 8:34 am
I walk alone across a pale beach
at midnight, lit by shaky moonlight
reflected from the black ribs
of disturbed sea-shallows. A sharp breeze
beckons from the dunes; inviting warmth,
with duplicitous intent. My ease is not available
for casual enticement.
No, I seek a place of peaceful aloneness
where sloughing sand is my choice,
Thursday 19th October 2017 2:26 am
This is an attempt to capture the alien strangeness of the Nullarbor Plain which borders the Great Australian Bight. Despite its name it has plenty of hardy trees in places, but no surface water whatsoever. It is a totally flat expanse of bedrock almost seven hundred miles wide, and I have driven every inch of it!
The Traveller's Eye
O the light flows quickly over this blasted plain,...
Tuesday 17th October 2017 4:24 pm
Passions of the Soul
Like a lighthouse set on rocky shores
we gaze at the world within our sight
with scant regard for any cause;
indifferent as the mosquito's flight,
and chatter gaily over tea or beer
on friendship, crime, or the next career.
But I am ego: I stand alone,
a moral agent in time and tide.
With resolution I keep my own
counsel; hermit-like, my thou...
Sunday 15th October 2017 1:50 pm
As a former educator and writer on international relations, and especially on nuclear issues, my students often tried to inveigle from me my own position on the worst of all weapons. I never succumbed.
the distant siren
Horizons clatter in fusillades,
cracking barrages warn the Furies
to grasp the running
Friday 13th October 2017 2:56 pm
This poetical rumination reflects my own ambivalence, as an immigrant to Australia almost half a century ago, towards my Australian existence. Is one's life largely the result of mere serendipity or is it, at least partially, malleable in our own hands?
Shall I reject a life lead so far
from home? Or lament the existential negligence
of fifty years I did not ha...
Wednesday 11th October 2017 1:44 pm
This is a commentary on living, when the living is hard.
Dawn has come to smother the light
in my house.
As I douse the candle's flicker
its feeble flame shines at the window,
lifting the road beyond
into patterned pathways, glinting
in the early bright;
the soft rain of midnight's darkling succour
is almost gone.
It will return tomorrow, u...
Wednesday 11th October 2017 8:54 am
Beyond these indifferent walls
lies a second carapace,
pierced by small, green eyes
in a shimmering face.
It is not my own,
but lies are truths for actors;
they bandage wounds
when the liars rebel
while fleeing, open-mouthed,
from their savage selves.
Wednesday 11th October 2017 1:02 am
Doors and Windows
The simplest of houses,
doors and windows framed in white,
contains a universe within -
immured in the aura
of its keeper's light.
Tuesday 10th October 2017 5:47 am
Salt and Light
Lofty and proud, the mighty cathedral stands,
grandly waits for its faithful servants
(more on fine days - they're not exactly fervent).
Tourists chatter in, grow quiet in its shadowed womb,
some trace vanishing points among the tombs.
A child holds his mother by the hand.
Distant echoes rebound through quire and transept
as the stained glass kaleid...
Monday 9th October 2017 6:32 am
This poem was written after a day exploring Omaha Beach, one of the D-Day invasion beaches of Normandy.
Before the dawn the north wind rails
at electric curtains of purple, acid green;
soft and terrible sails
that drape the stars,
flare bright as crystaline arctic nights.
Shall I walk far through silver beech
to reach hibernating huntsmen? Snow-shoed,
can I f...
Sunday 8th October 2017 12:39 pm
This is my return to the submissions list after seven months of travel, during which I was often either incommunicado, or almost so. Technical wizardry does not always work as advertised. I do not seem to be able to suppress my historical bent.
Part One: Defiance
A land made soft
by Heaven's tears, cried
thru' blankets hung aloft.
Some ask wit...
Friday 6th October 2017 11:47 am