Poetry Blog by Greg Freeman

Tags from last 12 months

Climbing the Malverns

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Picking strawberries, soft fruit caking jeans,

socks nibbled by something in the barn at night.

On a free Saturday, after Friday night revels,

accompanied by hangovers we climbed the Malverns,

all Herefordshire and Worcestershire beneath our feet.

 

You were a schoolmate I didn’t know too well.

I bowed to your knowledge of British blues bands,

admired your cool. We tried it...

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VE Day anniversary 2020

A minute’s silence
among tomatoes, baked beans.
Brush away a tear.

 

An old song’s moment,
broadcast in the superstore.
We WILL meet again.

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Brexit boy

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Feels like we’ve won the league. Yet

I get so angry I want to smash things.

You know that feeling? When people

sneer on the telly, or you talk

to someone who’s been to university.

You see their lip curl, when they think

you’re not looking. Take back control!

 

Ain’t just the weather, I’m always hot

under the collar. Say what we think

on the buses, down the tube. Tell ...

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Free school milk

My first job. How I loved it,

maybe more than any other.

Carting crates of milk from class

to class. My gang of mates.

Returning for the empties,

bottles clinking, metal clanging.

 

Third of a pint for everyone.

Girls often left some.

The leftover milk smelt funny,

but I knocked it back.

Blokes going about their business,

full of purpose, learning

 

someth...

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Lockdown haiku

Bluer with sunlight.

Less pollution to screen us.

New day still no rain.

 

 

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Chuck Berry's Ding-A-Ling

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Halfway through the year I knew

I wouldn’t make the grade.

A freezing night in ’72,

the time of Bloody Sunday.

Tension in Coventry.

But rock and roll

can save your soul.

Johnny B Goode,

lift me from my misery.

 

I had nowhere else to go.

The duck walk, Nadine, Carol,

Maybelline, and that novelty

song that must have

eaten half the set.

The wolfish grin,

...

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A long way back from the front line

Disposable gloves

in the glove compartment.

 

Sparrows chatter in the bamboo

as we sip prosecco on the patio

and talk about changing our wills.

 

The interminable thump

of ball against wall.

 

I have cosseted that clematis

outside the kitchen window

with water and teabags.

Now the buds are ready

to burst open like teardrops.

 

But every Thursday even...

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Hair today, and tomorrow

I see in the mirror

my hair growing crazier,

beard becoming bushier

in sympathy. I fear that

before long I’ll be banned

from trimming either

to protect the wildlife nesting there.

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The junk room

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The nearest place I know

to somewhere else.

I go outside for a change of scene

to the room we still call the garage.

Most of the stuff’s been cleared;

there’s space on the futon again.

 

A few of your mother’s

porcelain ladies remain,

waiting for gentlemen

to take them to the dance.

Last orders? A clutch

of your father’s prize tankards

we borrowed for the pan...

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A day in our lives

These days we try to avoid the news,

the sick ministers in sweatshirts

sending video messages,

the succession of politicians

unable to provide any answers.

 

Today I cut the lawn, the first time

this year, and now it looks a picture

in this cold spring, despite

the moss, and scars of drought.

 

Tonight I spoke to our son

on the phone, and we talked

about old ...

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Love in the time of coronavirus

Routine is important.

A glass of red each evening

at five when the latest

government health advice

Is screened. My

indigestion is easing.

Regular, heatlhy meals together,

no dashing out in the evening.

The calendar’s just blank spaces,

just the odd event scrawled

in months ago and left

for historic interest.

 

And some things are becoming clearer.

The soci...

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The crowd

Safety in numbers. The comfort

blanket of fellow believers

who want the same thing,

have a common cause.

Moving in one direction

thrusting everything aside.

Tidal wave, feeling so strong

you want to burst. One team,

one party, one religion.

The joy of being in the right.

 

Danger in crowds. Infection,

contagion, breathing the same air.

Too close for comfort,

...

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Islands of the Loire

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Faraway, naked couple

disrupt a crane. It huffs away

as they pursue each other

among terns and cormorants  

on a plump sandbank

as wide as a beach.

 

River invades each winter,

islanders take

to flat-bottomed boats.

But they have standards.

The restaurant-bar where

“il n’est pas possible”

in the height of summer

just to get a drink.  

“Quel dommage!” w...

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Paris 1944, 2004

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‘Tenez bon. Nous arrivons,’

the liberators told the restless Resistance

in messages dropped from the sky.

 

Von Choltitz held firm, defying

Hitler’s demand to fire the city.

‘Come quickly,’ he urged the Allies.

 

Laval and Petain fled as Paris rose;

hundreds died before the ceasefire.

Sixty years on, our Friday Eurostar

 

from Waterloo packed with rugby fans.

...

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Expats

After shedding Pennine tears

they fled the rain and men of Yorkshire

to learn the sevillana

under Andalusian skies.

 

Angry and passionate flamenco:

the teacher reproved them for smiling.

The four-part sevillana was another matter,

something that everyone could master.

 

Not all Marbella expats sit in beach bars

nursing a beer, a grudge, and the Daily Mail.

A bl...

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January Swear Box

The Queen (The Crown); Prince Philip (The Crown); Lord Mountbatten (The Crown); Australia's prime minister; the Soviet secret police arresting people at night (The Death of Stalin); Stalin dying of a heart attack (The Death of Stalin); Trump spokeswoman being rude to Channel 4 intervewer; Sky Soccer Saturday's Geoff Stelling; Piers Morgan; Arsenal's second equaliser against Chelsea; Boris Johnson ...

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The black beach

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The statue leans forward,

towards the sea, arms by its side

but yearning for contact,

 

for reconciliation after the years

of net-cutting, rammed boats,

skippers playing Rule Britannia,

 

only ended when this newest

land threatened to close

the Nato base at Keflavik.

 

Moon rising in a purple dusk.

Waves sidle up on Vik’s black beach

as Katla shifts under ...

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PANTO!

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Quick, open the curtains.

 

What happens next?

What’s this scene about?

Will someone keep

those children quiet?

 

What went wrong there?

Who missed their cue?

Doesn’t matter if it goes

tits up, it’s only panto,

 

something to keep out

winter’s chill. Forget

what happened

at the dress rehearsal.

 

The more mistakes

you make, the more the fun.

...

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