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SHORT STORY by Ernest Hemingway

 

FOR SALE:

 

BABY SHOES  

 

NEVER WORN

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CALCULUS

Awed by the dance of continuous change,
a symphony out of transformation's range,
where one thing turns to another, anew,
so the sum always outweighs the parts on view.

Metamorphosis of hearts will slowly unfold,
as we witness the unfolding of a tale untold,
where differential calculus charts the way,
adjusts the rates at which all things decay.

Yet the total always remains the sam...

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The beautiful Cathars of Languedoc⁷

 

The ideas of the beautiful  Cathars of Languedoc spread across western Europe 700 years ago
Cathar comes from the Greek: καθαροί, katharoi, "the pure [ones]"
They built on the dualistic theology of Manichaeism
Which they blended with the eastern Christianity of Byzantium
They were ascetic: believing the material world was the evil realm of Satan

Whilst the world of the spirit was the b...

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Pilgrimage: out of the blue

Photo by Sora Sagano on Unsplash

On this beautiful spring day in February
With delphinium-blue skies and cheeky
Crocuses splash purple, while dazzling
Daffs nod in agreement, in this mild April
Zephyr of a breeze –we arrive in flaming June
And then do folk longen to go on pilgrimage.
Modern pilgrimages tend to interiority
We seek relics of our past that cannot last.
I imagine that i...

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DELPHIC

— Delphi in Greece was the site of a temple to Apollo at which there resided an oracle, a woman through whom Apollo would speak, foretelling the future — 

The man who fell to earth
turned to stone, all alone,
this script never changes
barbarism, xenophobia
think it over.

Strangers come & go,
stranglers too, y’know,
open training allowed
sorry dear Mr Fantasy.

Strangers in the night...

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THE STOLEN CHILD

 

I remember falling as a child
And being lifted by a faerie-wild
She kissed my cheek and mussed my hair
And then she wasn’t there.

Some blind folk see the faeiries clear
For faeries are always close or near.
Oh, better far than what we see
Are fairy wings that brush our faces
Like spiders’ webs or shimmering laces.

Such magical, lovely, lonely things.
A rustle in the wind rem...

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Shalom aleichem

Photo by Jacob Bentzinger on Unsplash

Blue-flame tabernacle rises from the ground
A concrete mist in the air, flames all around, 
Now this purpled phoenix screams at the sight
Of fast approaching, relentless, coal-black, night.

In this descent into infanticide, false consciousness abounds,
A child’s pleading eyes, alone, on a rising tide of the sound
Bombs tear up the ground: destro...

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The flowers of the forest

More than five rugby teams’ worth, of men,
every week, dead by their own hands,
Young men mostly, three times as many men as women,
Nearly 6000 a year, 60,000 over a decade and rising. ….

Using traditional routes to oblivion —
 hanging from a tree, opening arteries, being free with the pills
Or, a closed garages' exhaust fumes:
jumping off high-rise flats, bridges, vehicles, pain, iso...

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Kathy's funeral

All those years of hope
Fitted, now, into a wooden six foot box.
From girlhood’s putting on
Of burdensome beauty
Into the chiffon-sixties of London town
Then Devon, and the farm
Australia, divorce, and worse
The utter confusion, the end of hope,
You were sliding down that slippery slope
Where, at last, the dreadful daylight starts
Of unkept promises, and broken hearts.
And, back, finall...

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THE UNWRITTEN

Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

The times of wonder have gone
The wise women drugged
Into submission.
Forensic psychology reveals traces
Of long-forgotten faces
Which, much like Munch’s silent scream,
Degenerate into nightmaredream.
Desire, in all its lurid manifestations,
Falls into disuse,
And all is as it was before:
A flat, grey concrete floor
Krema I at Auschwitz
Emin...

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Out of the blue

 

On this beautiful spring day in February
With delphinium-blue skies and cheeky
Crocuses splashing purple and dazzling
Daffs nodding agreement in this mild April
Zephyr of a breeze –we arrive in flaming June
And then do folk long to go on pilgrimage..
Modern  pilgrimages tend to interiority
We seek relics of a past that cannot last.
I imagine that if a poet who I have in mind
Were...

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ROWDY SKIES

 A fluttery piece of parchment,
in the bowels of a tree:
a space-time horizon
over which i cannot see

Composed of gravity and fear -
this dead weight inside of me,
often tries to kill me
and won’t go away.

I send this freight’s immensity
to the centre of a black hole;
retracing the wandering journey
of a wandering long-lost soul.

Mine is a grave-singularity,
that contains a terr...

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SUTTEE

Suttee, Sanskrit sati ("good woman" or "chaste wife") , a Hindu custom of a wife immolating herself on the funeral pyre of her dead husband. Suttee was sometimes committed voluntarily, but cases of compulsion, escape, and rescue are known. Scattered instances of it continue to occur, most notoriously in the case of Roop Kanwar, an 18-year-old widow who committed suttee in 1987.

..............

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The photograph

Linked arms, looking into the future,
my daughters, in jim-jams,
bought from Sunday markets,
off the Thame Road,
their beautiful young faces
picture a world
imbued with all the scattered sadnesses of time,
so rhymes this over-flowing mind of mine.

Looking, seeing,
you, as you never can be again,
with all the holy blemishes of youth
leaves me here bereft,
floundering between  sky and ...

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The closing of the day

We walk a steep and slippery way,
Mixing senses is synesthesia’s way,
It seem as if I am a chorus in a play.

We feel by measures hidden from the eye
Time borrowed, days wasted, times gone by,
I walk along a steep and slippery way.

Winter seeps me into sleep, as my soul flies,
The gist of an art unborrowed from time or tide;
I learn by going, where I have to go, inside.

Dark hold...

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AUSTERITY



“What you must do, with money and the poor, is never let them get too close to one another.” Charles Bukowski.

What’s this area got?
Not a lot of jobs, or prospects, or money
There’s no des-res for burnt out
City execs round here
Nothing for the well-heeled retirees. .
But there is plenty of poverty, and plenty of fear.
Look around, you’ll see:
No antique shoppes, just second hand ta...

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Mam

Iron grey her hair
this woman who bore me
laboured for her family.
Cleaning for the rich
she bought us clothes and sweets;
dad's shift work strained her
debt and death lined her face.

I retain her uncertainties
closely. proudly.
her generosity never failed;
separated by death
we share the moon
on cloudless nights
above our northern city.

 

https://youtu.be/Lxc3O4mQV74?si=e...

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SUBLIMINAL

 

 

To weave the blessed singularities of a woman
you must read her book of shadows,
when her sadnesses besiege you,
in the dying of the light,
when you are just plain terrified,
late, late at night
look deep into the blackness,
at the heart of second sight,
see yourself mirrored
in the declining of the light
in your sleeping child’s eyes
so abandon all disguise.

Rise into ...

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FLECKS of GREY

The sky and sea merge
Into strange flecks of grey.
Neither fish nor fowl
Predominate.
There is a lot of empty space.
And that dull, withdrawing roar
Of yesteryear.
Last year, on this very  day, 
Of shock and awe,
was your funeral:
wildflowers on your coffin
an emptiness inside
I read your poem 'Lemon Light'
Then there were 'Eden Rock and 'Adelstrop'
You knew all the hedgerow flowers ...

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BOSNIA (July 11th, 1995)

 

all these hatreds
back in action again
like iced-familiars

cold objects
gripped
by god-knows-what
certainties
thawed
by the heat of bodies,
smashed in the eyes of children

icons
waving in the glare of air
sultry and mild
atrophied
by the dust of centuries

sunlight stipples
the pock-marked churches
turned-mosques-turned-churches
turned mosques
as blitz-hardened wom...

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Ice creams on a Sunday

 

The buzzing bees circulate around the flowers
waspishly congregating around the litter bins.
There is a dull hush of subdued conversation
After all this is England. A gaggle of
Liberated women push buggies and hold tiny
Hands, Two old men shuffle over to a bench.
The slave-built stone mansion squats ugily
As they talk retrospectively, of how generations
Disappear whilst slave-buil...

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CHRISTIAN JAMES

With his close-cropped hair and his tatoos here and there
With his thin pale face and his commitment to the race
Christian James was well known for going it alone
He drove the multi-storey and he died in a blaze of glory.

The owner of the Golf GT
A businessman from Daventry
Got a new one from the factory.
Christian James, youngest of seven,
Lived & Died and went to Heaven.

At scho...

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i.m. Captain Keith Douglas (1920-1944)

In Calvados you have your cross
And though you won, you most surely lost.
Your sacrifice, at twenty-four, to modern 'wit'
Is nothing more than a crying bore.

Who now has read Alamein to Zem Zem
Your story of the war in the western desert?
For though you certainly knew how to kill
You knew the cost, for you had no draperies over your eyes
Or heart. No deception, no disguise.

And wh...

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ON EDGE

Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash

Black sun on the run
born a mute
not too cute
on my back, sans coat,
sans hat,
on my back
no fringes of lace
around my face
I’m intact at last
I fling curses
at the stars
bury my wishes
in old jam-jars.
turn mere shadows into shades
hold my breath
for an age
i kiss a lion
In a cage
condemned
at the root
& in a rage
I evade
an early grav...

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SUBLIMITY

I can hardly speak but I will try,
my brain falls silent, still;
it is the dying of the light
when a ferment of tenses
lead up many blind cul de sacs.
Lingering, a moonlight-figure,
mirrors the sparkling frost - 
she’s gone but never lost - 
suspicious silence offers a respite
outside, all is wild, sky, the colour of blood,
soaks up our dreams and fancies:
a barge meanders down a ri...

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ANGELUS BELL

for the ghosts who sell memories 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Echoing the songs sung by the famine children
the tones of the big bell settle in the dust
of this small market town in County Meath
and on the stained glass window, still,
I see the sun-marked resonance of bell — 

Circles of uninscribed sound
uncaged
through all the cerebral centuries
chimes and chants for C...

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AWAY TO THE CRAGS, WHERE EAGLES SOAR

 

Away w'th th'moon 
with her shadows and all
those sturdy penumbras
you saw in the ball.

Forget you, forget you
you fall out of bed
and all you beget
is quite suddenly dead..

She’s tousled & sleepy,
this edge of the moon
where Angus, dear Angus,
just walked out the room.

His pool-side of shadows
is living alone,
with ginger-nut biscuits
and large gulps of tea,
my shad...

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REINCARNATION

 

We take this boat of life
to God-knows-where
leaving not a trace behind,
forgetting takes forever,
in rain or storm or sunny weather,
even our oldest, our best-loved dreams, 
disappear like clouds
on a sunny May day; 
memories of what we did not do,
or what did, and wish we hadn’t, 
pass amongst us like a virus
nobody is immune to regret
like the refrain from an old song 
we ...

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THE MOMENT BEFORE HAPPINESS

 

 

Yes. We spend too much of our short lives
chasing the mot juste, that phrase, that image,
re-working narratives of fact into (un)heroic
self-justifications. Nobody can reconcile
the contradictions of experience;
we fail all round to bring another’s pain to mind,
we seek to ease the pain and to make amends
but there is no end to the ways of art.

We must learn to wonder as we...

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LITTLE BOY FOUND

 

Little boy blue
how our family loved you,
we lived for you,
baby blue.
You thrived
before the meningitis virus
entered your brain
before nothing was the same
again.

I sang to you
as the doctors
began their prodding
& their piercing.
You turned your head,
just the once,
heard my voice
and met my gaze.
I will carry that
to my grave.

Everyday
for thirty-five years,
I...

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WICCA, WITCH, WIZARD

In the middle of the greenwood,
In the centre of what is,
The wise women gather,
They’re lifting the lid
On the meagre remnants
Of the magik that once was:

Wicca, witch and wizard
In the whispering wood.
Found in times of turbulence,
Of movements in the blood.

The devotees of the vacuous,
The frightened and appalled,
Consumers, losers-all
Watch silently as children’s blood
Se...

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WALKING SOLO

— Who the hell can see forever? — 


Wild is the minute, clear is the sky,
A world of colour and sight rushes by.
Portals of discovery abound around
This newfoundland: sheer cliffs,
Flower with vivid Mesembryanthemums,
This Cape of Good Hope contrasts
With the all-round invisibility of you.
Your absence distracts me from the flesh and blood 
Epiphanies of cloud and sky and sun,
Hal...

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INFANT MORTALITY

 

Never-ever
again,
in all the mutations
of this passing world
of things,
of noise and empty rancour,
will my son
turn
his baby face
towards my voice;
as he did,
during those terrible hours
before
he died
and I
carried his infant body to the mortuary.

O! his blue-blue eyes,
look again at me,
look through all the workings of eternity,
in that long ago
land
of lost cont...

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The Armenian Genocide 1915 - 1923

“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Adolf Hitler, August 22, 1939

 

I cut the sky, the heavens cry,
I gallop away yet can never escape.
Turkic killers drove me off my land
Despatched me onto a death march
One thousand miles of desert.
Pillagers followed our route
Stealing our goats, our women,
Our children. Passing Deir-az-Zur
Abused bodies thrown...

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FORGET-ME-NOT

 

 

Endurance is a flower
A bulb in winter’s depth
A rare-repeated wonder:
A sin we must forget.

In this-world-of-my-creation
In this world-of-make-believe:
Cancer, the death of children,
Are falling autumn leaves.

I see a road before me,
A road I walk in vain,
A road through Trawden, Lancashire
A road that has no name.

All roads lead to heaven
And all roads lead to yo...

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"Beauty awakens the soul to act." Dante Alighieri (1265–1321)

Love smells like early spring
the spirit struggling free from
wintry defamations. A cheerful
time laid up in store. A wordy
declamation of an intent heaven
sent to begin again, again.
The ticking of the clock
replaced by the shady shadows
of the trees saying: “It is time
for the trees to be adorned in fresh, green
leaves.” We are here such a short time.
Seasons come and go but love ...

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A cloudy day in early May in old England

(for my father and all his warrior-comrades)

In a field full of spring flowers
I hear a pause in the silent roar
of time as it rhymes its way
to the full stop that ends all
our lives. A hidden reverence
leaps across a rainbow into
my clouded sight, inverse night
falls away, sun appears in patches,
all is as it was before, crema four
in Auschwitz II-Birkenau.
Above, in the skies, Spitf...

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Radix malorum est cupiditas

 

Tortured by how life could have been
the silent scream lifts her off her feet:
ill-luck, tough-times, bad-choices
some had the benefit of clergy
others that stability wrought by money.
She'd been brought up 'in care'
nobody cared for her like they did
their own kids;
flung from pillar to post
she had runaway - straight into the arms of evil-doers.
Many of the boys and girls  she...

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The Christie

Near is very far
space, time,
dark star
black hole
wandering soul.

Still
there’s a vastness that appals
chemotherapy,
white walls.

Scurrying through
the corridors
of the Christie, this Monday morning
early,
meeting Emile,
yes, named after Jean Jacque’s eponymous hero.

Married at the weekend, it has spread,
he fears he’ll soon be dead.
his Caribbean lilt
still
echoes in...

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Beetle Drive

Headscarf on tight,
as if stuck down with araldite,
she shuffled into the church hall
on this raw, black evening
her lipsticked lips
smiling the compulsory smile
eyes wildly akimbo.
She nodded at neighbours, friends,
world without end.
she’d made the tea, Freda had the kids.
Fred hadn’t even asked her
how the appointment had gone
leukemia they’d said.
She wondered if she’d soon be...

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FOG at SEA

A slight mist, an autumnal sway,
 celtic, crossed and re-crossed, 
we’re on our way;
a watery calvary 
stares back at me.

Delving into this thick unblemished air
we dead coagulate at Golgotha,
in Palestine, where two thousand years
plant horrors in our minds

from which we cannot escape
despite the divine interventions
of the very best psychatrists — 
we dead capitulate -
thicken o...

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Shadowland

 — for the children of Gaza and the Ukraine — 

That cherry blossom day,
thunder in the air,
unmiraculously, everywhere:
a stutter in the Gaia,
a low rumble, a terrible tremor,
an unholy roar begins to build and build
and sucks out the very air
total devastation
on that final day
when this very earth was undone
the land began to shiver and shake
uncontrollably, delirium tremens
e...

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Levelling Up - the undeserving poor

 

Brought up to stretch scarce resources:
food, love, time, hand-me-downs,
he only learnt he was poor after passing an exam
allowing him to attend a school 
which was dug deep in rich kids’ territory;
his mum wondered how she would manage the money,
his dad laughed at him.

The sleeves of his school blazer shot up to his elbows,
while the rich kids had their permanently pristine cu...

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Sea shine

 

 

I wish I'd  known from the very start
which mountain the sun came from,
eyes can be deceiving in rain,
fountains, rain-corralled, tempt me into sleeping on your neck to serve a servitude of roses.
in which green bay the rolling sea spies on me, seawater-deep, but  not at all clear,
lagoons on tropical Islands are lost on me.
kind of like fantasy.

I wish you and I knew from t...

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A Time it was

 

These bloody dead
That debt we owe,
Abide with me,
Never let me go.

 

That mocking voice,
These clever folk,
Display their wit
In the cutting joke.

 

That tree that grew
Those shady nooks
This dappled sunlight
These gilded brooks.

 

For men may come to worse than dust
When love of self is breach of trust:
A moment’s respite means more to me
Than reams and rea...

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circus poet

pale waves of mist
as I kiss & bless you
we slip along these walkways in the sky
rain seeps through tears
in my heart, so scared am I,
here, alone with you;
streetlights shine,
lab rats scurry into mind,
straight into these concrete estates
of the heart
screeching seagulls shit freely
through black holes in the fabric
time torn, broken-backed,

from Dublin up to Sandy Row,
dead ...

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Setting off

 

The hill was steep leading upto the memorial
at 5 am iI was a time of wonder, stepping up
the hill I floated. I rarely stopped to think in
those long-gone dog days of graduation
born between Belsen & Napalm
I rarely thought of others, had no perspective,
'naturally’ I thought of my friends as permanent,
nothing is, of course, and one day one of the best
would set me up for a theft...

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Biba — 1967

— for all that appears, or seems — 

https://flashbak.com/the-rise-and-fall-of-biba-361329/

Shadows behind the sun echoes, echoes within words,
Meanings stuck in transit, Music of the Byrds.
Brimming lives at stake, my friend, as all hearts ache.
Years pass, like phantoms, passions of the heart,
Silence breeds silence, the Pink Faeries played their part.
Forget what you remember, giv...

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April showers

 


flow, fly fluent speakers
of the air
your trills & songs
magnify
the every where;

gentle breezes
pass me by, listen,
something will remain
of you

on me, in me, the atoms
which compose everything;
don’t let the putrescent
become the putrid,
remain remotely

visceral; vary yourself
in gentle zephyrs
& in April showers
when you can spread your wings
& sing!

https:...

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A BURSTING of BOUNDS

The snow and ice melted long ago, already the grass returns to fields of gold. So why am I bleeding and shivering with fear? 
Seas and rivers change course and flow awry. So why have I turned to stone? 
Faeries and elves stir up their sisters into dance. So why cannot I move? 

Immortality seizes man’s imagination. So how can I live another day? 
And why do I carry all the hours of all the ...

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