Poetry Blog by Peter Taylor

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Frances Macaulay Forde on NOW OR NEVER? (6 days ago)

Devon Brock on CHASTE KISSES AND CONSTELLATIONS (Wed, 24 Jul 2019 10:39 pm)

Peter Taylor on HANGING FROM THE RAFTERS (Wed, 24 Jul 2019 06:10 pm)

Martin Elder on HANGING FROM THE RAFTERS (Sun, 21 Jul 2019 06:48 pm)

raypool on HANGING FROM THE RAFTERS (Sat, 20 Jul 2019 08:33 pm)

afishamongmany on HANGING FROM THE RAFTERS (Sat, 20 Jul 2019 12:33 pm)

raypool on STEPPING OUT (Mon, 15 Jul 2019 11:05 am)

Lisa C Bassignani on STEPPING OUT (Mon, 15 Jul 2019 11:01 am)

Peter Taylor on HANGING GARDENS, HASLEMERE (Mon, 8 Jul 2019 11:33 pm)

Peter Taylor on AND AS (Mon, 8 Jul 2019 11:21 pm)

NOW OR NEVER?

NOW OR NEVER?

How often do I hear that the years are just flying by,

assertions made, in the main, by those who have seen

many already and are startled by the sudden onset

of things that simply slow you down so less gets done,

yet not less than you would confide to anyone.

 

I think about my own struggles with the spoken word,

for example, those painful moments when, say,

...

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A THOUSAND DAYS

A THOUSAND DAYS

 It feels like a thousand days have passed

on each of which I’ve looked back and fondly asked

the question that is left of me and ties my tongue

and other limbs so long indentured now to

a devil’s throng of just my kind, each bound unto

the dark one as the price (and what an awful price)

for some brief relief, peace in my head for a day that offered

the fill...

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MUSINGS WHILE STARING AT HEATHER

MUSINGS WHILE STARING AT HEATHER

August’s more reluctant dawns mark shorter summer days

and darker dusks on beloved Blackdown Ridge, splashing

heatherspreads of violet blue and myriad hues of

purples, pinks midst random sprays of mottled mauves;

as if to mark the Northern reaches of the nation’s

newest Park, its endowment designed to accommodate

its spine, the ancient South D...

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MIND GAMES

MIND GAMES                                                            

Light and life both sapped away,

dark winter’s day, I long for

bright, bold artist spring to splash

crocus colours over grey.

 

Faint hearts miss the majesty

of winter’s sun, warming cold,

the hush, the calm of fallen snow

the blue, streaked silver, canopy.

 

Strong hearts strip the light from d...

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CHASTE KISSES AND CONSTELLATIONS

CHASTE KISSES AND CONSTELLATIONS                                  

Long love loses the passion of love’s beginning –

it is an unlike love that differs more with each day spent,

the grown oak as to the acorn that has just found vigour

by rooting firm in fertile soil.

Oak that cheats understanding, it barely bends to high winds

and after, blown, refreshed, grows only stronger.

 

...

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HANGING FROM THE RAFTERS

HANGING FROM THE RAFTERS                                                                

An Irish band was over to open the Festival;

first visit for us to St Alban’s church – not sure

why we’d always passed by, so much missed:

vast arched ceiling, simple, revealing

rafters high enough to remind us all that

men once worked there, close to the heavens,

to set them, make them fa...

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STEPPING OUT

STEPPING OUT                                                                                            

I stand on the edge and lean right out

towards the light, the face of one, of

so much more than someone, just met;

won’t forget the tingling of my skin, the

smell of hers, won’t let this slip, this chance to

be unequivocal, say what must be said,

do what must be done – as t...

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SET ADRIFT BY SCIENCE

SET ADRIFT BY SCIENCE                                                                          

I lose the thread, quickly, when I

consider the context of all I do or say:

the play of light out there, where

night holds sway and I can safely

watch other stars far too far away

to really understand what it is I’m

part of; and the reasons why

I’m not wholly satisfied with the

...

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THREE WARM EVENINGS IN A ROW

THREE WARM EVENINGS IN A ROW

Three warm evenings in a row

I’ve sat out here to toast my toes

and await the advent of a constant muse;

to no avail: in each such case, my eyes have

flickered, closed, reopened, all involuntarily

and in random order, my body telling me that

sleep has prior claim – certainly where

its opponent has no gentle voice or lullaby

to propagate incho...

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LOVES NOT LOST

LOVES NOT LOST                                                                          

Thinking of loves long gone, loves of learning, yearning,

burning inside, of passion for life, memories sown firm and

deep in the garden of a soul still fertile, growing strong,

enduring. I know their vigour because I seek them out,

youth having slipped slowly away, leaving me to

rest on laur...

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PERFECT EQUILIBRIUM

PERFECT EQUILIBRIUM

Hot July ’75 days left a sky’s breadth lethargy                                                                      

over the living world, where a breath of cool air,

a trickle of cold water, a draught of cold beer

were our day-to-day deities – all else

one weary step to another, even birds hushed, it seemed,

weather-wise, shaded in silent woods,

life it...

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AND AS

AND AS

And as the pen at rest inside my head

awakes and aches to resume its place

at our favourite table or easy chair –

which of course we gladly share given

the time we spend together there;

so, to keep it sweet as best I can,

despite a delinquent grey June day,

I tell myself that my plan will be to follow,

closely, this unprepossessing thing in

plotting the route f...

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AND BECAUSE

AND BECAUSE

A phrase which suggests to me an outcome,

Born of reason; not the season for legal treatise but could

Call time on each resting pair of marching boots plus owner,

Dulled, still, at dawn following deadly all day military drill, the

Excess dust now gone and marcher done – he forever

Full of phrases, though no And Because, each one more

Grouchy, generally, than the on...

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HANGING GARDENS, HASLEMERE

HANGING GARDENS, HASLEMERE                                  

Those of Babylon, no record left,

if half as beautiful as those you’ve kept

they deserved inclusion in the glorious Seven,

the wonders of which we’ll never know

sufficient for clever comparison; but enough to

win much more than accolades in words and gaze

than I, a devotee, might quickly assign

to their beauty, to...

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SILENT GREETINGS

SILENT GREETINGS                                                                        

He sat at a metal mesh table on a matching bench,

smoking each time I passed at the end of each day –

noticeable because he looked, when he smoked,

right in the eyes of  strangers as they walked, sauntered, staggered, ran

either to or from the river; a look that said I am, you know, like you

...

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SHARING THE SUN

SHARING THE SUN                                                             

Summer morning I sit in worship

of a rising sun in a cloudless sky,

unblemished blue, almost too perfect

in a world discoloured by the human tide.

I’d like the warmth to slow us down,

with open eyes and emptied minds,

to let inside fine sights and sounds

then turn them into words that rhyme.

 

...

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A LAPSE OF CONCENTRATION

A LAPSE OF CONCENTRATION

After we met, when we both

watched out for the other

(you were as sharp as a needle),

when we quietly moved on to “going out”,

I was drawn, most of all, by your

darting, quizzical eyes (swift as arrows)

and that slight furrow lying low in your

forehead (you said this was unremarkable,

I said maybe you should chill a little).

And now and then y...

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THE MEANING OF BIRDSONG

THE MEANING OF BIRDSONG                                                       

Warm May morning, pink azaleas alight,

never been so bright before, so

fiery so soon after winter’s wake

(quite late this year). I toast my feet beneath

a dodging sun, soaking up essential D, and

settle on a garden seat to listen to what I

cannot see: a tree-top high cacophony

of birdsong, every ...

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LIGHTSWITCHES

 

 LIGHTSWITCHES

Her last few days and nights

flashes of light and dark in

grey-blue eyes that know that

sight will soon abandon those of

tethered, tied down, waiting souls,

unblinking, fixed on her or those

unsure of where to let them lie.

I think I hear a soft, sharp crack

of slammed shut eyelids as if, of a sudden,

half a dozen giant gnats have

smacked right ...

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BRIDGES BACK HOME

BRIDGES BACK HOME                               

Morning walks in cold September,

can’t remember quite so many in

other years: horizontal, silky threads,

eye level, spun by unseen spiders

across wider gaps than might be

believed to be of this world.

What flight of fancy this leap from

tree to gorse or gorse to tree?

I speculate that, in light of the

spider’s weight, h...

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A SPLIT LIP

A SPLIT LIP

It’s only recently I started to ask myself

the reasons why my upper lip is split –

initially just a narrow, shallow slit but left alone

to care for itself and so to slowly stretch and grow.

 

I don’t pretend to be one of those who claim

the right to tease for human frailties.

I too may look too long in a mirror and do not mock

others for asking some trusted f...

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BACK FROM A DREAM

BACK FROM A DREAM

Once more woken by my body’s aches

called away from recent dreams

that in a moment flee cool reading rooms

through one of four blue wooden doors

each to reach nothing less than

muddles heaped across a field of

bubble-wrapped, incoherent scenes.

 

My return each morning on zero gain

is caught on mundane memories

so trite as to leave them in the dar...

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EASTER MUSINGS

EASTER MUSINGS                                                              

First warming sun today at last, to follow

cold, sharp winter; new buds start to dress

the land around, to adorn once more after nature’s rout,

stripping down to stark dark shapes summer-green,

winter-grey trees and hedges, belittled still by

funereal firs, blood-flecked holly, brooding yews.

 

I s...

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MUSIC DOWN THE MORGUE

MUSIC DOWN THE MORGUE

I sometimes see the world through stand-in eyes

required to face the fact of newly broken parts,

immobilised by indulgent recklessness;

yet disrespectful of the powers that be

that would rule us all and all our hearts

as we stumble, artless, through our useful years,

transient as a species, our lives full of cares.

 

Cut to the chase: I broke an ank...

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GETTING USED TO IT

GETTING USED TO IT                                                                     

I have been slow in getting used to it: I have

not got to grips or taken the bull by the horns;

I’ve fought battles each day to remain in the swim,

fearful of eddies, of brackish backwaters,

with no punch left to get back in the flow;

whirling slowly, treading water, seemingly stuck.

The ai...

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WILL YOU STILL NEED ME,WILL YOU STILL FEED ME?

 

WILL YOU STILL NEED ME, WILL YOU STILL FEED ME?

So sang Sir Paul, a late Sixties landmark song,

lyrics and score penned in seconds I’m sure and

jaunty as they come, neither revealing nor concealing

the big issues of the day, but a ballad for our time, a devotion,

a short, sweet love song, a subliminal gong on the froth and sweat of

Britpop’s arriviste best, a testament to th...

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YOUR BLUE EYES

YOUR BLUE EYES

Your blue eyes shone in the sky on the day

that waited for a simple sign that said,

though officially dead since yesterday,

she’ll be with us still, she won’t fade away.

 

We saw that sign in the sight and sounds of some

nearby trees that bent a little in the lightest breeze,

respectful, as much as gardens might decently be,

in offering a bow, then a bende...

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ONCE LOVERS

ONCE LOVERS

Self-preservation requires

that I may no longer let myself

fix my gaze, or let a glimpse alight,

on old, ever-treasured photographs:

those you lit with light brown eyes and

gently reddened lips together forming

envied smiles, talk of the town for

miles around; you scarcely knew

the purpose of a practised frown,

how to sully, spoil a face;

in hidden plac...

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LOST CONNECTIONS

LOST CONNECTIONS                                                         

There is dignity in the dark, the unmoving:

nothing can hurt any more, nothing can

fail again, nothing can be misunderstood.

no residual good can desert me, nor my words

spill sloppily, a mild vomit, alongside those

orators all around, silvery sounds, ever on song.

I long for lost laughter but I chase af...

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TREES IN WINTER

TREES IN WINTER

Trees behave quite differently when wintry winds blow:

now the leaves have dropped, a passable gust must be

sustained enough to force the trees to tremble

through countless twigs and tributary branches –

the chances of bringing even one to its knees

remaining low by any measure or means of calibration.

 

Back in the summer, a breeze sufficed to have the tree...

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CAROUSELS

CAROUSELS

Been thinking about it, the carousel, for some time now –

the time elapsed since stepping off and moving on.

As these things went, it was, I recall, really not so bad:

it travelled apace, albeit round and round, whether you sat

astride a prancing filly, nostrils flared, a dinky little racing car

or an open top ancient Roman battle chariot,

complete with seat belts an...

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PEBBLE GAME

PEBBLE GAME

When upon the surface of the earth

pebbles meet a pounding sea,

sit facing me and, eyes blindfold,

pick one and drop it in the space between

your pretty feet, my creaking knees.

 

We’ve played before, a simple game:

agree the duration of the hunt,

measured as the time it takes for, say,

three cycles of the breakers’ rush

from crashing crest to sucked-ba...

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Seaside Thoughts

SEASIDE THOUGHTS                                                          

We used to take an old black sit-up car

down to the sea, some forty miles, to catch the sun

and lace our hair with sand and run

into wake-up waves that cried all day

we’re after you; and always either pushed us in,

face first, as they crashed down on our backs

or tripped us as the sucking ebb backtracke...

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UNDERFOOT

UNDERFOOT                                                                       

“To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why

 May not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander

Till a find it stopping a bung-hole?”

So asked the Danish Prince of his friend, returning

Yorick’s, his father’s jester’s, earthy skull to its

ditch of twenty-three years and calling to mind the gre...

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AN ACTOR'S LAMENT

AN ACTOR’S LAMENT                                                                    

Shall I audition for this Shakespeare play?

There is no part in it I really want.

Break wind and blow the lead away –

he was utter rubbish in Charlie’s Aunt!

Though I often think I was born too late –

by,say, half a thousand, six hundred years –

I possess a marked tendency to prate

and my ...

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WALKING AT SUNRISE

WALKING AT SUNRISE

I walked at sunrise yesterday, pink-orange paintwork

spreading wide in the East and coating vapour trails,

each dipped – no drips – for just a moment, in a tin,

hidden from human eyes, like (I surmise) the smocks and brushes.

Once coloured, they striped the sky at random angles,

criss-crossing, and I thought of tangled oriental characters

twisted and bent in...

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