The Simple Things

The simple things I long for

Like blue skies over cable cars

Only happen in the movies

Littered with forgotten stars.

 

Warm fires on winter days

Romances to light the summer sun

Seem so close to touch

Yet remain hidden when the day is done.

 

The good life in the streets

People smiling, birds in the trees

Are locked outside my door

Maybe waiting there for me.

 

But the simple things I long for

Come from technicolour stories;

The right lines to the saddest songs

And people chasing down memories.

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Castle on a Hill

A lord lived there once. The floors remain;

A high, proud place. It still stands in parts,

On a hill in the midst of a field

Where the grass is cold and dull.

This lonely tower, a wreck that bore

Storm after storm, still holds within the life

Of someone lost to time. Someone who once listened

To the singing birds in the near-by forest –

The same songs that I heard not long ago.

Harbour.

The dusk sky on a harbour front –

Oh, it makes me drunk and happy.

The pubs are full and uproarious,

And the human sound in the air

Is footsteps, and the rhythm of the tide

Matches my breathing.

This is a land of ancient stone,

Unchanged roads, songs of autumn death

And songs of spring reborn.

I’m Not Bragging, But (Classical Edition)

I sailed with Odysseus

I out-sang the siren

I lead blind Homer

To the asylum.

 

I crowned the emperor

I gave Virgil a line

I taught Apollo

How to keep time.

 

I decked Zeus

Hercules fell to his knees

I broke poor Jason

When I stole the golden-fleece.

 

Medusa lost her head

When I came to Rome

I used her disappointment

To turn a Minotaur to stone.

 

I won the war of Troy

In a matter of weeks

I took on Paris

Then I took on the Greeks.

 

I was around a while

All the legends are mine

Many heroes fell

But I had a pretty good time.

St Enodoc Church

The wind whipped the sands.

The sky was grey and as we came to the café

It began to rain. We took tea under the cover.

The rain stopped, we found the footpath

That led to the open greenspace – the golf course,

The sandy paths, the long grass. The sun was starting

To burn through the tough clouds. We approached

Nearer to our destination. I could see the steeple.

One more path led us to the site of the 12th century chapel:

‘St Enodoc Church’. The black headstone of Betjeman

Stood proud and gleaming. We sat on the bench

Next to him and looked out on the perfect blue sky

And white wandering clouds, the long green fields of

Padstow opposite and the wide free sea. I looked, in the heat

And the breeze, for the oldest grave. One weathered and worn

Told of a man born in 1700, died aged 100 in 1800.

Ragged Storm

Ragged storm! With the voice and demeanour

Of God, do you encircle me for judgement?

Are my sins a veil to lose me between worlds?

I am only one among many servants

That fell to the serpent’s way,

Outcast from the dregs of empire

That, like a plague, covers the world in a more

Vengeful darkness than thee.

 

Now I stand helpless to your claws

And the lashing rain that cleanses us

And the torn lightning that whips us.

Towards the darkling plume we sail

And I wonder if we deserve to see the day again.