19 English Poems From The Wound Man Poem by Sheena Blackhall

19 English Poems From The Wound Man

1. The May Festival: Tune The Dancing in the Kyle
When it’s festival time you’ll find sessions that chime
With your interests from Science and Art
For the best, far & near have agreed to appear
To enlighten, or warm your heart
For there’s step dancing, bookbinding, swimming and fencing
With fiddling, face painting as well
You can forage for food in the wilds of a wood
Or try knitting the Broons for a spell

You can join in debates, or pick food for your plates
Study diet, bring farm to fork
Sample physics and light, or in dead of the night
Have Egyptian Adventures by dark
There’s traditional crafting, there’s creative writing
There’s Gaelic and Doric to hear
There is music and filming, there’s mayhem and cooking
At King’s, the highlight of the year

There’s hot topics & talks, there’s historical walks
Urban myths and the grand chapel choir
On the grass or fine rugs there’s bad bugs fighting drugs
Oh there’s ever so much to inspire
Hark to the Scottish spleen in the tent on the green
Learn of soil soul and society
Attends ceilidhs at night, enjoy Spence, Jamie, White
Just some gems of the literati

Don’t be slow, book up fast, for the tickets won’t last
For Duffy, Kelman, or Muldoon
If it’s science you crave (though the topic is grave)
Dirt death DNA is a boon
There’s forensics, dramatics, there’s comics & critics
Producers and journalists too
And they all make a splash…Don’t miss out, come and watch
All the May Festival’s ballyhoo!

2. Welsh Rap
Cardiff, Swansea. Shirley Bassey
Eisteddfod, Celtic blood
Rugby team, mining seam
Male voice choir, Plaid Cymru’s fire
Caerphilly cheese, Cadfael’s bees
Laverbread, Rhys, Dafydd
Dragons, leeks, rainy weeks
Hopkins, Jones. St David’s bones
Dai & Dylan, Megan, Blodwyn
Mussels, lamb. Welsh Grand Slam

3.The Archer
I am handling a tall bow with a yew’s heart
Bracer on my bow arm,
Thumb ring on my drawing finger
Feet apart, my shoulder feeling the strain

The quiver rests on a tree stump
The feathers bright in the sun
I load an arrow, point the bow to the ground
The fletches are tense and charged

I draw the string back to my cheek
Raise the bow a little above the target
(The tip like a bodkin head
So eager to pierce the air.)

Zing! I cleave the air with a bowshot
A great horse chestnut rustles
A raven croaks into the foliage.

I wet my lips, draw out another shaft
No Amazon, I lack Diana’s grace.
A dray horse in the Derby of the archers

4.At Bodelwyddan Castle & Grounds
There is no wonderful dragon, breathing smoke
A squirrel runs past with two astonished ears
Pert as an exclamation mark
The gardens are replete with apples and pears
Damsons, hazelnuts, plums and Welsh narcissi
A great estate with woodlands, orchard, aviary

Economy cuts have trimmed the luxuries back
In the library, the books are mere tromp d’oeil
Pictures painted on canvas to gull the guests

Yet the Carrera marble mantelpiece looks well
Silk damask wallpaper still reeks of wealth
Delft tiles, and a crest of foxes
Whet the visitors’ thirst for knowledge
Pre-Raphaelite paintings emblazon the sombre gallery
Silver shines behind a cage of glass

Nothing impresses so much as two stands of pikes
Tempting the passer by to test their weight
So light, a woman could wield them!

Marching with musketeers
Pike drill was done at the drum beat,
The pike man sweating under his heavy helmet,
His heavy leather tunic
His back and breast plates
His metal gorget protecting his neck from shot

His pike is 18 feet, an ash shaft slim and fair
Topped with the spear head that can skewer a man
Topple a horse and stick a cavalry charge

In the dusk of the castle light
Almost, you smell the belch of cannon firing
The screams of battle, the sticky smear of blood

5. Eclipse
The sky darkened.
The whole world cooled
The moon blotted out the sun

Websites crashed as log-ons piled up like timber
Clogging a bottle-neck

For once there was something greater than TV
Reminding us that human lives are puny
6. Evening, Glen Muick
The lovely clouds lie stately in the sky
Violet evening waits behind the Bens
Deep fir woods act like magnets to the dark
Birds huddle like black buds in twiggy dens
A curlew rises keening from the moor
Springtime- the snow-thaw swither of the glens

7. A Poem from the Titles of Works by Charles Bukowski
Flowers, Fists, and Bestial Wails
Catch My Heart in their Hands

The Curtains Are Waving
In Terror Street and Agony Way

Meanwhile, the Days Run Away Like Wild Horses
There are Cold Dogs in the Courtyard

Horses Don't Bet on People & Neither Do I
What Matters Most Is
How Well You Walk through the Fire as Buddha smiles

Slouching Toward Nirvana
Mockingbird Wish Me Luck

Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame
You Get So Alone at Times
That It Just Makes Sense
To Jump out of an 8th Storey Window
To escape the screams from the Balcony

Come on In!
Eat my Septuagenarian Stew
The Captain Is Out to Lunch
The Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship

8. Boudicca’s Bones
At King’s Cross when awaiting a train
As you search the ‘Arrivals’ in ain
Think, if Boudicca’s here, ‘neath the platform, poor dear
She’ll never go travelling again
9.Critique of a Cupcake
The ratio of icing to cake
Oozed luxury, smacked of excess

The tokenistic receptacle of the paper cup
Resembled the Elizabethan ruff of Sir Walter Raleigh
(Though girly pink, for ritual pigging out)

What was the inspiration behind the cup cake?
Flattened it was a mandala
An expression of the ephemera of food

The napkin provided, exotic and Batik
Spoke of wild Caribbean nights and beating drums

Lemon icing heavily larded the top
Like Cleopatra lying on her barge

The pastel colour hinted at Larkin’s weddings
Or Sunday congregations in the Transvaal

The chocolate balls, dropped on like psalmist tea leaves
Were Druidic, possibly used in divination
The balls themselves had a certain comedic value
Like gerbils’ genitalia, dried up

Disintegrating into a medley of crumbs
The cup cake was as transient as Life
All hail, Mount Fuji of cakes
You calorific Goliath of the gateaux!

The cup cake is Josephine
Waiting for her Napoleon
To open his Gallic coat and ravish her

10.The Bitch Session
There is always non-verbal leakage
The technology strung on view in the studio room
Is a cockroach’s intestines, black and ugly

It is of course a modern architect’s dream
Letting it all hang out
Showing the inner workings, nothing concealed
Like the cauliflower wards on Oliver Cromwell’s nose

Tacky as the glitter ball hanging ominous
As a beheaded Xmas fairy over the audience

You had, as they say, to be there
Two participants, acting as bulls
Pawing the polished floor
In a moo-off, staring and roaring each other
Into submission

The room is a minefield of personalities
Could explode in a minute
But caught in the power and passion of performance
The cockroach’s intestines cease to impinge

It’s like stepping off the cliff of imagination
Out of the here and now, the drab realities

11. Badger Banner
The badger has swallowed a street
Marinated in Scottish nostalgia.
It has left the spoor of a poem
From the good folk of Livingston:

When it’s spring time in the Model
In the Model doon the street
When the fleas begin tae yodel
An the lodgers cannie sleep

They get up an light their candles
An wash their clarty feet
When it’s spring time in the Model
In the Model doon the street

Customers nose deep in celebrity magazines
Chew the cud of scandal, awaiting their crop
The customer’s gowned like a patient
About to go under the knife
The hairdresser presses the start
On her patter button

Pouring the oils of discourse into his ears
She plies her shears as if shaving an old ram

Grey tufts litter the floor
There is urgency in the clippers

Two hours at least until her fag and coffee break

14. Mae West’s One Liners
I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
When I'm good, I'm very good.
But when I'm bad I'm better.

You only live once
But if you do it right
Once is enough

All discarded lovers should be given a second chance
But with somebody else

I never worry about diets
The only carrots that interest me
Are the number you get in a diamond

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.
I'll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.

I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.
To err is human, but it feels divine.

I'm a woman of very few words, but lots of action.
I've been in more laps than a napkin.
Men say pure love is often tinged with sorrow
A way-ward child is often the dearest loved
Albatross bird in the nest, so needy, raucous

15.The Loves of Cathal O’Dare
Mary O’Hara, aged ten
Fell in love with Cathal O’Dare

She turned to a jellyfish
When he booted his ball
Into the netball hoop

Cathal O’s Dare had eyes
Only for Deirdre
Though on her teeth was a brace
As big’s the equator

When she of the lovely sorrows
Tossed her hair
His heart turned wheels
Like St Catherine in her agony

His smile could illuminate Blackpool
Whenever they shared a desk

16.Lost Brother
I close my eyes, your memory’s imminent
Rising from deep within mind’s honeycomb
A youth, a life, unshared, much joy unspent

I wish a wizard could now reinvent
Our histories, lift you shining from the loam
The village knew, but hid, our shared descent

Leaving the glen, no parent’s sad lament
Followed you, love-child, when you crossed the foam
This I, from ignorance, could not prevent

Until a casual word, a chance event
Dropped like a struck match in a tinder home
The flame of love crossed oceans, storm sent

For three brief weeks in all, we underwent.
The weft and weave of kinship. How we’d comb
The years, our threadbare sib-links to augment

Loved brother, too late found, how I resent
I never knew of you, missed chromosome
Un-christened, star, I think that you were sent
To be the star within the family’s firmament

17. School Ties
The wall that surrounded my school
Was ripe with invisible graffiti,
Like sour fruit flung at a poor show

To reach the top of that wall,
Required teamwork, playing the game
Nobody’d climb it alone

The toeholds were slippery with grease
The grease of genuflection to the values,
Pretensions, snobbery of its name

Like branded sheep, we were stamped
With the tint of its rule
A tainted flock, lambs to the class system

18. Birds
Spitfire of the, air the swift
Cleaved the clouds over the high glen

Dazzled by the window’s sudden sun flash
The dare devil’s safety system failed to work

He crashed, land bound,
His right wing wrenched awry

There is the human parallel of course,
Involving water and the fiery sun
As Icarus learned when wax ran down his arms

By glass or wave, birdman or bird
Both disappeared in a blink

19.The Hen Audience
Five hens are enjoying a Brechtian matinee
From the ground floor stalls of their pen.
Sparrows, watch from the Gods

The star of the show
Goes by the name of Gardener
She doubles as usherette at the interval
Dispensing tit-bits to the ladies

Act One involves the moving of Zéphirine Drouhin…
A rambling rose bred by Bizot
Deep, pink, hardy, thornless, fragrant
Plucked from the bosom of her home
Ejected like a drunk from a knitting circle
Plonked, resisting, into the unknown…oh the twists of fate!
The hens are rooting for her
To escape the Gardener’s clutches

Act Two hikes up the tension:
The death struggle of Jasminum officinale, the poet’s jasmine.
An evergreen deciduous shrub
Her climbing, twining stems with pinnate leaves
Her star shaped flowers (such heady unwanted fragrant)
Become the focus of environmental theatre
Ending in black extinction

The Gardener exerts her authoritarian right
To rule the roost
(The hens take this to heart, and secretly shudder)

Act Three is the Eden moment: Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard
The gardener plants a pear tree
Gently spreads its roots and waters well.
This scene bears fruit, the five hens clap their wings

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