English Poems From Touch & Go Poem by Sheena Blackhall

English Poems From Touch & Go

Touch and Go
It was touch and go
When I walked with my young love

A fat crow called beyond all understanding
And a silver snail slid slow

How could I know, sweet love
Of the talons sheathed in your skin
That would rip me up like a rag
Turn me outside in?

A fat crow called beyond all understanding
And a silver snail slid slow

The Visit
The corridors were filled with soiled bedding
En route to the care home laundry

Bedpans clattered and slopped as tea was served
In a fug of disinfectant and sickly air spray

Nodding off and drooling in their chairs
Propped there like puppets by nursing puppeteers
The inmates dozed and dreamt

Attendants circling them, were they watchers or warders?
My mother sat there, trapped in her failing body
Her mind, once sharp's a tack, blunting and bent

Imagined uncles came to visit her
Who thirty years had mouldered in their graves

Water, fire, earth and air
Dead kin lying in your lair
I will bring you heather, thyme,
Meadowsweet and columbine

Water, fire, earth and air
Dead kin lying in your lair
Memories on life's heirloom
I'll spin above your narrow room

Water, fire, earth and air
Dead kin lying in your lair
Like a bee to nectar drawn
As I live, so you live on

Water, fire, earth and air
Dead kin lying in your lair
Only birdsong rings around
So many loved ones in the ground

Water, fire, earth and air
Dead kin lying in your lair
Who will stand by you and mourn
When my veil of life is torn?

Water, fire, earth and air
Dead kin lying in your lair
One day I will share your fate
Slipped beyond death's final gate

Bills of Mortality
Died of fear: of murder, mugging?
Died of wolf: of death by fang
Died of teeth: an abcess bursting?
Died of wind: a burp goes bang
Died of piles: a twisted chain
Died of lethargy: no strain

Plimsolls, galoshes, brothel creepers
Platform soles and fluffy slippers

Flip flops, hush puppies, desert boots
Doc Martins, Uggs and winklepickers

Sandals stilettos ballet pumps
Stage boots rhinestone studded
Tap shoes, suede, crocs wellington boots
Clogs on dance floors thudded

Tiptoeing, stamping, shuffling, stroll
Sliding, slithering, jogging
Pirouette jive and sashay
Waltzing, and jitterbugging

Landscape of Absence
When you picked up your shadow and left
Life snapped like a guy rope frayed by a gale

And I knew why for three days
You didn't answer the phone

Dead men don't answer phones
My honeyed boy, you waited, all alone
For me to find you

The Ancient Woods of Drum
Come visit the remnants of the Forest of Drum.
Horse chestnut, lime, beech in the arboretum.
The Old Woods of Drum goes back 8 hundred years
It has oak, birch and pine, where Time's mist disappears

There is soft-grass, wood anemone, there's sorrel and bracken
There's alder and meadowsweet, valerian,
There's saxifrage and blueberry heather as well
Water-lily and starwort, the shy pipistrelle

There's duckweed, marsh marigold, gentle roe deer
There's beetles, red squirrels and badgers live here
The Old Woods of Drum are both secret and deep
Where the ghosts of dead knights flit when you are asleep

The Final Farewell
There are tombstone fridge magnets in Texas
- any day spent above ground is good.
In Vienna a rescue alarm clock
Ensured burial alive was withstood

There's re-used "community coffins"
There are caskets for fathers and mothers
And families now sanction recycling
Of titanium hips joints for others

The body has traces of carbon,
And diamonds have carbon as well
The ashes of loved ones are processed
Into gems made of Bob, George, or Belle

Because I'm addicted to Poetry
My best friends are stanzas an sagas
Ballads, haikus, villanelles, sestinas

My neighbours are books
Some I love, others I barely tolerate
One or two are downright execrable

My writing is my life
I am a volcano firing off lava and ash

Other people have holidays, and social circles
I have pages, words, rhymes

Life bubbles up inside me, a hot spring
I write to let it out or I might explode

If a poem comes visiting that I really love,
I give it a nest to sleep in and feed it truffles

If a critic despises my poetry
I imagine him wearing asses ears
With haemorrhoids ten miles long
As heavy's the Forth Bridge

Tryst with an Owl
All I was doing was breathing
Lightly, in bed, with the window open

And suddenly it was night
When I heard the canticle of the owl

A hallowed sound from the deep
Heart of her feathers
Holier than the Song of Songs
With the power of death behind it

The Toronto Circus Riot of 1855
These weren't the kind of clowns you want to mess with.
They were, by all accounts, a real rough crew.
Part of a touring show, S.B. Howes' Star Troupe
Menagerie & Circus. Worth the view

They'd riders, big cats, elephants, a giraffe.
The circus was sold out, it's tents pegged down
This was the summer of 1855.
Toronto was a rowdie, pioneer town.

The clowns set off to try the local nightlife.
They picked a brothel near a busy corner
Used by The Hook & Ladder Firefighters.
And that was the beginning of disorder

The day after the fighting at the brothel
Friday the 13th, —crowds began to gather
People threw stones, waved pikes and knives and axes
Fired the Big Top, growing mad and madder

Circus performers took the chance to scatter
Toronto's firemen hot heads on a roll
It took the Mayor to damp the riot down.
He called in the militia, took control

Do pussycats dream when they go to sleep?
(I've seen their whiskers twitching)
Do owl hoots stay in the trees all night
When the witches fly a-witching?
Does my brain have a folder full of files
Where my scenes are there for fetching
Do shoelaces dance when my boots come off?
And I'm in my jammies stretching
So many questions nobody tells
The answers that children want
Not parents, grandparents, friend or foe
Not cousin or uncle or aunt

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