Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Life's a story

Life’s a story

It’s always the story so far
It can only be that
You never know what’s in the next chapter

Heroic death scene in a hospital
Birth of a child
Windfalls of money or people
Emerging from history or the present

Sublime moments on a number 86
Or freewheeling downhill into Scarborough
The high tidemarks leaving flotsam and jetsam

That tiramisu in Venice
Or the early morning brandy in Rome
Or waking up to nature on the Norfolk Broads

In the end it’s just a story
A poem or a TV show
Available on Creation’s website

Monday, 16 April 2012

I'll be fine

I wrote this a month ago at Paperplanes and then left it for a while and returning to it now I quite like i:

I’ll be fine

I would love to see you again
If only I knew that it would feel OK
For both of us

But of course
There are no certainties
And it is a bit difficult
As you are dead

But I guess if you deal with your side of it
And I with mine
I’ll be fine.

Friday, 6 April 2012


Martha sang in an amateur choir and Paul went as he often did to hear her sing Rossini’s Little Mass at the Royal Northern College of Music. It was little because the only instruments used were a piano and harmonium. It was a very different experience to attending a Pet Shop Boys concert – even if the song ‘Go West’ nicked some chords from Pachabel’s ‘Canon’. Nonetheless Paul was engaged. Rossini had himself wondered whether his ‘poor little mass’ was sacred or sacrilegious and Paul was entertained by some of the unexpected and powerful, almost strident, piano playing.

The music provided a backdrop allowing Paul to think or rather dwell in the inner spaces opened up by the music. He found that his mind come roam almost as freely as when he was cycling. As he listened to the music he thought about how he would share his reactions to the concert with Ruth at his next music lesson only to realise with a start ‘No she’s in Wolverton’. That was a key to an intense reflection on Ruth and her imprisonment. How could the police seriously think that such a sweet woman as Ruth be guilty of murder? Was there an ex pupil bearing a grudge against her? An ex lover? A fellow musician? And where did Ashton fit into the picture if at all?

The music was coming to an end and soon it would be time to meet with Martha and go fro a late supper at the Lead Station – where else? - that would mean they would probably end up at Martha’s new flat again. Paul was uneasy about this, they had not really sorted anything out at her flat and frankly Paul preferred it that way.

Unfortunately for him Martha seemed to have different ideas. Their meal at the Lead Station was at first uneventful. They discussed the concert over delicious platefuls of Goulash Stew and red wine.
- And of course Sylvia was warbling slightly off key and rather too loud just behind me.
- Hmm.
- Jonathan (their new choir master) should re-audition her!
Paul razed a quizzical eyebrow in reply to Martha’s rather truculent tone.
- Yes!
- OK, he raised his hands in a gesture of surrender.
- I know we are only an amateur choir but we do need to have standards!
- Sure.
- So how is it going with Ruth?
Paul shrugged his shoulders in reply,
- A bit slow… I hated to see her all forlorn and so alone in prison.
- Hmm… I can’t believe it… How can they be so stupid?
- Well-
- Don’t defend them!
- I wont but I do understand the pressure they are under to make an arrest especially in a high profile murder case like this one.
They both became silent lost in their own thoughts.
- Fancy a coffee or have one back at my place?
- I can wait.
- Me too but not for long.
It was always like this after a concert but Paul knew he could not put off for long the as yet unspoken challenge that thought the saw in Martha’s eyes.

The coffee came rather later after their passion was spent and Paul was feeling sleepy but Martha for once was wide awake.
- Paul?
- Hmm.
- We can’t go on like this.
- Why not?
- Well I can’t
- Oh!
- Yeah, I know moving here was my response to us not going anywhere but (‘Oh Fuck’ murmured Paul)
- But, continued Martha, I still want more of you, more of a commitment!
- Hell!
- Is it? Am I really so bad?
- No…it’s me.
- That’s too damn easy to say!
- But it’s true!
- A very convenient truth, said Martha in a quiet and plaintive voice.
- But you know I am damaged goods. You knew that when we first got together.
- But I thought you were healing.
- Maybe… up to a point … but I’m not ready…maybe never will be… and there’s Catherine.
Martha sighed for she knew that when Catherine was mentioned that was it.
- You could let me meet her?
- Maybe one day.
- Maybe one day, oh Paul!
- I’m sorry Martha
- Not so sorry as I am… I think you better go. (She turned away from him so that he could not see the tears running down her cheeks.)
- OK
Martha did really want Paul to go but she didn’t really want him to go in such a submissive dejected way. But what the fuck could she do?

War Horse and the madness of men

Went to London for a couple of days. Went to see Scott of the Antarctic exhibition at the Natural History museum. He was mad but doing what some men seem to have to do - to go off and leave their women and maybe children and do risky scary things. Then I visited the War Horse exhibition at the Army museum. I then saw the War Horse on stage. It was stunning, they use large scale puppets. I just broke down at the end of the first half and cried and cried and I cried again at the end. My dad survived World War Two. Many of his mates did not. It was arbitrary. No true God would save my dad and let others die.

The First World War was another kind of male madness going off and doing scary risky things and sometimes killing other men. And for what? Sometimes men aimed away from other men or shot themselves instead. The women handed out the white feathers and shamed the men into fighting. I know the Second World War was a bit different and Hitler and his madness needed stopping.

And it goes on. Tell me why we are still in Afghanistan. It's not helping anyone as far as I can see. We are told the usual recycled lies. We all now that when we pull out there will be a Taliban government. You can't impose democracy!

So war just keeps happening. When will enough of us ever learn? War is over if you want it? Well not enough the killing goes on. It must be in all of us.