Let The Rains Fall

“Water, water, every where
… Nor any drop to drink.”

If I should have enough to weep
some tears before we sink
into the deep … then

let the rains fall everywhere

where land is parched
where lips are cracked
where leaves are starched
and odds are stacked
agin the ones least able

to feel the rain upon their face

and cleanse decaying life
of toxic overload
and feed the food that’s rife
and rich as any lode
but for strife … and greed

that let the acid rain fall foul

… and cost us dear.

 

© 2017 John Anstie
All rights reserved.

[The first two lines are taken from “The Rime of The Ancient Mariner”, the most epic of his lyric ballads, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This was first published in the June 2017 edition of the BeZine]

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The Honeymoon’s Over

Spring’s promise of high summer
has passed, the lush greens gone,
and now less vibrant. Parched.
Stale somehow. Disappointing.

The promise so much sweeter
than reality; the heady warmth;
sun filled days and mirage haze
the balmy heat, hot naked nights.

We should enjoy this time, by rights
but if it brings us closer to the fall;
the Autumn of our life, if that is all
then can we not enjoy the cooling

promised winter chill, another world,
its yielding to the blacks and whites
mysterious greys, the icy haze,
the freezing hibernation, preserving.

But no. An earlier Spring, that comes
too soon, and sooner still the melting
Arctic ice. One day, there’ll be no more
dreaming of a summer honeymoon.

© 2017 John Anstie
All rights reserved.

Posted in conservation, environment, Fear, Global Warming, Hope, melancholy, nature, Pleasure, poem, poetry, sadness, Uncategorized, Weather | 11 Comments

Big Questions

They could not see
the end
of their noses
the end
of the last century
the end
of infantry and cavalry
of Boys Own battles
and yet they stand
today in ceremony,
the successors
and descendants
of those, who may have
invoked
supplied
and managed
this catastrophe,
with military pomp.

Somehow
it glorifies,
it excuses
it avoids
the actions,
the decisions,
the consequences
the tactical and
maybe strategic folly
the utterly desperate
and tragic outcome,
somehow …

And yet, how else
can we remember
those, who were,
without question,
persuaded to be brave
enough to give up
their lives
for a five mile
quagmire?

[This is the only way I can commemorate Passchendaele. Today, 31st July, is the centenary of the start of that horrendous battle. It raged for 100 days and took hundreds of thousands of lives. The oft spoken words: “We will remember them” are not enough any more. We should now be asking big and much more difficult questions]

© 2017 John Anstie
All rights reserved.

Posted in Death, Free Verse, poem, political, sadness, War | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Children

Their wayward spirits pull
in opposition to wavering
forces of parental aspiration.
They threaten fraying threads
in seams of bedlam’s bursting bag
that barely contains the chaos.

The morning school run
a controlled explosion
ruthless and well oiled
the caring machine runs
this oft trodden path
through anarchy.

But dare they dream
of that perfect sound
of peace and quiet
the heaven
the bliss
the hope

… the fear
of that deafening silence
the hour before dawn
when they fledge
maybe to return
one welcome day.

© 2017 John Anstie
All rights reserved.
~~~~~

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The Chalice

Dear Earth, you are a sacred aqueous Isle
in a dark and endless sea of universe.
You may never reveal your strategy.
We may be  bound  by  genetic code
to the presupposing chemical destiny
of one great astrophysical master plan
for all living things. We, who represent
your malaise,  your chronic infestation;
we,  like a fleeting itch in your long life,
will never comprehend it.  But, in truth
you know too well  that  we can never
understand more  than one percent
of all there is to know. You contain
the knowledge that is beyond us.
We are but a rash on your skin.

One day, we know you will
raze all of our delusions,
prepare us for the day
when a blinding light
will  inoculate  you
and inform us  of
a moment when
extant humans
will, at last be
prepared to
distinguish
the  l i e s
f r o m
truth
and

so
we
a r e
m e r e
a t o m i c
p  a  r  t  i  c  l  e  s
inside   a   temporal   chalice

© 2014 John N Anstie
All rights reserved

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On One of My Tomorrows

(for Celia)

Our last goodbye was casual
as if I would see you again
on one of my tomorrows

I touched your arm
you flinched. In pain.
I felt persistent guilt

Born of carelessness
only nervous uncertainty
could freely demonstrate

Born of habitual presumption
that you were in charge
you weren’t. Not really.

You never were, save
your own sense of duty
to boss, nay care for everyone

Too much on small shoulders
that weren’t as strong as the
force of that inner being

The force that stopped being
that was someone once
whom I loved and miss

Some time after we’d helped you
to meet your God, one starlit night
I heard your voice as clear as the sky

O lamb of God, who takes away
the sins of the world, have mercy
and grant us peace. I swear.

This. Was. Not. My. Voice!

© 2017 John N Anstie
All rights reserved

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Head Over Heals

So soon, familiar sounds again,
the birds are on the wing.
A starling, dizzy, calling his mate
head over heals we sing.

The grass is growing faster
underneath our feet
and here we are, like Arab Spring,
where two extremists meet.

It’s difficult to fathom how
those two imposters hail
from just one body, so opposite,
yet apposite, they fail

to sustain this perfect, vibrant beauty
when offspring promise fades,
but need such boundless hope and joy
recede into the shade?

And yet the awesome speed of light,
with unimagined pace,
still takes too long to speak to us
from farthest outer space.

Fewer shorter days remain
to save the obvious child,
with a simple kind of husbandry
to wrest it from the wild.

Why deny a time that bursts
with forms of life that bring
their seeds to Earth for us to reap,
head over heals in Spring.

© 2017 John Anstie
All rights reserved

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A Sonnet for Leila

The narrow path that sometimes seems too long,
dim crescent moon in deeply dark night sky
and have they ever made you feel the throng
of voices on your eardrum, ask you why,

but never seem to show the way to be;
the touch of fate that seems to threaten you
and blinds your inside eye so you can’t see
the little light that grows and burns as true

as any light could be; a voice that speaks,
that elevates your spirit, steals your fear,
reveals itself in unexpected weeks …
and drugs your senses ’till your vision’s clear.

Then Lucida was born to help us see
the all pervading light that helps us be.

© 2016 John N Anstie

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Comment for Kole

Never expecting too much of life
Is like preparing to be surprised.
When all it throws at you
is bad news, it comes good!

Then you popped your head
above the parapet to say
Hello, it’s me, I’m here!
Where’s the milk bar?

You, one of many young lives,
a second blessing in a year
so full of unhappy events;
loss and degradation …

… a parting of ways,
the work of a generation to
bring us together, gone west,
now adrift, like the Marie Celeste

I wonder what will be, for you
in the midst of sheep-clothed tyranny.
We may have messed up 
but must we leave you to fix it?

I wonder, in a house full of balls,
what genesis of talents and skills,
what genetics will course your veins;
mould your personality.

The perfect uniqueness you are,
will you keep them all in the air;
become a champion of …
peace and social justice?

What will light your fire;
what will bring you joy;
what will be your raison d’être?

Welcome to the World, my boy.

© 2016 John N Anstie

This poem is dedicated to my sixth grandchild, my fourth grandson, Kole George Nicholson. Born early in November 2016.

It is written in Free Verse. 
JNA December 2016

Posted in children, family, Free Verse, Love, poem, poetry, political, wisdom, Wonder | Leave a comment

do not make war, a poem

This carries with it, not only a poetic expression of love, but also a very special message … from the pen of Jamie Dedes

THE POET BY DAY

View of Cliff House from Ocean Beach View of Cliff House from Ocean Beach

1.

it must be painful for them to write, those poets in tough-times and hard places
where blood and tears and poverty contaminate the air, stain the sidewalks, and consume the people

the blood must be soul-sick and rusted and tasting of acid, not salt,
and the poems meant to heal the writer and stroke the cheeks of the wounded,
to dry their eyes and gently kiss their gray heads

to poem in such places must be like walking shoeless on glass shards

perhaps the most sacred thing in the dream-time meadow of poets’ desire is Light ~
can you awaken to meet the Divine on the battlefield, in the camps, in government housing or in the ghettos?

if so, you are a saint, not simply an artist

2.

in my small world, my civilized world, people fall asleep reading or after making love…

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