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 bounteous love
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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A Ritual for Peace

If there were ever worthier cause than this,
then tell me please. To start and think how each
and every step we take will mark the ground.
Enduring footprints, howsoever small,
one day will rise in thousands, coalesce
into a hardened monument, that stands

… forever irresistible to all.

Each bastion will strengthen a resolve,
exposing the futility of war;
the rape of Mother Earth. To save her soul,
repeat again, unquestioning, the need
for all to find another way … for all;
and seek new social order; politic.

And might this be our greatest ever quest
that every day we do or be our best

ensuring love and kindness finds a place
in every breath we take, that gives us grace

to reconcile conflicting minds and cease
the fighting; search for everlasting peace.

© 2016 John N Anstie

This poem was first published in the October 2016 edition of the The BeZine, whose theme for the month was ‘Rituals for Peace, Healing and Unity’.
This poem is written in Blank Verse, concluding with three rhyming couplets. 

Posted in Blank Verse, Death, Hope, Love, poetry, Preachy, Religious, War | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Incidental music for ‘Sheffield PALS’

Last night at the New Barrack Tavern in Sheffield, a tribute was paid to a group of local young men, who fought for our country but never came home. To mark the 100th anniversary of the Batt…

Source: Incidental music for ‘Sheffield PALS’

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May 2016, Vol.2/Issue 8; Books That Changed Our Lives

Another special issue of the BeZine, by the remarkable Jamie Dedes …

BE inspired…BE creative…BE peace…Be

Source: May 2016, Vol.2/Issue 8; Books That Changed Our Lives

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Little Big Man

(for Samuel Leon Anstie)

This fragile earth, on which we so depend
is strewn with evidence that life portends
a choreography of happenstance.
Your shoes were made for your own special dance.

When you appeared and shone the warmest light,
you were the star that lit our empty night
with hope and joy … ’till nature’s wayward rhyme
decided you’d arrived before your time.

Now you are held in safe and powerful hands
and, even after rock is ground to sand,
the echoes of your brave, brave heart are free
to resonate for all eternity …

carrying all our love, our grief, our pain
until we hold you in our arms again.

© 2015 John Anstie

[Samuel Leon Anstie, my third grandson, was born prematurely at 24 weeks gestation, on Sunday, 14th June 2015; lived to fight for his life – and he was a fighter – until his little big heart ran out of strength, in the early hours of Friday, 10th July 2015. We mourn his loss more than if he had lived to ripe old age having contributed to the wellbeing of this world, as he surely would have done; all the more so because, if we, his grandparents feel like this, then my son and his wife will feel it with so much greater magnitude …]

Posted in children, family, Love, melancholy, poetry, Religious, sadness | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments