Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

GOING UNDERGROUND

Le Déhus Dolmen is a remarkable Neolithic passage-grave, approximately ten metres in length, located less than a mile from Bordeaux Harbour. On the underside of one of its capstones is a carving of a male figure with what appears to be a strung bow, along with a series of symbolic designs. The carving is known locally as Le Gardien du Tombeau. The tomb is covered by a grassy mound and edged with a circle of standing stones.

Early in the 19th Century two skeletons were found inside the dolmen lying in such a way as to suggest that they had been buried in a kneeling position.















LE DEHUS DOLMEN


A figure, outlined, with a bow,

is the tomb’s guardian, it’s said.

The light is poor. I crouch below

and, with my torch, explore the head. 

His is a strange, impassive face,

though crudely drawn, not without grace.


Two skeletons, they unearthed here

long, long ago: two ancient men    

entombed, the cause of death unclear.

I think of them and turn again

to the low entrance and the light 

that welcomes me, subdues my fright.


How good it is, the warm, sweet sun.

Was this how Lazarus arose

from his dead sheets, life re-begun?

Through cords of veins my rich blood flows,

I breathe in, step away, retreat.

The sweet grass spreads beneath my feet. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

WREN DITION

We have an amazing number of species of birds in Guernsey, many resident and some just passing through, along with a large and active contingent of ornithologists whose patience and tenacity I admire.

In our garden recently I had the good fortune to catch a rare glimpse of a wren, possibly my favourite small bird. This poem is the result of that sighting.















THE WREN


The tiny and elusive wren,

sweet bird of hedges, brush and briar,

darts like a poet’s singing pen,

a scribbled cadence tinged with fire.


Scant few will spot her: blink an eye

she’s gone, a subtlety unseen.

Ever in motion, sprightly, shy,

a garden grace note, small, serene.


Thursday, 15 October 2020

REMEMBRANCE OF TIMES PAST

This year I grew outdoor tomato plants for the first time and found myself transported back to childhood by their distinctive smell. 

So often scents connect us with forgotten places and times-past far more readily than conscious memory does. 







THE GREENHOUSE


The greenhouse, which he built that final year,

is standing still, the timber bleached with age,

its window-glass surprisingly intact,

some cobwebs, but the panes still mostly clear.

Outside the door is nailed an old rain-gauge,

unused for twenty years, the dials cracked.


I step inside, slip into long ago:

the smell of heated earth, old leather boots,

the well-remembered rich tomato tang, 

and seem to see the plants I played below,

those scented stalks bent with tumescent fruits,

the hook where father’s felt hat used to hang.


Some men write poems or songs to leave their mark:

proud, peerless words they hope will outlive death.

My long-dead father never was that kind:

no man of words, his world was austere, stark

but, in his greenhouse, with each indrawn breath

that unforgotten scent brings him to mind. 



Monday, 12 October 2020

FLYING SOLO

Open Mic Poetry Evening
Thursday 15th October 2020 at 8pm 
The Fermain Tavern, 
St. Martin, 
Guernsey.


  All welcome, admission free, friendly crowd, great atmosphere, easy parking.  
Read if you feel inspired or just swing by and enjoy the poetry.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/333271658055903


https://guernseypoets.blogspot.com



OPEN MIC FAQs


What is Open Mic?

An Open Mic event is one where anyone can share their poems. You don’t need to be famous or published, anyone can have a go.


How do I take part?

Just arrive on time (8pm) and give your name to the organiser.


How will I know when it’s my turn?

The organiser will lead the event, introducing poets to the stage and letting you know when to go up. You’ll find the atmosphere welcoming and supportive. 


How long should I read?

Open Mic nights allocate reading slots by number of poems (usually 3) but please don’t read an epic: keep them under a page.


Monday, 5 October 2020

THE WOMAN IN BLACK

Attracted by the subject of Cryptozoology, the theme for the November edition of Snakeskin Poetry, I allowed myself a certain amount of latitude and wrote this rhyming poem, The Scream. Alas, it didn’t find favour with November’s guest editor. 

My consolation was to see another of my poems, The End Of The Affair, published in Snakeskin’s October edition.  

You can read some of this month’s excellent material here: http://www.snakeskinpoetry.co.uk

For those who may be unaware, a banshee is a female spirit in Irish folklore who heralds the death of a family member usually by wailing, shrieking, or keening.












THE SCREAM


Why do we need them, things unseen:

the ghost, the deity, the beast

unclassified, the figurine

that weeps real tears from stone, the priest 

with his stigmatic, fractured wrists,

the werewolf prowling in the mists?


What human need do they fulfil?

What faith or fear do they instil?


The Irish face this century

with confident modernity

but in our countryside it seems

the clocks have stopped, time holds its breath,

and every time the Banshee screams

we rationalists await a death.


Thursday, 1 October 2020

TWENTY-TWENTY VISION



Today, 1st October, is National Poetry Day and this year’s theme is Vision.

It’s the ideal opportunity to offer up a ‘secular prayer’ to St Anza, the Patron Saint of poetry and what is a poem if not a secular prayer.


Find the National Poetry Day link at https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/about-npd


Here’s a particular favourite of mine.


ADLESTROP by Edward Thomas


Yes. I remember Adlestrop –

The name, because one afternoon

Of heat the express-train drew up there 

Unwontedly. It was late June.


The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat. 

No one left and no one came

On the bare platform. What I saw

Was Adlestrop – only the name


And willows, willow-herb, and grass, 

And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry, 

No whit less still and lonely fair

Than the high cloudlets in the sky.


And for that minute a blackbird sang 

Close by, and round him, mistier, 

Farther and farther, all the birds

Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.


PS.  It being National Poetry Day, I was invited into the BBC Radio Guernsey studio this morning to talk about all things poetic. 

The broadcaster, Jenny Kendal Tobias, laid on a surprise in the form of a telephone link-up with current Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, and we were able to have an interesting chat.

Whilst this wasn’t a physical encounter, since Covid-19 has made such things impossible at present, I believe I can still add Simon to the ever-growing List Of Poets Laureate I’ve Encountered, where he joins former Laureates, Andrew Motion and Carol Ann Duffy. 



 

Friday, 25 September 2020

TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'

We’ve had a bumper summer in Guernsey this year and the seemingly-endless sunshine has made Lockdown and the attendant Covid-restrictions tolerable in a way that overcast skies would never have done. 

The last couple of days, however, with high winds and abundant leaf fall, are a stark reminder that autumn is just around the corner. 














END OF THE AFFAIR 


The heating gets switched on.

Sandals build nests in the boot-box.


The old straw hat sleeps, purring, 

on the shelf where, overnight, 

hats become cats.


Jumpers sidle out 

like pale young vampires in early dark.


The game’s up.


Summer’s finally pushed off 

as you always knew it would:


a false friend, 

a good lover gone bad.