Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Thursday, 4 December 2014


Once each month I intend to reprise the three most popular poems or stories from a previous month. 
Today I’m featuring September 2014, my first month of writing this blog. You can find commentary on each of these poems at their original locations, whose dates are shown below.


Upward, upward, upward he goes
on the taut rope in dusty heat 
defying gravity, belief.
One rope end lies, sweat-oiled, coiled, neat,
on a soiled, cheesecloth handkerchief.
From his father’s pipe, music flows.

The other end climbs vertically,
upward and attached to nothing
and up that swaying ladder, there,
a small brown boy, with gold ear-ring,
shins, this red morning, while we stare
with breathless incredulity.

We western tourists: Brits, fat Yanks,
believe mostly in disbelief.
Dull cynicism is our way:
debunking magic is our brief.
It’s just a bloody trick!  we say, 
who trust in pension plans and banks. 

(First appeared 8 September 2014)


Catechism came with porridge
on Sunday mornings, then. 
and Answer. 

What is man’s chief end?

A lifetime later, adult, grown,
I have the forthright answer still:

To glorify our God, amen.

How those morning pictures linger.

With hair slicked down and parting straight,
scrubbed knees, nails free of grime, clean hands,
in Sunday Best, clean underpants
and vest, black brogues with Bible shine,
I went with hymn-book to the church,

then into Sunday School we trooped like little soldiers off to war,
while parents stayed for Hell-Fire words and promises of Satan’s wrath
that they, in turn, would promise us.

Grey were the Sundays of my youth: shut shops, shut faces, shuttered hearts.
A football kicked would damn to Hell. 
A comic read, a careless laugh, would be recorded in God’s book.
Guilt was instilled and mortal fear.
I haven’t yet got off the hook.

(First appeared 18 September 2014)


He dreamed of oceans as a child;
would run away to sea when grown;
might sail the chill Atlantic, wild,
or broad Pacific, tempest blown,

but grown to adulthood, he failed  
in everything. There was no prow
or spreading wake: he never sailed.
He seeks his ships in bottles now.

(First appeared 17 September 2014)

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