Saturday, 28 April 2012

Poems for Occasions

Season's bleatings

“Are you excited about Xmas?” the young ones all say
The snow and the tinsel, the bells and the sleigh?

Well, we older and wiser know what lies ahead
The ups and the downs, the emotional spread

So we smile half a smile and we sigh half a sigh
And we think to ourselves “my, doesn't time fly?

Xmas again and it's come round so fast...”
And we look in our file labelled large “Xmas past”

And we see many entries, not all of them glowing
With happiness, cosiness, carols and snowing

Instead family dramas, the trials we've had
Our own soapy operas, good stories and bad

Silent times too, lonely days, plans gone wrong
Times when the holidays really dragged on

So we give back our answer –  a “yes” and a “no”
And a guide to our yuletide follows below.

At Xmas expectations are sillily high
From immaculate beginnings to the perfect mince pie

So we're on to a loser from the start of the game
But we try to ignore that, not focus on blame

And we sing all the songs, even angels and kings
And shop till we flop, wearing out our best wings

And we cook and we stew, and our memories bake
And the telly works hard to keep spirits awake

And we sink now and then, maybe after a sherry
And we try not to tire of the word that is “merry”

And we miss special people who've left us and gone
And we try not to cry but the tears still switch on

Like the lights, that at Xmas, are pretty and bright
There's a positive note, hark, an ending's in sight

For the yule, this is all, it comes round, has its slot
And we wade our way through it, excited or not

A funeral affair


There must be lots of things to say
About you now you're gone away
But most of them might seem unkind
At least the ones that spring to mind
You were not fair or good or true
You only seemed to care for you
You showed no heart or sympathy
So let us end you honestly
No one will cry for you today
At most a little prayer they'll say
Perhaps they'll urge you try again
But for god's sake be still till then





A wedding poem (not to be read at weddings)


Oh, another girl in big frock
Oh, another suited groom
Oh, another messy, lost flock
Oh, another sense of doom

Oh, another huge tiara
Oh, foundation everywhere
Oh, the bride looks like her father
Oh, those looks weren't made to share

Oh, another hundred places
Oh, another chicken dish
Oh, just look at those grim faces
Oh, they should have gone for fish

Oh, I bet they all want ABBA
Oh, except that fierce young man
Oh, he'll want early Nirvana
Oh, that's not the thing for Gran

Oh, are weddings ever special
Oh, they can just merge as one
Oh, they can be simply dreadful
Oh, may my day never come





Bad interview technique


What is it they say?
Imagine them naked
At the job interview
And I do
But it’s not bare bodies I see
It’s stark naked souls
Most disturbing
It makes me twitchy
And unlikely ever to gain employment





Happy war


I just can't do it
Can't write one of those inspiring
'They gave their lives with honour' numbers
Packed full of glorious verses
Poppy fields swaying
Twelve geese a-laying
It's not happening

Can't manage either
An anti-Bush and Blair anthem
Would love to write one
But just can't find the words
Blair, Blair
It's not fair
It's not looking good

Even avoiding the 24 hour news diet
War can be just too graphic for words I think
Men and women are taken to pieces
Some quickly, some slowly
Some end widows, some widowers
And what is the word for a mother, a father
Who no longer has any children left living?

The radio talks of war
And I see arms and legs
Loose without bodies
And lots and lots
And lots of blood
No poppies, no roses, no flowers really
Just boxes and bags of bits of people

Even the oh-so local papers can't avoid it
Every day faces smile out of people now dead
They are gone past us but the smiles remain
Unsettling, unfair, unbearable
Smiles show strangely the pain of loss
The quite possibly perfectly pointless sacrifice
They make writing difficult, living difficult.





Happy new hope 


Years have to start with hope, this is essential
We have to feel that good things are to come
A lack of hope can be most detrimental
It can stop New Year’s Eve from being fun.
No, seeing smiles ahead is fairly vital
We should see triumphs and tranquillity
We listen (hark) for fanfares by the skyful
Between them sighs contented, full and free.
We need to feel our hearts are in it with us
That hope has made it, somehow, through and through
Life’s switches may be always out to dim us
But we can think of ways to glow anew.
This New Year’s hopes might be the ones to make it
The outstretched hand - we see it, match it, take it.





Short valentine


Roses are red
Violets are violet
Please love me
My life's in the toilet

Straight on till blast-off (Xmas)

You want me to SLEEP?

When I'm more excited than I've EVER been!
When a funny old man in (for some reason)
A red suit and a white beard
Is right NOW (as we SPEAK!) above the ROOFTOPS!
He's in a HUGE sleigh, so you say, piled with presents
And the sleigh is pulled by (can you believe this?)
Real MAGIC animals (the like of which I've never SEEN)!
This is REAL, TRUE and nothing like a film or a video game!
And all this is going on above my HEAD
And you say you want me to go to SLEEP?


I mean, I know I shouldn't be greedy and everything
But there is just the TINIEST possibility (isn't there?)
That the entire contents of the kids section of the Argos catalogue
Is going to turn up in my room at some point this evening
And if that happens, well, I'd like to see it.
I mean, I've been good  (most of the time)
I've washed my hands (OVER and OVER) like you tell me
And I've tried to be nice to everybody (and that's HARD)
So going to sleep now (if you don't mind me saying so)
Well, that's a bit of a crazy thing to ask a person.

And don't forget there's been the Xmas songs
(On the shops...on the radio...)
And there's been shows at school and there's been
'Let's write that Xmas email to Santa'
And you know, a child's only human
And all these things conspire against us,
They excite us and they TORTURE us
And now, like pretty much every child in the country,
I am worked up into a FRENZY!
I am Xmas alive and kicking and raring to go...
So sleep, I have to tell you,
Is really the last thing on my mind right now.

I can't even remember how to spell it.

But I tell you what
You go and have a sleep (if you're so keen on it).
You've got a long day ahead of you tomorrow after all,
You'd best get your head down
While you can.

Death by fair trade

When I go, you know, dead,
Will you sink me in chocolate,
Make me bittersmooth, tempting,
A real corpse of a treat?

Will you display me briefly,
Then brew a huge pot of tea,
Will you hand out strong mugs of it,
Sit down to feast?

Will you snap off so carefully,
Each long brittle finger,
Will you crunch on them lovingly,
Relish what's gone?

Will you share me with neighbours,
Will you pass round a plate of me,
Will you make me go quietly,
Or raise a sweet parting song?

All poems by Rachel Fox (some time after 1997)

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