for Richard Carver
Swept away by time’s ebbing tide
Swirling into the whirlpool
Of our memories
Into the chamber of lit images
Flickering screens bereft of sound
Such as his laughter coming round
The corner by the coffee shop.
And the Pipers slow march to thudding muffled drums
Then the keening comes;shrill cries by lamentations moans
Chill the ragged wind, their drones and chanters
Wail the names of Death.
How the Flowers of the Forest
Have now all gone awa’
Yet somewhere faraway ,on some jagged warring border
Highland Soldiers still laugh and boast
In whisky the Regimental Toast,
‘Here’s tae us.There’s none like us
And theys that are like us? They’re a’ deid!
And with him went his wicked smile
The rakish hat,the sense of style
That described his painted world
The light within his crackling eye
Replete with mountains,river,sky
Burned with questions. How and Why.
His brush is stilled,his canvas furled
His colours flutter at half mast.
Richard’s journey will still continue
But his time with us has passed.
We are prisoners at the capstan
Pushing the hours away
Hauling life by life
Across history’s two edged knife.
The nation lies plundered
As the strangers hack and spill
The blood smoking in the scuppers
As contending shantymen fiddle
Dancing on the capstan head
Fancy footwork standing still.
Existence a sea of lives
Now, the ship with room
For just a few.
Our Lady of the Waterfront
Serene surveys the crowded quay
Blue blind gaze reflecting
Shimmer shifting sea
The lost,the found,the free.
Flower-pots in hotel windows
Diesel rainbowed water
Cool gates to faraway
To where I want to be.
Black Butterfly,charred pages
Lies ascending through tears
Diluted by the rain
Wings buckling beneath the strain
Is there nothing to heal the wounded
To make them weep again.
You shall have nothing of me
But the ripple on the surface
Where I dived into the everlasting sea
My absence will heal those weaknesses
In the eternal fabric, the recurring rhyme
As I swim forever in oceanic time.