Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Roe Deer by Ted Hughes

In the dawn's early light, in the the biggest snow of the year
Two blue-dark deer stood in the road, alerted.

They had happened into my dimension
The moment I was arriving just there.

They planted their 2 or 3 years of secret deerhood
Clear on my snowscreen vision of the abnormal

And hesitated in the all-way disintigration
And stared at me. And so for some lasting seconds

I could think the deer were waiting for me
To remember the password and sign

That the curtain had blown aside for a moment
And there where the trees were no longer trees, nor the road a road

The deer had come for me.

Then they ducked thru the hedge, and upright they rode their legs

Away downhill over snow-lonely field

Towards tree-dark--finally
Seeming to eddy and glide and fly away up

Into the boil of big flakes.
The snow took them and soon their nearby hoofprints as well.

Revising its dawn inspiration
Back to the ordinary.

© Ted Hughes Feb 1973

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Wycombe walk

I walk the Wycombe hills
At close of day
As night draws its curtain of darkness
Cross vales of green
Crouching cottages
Leaking light and life
Silent stables standing
And I pass by

Spectral sheep stop and stare
Startled animals scurry there
Untidily like a fleeting thought
Just cant catch it

Black cows heads bowed
dark thoughts unmowed
and tree and bush and here
close in
walk faster, faster, faster
Light, life and longing
to be there

© mjcooke 2009

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Do not Stand at My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain

When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there. I did not die.


Monday, 19 October 2009

The Trees by Philip Larkin

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said
The recent buds relax and spread
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In full grown thickness every May
Last year is dead, they seem to say
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh

(c) Philip Larkin 1967

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Shield of Achilles by WH Auden (Part 1)

She looked over his shoulder
For vines and olive trees,
Marble well-governed cities
And ships upon untamed seas,
But there on the shining metal
His hands had put instead
An artificial wilderness
And a sky like lead.

A plain without a feature, bare and brown,
No blade of grass, no sign of neighborhood,
Nothing to eat and nowhere to sit down,
Yet, congregated on its blankness, stood
An unintelligible multitude,
A million eyes, a million boots in line,
Without expression, waiting for a sign.

Out of the air a voice without a face
Proved by statistics that some cause was just
In tones as dry and level as the place:
No one was cheered and nothing was discussed;
Column by column in a cloud of dust
They marched away enduring a belief
Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Solitude - by today's guest poet

Alone I stand beside the chilling lakes,
Dressed in my Oxfam clothes,
With my old ash stick to support my aches,
Like a barbed wire fence held up with stakes,

Alone I stand all out of puff,
Thankful for pills and all that stuff.
For to be out here at eighty or more,
Beats all those years in the army and war.

Alone I stand in my woollen hat,
The mountain range hides the sun.
Without my glasses, I`m blind as a bat,
I`ve disturbed a rabbit, he`s on the run.

Alone I stand my back to the wind,
Thinking of times long gone,
Alas, I cannot stay too long,
Time`s getting on.

Written by David A Wooster. October 1984

Friday, 18 September 2009

Mike says

" I have you to thank for ever for changing my course
and road in life "

Nuff said.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Tim (Peru) says

" Butlers Bridge is bloody brilliant "

Nuff said.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Railway Children

When we climbed the slopes of the cutting
We were eye level with the white cups
Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires

Like lovely freehand they curved for miles
East and miles west beyond us, sagging
Under their burden of swallows

We were small and thought we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words travelled the wires
In the shiny pouches of raindrops.

Each one seeded full with the light
Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, and ourselves
So infinitesimally scaled

We could stream through the eye of a needle

(c) Seamus Heaney

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Support your local

Poetry in Pubs now features in 4 locations

The Wendover Arms, High Wycombe

The Fox, Ibstone

The Stag, Flackwell Heath

The Golden Cross, Saunderton

Poetryinpubs ‘ raise your glass to the rime

READ the poetry next time you are there

or COME along to a LIVE Reading.

If you want your local featured in PoetryinPubs

or organise a LIVE reading

Call 07901 980 918

Friday, 28 August 2009

Harvest time was a golden time in my memory, hayfields and harvest – look at the English countryside and it is littered with the harvest home, bales and stacks. Unfortunately, as I was an asthmatic child, I was unable to assist much with the cutting and stacking of the hay , prior to the arrival of the baler. However , I came to assist with the tea and billy-can and the ubiqitious ‘soda farls’ to feed the workers (my two Uncles, brothers and sister). I came to assist with the packing and stacking of the bales into the barn.

And We Were Kings

We laid our back against the stack

And wiped the sweat and hayseeds from our brow

Caps cocked to shield the sun

thirst slain in the billy-can

We squinted at swallows in their drunken dives

With no rhyme nor reason nor route to roost

Our limbs tired and toiled those fields

till sunset, where stacks , some small

gave birth to bigger ones

The day the baler came with reverence we accepted

Its offspring into our blistered hands

And nursed that harvest home

With many a shout ‘Watch out’

as one bale tumbled from the trailer

into the pressure cooker barn

And we built castles that Summer eve'

Tight to the tin-high heaven roof

Castles for cattle whose winter weary days

Were bunged up in dunged-up, silent byres

And they would chew the cud

And chew the cud and sip the Summer dew

when Winter froze the ground

and we were boys in the Spring of our lives

Thursday, 27 August 2009


Thank you Patricia for your feedback

" interesting poems. I cannot get away with any certainty from rhyme schemes partricularly the terza rima. Your poetry has the same immediacy as impressionist painting and reminds me of my childhood on a farm in Essex"

Friday, 7 August 2009

When you are old

William Butler Yeats - I read my father "Lake Isle of Innisfree " just before he died. At the Flackwell Heath Writing Club, this week, I was asked to read this.

When you are old and grey and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Wembley Stadium

Saturday's gig at EDEN shopping centre
prompted one of the audience to tell me

" Mervyn you make us feel very humble.
You could make Wembley stadium humble "

Hey what a compliment - maybe that's my next venue

Sunday, 19 July 2009

The Byre at Milking Time

Here's one I ve tried to get down ...

Summer Winter Autumn Spring
We'd bring that train of cows in
Tails a-swishing cuds a-chewing
The slap and plop of cow dung murdered the yard
The chorus of chains, shaken heads bowed in prayer
Munching yesterday's summer grain

The nimble flick twixt head and tail kept flies afar
The suck and pump of the stainless steel sump
Stole white gold from bloated sacs

Uncle stood stooped, one hand on haunch
We stood back one step safe from fear
Uncle Joe, cap cocked and crushed
by fifty graying summer suns

and we drank of wit and wisdom
40 sheep went through the gap
That’s the rhyme I call to mind

40 sheep went through the gap

40 followed after 6,7, 10,11
Two and three how many’s that?
Two and three how many’s that?

The pump sucked no more
The slither of chains fell to the floor
The back byre door scudded open
Crippled by layers of caked cowdung ,
Creaking, the fading summer sun

The swishing train headed out
The dart and dip of the sudden swift
Rising in, rafter high , arrowing out
To a brighter winter sky