Fourteen³ - October 2016


Sonnet CLV - On Time
19th October 2016

Tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock,
The sounding of the ceaseless steps of time,
The metronomic mortal minutes mock,

The life which passes, pauseless, through its prime,
The life I’ve carved into iambic feet,
The life I’ve meted out in metered rhyme,

The rhymes which echo, double and repeat,
The repetition of the course I keep,
The debits listed on my balance sheet,

The wake and work and rest and eat and sleep,
The waking of the intermittent shock,
The apprehension of the reaper’s creep,

The constant, creeping heartbeat of the clock,
Tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock.

Sonnet CLVI - On Being Ginger
19th October 2016

I am of auburn beard and hair of red,
My jib is of distinctly orange cut,
There’s no denying that is how I’m bred,

I haven’t always really liked it, but
My inner lion tossed his mane and roared,
And birthed a brazen bronzen ginger nut.

It isn’t universally adored,
And might draw insults from a passing van,
But I’ll not be forgotten or ignored,

And on the street or in the forest, man,
I’ll stand up tall and proudly lift my head,
Resembling the great orangutan.

And bards will sing when I have long been dead:
He was of auburn beard and hair of red.

Sonnet CLVII - On Baptism
22nd October 2016

Creation, out of troubled waters drawn,
The genesis of Spirit-gathered land,
Which rose to meet the risen sun’s new dawn.

Salvation, offered with an outstretched hand,
The chosen standing on the Red Sea shore,
Who walk to freedom on the puddled sand.

Confounding water godless prophets pour,
The lonely man who simply stood and prayed,
When heaven’s power fell in blazing roar.

The jar of water holy hands remade,
The wine as rich as blood from flesh that’s torn,
The sovereign love the Son of man displayed.

Symbolic death we share and rise reborn:
Creation, out of living waters drawn.

Sonnet CLVIII - On The Future
26th October 2016

I think of all the things which lie ahead,
Which will or might or shall not ever be,
The vague and ever changing phantom thread,

Which stretches off as far as I can see,
And marks the thousand, thousand, winding ways,
Of branching paths of possibility.

So I will stumble, aimless through the maze,
And take some passing pleasure in the thought
That I might make the most of all my days,

So when each race is run and battle fought,
I’ll not regret the life which I have led.
So ‘til that unseen day when I am brought,

To indistinct horizon of the dead,
I’ll think of all the things which lie ahead.

Sonnet CLIX - On The Past
26th October 2016

I think of all the things which lie behind,
The static of each day and month and year.
Eroded from my share of time I grind

Each second down and watch them disappear,
And turn to grains of sand which lie upon
The single path that led the way to here.

But time that’s past is never truly gone,
It is the seamless fabric of the now,
The garment I must daily weave and don.

And though the course of time cannot allow
A change in how the stitches have combined,
I’ll seek with future threads to find out how

They might be more attractively designed
So think of all the things which lie behind.

Sonnet CLX - On The Promethian Torture Of Searching For A Job
28th October 2016

I pour my life into an ordered list,
Cut down to bones, to fill a single page.
A single page, so easily dismissed,

By those who glance in haste and disengage.
I make my case; I boldly stake my claim;
I chase a dream, a challenge or a wage.

Capricious gods held back their gift of flame.
I bared my soul on ancient mountain peak,
But only silence or rejection came

To tear my insides out with callous beak.
But hope regrows each night, so I persist,
The only way to catch this flame is seek,

So hoping this time I’ll be fortune kissed,
I pour myself into an ordered list.

Sonnet CLXI - On Beer
29th October 2016

I raise my glass and drink my fill of cheer:
The malted barley, water, yeast and hops,
The ruby black, the gold, the almost clear,

The swirling rush from pull to final drops,
The stand and wait as stillness settles in,
The glasses with their pearly frothy tops;

The weary stress of patience wearing thin,
The mouthful filled with bitter-floral taste,
The creeping comfort seeps beneath the skin;

The elongated moment free from haste,
The way the lazy evenings disappear,
The pleasures of a pint correctly paced;

In celebration of this lovely beer,
I raise my glass and drink my fill of cheer.

Sonnet CLXII - On A Mouse, Who Is Having A Bad Day
30th October 2016

(With apologies to Robert Burns)

My best laid mousie plans gang aft agley,
The wee and tim’rous baby beastie screams,
The hopes I had are all in disarray,

For who has any time for future schemes,
When up to here with noise and infant wee?
The past and future are but distant dreams,

And now the present only toucheth me.
The life I thole’s not fit for man or mouse,
With only daimen icker for my tea.

And though I never like to moan and grouse,
As if that weren’t enough to wreck my day,
Some berk just drove his plough right through my house.

My lovely, sleekit coat is turning grey,
My best laid mousie plans gang aft agley.

Sonnet CLXIII - On Missing A Bus
30th October 2016

I see it pass and scream in silent rage,
I watch it stop but can’t get there on time
It pulls away, I slow and stop and stage

An incandescent roadside pantomime.
I shake my fist, and stamp my feet and swear,
And call down threats of sabotage and crime.

Then stand beside the bus stop and despair,
And think of all the buses I have missed.
Then think of all the times I didn’t dare,

Of every chance I thoughtlessly dismissed,
Of times when hurdles made me disengage,
It makes a long and agonising list.

The sum of lost ambition is my cage:
I let them pass, so scream in silent rage.

Sonnet CLXIV - On Stillness
30th October 2016

When silence falls, and calm has come again,
When rest can overcome the need to do,
When chaos dies and peace resumes its reign,

I find the refuge that I’m running to,
The space to breathe within my breathlessness,
The blessed relief of mind and soul made new,

And cleansed of irritation, strain and stress.
In solitude and stillness let me stand,
And for a moment let me decompress:

It is the yearned-for touch of lover’s hand,
The balm of existential fear and pain,
The rain which falls upon the drought-burned land.

So I shall take a moment to remain,
Where silence falls, and calm has come again.

Sonnet CLXV - On Creation
31st October 2016

The ancient word of God has been fulfilled,
The word so simply spoken: “Let there be,”
And so the tree of life began to build.

The cyclic world, propelled by gravity
Spun on; and life, according to that law,
Spun into ever more complexity,

And endless forms have built the richest store,
As every parent branch begets a shoot,
So generations grow to something more:

Each species finding better ways to suit,
And some persist while others have been stilled.
So “Let there be” grew evolution’s fruit,

Which freely formed in ways selection willed,
And ancient word of God has been fulfilled.

Sonnet CLXVI - On Infant Laughter
31st October 2016

I sit and hold my little infant son,
I stand him up and help him stay in place,
With care he finds his feet and when he’s done,

He gazes up at me with open face.
And suddenly, with grin and wrinkled nose,
Like glinting star which falls from outer space,

He hums his fledgling laugh and laughter grows,
As I respond to him and him to me,
Until it bubbles up and overflows,

And I am helpless with hilarity.
Down aching cheeks the mirthful teardrops run.
(His mother takes him gently from my knee.)

How great the love and joy that I have won,
When I just sit and hold my infant son.

Sonnet CLXVII - On Infant Tears
31st October 2016

I hold a ball of screaming infant tears
Beside a petrol station far from home,
I hold him close and try to calm his fears,

As sunset turns to early autumn gloam.
He is so tired, but will not close his eyes,
He rubs them with a fingernail comb,

Because he will not fall asleep he cries,
And will not let his crying be consoled.
I love him from the ocean to the skies,

I love him with a love that can’t be told,
I love him more than all of heaven’s spheres,
I’ll love him from today until I’m old.

And yet until this storm of sorrow clears,
I hold a ball of screaming infant tears.

Sonnet CLXVIII - On Synergy’s Baby
31st October 2016

He’s greater than the sum of all his parts,
Or so it seems to my indulgent mind,
The product of the melding of our hearts,

And when I look into his face I find
I see the best of you, the best of me,
Into an infant face and frame combined.

And as he grows I hope we still shall see,
The best of both of us has also grown,
But that he’ll also find a way to be,

Possessed of greatness born in him alone:
A man who takes the worth of both our arts,
And makes them more than we have ever known.

But still, to me, before he even starts,
He’s greater than the sum of all his parts.