Fourteen³ - September 2016


Sonnet CXLI - On Simple Pleasures
21st September 2016

I love darjeeling with a dash of milk;
A mug of builders’ brew in cold canteen;
The smell of lapsang souchong’s smoky silk;
The fresh refreshment of a cup of green.

So make no mention of the cursed bean,
And cups of carbonation don’t abide.
Bring china pots and rituals byzantine,
Or simply mash a bag against the side.

There’s pleasure in a taste that’s newly tried,
Or paper parcels filled with fish and chips.
In Yorkshire puddings cooked with Northern pride,
Or toasted crumpets when the butter drips,

But I know I shall never taste or see,
A poem lovely as a cup of tea.

Sonnet CXLII - On The Dawn Chorus
22nd September 2016

The star of morning shines in ashen skies,
Which pinken with the golden fingered dawn,
The nascent, ancient sun begins to rise,
And marks the turn from dark to day, reborn.

The stillness of the morning light is torn,
A warbled chorus lifts on lilting wings:
A thousand songs of joy and lust and scorn,
To greet the unseen lord of feathered things.

As sure as sunrise comes, the morning brings
A four-month old awakened by the light.
He chews his feet, and with full voice he sings,
A wordless hymn with all his infant might,

And speaks with interlocutors unseen,
In tongues which none can fathom what they mean.

Sonnet CXLIII - On Hope
27th September 2016

As insubstantial as the morning mist,
Which seems to have such power to conceal,
But parts upon approach and can’t resist
The unforgiving sunlight of the real.

As strong as cables wrought of tempered steel
Which hold aloft the high-suspended span,
They’re solid and unshakable to feel,
But when they must, unbreaking, bend they can.

The end of all the things which I began,
The promise of better, brighter day:
This light within my heart is greater than
The dark which flanks me all along the way.

For fear’s the country which I travel through,
But hope’s horizon’s where I travel to.

Sonnet CXLIV - On Fear
27th August 2016

As haunting as the fog of swirling grey,
Which closes in and makes you walk alone,
And stalks the warmth and sunlight of the day:
The silent shade of all that is unknown.

As flimsy as the ropes which creak and groan,
Which hold the way above the endless fall,
The boards consumed by worms and tempest blown,
With every step I hear the chasm call.

The curse of strong made weak and great made small,
All youth’s potential useless under glass,
The unseen hand which builds a diamond wall
Which I might see beyond and never pass.

But fear shall not prevail as I pursue,
The hope of hope which daily springs anew.

Sonnet CXLV - On Multitasking
27th September 2016

I know that multitasking is a lie,
Albeit one that is so well rehearsed,
I fear our false belief is so awry,
It might be too far gone to be reversed.

I’d like to find the person who has cursed
Us with the notion that it might be done,
I’d run them through with my to do list first,
Then multitask their kneecaps with a gun.

I contemplate all I have not begun,
I sort by size of task and when they’re due,
Then work from start to finish, one by one,
This is the only thing I know to do:

If I’m to do them well, without delay,
It’s best to do them in an ordered way.

Sonnet CXLVI - On My Bucket List (A Biting Satire)
28th September 2016

I’ve swum with dolphins in a blue lagoon;
Watched hatchling condors feeding in the nest;
I’ve bungee jumped from a hot air balloon;
Surveyed the world below from Everest

(Well, went to base camp. Didn’t do the rest);
I’ve raged in vain against the man’s machine;
Joined England’s first XI for a test;
Met Helen Mirren, Bono and the Queen.

I’ve been a bore, been thoughtless, and been mean;
Burned every bridge I might have walked upon;
I’ve swapped a depth of life for just a sheen
Of fleeting feeling felt and quickly gone.

I wrecked my life, for I could not resist
The siren song sung by my bucket list.

Sonnet CXLVII - On A Certain Type Of Poetry (Another Biting Satire)
28th September 2016

I write free verse, divorced from form and rhyme,
I overwrite some tortured metaphor,
Remove the nouns a dozen at a time,
But leave the adjectives then add some more.

For making sense is such an awful chore,
And there is always someone who’ll pretend
To understand no matter how obscure,
The excremental nonsense that I’ve penned.

I’ve heard that there are poets who will spend
A lifetime drinking deep of poesy past,
Take all they’ve learned and brew a heady blend
Of old and new to make a thing to last.

But I think all of that is for the birds,
My poetry is just a bunch of words.

Sonnet CXLVIII - On Insomnia
29th September 2016

I lie awake and somehow do not sleep,
And stare into the purple face of night.
As minutes into hours softly creep,
I fear the nearing dawning of the light.

I know this is a battle I can’t fight
I know I must relentlessly relax,
So try to make imagination’s sight
Enumerate oneiric ovine packs.

My eyes are swaddled tight in burlap sacks,
My body is a sponge that’s twisted dry,
My mind a shapeless blob of heated wax,
My soul a weary, help-forsaken cry.

But dawn is come, and soon I must away,
And with these broken tools must build a day.

Sonnet CXLIX - On Greed
29th September 2016

The movie monster said that greed is good,
From fortress founded on the sands of need,
And though he’s wrong, I’ve always understood,
Though greed’s not good, there might be good in greed.

To show appreciation as I feed,
I’ll speak of food in grateful, eager tones,
I’ll eat with pleasure, appetite and speed,
I’ll gladly chew the fat and gnaw the bones,

I’ll suck the flesh from peach and cherry stones,
I’ll use my fingers, mop the plate with bread,
I’ll eat the comfort foods and try unknowns
I’ll drain my glass and finish all I’m fed.

For I shall eat and drink, take meat and wine,
Make merry, too: tomorrow we must dine.

Sonnet CL - On Making A Grown Up Decision
29th September 2016

We loved their tiny corner of our lives,
We tried to give them time, but soon we knew,
Our home could not be where well-being thrives,
We could not give the life that they were due:

We could not care for them and baby too.
Though I could barely bring myself to start,
We made a call, before a week was through
They moved into another’s home and heart.

The smack of sudden sentiment can smart:
The memories I wish I didn’t know,
The joys we’ve lost, the things which fall apart,
The shadows of a pet from long ago,

The happiness we’d never start upon
If knowing it would all-too-soon be gone.

Sonnet CLI - On Going
30th September 2016

When in the gentlemen’s facility,
Use only odd urinals on the wall:
If only even numbered ones are free,
Then either leave or wait or use the stall.

If grave misfortune strikes and it befall,
Away from home that you must number two,
A double-flush politeness asks from all,
But scented candle use is up to you.

If you must go for a nocturnal loo,
If there is an extractor, leave the light;
Remember: you must always flush down do,
But please leave wees to linger through the night.

So mind your pees and poos and don’t forget
These simple rules of good toiletiquette.

Sonnet CLII - On A Minor Administrative Task
30th September 2016

There is a remnant from my childhood:
A strange relationship with coloured sweets,
(The hearts of shrinks who read these lines all should
Be skipping psychoanalytic beats).

I empty out the pack of rainbow treats,
Then sort them into sets with every hue,
Then start by eating all the incompletes,
For only groups of every kind will do.

I eat them in a certain order too:
The citrus flavours first, the berries last,
(Though changing moods can set this rule askew,
It’s not a thing that’s set too hard and fast.)

Don’t look for metaphors, for there are none,
It’s merely something odd I’ve always done.

Sonnet CLIII - On Presenteeism
30th September 2016

No, really, come to work. Oh, that’s just grand.
It’s so important not to cause a fuss.
Just sniff all day and cough into your hand,
So you can share your cold with all of us.

For when you call in sick, we all discuss
How in your absence nothing can get done:
Your presence is imperative, and thus
If you’re not here our work rate drops to none.

Don’t let the foul, deceitful web be spun
That you might have a less productive day,
It’s best that you are here so everyone
Can see and have a chance to feel this way.

So come to work for, after all, it’s said
You actually heal slower from your bed.

Sonnet CLIV - On Reaching A Milestone
30th September 2016

I still don’t know what I’m supposed to write,
If all of this amounts to anything.
But down this tunnelled path there’ll soon be light,
And that’s the weary hope to which I cling.

Eleven months I’ve supped the sonnet spring,
Eleven months of this poetic chore,
And now three more from bloodless stone to wring.
I wrote one hundred, then wrote fifty more,

And just today, with this, another four,
Which brings my total up to match with Will,
The first I write next month shall beat his score.
Surpassed numerically, if not in skill.

So in your face, you balding, beardy Bard.
Just three more months of this should not be hard.