Wednesday, January 12, 2022

I Miss The Rooks

Ox Farming in Delhi
Poetry by Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales
—Photos by Stephen Kingsnorth, as well as Courtesy of
 Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA (Public Domain)


We drop suddenly,
overtaking the ox ploughing
beside the tarmac.

little mascara boys
wrest the bags from us
before, bewildered and affronted,
we grab them back.

We overload Ambassadors,
unsuited cases and rucksacks
bulging, over-flowing
the gaping jaws of convoy boots.

Soon, undergraduating, familiar with wallahs,
wiry pedal rickshaw, then dhobi
and train-calling chai,
the latter like lost
misplaced rag and bone men;
for now we fear for luggage
as anarchic traffic sounds
to assert, insist, impose,
as point-duty police
confirm completed manoeuvres.

Later, in pastel faded colonial,
poor dusty wall, gecko crept,
whilst terraced saffron begs votive puja,
the fridge wheezes with
shelved pre-boiled water,
door ajar with frequent hope
for chlorine cubes.

Unslaked, unsettled hobbling heavy
fans pretend to cool
and we, caught between
adrenaline and decamp,
heavy lids unwilling to miss
a sighting,
share dazed astonishment.

(prev. pub. by Literary Yard)
Delhi Train
—Photo by Stephen Kingsnorth


We dream our dreams, as prophet spoke,
revisit hopes, long unfulfilled,
perhaps poor substitute pretend
was goal, worn soles, sore feet from road.

As volume fades, our numbers grow,
so combined voice is larger now,
except the message more confused—
smiles come with lips from screens with clicks.

Photo album, face book to me,
twitter my singing garden birds,
snap chat is talking, playing cards,
Greek drama social, Medea.

Dementia’s rise, uncertain who,
inhibitors depart their post—
while sunbathing it snows again—
frustration fumes, both ends of scale.

The jail, lock-up with coin box,
as crazy as cell-phone could be;
Google could just be coo-chi-coo—
in baby-talk, little to choose.

Old order changeth, yielding new,
yet my site back in Sunday School;
as now they try to bring me here,
I question, whose unsettled fear?

(prev. pub. by Poetry Potion)
Delhi Buses
—Photo by Stephen Kingsnorth


It’s sharing of the burden
across the parallels,
not simile suggested
but likeness as our choice.
It’s symbolism inbred
if you but recognise,
invested with its values
but clothed in partner art.
The matter in another,
more echo, shadowland,
our stuff that’s one with global,
same earthly parentage.
It means you see more clearly,
if first dare to relate,
it open up the facets,
one character in more.
The join may be with nature,
an endless source of light,
or maybe of invention,
endeavour brought to life.
If poorly used, the linkup
may hang, a heavy chain,
but otherwise a necklace,
a jewel to train the eye.

(prev. pub. by Poetry Potion)



I miss the rooks;
screeching from skeletal elms,
untidy twiggy blotches pocking frame outline,
penthouse suites scraggy as their slanging match,
defiant to the plough below.
Familiars of damp autumn clump,
guardians of once dug, silted ditch,
whose line died as the furrows grew,
rotting wood gross leatherjackets ate.

What gold diverted network roots,
lead shot, stitch-thread, bone orbital,
embraced as hair, Medusa’s head?
Did blood invade the xylem flow
or steel cut sibling sapling growth?

They stood against a rare-seen blush,
more commonly hush of blanket grey
which, though dismal in its way,
drew me nearer to the waiting turfs,
peats moss-cut before those elms were born.
And were, then, rooks familial,
watched hired men slaughter fathers too,
because such deaths demand of them—
droit du seigneur—more feudal dread.

I miss ungainly wobble rags—
more noise distracts from stumble bones—
bundles of wretched countryside,
grim wraiths cackling their woe betides.
They tell me scythe, as always, curls,
those stags for ever plied this land,
that sons will learn their elder’s craft,
mothers repeat their tremble grief.

I miss the rooks, but not their gloom.
Each planted furrow, life from death.

(prev. pub. by
Nine Muses Poetry
 Raven Teases Eagle
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan


The bulbs above—
their filaments,
the broken joints of spider legs—
hang lazy, washing on the line,
a sad parade unheeded now,
awaiting switch of energy,
spark generation of the sun.

The bulbs below—
first snowdrops show,
hint cream and green above the snow,
the phototroph, explosive strength,
breaks crystal ice of brittle soil.
Then corms of crocus, specie, grow,
pale mauve or streaked,
bear stripes of war
from battle through harsh undergrowth,
spark generation of the sun.
—Public Domain Photo


Why do the bunches and bouquets
contain messages to the dead
and even nicknames, soubriquets,
as if a better hearing earned;
not sympathy to relatives
but too late words to be passed on?

In heaven’s name, calligraphy
where serif’s sing by putti wings,
as if the fonts of wisdom bring
fresh hope to fading daffodils;
is breaking down the gates of hell
achieved by biro-scripted tales?

Criss-crosses mark what lips would do
if only flesh and blood remained,
but even dust to dust has rained
on box laid down, brass plate engraved;
encomium on card relayed
lest eulogy did not suffice.

Near deadline pass, column obits
speak for the circle, pound a word,
where weighty terms in measured lines
dance to a tune unrecognised;
as wheat and tares together sown,
not to uproot till judgement day.

The coffin sank, plot waterlogged,
grave flooding, sodden sods on mound,
as Jesus plunged to hades world,
Gehenna, council rubbish dump;
the smoky hell, where embers burn,
who knows the temper, future world?

Unless the angels literate,
extinguishers in other place,
the writing will unread remain
and just a wish-list mourners frame;
but if I ask, why write the note,
not tell yet living, we are loved?

(prev. pub. by
Sparks of Calliope)


Today’s LittleNip:

The Bishop and Knight, in contradistinction to the Queen and Rook, are called Minor Pieces.

—Howard Staunton


—Medusa, thanking Stephen Kingsnorth for sending us tales of his adventures in Delhi and otherwise in life! 
Fellas on bikes in Delhi
—Photo by Stephen Kingsnorth

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