Sunday, 9 November 2014

Opium Sea of the Dead

Opium Sea of the Dead

"Poppy, Sir?" he said.
I moved my head
From side to side.
"They're all dead,"

I said. "And why?
Why did they have to die?
Was it for you and I?
Or was it for a lie?" 

"All in a good cause, Sir," 
He added with a look 
I recognised from the blur
Of the dying dead in a book 

I'd read a long time ago.
"But," I asked, "Did they all 
Have to go
And fall?"

This land, I thought,
Has since been sold
And bought
For fool's gold 

To those they elected
The dead to protect
Us from 
On the Somme. 

They lied, of course.
It was to disarm
Us that force
And alarm 

To test us
And again and again and again ...

He saw the image of our Queen
And with tearful eye:
"I'd go again, Ma'am. I'm no has-been.
For you your Majesty I'd go and die!"

I looked at his decomposing face
And thought you do what you will,
But I have seen an island race
Become near-extinct for that thrill.

From the darkness we turn to the sun;
To search beyond endless blood red
Poppies in the opium sea of dead
Who are for ever gone, gone, gone ...

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


I was first introduced to Kandinsky
By a blonde female artist in London
(Whose name now escapes me)
Whose own art I frowned upon.

I would have been five months old
When Kandinsky died of a stroke
(At Neuilly-sur-Seine, I'm told)
And that is when I imagine folk

Spoke of him being the bloke
To paint abstractly on canvas
With a different kind of stroke
To that any single one of us

Had hitherto seen before.

He was the first and some say best;
So when in July I received a card
Bearing a Kandinsky it was hard
Not to like it more than the rest.

When that sender of the card came to see
Me another time, and we had a bite to eat,
I thought I would offer him a real treat
By taking him up to see my Kandinsky.

And so I did.

And that is when he raised the lid
With a comment I had not forseen:
"I don't like Kandinsky," he said.
"Can I show you my magic lantern instead?" I intervened.

Though I recall a time not that long ago
When viewing one of my artistic endeavours
He remarked: "Kandinsky at his maddest!"
I was duly flattered, so told him

His was the nicest review there had been,
But now I had to go
And paint another for the world to view
Before it ceased to flow.