Month: Jan 2015

Threesome [poem]

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threesome

As I was sitting quietly on my usual comfy chair
reading the morning paper
with a detached and distinctly nonchalant air
a movement in the corner of my eye
took me completely by surprise
and made me glance toward the door.
I then heard footsteps in the hall
and leaping to my feet I headed for the light
but on my way I cracked my shoulder on the wall.

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Through Muslin [poem]

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through_muslin

There is something getting in the way;
some lensish focus lacking blocking out
the broken rays which make the twisted light
that bluntly strikes my haunted hazy eyes.
It’s just like looking through a muslin cloth;
a fuzzy camera lens; a window by the sea;
a false reality; a message in a bottle which
some old myopic (having lost his glasses)
sends to an address and feigns banality.

What is a sigh ? if not a wasted dream
or huge suppressed and stillness scream
as crudely unseen dessicated gateways
soaked in spicy diesel-oil smoulder warm
between this form I’m in and all that lives
outside (if there is such a thing as that
for I can never work it out what’s up
or down or inside-out or underneath)
the frugal furrowed frowns of silence.
Scarves of muslin drape themselves like
willing bondage ropes around such flesh
as yields beneath my hands. That flesh
which I have yearned to stroke, caress,
possess (and be possessed by) speaks
in fear: “Don’t touch. I’m out of reach!”

The engrammatic hint that I forever seek
now perches delicately on the apex of my
tongue. No parachute or other method of
propulsion seems to come and make the
reason clear why this “I-ness” should be here
and why I should be me and no one else
forever on the open shelf of mystery and
empathy and reverie — an always moonful
dwelling schemer-dreamer who, with wings
of wax tries all he can to fly into the sun
and tattered threadbare muslin rags obscure
my vision’s wishful thinking… while I strum.

 

© Alan Morrison, 2015

Featherbed [poem]

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featherbed

Climbing yet another hill {although in truth
it was a mountain; but I crossed so many
on my sojourn that a berg becomes a colline
and a hill a little mound, as I have found
on my extensive travels overground
and in the frozen-over earth} to nowhere,
I confess that I was wappend by the road
and ready just to fold up in a crumpled
heap — recline without reprieve or sleep.

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Clouds 1 + 2 = 9 [sonnet]

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clouds

For longer than my longing can recall,
an unformed cloud has floated in my sky.
Condensed from rain out of a waterfall,
it posed an answer (puzzle) in a why.

I struggled hard to understand its form
and asked why it was by itself up there.
“I am a mirror hung here to inform
you of your fate. No more need you despair”.

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Making Proper Charlies out of Us

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making_proper_charlies_out_of_us

Before we get to talk about the recent events in Paris (which the title of this piece clearly references), let’s have an extended introduction to provide a background to those events — a kind of quick “what’s-going-on-in-the-world-for-dummies” glimpse of the global stage which has inexorably led to where we are now. You see, the events in Paris have not occurred in a vacuum. For it is a very dark world in which we currently live. I know you may want to believe otherwise and your positive thinking guru will have misleadingly told you that you shouldn’t ever think about all this because it creates “negative energy” (a buzz phrase which is thrown around gratuitously like confetti among New Age wannabes). But exposing the negative is actually positive! For it shows us what we are really dealing with in the world, how to live in a right and authentic way while it is happening, as well as filling us with encouragement. Now you may say: “What! How could thinking about a dark world possibly fill us with encouragement?” It will do that because I will ensure that it is put in a beautiful context that will show you where the light is in all of this. So… please walk with me for a while…

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Why can’t it just be Simple? [poem]

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why_cant_it_just_be_simple

Why can’t it just be simple?
We laugh. We love. We let.
So just forget the ersatz needs
or any other bogus thought
which feeds or strokes our
ego’s ghostly cheek. No need
for expectations of what
others shouldly do or bring
or sing for love can harness
nothing ever but the wind.

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Ruffled Feathers [poem]

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ruffled_feathers

Sat here in my cloistered
calm but reckless room
I wonder what you fear?

Are you afraid that passion’s bloom will somehow
warmly wildful interfere with your old controlled and
perfect ordered mind in such a way that you will lose
that cool composure you have taken years to find?

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Gush [poem]

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gush

I always say too much so please forgive me
if my words become a gush. I promise you
will never drown beneath them; they have
spaces in between for you to safely dream
and breathe them into common sensely
sentences if that’s your only chosen path
across my weirdly widely lifesome epigraph.

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Bemused (Meditations on a New Year) [poem]

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bemused

The New Year looked me gravely (frankly) in the face and said:
“What resolutions have you made as that old year began to fade?”
I took her hand in mine and thought I saw some future light
begin to shine. Perhaps I was mistaken for as I looked into her eyes
she took me on a journey far beyond my skies had ever been before
and if I was to tell you what I saw you would (like me) begin to shake
and thoughts then flickered through my mind that I would never
make it through her year unless some superhuman strength
I’d soonly find. She squeezed my hand and smiled that soft and
drenchful face reserved for those who will wholeheartedly embrace:

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There’s a Concert coming up

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there_is_a_concert_coming_upTHERE IS A CONCERT COMING UP in Berlin on 20th January, the thought of which is already going through me like a whirlwind. I am so excited about it that I can hardly even think straight! Two of my favourite musical works ever. An emotional maelstrom of music written in the 1930s. Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto in D minor (1939) and Dmitri Shostakovich’s monumental 4th Symphony in C minor (1936). To programme these two pieces in the same concert is a stroke of genius as they are woven from very similar cloth. Britten wrote his concerto on the eve of the Second World War when he was just 26 years old. It is a 30-minute outpouring of passion for life in the face of the impending horror of war. Wrapped up in a strangely exotic Mediterranean lustre, with an almost gypsy feel at times in the violin (both vivace tempestuous and lingeringly impassioned), it powerfully demolishes your composure and cuts you to the quick. Getting through it without tears is strictly for psychopaths. Of all violin Concertos (alongside Shostakovich’s 1st Violin Concerto), it is my favourite. Shostakovich’s 4th Symphony is what he later called his “problem child”. The problem was that, at 29 years old, he had composed a kaleidoscopic vortex of emotion (clearly influenced by Mahler) which he knew the Stalin regime would suppress. His opera, Lady Macbeth of Mtensk, had already been denounced by Stalin as “chaos not music”. In those days, one had to create optimistic art which glorified the workers and the regime. Any hint of melancholia was likely to be accused of “bourgeois formalism” or other such politically correct nonsense! So he took the step of withdrawing the symphony and it didn’t have its first performance until 25 years later, after Stalin had died. It wasn’t that he was frightened of Stalin. In fact, Stalin was frightened of HIM. While Shostakovich watched almost all his artistic friends being assassinated or disappeared after a “3 0’clock knock” (the early hours visit which they would receive from the secret police), he survived because Stalin superstitiously accorded the composer “yurodivy” status, as if he was some kind of prophet who must not be touched. The composer encoded many dissident references into his works, for example through the use of Russian folk song and even in special notation. While the rest of the world was whooping with delight that Hitler was gone and Europe was free, Shostakovich knew otherwise. Thus the deep melancholy which pervades much of his work was directed at the fact that Bolshevism had descended into the same kind of totalitarianism which it had purported to overthrow. For me, his 4th Symphony is the most important of his fifteen symphonies, as he himself called it his “composer’s credo.” One has to take notice of that. While the whole symphony is like a crazy journey through a myriad themes and moods, somehow it all leads inexorably to a jaw-dropping coda which is both shattering and epic. In fact, I first became aware of this symphony in the 1980s when the coda was being played as soundtrack music, alongside Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive” and “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”, in a BBC documentary about outer space. Yes, that’s where this symphony takes you! I am determined to get to this concert on the 20th. It will be a life-changing experience (the only kind of experience in which I am now interested).