a few poems from Journeyman

Padnam!

“Padnam, Sahib!”
he said.
Me? Did not get it.
Padnam, Sahib!
he said again,
took his box,
went around me
and was gone.
On my familiar commute
I was lost.

 

Water Lane

We take a stroll down to the river:
“Come in here, Sir!”
“Lovely food, Sir!”
“Lovely children - test our children’s menu!”
“A table for four, Sir?”

And this is only Twickenham...

 

canal morning

Amidst the cold smells of morning
slowly the environs are brought out
from the grey morning mists,
everything is still moist.
Carefully treading the slippery deck plates.
Slow and low the diesel starts.

Quietly – not to wake anyone.
Pull the mooring-pegs,
push the boat off.
Steady rythm idling,
only little the tone alters
as the screw engages.

Slowly the boat pushes
through dark waters
that swash into the weeds
and run out.

 

Oldenburgh’s Mississippi

All green around us.
Here and there cows look down on us.
From time to time a mosquito gets slain –
nothing like this has been recorded on Adam and Eve.

We follow the river’s meander downstream
and feel so Huckleberry.

Your back in front of me,
I hear the friendly warmth of your voice.

With each stroke
the water sucks slowly
and dances quietly around the paddle.

This river is too short!

 

Oldenburgh’s Mississippi, 13 years on

Not even there,
between two provincial places
in the backwaters of Lower Saxony
can you paddle the same river twice.

But if I could, would I dare it?

 

Piano

See the piano next door?
If you look closely
you can see still mirroring
all those who played it.
Some more, some less,
images and remainders.

Sit down and watch:
first you see yourself,
so: wait!
The others appear if you give them enough
time.

Before you leave
listen to the sound of the lampshade
struck gently.

 

creeper

Right into the dark hole of night
we move,
what a prospect –
whose claim?

No security,
no canary,
our future is a seam
of – not necessarily –
excrement.

Possibly
somebody downed a golden coin.

Ok –
you can trade that against something
comforting.

But beware!
Open fire might blow
your habitat.

 

Let’s say

Let us say
we had it once – but lost it.
Let us pray
we did not waste it.
Let us assume
that it was grand and worth it.
For what would it mean
how stupid would it be what...
if it all had only been make-believe?

 

expendable

We hope and dream
like all previous generations
but our dreams become smaller and smaller.

“You’ve got to be happy
to have a room
and clothes
and the opportunity to make your living.”

They teach you
– yes, its ”They” –
and they eat off plates
each worth your monthly rent.

 

dis-enchanted

The world is dis-enchanted,
you are dis-enchanted,
I am dis-enchanted:

You fool,
me fool,
we fool.

 

A Poet

I am at the epicentre of my own earthquakes,
when molten lava flies, it ruins my shoes first.
When the wind blows,
I know what it does to my hair.

When I chart the feelings of someone,
I tend to select my own – these I know best.
And when it is time for interviews,
I conduct them with myself,
fighting over each apostrophe.

But do not be worried!
I do not trust the guy that much either.
I know me is a poet.