Songs and Poems from the Edge 2012-2016

The Climb

Life is a journey we walk alone

A steady path

With no road home

Time is a war against the unknown

Fears reside

Within every bone

Strangers come and lovers go

Leaving scars

And wounds below

Age descends as years pass by

Feet on the ground

And eyes to the sky

Mistakes count too many

Yet joys are too few

We hold on tight and enjoy the view

The stumble you see is in your eyes

To me it is a pace

As I meet the rise

The stone in my shoe has been there a while

It eases the pain

When I climb the next stile

So join me now on this lonely climb

The hill that awaits

Is yours and mine

 

 

A Handful of Rain

I was drifting in from nowhere on a prayer and kiss

Life passed me by, 34 years I had missed

So how did this happen and when did she come?

Like Louise in the attic of Dylan’s radio hum

 

A handful of rain, a handful of rain

Tempting me to defy it

My scruff bag sweetheart, you don’t know how to buy it

 

She came from nowhere and she carried my name

Talking to a banana in her wild childhood game

Mercurial mouth and missionary times

Lost in a dream of music and rhymes

 

A handful of rain, a handful of rain

Tempting me to defy it

My scruff bag sweetheart, you don’t know how to buy it

 

She captured my heart by words in the mist

Still waiting in line for her geranium kiss

Floating ‘cross the airwaves from time gone by

Tracing blood on blood to the fog on the Tyne

 

A handful of rain, a handful of rain

Tempting me to defy it

My scruff bag sweetheart, you don’t know how to buy it

 

Insomniac cat now dancing on her bed

Sixty miles away morning sky’s turning red

Sleepless in Seattle ghostly figures at my door

And words that trip unconscious from phone to the floor

 

A handful of rain, a handful of rain

Tempting me to defy it

My scruff bag sweetheart, you don’t know how to buy it

 

She holds my hand in a dream undercover

Tracing Patti and Frederick asleep she’s my lover

Under a southern cross she casts the years unspent

Matching I for eye for a back broken and bent

 

A handful of rain, a handful of rain

Tempting me to defy it

My scruff bag sweetheart, you don’t know how to buy it

 

So how did we meet and where do we go?

On a boat on a river we meander and flow

But my darling you have me for time to come

I know I have found you and found my home

 

A handful of rain, a handful of rain

Tempting me to defy it

My scruff bag sweetheart, together we try it

 

 

Future Comfort

Sweet gentleness

Your name is life

It surrounds my being

Cuts like a knife

Cascades and unfolds

In all that I do

The love that surrounds me

And the friendships too

 

I watch the rain fall

And the winter does grip

But your warmth it envelops

So nothing will slip

Risk and perspective

Valour and pain

Is marked here forever

Though death does remain

 

So fear not my love

As we walk up that road

Stronger than ever

Let me carry your load

And we come now full circle

To the top of the hill

And hold hands together

Brave blood to spill

 

For love is not blinded

And neither is truth

As my tale unfolds gently

Our own fountain of youth.

 

 

A Day in the Life

A blackbird is singing, grass growing high

There’s a soft cotton dress on the line hanging dry

The window’s wide open, Acacia trees

Yellow wash gently in a warm summer breeze

He sits at his desk, pencil in hand

Watching and waiting for his grey dove to land

 

A train rumbles slowly, along the old track

There’s smoke in the air from behind the shack

Feel the pulse and vibration and the rumbling force

A young girl is out there upon a white horse

He sits at his desk, pencil in hand

Watching and waiting for his grey dove to land

 

A faint message appears in the hand of Hermes

Love and affection ‘mid the fluttering leaves

Hope is rekindled, and his brave life it does float

Cool is the wind as he picks up his coat

He sits at his desk, pencil in hand

Watching and waiting for his grey dove to land

 

Love Minus Zero

Scarred and scared

Battle weary and blind

To a life so shattered

And hope left behind

You came from the stars

And opened my eyes

You healed my scars

And softened my cries

I give you my heart

My life you do fill

We won’t tear apart

My wondrous Gill

 

 

Comfort Zone

She cuddles up beside me

The log fire is burning bright

I whisper that I love her

We’re settled for the night

 

The music plays quite softly

Our glasses both half full

Her head it rests upon me

Warmed by old lamb’s wool

Love is

Love is

Love is

Love is just a pretext for a better place to be

 

A fox slides through the hedgerow

The owl hoots a new refrain

The wind it howls like thunder

And suggests a chance of rain

 

The new moon casts mad shadows

Across the placid pond

The air it is enchanted

From the doorstep and beyond

Love is

Love is

Love is

Love is just a pretext for a better place to be

 

A half familiar key change

A riff that sounds so blue

Guitar music fills the air

It was made for me and you

 

You searched for love eternal

Now tell me what you found

A passage of lost time

And we are homeward bound

Love is

Love is

Love is

Love is just a pretext for a better place to be

 

My wedding ring shone brightly

As I hit that final chord

It held our love so tightly

When the final lyric poured

Love is

Love is

Love is

Love is just a pretext for a better place to be

 

 

September Song

Boots and bottles and a telescope reel

No-one knows just how I feel

Sitting blindly by a Catherine Wheel

I open my arms to you

 

Write me a song to sing all day long

Catch me a tune to howl at the moon

Watch me waltz on a silver spoon

I open my arms to you

 

My golden daughter does what she oughta

Reading medical books with whisky and water

The words get longer but never shorter

I open my arms to you

 

The breakdown came the breakdown went

Forty-four years they were paid and spent

I’ll pack up my shoes and buy a new tent

I open my arms to you

 

The sun still warms the September air

The grass is green and the day is fair

I look at my life with barely a care

I open my arms to you

 

The fox it will run and the bat does fly

The poacher stares at the empty sky

Time it passes with no reason to cry

I open my arms to you

 

 

No-one hears the call

Sunlight dapples

Oak tree tops

Above the leaded roof

The sky screams

Infinity

Searching for the truth

Victorian tiles

Line the attic

Of Dylan’s distant vision

The rain cascades

Torrential

Reaching no decision

Radiators rumble

Shunning silence

With dim electric noise

The heating coughs

Creative

Humanity destroys

Window shutters

Cause shadows

Upon the study wall

The day’s stillness

Meanders

No-one hears the call

 

 

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

I once held you in my hand

Your broken wing

Hung limply

Your heart it sang

And above the sand

The clouds they drifted

Simply

 

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

Try to touch

The Sky

The sun it calls you

High

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

 

I once held you in my arms

Your broken heart

Lay bleeding

Your soul it cried

And behind your eyes

Your spirit it was

Pleading

 

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

Try to touch

The Sky

The sun it calls you

High

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

 

I once held you in my mind

Your mercury mouth

Was singing

Your voice it chimed

But beyond your song

Your life it now was

Clinging

 

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

Try to touch

The Sky

The sun it calls you

High

Fly Sweet Sparrow, Fly

 

I once held you in my heart

Your timeless love

Was fleeting

Your face it shone

In a world gone wrong

Your memory is still

Beating

 

 

Song of hope

In my life of two thousand summers

I have no regrets

Or remorse

Would I have done some things differently?

Would I change some decisions?

Well, of course.

 

One life

One hope

One love

One spirit

Forever

For you

 

But we run this race only once

We become who we are

By our deeds

Our words make us human and vulnerable

And love opens our heart

Till it bleeds.

 

One life

One hope

One love

One spirit

Forever

For you

 

So look at your friends and your enemies

They are all human

Like you

They hate and they fear for their failures

And those that leave a mark

Are so few.

 

One life

One hope

One love

One spirit

Forever

For you

 

So let’s each make our lives individual

Loving and brave

From our soul

Reach out to our fellow human creatures

So their hopes and broken lives

Become whole.

 

One life

One hope

One love

One spirit

Forever

For you

 

 

Love Has Many Faces

Love has many faces

Of warmth

And lies

And lust

Love has many places

Of kisses

And hugs

And rust

Love has many chases

Of youth

And life

And trust

Love has many graces

Of tenderness

Hope

And must

Love has many cases

Of memories

Promises

And dust

 

 

Powdered Chalk and Diamonds

When I first saw you

Time stood still

Your hair

Your face

Your smile

Powdered chalk and diamonds

They shone in your eyes for a while

 

When I first met you

Time stood still

Your warmth

Your laugh

Your love

Powdered chalk and diamonds

An unexpected gift shared from above

 

When I married you

Time stood still

Your beauty

Your scent

Your touch

Powdered chalk and diamonds

Told the world I would always be your crutch

 

When I last saw you

Time stood still

Your hug

Your promise

Your need

Powdered chalk and diamonds

Help our lives to somehow succeed

 

 

Tell Me

You tell me that you love me

You tell me that it’s true

You tell me you’ll be here tomorrow

But I don’t know what to do

Cos I don’t know the reason for your loving

The reason for your sighs

The reason for your confidence

The reason for your cries

I look beyond the emptiness that I feel inside

I look for something bigger on the greener side

But all the while I struggle

With this warring tide

And the words you spoke in anger

You hoped that I would die

So tell me darling, tell me

What is it that you see?

What is it that you’re hoping for?

What do you see in me?

Because you don’t tell me.

 

 

Sign Language

You sign to me in semaphore

You talk to me in Greek

You leave me hidden messages

But I cannot hear you speak

The words they dance before you

Like mummers in a play

Your mouth it makes to open

But I cannot hear you say

“I love you”

 

 

Island Dreamer

I left my heart in the islands

On a westerly breeze

Purple heather blooming

Amid bare rowan trees

Bluebells blazing

Where the fast waters flow

The time has come

For me to go

 

Feel like a prisoner

In a bleak city world

Need to turn back the clock

To where the wild cat is curled

My heart’s in the islands

Wherever I roam

That’s where I’ll be

When I get called home

 

Feel like I’m drifting

On a grey rolling sea

Watching mermaids dance

And they’re singing to me

But the waves wash deep

Over a mortal dream

And nothing is as easy

As it once did seem

 

Feel like my love was

Lost in the glen

On a mountain side

Where the stags rut again

On the rocky shore

My heart begins to burn

By a smoking peat fire

Someday I’ll return

 

My heart’s in the islands

At the break of dawn

When I left there

I hadn’t even been born

Just a young man all at sea

I threw too much out of the door

Now I am further away

Than ever before

 

Feel like I’m lost

So I sit and yearn

Some things in life

Take an age to unlearn

The sun outside shines on me

But not like the sun that used to be

On the ben I see the winter hare

I’m not lost, I’m already there

 

 

Shades of Abandoned Love

I can feel your hand upon my knee

Deceived once more by the clown inside of me

My head tells me it’s time to make a change

But my heart is screaming I need you, something strange

 

Love was found

Rekindled

And then lost

Sitting here trying to count

The cost

Of an abandoned love

 

Everybody’s wearing a disguise

To hide what they’ve got left behind their eyes

But me, I can’t cover what I am

Wherever the spirits go I’ll just follow them

 

Love was found

Rekindled

And then lost

Sitting here trying to count

The cost

Of an abandoned love

 

I’ve given up the game, I’ve got to leave

The pot of gold is only make-believe

The treasure can’t be found by men who search

Whose gods are dead and buried deep within the church

 

Love was found

Rekindled

And then lost

Sitting here trying to count

The cost

Of an abandoned love

 

We sat in an imaginary place and we kissed

I asked you please to cross me off your list

You looked at me with a smile upon your lips

Your heart it heaved towards me in another script

 

Love was found

Rekindled

And then lost

Sitting here trying to count

The cost

Of an abandoned love

 

One more time at midnight, near the wall

Put aside your unspoken fears and your shawl

Please come out from the dark room where you sit?

Let me feel your love once more before you abandon it

 

Love was found

Rekindled

And then lost

Sitting here trying to count

The cost

Of an abandoned love

 

 

Coloured Memories

It was in another lifetime

When we walked together

On the moss

Hope it stretched before us

Beneath the Southern Cross

 

Blue, the sky explodes above you

Green, the leaves they dapple free

Brown, the earth beneath our feet

Black, the colour of the mud

 

It was in another lifetime

When we talked together

In the woods

Laughter it sang so sweetly

The wine it tasted good

 

Blue, the sky explodes above you

Green, the leaves they dapple free

Brown, the earth beneath our feet

Black, the colour of the mud

 

It was in another lifetime

When we danced together

On the green

Our feet moved so swiftly

Your beauty could be seen

 

Blue, the sky explodes above you

Green, the leaves they dapple free

Brown, the earth beneath our feet

Black, the colour of the mud

 

It was in another lifetime

When we drank together

In the yard

Words they flowed so freely

Written upon a card

 

Blue, the sky explodes above you

Green, the leaves they dapple free

Brown, the earth beneath our feet

Black, the colour of the mud

 

It was in another lifetime

When we laughed together

By the lake

I told you that I loved you

Was that my last mistake?

 

Blue, the sky explodes above you

Green, the leaves they dapple free

Brown, the earth beneath our feet

Black, the colour of the mud

 

 

Opposites

Black after white

Peace after fight

Day after night

Holding onto the light

 

You came into my life

Like the cut of a knife

Then you entered my soul

And made me feel whole

 

Sun after rain

Love after pain

Loss after gain

Easing into my brain

 

You’re there in the dawn

On the wind you are born

Now you fill up my soul

And make me feel whole

 

 

Vision

Your face

Your voice

Your eyes

Your hair

I sense you here

And everywhere

The sun

The rain

The night

The day

My love for you

Does not decay

 

 

Redemption Song

I stand here amazed

Lost in your gaze

Emerging from hell

In a delicate shell

You came and you saw

Just like the law

I gave you my soul

And it made me feel whole

 

One life

One chance

One kiss

One dance

 

I asked for some time

Tasted your wine

Looking to the sky

As the comet passed by

You came and you saw

Just like the law

I gave you my soul

And it made me feel whole

 

One life

One chance

One kiss

One dance

 

You waltzed by the moon

At the dark of the noon

Standing so still

My glass yet to fill

You came and you saw

Just like the law

I gave you my soul

And it made me feel whole

 

One life

One chance

One kiss

One dance

 

 

The Moving Finger Writes

On the windswept dales of limestone Karst

See Emily play

A romantic farce

Heathcliff searches

For a Wuthering lust

The window glass shatters

Life returns to dust

But true love never dies

As the darkness fades to light

My soul is yours to keep

Bill Burroughs is writing tonight

 

My love she sleeps in Cham

In a bed of Norwegian wood

My heart is buried somewhere

Under Dylan’s old Milkwood

 

On the melting tarmac of Kerouac’s road

The sun now rises

On Sal’s paradise load

Dean Moriarty sleeps

His heart trips a beat

Life it still creeps

But true love never dies

As the darkness fades to light

My soul is yours to keep

Bill Burroughs is writing tonight

 

My love she sleeps in Cham

In a bed of Norwegian wood

My heart is buried somewhere

Under Dylan’s old Milkwood

 

On the frozen streets of forgotten Oslo

Knut Hamsun he tries to write

But words are just a show

As the hunger eats within

From Kafka, Joyce and Camus

His life is full of sin

But true love never dies

As the darkness fades to light

My soul is yours to keep

Bill Burroughs is writing tonight

 

My love she sleeps in Cham

In a bed of Norwegian wood

My heart is buried somewhere

Under Dylan’s old Milkwood

 

On Woody’s slow railroad train

The hobos beg for dimes

His broken voice remains

In another singer’s song

His tune plays ever onward

Bound for glory all along

But true love never dies

As the darkness fades to light

My soul is yours to keep

Bill Burroughs is writing tonight

 

 

Willow’s End

I’ll wait for you where the Willow bends

Where lives and deeds make no amends

Branches and leaves punctate the sky

Life races quickly

And the grey gulls fly

Talk to me, talk to me, we have such little time

We drift this way and pass sublime

And sip our cup of blood red wine

 

I’ll wait for you where the fenland breaks

Where time releases our past mistakes

Branches and leaves punctate the sky

Life races quickly

And the grey gulls fly

Talk to me, talk to me, we have such little time

The day it breaks and shadows fade

Into a life of light and shade

 

I’ll wait for you by the wooded glen

Where lovers search for the souls of men

Branches and leaves punctate the sky

Life races quickly

And the grey gulls fly

Talk to me, talk to me, we have such little time

Turn and face the tangled weeds

Forget the curse of forgotten deeds

 

I’ll wait for you on the old brown moss

Where the water birds don’t count the cost

Branches and leaves punctate the sky

Life races quickly

And the grey gulls fly

Talk to me, talk to me, we have such little time

Clouds of oblivion blow around my head

And we creep still closer to the living dead

 

I’ll wait for you where the seas cascade

Where life and death are not betrayed

Branches and leaves punctate the sky

Life races quickly

And the grey gulls fly

Talk to me, talk to me, we have such little time

Then drink to me at the graveside brae

And pray together for the passing day

 

 

Poppy

Little Poppy fell into the swollen river

She was clinging to a branch

Our breakfast passed by childishly

The poor bitch didn’t have a chance

 

 

Just one night

On this lonely night

In the stardust of the fading light

You came to me in black and white

Embracing all my dreams

On the rising curve

Where the ways of life test every nerve

We won’t get anything we don’t deserve

Where we were born in time

 

You came, you saw

Just like the law

You bound up my heart

On another shore

I fell for you

And you for me

Our lives they were one

Now lost at sea

 

You are snow, I’m in the rain

You are beauty, I am plain

Oh my Gill, truer words

Have not been spoken or broken

In the hills of mystery

In the foggy web of destiny

You can have what’s left of me

Where we were born in time

 

Oh fragile flower

In an autumn shower

I watch you bloom

From my ivory tower

I’ll tend your needs

Pull the weeds

And fill our lives

With better deeds

 

 

Leather Bound Memories

You wore grey

On that blissful day

Your love cut like a knife

A handful of rain was all I gave

As you held my hand so tight

Just leather bound memories

 

Our lives were grey

On that frightening day

I feared for my new wife

We waited for fragmented time

Magic and loss returned your life

Just leather bound memories

 

The future was grey

On that fateful day

Into your wide arms I fell

Abuse and pain ate through my brain

Forty-three years of a living hell

Just leather bound memories

 

The sky was grey

On that moving day

Into Alice’s hole you stumbled

The snap, the break, the huge mistake

In chaos the dead spirits mumbled

Just leather bound memories

 

Your dress is still grey

On this broken day

Like Lennon’s dream recalled

A Revolution 9 as I sip the wine

And remember these times before

Just leather bound memories

 

 

Tortured Blues

And now that it is over

He could sit and count the cost

Wondering if she’d changed at all

And realised what they had lost

He was standing in the driving rain

Water filling up his shoe

She was lying on a snow white bed

Hair and face were all askew

Tortured by the blues

 

He found shelter in a small café

Writing hymns and poems on the wall

She slipped close by and cursed at him

They were both heading for a fall

Outside the booths were filling up

Minstrels and waiters in the queue

He stopped nearby and filled his cup

The last romantic of the few

Tortured by the blues

 

Their breaking up was a tempest storm

Promises and words were said in vain

She withdrew from the human race

Neither one could take the strain

He drowned himself in red wine

Street lanterns burned green and blue

Once their love was something fine

Now it was split like cracked bamboo

Tortured by the blues

 

Another year had passed by slow

His young face was lined with pain

She lay wrecked in a juniper bed

They both had to start out again

But all the while he was alone

Clinging to an old church pew

Women came and lovers went

The howling wind it ripped right through

Tortured by the blues

 

 

The Hill

The hill that we climb

Is the sweetest decline

But does not define

Our journey

 

Our lives are entwined

With gold ties that bind

Yet we cannot find

The summit

 

Our eyes are both blind

To what was left behind

And it scrambles the mind

With regret

 

The sun it does shine

And the day is yet fine

To light up the decline

Together

 

Love minus zero / No Limit

FriendsSOME of my blog postings are off-the-cuff and I guess this is the first of such posts.

The replies, text messages, emails and phone call responses to my recent post When You Gonna Wake Up and Strengthen the Things that Remain made me lose two nights’ sleep. The insomnia was not for any negative reasons, but rather a warm feeling of love and friendship.

You see, it is easy to know who you love and who loves you… my wife, my children and my mother come instantly to mind. But it is less easy to appreciate who are true friends.

I guess that due to my inherent OCD nature I have always demanded loyalty from friends and in return given my entire loyalty to them, through good times and bad. Some, who I regarded as true close friends have let me down and so were jettisoned from my world, something I now regret, because we are all human and all make mistakes – me more than most!

Google the word ‘friendship’ and a myriad of advice is offered from all corners of the world:

Friendship is a type of relationship between two people who care about each other. But such a dry definition doesn’t do the concept of friendship justice. Consider these examples: A friend is the first person you want to call when you hear good news. A friend remembers that you don’t like pickles on your sandwich. A friend will accompany you on the most boring of errands and make them seem fun.

In other words, friendship is wonderful. But that’s not to say friendship is easy, though. It demands time and effort, and it requires that people put someone other than themselves first sometimes. But in exchange for that work, a friend can provide an immense amount of support and comfort in good times and in bad.

Many qualities are necessary for a good friendship, including honesty, trustworthiness, loyalty and unconditional acceptance. A friendship should make both people in the relationship happy; both people should have fun when they spend time together. To be perfectly frank, that’s a tall order. Human beings can clash very easily, which is why it’s hard for some people to maintain many friendships. It’s possible that friendship can exist between two people at one stage of life, but life changes and personal growth may make friendship impossible at another stage.

Very true.

So my best friend is also the woman I love, my wife Gill.

For longevity I also count at least two friends from school, Alex (who has known me since I was 12) and Graham, who has been a best mate since we were in sixth form together, and with whom I share many life similarities.

Then I am blessed to count upon two more friends from my university days, Jo and Judith. In Jo’s case I feel a close affinity even though we have not seen each other in 35 years. So Facebook has been our saviour! Judith and I have remained friends even after both were battered blue by life experiences, but have been there for each other.

Next are the friends I picked up along the way at work and at home and who are still there even after 15, 20 or 30 years: a former student Andy, ex work colleagues Jane, Karen, Debs, Stephen and Peter. My son’s child-minder and her husband Catheryn and Colin; friends through thick and thin Judith and Lawson; and Sue who was one of my first visitors when I had cancer even though she was phobic about hospitals!

And finally there are those I should classify as new friends – people who have only been in my life a few years, but mean so much: the wonderful Angela and Alex, the rock solid and caring Caryn and her son Sam (by chance my son’s best friend), my best friend at work Craig, my almost surrogate daughter Helen, who was my witness at my wedding to Gill; the amazing and lovely reporting duo Adele and Natalie; my former boss who is still there to offer advice Graham; the lovely Hannah and Karen, whose words in the past few days have had me in tears; the gorgeous Sue, two friends and among the best journalists I have worked with Sophie and Rachel and the pug loving Yvonne, again whose words have given me great comfort.

A man is known by his friends and not his enemies and I am a very lucky man.

All of the above have been there when my life was at the bottom and to them I can only give my love and thanks and the knowledge that I will never forget any of you.

Thank you.