In old Malay, draped in forest lies heat swamped George Town along tree lined avenues abandoned colonial mansions forsaken, cracked, diminished irrelevant to today they rot in new technological haze yet from shattered empty windows evening jazz drifts across warm night air inside, lights flicker shadows dance over damp walls slim couples flirt and smoke your exploratory visit brings silence reveals vacant rooms missing floors instead of lively dancers they were the old tenants hantu partying on the graveyard shift
Old hotel, four square and white now with modern pool and spa and the original private beach golden, secluded, sunlit it’s a long walk but a short drive a bus plies the mountain road past green country and decaying tombs behind collapsing walls the last ride of the day is often full today extra guests board quiet individuals some tall and lanky a woman in a green qipao halfway back, the bus empties although the feverish driver can’t remember stopping his new passengers have truly started their graveyard shift
I have two poems (Lilbourne and Summer Queen) in this great Anthology from Milk and Cake Press. It examines the dark, the supernatural, and the uncanny of a long, cold winter. As we move from the depths of winter toward spring, and from pandemic isolation to a more normal life, these poems may be the perfect companion. Please buy a copy now!
Lilbourne is a poem about ghosts who linger in and near Milton Lilbourne in Wiltshire, while
Summer Queen retells Rumpelstiltskin in a prehistoric setting.
There is a ghost at your funeral today
a face so familiar, still loved
my friend, your wife
gone these twenty years
now you too have left us
we all stand stunned
missing your expansive
presence in our lives
Looking over the crowd
I see eyes, cheek bones, jawline
the image of her mother
your much loved step daughter
wiping away fond tears
This summer we lost Martin Hoare. A great presence and a good friend. We were standing-room only at the funeral, his coffin was a TARDIS and the committal music was the Dr Who theme tune — which turned out to be quite moving. At the end, we all sang ‘Always look on the bright side’ and we all had tears running down our cheeks.
She came to see me
Resplendent in red
Glittering with dust
Her elegant bone structure evident more than ever
Desiccated and dead
Floating past the view screen
When I know we retrieved her from orbit yesterday
English summers, often damp, can invoke long stifling twilights
nothing landbound needlessly moves
contrails crayon across the sky
so many, this close to London’s hub.
Distantly, the buzz of a low plane, pleasure rider reaching up
into the realm of the starlings as they susurrate
a car comes past in the lane droning away round the curves
here the runway cross remains
the old tower still stands intact
as ponies munch and cattle chew
larks lurk in the grass where bombers once turned
occasional ironwork testament to hydrants and gun emplacements
war and weapons layered over by Nature and time.
But, as the dark deepens, the lost come home
tearing blazing incandescent screams rustle up drowsy birds
look up and the dazzling burning blurs past
metal screeches as it tears apart, each time the same
one last attempt at landing whole, at bringing the crate home
so wanting to see sweethearts and Blighty again
then gone, back to oblivion.
The burning pilot saluted you as he passed.