The Ship’s Captain

As I read the closing lines to this poem I think I may see a difference between my work and that of a greater poet’s (William Blake as an example that I’ve read recently). Blake wrote his poems in a way so that the intellectual would discuss and argue their meaning and still need it explained to them – it isn’t writing this way that made him a great poet, but it certainly suited his views and complemented his style. As I write my own I try to keep in mind the casual reader, and (while I don’t often disclose every detail of a poem) I open some doorway within the lines to understanding the whole – perhaps in similar manner to Aesop, with a closing morale.

Sins sweet as honey, drawing me closer,
Nuzzling their dying heads into my neck.
Contentedly blind, I fumble my life,
Unknowing this captain’s course is to wreck.

The Temple curtain is torn, the sea parts
And my ship is held above a slick mud.
Taking the side to see our fate below
Our captain beats the deck and screams out loud!

“Leave me this; too many you have taken,
Too many have been brought safely to bay.
You must promise me one for Hells Harbour.
Why take this? He’s nineteen years in my pay.

He’s suffered and sinned and sweated his way,
He’s petitioned my name and cursed in yours,
I’ve worked in his heart and rotted his soul,
Now you come calling to turn him to chores?”

No words in reply – none needed for truth –
The captain was cast to burn in the mud,
But I was kept safe and made to be free,
My ship washed and cleansed in one wave of blood.

Down below deck where the darkness does squirm,
Sins sweet as honey (but poisonous more)
Plot and they plan and they lift up their heads
To find me asleep; they wait at the door.

Revelation’s light on the white wakes me
As it sears the dying heads nuzzling in.
I am thankful and I realise now
I must keep a watch to win against sin.

If you liked the structure of this poem, I do have another written in the same way (different subject) for my upcoming collection Fables, Depths, and Heights and I would be very grateful if anyone would be willing to give simple feedback on it: let me know in the comments if you’re interested.

Blurred Pyramids

This poem was written between 22/09-03/10, one of the longer periods I’ve spent on a poem. There are a few images in here that become clearer as you read on, but the main theme the haunting of the past and how we have to put the destructive nature of that out of our minds. Take the last line with a pinch of both sarcasm and truth.

With closed eyes he fights his war:
Father of four, dear husband.
Blurred pyramids, Incan sands,
Dead desert, but in its midst
A rising column of smoke –
Graphite on white paper land.
Follow it! But if he turns
His eyes are sure to be stamped
Impressed with visions; the past
Moments built to stand, helped high
By Satans hand – they won’t fall.
Dust disfigures the carved stone.
Distance does not diminish,
They are still, but they impose
An unwanted failing breath.
For fear he keeps his eyes closed,
But breath settles on the skin,
Mists through your ears, it gets in.
And it is the same with him,
Our father of four is heaped,
Down with the sand in Times pit.
He struggles effortfully
For his God, for his children.
Ah well, we’re only human.

Daylight On Thoughts

Firstly, I apologise for not posting more often to this blog in recent months despite saying I am aiming to sort out my discipline in writing. Needless to say I have failed in that task, and must redouble my efforts.

This poem that I have typed out below is based around ideas (some not as radical as indicated in the poem) and words that are taken in ways unthought of by those uttering them.

As I take a little liberty with the syllables in my play on words I must ask your forgiveness for this and for your intelligence to read it correctly.

They won’t bear the daylight well,
Babies you’ve grown in your mind.
Take them to the market to sell,
Fear all the clients you find.
Marx my words, ideas aren’t Nietzsche
When opened to the public’s poll.

Now for some news. My second poetry collection Fables, Depths, and Heights is slowly moving forward. I have nearly completed the first section, but there is a rather lengthy poem I will be working into right until the day before publishing I imagine. So I must ask, would anyone be able to help me by being a beta-reader for this work?

Thick Salt Soup

When that sweat starts it can be difficult to stop and remain calm. It add so much to the worry, it feels like it justifies your anxiousness – this added stress of physical appearance you could really do without. Then there comes a hated of yourself, blaming yourself for how panicked you are becoming, when it really isn’t your fault, but this isn’t a logical state. That is what I’ve tried to display in this poem.

I can feel it slickening
Can’t you see it on my skin?
Is it a thick salt soup now?
How can I go? It’s impossible. No.
And the onset of the panic,
A drip of sweat and I feel sick,
Here it comes again – and I sigh.
Why must I shake?! Just stop for goodness sake.

Tactical Retreat

Last Friday I went for my driving test. I’ve been working toward it for a while and felt I was in a position where I might make an attempt at passing it. When I started taking lessons back in 2015 I was quite a ball of nerves; shaking as it got closer to 09:00 and hoping that he would forget about my lesson. It took me a year to be able to deal with most of the anxiousness that arose each Friday morning – still it came, but thankfully lessened. I began to feel more confident in my manoeuvres and in how to control the car, so I booked my test and began working towards the date.

The weeks went by without incident (in terms of our subect of nerves at least), and the day of my driving test came. I spent an hour with my driving instructor having a normal lesson in an aim to ease out any nerves and head into it with some final revision. The drive was fine with no shakes at all, but when we came to sitting in the driving centre I felt my head begin to tense. My legs went weak. I kept my hands moving to stop them shaking. Feeling light headed, and like I would trip over something, I led the examiner to the car.

I wish I could say I fought it off. Yeh, I turned it around and passed with flying colours, it was great! But no. It had only just begun. As I sat down with the nicest examiner anyone could hope for in this situation, I didn’t feel entirely there – everything was a little distant. His voice, my replies, my actions. We started off. I was worried.

And not 5 minutes later, it happened. The moment that effectively ended the test. It would take a long, detailed explanation to give you a full picture of what I did and why it affected me so greatly, so I’ll give you a brief view. I blocked 3 streams of traffic and hit a curb. That’s a serious fault. And credit to him, the examiner was brilliantly calm. He waited patiently with me till the traffic had flowed by and I had sorted the car out. We continued on to another road, attempted my manoeuvre (which was parralel parking), and I decided to terminate my test. It had got to the point where I was not confident in my ability to keep others safe whilst driving. I couldn’t rely on my reflexes if someone stepped in front of me, or that I would even remember to check my mirrors while I was in a panick. So, below is a short poem condensing some of this. Let me know what you think of it. Also, I’m looking to fight this panicking issue, how do you deal with your nerves in these kind of situations?

The mind is failing, the body’s shaking;
Not the greatest display of clean prowess.
The ships sent sailing, Levi’than waking;
Some brave man would have called it cowardice.
I sound the alarm, and none come to harm;
Though your money is lost, sire, I confess.

Common Occurence

People have difficulty facing up to their faults and, sometimes, the problems they are facing. This has occurred throughout history, all persons have pushed something away or not given it due thought. We are no exceptions. Perhaps someone asked you a personal question the other day and it hit a sore spot, but instead of explaining how you were or what you felt you said something like “I can’t explain it.” The hardest part about this situation is that sometimes we really can’t explain it just yet; our data is inconclusive like that of an investigation. Yet we shouldn’t stop at that, we should keep looking and thinking to find the centre of our issue. Then even if it is not explained to that person who has hit the nail on the head, at least we know and can now open up to the people who matter most and help us.

I couldn’t explain it if I wanted to!
Emphatically said, the truth is hard set;
Unfortunately its centre’s a lie.
He could, and he should, but he won’t, not yet.

I’m making an active effort at the moment to think things through far more thoroughly than I ever have, to actually use this mind that God has given me. It’s difficult.

What do you think our approach should be to deeper issues? Should we dig them up? Or perhaps not?
Let me know in the comments. I’d love to read about what you think.

I’m going to also put this post up on a tandem blog I’ve started. At the moment I have four posts there: two poems, one hymn, one essay. It will be similar to this one, but with its unique posts. Here’s the link if you’re interested: