Poetry

by david ratcliffe

SUMMIT TUNNEL

The homeboy patrolled the platform
hauling a case full of troubles;
a youth, unprepared, undercooked, fidgety,
4 minutes from departure.

He could see his half-life below,
wished to wallow in its familiar frown,
allow his timidity licence to return
to the arms of invisibility.

The village continued its sophistry;
July sunrise presented limestone ripples,
clouds created kaleidoscopic greens,
the old mill beseeched him, remain
within its simplicity,
content to drink life from cupped hands.

A cursory glance to the exit;
would he prove them right?
'would he eckerslike',
yet fearing the train's arrival
he hoped it would run out of steam,
hiss to a stop, forever
lost in the tunnel a mile
from his inward mitherings.

Through branches of dappled summer, 
he looked down at the bus stop
from where his ride to that point had
terminated at the limits of imagination, 
while he waited for adventure
far beyond ambition...

 

Infinite Ignition © 2015 All Rights Reserved

HOGGING THE BLANKET

She removes her clothing,
cradles the naked girl
shielding her from the cold winds bite,
offering love of a different kind.

Knowing critics enter an open window,
indifferent to those observing
selfless intent, through dignified silence.

Those detractors that would
shake a pretty flower
into an ugly stem
to place on public display.

The gutless bastards that would
weave an itchy blanket
from the fibers of an ill-spun yarn
to throw over innocence.

She knows they come,
yet gladly hogs the blanket,
offering the damsel a fresh robe,
before standing bare to those
that see beyond the fabric.


BLIGHTED EMERALD

The proud emerald blackened
in the poisoned mud, cried
into the darkness, while the flawed empire
ate heartily and spoke ill of noble men.

Starvation stripped flesh from bone
during horrendous injustice, and
raped a nation of dignity, though
not a mark upon her pride.

A simple folk who worked the land, were
driven into barren dust,
forsaken by a race so near
to bleed their last or scatter far.

Wrapped in evangelical belief, with
divine providence born of warped principle;
the British eat a hearty meal
and gave thanks for the privilege.

Blood and bone lay to all sides, among
stench and dying moans, as one such
labourer’s daughter crawled,
among the filth, to raise a hand.

Looking beyond shiny buttons, into
stony eyes of dutiful distain, she
desperately sought empathy
though not a sign did they convey.

And so she fled to fester long, and
crippled by decease she wheezed
into her mammies rosary, to whimper
back into her arms.

The British folk were duped by tales,
of violence and laziness, of
a people less than people, held firm
by providence so flawed.

I now look toward the emerald;
that shines so brightly on this day
lest I forget the suffering
my people laid upon their kin.


NO ONE OF IMPORTANCE

By whose authority do men become gods?

Born upon satin thread
and cushioned through life
to ride in carriages far beyond the reach
of those they abhor.

Leaving a serf such as I
begging by the roadside.

Not offering a glance
as minions fawn over an ordinary man,
given the keys to the kingdom, from
the bloodline of his flawed kin.

Speaking in a grand tones
over bloodstock well-nourished
they drive the common breed hard
to hasten their departure.

Oblivious to my outstretched hand
the king of riddles and handshakes
leaves me on my knees.

Meanwhile the sad priest in the courtyard
speaks of all men as equal
though I resent such comparison.

For I saw no one of importance this day.


THREE DAY WEEK

Nestled in the Pennine vale,
blackened, defiled by time,
a ‘three day week’ factory,...
serves a seven day need.

As if concert pianists, in neat rows,
they sit ‘mantis like’
taking turns in thinking
“where is that girl with my thread?”

Treadle down, run through,
hems sewn, scissors readied,
more attire for the wasteful breed
in ‘that’ London.

Burr of machines, piped music,
widows, wives, and spinsters
sing their own words;
vowels flatter than dads cap.

Callused fingers, shoulders burdened,
thoughts drift to trading gas money
for a chippy tea; large portion
covers five, a midweek treat.

Through desperation and fear
they laugh at nothing
as if it were everything
and sing of brighter days.

As if concert pianists, in neat rows,
they sit ‘mantis like’
taking turns in thinking
“where is that girl with my thread?”

Treadle down, run through,
hems sewn, scissors readied,
more attire for the wasteful breed
in ‘that’ London.

Burr of machines, piped music,
widows, wives, and spinsters
sing their own words;
vowels flatter than dads cap.

Callused fingers, shoulders burdened,
thoughts drift to trading gas money
for a chippy tea; large portion
covers five, a midweek treat.

Through desperation and fear
they laugh at nothing
as if it were everything
and sing of brighter days.


HONORABLE MADNESS

Mislead pilgrims, marching onward,
as labelled soldiers fall in line
soulless, sightless, the grand illusion
broken bones beneath the shrine.

Nervous laughter, cries from trenches
thoughts of love, and arms extended
taken chances in the moment,
ashen faced as gas descended.

Solitude amongst the masses,
sodden branch to light the fire, as
pure at heart subside, with honor
despairing howls fade on the wire.

Fondly breathing in the vapor,
fibers twisted, knuckles white,
taking refuge in the rushes, with
sadness blocking out the light.

Nearly perfect, almost flawless,
exogenous to tribal law,
a vision altering direction
wrapped around a fateful flaw.

This was recognised as being a 'very good' poem by the talented poet Michael J. Whelan  David was humbled by this comment.

Click here to view the creditation.


ABLAZE THE TRUTH

The imposter hides
behind half-closed eyes, squints
through swirls of acrid smoke, delivers
caustic self-loathing, evokes
hypocritical responses, from media whores,
who mock her truth,
a ritual of self-exorcism , setting
the page ablaze, direct from the confines
of her troubled mind.

Extraordinary intelligence,
unable to dumb down
to the perfect, prissy of bit part players
that dress window displays;
her mania driven creativity, unsettles
the prudish flock.
As she scratches on her journals,
hits hard on the keys, punishes herself
with each brutal truth.

Exploding like a firecracker, spitting
colours into the black, spits
in the face of polite society,
leaves sanctimonious bores in her wake,
with sharp clever layers of reality,
empties, fizzles out.
The possessed witch, snuffed her flame;
leaving words she had written,
to speak of her worth.


Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Mercy of the Rope

Reading Jail England 1896

Within damp, unforgiving walls
the condemned man
longed for the rope, to
halt his torturous thoughts.

At the same time,
beyond those confines, his
council sought pardon
though Charles Wooldridge
had the stench of death in his nostrils,
wishing for no such intervention.

A tired old priest, shivered
and prayed, as the
prisoner wept with remorse
for the death of a sweetheart
he himself had slain.

To imagine so heinous a crime,
would send the rats a scurry,
in the cold stone hell.

So popular was Nell
to the eyes of attentive men,
during his long barrack duty
in the household guard.

So jealous he had become
at her flirtatious ways.

Taking a cut throat razor, along
with his rage, to her tender throat
she’d panted in fear, her eyes
flicking from side to side
as he'd thought of her
with other men.

Closing his eyes tightly,
he’d lost control as the
blade ran through the soft sweet flesh
of her tiny neck.

He'd recoiled, as she fell,
stared at the crimson victim of his pique,
pleading for help,
and forgiveness.

The compassionate priest
constantly prayed for his soul,
right up until he was called for.

Charles was ready
more than ready.

It is said that his neck
had stretched eleven inches,
due to the extra-long rope used, as his
limp pathetic body clattered,
against the cold stone walls.

All the while
in the shadows
a poet had looked on.


SERPENTS IN BALL GOWNS

Chaos engulfs the mind in chemical
waves; crashing veins, exploding in
cranium bleeds; reason sluiced and

thinned. Passages open to echoes of
mayhem, a grotesque carnival,
with hideous moving scenery.

invading the outer world without visa
or invitation, smiling at intimidating
put-downs from serpents in ball gowns.

Unaware of the filaments of frayed
promises that sour crops in neighboring
fields, to bleed through root stems,

into vagabond minds. Poisoning
tongues, at the portal entrance
that hold your feet with greasy fingers.


GRENADE

It was too late for she’d reneged
she pulled the pin from the grenade
a confidence she’d kept so long
the urge she felt became too strong.

So out it rushed in rainbow flow
a tragic puerile puppet show
the consequence of what was said
reverberates around her head.

For in a moment to impress
emitted words that bring distress
will ultimately take their toll
and blow apart her troubled soul.

Within that moment all was lost
the viral content had been tossed
and as the pin lay by the road
anticipated fears explode.

 

All writing material owned by David Ratcliffe© 2015 All Rights Reserved