Patrick Henry


Lives come back to this solid shore, from the jagged haze
Of war; or treks to explore; or fish, or trade.
To count hard gains. Breathe relief, and recount
Brave words on how bold steps abroad, have survived.

This island hunches like a whale, or a mountain set fast
In firm frame of mind: to weigh wild roads ahead.
Brute lash of storm; trade falling; or the total threat
The Iron Cross unleashed. All we have resisted.

Between huge waves, calm water lulls a safer life,
To take small pleasures: plan sound, caring company,
That works hard; or brings kind faces close around.
Strong, until more gales shake every roof and tree.

To flood low towns; burst dam and bridge; break the nerves
Of households grasping hope, frayed ends might reach
To far shores: in fact, bus routes on grey council streets:
Glad getting back to huddle down their humdrum lives.

In Asia: stateless armed squads say they are a State,
Who’ll swallow the rest, and crush monuments to the past.
Hungry as storms, or monsters out of our worst dark:
The poet Yeats, saw and warned of at Reichstag times.

Tones thundering today, remind of that dread harsh tread.
Columns with nought to lose, will strike to their last breath;
In belief: some Valhalla waits for their great afterlife:
By ending this scourge, The West means to their high creed.

News Press photos show flood people rescued at York.
Next page: mother and child migrants drowned, on shores now Greek.
Far as they reached. Vast tides of fear raging close behind.
The world needs to halt. As we have, some drastic times.

Coast of Silence

        (Alfred Wallis, painter)

This whole silence, one might value and preserve.
How scent is gathered, to hold a timeless thrill.
Or as a painter once bottled sea-water to observe
Its drab murk from depths that stir up sheer force:
Waves will harness, and world ventures, propel
Through sea-scapes his kind, to these jagged shores.
Wild roarings cease. Calm silence returns.
Deft hands ply brush strokes; or collect strewn words,
Curved as shells: that lend to the ear, that drone:
Next to full silence, found sure to alert, entice
Stray thoughts, loaded tight: steered to sure aims.
The canvas taut as sails lashed by sharp breeze
Steam that coasters stoke up, drifts to shape outlines.
The scene stamped out new through each brush stroke,
Written up into clutched, pebble-hardened words.
Grasping a timeless sense, coastal silence impels.

Magic Times at The Futurist

World-wide magicians, once brought here their strange acts;
Among Varieties, staged at this coast resort.
Politics held Party Conferences, to promise much.
Comics and hypnotists also played their part.

Big Bands swung down seafronts, where high waves dance.
Films filled The Futurist. In “On the Waterfront”;
Brando, leather-clad, fought vile powers, at his brave stance.
Outside here: night tides like drum beats, crashed down, vibrant.

Russian Ballet or Verdi’s Aida, crammed this small stage.
Though seating here, spread vast as any up North-East.
The Futurist. A name sounding long to last.
Our Post-War time launched a hard-won, hopeful age.

Those Magic Men, spelt belief in Illusions, they’d wave
To make vanish tall girls, street cars, pianos or bass drums:
Wiped off before our eyes. Then, brought back, alive.
When this whole theatre goes: nothing can remain but dreams.