THE AMERICA THAT DIDN'T NEED MAKING GREAT AGAIN
This is the America that didn't need making great again
With its open spaces, hungry hearts ,bracing optimism
This is the America that welcomed the world
That fuelled art and poetry, music and expression
This is the America that accepted its past
Knew that good guys don't need white hats
This is the America of Ginsberg and Kerouac, Martin and Angela, Plath and Dylan, Aretha and Berry
This is the America of the Sioux, Cheyenne and Cherokee nations
This is the America I loved
Boarding a Greyhound in Miami, disembarking in San Francisco
Eggs & potatoes in New York, chilling with jazzers in Preservation Hall
This is the America that didn't need making great again
Out on the road where moonlight shines on endless highways
And the ghosts of buffaloes roam the plains
Inspired by David Hockney's painting, Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica 1990.
North Cornwall, mid-October,
the coast road into Bude.
On a bend
a sloping ploughed field
framed by sea, cliffs,
a cloudless sky.
Beyond the field,
the crumbling rocks,
out of the cloudless sky
a young man plunges into
the sea. The moment’s gone.
We drive on.
By Alan the Poet Therapeutic
21 November 2020
© 2020 by Alan Raymond Wheatley
Everybody's Got Talent
This poem is toward introducing the poem 'The Arts Manager' as one of my open mic contributions for Amnesty International Worcester Group's Human Rights Day Poetry presentation, a Zoom event for the evening of Thursday, 10 December 2020.
Everybody’s Got Talent
While Zen Buddhists pose the question:
“What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
I propose an image for you to imagine:
“Imagine a scene that I have witnessed,
Of a spoon-fed woman’s joyousness
Upon being given a musical shaker
Toward her fuller participation.”
Some adjustments are more delightful
Than ‘reasonable,’ and no-one
Is truly ‘ineducable’.
Please find a very short but topical poem below:
Washed up and wasted,
the carbuncle clings to the wreckage.
Closing the Gate
Not in a garden, nor a house,
I shift worlds in the dig for home.
April, the cruellest month.
A dog barks, a baby cries
a dustbin clatters, all against the dawn
and then the rain falls.
My fickle conscience riots against
the burden of ego. It is the dog, the baby,
and the dustbin that matter.
Another night and the displaced take shelter,
unravelling, with stern faces, in the dent
of concrete. This is new to me.
Somewhere else my country awakens
at this hour to a sky of mottled blue tiles
and donkeys will bray.
THE BASKET MAKER
With old skills dying and craftsmen gone
Old ben had pride and still clung on
He cut willow rods down by the lakes
Knowing bog sally bends but never breaks
Those plants that thrive in boggy lands
Became works of art in his strong hands
On his belt a sheath with one sharp “scian”
At fairs and fetes old ben was seen
With “skibs “ to be used as potato dishes
And square peat containers he called “kishes”
On his donkeys back,, as he had no wheels
Wicker panniers balanced known as “creels”
When demand for baskets got so few
He must have wondered what to do
Fish no longer sold in “crans”
As plastic containers won over fans
Cheap imports were now the lure
Ben made celtic crosses for the poor
The Old Man in his Garden
At last his garden is supremely here, if misty
As colours pulse, forms flex, in meditation.
Against a lawn as plush a green as once
The parkland of the big house, stand his trees,
Their branches figuring the ideal grace
Of gestures which are neither giving nor taking,
But fill the air with swish and twitterings
Beyond desire and meaning, as he is.
But to drift among flowerbeds is the pain
Of rediscovered darlings pushing back
From earth. Returning as soft ponderables:
Those garish, jagged outbursts of his youth
Pure flower now, there for fruit not symbol ,
The weakening fingers crush to faintest scent.
The Owl and the Christmas Tree
A wide eyed owl sat in his tree in a forest of spruce trees in upstate New York
This was Rip Van Winkle country where owls and old men had slept among the forests for centuries seeing the world pass from a vantage point among the thick branches.
The roaring shrieks of chainsaws woke him from his reverie as his tree was torn up and fell among its fellows with a sound like thunder
Branches twigs and leaves fell in all directions but the owl hung on
It was his tree and his world and he would not depart it now
The tree was hauled to the banks of the wide flowing Hudson River
The owl still clinging to his branch found himself on a huge river barge
Wending its way through the bluffs and passing pretty painted villages and
Holiday homes set high above the river with their white clapperboard walls
Reflecting the November sun which fell across the shimmering river waters
The great metropolis of New York was reached and the tree hauled yet again from the barge
And placed upon a truck with great dexterity its extra passenger still puzzled as to their final destination.
Outside the gigantic Rockerfeller Centre the tree was hauled upright and stood again as it had once stood in the snow covered forests of the uplands
It was the Christmas Tree for the plague year of 2020
its lights would help dispel the demon of the virus and create again a winter oasis of gemutlichkeit
The owl flew from a branch to catch a juicy insect drawn by the lights and
Alerted the tree’s guardians who full of amazement took him down and placed him for safety in a nearby animal protection centre
Could not this wild owl have stayed in that tree and looked down each night at the foolish humans who worshipped at its lights and drank in its beauty?
He had made his pilgrimage to bring his wisdom to the skyscaper dwellers and would not return.
By Yan Li
Age? Eight, five, and one.
They float on English Channel.
In waves their boat sank.
a falling out