Tuesday, 26 May 2015

El Greco

Can the darkness burn the light
Can the phantom put to fright
The ghost of thoughts unsaid?
We must bury what we may'
Forget grief, avoid decay or
Irreverence to our dead.

I heard the cuckoo twice today
Echo, or one far away
Or was it two to one?
The country voted to be gay
The straw proposed to new mown hay
The moon lies with the sun.

El Greco heard from Titian
"Never show the people truth"
You cannot paint a soul.
Saints, savages, who decides?
Except the men who don't take sides,
Sinners on parole.

Doménikos defied,
And by this he almost died
In Toledo of the blades.
El Greco; Spanish stroke by choice,
They took away his voice,
Turned his heart to spades.

Lorca, Goya, Dali, Picasso,
Masters of the bristle
Still must stand and whistle after the Greek,
Never still defined, one of a kind,
Elongated neck and mind,
They know not what they seek.

Santa Maria, Pinta and Nina
Took Columbus for a cruise
With sail from Ferdinand and Isabella,
Never knew where he was bound
For all the world he found
New men of gold and red and yellow.

Columbus; a Venetian, Greco hailed from Crete,
Neither of a vein of Spanish blood.
Or Castilian Robin Hood.
In El Prado, take a glance at Delacroix
Schoolboy raised in France,
Remembered Valladolid, and the Greek who always would.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015



What’s what in this land of Cyrillic colours
And shapes of capes on Cossack and charger?
What colour are tears from eyes in this place?
The pale of the pure, the golden of grain,
Or the crimson on bloody lace.
I know the milestones of history here
Like all other places; just dates of wars.
Slaughter campaigns, sanitised names,
Skeletons driving burnt out cars.
Advances, retreats on land and Black Sea
Victors and victims like you and me
And Geronimo.
The past filled with Ottomans, Lithuanians, Poles
Where are the sanctuaries, holiday homes?
A gulag is no place to go.
Life is not linear but instant; now.
Great paintings of peace depict only death.
Where hide all the peace correspondents?
And bandits with plans for each vacant berth.
Do lovers still bask under alabaster moon?
Or rejoice with the sun when the clock strikes noon
In Saint Michael’s square in Kiev.
Does the bread taste the same, the milk and the game?
The honey from Ternopil’s flowers
On the banks of the Seret River above.
The leaders great warriors or mice with money
The people defiant and strong
Must the question be asked “Is this my home?
Is this where I truly belong?"
Who can withstand the three sided pressure
Of the gravitational field of power
Not shadows in a material world
Where seconds are splinters of every glass hour.
Ireland never knew the wrath of invader
Just dark strangers who claimed us as one of their own.
Told us the rules; where to live, where to die,
For their sins, we still must atone.
Another UK without the sweet Raine
A kingdom still ruled by a queen,
They have blackened our name, reddened our soil,
Yet each spring our grass still grows green.


(The Dnieper and the Shannon still run free)