Tag Archives: Ray Stearn

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Weak, warning waves lap on the causeway,

Pulling me back to time and place and purpose.

 

Sounds from seals on the sands,

Regretful, rueful arias of past lives, eerily haunting.

 

Barn Owl on the wing, expect no sound here.

Lately, Little Egrets patrol the flats.

 

The smell of the sea

The strength of the wind

The weakness of promises

 

Gannets fly by in prehistoric formation

Never mindful of ship, or shore, or Saint.

 

A touch of rain on the face

A look of anger in the clouds

A jolt of anguish in the heart

 

Snow Bunting, no larger than resident sparrows,

Search for microscopic scraps on the shoreline.

 

Crunching boots on the shingle

Crashing breakers on the shore

Cringing memories of that moment and the day before

 

Another vehicle marooned by the tide

Another visitor to be taken aside

Another hopeful caught out by one who lied

 

The rhythm of walking

The subtlety of talking

The Roe Deer stalking

 

The warmth of the Cafe

The smell of the coffee

The taste of the crab

 

Copyright Ray Stearn 6th June 2019

 

Granddad Ray Stearn

Granddad

I’m with him
On the lawn that he has mown with precision.
We both stand down after tending his precious rows,
Blood-red roses, always his favourite.
One special rose takes pride of place,
Peace

On a slow, sunny Sunday,
Sat in his upturned wheelbarrow,
Ploughed field of a wrinkled face
Set off by twinkling blue eyes above,
Bright as flares on a starlit night.
Woodbine entrenched in the corner of his mouth.

“when Lieutenant Smithies arrived, new to the front,
He hadn’t seen the neat lines of men
Mown down by machine gun.
He paraded on the fire step to show he had no fear,
Top of his bloody head blown apart in two minutes!”

The no-man’s land between us
Plays out a Christmas-truce football match.
I think it’s a draw.

Now he’s studying
Motorway traffic on the bridge.
“There’s been seventy four lorries this last hour alone,
That’s twenty more than yesterday,
You’d think there was a big push on.”
The blue stars turn to a piercing storm,
“Did you buy that motorbike,
Despite what I said?
Bloody dangerous things,
Kill you as soon as look at you.”

“Yes, I did.”

He sighs
“Well, I’d better get you some proper boots,
No grandson of mine
Is going to moan about
Trench foot from riding his bike.
Now, have I got to watch that
Bloody rugby today?
You know very well it’s
Wrestling on a Saturday afternoon.
What’s that Grammar School taught you?
What’s wrong with football?
If you think I’m putting up with this
Four times a year
You’ve got another think coming.”
Hostilities break out again,
An echo of his life some fifty years before.
Except these are gentle, loving skirmishes.

© Ray Stearn 2nd October 2009, revised 5th November 2015

Steal the Sun

Steal the Sun

 

Tomorrow, if it doesn’t rain,
I shall steal the sun, put it
In the boot of my car,
Save it for a rainy day, come what may
No matter what the world may say
In darkness.
I’ve never stolen a star before
Universally despised
A galaxy of ideas come to mind
Then disappear
Down a black
Black hole
But tomorrow, if it doesn’t rain
I shall steal the sun

 

Granddad

Granddad

I’m with him
On the lawn that he has mown with precision.
We both stand down after tending his precious rows,
Blood-red roses, always his favourite.
One special rose takes pride of place,
Peace

On a slow, sunny Sunday,
Sat in his upturned wheelbarrow,
Ploughed field of a wrinkled face
Set off by twinkling blue eyes above,
Bright as flares on a starlit night.
Woodbine entrenched in the corner of his mouth.

“when Lieutenant Smithies arrived, new to the front,
He hadn’t seen the neat lines of men
Mown down by machine gun.
He paraded on the fire step to show he had no fear,
Top of his bloody head blown apart in two minutes!”

The no-man’s land between us
Plays out a Christmas-truce football match.
I think it’s a draw.

Now he’s studying
Motorway traffic on the bridge.
“There’s been seventy four lorries this last hour alone,
That’s twenty more than yesterday,
You’d think there was a big push on.”
The blue stars turn to a piercing storm,
“Did you buy that motorbike,
Despite what I said?
Bloody dangerous things,
Kill you as soon as look at you.”

“Yes, I did.”

He sighs
“Well, I’d better get you some proper boots,
No grandson of mine
Is going to moan about
Trench foot from riding his bike.
Now, have I got to watch that
Bloody rugby today?
You know very well it’s
Wrestling on a Saturday afternoon.
What’s that Grammar School taught you?
What’s wrong with football?
If you think I’m putting up with this
Four times a year
You’ve got another think coming.”
Hostilities break out again,
An echo of his life some fifty years before.
Except these are gentle, loving skirmishes.

© Ray Stearn 2nd October 2009, revised 5th November 2015