wilf jones poems 6

                    the heft and the edge                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     10/6/2020







          VERSE                                           meanderings

































































































































































































































































































The Critic

Did you know that
starlings are the most literary of birds?
In conference they argue the merit, or not,
of each tasty morsel that may come their way.
Their noisy debate may seem raucous,
bitter to the untutored ear:
so often a contest in caucus
can lead one to mock and to sneer.
What should the importunate writer expect,
what cause does he have to complain:
haven't we come to believe spleen essential
In the Literary World of today?

Last week one such brilliant creation
came into my house uninvited,
his plumage all battered and blackened
by a fall.  You see
he came in by way of the chimney,
oh, not bearing gifts like a saint,
more like a burglar bungling,
(with theft a common complaint!)
His point of ingress, so assembled, so poised,
not a piece, I would swear, out of place,
became the first toy of his cynical game:
I witnessed the look on his face.
His fury, his flapping, his gleeful
swagger and spatter and bile,
upended and tipped,
felled and destroyed
each feature of beauty and grace.

As ornament crashed, I'll admit it,
my patience was tried beyond measure,
though I soon got to wondering whether
his motive was malice or fear:
the mem'ry of earlier trauma we know
can move one to hate or to tears.
What more I did wonder could my visitor do
to assuage his poisonous need?
What else had I left for his words to revile,
to punish, to batter, to bleed?

The answer was not long in coming,
his object to carp and to pry,
he made his way into my study
where my poor fledgling work caught his eye:
my words full of promise but weakling,
so eager, so yearning to fly,
so careful, so sharp yet so weighty,
so funny, so sunny, so wry.
Oh, an erudite bird this fine starling,
a master of meter and line,
the best of his work was well noted:
so witty, so shitty, so dry!
My tremulous whimpers of protest,
my words of defence and defeat,
provoked mere derision,
he made his decision:
where better to make his reply?

CRAP was the adjective, noun and the verb,
such was the quality of his wit,
but I decided to scorn this scatological slur:
one should never accept such lit. crit.
Look, I know for a fact,
        - and you know I was there -
Neither comment nor scrutiny ever climbed clear
        - and I think you'll admit this completely unfair -
Of the titles, the contents and blurb.

He escaped my worst of intentions,
left hastily by a wife-opened door;
while I was left fuming, enfeebled, reviewed,
the starling, he greeted the wide-open blue:
rejoicing, exulting, renewed!




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Putting it down -  with some justification


the timid writer paused
regularly to berate himself
for this arrogant deed


or if you prefer 6/7/6 use “often”


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Safe from Scavenger and Raptor

The Black-Back Gull is
trying to force the window;
within, comfortable gannets clear plates and dishes
in the Asda cafe.

Downstairs aisles of plenty
beckon flocks of brash starling,
and self-assured blackbird,
fill trolleys for the dapper
off-the-peg martins and
all the struggling sparrows and
the occasional eccentric stork.

The scavenger is kept without,
desperate for the smallest chance,
tenacity held in check by the dis-
advantage card he was given.

Where are the raptors?
Only the most common
mix it with the crowds;
Harriers and Golden Eagles
would not be seen dead inside,
amid the foraging squabble;
good humoured or not, it could
never suit their demeanour.

Can they understand their peril?
Those greater and grander
grow more scarce,
make less impact;
their once over-bearing terror
yet fierce enough when seen
is forgotten;
that noble stoop and cry
now rare as the voice of the
rising lark.



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Too high for cornfield blues to reach,
That blue beyond, halving sight
For you, but everything that is
For those bright eyes looking out
And up. With all the confidence of
Blonde youth, with not a cloud
To spoil his view and not a truth
That could intrude
Upon such blue
For all this day
And for tomorrow too.

But many wrinkled eyes
Denied any blue
Did hope at best for grey,
Scared of a night to come
With Storm and Lightning charging through
To a cleansed and bitter dawn.




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Except for Un-regarded Labours

In the park they cut-down trees
That I recall once had presence:
Towering above the skyline,
Dominating all below.
Now the giants are truncated,
Their wreck of severed limbs reduced:

A lesser work of man, we say,
To bring down those who stood on high,
To manage this which yet remains.

But we all know: domestic blades
Will keep their cutting-edge;
And only records, daily kept,
Or snapshots pinned to council files
In stacked-up books of faded lives,
Can raise the ghost of glories past.

Except for un-regarded labours,
Unremembered petty deeds,
Even that is lost.



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Purr in my Elite
Scrape the art and passion
With my sticky claws;
Fat and knowing cream
I pad the heavy streets,
Lap heritage at every stage,
The dreams of poets turn my path:
I twist their stories, age to age.

Purr in my Elite
Drop to gutter level,
Wet my glossy fur;
Full and wanting more
Inhale the heady stinks:
The skin-slick sheen of lust and fear
And midnight scents that sex me up
Will in my noon-day dreams appear.

Purr in my Elite

Mark-out what is mine,
And map unwritten law;
I prick these sonar ears
And tear with needle teeth
Each tasty piece I've found or caught,
Digest for breakfast, lunch or tea
The skin, the bones, the guts, the heart.

Purr in my Elite
Abandon as I please
All images I wear;
I trick as much as tease
And relish blind belief
In chicks who sing my praise and preen
Even when their throats are in my mouth;
Self driven joy is joy indeed!



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