This is my new book of poems. Not funny poems but serious ones like The Shrines which appears below.
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I have seen them on the Snake, the Woodhead too,
Those places where the spirits of the Earth have left.
A clutch of flowers, a soft toy, some sun-bleached cards,
A tangle of bright ribbons mark them out, these spaces now
Made holy somehow by the sudden dead. And those behind, bereft,
Here mark the spot where love left screaming for the stars.
Here time stopped, and the smiling face
Amongst the lilies and the water jars
Is there to lay claim to this leaving place
To own this pathway to the mystery.
I have seen them too on old bog roads, a high Greek pass,
On lonely moors and Himalayan paths;
The same small sacred groves.
Some have tin houses where perhaps they think
Lost spirits live; in some an oil lamp blinks
Its flame dancing as if to call the dead souls home.
The old ones say that mourning over much
Disturbs the dead, will call them back
Causing the loved one’s ghost to rise
Marooned here restless, chained by our love to Earth.
Yet still the mourners come to change the flowers
To light the tea lights in their little jars
To fix the prayer flags and make good the ground.
The mothers, sisters, friends, unconscious of the passing cars
They are the acolytes who sanctify
The earth here sensing that in some small way,
For now, for here at least, there is
Something truly sacred at this hallowed spot,
Here at this shattered wall, torn hedge, this scarred oak tree:
Their own Golgotha, their small Calvary.