Poetry, Uncategorized

FIREFLIES UNDER AFRICAN SKIES

Photo:  Kenya post-election violence, 2008*

 

Nepotism and lies

Of those that claim

Corruption and tribal ties

Do not exist,

Insist

They’re made up.

The Powerful prioritise

Personal gain under political guise.

 

A suffering nation defies

Democracy’s demise

And generations of apathy with

Anarchy.

 

Those who defy are

Crushed like flies.

 

The promise of hope slowly dies,

Like fireflies under African skies.

 

 

 

*The United Nations estimates that there are still as many as 17,000 internally displaced refugees in Kenya.  The next presidential elections are scheduled for March 2013.

 

(A while ago I read somewhere on WordPress the phrase ‘fireflies under African skies’ and it stuck with me and partly inspired the piece above.  Sorry, I can’t remember whose blog it was, but thank you, and if it was you, please let me know, so that I can thank you personally).

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Poetry, Uncategorized

WINDY NIGHT

stormy tree

 

Woken by a scream

As of you I dreamed

You yelled for me, it seemed,

(Did I hear your voice or was it just the wind?).

 

Blowy autumn attitudes

Skipped across the latitudes

Whispering blustery platitudes,

(Did I hear your voice or was it just the wind?).

 

Against the weeping pane

The splattering of rain

Beat staccatos of your name,

(Did I hear your voice or was it just the wind?).

 

Salty spray sang out to me,

Lusty storms across the sea

Crashed the surf-scuffed scree

(Did I hear your voice or was it just the wind?).

 

Naked branches swayed

Their tempestuous ballet

Words were whipped away

(Did I hear your voice or was it just the wind?).

 

I thought I heard you call

From your distant shore

Through the midnight squall,

(Did I hear your voice or was it just the wind?).

 

Clambering from my sleepy daze,

An after-dreaming haze

The shutter bangs and sways:

 

(I didn’t hear your voice.  It was just the wind).

 

© Alex Barton

 

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Poetry, Uncategorized

PRONUNCIATION

Does one say scone,

To rhyme with swan?

Or scone,

To rhyme with bone?

 

Eaten for breakfast with eggs and ham?

Or afternoon tea with butter and jam?

With bergamot-y Earl of Grey

Or milky Builders’ Tay?

 

Accentual tautology

Results in classist proclivity,

And on condimental predilection

Rests prejudiced preconception,

 

Pass judgement if you must:

Lower class or upper crust?

People are quick to opinionate

When it comes to the way we enunciate.

 

© Alex Barton 2012

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Poetry, Uncategorized

NICOLA’S KNEE

If you knew the story, you wouldn’t laugh,

Of poor old Nooks who fell in the bath.

Looking forward to a relaxing soak

She slipped and, ‘crack’, her knee was broke.

 

Everyone panicked and called the medics

Who rushed her off to orthopaedics.

There followed days in hospital

To recover from the wretched fall.

 

Dozens of doctors prodded and poked

‘We might have to amputate’, they heartily joked.

But did she complain? Did she hell!

Always cheerful, and smiling as well.

 

Now many months later, she still can’t walk,

While specialists continue to ponder and talk.

She’s bored of being pushed around in a chair,

And taking the lift instead the stair.

 

Now, I think I have a cunning plan

Requiring neither x-ray nor scan.

Go to the garden shed, and there-in,

There’s WD-40 in a blue-yellow tin.

 

A daily squirt of this oily potion

The offending knee will resume full motion.

Lubricating all swelling and pain,

And promptly Nooks’ll be right as rain!

 

© Alex Barton

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Poetry, Uncategorized

RESCUED STRAY

This poem is an example of ‘Than-Bauk’, a three line “climbing rhyme” poem of Burmese origin.  Each line has four syllables. The rhyme is on the fourth syllable of the first line, the third syllable of the second line, and the second syllable of the third line!

(photo © Alex Barton)

I want to teach

Him to reach out

And breach my trust.

 

It’s no surprise

Steely eyes hide,

Long disguised, pain.

 

Soft fur hides scars,

Broken heart beat,

Soul marred by hurt.

 

Puppy tail’s shy,

Delighted wags

Defy the past.

 

© Alex Barton 2012

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Poetry, Uncategorized

REMEMBRANCE POPPY

Tucked beneath the hedgerow’s shade

Safe away from combine’s blade,

She braves the gusting winds, her view

Across the field ploughed a-new.

Un-trampled by the hiker’s boot,

In her single breasted suit

Of brightest red.   Fragile but proud,

Beneath this winter gun-grey cloud,

The poppy’s purpose to remind you

Of World Wars’ One and Two,

And soldiers who still fight today

In Afghanistan and far away.

We’ll stand silent, an hour before noon,

Remembering those that fell too soon,

And die today to make us safe.

In her field, the crimson waif,

On the Eleventh of November,

The poppy helps us to remember.

 

© Alex Barton 2012

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Poetry, Uncategorized

THE KENYAN OBAMAS CELEBRATE . . .

Granny Sarah is full of delight,

Her village is going to party tonight,

They’re celebrating victory,

A jiwe-ya-maili  in history.

Jambo sana!

Barack Obama.”

 

Sipping several Tusker beers,

Whooping, shouting rowdy cheers,

Eating nyama choma,

And dancing to lingala.

Mazuri sana!’,

Barack Obama.”

 

The men will sit and kuvuta a puff,

While ladies imba and wiggle their stuff,

All the children cheka with glee

This’ll go chini in history!

 “Hakuna matata!

Barack Obama.”

 

* * *

 

Here are some Kiswahili translations that might help:

 

jiwe ya maili (self-invented expression!) Jiwe – stone, maili – mile, hence: milestone

jambo sana – A big hello

Tusker – popular brand of Kenyan beer

nyama choma – barbecue

lingala – popular Congolese music

mazuri sana – very good

kuvuta – to smoke

imba – to dance

cheka – to laugh

chini – down

hakuna matata – no problem

 

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Poetry, Uncategorized

AMERICAN DREAM

The men of stone on Rushmore Mount,
What do they think as they look out
Across this vast and promised land,
Begot and formed by their own hand?

And are they proud of what they see,
Of this, The Great Democracy?
So does The Big American Dream
Still promise all it’s ever been?

Today as off to vote you go,
Remember dreams of long ago.
Consider the future and the past,
As you decide, your vote to cast.

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