Love

Do I dare speak?
How shall I begin?
Soaring from some great height
An exalted fl ight –
Sweeping you off your feet
As I usually do.
Or shall I begin softly
With tenderness, on tiptoe
With my head covered in white silk –
Shall I come tall as an Alpine day
With huge mountains blocking
My way to your heart –
Or shall I be small
And perfectly untouchable
In my beauty –
Or shall I stumble,
Lurch into mistakes and fright –
Leaving you to weep
Such sad weepings –
Shall I be buoyant
And fl oat into you
Like an ocean would –
Filling your being with enough
Power to surmount every problem
Trying to force me out –
Or shall I not come at all –
And leave you free to cast yourselves
Into the seas of circumstance,
Where you will sink
And never know about me –
Would that be fair?
For although I do not offer fi delity
Only a promise of a kiss –
You should not miss my lottery tickets
Five for two-shillings on a hot day
For you might win.
I have always been a gamble –
But you might win!

Shänne Sands, Grass (extract) ‘Fragments of Desire’ – FootSteps Press

 

Love and Age

I PLAY’D with you ’mid cowslips blowing,
When I was six and you were four;
When garlands weaving, flower-balls throwing,
Were pleasures soon to please no more.
Through groves and meads, o’er grass and heather,
With little playmates, to and fro,
We wander’d hand in hand together;
But that was sixty years ago.

You grew a lovely roseate maiden,
And still our early love was strong;
Still with no care our days were laden,
They glided joyously along;
And I did love you very dearly,
How dearly words want power to show;
I thought your heart was touch’d as nearly;
But that was fifty years ago.

Then other lovers came around you,
Your beauty grew from year to year,
And many a splendid circle found you
The centre of its glittering sphere.
I saw you then, first vows forsaking,
On rank and wealth your hand bestow;
O, then I thought my heart was breaking!—
But that was forty years ago.

And I lived on, to wed another:
No cause she gave me to repine;
And when I heard you were a mother,
I did not wish the children mine.
My own young flock, in fair progression,
Made up a pleasant Christmas row:
My joy in them was past expression;
But that was thirty years ago.

You grew a matron plump and comely,
You dwelt in fashion’s brightest blaze;
My earthly lot was far more homely;
But I too had my festal days.
No merrier eyes have ever glisten’d
Around the hearth-stone’s wintry glow,
Than when my youngest child was christen’d;
But that was twenty years ago.

Time pass’d. My eldest girl was married,
And I am now a grandsire gray;
One pet of four years old I’ve carried
Among the wild-flower’d meads to play.
In our old fields of childish pleasure,
Where now, as then, the cowslips blow,
She fills her basket’s ample measure;
And that is not ten years ago.

But though first love’s impassion’d blindness
Has pass’d away in colder light,
I still have thought of you with kindness,
And shall do, till our last good-night.
The ever-rolling silent hours
Will bring a time we shall not know,
When our young days of gathering flowers
Will be an hundred years ago.

 

Thomas Love Peacock

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
   And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
   Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
   And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
   On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
   Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
   I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
   One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
   And palms before my feet.

G. K. CHESTERTON

Innocence

Our innocence was kept in a blue vase –
Holding chrysanthemums with heavy heads –
Or over gas fires making toast and reading Flecker
Or lying on narrow beds comfortable with happiness –
Books littered with petals and ‘notes’
About coming ‘home’ late –
Piping a recorder in the dusk of that autumn,
When words spun to the ground with united pleasure –
Only the flowers fell one by one –
The words were never weak –
Only the autumn’s changed from then till now;
As vases hold other flowers and our innocence
Is no longer found within their blueness
On a high mantelpiece,
But is a piece of jagged glass
Broken yet still beautiful –

Shänne Sands, from Night Song published by FootSteps Press

Sign Here or Make Your Mark

The sky is blue its summer-time
Sign here or make your mark.

The sky is grey the following week
Sign here or make your mark.

The benefit book all dates and stamps
The post-office queue all sour and damp
Sign here or make your mark.

Over the road the Co-op waits
To take your benefit for food
The sky above the traffic-fumes
Is poisoned with a deadly glare

Don’t moan, don’t stare, just wait
Sign here or make your mark.

The shoes are pieces of old scruff –
The sweat-shirt loose and stained –
Benefit day has come once more –
In spite of sun or rain –

Just before you die
A tin like voice will say –
Sign here or make your mark
Then take the book away.

Shänne Sands, The Silver Hooves published by FootSteps Press

When All The World …

WHEN all the world is young, lad,
And all the trees are green ;
And every goose a swan, lad,
And every lass a queen ;
Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
And round the world away ;
Young blood must have its course, lad,
And every dog his day.

When all the world is old, lad,
And all the trees are brown ;
And all the sport is stale, lad,
And all the wheels run down ;
Creep home, and take your place there,
The spent and maimed among :
God grant you find one face there,
You loved when all was young.

Charles Kinglsey from The Waterbabies

For My Poor Sick Brother Allan Edwin

I have not seen an angel
Or heard an holy voice –
Or witnessed a miracle –

Nor seen a saint –
But I have felt a peace –
A tenderness –

A token-wind of faith –
I have known a place –
Where a spirit played
Deep on my heart –
Played in my brain –

A touch of joy sped me along –
A path leading upward to His Cross –
And on my knees or standing
Near his church – I have felt
The nearness of a truth –
Confl ict is banished into ash –
And high above reason, time or year
His precious call repeats
The message of a world to come –
‘My people hear, oh! Hear’

Shänne Sands, Fragments of Desire published by FootSteps Press

Allen Edwin had a schizophrenic episode in his thirties and, when on his medication, became a devout missionary. He died in his early seventies, alone in Cheltenham, England.

Words

Out of us all
That make rhymes,
Will you choose
Sometimes –
As the winds use
A crack in the wall
Or a drain,
Their joy or their pain
To whistle through –
Choose me,
You English words?

I know you:
You are light as dreams,
Tough as oak,
Precious as gold,
As poppies and corn,
Or an old cloak:
Sweet as our birds
To the ear,
As the burnet rose
In the heat
Of Midsummer:
Strange as the races
Of dead and unborn:
Strange and sweet,
Equally,
And familiar,
To the eye,
As the dearest faces
That a man knows,
And as lost homes are:
But though older far
Than oldest yew, –
As our hills are, old, –
Worn new
Again and again:
Young as our streams
After rain:
And as dear
As the earth which you prove
That we love.

Make me content
With some sweetness
From Wales
Whose nightingales
Have no wings, –
From Wiltshire and Kent
And Herefordshire,
And the villages there, –
From the names, and the things
No less.
Let me sometimes dance
With you,
Or climb,
Or stand perchance
In ecstasy,
Fixed and free
In a rhyme,
As poets do

Edward Thomas

Somebody Asked Me

Somebody asked me
The other day about you, saying
With that knowing look in their dim eyes,
‘You can’t still love him
After everything that’s happened’
My thoughts left the conversation and went ahead –
Could they really know ‘everything’ that happened –
Oh not the quick insult
Or the vapid lie –
Or the ‘others’’ taken in a fit of sex –
Or the endless separation built
On my calendar like huge ugly steps
Higher and higher into my life –
No they didn’t have a clue
About what really happened –
How one day in April ‘61 in England –
By the Thames –
From some obscure patch of darkness
You came into my life –
A torch flared not easy to put out –
When our bodies touched
That same torch, became
A dazzle cast about our bed –
How the back of your head slightly bent
Moved me beyond words –
Or how your sour face
Cross or tired suddenly made me chuckle –
How in a fit of white-hot love
You’d strip me bare and throw
My body across a fitted carpet –
Better than any mattress on the pretty bed.
Could they know how we laughed
At life’s grim ‘handouts’, because our
Love was massive in a small untidy
World of petty shadows –
And that my heart could carry
Your soul along every problem,
Every sad mistake –
Because we had sung a song my love,
Across a wooden table; piled with
Plates and flowers turned to a fable
That was us.
And when they ask me silly questions
I want to yell,
‘What do you know of love?’
But I turn my head away
And slowly think of you –
And wonder in this rather lonely minute
If you remember April ‘61 and that river too!

 

Shänne Sands, from Night Song, a selection of her poems published by FootSteps Press

Abou Ben Adhem

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)

Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said
“What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still, and said “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

James Henry Leigh Hunt

Whispers

Whispers my inner-self
To all I have become,
Where did you find the shelf
To hide from the one
Who you loved most?
Through ages of my heart’s
Calling, calling to a ghost –
How weary, tired, cross love departs –
Leaving nothing, but a wrinkled brow –
Leaving nothing, but a falling tear –
Nobody ever tells me how
Or why true love must disappear –
Yet I suppose there is a place
Where my inner-self will find your face –

Shänne Sands, ‘Moonlight on Words’. FootSteps Press 2010.

You Would Understand Why

You would understand why –
Why lilac and Chopin go together –
Just before spring or after winter’s
Retreat back into the earth –
Our beginning and our end –

You would understand this –
This sudden sadness and lack of will –
When my body feels full-up with stones –
The bricks and mortar of a soul
Heavy with old places and faces
Not to be loved again –

You would understand how –
How to fly across the rain
To a burning sun –
How to laugh wine out of green bottles
And break glasses into thousands
And thousands of happy pieces.

You would understand now –
All you refused to need before –
Before the floors were swept
With new bright brooms and our rooms
Were changed, our furniture sold
And out hearts broken because hearts
Always break –
Now it’s almost lilac time
The pubs are closed till ‘opening time’ –
‘Our’ books are waiting to be written –
Beneath this smile there’s a scar –

You would understand – the importance,
The importance of ‘emotional pens’
Lilac and Chopin before love-making
Or after a long journey and sleep –
Quick as a flash a fast car
Passes the window
Quick as a flash time leaves us old –

 

Shänne Sands. ‘The Silver Hooves’ selection of poems published by FootSteps Press

If Smells are Insipid

If smells are insipid –
Then the landlady’s cooked supper
Lacks frankincense –
A pole-cat scent touches the ceiling;
The room is redolent with sour pork –

If streets are named after saints –
This crabbed avenue wears no halo –
After sunset the council-house tenants
Wear a wish-washed frown –
The children mostly look like pickled peppers
And the mothers are ill-flavoured lollipops –

If sounds mean sometimes melody
The ice-cream van gives me a concert
Per minute of discordant flats –
Jarring bells help sell a thousand icy treats
The driver-musician plays road minstrel
From morning into night –
As cheap cars and motor-bikes
Add noise to noise –

If idealism comes from an intellectual mind –
Only the ghost of my dream now walks –
I cannot view this scene with intelligence –
Only a troubled stare takes in the crowd –
My reverie is cornered like the fool –
And held in chains that no-one can undo –

If the pulse-beat of the city is its people
Alas, the heart of this city is flickering to death –
Only the sea snatches the wind
And blows it across the grey cement –
Only a restless gull shrieks discontent –

Occasionally the day seems
In possession of itself
Until the newsreader tells the time –
And I feel all the seconds lost –
The whole city is up-for-sale –
There’s an economy in selling cities
And tucked inside the Treasurer’s pocket
Are press-cuttings from the local press
Telling of the merchandise of souls –

If cheapness speaks of poverty and debt –
This booty is the grand prize –
A million untidy, unemployed people –
Walking in the rain –
Their resistance and my own –
To adversity in cities like this…
Is to enjoy the rain –
Receiving it from Heaven, then
Washing our hands of affection and favourite spots –
We are divorced from life –
Seclusion in our walk is all
I now respect!

Shänne Sands, Fidelity is for Swan (FootSteps Press 2010)

The Unseen

The Unseen

Here, unseen
My words fade into air,
Falling with autumn leaves –
Birds peck at their edges –
People walk over my words
Careless of what could be
Under their feet –

Nobody, not even I,
Speak the fallen words
Aloud, strangely the woods
Echo their meaning
Almost by love –

My words fall into rivers,
Where water-spirits sleep
Upon them, where small fish
Try to eat them –

My words swim with the ripple
Of cool streams –
Yellow irises protect them,
Unseen, here
My words mark their destiny –

 

From Night Song a selection of poems by Shänne Sands published by FootSteps Press. Find it here

Winter’s Fortune

When snow has settled on the ground,
Silence hangs all around,
But for my laughing and shouting
But for the snowballs I send dancing.
Winter’s Best!

With thick, wool mittens and new boots,
Warm head! Warm hands! Warm roots!
Sledges slipping over snow,
Faster than the fleet we go!
Raise my voice with the rest,
Winter’s Best!

But if your cold through and through,
Too poor and sad for snow’s sweet tune,
Blue hands! Blue nose! Blue feet!
Summer must be hard to beat!

 

From a series of children’s poems I write with my mother to be published later in 2018

Site Footer

Sliding Sidebar

Diary

April 2018
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30