Redemption

In the grim back alleys of the city,

Mean streets devoid of all signs of pity,

Amid the piles of decaying refuse

And slimy pools of darkly noxious ooze,

Frequented only by the scuttling rats

And noisome tribes of scabby feral cats;

Here, slumped in doorways, human flotsam lies,

Just filthy piles of rags crawling with flies.

In such surroundings one would not expect

To find evidence of beauty’s rare spark,

Yet with more careful eye one may detect,

Delicate flowers glowing in the dark,

Rare signs that life defeat will never know,

And even in midst of death hope will grow.

*****

There was once a man whose name was no one,

A man without hope, marked by death’s shadow,

Wasted by booze and drugs, his cheeks hollow,

With sunken eyes from which all spark had gone.

His dissolute life had stolen the sun,

Banished from home, and warmth of family,

Begging for an end to his agony,

Desperate that his crimes could be undone.

But he was not entirely forsaken,

The wife so sorely abused yet loved him,

Regardless of danger to life and limb,

Through the cold city’s foetid underground,

She searched, sustained by hope he might be found,

And love so strong it could not be shaken.

*****

Nothing is stronger in heaven or earth

Than the redeeming power of true love.

Love does our humanity fully prove;

It is the force that binds us from our birth,

And gold or silver cannot tell its worth.

Although passion will fade as we grow old,

And pretty created things lose their hold,

In hearts love ever seeks to make its berth.

Love forgives and takes no account of wrongs,

And through its power all may be reborn,

Whate’re the price may be, love ever longs

To make us whole, caring not for men’s scorn,

For no richer gift can there ever be

Than to share the love that will set us free.

Love Reborn

My dearest wife, it has been such a long winter,
Hard and bitter, draining the heart and soul of hope.
It has been doubly hard for you, so much sadness,
Almost too much to bear, with the illness of friends,
And frozen pipes, and the children’s difficulties,  
Such a long catalogue of woes, you look so tired,  
New lines of care on your face, and fresh streaks of grey  
Staining the golden beauty of your lovely hair.
I am bitterly aware of my shortcomings
As a husband, so often away, leaving you
To cope with the house alone, and worse, so distant  
When I was there, preoccupied with my problems,  
Barely listening to what you had to tell me.
But worse, my love, has been my thoughtless cruelty,  
All too often snapping at you, and the children,
And even rejecting your loving advances,
Pushing you aside, to sob into your pillow,
No longer sure that I even loved you, fearing
I had found another, afraid of losing me.
But now that spring is here, I have made a solemn oath  
To turn over a new leaf, and to give to you
All the devotion and love which I have withheld,  
And which you so richly deserve, poor recompense  
For your constancy and care, and your unswerving  
Love and concern for me, which I have so coldly  
Ignored in my cruel and heartless selfishness.
*****
Spring is here with its happy promise of new life,  
Everywhere we look, new green shoots, the sound of birds  
And the hum of bees pollinating the flowers,
Whose bright colours clothe the reawakening earth
With gladness, lifting our hearts in thankful prayer
For all the goodness and delight that are God’s gift,  
Simple things, and yet so much more than worldly goods.  
The return of light and warmth once more to the world  
Has worked its miracle on even my cold soul,
And made me realise what a wonderful gift
I have in you, my long suffering companion,
My faithful wife who has never over the years
Ceased to love and care for me, honouring the vows  
You made many years ago, until life shall end.
I have resolved to start afresh, vowing henceforth  
To make your happiness my first and my last thought,  
To honour, cherish and tenderly care for you,
To respect and encourage your own fulfilment
As a individual, to speak the truth in love,
But first, to listen to all that you have to say,
No longer closing my ears, and shutting you out.  
Only this way can I break down the barrier
That has gradually grown up between our hearts.  
We are still one, separate personalities,
Yet at the same time, two halves of the same person,  
Thinking the same thoughts, and feeling the same feelings,  
Two parts of one beating heart, truly united,
Never to be parted, forever one in love,
In a marriage made in heaven, eternally joined.
So let us now celebrate the coming of spring,  
Finding a little place where we can be alone,
Free from everyday cares, where nothing can distract,
A cottage by the sea, a place to talk, and laugh,
To find again that wild delight that once we knew,
Running free like children at the dawn of the world,
Singing songs of passion and desire, making love
In the surf without a care, hearts beating as one,
And thus breathe fresh life into our union of souls,
The bright green shoots of new understanding growing
Strong in the sunlight, symbols of rediscovered joy,
And affirmation of the renewal of love.

The Colours of Love

In the first springtime of our love
Everything was as fresh and new,
And tender as the bright green leaves
Bursting forth from winter’s drab coat,
Alive with burgeoning desire
And the joy of revelation
As we explored in sweet delight,
The pale tones of our nakedness
Subtle as the cherry blossoms
On the trees outside your window,
Every kiss replete with promise
Of greater wonders yet to come.

*****
With summer our passion burned bright,
The colours of our lustfulness
Fiery as the rampant spires
Of red and gold of the flowers
That grew in unchecked profuseness
In the gardens where secretly
We nightly danced in ecstasy,
Our flesh hot with untamed yearning,
As we consummated our love,
In the unquenchable rapture
And carnal exhilaration 
Of intoxicating desire.

*****
The unforgiving march of time
Sadly, could not be long denied,
And as the season turned to fall
So your ardour cooled and died,
The ripe colours of your passion
Withering like the fallen leaves
In grubby piles in the gutters,
To be washed away by the rain
Until all trace of joy was lost,
The rapture of our summer love
Just a fugitive memory
As I wait for spring to return.

Elusive Lady

How desperately he wished he understood her,
The elusive lady who had stolen his heart,
But every time he thought she was within his grasp
Once more she seemed to vanish into the shadows,
Leaving him to flounder in the darkness of doubt.
There were many times when the flame of her presence
Burned so intensely it threatened to consume him;
Days and nights when they rode on a wave of passion,
Carrying him aloft on a tide of rapture
To new realms of inexpressible ecstasy,
His desire fuelled by words of adoration,
Words of such intoxicating intimacy
That he believed that she had surrendered her soul
And that they would be eternally united,
Beyond the power of anyone to sunder.
But then without warning she appeared to blow cold,
Sending an icy chill of incomprehension
Deep into the marrow of his anguished being,
And for long drawn out days and nights she disappeared,
Behind an unassailable wall of silence,
Not responding to his desperate entreaties.
It is not as if she had retired from the world,
For rumours percolated through the swirling fog
Where he cowered in vacuous paralysis,
In shafts of brilliance from the exciting sphere
Where she swirled in kaleidoscopic revelry,
While hosts of fascinated admirers followed,
Caught in the orbit of her femininity.

*****

Sometimes by chance he caught a tantalising glimpse
Across the voiceless gulf of his deficiency,
To where she played in a circle of admirers,
Heedless of his confused cries of forgotten love,
Her flirtatious laughter proof of his rejection.
At times he thought these dark visions were projections 
Emanating from the core of his deranged mind
With no other foundation in reality 
Than his chaotic and rampant paranoia,
Which turned minutes into hours and hours into days;
And the voices that he heard clearly whispering
Their slanderous lies were just confused reflections 
Of the cancerous fingers of his psychosis.
But then, when all hope seemed to have crumbled to dust,
Without warning she appeared by his tear stained bed,
But instead of whispered words of sweet endearment 
And showers of a thousand intimate kisses,
Each one a pledge of enduring adoration,
All that she spoke were cruel words of rejection
Each one designed to puncture his sense of self worth,
Words laced with contempt for his pitiful nature,
And disgust for his bourgeois inadequacy
Both as a man and even more as a lover.
When she came into his room his hopes had been raised,
And for a moment it seemed his fears would dissolve
Dispersed by the sunshine of her entrancing smile,
Only to be humiliated and cast down
Into a pit of endless pain and dark despair.