Archive for October, 2012

The Point of a Poem

Posted in Poetry on October 23, 2012 by belfastdavid

I have spent a week
looking for a poem.

I could remember the story,
I could remember the point,
but both the title
and the name of the poet
had escaped from my memory.

But I was almost certain
I knew in which book
I had first read the poem,
so eventually, having tried
all the short cuts,
I re-read the book
(no bad thing for me to do)
and found the poem.

There was satisfaction in that
for there was someone
I needed to tell.

But did it matter,
for if I could remember
the story and the point
then surely the poem had worked.

A poem must have a point,
or what is it otherwise?
As my friend David Tait
has been known to say –
“There is too much poetry written
nowadays about sod all.”

I have been guilty myself,
but that is only playing.
If the poem does not speak,
if it does not make a difference,
then is it a poem
or is it just words?


Living in the Movies

Posted in Poetry on October 19, 2012 by belfastdavid

“The name is Bodie,
Cheyenne Bodie.
My friends call me Cheyenne.
You can call me Mr Bodie.”

I saw the film as a teenager,
nobody remembers it but me.
Yet all my life I have waited
for the opportunity
to use that turn of phrase
applied to me –
never had the bottle.

I would be Lancaster
making love on the beach
at the edge of the waves,
but the only time
I tried it
sand got everywhere.

I could be Bogart,
light both cigarettes,
hand one to you.
But later,
when we make love,
it will be
in a comfortable bed.

Forgotten Wor(l)ds

Posted in Poetry with tags on October 16, 2012 by belfastdavid

“Will you be in later?” she asks.
“I will be in, except when I am out”
I reply “for I need to visit the grocers’”

The word confuses her.
“Do you mean the supermarket?”
she asks. I suppose I do
although I hate it when words
disappear from our vocabulary.

Not only the word of course,
for the grocer, the baker, the butcher
have all disappeared
from our high street,
replaced by the ubiquitous supermarket.

I meet a girl there
who I have not seen for a while,
want to ask her if she is pregnant
but am deterred by the possibility
she might just have put on weight.

In previous days
I could have waited,
then asked the grocer;
for he would have known.

Closing Down

Posted in Poetry with tags , on October 13, 2012 by belfastdavid

I call in to see my favourite shopkeeper.
Last week he asked me what I knew.
This week his shop is closed down, boarded up.
In fact the whole market is closed down.
“For Refurbishment” the sign says.
Clearly he knew something, but was not telling.

I ask a lady in the next arcade;
she tells me he has closed down for good,
will not be re-opening anywhere.

The whole city is showing
signs  of closing down;
empty shops, boarded up shop fronts:
it is no longer possible to visit
the up-market arcades
and yet ignore the desolation:
pound shops, pawn brokers
and extortionate money lenders.

Leeds City market, once bustling,
exciting, now a depressed, sullen,
hold-tight-to-your-handbag sort of place.

I eat my lunch among the middle classes
at the Playhouse Theatre
because  I get a discount there.

Return home to my flat
where I have to keep
my windows closed
due to dust from building work below.

What I do know is
that there are better uses
for the money spent
than building another
bloody great block of student flats.

Healthy Eating

Posted in Poetry with tags , on October 9, 2012 by belfastdavid

My doctor, who is remarkably young
(although to be fair, most all
the people I deal with nowadays
appear remarkably  young)
is of the opinion
that I should cut
fatty foods from my diet.

I have no problem with that;
it is just we disagree
over what constitutes fatty food.

Butter for example –
I have tried the alternatives –
nothing else will do.

Fish and chips she is prepared
to concede are acceptable
provided eaten only once a week.

Bacon does not count if eaten
as part of a BLT
at the Heart café in Headingley.

Their cakes do not count either,
although the extortionate price
is a consideration.

And as for Taw Valley
Tickler Extra Mature Cheddar –
the pleasure is worth the pain.

Long Gone the Days

Posted in Poetry on October 7, 2012 by belfastdavid

I catch a bus into the city.
Long gone the days
when I could walk that far.

Cash in my lottery winnings.
£10 will not change my life
but it will buy me tickets
for the next five weeks.

Talk to one of my
favourite shop-keepers.
“How are you and what do you know?”
he asks. “I know nothing” I reply
“for I have always found that
a good way to start my day.”
“Better” he says, “than knowing
everything and remaining ignorant.”

I want to visit an exhibition
in the Art Gallery at the University.
It is a beautiful Autumn day.
I determine I will walk.

Several stops on the way –
sit on a wall – people watch.
Cup of coffee and a rest
after I climb the steps
into the building.

The exhibition is worth the effort
and the walk home is mostly downhill.

Long gone the days?
Perhaps not quite yet.


Posted in Poetry on October 4, 2012 by belfastdavid

I walk into the bar
to meet friends
prior to a poetry evening;
am greeted by long-familiar faces:

suddenly become aware
that names
have slid sideways
out of my memory.

“Hello Sheila” I say,
“It’s Sandra” she replies.
I had spoken to this lady
on the phone two days before!

Gradually, as the evening progresses,
the names return;
mostly, I think,
attached to the right faces.