Nana April 25th, 2013
With the cold on her clothes
And the beer on her breath,
She bent down and kissed me,
Her face white as death,
And she sang me a song
They all loved in the snug
And her hands held the scent
Of the fumes and the fug.
The bulb burned so brightly
As my Nana sang on
That its image stayed with me
When my Nana had gone.
The filament, the element,
Of that moment still lingers,
The pale face, the sad song,
The ice of her fingers.
She rose from my bed
And she paused by my door,
Then she switched off the light
And I saw her no more.
Do Not Stay Silent April 21st, 2013
Do not stay silent at my death,
Beat drums, ring bells,
I only knew the whine of shells.
Shout out, make sounds,
I only knew the rifle rounds,
Their buzzing, hateful hissing breath.
I never heard the final round,
The one that ceased my heart’s sweet sound.
But if you join the common hush
Take comfort in the ceaseless rush
Of traffic and a baby’s cry,
A distant jet that chalks the sky,
The sudden shock of something dropped,
That life itself has never stopped.
Then raise your voices if you will
Towards the suited fools who still
Send good men into futile war
By lip and mouth and jutting jaw.
Do not stay silent at my death.
Do not stay silent. Be my breath.
For Roy Chadwick April 17th, 2013
In that pure moment
Of silken glistening
The spirits were quiet
And stilled and listening
To the mind that soared
On the wind and the wings
In the darkening meadow
where twilight brings
These whispered words….
Watch me silent as the hawk
The ghost that drives the noiseless owl
Above the field where down below
The roaring Merlins strain and howl
For I am all your futures now
The shape that’s poised and shimmering
On the runway from that shadowed past
And the twilight’s final glimmering.
Note: Roy Chadwick was an aircraft designer who as a boy
flew model aircraft covered in the remnants of his mother’s
silk blouses in a field in Urmston. He went on to design the
Avro Lancaster, was sketching out ideas for the Vulcan after
World War II, but died in 1947 testing a prototype passenger
Parapet to Pillared Aisle (Manchester Town Hall) April 15th, 2013
Come walk with me the cobbled square
And follow Albert’s frozen stare
Towards the corporate castle where
Committee men and women share
Cathedral calm and ancient air.
For this is Alfred’s towering grace,
It haunts you with its sense of place,
The ghosts of clerks who scratch and pace
As pale as gaslight on the face,
Worn wood, smooth stone, their only trace.
Come walk with me the spiral tread
Up to the rooms where hang the dead
In portraits that the years have bled,
To hear like them the minutes read
And time hang heavy on the head.
For this is Alfred’s winning pile,
In Spinkwell stone, Italian tile,
In municipal Gothic Style;
From parapet to pillared aisle,
A monument to spatial guile.
David Hulme 2012