Other Poems by:

John Clays

MURPHYS LAW

I can still picture him

Murphy that is.

Ranting 

fist punching the air; 

frustration at our escape, 

yet again

 

It was territorial

We had dens in there 

he never discovered 

amongst the rhododendrons

 

Once, five of us were up a tree

Me highest

He was spotted by the other four 

who dropped down the branches

Not sufficient time for me

 

I sat motionless; 

whilst he cut down our ropes

Then, moved of, 

as I watched

He never knowing 

he had an audience 

of one

 


First published Rhapsody In 2




HUMAN LEGACY

As memories fade we should not forget

the Holocaust.  Such cruelty brought on

subhuman traits with its own etiquette 


 

Tales of locked gates and inmates left to fret

bread thrown in, not like manner from heaven

As memories fade we should not forget

 

Food so scarce some might dream of crepe suzette

others survive for the moment, live on

subhuman traits with its own etiquette 

 


Gassed bodies piled high, human pyres set 

alight, disposed of like an old coupon

As memories fade we should not forget

 

Extermination was always a threat, 

at Auschwitz, ladies orchestra played-on

subhuman traits with its own etiquette 

 


Sonderkommando* work with little sweat

but took photographs, aim to be passed-on

subhuman traits with its own etiquette 

As memories fade we should not forget

 


F p Poetry Super Highway

 

* Sonderkommando: A special unit of prisoners whose job was to 
burn the bodies of the gassed.  Somehow they acquired a camera, 
and captured images of burning pyres and a group of naked women 
being driven towards the gas chamber of Crematorium V


SESTINA OF FAREWELL; GONE

Just put out your hand, touch them, say goodbye

Such was their plight, they could not cry

When the whistle blew, over the top they went

They did not ask it was there they be sent

No, volunteered to fifth a just cause

An adventure yes, but not sent like lambs to die

 

Sooner or later it will be your turn to die

Prepare your self, get ready, say goodbye

Having done your bit of valour die for the cause

In daylight, or darkness call out in pain, moan, cry

Was it decreed it was the hour to be sent

On your way, next stage, come on time you went

 

Fate had come, they all just went

Something for which you could die

It seems that bit was ment, heaven sent

Go on, get on with it, say night-night, bye

No point not doing it, why should you cry

They were told it was a just cause

 

But many were lost to the cause

Others took time, days before they went

Their future was to lie wounded, dying, cry

Left were they fell, not recover, die

For some it was longer before they said their goodbye 

Leave the wounded, carry on, medics will be sent

 

Despite home views, stuff, continued to be sent

From this distance you may still say it was a just cause

Away from their loved ones having bid a long goodbye

Not excuse incompetence that required so many went

For all killed on the battlefield who had to die

It was those left behind, the ones who would also cry

 

Good man, you did not call out, moan, groan, and cry

Come on man, be brave, it is your time to die

Britain was proud you gave your lives to the cause

No messing, they were told to get there and they went

Stiff upper lip, never mind the pain, grimace goodbye

 

Battles cause you to cry, they can be a lost cause

It is a time when many are sent away, off they went

War is not a game, people get hurt, die, the end, goodbye

 


F p Rhapsody In 2

 
In WW1 when the Pals companies were being decimated, the survivors 
were asked how they coped with the loss of so many of their friends 
falling beside them. The reply was that they were told to put out 
their hand, touch them, say goodbye; medics would be sent.  In 
response to this information I wrote the following poem (I had 
in mind the battle of the Somme 1st July 1916.)
 

ON ATTENDING REQUIEM MASS FOR A POET

Forget all the pomp and majesty 

of Mother Church and the holiness 

of being in God's House as your are left 

to reflect on being part of a secular 

spontaneous applause that broke out 

as one;  as all together we responded 

not once, but the like on three occasions.

 

On singing the first hymn Abide With Me, 

the space was so full you could be forgiven 

for thinking you were at a cup final.

 

When the proceedings reached the end game

Kevin, with emotion, that came good 

sang the song inspired on waiting 

at Widnes station that somehow 

reflected the image of Richard 

on the reverse of the Order of Service.

That brought about the first thank you, 

which had everyone going for it 

and you acknowledged to your God 

that you were there.  This was not like 

the ripple that ascended  into a crescendo 

on reaching the Abbey doors, some years past; 

no, this was full on, straight in and sustained.

 

Phillip, Richard's brother, remembered him 

with such kindness, wit and humour,

that we off again, same again please.

 

But no, we were not finished yet, 

After some loud noises on the sound system

Richard's voice, came to us.  Here was his body 

laying before the high alter, whilst we listen 

to him reading his poem, I RELY ON YOU. 

This man went out with a bang; we clapped, 

for the third time.

 

F p Current Accounts

 

"Men judge us by the success of our efforts.  God looks at 
the efforts themselves."

- Charlotte Bront 1816 - 1855
 

CONSIDER THIS

I shall write in a style that may, or may 

not be, self explanatory.

I mean, I don't know, 

what it is, 

if anything, I will end 

up with, will be any good.

 

If my effort is found to be good,

I will read it in spring or May.

A strong end, 

does not have to be interplanetary:

the thing is 

does it add to knowledge?

 

Will I ever acknowledge 

that if it is good

it is 

as they say 

not self explanatory 

and not clear at the end?

 

Does that make it a poor ending, 

the reader not having the knowledge?

That can't be explanatory 

and that cannot be good.

It is 

as if to say 

 

let's write a play 

with a weak end, 

then publicise that it is 

good, in the knowledge 

that the  rest of it is a good 

story.

 

Will that story, 

if it is 

to be believed be good

in the end 

and be acknowledged

as the very making of the play?

 

Is the above self explanatory or in the end

What is it that acknowledges

the material is a good write or simply Nuts in May?  

 

F p Write Out Loud




ELERGY

I never knew you in your life nor you 

in mine. Our paths were to cross 

at a different time on a spiritual plane. 

Not that if had been born in your lifetime

 

I would walk in different steps and not be 

the writer I am today.  Sixty years after 

your death before the conservative press 

could announce you as the writer of this 

 

nation's favourite poem.  Finding my way 

through the jungle book of life I used 

as key-in practice your poem.  It was just so 

how I was inspired to write my first stanza.



THE MAGNIFICENT

The descriptive leaflet announced that I 

This magnificent peacock, seated on 

a rock, but anyone who takes a closer

look, will see that I am not seated

but standing, erect, tall and haughty.

 

I stand tall to display myself

in a vertical plane to show me 

at my best.  I told M. Comolera

that this was the better pose 

for majolica, although showing

my colours in a shiny finish

it would be too delicate

to display in the horizontal

trailing the ground and quite impractical

to depict me in my display.  Apart 

from the economics it would be more 

practical to ship me half way round

the world; as was the case when the Loch

Ard founded in the Bass Straight permitting

a copy of me to be on view in Warrnambool.

 

But you don't have to go that far

to admire me, today you will find me

in Room 9 at the Walker do call to me.

 

"I can resist everything except temptation" Oscar Wilde 1854-1900


TEMPTATION

That is all very well you say,

if only you could be tempted,

but to be tempted 

you must be placed in a vulnerable situation 

and be prepared to be martyr 

thereby justifying excuse 

for succumbing to your weakness 

 

and let contrition absolve your weakness.  

That's OK if only 

that were true. 

What you are doing is, 

Excuse me! 

it is not really my fault, 

I was tempted. 

You wanted to become a martyr 

and thereby be venerable. 

 

But you are not worthy of being venerable. 

You have displayed your weakness.  

Anyone can be a martyr. 

The reality can be found,

if only you would say,

yes,

I want to be tempted 

and bugger accuse. 

 

Ensure those who accuse you 

are honourable.  

It may be they too 

have been tempted, 

such as to illustrate 

their own weakness, 

manifest,

in cowardice, 

if only 

not wanting 

to be a martyr.  

 

If your role is not 

to be a martyr; 

are you the one who 

is to falsely accuse the victim 

to demonstrate, 

if only 

for the simple truth,

that you are, 

dishonourable?  

It is for this weakness 

that you have been tempted.  

 

There are other reasons 

to be tempted.  

You may not wish 

to be a martyr.  

This is a strength 

not a weakness -  

used as a defence 

when accused 

and to prove 

you are honourable 

and true to yourself, 

if only 

you had not been tempted 

your accuser 

would not be a martyr 

and be able 

to prey on weakness. 

If only!

@copywrite 2006 John Clays, all rights reserved Send us your comments on this article
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