I put the blame at Cinderella’s door,
her and that fine glass slipper, dainty feet;
such fairy tales have much to answer for.
I passed my teenage years convinced I’d meet
a prince, maybe the clichéd perfect knight
with firmly muscled legs astride a horse,
who’d know I was his true love at first sight
and beg my father for my hand.
no prince appeared and carried me away
to live with him in some enchanted land.
Most met I met were dull, none distingue,
predictably a lot were second-hand;
and none of them came bearing dainty shoes
of any kind which, with my generous feet,
was just as well.
I’m not the type men choose to idealize,
and I refuse to tune my heart
to someone else’s beat.
Evensong at Ely
The organ’s music rolls across the nave,
Voices soar in harmony, sweet and clear,
With measured tread, expressions aptly grave,
Two by two the cathedral choir appears.
Long shadows trace the carvings on the stalls
Where they assemble, gowned in red and white;
We revel in their singing quite enthralled
By angelic faces framed in candlelight.
Some hours ago they ran out on the field,
Got mud-stained, bruised and tattered, fought and won,
Now washed and brushed – all injuries concealed –
They sing the praises of God’s holy Son,
Within the compass of this hallowed place,
Which rises from the fenland’s soft embrace.
Better Things To Do
The kitchen sink’s piled high with cups and plates,
Old cobwebs lace the corners of each room,
But primal instincts wake the urge to mate,
And birdsong sweeps away tired winter’s gloom.
The flowers are shaking out their filmy skirts,
The trees, once gaunt, are dressed in vibrant green;
These feelings that the changing year exerts
Are not connected with an urge to clean.
The thoughts that fill my mind ignore the frame
Now battered by the march of time and tide;
The rising sap still sets my flesh aflame
Compelling me to put all chores aside.
Too soon the dust and I will coalesce,
To waste the time till then is to transgress.
To My Daughter, My Books
When I have vanished like a dream
And sleep beneath some Fenland sod,
Don’t bring me wreaths of evergreen
Or weep and wail and blaspheme God.
I leave you treasure that was mine,
The culture of each bygone age,
Laid down in books like vintage wine,
Pouring out from every page.
Books were my life’s delight and led
To riches far beyond my dreams:
Not earthly wealth, but fountainheads
Of philosophic thought, bright seams
Of wisdom, voices of the past
Which lit my way, sometimes amused
Or caused a tear to fall. A vast
Miscellany. Take them and use
Them well, each one has been a friend,
And may the truths you find console.
In these, and in the books I’ve penned,
You’ll find the substance of my soul.