When do you play?

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When do you play? Fly, high, completely away?

When do you soar? When do you roar

Like a lion in your den

Scaring people, then running away

Laughing and laughing until you cry

Tears of joy and tears of pain

Don’t drift back down that road again

Play, and play and play some more

Obliterate the ought to, shout at the shoulds,

Run over hills, wander through woods

Return to childhood but retain the strength

That life has inflicted through torn muscle length

And the breaking and rebreaking of hopes and dreams

The cries of fear, the stifled screams

Take that steel, create your sword

Play with life and play with words

Because you don’t want to hear, that very last day

That thought in your head, When did you play?

 

 

xxx

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Hot Breath

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Outside, sharp air, jagged edges, crispy on skin. 

A sigh escapes, milky and opaque

Wonder never ceases

Breath is forced, clouds appear

Smiles delight in awe

Inside, soft, marshmallow warmth.

Sighs sneak surreptitiously

Invisible to eye

Only felt, serious and small.

Return to the cold

Return to play, 

breath out dragon clouds 

And delight this day

 

 

 

xxx

Coffee

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Ah, that first sip of coffee…

hot nectar gently seeping past parched lips,

swirling into the night dry mouth,

over the desert tongue

to be swallowed gratefully and greedily,

received ecstatically into the body with eyes shut in delight

as the warmth and wetness work their wonders

alleviating and dispersing the build up

of night’s stiff deposits of aches and pains,

watering the dry and stimulating the tired,

encouraging a new blossoming

to fill this new day.

 

 

xxx

Ritual

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Fill the beast’s belly with fuel, strike the match and watch the hunger satiate itself, greedily licking, consuming, starting to roar, demanding more sustenance. Kneeling, I obey, slowly and carefully feeding the flames, starting the process, the ritual carried out by every generation that has lived, ritual stretching back to the raw, basic elemental yearnings of ancestral ghosts. The metal beast grumpily cooperates, as I coax it with more treats, it shivers and sends the flames higher to do their job, warming its water filled jacket, stimulating the lifeless liquid to action. It’s time, the ritual has started. My body is cold, tired from just living. The air has a crunchiness that rubs at my skin. I feed the flames and hear the reassuring grumble of the boiler filling up, percolating hot into cold, working hard to fulfil its role in the service.

I wait, patience has become a necessity when choosing the ancient ways. Yes we could install the shiny and the new…just flick a switch and see instant results as we turn on the taps..but where is the connection, the raw feelings, the ritual?

It is time. I move to the inner sanctuary, to complete the next stage. Taps are turned, the magic is released with a long held exhalation of steam. The air is cool, rapidly creating a misty cloak, lingering and caressing as the warmth gradually starts to spread.

The ritual continues as bottles are assembled, thoughtfully selected to dispense their healing balm, to treat the aches, dispel the worries. Golden, viscous and sensuously scented, the oil drops into the warm depths, dispersing its medicine, its soothing, scented essence. Fingers trace the oil through the warmth, and confirm the anticipated question. Yes, it is time.

Gown drops from shoulders, chilly toes tentatively test, slowly dive deeper and invite the body to follow. A sigh escapes from gently upturned lips, warmth encloses the bones, silken and scented, the caressing liquid wraps velvet over curves, smoothing and soothing. 

The ritual is complete.

 

 

xxx

Tourists and bird shit.

Or… A rainy afternoon in the Lake District.

 

We decided to investigate the local marina near the campsite.

Although we had visited once before we had never ventured towards the town, just out into the empty, wild and beautiful hills, where the people were few and the skies were immense. Today the skies were low and grey, mist pockets of rain drifting horizontally across the murky lake surface, 50 shades of grey enveloping us in the least erotic sense. Rain washed our faces and drips fell on noses…not a few of my favourite things at all.

Businesses perched on the edge of the water, shouting and flashing their over priced, never realised you needed it until now, goods; or food and drink that will strip your wallet and disappoint your senses. And everywhere, everywhere there are tourists and bird shit.

Tourists queue for the soggy boat rides, hoods pulled low over eyes, shoulders cranked up to ear level, hands deep in pockets, faces miserable but determined to do what they set out to do.

Birds, so many birds, hang around the quay, mingle amongst the tourists in constant hope, Victorian street urchins hoping for a crumb. This is their domain, they don’t move out of the way as the human traffic drives past, they just strut around and shit everywhere, marking their territory, besmirching the tourist pathways with their badge of ownership.

The rain coalesces into squally gusts, diminishing our field of vision until it is a grey blend, a blur of human and avian forms. There is no beauty for us here, no exhilaration at the wonders of nature, no sudden exhale at the immensity of a mountain or the rich pattern of a forest. Nope, there are just tourists and bird shit.

We return to the van.

 

 

xxx