We three kings

What can I give you
But words from my lips
A breath for your lungs
The breadth of my hips

To feed you and clothe you
And shelter you there
Our hope for the future
Small star that we share

In misunderstandings
All foster more strife
Too coy for the joy
Of a conflict-free life

No formal pronouncements
Of greatness to be
We limit announcements
To those we can see

In feeble concealment
Until you are grown
We’d raise you for strength
A mind of your own

And watching your progress
Will whisper as one
The charms that may comfort
Your sorrows to come

With hands in my pockets
Concealing all pain
I’d walk through the desert
To find you again

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Last one standing

When they came by
For a cupful of sugar
Took my old man
And waltzed over the hill

I was still standing
Polishing silver
Gonna be standing
Forever, until…

Next time a caller
I’d hoped would be smaller
Tripped on her doorstep
Got carried away

I was still standing
To see to a Mother
Gonna keep standing
Another long day

One time you told me
That things never mattered
Half the amount I
Pretended to say

I was still standing
Alone with no lover
Not understanding
Which words made you stay

Then they came by
With a warrant for searching
Hoping to find
What I’d hidden away

I was still standing
In need of your comfort
No one to hear me
And nothing to say

Turn from the shadows
If you fear to follow
All those who greet us
And pass on their way

I am still standing
Myself and no other
One day I’ll falter
But never today

Weather Woman

I am a whirlwind, a whisk of storm
Bustling hustler, shucking pain
I, tornado, brave and warm
Quite immune to storm and strain
 
Problems scatter at my touch
Tossed aside on threads of steel
Fly to cloudy puffing, such
We pay no mind and bring to heel
 
Arms outstretched, ten fingertips
Sweep through the tactile charged air
Perched for flight the moment strips
All concern from simple care
 
I am the calm in the storm’s grey eye
Twister turns a tidy groove
And dancing miles across the sky
No one sees my fleet feet move

Duellist

To whom must I carry
This fight for my life?
May I choose the weapon
I wield in such bout?

Too much goes unchallenged
To forego the knife
It’s all souls be damned
If we don’t have it out

Or is it unwritten
More truistic lore
That what may have been
Is what yet must endure?

If such be the ruling
I fancy it time
The tables were tipped
To new flavour of crime

I’m deluged by duty
The dreadfullest foe
And Wednesday’s child
Has a head-ful of woe

A small enough wager
This minimal soul
All but shredded for bandages
Wholesomely foul

To gather her forces
Aye, therein the rub
With little to muster
And less up above

But battle she will
Nay, still stronger – she must
Ere the blood in her veins
Stains the dust dirty rust

So passionless sweethearts
Untruthful and grey
Be leached of my love
And stay hidden away

I’ve a need to reclaim
All the hours I lost
And hold views on the interest
Added to cost

Here’s a health to the vigorous
May she prepare
For all that her demons
Can throw at her there

It soon will be ended
Decided and done
And with luck of the draw
She may keep what is won

Oma says

Little old ladies dressed all in black
Carry great loads on their rock-solid backs
So next generation may learn how to play
They work ’til they drop and are carried away

Little old ladies have little to lose
They’ve time to be gentle and courage to choose
May praise what achievements are worthy of love
And prod at the arses in need of a shove

Little old ladies can lead from behind
Obedient offspring (it’s all in the mind)
The strength of the nation all summed in a phrase
“Old wives’ hands hold answers”, or so Oma says.

Love poem to my hands

These small scars and subtle lines
The marks of canula and razor blade
This triangle of raised skin from an
Unlikely first foray at false nails
Tell my story better than palmistry.
Strong hands, cast in my grandfather’s mould
The broad span of a peasant-pianist
Clasping my mother’s work ethic
My grandmother’s curved third joint.
My hands are rebels, weatherbeaten
Eschewing my father’s manicured elegance
With overgrown cuticles, nails kept short.
Functional fingers, well-muscled
And only two permanent ink stains
On the right hand, unmoved since school;
The wart on my left a source of teasing
My witch mark, mocked
By ignorant children.  I would not change
The fine hairs on my fourth knuckle
Hidden by the ring I sometimes wear
For the world.

War

I do not want to go to war
He smiled at me through tears
I’ve seen what happened from before
I’m frightened for my peers

Together we’d a summer spent
Had known a bond grow fast
I knew his pride would not be bent
To sway him from this task

So off he went with regiment
All shining faces, banners bright
And banging drums, and good intent
My soldier boy, afraid to fight

But I did send to keep him sharp
A friend, brave dragon green of wing
To see his bullet missed its mark
That boy might yet know home again

Through battle fierce and strong he fought
My faithful dragon at his side
His comrades fell but no harm caught
The cloak of scales my boy did hide

With ragged charge he led the cry
Though enemies did gather round
To show that boys who fought must die
And dance upon his burial mound

Then dragon flew to meet the rows
That stood upon the field of blood
And raked their hearts and called to crows
To feast upon what men lay dead

Close-minded, mean and skilled at arm
The enemy held steady rank
But boy could come to little harm
While dragon-breath uncoiled and stank

The sulphurous and pungent depths
Of dragon lungs gave forth so vile
A stench of smells, a googolplex
Of odours creeping closer while

My boy stood safely from the wind
That wafted death along the line
It stole the breath from all who sinned
In thinking my boy less than mine

And thus the war was cheating, won
As dragon saw my boy safe home
To give a mother back her son
Not let his sweetheart lie alone

My dragon yet has other chores
To keep a creature from his cave
For well-equipped with fangs and claws
The dragon may pretend he’s brave

It’s more than a feeling

Magic we find in the strangest of places
sometimes ’tis lacking in belt and in braces
and costs not a sou, but is worth more than gold
for the memories last to the time we are old.
The shyest of all find they grow to a hero
when they hear the call of the sweetheart they seek.
The poor and the humble, the lackey, the zero,
when lover’s in trouble, become less than meek.
And these battles we fight, with the heart not the head
do not rob us of life, but they feed it instead
so we nourish the flame that we carry about
and our torch is a beacon, our song is a shout.
Do not mock at the magical daze you may see
when we walk hand in hand down the street, you and me,
for what some view as weakness, makes me brave and strong,
and do you really dare cry all mankind is wrong?

Give me strength!

Give me strength to make it through
The hurdles life can set.
I want to reach the finish without
Having to regret
The things I do to get by
When the going’s really tough.
I need to know I’ve what it takes,
That I am yet enough.

On knowing one’s limits

It takes a certain type of gent
To know exactly when he’s spent.
A gentilhomme to bow away
From what he’ll not achieve today.
And yet, these men are viewed as weak!
Those with courage ‘nough to speak
When they have found their limit reach’d
Rather than endanger each
Unruffled colleage, they withdraw –
Gallantly – with honour – more!
And wait until they’ve quite recouped
What strength they’d spent to serve their group.
Thus sensible, they fly away
To live to fight another day.