Ascension

 

I ascend
into the azure sky
resonant with rainbows
and vanishing clouds.
Flying high to reach
the trailing
fingers
of the loving sun.
I can rise,
rise beyond my dreams
with the power of wings,
feathered with awe.

Beyond the blue,
the multifaceted gemstones of the universe
sparkle and spin against
the indigo velvet of the enveloping night,
boundless unimaginable possibilities whirl
in neon galaxies.

Flying, I ascend
to reach
beyond
my dreams.

Ascent

Words and photograph copyright 2017 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission

Subconscious

Sticky fingered vivid dreams
Inveigle into pockets of sleep.
Under pines scented with danger
I wait with the savant child
And patient suitor
Wondering if the unlighted house
really holds demons behind the wainscotting
or whether the man in the shadows lies
…and then…
In teenage agony I greet
another girl with grace.
My party dress is sleek and glimmers
but he doesn’t notice, his eyes
smile in friendliness and then turn
to her, even though
her dress has unfinished edges
and she is hiding rubbish
under a tablecloth
…and then…
with an underground ticket
I board a ferry with my camera laden mother
and we photograph chalky cliffs
and lonely cafes under spiralling seagulls
until bored, we are suddenly home
That old home from many years ago
to make tofu
…and then…
I wake, exhausted by adventures
in imagined and half remembered
worlds and worries.
My rest half-inched by
pickpocket dreams.

dream

Words and photograph copyright 2017 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission

My Husband’s Winter Song

I want to go down to Poole again
To the Sandbanks shore and the sky
To my dinghy grey and my sailing boat blue
And brisk breezes to sail her by.
To the ice cream boat and oyster man
Who trade in Swanage Bay
Or Sammy Jo’s at Studland Beach
(If the cruisers keep away).
Or sail up the river to Wareham Quay
Or anchor off Arne for a night
Or take a picnic to Pottery Pier
Or tack to the Isle of Wight
I will go down to Poole again
And sail at last in peace
If only at last the summer comes
And if the rain would finally cease

yacht

Words and photograph copyright 2017 by Paula Harmon (with apologies to John Masefield’s “Sea Fever”). All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission

Tripoli 1986

Wednesday 16th April 1986

Waiting, half consciously
for the next harsh sounds of fighter
to cross my sky,
a speck of black, slow moving,
catches the corner of my eye.
I, shuddered to sudden movement, see
a blackbird gently winging,
faster than seemed possible
to leafless trees, jaggedly finger-streaked on grey.
The bird alighting like a smudge,
so still and yet..
Is this the tight silence before the storm?
The blind, drugged blackness before the dawn?

Somewhere people weep
while others serve up a dish
made of retribution and revenge,
saying as their grace:
“it was the right thing to do,
we’d do it again. Amen.”
In the name of the many
the few decide to line us up
on the crumbling edge of war;
shaping us into an entity for the history books.
A few thousand miles away
eighty percent agree and thank us
for our co-operation;
while we enumerate the targets:
Freedom’s fodder
and wait.

Yesterday we shivered as we spoke.
Today, loosening our fingers we say
“Yesterday was terrifying”
but tighten our fingers again
as, hidden by clouds,
invisible machines
test their wings in waiting.

flaming

I wrote this nearly 31 years ago, the day after the bombing of Tripoli. I can remember what triggered this, as I looked up from washing up in a cafe and out of the window, afraid that the bombing in Libya would escalate. I’d like to pretend 31 years was before I was born but actually I was a very young adult starting out in life, despairing at what was happening in my world and potentially in my name. This may not be the best written poem but it was heartfelt. How sad that as my children enter adulthood, nothing whatsoever has changed and the threats they face in fact may be directly connected.

Words and photograph copyright 2017 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the barn,
The rafters were festooned with fine silken yarn.
The spiders had woven their intricate lace
And fireflies like fairy lights lit up the place.
Thus the barn looked so festive yet down in the hay
A girl dressed in nothing but rags and tears lay
Cast out in the cold with no friend to stand by
She wept without hope and waited to die.
Her warmth ebbed away as the source of her shame,
She clasped to her heart, a mere babe without name.
Her lover was false and her trust he’d betrayed
And her parents had spurned her, this poor desperate maid.
So in her last hours she’d trudged through the snow
And entered the barn with its welcoming glow.
And that’s where he found them, the farmer so old,
And carried them into the house from the cold.
And called to his wife to bring blankets and tea
And said, “Here’s the wonder we long wished to see,
“We yearned for a child as months turned into years
“Till time took our hope and wasted our tears
“And now in midwinter our dreams have come true
“Not one child we’re given, for here there are two!”

twas-poster

Words and photograph copyright 2016 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission

I entered a competition to write a poem continuing the first line and this is the result. The prize was a poster made especially for the poem and “The Grubdale Chronicles” by Michael Williams). Much to my surprise, I won first prize !

Four a.m.

Yet again, despairing, I wake at four
Hoping this time the lava of oblivion
Will overwhelm the vortex of my thoughts
Spinning in chaos at this burgling hour.

Outside from house to house invaders peak
Easing open windows, doors
Armed with picks, crowbars and ill-intent
Burglars sneak.

In nurseries, dream-fogged people creep
Feeding, rocking, soothing
Those soft and milky balls of want and fear
Burgling sleep.

Elsewhere, people pause in jaws of death
Frail pulses beat, hands clasp, tears run
Exhaustion flutters in vain against the foe
Who burgles breath.

And in my mind, these thoughts won’t cease
Fears, anger, confusion whirl with draining force
Worry forces entry into sleep
Burgling peace.

vortex

Words and photograph copyright 2016 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission