Broken

So many times I have called to you
How can I show you I care?
And how many times can my heart be broken
This love, I’m not sure I can bear
Reality tells me I’m wasting my time
Over and over again
Can’t you heal this ache that is mine
Killing me with this pain
Echoing voices that fill my head
Redemption comes at a cost
Hope is crushed as dreams are shed
Inside me all is lost

It seems to me that nothings real
This world just cannot be
A judgement made with no appeal
A cell door without a key
Locked inside my nightmare
A maze inside my head
Looking for somewhere, anywhere
Where I can feel instead
Numbed by life, by circumstance
Accusing thoughts I’ve never spoken
Paranoia does it’s happy dance
But I am left alone and broken

Where Eagles sing

He returned to gaze on the mountains high
Snow tipped peaks that scraped the sky
Beautiful yet deadly in their majesty
Uncaring of the passing humanity
Who in the mountains shadow live and die
some in this shadow still must lie
And some have carried pain from the past
Return to face their pain at last

Replay the memories from a childhood day
When life or death was a game to play
But two climbed that mountain wall
One returned, one not at all
One always lost, one never found
Somewhere on that frosty ground
Should mournful weary souls decry
There still his white bones must lie
Entrapped by wild flowers roots and stem
Where eagles sing his requiem

He gazed upon that mountain high
Where all forbidden secrets lie
Of the two, he was the truly lost
Left behind but at what cost
In his dreams memories abound
And what was lost cries to be found
He hears the call with weeping eyes
The child he once was replies
He knew he would climb the mountain again
Where Eagles still sing a requiem

The Warrior Stone

Though we searched high and low
In places that only monsters go
Through mountains where the eagles fly
And valleys where the dead still lie
Through the darkness of the ominous caves
Lined with bodies of broken slaves
And along the old kings castle walls
Where still the sound of wailing calls
Through all the hamlets in the land
Among the wary and the damned
From battlements to battleground
The warrior stone could not be found

For many years the warrior stone
Had sat beneath the royal throne
It’s strange magic making sure
The border walls were held secure
It’s secrets passed from King to heir
But the second born was hidden there
In jealousy he stole the warrior stone
Hoping to steal his fathers throne
hiding the stone deep in the blackwoods fen
He was retracing his steps back but then
With the night came the harrowing fog
He stumbled and drowned in the Blackwood bog

With the loss of the stone the border walls fell
Exposing the realm to the forces from hell
The sun was clouded as swarms of locusts descended
Demons swarmed over the walls undefended
The king and his men where soon overcome
The prince and his family where ordered to run
Demons hunted and plundered, murdered and enslaved
Devouring the blood that they had long craved
Humanity fought bravely but were slowly diminished
Within a decade it seemed they were finished

The Prince had spent the time searching and fighting
Behind his banner the last of his people uniting
Weary and tired, finally they stood
With the Hellborn behind them and faced the bogs of Blackwood
Certain death or just death, he thought with a curse
The choices we make, none better, all worse!
As darkness descended, along with the fog
He and his people entered the bog
In front his boy, barely twelve years old
But a proven fighter, clever and bold
Confidently choosing the path to set them on
But a moment later, he was gone

The prince ran forward as fast as he could
Only to see him stuck in the bubbling mud
He threw him a rope and called to his men
And braced himself to pull him out again
But the bog wasn’t easily defeated instead
It pulled the boy down until only his head
Could be seen above the mercurial land
Slowly it disappeared, just an arm, then a hand

Then the rope went slack and the prince fell to his knees
Begging his Gods to respond to his pleas
Then suddenly a strange light through the water burned
And the hand broke the surface as the boy was returned
Slowly his figure emerged from the mire
Dripping mud as he rose higher and higher
Stood on a pedestal that spun slowly round
And dropped by the prince onto the ground
The prince bent down and rubbed off the mud
And started to tremble there where he stood
With a voice full of emotion he did quietly intone
Gentlemen, we are looking at the warrior stone

He knelt down before it and grasped it tight
Suddenly Blackwood exploded with light
A ball of fire formed high overhead
Then flattened out as it started to spread
Locusts burst into flame and then into dust
All over the country demons started to combust
As lightening fired down from the fire cloud overhead
Within minutes all the demons were dead
The border walls reversed their decomposition
As the displaced stones moved back into position
Across the realm people started to appear
Realising the truth they started to cheer

Time moves on, Kingdoms change over years
History turns into legends and then disappears
Rewritten by rulers, twisted and awry
It becomes whatever you want it to be
In these fair island there still lies a stone
That still sits beneath a royal throne
An English throne with a Scottish heart
Let no man take the two apart
At some point in the past, a change to its name
It’s just words, the stone remains the same
For while every stone carries its own history
This one carries our destiny

Bad poetry

Why, she said, in despair
Do these things keep happening to me
Does no one here really care
About this bad poetry?

The other day the poet raved
Her hair was glimmering gold
And in her sleep her hair was shaved
And taken to be sold
Then the poet wrote her beauty fair
Could stop a thousand hearts
She awoke to find corpses everywhere
They had to remove them in carts

Then he wrote that gentlemen
Would throw themselves at her feet
The next day again and again
They kept tripping her in the street
Finally she had enough
Of this poets romanticism
It was time for her to get tough
To reject his imposition

She realised that the poetry
Was really just a curse
It had no meaning in reality
It only made things worse
So she sat down at the table
And got herself a pen
She knew that she was able
To turn the tide again

She wrote a poem about the poetry
The Poets joy and pride
She mentioned his vulgarity
And much more beside
She bemoaned his poor use of verse
And she rhymed every line
In doing so she reversed the curse
Sent fear in the poets spine

So beware poets one and all
Once written there’s no reverse
You cannot regret or recall
No way to stop the curse
Better to not write one line
Than write and rue the day
And if it’s as bad as mine
Who’s going to read it anyway?

Teddy, last days of an abandoned dog.

I had written this story 20 odd years ago. I put it on Hub pages, when it existed! Strangely I was working on a project on Lulu.com recently, did a search on my name, and there it was… a real blast from the past, listed under my name against an email that had expired many years ago. Be aware, this is a sad story. I was (and still am) involved with an animal rescue at the time.

Teddy

The headlights swept by ceaselessly, each one momentarily flickering across Teddy’s eyelids, closed against the glare. The lead rubbed against his neck, raw now. His paws ached, unable to make more than a few steps forwards or backwards. He had been here two days, tied to the post in a lay-bye, the lead too short to enable him to take the pressure of his legs by lying down. He was wet, cold, tired and hungry, but mostly tired. He knew that if he relaxed he would strangle on the lead, but he knew that he could not stand much longer. So he stood, head down, shivering against the rain, the night and the pain. He wished for Mama-Lily, and he cried for what once was.


Mama-Lily had adopted him as a pup, and he had adored her, from her long black tresses to the tips of her toes. She was a happy woman, who cared for him. She invented endless fun-filled games just for him, her Teddy. She would cuddle up to him at night and swear that she would always look after him. Every day they would have long walks and he would always be at her side, protecting her. She was everything to him; he would always be loyal to her.


Papa-Bob came into their life when Teddy was three years old, Teddy liked him. He was a tall man who also loved Mama-Lily. Teddy was glad because it seemed to make Mama-Lily even happier. He played with Teddy too, not as much or as often as Lily but enough for Teddy to know that he cared. They laughed a lot together, but always included Teddy. Life was good.


Then one day Teddy jumped onto Mama-Lily’s lap and smelt something bad inside her. It made his blood run cold; it was a wrong, evil smell. Teddy burrowed his nose into her stomach trying to seek it out but Mama–Lily pushed him away, laughing. “Whatever are you doing, Teddy?”
Day after day the smell became a little stronger and Mama-Lily began to have pains. She grumbled about it but carried on until one day Teddy went to look for her and found her doubled up in the garden, crying. He nuzzled her gently but she wouldn’t get up so he went to find Papa-Bob in the garage. He barked and tugged at Papa – Bobs trousers until he followed him into the garden. When Papa-Bob saw Lily he went pale and ran to her.


A big vehicle with flashing lights came for Lily and Bob disappeared too. Teddy wandered around the garden disconsolately. He was frightened and scared. When night fall came he went and sat outside the front door and waited. Papa-Bob came back in the middle of the night and sat next to Teddy on the top step. He put his head in his hands and cried. Teddy licked the back of his hands and cried with him.
“It’s cancer, Teddy.”
Papa–Bob hugged Teddy, holding him tightly and pressing his head into Teddy’s coat. Teddy didn’t know what cancer was but he knew it was the bad thing that he had smelled inside her.


Teddy never saw Mama-Lily again. Day after day Papa-Bob went to the hospital and each day he came back and cried with Teddy. One day he came back and told Teddy “We have to be strong now, Teddy. She has gone to a better place. She is at peace now.”
Teddy wondered why if it was a better place that we didn’t all go there. Where, he wondered, was Peace? He should go there to be with Mama-Lily. One day, he would go there.


Teddy was five when Mama-Lily went to the better place, and for the next five years he and Bob were on their own together. At first they cried a lot, but after a while the pain got less. Teddy still missed and loved Mama-Lily, but he helped Papa-Bob get better and for a while at least, it was OK.
One day Papa-Bob came home with Mama-Sue. She was just Sue then, of course. He introduced her to Teddy and she stroked him, but Teddy sensed that she was scared of him. He licked her hand to say that it’s ok but she squeaked and snatched her hand away. She didn’t want to go on the walks so the walks got shorter and less frequent. The more Teddy wanted to make friends the more she seemed to resent him. If he greeted her by jumping she would moan about Teddy’s dirty feet. She became Mama- Sue when Teddy was six. From then on it seemed Teddy could do no right. She complained about Teddy’s hair, his dirty footprints, everything. Teddy was banned firstly from the bedroom, then the living room where he would curl up in front of the fire. One day Papa-Bob built a kennel in the garden and Teddy found himself living in that. It was ok in summer, but Teddy was lonely. In winter it was cold. Sometimes Papa-Bob would let him into the kitchen though Mama-Sue would scream at him. Teddy sensed that Papa-Bob was really unhappy. So was Teddy. Teddy cried every night for company, for the long walks he now never had, for Mama-Lily.


Mama-Sue woke Teddy screaming at Papa-Bob. She was moaning about a job that Papa-Bob could do but Papa-Bob didn’t want to move, but would have too to take on the new job. Teddy heard him say that he didn’t want to move to London, they didn’t need the money and what about Teddy?
Mama-Sue said Teddy could be re-homed. She would take Teddy to the animal centre herself as he hadn’t got the guts to do so. She said they always need the money; didn’t he care about her at all? London was a good place to be.
Teddy wondered if London was as good a place as Peace, where Mama-Lily was.


The next morning Teddy found himself on a lead and in Mama-Sues car. Papa-Bob had come to him and said
“Sorry Teddy, I have no choice. Someone will look after you.”
Papa-Bob was crying. Teddy thought that he was afraid for Teddy and licked his hand.
“Oh Teddy”.
Papa-Bob walked away with his head down. Mama-Sue came out and put his lead on. “Come on, Mutt”.
She took him to the back of her car and put him on the back seat. Teddy had not been in a car for a long time and was uneasy. He whimpered.
Mama-Sue said “Don’t you mess up my car, Mutt”
They drove off and Teddy looked back at the house and wondered if he would ever see it again.
Mama-Sue was angry. She was tired of driving around trying to find the animal shelter. She just wanted to get rid of the dog and go home. She also guessed that the animal home wouldn’t be happy to have a twelve year old dog dumped on them. Mama-Sue didn’t like looking bad. In Mama-Sue’s world it was not what you were that was important, it was what you appeared to be. Mama-Sue wanted to look good, and didn’t mind doing bad to achieve that.
“The end justifies the means” she told Teddy, as she pulled into a lay-by on the main road. “This way, someone will find you quite quickly. The RSPCA will look after you, Bob won’t know any different and I don’t have to lose face. We all win!”

She pulled Teddy from the car and tied him to a metal post with a litter bin on it. The bin smelt of old burgers and Teddy’s nose twitched. She tied the lead tightly around the bin bracket.
“Goodbye Teddy”. She jumped into her car and drove off.

Teddy waited patiently. He tried to lie down but the lead was too high and the collar started strangling him as soon as his weight was on it. At best he could sit, but had to stretch his body up uncomfortably or the collar dug into him. Car after car drove by but nobody stopped. The smell of burgers from the bin started to plague him. There was no water. Even if there was a bowl of water on the floor he couldn’t have put his head down far enough to drink from it. The sun went down and still Teddy waited. The cars still went by but you couldn’t see them, only a glare of lights as they swept by, only the roar of the engines that drowned out Teddy’s barking. Teddy licked the pole which felt cool on his tongue. The night was full of rustling from the fields next to the lay-by. Teddy felt eyes on him, feral eyes watching and waiting. His legs ached uncontrollably. In the night he cried until he could cry no more. He had little strength left. At some point he fell asleep, only waking when his legs buckled and the noose of his collar tightened around his throat. He woke choking but managed to regain his feet. His throat ached, his legs shook. Teddy was afraid. He cried out for Papa-Bob, but there was no-one there to hear him. When daylight came again Teddy raised his head to feel the sun. He wanted to be at Peace, with Mama-Lucy. He wondered where all the cars were going so fast, even in his pain he wondered. Perhaps they were going to London, perhaps Peace. Perhaps Papa-Bob was on one of them. He barked at the cars for a while, but Papa-Bob, or anyone else, didn’t stop.


The soon was soon hot and Teddy stood with his head under the shade of the bin. His legs were all shaking uncontrollably but still he waited. At one point he heard a scratching noise and looked up. Perched on top of the bin was a single rook. He had evil eyes. Teddy sensed that he was waiting for something bad to happen. Teddy barked at him. The bark was not loud, for Teddy’s voice was hoarse and sore. The bird flapped its wings and slowly flew away. Teddy knew he would be back.

In the afternoon the sun went behind clouds and it started to rain. At first this was good as Teddy licked the water off the pole. It was pooling at his feet but he couldn’t get his head down to it, so he licked what he could off the pole. He tried to chew through the lead but it was made of something strong and at twelve Teddy did not have many teeth left. For a while he grabbed the lead and used the strength of his neck to take the weight off his front feet. He could not do this for long though. As the day slipped into dusk he saw that the rook was back. He did not have the strength to bark.
Sometime in the early hours of the morning Teddy’s legs gave way. His head jerked back as his front legs collapsed and the collar bit into his throat. For a while his back legs scratched at the ground, frantically trying to get a grip as his desperate lungs fought for breath, but Teddy was twelve, old, tired and betrayed. In the end he had nothing left to live for. He felt the strength drain from his body taking with it all the pain, wiped by a growing cold cloud of darkness that slipped over his eyes like a ghostly shadow.

Teddy died alone in the dark.

He was at Peace. He knew where he was when he opened his eyes. All round him were rolling, gentle hills covered with grass and flowers. The sun shone down on him warming but not to hot. He could smell rabbits and somewhere he could smell a familiar fragrance… He knew that smell so well! He hoped but dared not hope. Slowly he walked up to the top of the hill and looked down into the valley. His heart soared… she was there? The woman at the bottom of the valley turned her sweet and beautiful face towards him, she looked so well, so young…
“Teddy!”
It was her voice, her beloved, much missed voice. He ran as fast as his legs could take him down the bank and launched himself into her waiting arms. She held him close and together they cried and laughed and cried again. Even the tears were happy ones. The smell of cancer was gone and he was with his beloved Mama-Lily again, this truly was the better place, and finally he was at Peace.
.

Strange things happen at sea

Home, said the sailor, it’s been a long trip
Two months I was stuck on that ship
‘‘Twas a good job it sunk, that I could say
Though I’d not have said that when we got underway
The captain was incoherent with booze
Had to be carried aboard for this cruise
He wasn’t to be seen the day we set sail
Curing his hangover with a flagon of ale

The first mate knew nought and wanted to do less
I tell you the boat was in a real mess
We left the harbour at the crack of dawn
With a hold full of rum hidden under baskets of corn
Hoping to get into Scarborough under no moon
To avoid dancing to the customs man tune
The Atlantic storms come out of nowhere
Even the best can get caught unaware

We was battered and tossed by the sea and the rain
The wind howling around as the ship shrieked its pain
With a crack the mainmast suddenly fractured and fell
Taking with it the bridge and captain as well
The ship spun without steerage and anything not tied
Slid over the deck and over the side
Taking with them anyone who got in the way
Disappearing in the sea and lost to the spray

Old Jack Bean hung from the ships rail
As the ship yawed his grip started to fail
I struggled to a locker that some rope was on
But when I turned around he was gone
The storm passed as quickly as it had come
But by then the terrible damage was done
Twelve of us on board when we’d got underway
Just three of us survived that awful day

The sails had been ripped and now long gone
Anyway no mast was left to hang them on
The ship lay becalmed on an eerie flat sea
A silence that suddenly seemed strange to me
We stood on the deck, all three, side by side
we stood there, all three and we cried

That night I watched the sun descend
It’s red dusk light seemed to send
A pathway from us to its deep orange core
For nine more dead souls to seek and explore
I quietly prayed that they were at peace
And hoped they found sense in their brutal release

For three long days and even longer nights
We watched for ships or for ships lights
For all the ship was still afloat
Another storm would sink the boat
But strange things can happen at sea
I ask you to suspend your judgment on me
I promise you I will not be deceiving
But this is going to be hard to believe in

On the fourth day the whales appeared
that’s when this story really gets weird
There were three whales circling around us
Both playful and I think, curious
Each was half the size of our ship
Their tails could sink us with just one flip
The suddenly we felt a gentle push
And the ship trembled under us

We realised that the ship was in motion
Finally moving in this empty ocean
Then we realised that on either side
A whale accompanied us along for the ride
We looked to see where the third whale had gone
To our surprise it was pushing us along

Every few hours the whales changed position
Taking turns on this strange mission
For two days we were pushed towards an unknown destination
Carried along by these strange cetacean
Then in the dark of the night we heard a strange call all around
As the whales communicated in their sad mournful sound

The ship slowed to a rest in the dark of the night
Then suddenly a light pierced the night
A lighthouse appeared on our starboard side
In shock we just broke down and cried
We waited until the sun raised its head
And found ourselves drifting near flamborough head
Of the whales there was no sign, we couldn’t believe
That they had steered us home through treacherous seas

Shortly after the lifeboat arrived and tried to give us a tow
But our boat started to break up and filled with water below
We stood on the lifebout and watched with dismay
As our boat disappeared under the waters of the bay

Now I’ve told you my story, I guess I’m all done
So buy me a beer and go have your fun
Tell al your friends about the old sailers like me
You’ll never understand, strange thing happen at sea.

They lie beneath

In this place where blood was spilled
A place where many men were killed
Each fighting for a dishonourable cause
Where some distant lord will take applause
And count his coin with sweating hands
The price of death in foreign lands
Paid by the blood of fighting men
Who never returned to home again
Their bones restless in unfamiliar ground
Thrown together in a burial mound
No mourners there to vent their grief
Grass grows on the soil they lie beneath

But still there are those that mourn
In the places they were born
Where streets of smoke deny the day
And candles burn to light the way
Where some still weep and some still wait
Unable to comprehend their fate
Time sheds hope like a tree sheds leaves
Some live now only in their memories
As the world moves on they are left behind
Still searching for a love they cannot find
No tombstones stand, no flowers or wreath
Grass grows on the soil they lie beneath

Thrive

No matter how much we want to pretend
That our lives are uniquely bright
But beginnings give birth to an end
And we all must face the night
Riches and armies cannot prevent
That last inevitable fall
Whether noble or evil in intent
We will all heed that call
Those with honour will step into light
Accepting judgment without debate
Those steeped in sin will scream and fight
Unable to face their fate
Though man himself will surely die
His ideals and dreams survive
So though he in his mortal grave must lie
The legacy he leaves will thrive

Ghost

In the dark hours she wanders the halls
Dressed in white, a bride of the night
Deep golden tresses from her head falls
Framing her face unnaturally white
No stumbling gait, she flows like a stream
Her eyes hold darkness, her lips a deep red
Ignorant of all around her as if in a dream
She passes me by without a word being said
Lights flicker and dim as she wanders within
An impossible presence from a time now gone
I can see the firelight through her translucent skin
But no shadows are cast as she walks on

As the Grandfather clock chimed midnight
She suddenly turned as if she could see
Just for a moment I felt drawn into her sight
Then she just faded away in front of me
I called out to her but she was gone
Back to her life or to rest in her grave
A ghost? A memory? A dream forgotten?
A body to mourn, a memory to save?
At that moment I swore that to be there
Every night until I saw her once again
For inside my heart I felt something flare
A spark to ignite a passionate flame

I don’t know is she is a dream or a ghost
Or a ghost of a memory that’s lost to my years
But it’s the love of that dream that hurts me the most
And the silence is screaming to my ears
Then once again, before midnight
The lights flickered and faded down low
I held my breath and felt my heart go tight
As the doorway started to glow
I staggered and felt my legs give way
A vivid pain shot through my chest
Somewhere I heard a sweet voice say
Truly have you been blessed

Deep golden tresses, dressed in white
Beautiful and sweet, a heart of gold
Loving forever, to my delight
Without the fear of growing old
She was born in a Tudor spring
Of an aristocratic birth
I in the reign of a Windsor king
But me a man of little worth
But the Gods took pity it seems
And allowed time to release its controls
And love to be released from its dreams
To join our two lonely souls.

Man behind the mask

The man behind the mask

Spends his life in fear
Of what, he does not know
But he holds his privacy dear
His past never on show

Paranoid to a fault
Though the fault is never his own
Feelings locked into an inner vault
Set in a mould of stone

His mind is but a bitter place
A sparking powder flask
Lacking empathy or grace
Is the man behind the mask

But read him and be certain
That you understand this well
We all hide ourselves behind a curtain
We are not the words we tell

As the lies spread exponentially
The question we should ask
Is it possible we could all be
The man behind the mask?