The Waster Land (A Babble of Voices)

 

All those seraphim prayers

to a Ridgeway god

who only listens to rich white kids.

Why should they know the angels

when the only wings we hear

are on the hungry husks of kitchen flies?

 

(The forests were afro hair

the sky a shiny blue of white Caucasian eye.

Those eyes were always a window to your soul

my words an empty epitaph to love.)

 

Bill the Traveller on rehab from the cooler

(drunk on cider at the unlamented Merry Miller),

‘ Let’s go down The Royal Oak

have a real drink, have a smoke…

O, you can’t beat the travelling boys!’

 

In the dark the figures glow

like scenes from Caravggio’s insight,

the poetry, the poverty, one second in eternity

and the world seems full of emptiness tonight.

 

We had a drink before he went,

that’s enough for a man like me,

he bought a few, I called in two

then he went home for his tea.

I later heard his time was spent

and he died that very night

but we had a drink before he went

so things turned out alright.

 

(Once the stairs were white

and our hair was brown,

now the passing years

have turned it round. Oh, lover

now that our beauty has faded

and the dreams that we clung to are gone

I regret in an instant this evening

a lifetime of moments long gone.)

 

And the schizoid man said,

‘ Cold eyes don’t cry for life’s losses

cold arms don’t wait for returns,

cold souls don’t yearn for time wasted

cold hearts freeze a  love when it burns.’

 

In the dark the figures glow

like scenes from Caravaggio’s insight

the poetry, the poverty,

one second in eternity

and the world seems full of yesterday tonight.

 

‘Surely there was a time’

(said the poet from some bedsit in York Place)

‘When I walked the dockside streets

free from the goals and desires

that chain me now,

when the sun rose as a joy in my soul

and I laughed with the trees

and the carolling leaves?’

 

‘But don’t forget’

(said the labourer from his flat in Alway)

‘ That the beautiful flowers,

the song of the springtime bird…

none survives without

the silent, plain brown earth that feeds them.’

 

In the dark the figures glow

like scenes from Caravaggio’s insight,

the poetry, the poverty,

one second in eternity

and the world seems full of mystery tonight.

 

Mike McNamara

 


 

Mike McNamara (B.A. Hons.) Humanities was born in Ireland but lives in South Wales, UK. He had his Selected Poems ‘Overhearing The Incoherent’ published by Grevatt and Grevatt  in 1997. Mike is a published songwriter.  His poetry  has been published in Acumen, Aji, Dream Catcher, Envoi, Eunoia Review, International Times, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Lyric, New Welsh Review, Orbis, Reach, Tears in the Fence, etc. Mike also had a selection of poems published in The Pterodactyl’s Wing (Parthian, 2003).

Or the ‘alternative’ bio:

Mike McNamara was born in Ireland but lives in South Wales. He has worked among many other occupations as a lorry driver, library assistant, scaffolder and scrap metal dealer. He has also experienced the life of a military prisoner for nine months in Colchester and lived homeless on the streets of Dover, London and Cornwall. His selected poems ‘Overhearing The Incoherent’ were published by Grevatt and Grevatt in 1997. Mike is a published singer/songwriter and has been lead singer/frontman with Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band for 29 years. His experiences and recovery, which began with a 4 month rehabilitation at the local psychiatric clinic at age 16 for alcoholism and substance addiction and his subsequent employment as a key worker for the Kaleidoscope Programme decades later were documented in the TV programmes ‘My Way’ broadcast in 2006, and Wales In The 90’s (2018). In 2018 he performed a solo rendition his own song ‘Come On In Out Of The Cold’ at the House Of Lords for Kaleidoscope’s anniversary celebration. He is contributing both written and performance poems for MIND in Nov. 2018.


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One Response to The Waster Land (A Babble of Voices)

  1. pete ak says:

    Seriously serious poetry Mike. Much respect and admiration.

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