Thursday 25 March 2021

The Conquered King

by Nick Gisburne

An iron fist of hatred grips our souls
A scourge of twisted tyranny and pain
With blood and fear he conquers and controls
Exulting in the terror of his reign
But from the darkest shadows of the slums
Insurgency awakens in the night
Believing now, at last, our moment comes
We gather, and the flames of rage ignite
He falls beneath the fury of our force
A king no more, defeated and deposed
His eyes reveal no flicker of remorse
And yet he sees the weakness we exposed
    Together we destroy the tyrant’s rule
    The conquered king, the bully of the school

Monday 15 March 2021

Creativity Gap / ‘Powers’

You’ll notice there’s a gap here. The last poem, dated 5 March 2021, brought an end to a fairly long and productive spell of poetry writing. Was there a reason for this?

By looking at that poem, A Moment, Maybe, you’ll find a sonnet describing the end of a relationship. Did this happen to me? Yes. Did I write this just after the end of a relationship? No.

In fact, the sequence of events was this:

5 March - I wrote the poem
6 March - I read it to my partner (as I had always done with all my poems)
7 March - She ended our 8-year relationship

She did not of course end it because I wrote the poem. It had been on the cards (unbeknownst to me) for a long time. But writing a poem about a break-up and then having it happen almost immediately can kill anyone’s creativity, instantly. This, then, explains why my writing ended so abruptly in early March.

My ability to supposedly make something happen, just by saying it, is something I laughingly call my ‘powers’. Famous people have died the day after I wrote something related to their life - that has happened three times now. Of course these are all coincidences, and I have zero belief in any supernatural nonsense. But it does make life interesting. I am a lethal reincarnation of Nostradamus, apparently!

By early April (I’m writing this on 15 April 2021, but I’m adding it in situ to the blog so have had to give it an arbitrary date) I am over the shock of what happened, and back in full flow. My powers are still working - I wrote a poem, Infamy, with a line ‘The king is dead, but long will live his name’. The very next morning Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Philip, was indeed dead. You may say he was not technically a king, but ‘husband of a queen’ is as close as it gets, and that is a massive coincidence. He had, after all, been on this planet just shy of 100 years, and I wrote that line the night before he died. Was this just a coincidence? Yes, of course.

Need another? On the day of the death itself I was explaining this crazy coincidence to a friend. It’s important to note that my friend is female and has suffered with serious back pain for decades. She said, in a text, and I quote, ‘Don’t write about me unless it’s about being pain free’. Earlier that day I had already written the first draft of another poem, The Limousine, which includes the line ‘The pain she feels will never fade away’. Again, a coincidence, but these things certainly add colour to an otherwise unremarkable existence.

And before you ask, my powers do not work to order, so please, no assassination requests!

Friday 5 March 2021

A Moment, Maybe

by Nick Gisburne

There’s nothing left to play, no game to win
We’ve broken every bond we had to break
The memories together, skin to skin
Are more than any torment I can take
I’m stronger than the fool you think you know
I’ll never let you back inside my head
We lost the art of loving long ago
Whatever spark we found is cold and dead
Believe me when I say this is the end
Enjoy your freedom; waste it while you can
The dream we shared, too meaningless to mend
Was broken long before it all began
    We had a moment, maybe, you and I
    A moment left to falter, fade, and die

Thursday 4 March 2021

A Soul Beneath the Sea

by Nick Gisburne

The harbour rests, deserted for a day
A sullen crow stands guard among the boats
The sea gulls know their place; they keep away
Upon the swell a single flower floats
A bell, a toll of torment, marks the time
The chapel on the mountain is unlocked
A tide of mourners starts the steady climb
The children huddle tightly, silent, shocked
Within, the quiet hymns are known to all
They whisper to a soul beneath the sea
But few inside this consecrated hall
Can find the faith to live with what must be
    A child, a girl, at peace, as though she sleeps
    A village, crushed by grief and anger, weeps

Tuesday 2 March 2021

Wings of Gold

by Nick Gisburne

Invading every timber of the ship
The spawn infect the vessel from within
The sailors, numb, are helpless in their grip
Appalled to watch them burrow into skin
They long for death, but feel them as they feed
Devouring flesh and sinew, blood and bone
Absorbing all the nourishment they need
They sleep at last, engorged and fully grown
Adrift upon the currents of the sea
The creatures, in their chrysalids, awake
On wings of gold, the butterflies break free
Impatient for the journey they must take
    They soar among the clouds, to live, to breed
    To find the flesh of men, on which to feed

Fishing for Cats

by Nick Gisburne

Surrounded by a sea of crooning cats
We dangle flailing fairies on a string
Amused, the felines chuckle in their chats
But some suspect it’s supper time, and sing
Beguiling ballads saturate the sky
The fairy flappers sigh a sad response
A mournful moan to make the kittens cry
Who wave their whiskers woefully at once
The pussycats parade their purrs again
A furry fanfare, shivering with song
We lower down the lines and count to ten
And hope the silky strings are safe and strong
    The fairies catch the kittens by the tail
    We serve them, sliced and smoked, with yards of ale

Monday 1 March 2021

The Madness of the King

by Nick Gisburne

Tormented, drained, the king surveys the room
In reverence he kneels and bows his head
A dismal chill pervades this ancient tomb
Its chambers seal the secrets of the dead
Bewildered by the perils of his reign
The whispers of the palace haunt his mind
A threat to his survival, stabbed and slain
The madness of the king, corrupted, blind
Pernicious rumours, long before the birth
A ceaseless torment, silenced with a knife
And here, among the dead, beneath the earth
He strikes another blow, to end his life
    The king who killed his blameless wife and child
    Will always and forever be reviled