YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

May 2006

VOL XIV Issue 5, Number 157

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken

Production Editor: Heather Ferguson;

European Editor: Moshe Benarroch;

Contributing Editors: Michael Collings; Jack R. Wesdorp; Oswald Le Winter

Previous Associate Editors: Igal Koshevoy; Pedro Sena

ISSN 1480-6401


   About the Author


   Roger N. Taber

      THE LONGEST JOURNEY: a selection of poems 
         MOTHER LOVE
         THE L-WORD
         THE ROSE
         WAR, WAR, WAR
         LAST ORDERS
         LONELY ROAD
         YES, WHAT?


   Roger N. Taber

      Poetry Collections



Roger N. Taber was born in Kent (UK) on December 21st 1945 and graduated from 
the University of Kent in Canterbury (1973). By profession a librarian, he 
has a growing reputation as a poet. In 1996, Aramby Publications published a 
selection of his gay-interest poems under the title August And Genet 
(WIRE Poetry Booklets #12). Subsequently, he has successfully published four 
major poetry collections in the UK under his own imprint, Assembly Books: 
Love And Human Remains (c2000) - First Person Plural (c2002) - 
The Third Eye (c2004) - A Feeling For The Quickness Of Time 
(c2005). Some 400+ of his poems have appeared in poetry publications in the 
UK, USA, Canada and Australia; some can be accessed on the Internet. A gay 
man, he includes poetry on a gay theme among many other themes relevant to 
the 21st century. 

Home Page: http://hometown.aol.com/rogertab/myhomepage/poetry.html


a selection of poems 

by Roger N. Taber

The poems below have appeared in various UK &/or overseas poetry publications 
as well as my own Love And Human Remains quartet.


I know not how or why
my life is as it is,
only how blue the sky
and pretty the daisies

I know not how or why
each season's rebirth
wherever birds may fly, 
beasts of the earth

We know not how or why
our time shall cease,
only, as we must die,
so first find peace 

How or why a life's task?
Let's not forget to ask

GHOSTS ~~~~~~ Rougher the sea than last we ran here, laughing on the cliffs, a spring breeze in our hair; Less kind the sky than last we kissed there, bluebells surrounding a passion brought to bear; Sweet memory, the wings of a friendly gull soaring our dreams, love's rhythm to fulfil; Such heat to embrace your body and bold! In the vaults of eternity our lives grown cold; Salty now the hair across my face, thinned like the heather at our special place; Though huddled in a raincoat, I easily recall the glad heart that made me thrall; Gulls squeal! No melody but a sure grace, whirling against storm clouds like a pattern of lace on an altar cloth, would have smothered us both
CARE IN THE COMMUNITY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Knocked at an old house in the Square Is anybody there? At a grubby letterbox, bent to peer Is anybody there? Caught a whiff, of mouldy air Is anybody there? A squeaking, (maybe sobs or mice on the stair) Is anybody there? No one replying, prying curtains everywhere Is anybody there? Moving on, plenty more with time to spare Is anybody there? Asking questions no one wants to hear
MOTHER LOVE ~~~~~~~~~~~ I hear an angel crying for the joy of a child newly born; a lovely, gentle human being to live and love, laugh and mourn through tears of its own; I hear an angel singing for the joy of a child newly grown; a lovely, gentle human being risen above worldly troubles down to human foibles; I see an angel winging for the joy of someone's passing; a lovely, gentle human being taken at last, deserving of rest among the best; Lark, risen like an angel for the joy of a new dawning; a lovely, gentle motion on wings of song at our own Earth Mother's bidding; Nature, a treasure to behold though it bring grief as well as joy; Mother love, a gentle tale told at bedtime - like a quilt to keep us warm Though we be orphans in a storm
THE LONGEST DAY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Knocking on doors, nobody there. Called on the phone, no replies. Tried the local surgery (come back in three days) and, sorry the Samaritans are busy; went to church in desperation, but - closed for restoration; found a priest for advice (a kindly man) but if I didn't mind, he had a bible class at ten. Even stopped people in the street. Did no-one care? And where was God? Glanced at the sun as a huge cloud passed over, saw people run for cover (what's the use?). Walked on and on, no pride or purpose; mile after mile. Darkness couldn't come too soon. Glanced at the moon - and something in the Old Man's smile made me feel less alone, lit a candle in my soul that led me home
THE L-WORD ~~~~~~~~~~ L-ove is a mystery above all things, ecstasy or misery Poor though we be or walk among kings, L-ove is a mystery Who can say, see to whom life brings ecstasy or misery? Around earth's history running rings, L-ove is a mystery Sharing heaven's glory, like a bird that sings, ecstasy or misery The one eternity of life's mixed blessings, L-ove is a mystery, ecstasy or misery
CANDLES IN THE DARK ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When death, she comes for me, pray, few regrets or tears; Let it be poetry O, but I shall miss sky and sea, a south wind's sweeter whispers when Death, she comes for me! May love stand by steadfastly our finest memories; Let it be poetry O, but I shall miss bird and tree, such joy Mother Nature inspires when Death, she comes for me! May our dreams slip gently into a bed of flowers; Let it be poetry Our way, in peace, lit eternally by candles in Heaven's towers; When Death, she comes for me, let it be poetry
PARADISE ON HOLD ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Let spring drift into summer, Let summer greens turn red and gold; Let poets make of seasons all they find, it's Nature rules; (Even poets grow cold when winter calls on lonely hills); Soon, daffodils, in their turn; Ours, too, if the way of things be true; Who knows? For each flower that grows, its season comes and goes; For each seed in the wind, a sometime threat to our kind; Let the world wreak its worst, the good earth will do its best; Let Nature share or even take away, its time unspoiled by hours In life, in death, let there be flowers
THE ROSE ~~~~~~~~ One by one its petals fell away, dead in the sun, fed to the clay We helped it grow, wished for blooms at side-windows on our dreams If winter keeps no flower in view, a rose but sleeps like you Let seasons pass, remember us
PATCHWORK ~~~~~~~~~ Dusk, a patchwork quilt spread over trees and meadows; Warren, set, foxhole, well hid from prying eyes; Late birds on slight, misty wing heading for the nest; Walkers, ramblers, hastily checking compasses; Children at play looking out for text messages; Middle England, on the edge of things temporal; Green campaigners counting hard won laurels; Curtain closing on one last peep at a hazy beauty; Tasting raw smells of earthiness and buttermilk sky; Empathy with a nightingale's plea to be left in peace;. Random stars brought down, like clay pigeons... by bonfires in back gardens always taking liberties; Bats, alley cats, all putting a shine on the Sandman's boot... whose task to get us ready for the next clay shoot; World, coming together briefly to try and patch us up
JOKER ~~~~~ You dropped the joke into a humming pool, let ripples spread from merry chuckle to sly whisper I watched the whisper take its course from eye to eye until someone laughed Like a freak wave, that laughter came tumbling upon the whisper, dashing it to pieces, scattering me Everywhere
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Wrestling in the womb with thoughts I cannot know, feelings unable to show, I start to grow the way of all humanity that's gone before, a personality and identity to call my own though I take my place in a world anxious for a face, to place here, there, within the confines of a history classroom taught, and purpose-built Wrestling in the womb with thoughts I cannot know, feelings unable to show, I continue to grow a microcosm of all human endeavour, facing the complexities of Fate without a murmur, one to one with God without fear of the world's goading icons, relishing centuries of silence brought soundly to bear upon Man's first cry - war, war, war!
WAR, WAR, WAR ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Great grandpa fought in the First World War alongside other brave men who thought it was the war to end all wars but_it happened again. Grandpa fought in the Second World War alongside other brave men who thought to win a kinder, safer, world but_it happened again. My father fought in the Falklands War alongside other brave men who weren't so sure what they were fighting for and_it happened again. My brother fought in the First Gulf War alongside other brave men who little thought they'd be coming back to fight much the same war again. War is always in the news, brave men immortalised in song; My mother says the doves of peace are too scared of us to stay long.
SILENT WITNESS, SUDAN 2004 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ One by one, see them fall in the sand, women, children, tears run dry, skeletons of war in a savaged land Men and boys killed where they stand, only God asking why? One by one, see them fall in the sand Infants born into the palm of a hand, no one hears them cry, skeletons of war in a savaged land Hunger, want, pain, a despairing band of pilgrims at the altar of a lie; One by one, see them fall in the sand The world looks on, would lend a hand though many ask, why even try? Skeletons of war in a savaged land Heaven unmasked, Death unmanned, Life, like love, a proud if muted cry; One by one, see them fall in the sand, Skeletons of war in a savaged land TSUNAMI In the bowels of an ocean, Nature's rage lashes out at Man's wanton destruction of its own, crams history's subtler page with stark images of insurrection O cruel aftermath of grief, loss, pain! A divided world unites in horror without (immediate) thought of self-gain but only to save, bury, restructure Prayers, dollars, aid, flood in to assist severed lives, livelihoods, whose simple joys of a paradise once by angels kissed, now thrown by tsunamis into chaos Though paradise regained, only in part; as feisty waves breaking, so, too, its heart
FOREVER TO REMAIN ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Among the world's passions piling high, Love and Hate near breaking even, twin towers reaching for the sky Fear and hope - in a cruel storm's eye ascent into pain, ladder to heaven among the world's passions piling high Though dogs of war may not pass us by, pray Peace and Mercy be shown, twin towers reaching for the sky Political ambition, religion's blind eye, spiralling us into confusion among the world's passions piling high Let us plant flowers where loved-ones lie, seeds of Joy for Remembrance sown, twin towers reaching for the sky Though terror its ugly tentacles try again, again, to drag us down Among the world's passions piling high, twin towers reaching for the sky
LAST ORDERS ~~~~~~~~~~~ May the last thing I see be a lark dropping from the sky; May the last thing I hear be its sweet song of cheer; May the last thing I smell be a fragrance of flowers; May the last dream I have be the life that was ours; May the last thing I touch be the pleasure of your skin; May the last thing we share be a toast to love, in home-made wine Before the good earth calls `Time'
VIEW FROM A CHURCH WINDOW ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There's a thrill of blossom on the old tree, a greeny-white chirrup of noise bouncing gently, like a ball in child hands Every nuance of creation about the old tree tuned to perfection; you and me shaking our heads at confetti coming down like acid rain A hymn to life, such beauty! Tiny wafers of noise tongued lightly at the kissing gate over there Here, a dim view of immortality as we pass our seasons by grown deaf to each leaf
A PENNY FOR THE RAT-CATCHER ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Within these walls, grown impatient for retribution although we know only too well it's no solution to lively contractions of the soul, petty constrictions on the heart, predictions in the stars once easily dismissed but now conveniently allied to human premise however perverse Keeping the enemy at bay, without or within - that's the question? Haunting dreams that dare defy the rationale of hurt pride, disaffected ego, demanding satisfaction but unwilling to display its true colours, fearing others might fly their own, the worse to win us over No better self-perpetuating poison could Mother Nature produce nor God induce even the likes of Eve to inflict on humanity than this cancerous vainglory, rodent feelings scuttling through tunnels of a mind but poorly lit, heading for self-destruct Like the rat-catcher in our sewers, hate perseveres
LONELY ROAD ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cats' eyes penetrating the darkness; Darkness penetrating the soul; Soul penetrating layers of time; Time penetrating all identity; Identity penetrating all pretence; Pretence penetrating our dreams; Dreams penetrating home truths; Home truths Cat's eyes
BODY POSITIVE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Life, death! Floods me, goads me, Leads me beside hot beaches Where I run, a dazzling sea Cheering me on, and I wonder Where the lark has gone That fixed me with its cheer Before abandoning me here Like a forgotten toy Filled with the joy of its Having played me out Before going about Nature's own Business Life, death! Calls me, galls me, Urges me back, back to you; But we are gone, the taste of us Honey on my tongue Where we romped and played Like tots in make-believe Heading barefoot among jellyfish For the Punch and Judy man Who'll make us laugh If anyone can Before the sun goes down And our time Forgotten Life, death! Overtaken us now, beckoning; I'll not rush my pace, for We already ran our race, won A place among these stars Enchanting this lulling swell. All's well; one lost toy recovered And taken home, Punch and Judy In a packing case sleeping it off At some Bed and Breakfast; I, filled with such a night Far exquisite for words Like those we shared Before AIDS
NATIONAL TRUST OUTING ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On my way downstairs, I paused to look at a portrait on the wall and it winked at me, opened its mouth and said (laughingly), "Yes, I too was gay in my day although the word not invented nor times quite ready to receive the unseemly likes of a common painter and his patron lover - so we had to lie, indulge in subterfuge. No one had the faintest idea, certainly not the family (wife and children included) or that ogre Establishment whose inner circle I was free enough to tread, so long as I dared not bring it into disrepute by word or deed. Oh, I loved them well enough, indeed. But it's not for love of those I pose - radiating, I suspect, an inner happiness? Ah, yes, you understand. It is my lover's brush, exploring mind and soul, touching what makes life real, no trappings and trimmings comprising Society's queer notion of propriety, political expediency or even an image of home fires burning - but Love, in all its rampant glory, telling my story here and now, for whoever might care to consider, critically, a glow in the cheek, lift of the eyebrow, crook of the knee, hands pointedly showing off slender fingers, touches invariably missed in critique, put down to art's mystique, few appreciating the intimacy between lover and lover, bouncing off each other, long after the oils runs dry, spoils of eternity." In my own time I descended, feeling befriended
A QUESTION OF TIMING ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Doors flinging and slamming, windows opening, closing, streets stretching, bending; Children born and growing, parents coming, going, working at living, trying to make out they won't mind dying so long as the timing's - what, right? Earth flung, heaped and piling; Buds opening, closing, footpaths stretching, bending; Chicks nesting and growing, (parents coming, going working at living), trying to make out they won't mind flying so long as the timing's - what, right? More flinging and slamming, mouths opening, closing, legs stretching, bending; Love born and growing, hate coming, going, working at praying, trying to make out it doesn't mind dying so long as the timing's - what, right?
STAYING ALIVE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Like a snake it slithers inward, a silent threat, making progress all the time, its casual, everyday camouflage blending perfectly with our surroundings (no need, surely, for any taking of soundings for hidden warnings or heeding secret signs, better focus on other things, get on with our lives?) Neither seen or heard, although our senses start to prick the skin at the predator's moving in on us, trying to provoke an awareness, the presence of danger, a crying in the soul meant to warn, but, too often, inciting anger that - innocent - we should be targeted for harm Raise the alarm! Pull out all stops and starts; a bringing together of brave hearts, like minds, confirming young David's aim, wisdom of Solomon, inspiration of Bible metaphor reworked in everyday fable tucked away in tabloids, radio, TV's appeal to face facts, get real Be a cancer in Eden's grass, heaven endures
YES, WHAT? ~~~~~~~~~ If I'd said this, or that, said - what? If I'd done this, or that, done - what? Tortured souls crying out their guilt, left hanging in some limbo to - rot? What good purpose, that? None. We cannot (ever) change what's done, bring back loved ones long - gone? No, but here in the heart forever, willing us to live again, move on; Nothing, said or done then would - what? Have eased whose pain, whose guilt? Choices, rarely plain, but ours alone will take us here, there, where? No one to blame having chosen - wrong? Who's to say, play judge and jury? Enough, surely, to be what, exactly?
FRIENDS REUNITED ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I knocked at the door, again, again, yet again; No one came Eventually, I turned away, drifted lonely as a cloud then returned I banged on the door again, again, yet again; No one came Angrily, I turned away, ran till exhausted then returned I called at the door again, again, yet again; No one came Sadly, sat down on a step left pondering - why no one listening? I called at the door again, again, yet again till someone came
KNOW THE VOICE, CAN'T PLACE THE FACE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Come, child, where I lead, don't be afraid; Listen to the murmurings of your heart; Exercise the finer leanings of your mind; Start to care, understand why I, too, am here for you See, child, where I walk; Let's talk, you and I, exchange home truths that, otherwise, may well fester and die in the bowels of a soul bent on proving its existence by a token resistance to temporal magnificence Hear, child, such words as your own; ignore mine if you suspect they threaten the ivory tower you build with such pretension, desire to be alone hardly the best protection against a world its own worst enemy for a divided humanity Part godly, part devilry, call me Destiny
MAKING A DIFFERENCE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Will some fallen angel pick on me and drag me away or will a gentler spirit have mercy, come Judgement Day? Shall wolfish death delight in tearing us apart or will it strike swift and cleanly, at the heart? May doves defy infernal dark, fly eternal light or, brought to earth, stay out of mind, out of sight? Not ours to know the how, where, or when but of our kinder selves, glad to give and learn unite in Peace and Love than passively wait Death's turn though our leaders make an endgame of commonsense We can make a difference
ANNUAL REPORT ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Born to lead, fulfil, unite; Invariably, though, dividing, losing sight of how many chosen to fight on one side rather than chance losing face, faith in an interpretation of rights and wrongs pointing clearly to a strategy - for victory over mortality Come to bring peace, hope; Invariably, though, screws up at practically every turn for each well-meant move taken, every word preached ringing with sincerity - truth's old enemy, better placed than any to take a dove's eye view of our morality Pigeon-holed by history, shaped by the eternal mystery of Creation, each to our own interpretation, verification according to temporal needs and desires, lighting the fires of spirituality - a common humanity or personal gain, as the case may be Christianity, Islam, whatever, can do better, must try harder
THE LONGEST JOURNEY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Love has many faces, some gay, some not, journeys many places, laughs, cries a lot No finer friend you'll find to share peace of mind whenever demons on the brain come again, again for the soul or we fall Love has many faces, comforts, make afraid in least expected places, reflecting all that's made us tearful, sublime, captives of Time; In a world not of our choice its sweeter voices ease the soul or we fall Love has many reasons, asks questions, tells lies; a face for all seasons where need flies In the heat of human sorrows, through crumbling tomorrows; Brave hearts on wing in spite of everything that drags on the soul or we fall My love, it wears a friend's face, makes no demands; A single candle placed at your heart's command Under threat of darker sorrows, striving better tomorrows; A light in the soul's gloaming to guide an epic roaming at freedom's call or we fail All poems copyright (c) 2006 Roger N. Taber


Poetry Collections by Roger N. Taber:

Love And Human Remains (2000) Assembly Books, London, England

First Person Plural (2002) Assembly Books, London, England

The Third Eye (2003) Assenbly Books, London, England

A Feeling For The Quickness of Time (2005) Assembly Books, London, England

The books can be ordered from:

Assembly Books
C-Hammond House,
45a Gaisford Street,
London,NW5 2EB.


Roger Taber can be reached at rogertab@aol.com


  All poems copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of
  these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is

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