Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

Who Removed the Mantle?


Who removed the mantel
So that the menhirs toppled over
Who removed the mantel
And let the house burn down
Who removed the mantel
The climber lost his footing
Who removed the Mantel
From the title page.

Who removed the mantle
Now the King’s without his Majesty
Who removed the mantle
And let the lie be seen
Who removed the mantle
That made the snail it’s shell
Who removed the mantle
And the crust from the Earth.

Whoever removed the mantle
Left our soul exposed.

Malcolm D B Munro
23 October, 2015

Filed under: poetry

The Bodies and the Blood


The bodies lie strewn upon the ground,
Stretching as far as the eye can see.
Torn, mangled, bone white.
The severed craniums still adorned with berets, not helmets.
Proud plumes protrude mute to their reckless bravery.

The groans and moans echo soundlessly;
The terrible screams sound still upon the air.
The carnage great and useless,
Unprecedented within the stories of war.

The ground trenched and slithered by
Shrapnel. The twisted torn metal mocking
In mute testimony to the deathless.

The gas masks grotesque;
Grinning at the folly of the wearers
They failed to protect.

The stench of decomposition
Chokes and retches.
And a mustard smell hangs fast and faint
Upon the air, made dismal by the early
Morning mist.

All’s calm now,
The living mud squelches surreal.
And drags at my boots.
It will not bring Us down.

Yet others, elsewhere, will remain in repeated
Ignorance at the singularity of this event.

My father lost a brother here;
A loss to be felt for ages
By family and friends.
As with others, in their hundreds and thousands.
Mothers can be heard at this distance,
Heavy with stony, silent weeping at the
Barren fruit of their womb.

They came from across the Channel
England’s finest.
In an earlier time these heard,
“Your’s is not to reason why,
“Your’s is but to do or die”
For Merrie England.

Later crosses will mark the ground
Of the fallen, not a few,
Some marked, some not;
In silent testimony for all time.

And silent gatherings will held at the
At the Cenotaph in London and
Throughout this proud Nation.
Same time every year.
With poppies, that most innocent of flower.
Two minute’s breath held, oh, so briefly.

A simple event that memorializes
For all time
These lost
Upon the fields of Flanders.

Malcolm D B Munro
12 October, 2015

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Filed under: poetry

When We Walk Away From Love


When we walk away from love
A part of us dies.
When we walk away from others
We leave them bereft.

When we walk away from love
We lose something vital.
It happens by degrees
And leaves holes in others
Which can never be filled.

When we walk away from love
We are shutting out life.
We diminish as people
We cease to be human
And lose love of ourselves.

When we walk away from love
We become smaller and smaller
Our lives more cramped.
And bitterness grips us
Its poison imprisons
Our presence is lost.

We have walked away from love
So as we age we grow lonely
Greater each year.
To vanish one morning
Our loss to this world not mourned.
For the loss was felt by others
A long time ago.

Malcolm D B Munro
18 October, 2015

Filed under: poetry

Vice Squad


Ferraris two a penny
Yachts for half a cent
Islands going for a song
Bought by the poverty of the rich.

Lives filled with vacuum
Bought at our expense
Surrounded by sycophants
Whose existence is not noticed
In their ten dollar jets.

Endless interminable parties
Where night is turned into day
The rest lost through sleeplessness
Pyramided on whole industries
Who exist only to serve
The wantonness of the uselessness
Of their endless lives.

They hide in the corners
Of the choicest places
Clinging together
A threatened tribe
Well aware of the lies
They lead
Heedless in their guilt.

A forced obliviousness
To poverty and suffering
They hardly exist
But think themselves
Masters of the Universe.

Every age has had them
They have been with us throughout time
A blight upon the landscape
A spot upon the sun.

Bored by cheap sunglasses
Adorned by some false
Designer set, who’re never
Off their knees.
Faces crumpled masks.

The slobbering of the media
A sickening stench from out the screen
A joke upon the Zombie pages
Of pimping garnished magazines
In the cut price stores.
Ruthless in their cunning
Cutting each other’s throat
They might well have come
From Mars.

The ground upon which they
Stand a swamp.
The air they breathe unholy
Celebrities we call them
They are the stuff of Circuses
That the Romans had of Old
Bread they are not
And never eat it
But swallow raw fish whole.

At their death we never miss
Them, only to replace them by more
For they serve to be exemplars
Of what we do not wish to be
Should we listen to our common sense
We are rich in the plain happiness
Of our grinding daily lives
Are we like them, yes
We match their vices with our envy.

Malcolm D B Munro
16 October, 2015

Filed under: poetry

Do we?


Know how,
Not just knowledge
But knowing how
To do what we need to do
In the here and now.

Malcolm D B Munro
14 October, 2015

Filed under: poetry

Gone


We take the bread
And we break it
We drink the wine
The Blood of Christ.

He is Risen
Who rolled the stone
The empty Cross
From a Virgin born.

We took the land
From which the Israelites came
He was amongst them
An Amorite.

Oh, Jerusalem!
We celebrate thy name
The Star is risen
And Heralds the Coming.

Of Hallelujahs
The Trumpets sound
We proclaim Him
And celebrate His days
So short among us.

We are Blessed
Washed of our Sins
And hold fast to our Hearts
The Transfiguration.

But where are we now?
A Flock, we have lost our Way
With nothing to Guide us
Now that He is gone.

Malcolm D B Munro
14 October, 2015

Filed under: poetry

What If


The grief and the longing for what we have lost,
The laughter and the singing at the joy we have known
The births of the old the deaths of the young
The miscarried marriages
The school friends who are still with us
Those whom we love ever who walked away
Never to be seen

The forests and the sun
The rocks and the crags
The walks we have taken, alone or in company
The flowers in the spring, the trees  in the fall
The seas we have sailed upon, the planes we have flown
The lands, the cities, the hustle and bustle
The screams of laughter, the news of death by phone
All receding in front of me and yet I live on.

I am wiser now, or at least I think
The follies and stupidities, the choices I made
I think are behind me, but I simply don’t know
Do I now live a life of ease? No, nor do i wish to …

I look ahead, here I stand
The exhilaration fills me
At what’s in store.

Malcolm D B Munro
15 October, 2015

 

Filed under: poetry

When Our Time Has Come


The waters of life flow rapidly under the bridge of our birth
Life’s ebbs and eddies capture us all and carry us
All swiftly down to the sea, the sea of death by drowning.

We may stand upon the bridge and watch those
Waters flow. Or we can jump in that water and
Be carried by life’s flow.

Should we stand on the bridge, bemused and transfixed
Our lives will go by remaining in one place while
Others pass us by leaving us behind.

What is this life, standing still, or carried willy nilly
By this force that propels us, prisoner of the bridge
Or captured by the stream.

Do we have a choice. Or does life itself choose.
Are we powerless in the face of life’s elements
The wind and the rain.

But life has its surprises
Its placidities and its catastrophes
Its wonders and weepings

It can catch our breath
Or still us in its boredom
We cannot predict.

It can be brief or extend to give us joy and grief
Like a candle in the wind,
It splutters uncertain. And leaves us to guess.

And when death comes, as it does to all,
Do we get to choose
When our time has come?

Malcolm D B Munro
Thursday, 15 October, 2015

Filed under: poetry

I Should Like


I should like you to take off your clothes
So that I write of your nakedness.
I should like you to disrobe in front of me,
To slowly divest yourself of your vestments.

I should like to write of how you unclasp the clasp
That hold your hair and to watch it fall, uncoil,
And nestle on a shoulder not yet bare.

I should like to watch you unslip your feet from within their
Encasement of shoes which prevent me from seeing your toes
And the full sense of the sharp yet gentle curve of the lateral
Malleolus as it blends into the talus, that upper part of the foot
Which holds us in our shoes, which provides us with the arch.

Oh, yes, I want to see you arch your feet, left, then right.
To write of how you rotate them, each in turn. Wow.

And sitting or standing, I should like to write of how you raise
Your arms, each in turn pulling up, sleeve on sleeve, the jersey which
Has hugged your upper body. I would like to catch with my pen
Those movements as you pull the neck of your sweater over your head,
Momentarily blinded to the world. And pause as you free each sleeve
And toss the knitted fibrous woolly garment to the side.

And I should like for you to  pause, and let me capture that nape,
With the soft baby hair as it rises to the hair line proper nestling in
The vee of the second, third and fourth vertibrae as these descend
Into the gentle curve of the upper shoulder blades, just above the collar
Bone.

I should like to capture upon the page that incomparable movement
As you stretch your head up and back and rotate it just as you did with
Your feet. And swivel left and right. Allowing me to pen that chin,
That (is it equiline?, is that the right word? I am searching as I gaze) nose,
What is that word, the Greeks used it. Nefertiti? But, no I shall not compare
Your nose to a rose. I shall not fall prey to foul similes. No, I shall simply capture
Pen in hand what I see.

The nose, though. I am stumbling on the nose. How would have Flaubert described
Your nose. By writing so much of it, I draw our readers attention to it.
Perhaps, we can say that I have failed to write of your nose, I have stumbled
Over your nose. May this has happened throughout history as writers, just as I
Try to capture the essence of what they see.

(But no, no, no, I looked it up, poor writer that I am. The word I was looking for
(Was aquiline. Roman nose. With a hook! No, forget aquiline, forget equiline.
(Forget the nose. but wait a moment. You have one, what am I supposed to do.
(Let us say then that your nose remains an enigma. As in that well known smile.

(But what distracted me as I was caught by the inner gaze is of the flair of the
(Nostril of the Greek horse statue in Rome being attacked by a lion flared in fright,
(In terror. It is not the lion that capture one’s attention but this nostril, the essence
(Of the equiline.)

And now my gaze falls over the shoulders down those arms with the slightest
Suggestion of the lightest down. And I shall not talk of proportion, the proportions
Of your body or any body part. With the recent failure of the nose I shall move my eyes
In wonderment.

And now you reach behind with both hands to unclip the clasp of your brassiere.
But wait, I had not noticed your hands before as I do now. Of how they curve, how
do I describe those curves, one hand over the other. Slender, yes, Deft in their grasp
Certainly. And now you slide the side pieces each forward simultaneously
And allow the cups to free the breasts. And now I see what I had sought to see.

But what pen have I, what powers have I that can describe your breasts. Their skin
Colour matches that of the rest of your skin. The nipple is neither brown nor pink but
somewhere in between. Do they stand proud when you are aroused. Can you show me.
As yes they do, The point of my pen grows hotter. But does not write better.

With those nipples quite erect, now how did you do that, I didn’t quite see …
You reach down to the belt that holds your skirt to your waist. We are not going to
Waste time trying to capture the waist. And unbuckle it. But, here, you are in haste.
The belt you pull with a quick whish out of the loops which hold it home.

The zip unzipped, you stand from the chair and the skirt is already on the floor.
Did I capture that. No. No matter. I shall not ask you to go through it all again.
And there you stand, erect but not proudly so, aware of your own good looks
Certainly. Your knickers brief, true, but not so brief as to offend.

And so you lift a leg, arch forward, and pull down the not so brief briefs, down the leg,
over the foot and resume standing in front of me.
You have not looked at me since I started writing. Not that you have held your gaze away.
But more intent on what you were doing, responding to each action that I asked.

But now you look at me. Not intent, not curious, but straight. A straight look,
Straight into my eyes. But detached. No emotions, yet not stony. Were I to try to read
Your face, your expression, I could not. And I have avoided, mostly, such cliches as
The face being perfectly proportioned. True, I see not flaws. There are none.

And now my gaze lowers. I feel modesty must compel me to write of  your knees
Your calves, your thighs, but I cannot. I am drawn to the small patch of hair. Where I have
Not smelt before, have not been aware of your scents, your smells, now I am. A slight
pungent smell. I have heard it referred to as the smell of sex. I look more closely and I
can see that the lips of your vulva, protruding below the pubic hair, is moist, with just
a hint of a drop of liquid.

But you step towards me, and I am compelled to lay down my pen and surrender.

Malcolm D B Munro
6 October, 2015

 

Filed under: poetry

A Christmas Story


Where shall we start,
In which year?
What would you like to know,
What would be interesting,
Fascinating, compelling, gripping?
A page turner, sweat pouring from the
Heat of the reading brow?

Should the story be placed in the now,
Or far into the future, or from
Long ago?
Should we tell of Kings and Queens
And knights of old, of derring does,
Heroics, grails, swords
Appearing from out of the surface of lakes
Lost in long lost forests and faced
With mythical animals, monsters
And weirdly formed apparitions?

Or of serfs and slaves
Their lot poor and downtrodden.
History’s underclass,
The hoplites and the legions,
The massed anonymouses of plagues,
The unnamed bodies of riots
And massacres.
A heroic crowd, known only by
A date, a place, and that is all,
No individual stories told.

But we could, couldn’t we,
Take a face from out the crowd,
Give a name, and so,
Recognitions and
Instantaneous fame.

What about some humour?
A laugh out loud.
Have your companion
Leaning over your shoulder
To look at what caused you to guffaw.
“How can you find that funny?”
Humour, is it not,
In the eye of the beholder?

How about a spy
Seeking out secrets
In defence of the Realm?
Foes evil incarnate,
Who seek to overthrow
The life that we know.
A policier, a detective,
Solving mysteries.
Of how the robber
Came through the ceiling
Of the impenetrable bank.
You know the sort of thing.

Perhaps we should travel to
Lands far off, not familiar,
Strange and foreign
So unlike our own
In order to read of the Other,

The alien, the savage,
Natives in straw huts
With bones through their nose.

Maybe contemporary,
Domestic, set in homes
Much like our own.
Council flats and semi-detached.
With murders taking place in
Suburbia made menacing.
You never know who lives
Next door.

How about under a regime
A dictatorship, a kleptomaniac
Environment, diseased
Sclerotic, myopic
Horrific, beyond the willing
Suspension of disbelief.
How can such events
Take place in our world
So modern?

Not to your taste?
That’s OK, we’re flexible,
Pliable, compliant even.
You call the shots.

Would you like to be transported
To a planet far away?
A dystopia: For a paradise
Is no story.
Happiness knows no description
Only a sentence; “and they
All lived happily ever after.”
Now you wouldn’t want that.

Oh, no. You rightly want
Reversals, complications;
Mystery, guessing the plot.
Who dunnit?
And how should the language be?
Elevated or plain,
Awkward, smooth,
Choppy sea’d
Or sailing over the page
To easily skim?

A story for bedtime,
A read upon the beach.
Saved for a vacation
In the tranquillity of a sandy sea shore,
Far, far from the maddening, shopping
Crowd, interrupted only by the cell phone
And the interminable texts.

But don’t review reviews,
In the Sunday papers;
Such tedious things.
Or listen to the neighbours.
The retelling plots,
Revealing spoilers.
The bane of writers
Like me.
Why don’t they write
Instead of telling you
What you should read?
With me, only you
Decide.

Reach me
By email or comment column
Upon my web’d blog.
Make suggestions,
A story to order,
A bespoke suited match.
Make a donation by Paypal.
I hunger for an audience
To keep the wolf from my door.

Malcolm D B Munro
25 December, 2015

 

Filed under: poetry

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