Jean’s hands

Jean's hands c.1980 by Don McCullin born 1935

Eight fingers interlocking
rest untrembling on Jean’s cold knees,
blackened in Whitechapel grime
steadied only by each other.


Torn and bloodied claw,
once pink and curled in beautiful birth
once reaching and clutching,
no hope to cling to now.


She folds them to her face 
tears trace lines that pool in scars,
hand’s which once picked Mother flowers
now crave the dampened soil.

© Wolfgar 2019

Reportage

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I kissed your hand you held it out to me in a song
you were taking photographs of children dying
I was shooting madmen in a jungle

I came home took drugs and fucked whores
you went home and fucked life and decried wars

I stripped skin from my worthless corpse
you put flesh on lost causes and pissed on cornflakes

I hated you and loved you too
you hated me and never imagined love

and now we fight all our battles together
my bullets wake your world you world spits bullets back

We are a fucking battle of love
and I surrender

Every place we ever were before we met
is littered with bodies and shit we can’t forget

© Wolfgar 2019

Survival?

Survival

The skyline spattered by air bursting shells, 
canvas of grey, the birds have flown free.
The Belfry relieved of its heavenly Bells
and the crucifix splintered to saviourless tree.   
 
Rats eat bootlaces through to the bone
then we eat the rats and so eat our own.
God has deserted what we now defend
but the Devil is stoic, the Devil’s a friend.
 
He rides on the shells that fracture the ear
then steers them away tormenting our fear.
though many forget the reasons we came,
we hate those who sent us more than the slain.
 
We’ve children back home in some other place,
but their voices have faded as too has the face.
We don’t look in mirrors for fear of our eyes,
but see in each other our self serving lies,
 
that bear us the wounded away from this hell
with silent dead whispers we never can tell,
of how we survived to be better off dead
then to live it again each day in our head.

© Wolfgar 2019
 

Bolton Abbey

Bolton Abbey

Nothing can be written of beauty
for serenity is silent.

Only cannon and drum
can pepper the page.

These hallowed places cleansed by blood,
their gift is peace.

Across history riders rode
Angel and Demon,

Tyrants sent emissary’s,
altars smashed and crosses burned

From darkest night
came the brighter day.

Through stoney ruins Sunlight floods
the blackest deeds are drowned,

tis only in wake of war
that peace in truth is found.

© Wolfgar 2019

Impact

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The face is broke against the wheel,
diamond shard peppered flesh.
Now bloody pulp, once squeezed to life
between thighs of painful birth,
between creation of hope and the damnation of men.

Lips as blue as Iceberg Oceans
cannot one single word now form,
not one goodbye, no gratitude nor regret,      
no moment remembered, 
nor one remaining to forget.

Yet some sweet Mothers final kiss will brush against its brow, 
a child’s unknowing memory
might reminisce somehow,
how once it held the world encompassed in a smile
before ever it was vacant before ever quite so vile.

© Wolfgar 2019

Fire gazing

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Shimmering under kindling embers glow with fiery promise,
stoked from lazy slumber they crackle into flame.
Beneath the hollow sky a fine white shroud descends,
vapour trails glide eastward as if searchlights of the Gods.

In moments so peaceful I hope the world sleeps on,
the Sun to lose its wings the waking bells to never ring,
while timber fills where once it stood with scented smoke the soul of wood,
to offer back unto the stars the source of all that’s never ours.

The source of all that’s never ours is eternity. 

© Wolfgar 2019

In the gentle fold of petals

dew in petals

Between the miracle of petals
form tears of diamond dew,
like the passing of grief they settle
and quench my thirst for you.

On a sideboard by a window
sad blooms toward the sun,
one earthly journey ended
one lonely walk begun.

But wilt as may, I’ll wilt away
and fall with withered time,
though never fades one single day
when your heart beat with mine.

© Wolfgar 2019

Hymn to hypocrisy

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Show me three gift-less paupers and a shrouded starless night
vacant rooms and fears allayed a Royal beauty shining bright
a crown of thorns unpicked of brambles and a covenant of rights
our truth is marching on

Give them all stamped passports with passage calm and free
give them life-preservers on a milky charted flat-top sea
give them shoes and food not fished from bins contamination free 
our truth is marching on

Sheath the terrible swift sword to fall un-blooded by your side 
and un-blind the blinded eyes for which the saviour worthless cried 
then crush the Serpents head tear out the fork with which he lied
our truth is marching on

For my eyes have seen the sadness in the coming of the hordes
who’s minds are scarred with madness only ignorance affords
as the hulking vessels smash their precious cargo on our shores
our truth is marching on

So
Glory glory hallelujah
Glory glory hallelujah
we erased your filthy names before we knew ya
our truth is marching on 

© Wolfgar 2018
    

Put the leaves back on the trees

leaves

Put the leaves back on the trees,
grow the skin across the bone,
dream the words onto the page,
this land is but a scar regrown.

Grow the skin across the bone, 
dream the words onto the page,
this land is but a scar regrown,
it feeds upon each bygone age.

Dream the words onto the page,
the ink is blood much bled before,
its flow you never will assuage,
its what our hearts keep beating for.

This land is but a scar regrown
each strata laid is ever new,
its timeless wound forgot, unknown,
new pores to let the blood bleed through.

So put the leaves back on the trees
give back with love what nature took,
our time we steal like hapless thieves
our lives mere chapters in a book.

© Wolfgar 2018

Angel

paris-eiffel-tower-with-angel-kathy-fornal

Angels are best cast out
before that they are merely slaves
God in his fury frees them
and regrets it for the rest of days

I met one in Le Sacré-Cœur
she flew out of a frame
burned upon re-entry
she took refuge by the Seine

We ended up in Le Pigalle
in a club called Crazy Horse
she slid the pole so heavenly
bound straight for hell of course

The best is often thrown away
the best is often waste
my eyes are cast to hell I’d say
for there my senses taste

the things that God forbids us
the things he keeps for self
but I am not for keeping
his teachings on the shelf

I took her down to Sainte-Chapelle
where we spied her in the glass
she folds her face to my lapel
now the Angel’s mine at last

© Wolfgar 2018

in extremis

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I thought I caught a glimpse of me coming back
the other way, a phantom of me somewhere from the future
in a tunnel white with dust, heavy in a veil of blood.

Going this way there is no past. I focus on the boots in front
heels kicking up the sand stone and goat shit,
almost laughing I choke, the voices in the distance sound killable.

Up ahead the sky is flashing white through yellow
the crump comes seconds later, 
somewhere a barrel is smoking and a life is gone.

Never more alive than close to death,
let me touch it let me feel the void,
I’m ready to take the sweeping scythe.

How many times did we leap its dripping blade?
or turn a corner one block early to live another day,
then hear the stories of the dead who turned the other way.

And did we care? we did not, we revelled in our life,
we shrugged off death.
I saw in your eyes our luck running out,

as I saw them power down when yours ran out,
in the moment I saw you fade, 
I shouted “fuck” then you were dead.

The last sound you heard was me shout “fuck”
I wish I’d shouted something else,
but I shouted that, and you were dead.

I saw myself reflected in a fuselage on the way home,
strapped to a board like an outcast angel 
I shouted “FUCK” at the medic, he shouted “Fuck off” back, we laughed.

At the reception centre I saw my wife’s face in the crowd,
it didn’t feel like home yet,
I felt myself break, right there, right then.

I hope Valhalla is hell for you,
for the quiet of this peace is killing me.

© Wolfgar 2018

Lunar widow

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Bone white she hangs still in the sky
the eyelid of night half blinking her eye
tracking the quiet of a ghostly terrain
with the cool of a killer who will kill again

Chased every morning as she is
etch-a-sketched out of inertia
does she despise that opulent sphere
that soaks up her darkness when she abandons it here

She shows us her face her beautiful hollow
since the man that once loved her has gone
and the masters of heaven forbid her to follow
now the light of her heart has been shone

© Wolfgar 2018

Dead Statue

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Mushroom Sombrero,
Immigrant Piñata,
Mucho US Susto
bearing only Al-Mata.

Fed purely on shit
then hit with a stick,
they bleed dollars when split
the voters love it.

It’s a Game of False Thrones
reigned over by clones,
who stretch skin on dead bones
and bomb babies with drones.

Tsunami Invaders,
displaced Temple Traders,
Pregnant Horses of Troy
come to feast on our Joy.

Under flip flops and blankets
they shield fragile hope,
while the State prints out pamphlets
and readies the rope.

Bring us your tired, your desperate and poor
who gasp to breathe free outside the gold door,
and we’ll mock as they fall and claw at the wall,
A colossus of freedom grown deaf to their call.

© Wolfgar 2018

Štimlje revisited (unseen casualties) 

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Traveling across open flatland toward Štimlje the ground begins to rise.
Driving on through the tight enclosed lanes of the town to the far side as if to leave,
a battered overgrown compound looms into view, its heavy mesh fences collapsing and dilapidated in parts.

This is Štimlje Mental Asylum. The patients are unable or unwilling to leave, they have been abandoned left to fend for themselves or die.
The staff have fled because this is a war zone.

Snow lays in muddy patches around about, stained with shit and blood.
A slug-like legless form drags itself through excrement seemingly going nowhere fast,
its insane leer and wolf-like howling splits the cold air, this thing is human.

Horror descends.

We continue systematically on foot, through unlit grey buildings and rooms, behind each door a shocking portal to another circle of hell.
Women, children, half animals, intermittent screeching barking and yelps.
Self harming, open wounds, and the gut wrenching stench of filth.

In one room no bigger than a single garage space, at least fifty naked forms stand silently shivering.
They stare out of hollow skulls straight through me as I stand silhouetted in the doorway.
They seem to be mostly men its hard to tell, their emaciated bodies look sexless.
Upon closer inspection there are a few women present, Jesus! What might have happened to them in here? Their hair is matted in clumps.

There were just four of us a small recce team we could do nothing we had nothing, we were staring into hell and were struck dumb by it.
We drove in Silence back to Pristina not one single fucking word.

I was strong, fit, able in mind and body. I was in my late thirties and this wasn’t my first war.

I got back to a quiet place and hid myself, I cried and shook like a pathetic child, big tough fucking soldier eh?

And sometimes that is how war fucks you, slowly. Either that or you get blown to shit.

Who would write poetry about that?

© Wolfgar 2018

Šljivovica

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Please visit the link below to view War and Remembrance collection
https://wolfgarwords.com/category/war-and-remembrance/

I stood inside the shallow valley within a bowl of snow-blind echoes,
freezing in a balkan-scape I pissed iced whiteness yellow.

A hundred paces up the rise,
a conversation, who lives, who dies?
decisions breathed in foggy breath
mock handshakes sealed untimely death.

© Wolfgar 2018

The Unfound Generation

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Words strung across pages of No Mans Land
like spilt intestines dragged through bloody time,
 
obscenely lit by flares of remembrance,
strobe like nightmares illuminating faces never seen.
 
Those wretches, unconcerned with poetry and prose
spat out their hauntings not caring they ever be read.
 
Such horror was their reality, now our fiction,
so full of hell they detached from it, regressing in utero.
 
How many last words “Mother” how many last skies black?
how thick with mud the bloodied track, how void then of scarlet petals?
 
From misery came misery, from the art of war came art,
from roaring cannon came silent peace, and from hate came love.
 
But still from war comes war, as always will.
 
The Greatest Generation of Men remains Unfound.

© Wolfgar 2018

Timber Sycamore

spores

Oh tree Oh tree
how can you be where water doesn’t flow?

how spread the spores of conflict
from seed not nature sown?

Yet here you stand so wieldy
rootless in the sand

a pollinated theory
blown far across the land

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_Sycamore
(Initially I wasn’t going to add the link, but often subtlety will get you nowhere)

© Wolfgar 2018