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Holding Hands

Le Cadeau d'Amour

There’s something that particularly touches me

about the way our friendship came to pass,

with unexpected serendipity 
that guided us onto converging paths. 

Yet it’s not fate alone that moves me thus, 

however curious the happenstance,
but more profound occurrence leaving us 

indebted to this life-affirming chance: 

For we identify a shared belief--
that there is only love when all is done,
and frets material simply surcease, 

dissolve to nought, when we become as one. 

In universal harmony we sing
of how ‘le cadeau d’amour’ binds everything. 

M McGann © 2022

CONCORDE

Strapped into tiny rocket seats, the famous

cheek-by-jowl with nameless others

- harmless tourists mostly, 

families or career servants -

sit silently post argy-bargy hurrying,

some splurge savings others purge cravings

anticipating take-off of unmitigated force.

M McGann © 2022

A Realm Beyond

If I could have this life to live once more,

defy encroaching age and creeping time,

I’d once again call late upon your door

and leave admirers hanging on your line.

For nothing I have seen or can conceive

makes sense if not experienced with you,

identity and all that I believe,

revealed imposters lest you feel it too.

For you affect my days so far beyond

the singular perception of my youth,

enriching my life story with a tongue

that speaks of love, and ownership of truth.

Within a realm beyond just you and me

where two as one resides, entirely ‘we’.

© M McGann 2022

Sphere on Spiral Stairs

In Defence of Denialism

You’re here. I know. I sense it so it’s true.

 

My conviction is not craven like 

the futility of fungi moth 

knocked pillar-to-post by faulty navigation 

duped by illusory light. It is not 

 

a Promethean ruse to trick the Gods of Grief 

and steal their licking flame, 

you’re here, I sense it. I see you 

 

in cumulonimbus on a menacing day, 

puffing your cheeks in that impatient way of yours

as storm blows too squally for your stridency. I hear you 

 

in crashing waves that hit the shore then retreat 

sotto voce whispering ‘for evermore’,

it’s you. I can taste it

 

in my progressive penchant for the bitterest fruit

and sourly potent rhizome root, all yours, 

until now. I feel it

 

in the creeping fear of mortality 

and diminishing sensitivity as survival rises to apex 

in my hierarchy of needs, it’s you. I smell it

 

and shrink from the astringency of sandalwood 

still welcoming your best flat palm upon my brow 

as I lie here awake, satisfied that I now know 

why you never kissed me there instead. 

M McGann © 2022

At Sunset

Meet Me...

Meet me in the silence between echoes,

where words that cost are all but spent 

in stasis at the wave’s descent 

before the cry for help becomes a bellow.     

 

Meet me in the silence between echoes,

before a tweet becomes a ‘re-‘ 

and docile reductive clamouring 

renews its oscillatory ‘me and we’.

 

Meet me in the space between the matter,

where we can witness our decaying 

purpose as custodians

and start to save the planet from disaster.

 

Meet me in the ownership of cause and consequence,

the sickness wrought by mind’s disease,

starvation made by gluttony

and actions driven all by self-defence.

 

Meet me in that place where nothing happens,

where no one creed’s superior

or sex or skin inferior

and all of life is cherished in our hands.

 

Meet me at the border between nations,

where we relinquish arms of war

as nothing is worth fighting for

except a global communalisation.

 

Meet me at the dawning of acceptance,

where anger, blame and enmity

are quelled by our humility

and we are free to live and love and dance. 

© Mark McGann 2022

Mersey Beat

Knees roughened by scrapes they tumble shouting 

exultations in defence of nations, 

one cries “Grenade!” they all hit the deck

then move on all fours, salamanders writhing, 

surviving the fire, avoiding the sniping 

that lurks concealed in ‘bombed-out’ carapaces 

of derelict Liverpool houses--

 

a melee-Anges of legs and arms 

in shorts too long, too low for decent purpose, 

‘whoop’ and ‘ack-ack’ bellowing curses 

to bandits who dive at twelve o’clock

then run for cover to rusty bedframe 

that survives the blanket bombing, to provide 

our ragged corps with Swiss-like neutrality 

from all surrounding urban hostility

until the scene changes again--

 

now all at sea they man the capstan, 

eight-year-old scally (the eldest and leader)

nominates the youngest (the smallest and cleanest)

to clear the dreaded barnacle-infested mattress-

 

with lolly-stick cutlasses drawn from their snake-belts

they circle the urchin, who whimpers refusals

and so he must walk the plank of rank 

detritus and social neglect. He’s thrown to the deck-- 

 

then all plays-out in terrible slow-motion,

howls pierce the silence, leaving them frozen

in icy water now for sure 

with their familial common-law. The infant rises 

 

and from his eye, a grotesque defacement of youth: 

a bedspring hanging like a shrapnel fruit 

trumps the play-- aghast, mouths agape, 

they gasp and scatter-off down the street and away.

 

With rooted protective reflex or fear 

of reprisals for trouble on his watch,

the elder soldier lifts the callous coil

from sibling’s lower palpebra

and watches it drop to the bed with a thud--

 

“Can you see okay? Can you blink for me?”

The boy obeys, “It’s alright I think?”

 

            then both laugh uncontrollably--

 

and make their way back down the street 

brothers-in-arms, bond renewed at the front,

 

“Don’t tell me Dad or I’ll kill you” he says.

“I won’t, I won’t, I’m just glad I’m not dead.” 

 

 

                                        (palpebra – eyelid)

© Mark McGann 2022

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Natural History
 
Hunched beneath the refuge 
of a blood maroon jellaba, 
a post-migratory Osprey contemplates- 
 
the plunge as yet untaken. 
She pecks and preens in silence 
in the cage of her own making, 
an eerie nest and ageing 
sharpening talons on the grind. 
 
Legs perched twitching 
on coffee table edge, 
pinioned by her flightless wings, restrained-
 
a game hen tethered 
by ties that tightly bind, 
wanting mouths to feed. Nothing 
escapes her hawk-eyed vigilance, 
percipience honed by plumose monogamy
 
danced to diurnal rhythms. Rapt or 
captured now in darkness 
by strobing TV screen, she flutters, 
brittle and ossified. Diminished 
 
by lighter markings, inferior stature, 
her lifelong partner circles, wary 
of her darker mask; his schemes 
asynchronously hatched. Hovering 
 
below, he bides his time 
then glides up close to kiss her crown 
to honour her and make her fly, 
albeit with a frown. 

© Mark McGann 2022

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The Cost of Living
 
I looked for you this morning as I woke,
the desperate act of a severed, broken soul.
Your bowl was laid before awareness spoke
its bitter truth, so empty, so, so cold.
 
You’ve been my spirit’s daemon for so long
my beautiful boy. A preternatural bond, 
our gift; a solace surely far too strong
to not cost now with you completely gone-
 
a disproportionate sorrow for one so small? 
Too scant for a scamp that shaped these cradling arms
and now won’t come to heal my howling calls
as all in me resigns to nature’s harm?
 
The Gods took back their gift on Boxing Day,
he looked into my eyes, then flew away.


© Mark McGann 2022

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A Sonnet Sequence 

Single Vision

 

I see the twin that you deserve to know

mirrored as your companion in the glass,

both curiously absorbed in Easter’s show 

of promise, sung above the woodland pass.

What is it you so keenly comprehend,

tails wagging, in tandem with the vernal view?

Is it far beyond where human sentience tends

in your olfactory miracle milieu?

You move, becoming singular once more,

the doppelgänger suddenly too diffuse

to reinforce your presence as before,

no longer tangible witness to your truth.

She’s gone. Leaving you a solitary piece

at once removed, as I from you by species.

My Guiding Spur

 

When pondering what it is you represent

to the unfolding story of my life,

I’m suddenly right back in those crucial scenes

that served to shift the narrative paradigm---

as bucking cubs, we tumbled, ran and played - 

the hallmark of our forebears’ kith and kin -

as choristers we soared beyond the stave
to glimpse the heady heights from Mozart’s pen. 

You were my guiding spur -- and when I fell,

your outstretched arm and over-shoulder glance 

praised what I could not see within myself
and gave me hope I might perfect the dance. 

By celebrating ours, and hours alone,

you led me to the path and brought me home. 

Ever Present

 

I think you’ve always been there at my side,

even before the fates compelled us ‘meet!’

I see now you were with me when I cried

as worldly truth crashed through my infancy.

It was you I now accept, who gave me strength 

as teenage isolation wracked my soul, 

and you who sought confusion’s recompense 

by guiding me to acceptance of the fold.

For everything I was or have become

is only now revealed when seen through ‘we’

and erstwhile firm belief in where I’m from 

is but ephemeral passing history.

You’re in my every chapter, verse and rhyme 

since life began, until the end of time.

© Mark McGann 2022

Poems: Text
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Walk on, walk on

Walk on walk on sweet mistress mine

our path is truly blessed

by all the souls who down the line

with love their lives attested,

 

they guide us now when doubt creeps near

and fortify our creed,

they reconcile all that we were 

with what we now believe. 

 

Can you not hear them laugh at us

when we forget ourselves? 

Or see them smile at how we fuss

at trivial travails?

Our love by loving friends is forged, 

with us they’re intertwined,

they carry us up to evermore

where all our love combines.

© Mark McGann 2022

Haikus

autumnal colours,

melancholic wistfulness

life diminishing.

 

Chattering sparrows

flicker deep within the fir tree -

synapses firing.

 

familiar faces

peer from frames upon the wall,

here but never here.

 

suddenly silence

the sparrow-hawk locks on prey

life as recycling.

 

Serene, placid lake,

reflective captured moment

worlds above – below.

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