Beneath the summer sun

Beneath the summer sun
slowed by the madness of time
the sound in my arteries
foams in my throat;
I swallow hard and steal a thought of you
far from this sewer
that swells daily with aborted lives
measured in meaningless yards
we wait and we write
we write and we wait
days spent in a little more dirt reached;
foreign tongues cut short from talking heads
abandoned black against autumn’s bite;
lovers and sons
blown into the arms of their Sunday God
who holds them forever, eternally young.

A prayer on the eve of War

A prayer on the eve of War. Copyright D. Archer 2013

A prayer on the eve of War. Copyright D. Archer 2013

I wrote the poem a while ago now and then realised it somehow fit quite nicely with the woodcut of Eric Gill that I tried to emulate a few weeks ago. The original image is called “The Soul and the Bridegroom” and as with all of Gill’s woodcuts they convey such depth and beauty. A typographer, printer, artist, sculptor and a man of many hats (and other vices). Plus, this is as close to Valentine’s day mush as I will venture this year.

A prayer on the eve of war

Let me
in autumn’s fading sun
hold you in the garden
close and long;

Let me plant
butterfly kisses on your eyes
for you to mine
when I am gone.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011 

My father’s touch

What spares me the right
to earn my fathers touch in land
no man dare claim
for fear of death.

Shoulder to soldier
the dying and the damned,
the wind sirens
through the trees;
disquiet turns my mind.

Copyright D. Archer October 2011

Not Six Feet

His soul not six feet left his body
pals, jackals
stole his boots and ‘bines

Soon swift naked
no time to grieve
the sound in my heart
sick to my throat
I swallow hard and stumble deathward.

Absurd I turn
for treading as I fall
on severed limb from torso freshly torn,
I glanced in his vacant gaze
“Sorry mate” it seemed the English way
to apologise for ruining his day.

Copyright D. Archer October 2011

The Field

No cenotaph this battle field
abandoned bodies
head to heel;
boys and men,
sons and lovers
those only the war
bound together as brothers.

Children all
in the eyes of God;
who knows them by name

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011


This Trench

This trench is no cenotaph
but filled with the fallen
for whom seconds ago
the whistle was calling;

Thank God to be missed
by an inch to the left
running not forward
but headlong to death.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011

The Mourning Mud

To stand among the outstretched
growing waiting dead
as metal birdsong forward beckons;

To glance last time alog the line
as a thousand hearts
force a tide of crimson tension
taught through every vein;

Over, under cover,
swathes of gunfire,
no time between misses
to look back for pals
the mourning mud will
forever claim.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011

The wrenching

A wrenching from my guts
as arms and legs pass by my eyes;
torsos crushed under foot,
smashed still bleeding shins and thigh

yet I stand still
my breathing louder than
any advancing gun
my piss stains long forgotten;

we stood still not for the last time,
poised with one foot on the verge of Valhalla;
simple fools for King and country
whilst learned men played chess
with lives and lineage.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011