The Climb

It came from a seed alone
a small, pathetic seed
that happened
to fall
in the right
patch of dirt.

And then it grew.

Slowly at first,
Emergent roots, digging down,
chutes peeping through the topsoil
fighting their way
towards the light,
blazing a path towards the sky.

And so it grew.

Branches, leaves,
inching higher, wider,
Carving a place for itself
from thin air,
until nothing could hope
to challenge it.

And so it was grown.

But the tree grew old, inert,
and new threats came.
A vine, one morning,
until that day downtrodden,
ground dwelling,
found its way to the tree
and used it.
Used the work the giant had done
to pull itself
Before the vine had been weak,
now it stole the strength to lift itself,
to scale the heights
of the tree that
came before it.

And so it grew,

climbing and binding
and squeezing,
wrapping itself tighter and tighter
and tighter
pushing itself upwards,
squeezing the life from the tree
it could no longer breathe.

And so it was grown.

And years later, the vine remained,
decorating, desecrating
the skeleton
of she that had
blazed the trail.


Twelve years in and there’s no end in sight,
The struggle goes on, still an unwanted plight
For us. Yet we toil day to day, can’t give up the fight,
While poor farmers resist our American might.

It’s impossible to define, this bleak situation,
They say that we fight for the ideals of our nation,
But what does that mean to a man losing patience
With a war that we fight that we can’t seem to win?

War is Hell. It’s true. Nothing I could say
Would begin to describe the days
I have lived in fear, as the grey
Fog closed in around us, and I prayed,
For the first time in my life I prayed
To be delivered, begged that I may
Survive to be able write to home and say
That I was safe, that I had not died that day.

And safe I remained, for a while at least,
But they take a toll on you, the deceased,
It releases in the mind a kind of demon, a beast,
And after a while my buddies and me ceased

To cope so well with seeing the new
Recruits thrown out to join us, we knew
What fate, what pain awaited them, the true
Life of the young soldier, while they had no clue.

But what option do we have? This is life now,
This is part of who we are, part of how
Our future is shaped.

And when I wake in the years from now
With sweat streaming from my brow

I’ll point back to here, to this nightmare, to this impossible toil,
To all these young lives wasted on some godforsaken foreign soil.


Summer Offensive

The rains came, the soldiers deployed,
Forward they went, devoid
Of any emotion, just employed
To see their foe destroyed.

Sneaking in through the smallest of holes,
Each among them knew his or her role,
Narrow passages awaited them, their goal
To find the center of control.

But alas, before they had begun,
Their foes brought out their heavy guns.
First came the floods, filling the tunnels,
Stopped their flight, gone their chance to run.

Then came the bombs, sharp bursts amid the calm.
The sounds deafening, the force alarming.

And then, to end it all came the chemicals.
The final end, the reaper’s sickle.
Troops lay dead and dying, all for the fickle

And pointless Summer pollen offensive


One Wish

One Wish
If you had it,
That one little wish,
what would you ask?
A Manifesto For A Better World,
Or something more…
Or not.
Heartless not to want these, no doubt.
But if I had it,
That one little wish,
I fear that the world
Would continue to wait.
To wait for an unspoken wish.

Sleep: Poetry Rehab 101

Poppy2004Sleep now, little one
In your makeshift cradle.

No blanket to warm you,
Only Belgian mud
caked on your clothes
to keep out the cold.

So peaceful, like you didn’t
feel a thing,
when the shell fell down,
ending your fitful waking hours.


Too young to imagine
You are gone forever.

I’ll see you again,
I know.
But not yet, not yet.

When we both awake,
in some other, better place.
When our fight is over,
and the war is done.

Then shall we two meet again.

Sleep now, little one,
though you’ve not
seen enough of this world.

You’ve earned your rest.

Shoutout to Mara Eastern and her Poetry 101 Rehab as always.

Poetry Rehab 101: Away



Away, away
Have to find a way
To express how
I feel when you’re
Not here.


Such an innocent
Sounding little word
But the source
Of so much pain in
This world.


Absent fathers,
Missing mothers,
Children gone,
Friends forgotten and
Loved ones lost.


Don’t go,
Stay here
With me.
We’ll face
The fear
Don’t go


Once again, shoutout to Mara Eastern, who organises these wonderful prompts.

To A Dry Elm Tree

To the old elm, split by lightning
and rotten to its core,
with the rains of April and the sun of May,
has begun to sprout some fresh green leaves.

The old elm up on the hill by the river.
Whose worm-eaten, dusty trunk
is stained by a yellowish moss.

It will never be one of those poplars,
those that guard the road and the riverbank,
a shelter for the nightingale to sing.

Even now, an army of ants march in file
through it, while in its entrails
the spiders spin their silver webs.

Before the woodsman cuts you down
with his axe, old elm of mine,
and the carpenter makes of you
a bell frame, or a yolk for a wagon.

Before you burn red
at the hearth of some miserable hut
at the wayside,
or a river carries you to the sea
through valleys and ravines.

Before that, Elm, I want to take note
of the beauty
of your green-speckled branches.

And secretly, despite the beauty of the
here and now,
my heart still wishes that you
defy the odds
and that next year, there will be
one last miracle of Spring.

This poem is a translation and adaptation of a work by Antonio Machado entitled ‘A Un Olmo Seco’.

Among The Ruins

Castle_Rising_Castle_chapel_in_Victorian_period In an unnamed grove
There lie the jilted remains
Of a fortress, once great.
Nothing more now than
Skin and bone,
The broken skeleton
Of a long ruined citadel.

Today, these walls are dwarfed
By pebbles,
Though once they were crowned by the sky.

The terror they used to inspire
Now replaced,
Deafened by the far eerier sound
Of nothing.

The shadows flit
As the day passes by,
Cloaking the mourning mountains
In black.

The tooth marks
Of Time;
That great devourer of worlds.
It has snacked upon its towers,
And dined upon its guns.

Where once a mighty structure stood,
Now a body lies.

These halls used to be ruled by Lords,
Great feasts echoing into the night.
Now the echoes are the screeches of owls,
As they hunt the lonely mice.

The fortress moans in pain,
Begging a simple shroud from the grass,
And a silent tomb of
The hills.

As its wild inheritors,
By night the birds perform
The funeral rites,
While a chorus of crows
Sing it to its final rest.

Here, in this green cemetery,
This brutal monument to
Our triviality,
I took a lesson.

In this cathedral of the dead,
I learned one thing.
This was a glory of the world,
And even it must die.
As this fortress must go
All our marks upon the world,
Powerless before the passage
Of unstoppable Time.

This post took inspiration from a work by Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo, whose work I translated and updated to suit my own style.



All things pass,
Leaving their scars
Upon our skin.

Moments of ecstasy.
All of it, fleeting
Yet stubborn,
Fixed in its place.

The remains are there
For all to see,
A reminder not of who I am,
But of how
I have been made.

What can I be
But a palimpsest of
My experiences?

Shaped by how
I have lived.
Living by how
I have been