Thursday 8 March 2018

Norway Poems: Arctic Flight

Arctic Flight
Viewed from above, clouds have form: valleys,

Bobbly hillocks and dried river beds.
Flattened herringbone patterns like a quilt.
Occasional 'windows' show real landscape, 
Snow, rock and barren trees,
A cloud wasteland returns with few shapes
Until we glide lower and in an instance 
A Kirkenes town plan flashes past:
Suddenly the clouds are back where they belong,

Norway poems: Hammerfest 1945

Hammerfest 1945
Pictures in the museum bring back

its past: destruction and reconstruction 
in waves. Bombed; pretty again and then
Burnt to the ground: 
A German swan song
To their losing war.

Architects huddled in huts to rebuild,
start life again amongst the stony shapes
left on the ground, of past living, loving.
Rubble is reworked,
The town reinvented,
Church towers rise up:
Defiance of spirit will overcome evil.

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Norway Poems: Light Play

Light Play
In a world of little awe
The night sky and all its works
Can be overlooked. Background
Mostly, but massed stars amaze
And shrink us. Then we wonder
About higher things.

On a clear arctic evening
There are few stars but a wave
Of smoky white arching the sky,
Subtly, slowly changing shape
Changing colour, turning green
It grows, fades, begins again
With new streaks, intensities.
Always moving from lines to mass
Until the time is right, then,
The light dances, flickers, moves
Bouncing the emerald specks
This way, over there, here, playing,
But then the timing alters,
Whiter tones re emerge and
The Beholder breathes once more.

Norway Poems: Cod

Tails tied and headless, they are yoked
Astride the wooden frame to dry,
To become food for months to come.
There was no romance in the trade
Hard exploitation was at work.
Cod brought riches to Lofoten
Money for churches, barter, style,
Owners of the fishing grounds played
Gods toying with the fishermen,
Sometimes paying, mostly charging
Til at last, a law decreed 
The seas are not 'property' 
They are fishing free spaces.

Norway Poems: Bergan Street Art

Aloof, alone on his pillar
Stands a Bergan worthy, unseen
Twenty feet above eye level. 
His glories are not regarded now.
A notable on a lower plinth
Fails to make us stop also, his
Clothes, stance, history don’t connect. But
Ground level has more modern takes:
A scowling naked boy, an urn
In simple mosaic lines and
Framed in a McDonalds' doorway
Stands a stone loner, endlessly
Waiting, painfully real in boots
And a weary air of wistfulness.