THE HOODED MAN AT MY BED

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THE HOODED MAN AT MY BED
The hooded man at the foot of my bed
Speaks to me
Of all creation
Since the Big Bang
Being measured by the products of decay.
Insanity, chaos, corruption
Lies, rot, ruin
Sickness, dirt and rust
Shed cells, dead cells, atrophy
Sweat, ashes and dust
That at a subatomic level
Create new mass.
And this goes on infinitely.
He talks of forbidden fruit and original sin
Walking into the light
Into streets paved with gold
Of extraterrestrials, gurus, ghosts
Paradise
And mixing with heavenly hosts
Of hell and reincarnation
Being healed
Raised from the dead
Coming back as a lumberjack
A raven
Or a hunchback
Where will it all end?
I mean to ask my hooded friend
But suddenly he is nowhere to be seen.

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CITY OF LIGHT

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CITY OF LIGHT
A disused rail track in south Paris;
A dark tunnel;
Crawling, wading, through water
To a dank chamber with vaulted ceilings.
This is where the cataphiles meet;
Lovers of catacombs
And all things underneath.
The walls are covered with art
Awash with glow-in-the-dark paint,
Egyptian black-and-orange devil faces,
A multi coloured parrot image.
One wall is encrusted with mirror shards
The centerpiece a glittering disco ball
The ghostly faces leering
Down the long subterranean hall
This is the City of Light
Where nobody sleeps at night
And the remains of six million Parisians,
Transferred from Paris’ overflowing cemeteries
More than one hundred years ago,
Dwell.
Now artists prowl these same catacombs
Sometimes unseen
Ghostly in their movements
The spectre of real ghosts always in their slipstream.

ANTIGONISH

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ANTIGONISH

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today,
I wish, I wish he’d go away…

When I came home last night at three,
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn’t there,
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away…

“Antigonish” is an 1899 poem by American educator and poet Hughes Mearns. It is also known as “The Little Man Who Wasn’t There”, and was a hit song under that title. Inspired by reports of a ghost of a man roaming the stairs of a haunted house in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, the poem was originally part of a play called The Psyco-ed which Mearns had written for an English class at Harvard University about 1899. In 1910, Mearns put on the play with the Plays and Players, an amateur theatrical group and, on 27 March 1922, newspaper columnist FPA printed the poem in “The Conning Tower”, his column in the New York World.
A very simple poem, yet a very effective one, and a clear example of how ‘plain is sometimes better’.

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THE GREEN FORGOTTEN VALLEYS

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THE GREEN FORGOTTEN VALLEYS
Those green forgotten valleys,
No longer can be seen
Lying hidden behind the tall fir and larch
That have made these brown hills green
Relentlessly marching down the hills
Burying everything in their wake
The dead are long gone from this place
The pike no longer in the lake
The houses just hollow shells now
Where the past ghosts eerily through
The vacant windows and doors
With rotted frames and jambs that once were new.
Back then there was no silence, only the sound
Of human laughter, and bird-calls to each other
The dogs growling at a wayward sheep.
And children’s scrapes kissed better by their mother
Nature is having the last laugh now
Soon there will be no trace of us at all
As the trees come marching down the hillside
No one hears the lonesome curlew’s call.