Thursday, 25 December 2014

Different Shades of Christmas Grey

Glowing sky and rising sun
Cast golden rims to trees and things
Casting shadows on the ground
Moving fast it fades to grey
Here it starts another day

It’s Christmas day
And time to play
Open prezzies,
Have some fun
Lots of food, a big fat tum

Others pull the covers high
And later have a little cry
For those they’ve lost
Or far away
For some it’s just
A sad, sad day

A quiet reflection on the meaning of Christmas and on what a sad time it is for some.

Alistair J Parker
25th December

A Christmas Wish

A special day
I love you true
Happy Christmas
From me to you

Your hugs I crave
And kisses too
Thank you for
Just being you

Time does pass
And love does grow
I love you more
Than you could know

To my wife Irene

Alistair J Parker
25th December 2014

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Snapshot

Stand there
Not like that
Like this
That’s right
Move your hand
Turn your feet
Toes apart
Comb your hair
Look this way
Look at me
No not you, you
That’s just right
Keep it still
Say cheese
That’s got it
Nice one

8th December 2014

Alistair J Parker

This poem was written in response to the snapshot photograph below. I used the snapshot as the basis for my PhD Thesis. It is one of three poems inspired by the thesis, the other can be found here.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Camera is a Clock

Tick Tock
Click snap
Wind it on
Don’t forget
Don’t want doubles
Just a sec
Wait a minute
Just a tick
Click Click Click
What’s the time?
I don’t recall
Smile please
That is it
Want to see it
What a face
Lovely hands
What time is it?
I don’t know
It’s not a clock

Inspired by Roland Barthes comparison between the mahogany body, brass trimmings and mechanical tick of a clock with the similar construction of old cameras and the mechanical click of the shutter, in his book Camera Lucida.

Alistair J Parker
3rd December 2014

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Alistairs First Day at School

First Day at School Snapshot

A snapshot found
Between the pages
Of me it seems
Just one of many
A Family snap
An awkward pose
Upon the path
Standing alone
I clutch a book
The polished shoes
My cap in place
Stand just there
Dad speaks to me
You look the part
We stand there tall
Our shadows fall upon the wall
His sleeves are rolled
On muscled arms
He points the camera
Doesn’t look

He’s looking down 
But not at me
I’m framed within
The tiny box
The lens it squints
With just one eye
Smile he says
I hear a click
Just one more
Should do the trick
He winds the knob
It clicks again
Not sure I smiled
No not again
The ritual unfolds
Just as before
One quick snap
A special day
What was the day
I don’t recall

First day at school
That could be right
A little note
May shed some light
The words they say its 53 
That can’t be right
Would make me nine
The date I’d say is 49
The photo’s mute
It cannot tell
Memories I need
To break the spell
I know the place 
But not the day
Remembering, it’s hard to say
The written facts 
Stand in the way
Frail memories 
Have gone away
What was that very special day
This is a snapshot of me taken by my father on the occasion of my first day at school, probably my second school but that is another question and the basis for a PhD thesis that I am researching and mentioned in the words of the poem. I am standing outside of the Prefab bungalow on the Belle Vale estate on the outskirts of Liverpool, where I lived from age 4 till 8. 
Alistair J Parker
2nd December 2014 

Monday, 1 December 2014

I can't Write Poetry

Strange things happen. About eighteen
months ago, quite out of the blue I felt the
urge to write a poem. I was driving at the
time and I was thinking about the walk to
shore from my grandfather' s house that
was a familiar part of my summer holidays
as a child. I was on my way to Lancaster
University. When I arrived I went for a
coffee, pulled out my note book and started
writing. The words just came, why I am not
sure. Hitherto I had considered myself
incapable of writing a poem. I enjoy poetry
and I admire those who can write it, but
never me.

So why did I start writing poetry? I am not
sure, it may be an age thing. But they keep
on coming, often in the most unlikely
places, what I call my "bog seat moments, 
because that is where and when I seem to
 find inspirationdon't think Wordsworth 
has much to worry about but eighteen 
months on I find myself with a collection 
of poems. So here is my first book of poems 
and the nostalgic thoughts that are often 
associated with them. 

My first book created in Blurb for my own
amusement and as a gift for friends and 
family I called Remembering, because as I 
said earlier the first poem I wrote was about
remembering the place I spent so many of
my childhood holidays and many of the
other poems are also inspired by nostalgic

For a limited time you can download the
PDF version of the book here.
The file will open on most computers but
if you have a problem download a copy
of Adobe Reader to view it.

PS I am about to publish my second book of poems!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Ode to a Tree

Roots run
Rings grow
Trunks soar
Boughs break
Branches sway
Twigs twine
Leaves turn
Russet brown
Flutter down
Autumn mists
Crispy frost
Wicked Wind
Blow and blow
Trees are bare
Snow falls
Melts away
Sun shines
Spring springs
Buds burst
Leaves uncurl
Green bright
Seeking light
Breath in
Breath out
Waft and wave
Tall and great
Trees are live
Trees are life
Talk to them
Tell them all
How magnificent
How great
How tall
A Tree

You cannot help but notice trees at this time of year, their leaves are everywhere, magnificent things that they are...

Alistair J Parker
14th November 2014

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Remember Remember

Flash bang
Zip zap
Crashes flashes
Smell of smoke
Flames rush skywards
Showers of sparks
Smell of chestnuts
Black hot spuds
Treacle toffee
Sticky and sweet
Rockets soar
Bangers bang
Roman candles
Golden spray
Light the sparklers
Twirl them round
Persistent patterns
Linger long
Embers glowing
Huddle round
Crisp and frosty
Warming hands
In the distance
Fading bangs
Waving torch
We wander home
The guy is gone
We sing his song
Remember, remember
The 5th of November

Not about memory but the childish pleasure of noise and light and very load bangs. The irony is most people have forgotten or never knew what it is they are remembering...

Alistair Parker
5th November 2014

Monday, 13 October 2014

Happy Birthday

Every year that comes and goes
Brings with it flowers and then the snows
Another year with you I’ve shared
My love I want to show
You're really special; quite unique
I hope you feel deep in your heart
As birthdays come and go
How very much you mean to me
Much more than you can know

To my wife

Alistair Parker 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Frailty of Memory

Frailty of Memory

I am frightened that my memory’s frail
I am frightened that my memories fail

I walk, from there to here
Through the door
What did I wanted
Where was I going
Going to do

I take pictures to remind me of where I have been
Of what I’ve seen
Of things I need to remember
People I meet, write down their name
Remember the face forgotten the name
Silly isn’t it I’ve forgotten again

I record conversations
Which I later transcribe
Scribbles on paper
Won’t do anymore

I make lists and lists
To-do lists
Shopping lists
Lists of lists
What list?

I park my car and note the floor
I take a photo
To remember the space
I leave my car and wonder where
What place, what floor
Will it be there

I increasingly rely on my aides memoir
My concern is
Will I remember
Where my memoirs are

As one grows old the the frailty of memory is all too apparent. I can not imagine a worse end than being deprived of ones memories and the comfort of nostalgia.
I only realised after I had written the poem that the stanza's are of unequal length. As I am a poetry novice I am not eve sure if this is permissible! Who cares...

Alistair Parker
7th September 2014

Friday, 8 August 2014

Rain on the Window

The window ledge was deep yet narrow
Wall each side thick and old
The plant pots been moved
It's gone away
It's now a place for me to play
Dinky cars roll back and forth
The brum of engines squeal of tyres
The sounds of cars
Drowns out the rains
The spots splish splash again again
The rivulets run down the pane
The rain comes down and down and down
It smears the windows, spoils the view
The view is grey it blocks the way
A truly truly awful day
Outside the pebble path shines bright
Pebbles glisten wet with light
Contrast the great big concrete step
Around the edge a pattern zigs
It zigs and zags and zags and zigs
The red brick marks around the edge
Rubbed and rubbed
So carefully made
Are washed away
They will return another day

A constant source of inspiration for poetry is "The Barracks" my paternal grandfathers home in south west Scotland where I spent my childhood holidays. The old stone building had walls about 3 ft thick, the kitchen had only on small window with a big deep window ledge on which I used t play on a wet day with my Dinky toys.

Alistair J Parker
8th August 2014

My Bruver

My brother was a little squirt
All goggled eyed and curly haired
He peddled there and peddled here
In an old tin jeep with his teddy bear

He posed for photos as I clicked away
Went to Port Erin while I was a way
Got caned by the bruvers at Old SFX
He moved with the old folks to Wirral on sea

Drove round in a special, the envy of me
Labs and computers floated his boat
But something deeper trying to get out
Family ain’t easy with the peaks and the troughs

Hearts may be broken like (twigs on a) bough of a tree
Searching for something that nurtures the soul
Creativeness calling it has to be scratched
Helped by a soul mate a mermaid with curls

The pen and the words paper are starting to flow
The words and the ideas are raring to go
Baldy and brainy, witty and bright
My brovers a winner a wizzo with words

He’ll read this and chuckle and file in the bin
But I love him to pieces and I’ll love no less
His birth I remember with joy and with tears
We’ve grown together over many long years

Enjoy the day and shun the years
Happy Birthday buv

Self explanatory really, a birthday poem for my brother who is 13 years my younger but a great mate, now!

Alistair J Parker
8th August 2014

Friday, 14 February 2014

My Valentine

At first a glance
And then a hug
A kiss comes next
The surging thrill
The tingling feeling
The knowing smile
The poetic words
The passing years
The ups and downs
The growing friendship
The sharing words
The lingering hug
The gentle touch
So many years
And so much love

To my wife...

Alistair Parker
14th February 2014

Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Snapshot Moment

Snapshot, click
Snapshot, snap
Snapshot, now
Snapshot, then
Snapshot old
Snapshot new
Capture the moment
Remember for eve
Precious and priceless
Dog eared and torn
Memories, memories
Click, snap and click
Snapshots are memories
Taking us back
Remember the moment
Remember it well
Look at the photo
Remember and tell
Tell them the story
It comes rushing back
Sharing the moment
That starts with a smile
Remember the click
Awkward no style
Posing all stiff like
Stand over here
Stand still and smile please
Moment in time
Capture the moment

My academic studies in fine art over the past 12 years or so have been very much involved with photography and snapshot photography in particular, the subject has inspired a number of poems of which this is one.

Alistair Parker
26th January 2014

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Holly and the Ivy

Holly & ivy
Glitter & gloss
Opening prezzies
Plastic and paper
All twisted and torn
Lots of excitement
Stuffing and mulling
Parcels and pudding
Turkey and trimmings
Carrots and spuds
Eating and snoozing
Playing and snoring
Walking and windy
Blow sprouts away
Get yourself comfy
Squeeze up on the couch
Time for a port
And stinky old Stilton
Felling quite mellow
Stuffed to the gills
What’s on the telly?
Morecambe and Wise
Less of two evils
Let’s play Charades
Miming and cheating
It’s all in good fun
Another one over
It’s soon time to go
Here’s to next one
The turkeys all gone
Let’s hope there’s a next one
We’ve all had such fun

A reflection on the excitement and excesses of Christmas...

Alistair Parker
1st January 2014