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New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

3 poems by David Ratcliffe

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David Ratcliffe hails from the north of England though now living in the south. He writes poetry, short stories, song lyrics (Two of his songs have been recorded by Leeds band Backyard Burners) & Stage plays (one of which is with a theatre company in London). He is also a keen painter in both watercolour and oils. In 2016 poem ‘Home Straight’ was shortlisted in the Fermoy International Poetry Festival Completion. This poem was featured at the festival, displayed in the window of the local butchers shop/ His poetry has been published on-line in the following publications THE BeZINE https://thebezine.com/,  Poetry Pacific Magazine, TRR Poetry, Sixteen Magazine, Mad Swirl, Tulip Tree Review (Print Version), Poem Hunter.  David Poetry Website https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=808552105913300&set=p.808552105913300&type=3&theater 
You tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhEUr-Fik3Q,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHFHWam_tsg,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6J3YKR3ElA, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNbbnCDKgXo 

 

 

 

He crawled

 

He crawled before walking,
ran before flying,
collected punctures and marks,
opened a gateway to fantasy
leaving carnage on the runway.

Turbulent episodes’ ensued;
a ridge of low pressure descended
until he crashed and burned,
crawling childlike from the wreckage.

This man who’s tattooed forearm reads
‘only god can judge me’
the same who’d prayed for the man in the next bed
is judged by pious, cold case detectives
who pour over his rap sheet;
fold arms and bleet,
pointing to behavior
ignoring symptoms or cause.

Three critical weeks in the hands of
benevolence in baby blue,
a metal tree bearing vital fruit,
a legitimate cocktail flowing through vines,
fuse into the stillness of his being.

Pink Floyd now whispers into his ear
as we, his parents,
each with a role to play
wait blameless on the bright side.

 

 

Someone else’s summer

 

She’d witnessed vivid skies,
felt warmth in the cradle
of tender palms on skin that 
shone in union with the sun,

floated on waves
of sheer completeness
skipped along avenues of smiles
that sang her name

in a time so tightly wrapped
its contents spilled through cracks
in her wretched heart
where mere traces remain.

Partial images prevail,
momentarily defeating reality
through projected messages
emitted through swaying blinds

on someone else’s summer morning.
Festooning rays bleed into darkness
leisurely losing filtered shine
thinly casting beams of hope

that play across the features
of governing countenance.
She thinks in whisper
‘its all my fault, whatever it is’

she, who’s pulled from the playground
several years too soon
by the hand
that shuts out light forever.

 

 

Summit Tunnel

 

The homeboy patrolled the platform
hauling a case full of troubles;
a youth, unprepared, undercooked, fidgety,
4 minutes from departure.

He could see his half-life below,
wished to wallow in its familiar frown,
allow his timidity licence to return
to the arms of invisibility.

The village continued its sophistry;
July sunrise presented limestone ripples,
clouds created kaleidoscopic greens,
the old mill beseeched him, remain
within its simplicity,
content to drink life from cupped hands.

A cursory glance to the exit;
would he prove them right?
‘would he eckerslike’,
yet fearing the train’s arrival,
he hoped it would run out of steam,
hiss to a stop, forever
lost in the tunnel a mile
from his inward mitherings.

Through branches of dappled summer,
he looked down at the bus stop
from where his ride to that point had
terminated at the limits of imagination,
while he waited for adventure
far beyond ambition.

Taking patchwork images,
he ironed them into solitary thought;
the flighty, flirty, giggles & curls
wanton, wretched, innocent girls
who’d hit harder than the ballyrag,
chased harder through the night,
laughed louder on waking.

Maybe he sought self-worth
from lips of experience?
the feature, without outtakes,
maybe he’d return to rule the village
like the fox in an Aesop Fable?

By way of distraction
he allowed himself to imagine;
Manchester, Birmingham, Exeter, Plymouth,
alien places printed on a travel warrant;
thinking them familiar,
reminding him of a football coupon.

Two garrulous women, with matching expressions,
seemed to own his thoughts,
would he, could he? should he?
nosey witches!

The echoing announcement of the arrival
of the 08:14 Manchester Victoria train
jolted him, ‘least it offered the opportunity
to relieve his flatulence’.

‘Damn the summit tunnel’
how could it allow this Naglfar carriage
to lap at the corpse of his childhood?
Yet as he slumped into his seat, new life
breathed through an open window.

 

 

 

 

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