Lesley Quayle – I Choose To Be French

I Choose To Be French

Stick a pin in a Europe, find one place on this earth,
Unleash your chosen kin, ignoring random roots,
The imponderable accident of your birth,
Be who you want to be, fly free, sans parachute.

“No man’s an island”(Donne), no woman either (Me)
Surely origins can be a moveable feast?
Why stick around these shores, Parochial-On-Sea,
When there’s much better fare, out there, elsewhere, off piste?

I’m bored with Scottish blood, un-Brit me, it’s no wrench
From haggis, kilts and Burns, I’m not taking the piss,
Bonjour wine and Rimbaud, for I choose to be French,
(And a bit of Oo La La never goes amiss.)

 

Lesley Quayle is Scottish, but she writes poems in English and occasionally Franglais. She can sing songs in the Gallic just as well as Billy Connolly can and she can give that Edith Piaf a run for her money with the chorus of Je Ne Regrette Rien. She likes Camembert and Cheddar and has been known to make Boeuf Bourguignon using Aberdeen Angus. European? Moi? Oh Aye.

Lesley Quayle – Old Moley

Old Moley
 
Old Moley-man, three coats, two waistcoats,
jumpers, vests layered back to a museum
of skin, festering, bagged up in ruined corduroy,
his boots, one grey, one brown, both soles
curled under dirt-scarred, nomad’s toes –
he dances in the park. With eyes closed,
struts his stuff and promenades,
a waltz, a quickstep, cuts some rug
and rock ‘n’ rolls, his jive and twist
compelling flies, semibreves around his head –
his stench tolls through the wooded square.
He stumbles, stops, dry as a broken bottle,
soul drained, a desert of old dreams,
new sorrows, sits on a bench, his breath
a toxic smog, until the sun demists the view.
He rests, forlorn as torn up letters
fretting on the breeze. Passers-by tune out 
when he thunders godless hymns,
his mouth a caved in hovel, humming,
whistling when he can’t remember words.
He’s entertaining strangers for odd coins
rolled downwind to the ragged cockle of his hat.
There’s no applause.

Lesley Quayle – A Teatime Miracle

A Teatime Miracle*

We watch to see if their hearts’ bitterness
can unconsume itself, to see if it will breathe

and take its bearings on the premise of restraint, the public
telescope of duty – private purgatory exiled in handshakes,

fingers folding, gripping, holding tight, releasing, holding tight,
past torments clenched, unbearable in the avoidance of eyes,

afraid of looking lost perhaps, of seeing through the careful
packaging of State and exposing the same old guide book,

same old torn out pages. Too much for words, other than
the ones which settle on the lips like humdrum flies,

a kind of rain which blurs the mind, overlaying history
with foggy palimpsests. Over a cup of tea, the past

affronts the present, old men shake hands. We are
the mute spectators at a teatime miracle.

(*Title from an extract in a Guardian article by Jonathan Jones, about the historic meeting between Prince Charles and Gerry Adams.)

Lesley Quayle – Video

Video.
 
It’s meticulously scripted;
the kneeling man in silence,
the other, black shrouded, reciting
his prophesy – accent, grammar,
common on the ear as everyday.
This modern ars moriendi,
I already know the finale,
but online,
for a brief moment, fingertips are drawn,
in thrall, towards the ‘play’ button.
I almost press it.

Lesley Quayle is a poet, novelist and folk/blues singer, currently living and  working in the wilds of rural Dorset. Her most recent poetry collection “Sessions” is published by Indigo Dreams.

Lesley Quayle – Ab Initio Ad Finem

Ab Initio Ad Finem.
In the beginning there was –
something,
a shining,
spheres in motion,
spinning,
a perfect blueness,
unbroken.
 
Sea-borne fragments
hobfin, stumpfoot,
salt-backed,
a memory of gills  
the hows of lungs,
the thrill of limbs,
the welcome of now.
 
The dancers and skippers,
skaters and hoppers,
the totterers
of green forests
and ochre dunes,
among sweet grasses,
over the steadfast ice.
 
The hungry and thirsty,
shouters and whisperers,
the whistlers –
puckering up,
rubbing noses,
shaking hands,
in pain or joy.
 
The creators and fabricators,
killers and life-preservers,
the cruel-to-be-kind,
with all the pretty toys,
goodsandbads,
wishfully thinking
while the dreams run down.
 
The lonely-for-truth,
soul stealers, progress pledgers,
the five year, ten year, sometime,
maybe, never plans,
smelling of money-rot
and violent ordure.
The nowandthen roses.
 
The punctual grave.
 
 

Lesley Quayle is a poet, novelist and folk/blues singer, currently living and  working in the wilds of rural Dorset. Her most recent poetry collection “Sessions” is published by Indigo Dreams.

Lesley Quayle – A Responsibility to Truth

A Responsibility to Truth.

(For Edward Snowden)

White, black, black, white,

truth, lies, wrong, right.

I tell you my name,

you who are ordinary,

the travellers, the stay-at-homes,

the small and passive, faceless

shoals, caught in a net of lies.

I give you scissors and a filleting knife.

 

Ask where I am.

 

Black, white, white, black,

someone won’t be coming back.

I tell you my name,

you who are honourable,

the venerable old, the industrious young,

the not so innocent and hardly guilty,

fools and sacrificial lambs.

I give you a responsibility to truth.

 

Ask what happened to me.

 

Lesley Quayle is a poet, novelist and folk/blues singer, currently living and  working in the wilds of rural Dorset. Her most recent poetry collection “Sessions” is published by Indigo Dreams.