Insomnia 2

Lying, as if in sleep, though clearly not

Wondering how many out there share this lot

On the backs of eyelids, projected scenes

Greyscale phantoms on vein-mottled screens

….

Shapes shift and drift in random flight

As clouds might in the dead of night

Ghosts with metamorphic swirl

Form in slow motion, then unfurl

….

Dawn waits to cast its calming rays

On another of many similar days

That end the same, as sleep I feign

Unable to halt imagination’s reign  

Dawn’s Promise

As the dim, slate grey sky of morning creeps from the horizon

Whist birds cling yet to their roosts, waiting permission to sing

Listen carefully in the still air to the sound of dawn breaking

It is as real as you

….

Gentle zephyrs and eddies can be felt as birds and leaves start to stir

A low vibration hums electrically, almost imperceptibly in the air and through the ground

Light is changing, warming, as the first rays of the sun define individual clouds

A new day brings its promise to those who can look, listen and learn.

After Covid

We must get through this, pulling together

No cause to even consider whether

But what of the future, after the storm

What will be the post-covid ‘norm’?

….

When this virus has gone, before another arrives

People will pick up what is left of the lives

So much of what was usual before

Will not be so, for most any more

….

A vaccine would let contacts resume

There isn’t one yet, so let’s not assume

Jobs will have gone, shops and businesses lost

These will only be part of the cost

….

Public health weakened, treatments delayed

Diagnosis of new conditions simply not made

More children and adults with teeth decayed

Increased obesity for many not weighed

….

Councils struggling to make ends meet

Unemployed and homeless out on the street

Promised grants from an empty purse

Not enough to stop matters getting worse

….

Society itself will become more fractured

Less money about, fewer goods manufactured

A bigger gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’

Inequalities increased, demos and boycotts

….

Lost schooling reducing chances for many

A shrunken economy another enemy

We must stay united, support those in need

Act for the common good, then we’ll succeed

The Industrious Tailor

Once there was a pleasant and industrious (by which I mean hard working) tailor who had a beautiful seamstress (female tailor) wife.  They lived in a small cottage on the edge of a quaint (nice, in an old fashioned way) village by the side of a rippling mountain stream.  Life was very good for the industrious tailor and his beautiful seamstress wife and their eleven contented (happy) children, all of whom were loved dearly. 

One day the industrious tailor needed to go to the neighbouring (nearby) village to conclude (finish) some business, which involved supplying a bride and groom with fine outfits for their forthcoming wedding.  The industrious tailor and his beautiful seamstress wife had worked together for many days, and sometimes well into the evenings under the light of smelly tallow (animal fat) candles, to complete the order.  He loaded the fine outfits onto his a rickety (wobbly) wooden cart then hitched (tied) his faithful old donkey to the rickety wooden cart. Bidding (saying) goodbye to his beautiful seamstress wife and eleven contented children with a kiss and a smile, he set off for the neighbouring village.

Now, the industrious tailor and his beautiful seamstress wife and eleven contented children had always been very jolly, but they were not very worldly (street wise).  They thought everyone was as nice and honest as they were.  This was about to change. 

For, a little way down the road between the two villages, the tailor, sitting on his rickety wooden cart pulled by his faithful old donkey, rounded a bend in the road and passed by the mouth of an ancient (old) cave. As the wheels of the rickety wooden cart clattered (made a noise) on the stones near the mouth of the ancient cave, the industrious tailor and his faithful old donkey heard a mighty growl, which made the hairs on the neck of the industrious tailor and his faithful old donkey stand on edge.

At the mouth of the ancient cave stood a massive (large) mean (not very nice), green, angry ogre.  The ogre was angry because the noise of the cart approaching (getting nearer) had woken him up.  As for being mean, well that is true for all ogres, all of the time.

The ogre now stood in the middle of the road and, feeling hungry after his long sleep, was about to start eating the faithful old donkey.  “Wait!” said the industrious tailor. “If you let us pass safely to go about our business (work), I will bring you something nice to eat from the village when we return.” The ogre thought about this for a while and, taking one last longing (wanting it) look at the faithful old donkey, he said, “Very well, you may pass, but be sure to bring something fresh and tasty so that I don’t have to eat that old stringy (tough to eat) donkey.

At this, the industrious tailor and the faithful old donkey wasted no time in heading (moving) off toward the next village.  Once there, he conducted (carried out) his business with the bride and groom, who were delighted (very pleased) with the quality of their new outfits. He then gave some thought to what he could take back with him to give to the ogre. Passing a butcher’s shop he saw a plump (fat) fresh, dead chicken hanging in the window.  “Ah, that should do nicely”, he thought.  He went in and purchased (bought) the chicken then set off toward home with the chicken on the seat next to him.

Soon enough, the industrious tailor and the faithful old donkey were within sight of the cave and they saw the ogre standing in the middle of the road waiting for them.  The ogre sniffed the air as they approached and roared with delight. “I can smell fresh meat, let me have it quickly”, said the ogre.  The industrious tailor handed over the dead chicken and, in a flash it was gone down the ogre’s throat.

“Is that all you have brought me?” said the ogre, in a rage (angrily).  “That was very tasty but hardly a mouthful. I can see that I am going to have to eat the donkey and then you after all.”  It was at this point that the industrious tailor realised that not everyone was nice and honest as he was.

“Wait”, he shouted. “Let us pass once more and I will return (come back) with plenty of fresh meat for you to eat.  I have eleven contented children who are nice and plump. I can spare you a couple of those.”  Of course, ogres, by nature, are greedy as well as mean. So, this ogre agreed to the deal and let the industrious tailor and the faithful old donkey pass by.  As they went on their way the ogre shouted, “They better taste as nice as the last thing you brought for me.”

Shortly, the industrious tailor and faithful old donkey arrived home and told the beautiful seamstress wife all about what had happened.  At first, she was terribly upset and scolded (told off) the industrious tailor for coming up with such an awful (bad) idea.  “Trust me”, he said, “for I have seen how wicked the ogre is, and I intend (mean to) teach him a lesson.

For the whole of the next week the industrious tailor and his beautiful seamstress wife worked tirelessly to make two very detailed mannequin (life sized model) copies of their two eldest children, out of scraps of cloth.  They stuffed these with straw and brussel sprouts soaked in chicken blood and juice. This made the mannequins smell as good as the real dead chicken given to the ogre previously (before). The industrious tailor then set off toward the ogre’s cave. 

Once again, as he approached the cave the ogre roared with delight. “I can smell fresh meat, let me have it quickly”, he said.  The industrious tailor pushed the two mannequins off the rickety old cart onto the road.  Now, ogres have a reasonable sense of smell, but their eyesight is not good on account (because) of their living in dark, damp caves. The ogre leapt hungrily onto the two mannequins and they were gone into his belly in just a few moments.

Gingerly (carefully) the industrious tailor eased the cart backward and started to head for home.  Before he had turned the bend in the road, he heard a loud groaning and noises a bit like thunder coming from the cave. He stopped the cart just in time to see the ogre running from the cave pulling up his tattered (old and ripped) trousers and shouting, “I’m not staying here a minute longer.  The people here taste awful and give one the most terrible flatulence (wind)”.  With that he was gone in a puff of smoke, never to be seen or heard of again.

The Donkey’s Tale

One sizzling hot summer’s day, an old brown donkey lay in a field that had once been grassy, but was now parched and scorched by the sun. The donkey wanted to find somewhere cool, but the only shade to be found was under a large willow tree that stood in one corner of the field.
The donkey stood and made his way over to the tree, moving slowly, so as not to become too exhausted. As he approached the tree, the donkey was shocked when one of the tree’s heavy boughs swished down to swat at the donkey.
“Stay away!” shouted the tree. This made the donkey back off a little and, when he was safely out of reach of the tree’s branches, he stopped and studied the tree with his big pleading eyes.
‘I only want to share some of your shade’ said the donkey. ‘It is very hot today and the flies are biting and driving me mad’. “You have a tail, don’t you?” said the tree. “What do you think that is for, if not to flick away the flies?”
The donkey thought this over and said, ‘Is that why you have branches, to flick away tired old donkeys?’ “Don’t be silly”, said the tree. “My branches are for stretching out into the sun, so that my leaves can gather in the sunlight to help me grow big and strong.”
‘But in doing so, your branches and leaves create shade beneath, and that costs you nothing ‘, replied the donkey. The tree thought about this for a brief time and then said, “You are right. Something that costs me nothing costs nothing to share. You are welcome to sit beneath my canopy and shade from the sun as much as you like”.
Bye and bye, in return, the donkey lifted his tail and shared his droppings, fertilising the soil beneath the tree and helping it to grow even bigger and stronger. This also cost the donkey nothing.

The Fox and the Wells

A thirsty fox came to a well along the road. He was just about to lower a bucket down the well to get a refreshing drink of water when a large frog sitting on the well wall spoke to him. “Good day Mr Fox”, said the frog. “What is your business here today, if I may ask?”
“Well, I am not sure that it is any concern of yours,” said the fox, “but if you must know, I am thirsty and need a drink from this well”. “Ah!” said the frog, “then it is just as well that we have met, for I fear that you will be disappointed. This well is quite dry, but there is another further down the road and, fortunately, that one isn’t dry. In fact, it is absolutely full of the most refreshing water imaginable”.
“Well there must be at least a drop of water left in this one after the recent rains”, said the fox. He picked up a stone and threw it into the well. Almost immediately there was a loud plop, as the stone hit the water. “See!” said the fox, “All is well; there must be some water down there”.
“I fear I have misled you slightly”, said the frog, “but I was only thinking about your health. The truth is that the water that remains in this well is quite unsuitable for drinking. It has somehow become horribly tainted and I fear that, if you were to drink it, you might become quite unwell”.
“Oh, very well” said the fox.” Perhaps I should walk a little further down the road and take a drink at the next well. I just hope that well isn’t tainted as well.” “Oh no,” said the frog, “the water in that well is as cool and clear as crystal. If you are thirsty, you would do well to set off straight away.”  “Well I may as well go and see”, said the fox, and he trotted off down the road to the next well.

When the fox was well out of sight the frog leapt back into the well and joined its little tadpoles who were playing and swimming about in the well water. “Well now”, said the frog. “I have fooled Mr Fox and convinced him not to drink from our well, so we’ll be safe for now.” “Well done, Mum”, said the tadpoles.

Choices

Which sea denies the pull of the moon?

What puppet dances to its own tune?

A barbed and chastening valentine

No choice at all; the fault’s all mine

Could do better, the report card says

But how to change one’s errant ways?

Alas, some choices can’t be mended

Outcome’s not as was intended.

Each act’s curtain draws to a close

Why it matters, none other knows