Graham Leslie McCallum

The tree of happiness flowers and fruits most abundantly for the creative man

Poetry – Graham Leslie McCallum

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Each day I die a little!
Disappointments cut like blades,
And hurt has teeth like needles.
You have pierced my joints and
opened my belly, my warm heart
has fallen into hands, cold as lead.
Each day I tread my walk
of stones, I bruise my heels.
they pound like hammers.
Your hands, rough hands,
wring dreams, I am a discarded rag.
The wind blows, blows cold
against my ribs.
Each day, I die a little.
…………………………………………………………………………..
I give you…
Jujubes to jaw-bite into julep-juicing.
A welkin star to wink your eyes to
twinkling, a light refrain to lull
your eyes to lilting.
Ruby lippling and rosy-tippling to
plump-pinch passion to pinckling,
a shimmer-shower to rain-lustre
inspiration to colour brightness, a breeze –
bracing, to blow your courage-banner
brave. Nest-hands for your heart to
hop into safety’s rest, a crystalled
fountain-flow for drenching spirit –
quenching, a strong rock to wrap-root
for hand-hold and foot-firm, a saphorous
sky to flit your soul-swift round
and round-about and up, and up and
into-enter.
……………………………………………………………………………
A child I dreamt –
In rapture sweet,
gazed deep,
the cool green depths
of a secret garden pond.

Now an adult –
Reality bids me enter
my garden green.
to await a moment,
just a moment –
of peace.

April 2015 233

……………………………………………………………………………
These long hours of silence –
How they hold me, entomb me
in their grey coldness.
Break out the Dawn.
Fluff out the pillow of the Morn.
…………………………………………………………………………..
The bee that nectar sips,
That loves the lilies sweet,
Exclaims – flowers can’t compete
with honey from your lips.

bee and coral creeper
…………………………………………………………………………….
You say you have no stamp,
I think it’s writer’s cramp.
Alas! I don’t get any mail.
I’ve attached a stamp –
Here’s salve for cramp –
A letter! please don’t fail.

Cape of Good Hope stamp
………………………………………………………………………
I am young and yet I am old
I’m old and yet I am young
I have lived and yet not
Loved and unloved
Found and lost
I am not, yet
I am.
……………………………………………………………………
Dumb lips and heavy tongues resign,
The Lord shall summon His Praise,
Stones, trees and wind sing His grace divine.
What shall this spirit of torpor raise?
Shall prophet true, or wondrous sign?
Spinning constellations, or infinite space?
Nay! none of these, naught of this line,
Save Spirit made flesh, shall raise this race.
………………………………………………………………………………

And Love came –
Flowing as a river,
Bubbling as a spring.
Roots, Dry roots,
Long choked in
Thirsting sands,
Drank deep, and
Deeper still the
Sweet waters
Of that stream.
Then, rested –
Drenched and
Drunk,
Lanquid waters,
Clear and Cool,
Made music,
soft music,
in the reeds.

River Samuels and Graham McCallum
………………………………………………………………………………………………

Summer!

Ah! these green and yellow days,
Leaves and flowers unfurl,
Warm soils, blazing rays,
and me, I stretch and uncurl.

Graham Leslie McCallum, sunning himself, Newcastle
………………………………………………………………………………………………
Would that I could –
Come to you as you lie sleeping,
Kiss your velvet lips,
Then slip into your arms, merge,
And flow with your red tide,
Through passages, secretly columned,
Wind-around intricate mazes,
And climb the marble stairs of your inner space,
To vaulted sanctuary, I stand awed.
I bow down at your altar,
Your soul in cupped hands,
And whisper, softly,
I – love – you.

………………………………………………………………………………..
This sun will look lovely on your skin
But your’e not here.
This breeze would tease your hair,
But your’e not here.
Our lips could meet,
But your’e not here.
………………………………………………………………………………..
Hot flow – ignite
Bosom balm,
Womb night,
Cave me in your arm,
Fold me tight,
Rock me in your palm,
You –
Gentle Miner of the Heart.
…………………………………………………………………………………..

Summer rains at last,
I sat on my doorstep,
and let the rain wet my feet.
Warm and thickly splashing,
Like love the first time.

Rain
………………………………………………………………………………
The storm that brings the rain,
Rolls its barrow, rumbles its wheel,
And spills its load.

Outspan and a South African Storm

………………………………………………………………………………….
Flints

Would that I know the hands that made these flints,
the palms that gave them birth.
Hard years, rough calloused years; and since,
what shallow seas have dried to earth.
Did hands that knapped, dream, wild dreams,
and what wild passions flowed in fire,
When nicked knuckles bled warm streams
upon the stony facets I now admire?

axe
……………………………………………………………………………….
Cacophonic song,
Melody of the night, all wrong.
Vain sentry of the slippery bog’
The crazy prehistoric frog.

Tree Frog, Manor Gardens, Durban
…………………………………………………………………………………
Come earth, darkly dank, come moisty soil.
Give rest, give quiet, I lay supine from toil.
Come mould, come thready mildew, come rot,
Inner cranium, vacant bony grot.
Slime greens, bog browns, dirty sooty hues,
Paint bright my vault, in purples, bread-mould blues.
Come roots, wrap my ribs, entwine the spine,
This empty hall, this sanctuary enshrine.
Come worm, come maggot, invade the lair,
Make abode, where never men would dare.

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

……………………………………………………………………………..
Lexicology of the word Knave

How peculiar, that words can creep and sneak
like the Old English-noun ‘knave’ –
that crawled from meaning ‘lad’ to meaning ‘lout’ –
And curiously – what it gained in clout
it lost, in sloughing-off its knuckledusting ‘k’.

And who lashed the winsome lad into a lout,
then robbed him of his glottal ‘k’? –

The maws, the jaws of the common crowd.
It’s they who soil and stain, mix and mangle
words between their teeth and tongue.

Like wave to rock, and tide to land,
the once firm, now eroded, and the solid to shifting.
Strong words, once well-wrought
are now sloshed about, then spat out on the shore.

Cave Rock looking North with pounding surf, head of Bluff, Durban
…………………………………………………………………………………….

On my London Editors.

From times immemorial –
All memos editorial
to those authorial,
have been dictatorial.
…………………………………………………………………………………….

And who is the stealthy Thief?

Who sneaks up for his keep

He’s that villainous chief?

None other than Sleep.

……………………………………………………………………………………………….
Love lessens not by division or subtraction,
But obeys a law divine without abrogation,
that by division and subtraction from the whole,
addition and multiplication then play their role.
……………………………………………………………………………………….
Few folk are distracted at the crying when a baby’s born,
But when a person nears their death, many people yawn,
For old age muddles the head, makes the mind a sieve,
And one can talk and talk, yet hardly live.
So dear friends, before I am grey with years,
And by my talk, bore you all and sundry close to tears,
I seek that future audience’s long-suffering forgiveness,
My speech now sparkling, might dull to talkativeness.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
An irate resident of Durban,
Exclaimed at the litter suburban.
The filth in the street,
Upsets the aesthete.
This isn’t Durban but Dirtbin.
………………………………………………………………………..

There was a man from Ethekwini

Who exclaimed “How can it be?”

That Durban’s renaming

The ‘One testicled thing’ –

“That’s degenerate, where’s common decency?”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

There was a thin woman called Nadine
Who fed her dog on a diet of sardine.
What dog can get fat
on the diet of a cat?
I need beef, not fish for my protein.
………………………………………………………………………….
There was a luckless fellow called Izzard
Who fancied himself as a Wizard.
It was while making a spell
he summoned the devil from hell
and now he’s a scaly grey lizard.
………………………………………………………………………..
There was a cruel woman called Izzard
Who choked after swallowing a lizard.
It was while feeling reptilian
That she ate the Lacertilian
Poor thing got stuck in her gizzard.
………………………………………………………………………….
There was a coldhearted woman called Izzard
Who swallowed a frog, newt and lizard
It was while stirring her potion
That she had this strange notion
It would soothe the pain in her gizzard.
…………………………………………………………………………..
I wrote this teasing poem after a hive of bees left their hive in Archer Crescent and winged their way up hill to Manor Drive and settled in a large spacious tree. This is a lighthearted reminder of our responsibility to our environment – to its leaved, feathered, haired, chitinous and carapaced creatures, but especially our bees.

BEELINE

Lower Manor Gardens is no place for bees

There’s swampland, no flowers, no indigenous trees

The vapours rise sickly from the depths of that bog

Not to mention the rude croaking, of toad and of frog

I say “Rise up! Be off with you! come visit our rise

Come quaff sweet elixirs with the brilliant and wise

Just shrug off your cares, fly to rarefied air

Upper Manor Gardens the verdant, so lovely, so fair

We’ve stately green trees, in the distance the sea

Honeysuckle, frangipani, just the jive for a bee

It’s nectar, I tell you!, a life without sting

Comb-away troubles, just take to the wing

Come build your hive on the hill where we thrive

Relax, wax lackadaisical, you’ll feel alive

Begone Jenny the beekeeper, who robs life of treats

Life’s about ambrosial syrup, and jelly for sweets.

Looking down into Manor Gardens valley from Dove House, Dec 2012

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Deo Gratiia, for the humble hound
I might be made in Your image
But dog’s of your Heart
Does not even the word dog
In reverse, spell God?

Sirocco, February 2013, Msinsi Nature Reserve
……………………………………………………………………………………………
Quizzle

Not furzled in frizzle
nor patterned in grizzle
but fuzzled and muzzled
in zebral and tigral –
a puzzle, a weazzle –
a kitty called Quizzle.

cat
……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Natalian Praise

 

Let the loud of mouth and the slick of tongue resign –

Let the wordy-writer rest and the sycophant cease –

For the Creator Himself shall summon sanctioned praise.

 

You praise-singers, you raucous preachers – be still!

You puffed potentates, you party politicians – be silent!

Hear His Herald the earth and watch His Courier the sky.

 

Look! the river lilies and acacias in colourful array paint His glory,

While duikers leap in joy as loeries swoop on red-winged reverence,

From the craggy krantz and berg basalts, His foundation is declared.

 

Listen! His proclamation tinkles from rocky rill and valley spruit,

Crashing and rumbling from waterfalls, echoing through the kloofs,

And gathered from across the veldt – the worship of the wafting winds.

 

Take Heed! He requires no prophet, no drummer, no gushing rain-maker,

When spinning constellations, and sparkling sweeps of space

Lionize louder, and louder still than any lowly human can laud.

 

Water Lily

………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Lord, when You said “Come ” –

I stepped forward respectfully,

I bowed, and sank to my knees.

I took a-hold of your hands.

Again You said “Come to Me”

Then my spirit clapped like a babe,

Frolicking like an infant

And gambolling like a child.

You said – “Follow Me”

I came skipping like a stripling,

Then running and dancing like a youth.

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

The Elemental Creator…

 

I am Light –

Creator of Colour and of Tone,

Giving Shade and Shadow while bestowing Transparency and Translucence.

I reveal the Smooth and the Textured,

As I balance Mass with Weightlessness.

 

I am seen – on the Surface and in the Depth,

I am Singular – and from a Point I Move,

Fastening the Fixed and shifting the Moveable.

Of Repose and Activity I am,

Both Advancing and Retreating,

Directing Inward and then Outward,

To the Lateral and then the Spacial,

Up the Vertical and along the Horizontal.

 

I am Time –

Finite and Infinite,

From the Past and projecting into the Future,

I am the Silence and the Sound,

Conducting Rhythm and Pace,

With Simplicity and Complexity.

I am the Unconceived who Conceives.

Uncreated, I Create.

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Trees aren’t always oaks, but if they are –

Aren’t always mighty, standing fifty feet.

And flowers aren’t always roses, but if they are –

Aren’t always red and fragranced sweet.

Nor birds always sparrows, but if they are –

Aren’t always chirping, that’s just deceit.

 

Now humility isn’t always saintly, but when it is –

It’s from the realm above, all demure.

And truth isn’t always virtuous, but when it is –

It’s the Word of Life, a timely cure.

Nor is love always holy, but when it is –

It is always Jesus, meek and pure.

Mount Park - Dargle Valley 004

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Lord – You the Husbandman, my heart the field,

I give lease to the Tiller, my plot I shall yield.

Ploughman, plough deep, dig furrow, hoe rill,

Harrow my hardness, I welcome Your will.

Remove rock, remove stone, uproot the weed,

My soil now receptive, for scattering the seed.

Come Sower, Seed-Sower, crop cultivator,

Life-giving rain inundate, soil saturator.

Spring-forth the sprout, plant the field plush,

Raise the sap sweet and green the leaf lush.

Ready the Reaper, unsheathe the sickle, swipe,

Grain, glowing glory, golden and ripe.

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

My Grand-Father who encompasses all,

The Universe sings your praises,

Your gentle governing rests lightly upon me,

As you exercise your gracious holiness.

Your Spirit dwells within me,

Just as Your Spirit fills the heavens.

For today, generous God,

Grant me sufficient keep,

And clemency – to those who fail me,

Because You have shown mercy to me,

A sinner, sunken in ignorance.

Please protect me and strengthen me

From life’s constant evil and temptation.

For all authority is Yours,

You are all in all,

For all time,

Yes Lord.

 

………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

A Child’s Prayer modeled on the Lord’s Prayer

 

My Daddy, who’s at work,

I’m so proud of You,

I look forward to You coming home,

You always set a good example for me

Here at home, as You do at work.

You make sure I always get the food and clothes I need.

When I do wrong, You forgive me,

And You ask me to do the same when my friends harm me.

Please Daddy! Don’t allow me to get into trouble,

But if I am in trouble, protect me,

For you are brave and strong,

And I love you Daddy,

Always.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

Mountains would sooner tumble,

Great edifices, fall and crumble,

Before my toppled nature would,

Be changed from one of evil into good.

 

For dark my mind and dark my soul

And dark my heart as if of coal.

Unbended, vain, towards the tomb,

Runs this man to meet his doom.

 

Before the pall of earth, and time unwind,

What illumination for my mind?

Whose answer and whose reprise,

Shall free my frame that it may rise?

 

Myself? Foundation frail, unsound?

Wisemen? Wisdom gone to ground?

Establishment? Tower of Babel?

Nay! Save Jesus and His sacrificial Table.

………………………………………………………………………………………..

The Upper Room

 

“Ah! There you are Nathanial, feeling tired?”

And here’s Peter, full of gusto, all a-fired.

Yes, Thomas, Will he understand the cost?

Look at them, just like sheep, all lost.

Andrew, the Fisherman, hands on hips,

There’s Philip and Levi, smiles upon their lips.

At last, there’s Little James, at the door,

Let me count – that’s seven, five more.

Here comes Big James, and John, Simon too,

I’m so looking forward to this meal with you.

Where’s Judas? In the shadows, behind the door,

Those eyes, evasive, looking at the floor.

Sit down friends; Jude we need light,

I’ve so much to share with you tonight.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Love lessens not by division or subtraction

But obeys a law divine without abrogation

That by division and subtraction from the whole,

Addition and multiplication then play their role.

 

……………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Lord, as the care-free sparrow,

So be this day and my tomorrow.

Lord, as the bright field flower,

So be this day, so be this hour.

…………………………………………………………………………………..

 

Lord, when I miss the mark-

Because my ways are dark;

Kindle your light

And Brighten my night.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

 

 

 

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