Poem of Contentment (New Re-Write)

For Gran

Hi, I updated this poem from 2013, this time adding new elements that would hopefully be of particular significance to my grandmother. The original spoke of a writer (haha, possibly me in this case :) ) struggling with a draft, but I think I’ve come to understand that people might see in it a calming quality, and I like the idea of having a poem here that might soothe and provide at least a raindrop’s worth of tranquility, if we’re lucky. I’ve lightened the tone, here and there, for my Gran.

So, for now, we’ve got one of two ears on the lullaby. Us poets are fond of telling you when and how to breathe, via line-breaks and commas. Consider taking a big gulp of that big ol’ life-giving air  before reading this, because I’ve rambled on a bit as much as anything.

Yours kindly,


Poem of Contentment
Jan 5, 2013 (original version)/10 Sept 2015, Peter B.

Where the seagulls fly,
a clock-tower chimes
of “oranges and lemons”.
Where fruit trees line the path of limes,
rare fruits here,
but their greens known
to the eye

When I left small tears to leave
on an oak tree’s
windowsill of bright sky.

In it, it seems,
all the names of birds, flowers, and creatures
who, now as then, look over the hedge-maze
of the green garden of summertime.

I am blissful even now.
I’m as happy as I will be
in this peaceful city,
when I land on such an island,

to three chimes of a clock, somehow in the playground,
and some maroon petals,
vividly remembered,

and this is not a poem, I suppose,
just a float,
and float on
in blue chalk,
and in peace
and just as happy,
just to be.

In this quiet city,
peopled to sing
self-assembled melodies,
quick to summon and to spring;

complete, complete
and feeling like a full moon,
with a pot-bellied sumo wrestler,
on a dinner plate,
on a bed by the river.

I continue on my way beyond
the bend of the lilac water,
where trawler-men are fishing
for their own reasons,
and continue singing
in Edo-peroid Japan,

in the same reflections to which they whisper,
playing mah-jongg and other games
on a crane’s wings,

and this isn’t a poem that
needs to look for a reason,
and doesn’t expect to be any good,
but would like to raise a smile –
and, see, your smile is lovely ,
and never a lonely one!

Arianna (From Notebook/Potential Film Project “A Note Left of Harmony”)

A Note Left Film Poster



A Note Left Film Poster

If you didn’t write that note
misplaced on my bed
then fluttered to the floor
as the shuttered windows of shops opened and I washed,
who chose that scratchily inelegant expression in pen?

Where are you then,
more to the point,
how about now,

Why are there bullet holes in the headboard,
why reel-to-reel tape,
used, I suppose, to record a lucid non-sequential dream?
Will I go searching streets, and come back with bread
wrapped in the news
of this note

shall my mission be to find you first,
(before I get dressed?)

The Park

The sun was going in,
and a ball missed my eye by an inch.

It was no match for the cup.
I was holding tepid water in the park;
“thanks a lot”,
I don’t forget to think.

I didn’t have enough
for a sandwich.
My legs and, kinda, soul
felt shorter than they are,
reclined on a flat, busy patch.

More of a stand in, and because of cuts,
rarer than fiction,
a new man they’ve got
pruning short an incoming plea.

The overflowing bins,
not his fault, not his job,
overflowing tin cans
or muffled walkie talkies
as his argument for the garden’s upkeep
scatters wildly.

I like him, he
didn’t serve, nor make me spill,
my beans.
I can tell he has other people’s priorities
to avoid.

Like rats leaving for a plague,
fur sleeked smooth by noble flood of
banana-flavoured milkshake.

They’re not even keeping score
and none apologised
for trembling my hand slightly,
being a family.

With a small ball
not even right for the game.

Too many jokes to downplay,
too much anger to come out funny.

Too much in the sun,
too much change, too little,
too short of soul –
that’s where they get it wrong
people should shut up,
not scream just because
they’ve found a patch
for a goal.

People need
green spaces.

All Day Poetry, Art and Performance and Dance Event, SPRING 2015 – This Sunday, March 8th at Embrace Arts, Leicester

If you’re not near Leicester, England this runs the risk of being even more obscure than we normally enjoy being here at P.A.T.H. (This acronym that has not been officially sanctioned by  our corporate “limb”, though – we have more than a few, if you buy a book we’ll have cause to start another limb, making corporate walking very difficult.) We do suppose, however, that you enjoy being more than a little obscure too. A lot of people keep following us wheresoever we go, which would be unnerving in other circumstances but it’s not, it’s lovely and you are absolutely the ticket, and we are very quite fond of you, golden princes and princesses that you are, myseriously clicking “like” buttons and reading even sometimes our most bonkers stuff with your two or more, or one, reading eye(s). Now I’ve buttered you up with strawberry Marmite, here’s the thing that may not be relevant to you…but WAIT! Soon, on March 8th 2015, I am working with choreographer and dancer Louise Katerega for a workshop and performance called “Throw Me A Life Line”, as just one of many brilliant workshops taking place on the day. Here’s the description of our 3pm workshop:

In “Throw Me A Life Line”, led by Poet Peter Buckley and renowned choreographer and dancer Louise Katerega, we will conjure magic from the mundane using energy, memory, and telephony to consider cycles of ending and beginning. We will find poetry in the conversations that might take place in times of change, and transform these into duets of movement. In keeping with the season of Spring, we will be inspired by folk traditions, ritual and rites, and will respond to moods suggested by our jumping-off point, a scene from the film “A Matter of Life and Death”. Participants are asked to bring along a round object if possible.

Here are some question-prompts we will be using for inspiration. Why not try answering one in a comment below or using one as a creative prompt for your own poem or blog? question worksheet pdf

Please do come along, if you can. It will have something to do with telephones.

Here is the schedule for SPRING this Sunday at Embrace Arts:

Here is the schedule for SPRING this Sunday at Embrace Arts – 12 noon to 8 pm

Workshops at 12.30

Alison Dunne supported by Bobba Cass in Hall: The Body – Poetic Monologues
Carol Leeming supported by Marcus Joseph in Studio 1: Dancing the South – Poetic Play of Music and Words
Liz Gray supported by Andrea Giugliano in Studio 3: Feel the Rhythm – Experience Poetry, Rhythm and Movement
Paulo Carnock in Studio 4: Drumming and Chanting

Workshops at 3 pm

Peter Buckley supported by Louise Katerega in Hall: Throw Me A Life Line
Boston supported by Rishii Chowdhury in Studio 1: Beat It with Bossman!
Rob Gee in Studio 3: Comic Term?
Momodou Sallah supported by Paulo Carnock in Studio 4: Poetry as Therapeutic and Poetry as an Instrument of Change

Installation in Cafe / Bar Area: FACT: ion

Performance in Hall at 6 pm. concluding with Mellow Baku

Workshops will last an hour and a half with plenty of time for additional practice including practice in the Hall between 5 and 6 pm

An’ this is just for fun:

A Spontanious Poem

Since we began,
the bluebells knew to be themselves
as they were gathered
in communal bunches.

After we talked,
I walked to the end of the sea.

In the woods,
I wandered,
a dress to sweep painted flowers.

It didn’t matter who I was,
it was always more about
the flowers to you.

In a wide arc,
I would learn to paint more gently,
into sleep.

The sweep of bluebells
that sprung up,
in a warm Spring.

Peter Reading “An Alabama Song”

I’ve made a recording of “An Alabama Song”, a poem that I wrote last Halloween, which is inspired by “Alabama Song” by Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht. This link seems to change as I put new stuff up but it’s  here for now and on my bandcamp:

Not so resolutely lo-fi this time, as my mobile has been jettisoned and forgotten as a recording device, but still a recording made from a new mic, from my odd-voiced home.

Enjoy what you find enjoyable.

Here’s the original poem, which is also available by clicking “lyrics” on the bandcamp playlist.

Canción for a Hamster, Two Goldfish.

With Thanks to Alex for Translations

For my diary,
I talked a big talk
about the topness of my secrets,
the air good
and thin as my large-eyed intrigue.

Each letter of my name
like “Hollywoodland”,
punched-out with a label-maker.

I wouldn’t write more than a few pages,
before my siblings happily
devoured what was there,

I grasp
an indie-rock pebble,
a guitar-pick from the air,
turning swept hair
away from muddied sea.

Eating fish food with the fish, at the cleared Saint’s table,
this January,
the difference between “I wouldn’t worry”
and “it’s okay”,
to me.

Someone out there knows
why Alexander Graham Bell’s first thought on waking
was the telephone,

while I arrive to worry my good grief
at a wall
like Charlie Brown,
like Charles Schultz was a preacher.

My pet fish swim
like Saints above.
My pet hamster April
exercises on a yellow wheel.

I visited a windmill,
and wrote this in Spanish –
“los molinos de viento.”
“Mi hámster, Abril”.

My fish have always danced an
lethargic flamenco,
always or since
I have been looking in.

My fish Miyamoto –
Nintendo pioneer –
turned around the fortunes of a
playing card,
taxi cab,
and love hotel company.

My smart goldfish who knows where his tub for food is,
has favourite corners,
watches us watch television,
sees remote control lasers,
looks at us and wonders
when flaked food will
hit the deck.

Professor Fishkins –
sorry you swam late into my eyeline.
If we were much quieter,
you’d be the underwater
one of our family.

Mi dulce peces de colores.
Profesor da una vuelta a la pecera.

I wouldn’t know one,
being terrible with names, faces,
drawing, maths, conversation, patterns, spiders, time, getting on transport, keeping in touch.
Wouldn’t know a Saint if
he presented the weather,
always forecasting rain
for himself.

You’re submarino, Super Mario!

Sometimes we stay still
and pretend the storm will pass.
They expect you to jump for stars
every day.

You’re getting on,
my senior
peces de colores,

where the hills have eyes,
and the clouds don’t remind you
of anything in your psyche.
You’re only notionally a plumber –
How nice.

Your silver belly, a generous segment
of orange.
De canción, Goldfish,
toca una trompeta de plástico,
simplemente si y cuando quiere.

In the swim of my inaccurate weekend,
we don’t count our fish
before they leap
to carpet.

Nothing screams
“You will do maths
whether you like it or not”
like the ruler shattering pitch of
my primary school teacher.

You will like maths,
as you will
eventually grow into ever-higher
given time,

’til then, April, Miyamoto Shigeru, Professor Fishkins,
we all get what we decide –
I’ll see myself submerged in your wind turbine,
until that time, friends, compañeros,
until that time.

Choose Your Own Adventure

A book from 1978,
unchosen on eBay,
“Your Own Adventure”.

Time for any
unemployed spring-cleaning,
in the midwinter
experiment of my place.

Charge into battle,
make change.

Invest yet more hope
where hands quake,
to flicker dust off pages,
alight on irrelevant words.

With big tears to escape,
the drawbridge sunk,
the timely scream
hollowing a tower.

More than ever,
something needs
to hire my senses.

Opt for your own indecision;
after the last book,
you’re dead uncertain,
well done.

Choose other titles
in the series.

I thought I had something
to bring to market.
A slim mouse spat on
for the roast.
We buy £1 raffle tickets for
the broken inner
of internship
crystal ball.

With BAs, MAs can we use a computer?
Can young artists work for nothing
when the path to the webbed Arena
is littered with past names?

Brown leaves were pressed into concrete soles
of toe-crushing smart shoes.

The CV
requires imagination
to resume.

Not everyone enjoys long penpal exchanges to Canada
about inexplicable gulfs of time.

Unsure has served me well here.
years of good,
crippling unsure.
I’m glad it’s not inspiration
for a poster.

I must be better at it
than those moved to swift action,
quick decision,
jumped guns.

I took the ends of every strand
of adventure,
balled them up in my throat-song,
chose and faked my own.

I don’t know why I ever bought
this book.

New Year Notes

something you haven’t done, that we’ll do,
get around to,
given the time and strength to
in the new
year to me.

In the new year,
it appears impossible,
already like your vintage blues,
but that’s why we should,
and why it might
become possible,
just because.

This new year might arrive after all.

Offer, if you could,
your sand-timer looks
at the rolling-around
putty egg of some love.

Other luck and things
we can accidentally muster,

so sleep in expansive fur of snoozing animals
after time’s levelled land.

But don’t out-wait the coming day,
it’s like paint thinking of colour.

Find a clue.