Friday, 5 February 2010


In the infinite blackness of lights and shining stars
Does the solitary watchman sit
With his brazier burning; warming his hands -
Turning over theologies and the glowing coals...

Or is there perchance some caring nurse doing the rounds;
Going with lighted candle and reassuring words -
Forever with a gentle hand upon the ward...

And maybe too, a brace of jolly policemen on the beat
With friendly nods and timely counsel -
To keep the evil-doer away...

Or is it only squadrons of heavenly riders
Storming ever onwards with their flaming swords -
And no time for foolish sentiment...

Or is it only fireworks?


In my own black night of light and stars
I sit and softly stroke my dear daft father's pillowed head
And think
Upon the meaning
Of his last and scarcely whispered words...

Jesus is coming


I find these last words extremely interesting because my father, who lived as a boy and young man in probably the highest house in Wales (on the slopes of Snowdon above the Rhyd Ddu Slate Quarry), was a victim of countless hellfire and damnation chapel sermons about the sins of the flesh. He went to chapel and back in the inevitable rain over the rugged mountainside wearing his sister's boots. He finally escaped on a bicycle he bought with his first week's wages. He always said: When you're dead you're dead. At the end there is only oblivion, is what he meant.


  1. Liked the images of heaven and hell here (brazier, coals and sword) which pick up on the chapel sermons.

    I think I would have liked the explanation after the poem. It is a work of art which stands alone without the need for letting the reader know how to read it.

  2. Gordon, Of course you are absolutely right, in fact I now see that you are even more than right (if there's such a thing) and so I've now deleted the preamble completly. Yes. it's all much better for that. I was too close to the trees.
    Man thanks, I'm very much obliged,

  3. I guess I am wondering if your father meant "Jesus" when he said "Jesus", or if he was referring to the guy with the sickle commonly pictured in a long black robe.

  4. Sparker,
    Now, I really wonder about that. Perhaps dad's last words were "Jeez...he's coming" rather than "Jesu is coming" meaning the cloven-footed one is on his way...

    Interesting point.

    That's the trouble with 'last words' - they tend to be enigmatic and confusing.

  5. Sparker, On reflection I think dad must really have meant that in his last moments he saw a kindly Jesus like vision rather than the hooded grass cutter of our nighmares. Knowing my dad, he'd have used a very strong Welsh in the latter case.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.