Then Will I Sing

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898) … St.Cecilia – Stained Glass – 2nd Presbyterian Church, Chicago

When time at last has caught its fearful breath
And I have cause to think again of you,
I will return to our far distant past
And then relive those old desires anew.

For when in trepidation I now pray
For health and strength in my remaining years,
Memories flood back of youthful days
When you and I brushed eyes and shed some tears.

Now, when hearts may meet and lips may touch,
And old less supple bodies bond in bliss,
Now, when you give to me your self in love,
Then will I sing and long remember this.

That youth and age together make a life,
Related sides of but a single page.
This truth becomes at last to us apparent,
Allows our hearts in love to re-engage.

Who Shall I Pray To?




It may be 
that only the Little People have my measure,
know the chances I take, 
jockeying for position on the human stage,
risking all.
It is they who understand. 
they have been here before me
and sympathise. 

Now, safe in their elven homes,
they take the long view,
the wise one, 
in turn, sympathetic, then disdainful,
smugly disengaged.

For that is their destiny as gods,
to judge, 
to pronounce on the frail and the headstrong;
to be prayed to by feeble humankind, 
free to accept our pitiful offerings. 
free also
to ignore our pleas for redemption. 

Who else do I pray to
when history’s gods fail me? 
Only Solas listens, 
but his replies I fail to understand, 
and, rudderless, 
am, as ever, left
to choose my own path
in this unstable world.


A Pedestrian’s Prayer

[  # 89 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

car and pedestrian1

WHB … 2018

Prayer of a Poor Pedestrian

O God, who filled all heaven with stars
And then all earth with motor cars,
Make room within thy cosmic plan
For me, a poor pedestrian.

Spread Thou before me, I entreat,
A threadlike pathway for my feet;
And do thou watch me lest I stray
From this, Thy straight and narrow way.

Give me an ear, alert, acute,
For each swift car’s peremptory hoot:
Teach me to judge its headlong pace
And dodge it with a nimble grace.

When driver’s looks and words are black
Restrain me, Lord, from answering back:
O bless me with a nature meek
To bear with smiles each narrow squeak.

And if one day Thy watchful eye
Should be withdrawn, and I should die,
One boon I crave, upon my knees:
Exonerate the driver, please.

This poem is re-printed from Gyles Brandreth’s ‘The Joy of Lex’ (Robson Books 1987). It was originally published in ‘Prayers and Graces’ by Allen M.Laing. Pan Books, 1981.