I have seen

I have seen a man bare-fist a grizzly,
Roar and claw and bite just like the bear.
Chased it up a tree and screamed defiance,
Challenged it to face him if it dare.

I have seen a man brought low and weeping.
Weak and meek, and trembling like a leaf.
Terrified to hold his new born baby,
Overturning all his old beliefs.

I have seen a lake by a volcano,
Stream a-steam and bubbling from the heat.
Boiled an egg and ate it on the shoreline.
Heard the hiss where rock and water meet.

I have seen the sun drown in the ocean,
Bled the reds and golds into the sea.
Felt the desert winds caress the evening,
Saw the foreign stars wink down at me.

I have seen compassion in a killer.
Heard a word that’s true come from a mayor.
I have seen the devil in an angel.
I have seen a legislator care.

I have seen the world and all its wonders,
Sights you might not deem could yet be true.
I have seen the best that it can offer.
I still see them all when I see you.

   
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Purple Heart

With all the quiet grace and subtlety
Of helicopter gunships you bore down
And shattered my defences as I stood
Bemused and unprepared upon the ground.

I hid my heart below the canopy
Of cool detachment where no-one could see.
Your cloud of Agent Orange looks and smiles
Stripped bare my hiding place beneath that tree.

I cried for you to spare me, but you knew,
In order to defend me from my hell,
You had to raze my village of despair
And build a city fit for us to dwell.

You were my patron saint and devil too.
I blessed and cursed the night your war began.
Now you have other men to fight and love
And I’m alone, no more a family man.

‘Twas the day before Christmas

‘Twas the day before Christmas, and all through the town
The workers were leaving their company hoe-down.
All the husbands were struck with a terrible thought:
Tomorrow was Christmas and no gift had they bought.

They’d all meant to buy things and wrap them up nice
And cover with glitter and soak them in spice.
The gift would be just what their dear spouse adored
And peace and goodwill would be their just reward.

Then out on the streets there arose such a clatter
As men charged the stores, as for what did not matter.
The shelves were all bare and the scents were all bought.
Of rings there were none and of coats there were naught.

They ran without care through the trodden-down snow.
They trampled each other through the last of day’s glow.
They bought anything that to their eyes appeared
Growing more frantic as Christmas Day neared.

Washing-up liquid and nappies en masse,
Dresses too tiny and jewels made of glass.
They knew that these gifts would cause anger and tears,
But no gift at all was the worst of their fears.

But not me, my darling, I planned long ago
To buy you a gift that you’ll love, that I know.
So here is your gift in a plain cardboard box.
A set of car wrenches and some novelty socks.

Monday’s Sun

The city on a wet and dismal day.
The rain has washed the colour down the drains.
The buildings drawn in monochromic grey.
The black clouds anchored still, as though by chains.
The dead commuters trudge across the Thames.
No need for eyes, they’ve seen it all before.
No shade, no hue, no brightly coloured gems.
One path, one pace, one goal; the northern shore.
But in this Monday grey assent, I see
Your ev’ning dress of joyful Sunday red.
Against the tide you dance your way to me,
And where you glance your rainbow smile is shed.

You pass me by, your eyes on last night’s fun.
You’re unaware that I have seen the sun.

Though

You’re one in a million.

Though as the world’s population creeps ever higher, that does mean there are approximately 7,000 others like you. Given my bias and the unequal life expectancies between genders, that means there are approximately 4,000 women at least equal or even better. But that’s still a tiny proportion, so yay you for making it into the top 0.07 percentile.

You’re one in a million,
My bright, shining star.

Though not in as much as you consistently burn hydrogen in a massive nuclear fusion reaction that has been exploding for billions of years, nor in the sense that you weigh billions of times more than the Earth, or that you predate the existence of the Earth itself. It could be said that I orbit you, but not in the literal sense, as the gravitational attraction between us is so small as to be immeasurable. I meant it more in the sense of sailors of old, who navigated the seas by the position of the stars. I rely on you for navigating through my life, though for practicality I prefer my sat-nav.

You’re one in a million,
My bright, shining star.
Your charms? Without number!

Though infinity is a theoretical mathematical construct and does not exist in the real world. Even space is finite. Given sufficient time and an objective measurement it should be possible to number your charms, though the challenge would be to define exactly what a charm is. After all, I find your tendency to giggle at unintentional double entendres in cookery shows endearing, where another might find it irritating. Nevertheless, my initial hypothesis, untested yet by objective experimentation, is that you have many charms, even if they are finite.

You’re one in a million,
My bright, shining star.
Your charms? Without number!
Your looks? Without mar.

I personally find the small mole near your nose attractive, and though your ears protrude slightly more than other women I have dated, your tendency to wear your hair long means this is not noticeable most of the time. To be frank, the only time I notice them is when we’re in bed, and quite honestly at that point you could look like the wicked witch of the west and I wouldn’t care.

You’re one in a million,
My bright, shining star.
Your charms? Without number!
Your looks? Without mar.

You said you’d return,
An hour to buy food.
It’s been sixty-two minutes.
Have you left me for good?