Thursday, 20 December 2018

Characters in Search of a Story

Part 1
The man suddenly became aware of himself and then slowly, of a half lit stage which he didn't understand for a few minutes. But thoughts and ideas were coming very rapidly, like scrolls unrolling to him from many directions. He soon understood a lot of things.
              In the corner a middle-aged woman appeared, she had no expression on her face. Looking  up towards him, at first she was puzzled, then she smiled and realised somehow that his name was Richard. And that hers was Vareena.
Richard was reading a notebook he had found in an office at the back of the stage. Vareena joined him and together they read outlines of their characters, their backgrounds and personal details, she discovered that she liked gin and tonic and wondered what it tasted like. Richard's pronounced Adam's apple was exactly  how it was described. There was a lot of crossing out and some parts looked as if they had been spat on. On the front page barely visible was a title:
                         “RICHARD AND VAREENA”,
               A play in( various numbers crossed out)  acts.

They looked again and again through the notebook but there were no clues  to any story. And the swift unrolling of thoughts and memories in them only told them about their past and not why they were here on an empty stage.
Then from somewhere came a loud hard noise and a cry followed by wails and sobs. They found the source of the noise: inside an apartment at the back of the theatre. By now the sobbing was quiet and weary. They stood in a yard outside the front door wondering what to do, but when desperate choking sounds came from inside, Vareena quickly went in. Richard followed and to his surprise saw her giving a blue faced man violent bear hugs from behind carefully flicking her silk scarf away as he spewed out a mess of flem and tablets; lots of tablets. She had remembered being a doctor and knew what to do. Richard gave him his handkerchief to wipe his face.
The choking man was asleep. He had tried to shoot himself but the old gun hadn't worked, he'd smashed his desk with it, and then tried to swallow a great many sleeping tablets. When he eventually came round his bleary eyes set into a fixed stare at the two mysterious figures looking at him.
“Hello Gordon”, said Richard and Vareena simultaneously.
Part 2
“My head felt like it had been hit with a brick, my guts were burning and I could hardly move. But when my eyes focused, I knew those two faces: the heroes of the play I couldn't write, Richard and Vareena, peering at me with that intense kindness I knew I would never be able to convey. I didn't know whether I was dead or alive, or something else, I'd certainly wanted to be dead: I've never known writer's block to get to me so much. I felt angry and cheated that I was still here, but this was overtaken by a growing outrage that here in front of me, holding my hands were two people who shouldn't exist, except in a script and on a stage.”
“They say they just appeared on the stage, and somehow their minds filled up with memories and knowledge of who they were but beyond that, they know as much as me. They don't seem to be bothered about the impossibility of this, but they're here and there's no arguing with that.”
After being put to bed that first night Gordon slept until early evening the next day. Over the next week Richard and Vareena  gently nursed him back to health.
Gordon needed to get out, so the three of them walked into the West End, it was early Friday evening, not too busy. They wandered into a bar that boasted the largest selection of gins in London, and there Vareena discovered the taste of gin and tonic, Gordon just drank orange juice.
                                             It was late when they returned to Gordon’s place, he felt much better but he was very tired. When he bid his strange friends goodnight he didn't really hear their reply: “Goodnight, Gordon,” they said almost in unison, “you’ll see us again.” Richard looked at Vareena, “ Home?”  Looking up towards him, at first she was puzzled, then she smiled and nodded.
                               In the morning they were gone.
Part 3
Gordon was wide awake, he couldn't stop thinking about the past few days with the mysterious couple, “ Who the hell were they, where did they come from, where have they gone, and why were they so good to me? With all those tablets and my pathetic mental state maybe I imagined it all. Perhaps I should go and see someone and get help.”
                    By lunch time he had decided that it had all been some kind of mental episode, and went into town to try and forget it. He passed the gin bar and went in, his agent Jerry sometimes came here. It would be good to bump into him.
“ Gin and Orange without the gin please”
“ How come you're drinking orange juice?” Beryl the landlady asked.
“Oh, I've not been well.” Just then he noticed something behind the bar; his mouth dropped and he stared.
“ You alright? You look like you've seen a ghost, and we ain't got any since that priest came, what's the matter?”
Gordon was staring at Vareena's silk scarf hanging on a hook by the mirror.
“ Er, that, scarf, it's my friend's, we were in here the other day.”
“Oh yea, she left it here, very nice, Liberty by the looks of it, you'd better take it to your friend.”
When Gordon came home  he layed the scarf on the table and stuffed his hands into his pockets; Richard’s hanky! He'd forgotten. He placed it flat on the table by the scarf. A dirty hanky stiff with dried flem, and a beautiful blue silk scarf with an abstract diamond pattern. He stared at them for a long time, then he began to cry. For a long, long time.
The following day the telephone rang. For the first time in weeks he picked it up. “ Gordon! I've been trying to get you for ages,” It was Jerry, “ Listen I know you've been going through a hard time but I've had ‘Nightmare’ from the BBC on to me. She really wants a new play from you for this Thursday evening series in the Autumn, darling they love your stuff but they won't wait. I hate to be a bull…” “Good to hear you Jerry, sorry I've been a bit elusive lately. She'll have a finished script by the end of the week. Three episodes.” Jerry was surprised and happy, “ What's it about?”
“ Oh failed suicide, people appearing from nowhere and then disappearing. But mainly kindness”
                                 WILF DEC 2018

Monday, 29 October 2018

Empty Crosses

                   EMPTY CROSSES
After it had finished I waited with Mary,
When everyone had gone, we went up the hill,
But through our tears we couldn't see
Which empty cross was ours.
We could hardly see while it was going on
And now among the jumble of wood we couldn't tell.
We would have taken it home if we knew:
He had touched that wood.
They told me that crosses were bad:
You might end up worshipping an idol.
But I didn't want to do that,
I wanted something to focus my unruly mind.
They said if I did have a cross it  had to be empty
Because Jesus wasn't there any more,
I understand, but every cross is empty now
How would I know which one is His?
This step, so small, yet  impossible
A trivial sacrifice that I cannot but must make.
To think that this is the very cross
That He said we must bare!
His cross was bigger than the world
I don't understand it
Mine; immeasurably small,
I understand it well: it will kill me.
Into resurrection.

                   WILF OCT 2018

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Pansy Boy

                         PANSY BOY

There he was,
Out on his own
Out in the cold because he was different.
You couldn't miss him, even with his head down
All colour and beauty

They called him, “Pansy”, they were right,
But not for any reason they knew.

All his life had been a winter of cruelty
He sighed and cried prayed and
Stayed right through the coldest times
And he blossomed
Pansy: beautiful tough.
                             Wilf July 2018

Today, Give Flowers to the Dead

Today, give flowers to the dead
Yesterday they weren't here
Tomorrow they will be gone.

The poor you can give to yesterday
(Oh, but you didn't) or tomorrow,
They will still be here
They are always here.
Any other day you can give to them

But today give flowers to the dead
Fill their graves to overflowing
Let today be a day of waste.
                               WILF 06/ 2018

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A Prayer

               A PRAYER
Lord I don't know what to say
I have no confidence that my words
Could express my heart
Even if I spoke to You in the tongues
Of men and angels……….

But take my sighs: the breath of my heart
These informed words
Whatever they may be they are my heart,
They are for You, All Knowing One
I know you will understand
And answer me
                                 Wilf July 2018

Saturday, 16 December 2017


On a night when something beautiful died,
I glanced at the large wooden cross
Above our fire
It reminded me of somewhere You'd been,
On a day when something beautiful died.

The cross was hard, awkward, unyielding
Like everything else in that moment
But I had to cling to it maybe somehow
I could be closer to You.

Your beauty had died, mine too
My grief burst
The wood melted
Warm and soft like a body
I embraced it, You embraced me
In the  sacrament of that moment
In the cross You ask us all to bear.
               Wilf Dec 2017

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Four Short Poems

Dirty earth
Mixed with blood
Kneaded and spun, fired and dipped and fired
And then
A pot to hold the molten gold
And pour the blood
On to dirty earth

                            Wilf Dec 2017

                 ANSWERED PRAYER
I wrote you a letter.
I didn't know your name,
And I had no  words but I wrote anyway.
I didn't know where you lived  
So I slid it in a blank envelope
Which somehow found your door

I didn't think You knew I was here
Or there
    or anywhere or,..
        or any body
But in the days that followed
The answer came, right here,
To me.
                    Wilf Dec 2017

You turn the minutes,
These empty minutes
Into moments,
These moments
Into a life,
A life into
Our life
And all that life has come to be
Comes to be in this moment
In You
                          Wilf Dec 2017


It seems frivolous to be doing this now
When people are fighting and dying
In a desert war in the Midlands
But these grapes dried under the high sun
Are for the weary soldiers,

It seems frivolous to be treading grapes
In this time
When the poor are being crushed.
But the feet that tread this fruit
Are the feet that have trod the path:
And wine gladdens the heart

                Wilf Dec 2017