Time for December Keep Poems Alive. Let’s have something non seasonal — we don’t always have to be relevant if relevant means frozen, sad  and disillusioned by the world out there. Reading can be “escapist” in a good sense, it can be refreshing and warming. So we start with a poem by Fred Beake, on an unusual subject: he is saying goodbye to a car. This will take our mind off those December cares for certain.

But still we think about others. Tony Lewis Jones is warm too as he sets out in the milieu of his poem Christmas Cheer, based on the cold outdoor days of December, and the people he might find in the churches and streets, and how he feels about sharing his fortunes. 

Next, a very unusual poem by Vivien Jones, to widen the subject matter of this month’s batch.  This poem works by saying things we’re all aware of but hardly anyone ever says. The courage to look hard at the obvious.  I find the title obscure but fascinating: it had me looking up Visions of Cody but I’m not quite there yet. Sometimes following a poem takes time.

A little self indulgence may be considered appropriate at this time of year. Nikolas Evanz was my uncle. He ws primarily a painter and the picture of a narrow boat on a canal was recently found in a Gloucestershire antique shop, by someone who managed to get in touch with me via his booklet of poems which I published. As you see, Thirty One Socks is a mild complaint against others in the family who found it hard or alien to accept him as an artist.

We finish with Yuan Hongri’s transcendentalist Chinese poem of whatever is inspiring out there beyond the leaves, flowers and trees.

To send poems for Keep Poems Alive International please email  them to Sally Evans 35 at gmail dot com, stating where previously published . You need to hold the copyright.

Dec vintage-car-2851452_960_720

Fred Beake
For A546 HAD, commonly known as HAD

Well HAD I remember getting you from Avalon Garage
  With Mr Smith’s usually reliable assurance
That you were a good car, whereupon your handbrake disintegrated
  Which might have put off someone who was in a position to choose,
But I ground my teeth and persevered with you
  — Rather like with a woman I could not quite give up on.
And that Christmas (or maybe the one after) my son and I
  Were belting up to Yorkshire
And you spilled your oil in the middle of the M1,
  And we were told it was a miracle you had not seized up,
But you went on with indifference.
  And that summer my brother was forty
The garage left your oil cap off
  And again you spilled your lubrication.
And then there were the trees at the eccentric Mrs King’s
Which covered your white with green strange mould.
  Somehow I left it, feeling it became you.
Yet with all your vagaries of mood
  You’ve been a good car to me, HAD.
All those trips to Wales, climbing the passes
  On 900 c.c.’s, all those visits
  To Devon to meet with Nicholas or William.
All that traipsing around back streets of this town for work.
I’ll do my best to sell you to someone with a sense of humour.
  They will need it, but with luck
They will come to love you
  And keep you a little longer from the scrap heap.
But with your looks increasingly I wonder if anyone will want you
  And perhaps to end it now would be kindest.

First published Poetry Scotland 13, 2002

Dec candle-2818819__340

Tony Lewis-Jones
Christmas Cheer

Another icy day at the beginning of December,
except it’s Payday, reason enough to feel warm.
I go to St Mary’s Catholic Church downtown

to pray and light candles –

there’s only one other person in there
at 9.30 in the morning –
he looks like a grizzled veteran of the streets
complete with a bag full of clothes, and he’s standing over
one of the Collecting Tins as if he’s trying
to ascertain how much there is inside.
Hoping I may have saved him from himself,
I say my prayers and light 3 candles
and then quickly leave. Outside, 
on the City Centre streets
a low Winter sun bounces off car windscreens –
I remember what you said
‘There but for the Grace of God
go you and I’ – and people will suffer
this year at Christmas
for the lack of twenty pounds 
from a good friend
or a regular job – let us
spread our good fortune if we can – 
it is that Season.
first published on the Writers Café USA, 2014

Viven Jones

After Kerouac’s Visions of Cody
It’s 64 years since i was born, but
there’s no one with me here tonight.
My sons making money in cities,
graqndchildren intent on growing,
siblings being grandparents —
any one of us might just stop living.

If it was me, my husband

would just come
looking for supper or talk,
with shavings on his clothes,
he would touch my cooling body,
want to ask me what happened,
re-calculate the rest of the day.
If it was him, some sudden stop,
fallen over his work-bench.
I’d be mad that he waslate for supper,
march down there practising rage.
Then I would rage — how could he
better demonstrate our togetherness
than by deserting it?
Though  it ‘s background most days,
it’s been there since the start,
the black side of love is fear of loss,
and one of you is going to get it.
Published in Short of Breath, Cultured Llama 2014

Nik Evanz narrow boat

Nikolas Evanz
Thirty-One Socks

Thirty-one Socks
Every Christmas I get from
Thirty-one relations
         he said
Pairs of course
and Ties
         he raised his hands
         in supplication

They all know I paint
Why can’t they give me
Not thirty-one

Published in The Open Air Exhibiton, 2002

Dec cheetah-2412554_960_720

Chinese Poet Yuan Hongri
Translated by Manu Mangattu
Bright Star – Sweet Song

I do know that heaven is in my frame, in my front
Yet I still covet the covert far-off kingdom of aliens
Longing forever to hear the soulful song of the stone.
My footsteps, when I tread on the earth
Shall accompany the throb of the years
Every leaf is a word
Every flower is a poem
Every big tree has an old soul
And all could hear the sweet song of the stars.