About Dick Jones

I'm a post-retirement Drama teacher, currently working part-time. I have a grown-up son and daughter, three grandchildren and three young children from my second marriage. I write - principally poetry but prose too, both fitfully published. My poetry collection Ancient Lights is published by Phoenicia Publishing (www.phoeniciapublishing.com) and my translation of Blaise Cendrars' 'Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France' (illustrated by my friend, the artist, writer and long-time blogger Natalie d'Arbeloff) is published by Old Stile Press (www.oldstilepress.com). I play bass guitar & bouzouki in the song-based acoustic/electric trio Moorby Jones, playing entirely original material (https://www.facebook.com/moorbyjones?ref=aymt_homepage_panel + http://www.moorbyjones.net/). I play the same instruments in the Celtic/English/Americana/acoustic ambient trio Escher's Dream. I have a dormant blog with posts going back to 2004 at Dick Jones' Patteran Pages - http://patteran.typepad.com - and I'm a radio ham. My callsign is G0EUV

STILLE NACHT

STILLE NACHT

On the night
that I was born,
the bells rang out
across the world.

In Coventry, in Dresden,
the cathedral bones sheltered
worshippers with candles,
witnessing the ruins.

In Auschwitz-Birkenau,
the story goes,
the death’s-head guards
sang, “Stille nacht,

heilige nacht”. Their voices
slid across the Polish snow.
The sweetest tenor was Ukrainian,
the man they called Peter the Silent.

He never spoke and he killed
with a lead-filled stick.
In the Union Factory, packing shells,
they dreamed of Moses.

**

In Horton Kirby, fields froze
and ice deadlocked the lanes.
My father rose in the cold
blue-before-dawn light

and cycled sideways,
wreathed in silver mist,
to the hospital. Each turn
of the track betrayed him

and scarred by thorns and gravel,
he bled by our bedside.
My mother laughed, she remembers,
as the nurse administered.

“Been in the wars?” she asked.
Outside, across the Weald,
from out of a cloudless dawn
the buzz bombs crumpled London.

**
Outside a town in the Ardennes
Private Taunitz hung
like a crippled kite
high in a tree.

A cruciform against the sky,
he seemed to run forever
through the branches,
running home for the new year.

Outside Budapest three men
diced for roubles
in the shelter of a tank.
Fitful rain, a moonless night.

Sasha struck a match
across the red star
on his helmet, the red star
that led them to this place.

Extra vodka, extra cigarettes,
a rabbit stewed,
the tolling of artillery
to celebrate the day.

**

The blackouts drawn,
December light invaded.
We awoke, slapped hard
by the early world.

Our siren voices
climbed into the morning,
a choir of outrage,
insect-thin but passionate.

Through tears our parents
smiled: within the song
of our despair they heard
a different tune.

And as our voices
sucked the air, swallowing
the grumble of the bombs,
only the bells survived.

Dick Jones
(from ‘Ancient Lights’, Phoenicia Publishing)

Chorus

This started as a totem poem, as per the recent workshop prompt. But following a trending item on Facebook about a radiophonic phenomenon called ‘chorus’ (explained by clicking on the title link), it morphed into this. Further key data is available via first this link and then this one.

CHORUS

CQ CQ CQ CQ
CQDX CQDX CQDX
this is Golf 4
Foxtrot Hotel Romeo
G4 FHR
calling
CQ CQ DX
::: :::
unkey and float
your silence in the black
buoyancy of earthsong
plasma waves running
the spindrift of the radiation belt
hooting and skirling like
cosmic birds
listen through their wheeling and flocking
for that crouching island sentinel who’s listening too
through their wheeling and flocking
for one such voice as yours calling up the skywave
into the dawn
::: :::
CQ CQ CQ CQ
CQDX CQDX
CQ DX
this is Golf 4 Fox Hotel Radio
G4 FHR calling
CQ CQ CQ
CQDX CQ DX
and listening
::: :::
unkey and close your eyes
whistling electrons are
running the hoop of the earth
riding the chorus pipeline
through the van allens
tether breath and listen
to the whorl and whoop
of the great unmodulated voice
laughing out of nothingness
and back into an oblivion
unpolluted by your kind
slinging their prayers
across the ether
seeking witness
in their solitude
::: :::
and so you tether
until there’s only the sussuration
of your breathing and
the coil and arc
of that first
utterance.

Dick Jones