A sad end at last

1. A sad end at last












I ponder his clothes all black respect,
Glinting in the last heat of summer’s wane,
And mine my Sunday best,
A little tight but still the thing,
For the business of this day,

Two sons to two fathers lost,
As we three shuffle, bow our heads,
Twist our hats,
And look up through blurry eyes,
At what lies on the slab,
With a cloth of mercy up to her neck.

Oh,‘twas not the sharpened blade,
That cut poor Polly deep,
Nor was it death with whom she swaggered;
Lording it down Buck’s Row,
Arm in arm, full to the eyeballs,
With a jolly bonnet on her head,
And just four shillings on her mind.

And fast fell her eventide,
Swilling down rough with gin,
That never could kill the thought,
Of what led you to a midwife’s bed;
As those tired skirts lift,
For the very last time.












And I hear you words of absolution,
As stale and upright as all the rest,
And as empty as the crumpled shell,
On which my tears begin to fall;
‘It has come to a sad end at last’.

G. Ferries July 2011

2. Here, upon this picture

Who sits beside you Annie?
A third, illumined in a sulphrous glow,
Mine, as black as yours,
Unbeating heart!
That lights the way to crumpled morning.

Even now; a tale hangs in your eyes,
Arrayed as you are for the bridal,
Trussed and dressed for the mire and stink,
Of all your dowry’s worth.

Who stumbles beside you Annie?
Through these darkling woods,
Whose stomach swills as full as your’s
Who sings ‘for me thou shalt not want,
Nor fear no ill’

And when at last I showed my face,
No past remembance found you there,
And my cold heart did warm to hear you say,
‘The drink’s the thing to make myself forget’.

G Ferries Oct 2011

3.Unfinished business

Is this my death and how it comes?
Blurry above myself I see;
My pity’s on her,
This Gustave’s daughter, dead in drink,
With a wilting flower for vanity,
And a fresh new crimson ribbon,
About her neck.

And the doing and the undoing of a button,
Now seems a thing for eternity,
Enshrouded all in a sadness,
Like the night’s last mercy,
A mercy that leaves no other mark.
Or stain upon this unfinished business,
Of a night all darkness,
And I so far from home.

G Ferries Dec 2011

4. Every loosening thread

Every loosening thread,
Winds its way towards her death,
Her death in its winding sheet of grief and stone,
The grief of another fallen Eve,
With her eyes set before the night’s yet old.

Yet the black cloth rose and fell,
And falls and rises,
In deepening breaths,
That hold me fast.

The night too deepened,
As my ears drank down the bruises of her song,
From a sodden rag,
I drank down every last stale drop,
And here’s no wax nor mast,
To blunt a hungering desire.

Nearer my god she sang,
As I turned her out to endless night,
With sun, moon and stars forgot,
Cold air mixing with the last of her voice,
And with the duty of my empty scorn.

Ever nearer to that dim lit square,
Of secret death it led,
And nearest of all to the hangman god
With his ever sharpening knife.

G Ferries Mar 2012

5. This crimson white

To cloudy, thickened glass I press my stinging eyes,
On copper’s business they squint, avoid,
And frame this bloodied work;
Recline there in luxury,
This her body,

In vain to keep afloat,
In swimming blood,
We bustle our waxing industry;
Yet sniffing dogs nor scribbling press,
Can keep a waning spirit from despair.

Biting down on cheek and tongue,
Amid the flashing sulphered light,
I lift my cloth,
And pray for the tricks of the charlatan,
That never come.

So bloody this room;
Of all, I can see thee in my dreams,
Not sleep, nor wake can wash,
This crimson white,
Nor raise the strength,
To keep poor Mary i’ the ground.

G Ferries Aug 2012

An ode upon the death of Thomas Aikenhead (Jan 1697) 

Now sweet Thomas thy suffering comes to end,
With no perpetual flame to scald thy words,

Lay thou thy weary head ‘pon reason’s sturdy chest,
For oblivion and sweetest naught shall be thy rest.

Thy lifeless frame no more shall riot bring,
To bear upon the drunken table,

No more thy sharpened wit shall strike,
The fearful souls of those in thrall.

Who shunned and ran from thee like Peter from his Christ,
‘Fore any faithless crowing found it’s voice,

And spelled out death,
For any man of stone to read.

Thou who saw the cracks in Ezra’s fables,
As false as those who turn to a bringer of wrath,

As tall and as wide as the gates of hell,
Where Christian men would see thee suffer.

But if truth in seeking be thine to find,
No vengeful flame will scald nor aught to thee,

Save warm thy frozen hands and feet,
And light the darkness of a night o’er black.

But to youth and life and truth,
The greatest blasphemy you bring,

You wolflike men of cloth who crowd the doleful scaffold,
And spit your holy words upon the pity of this scene.

G.Ferries Aug 2011

Wherein you lie

Between the light thickening of sheets,
And the glowing red of forbidden night,
You lie;
Smooth and sleekly naked.
So even in this barely light,
The darkness makes all of you visible.

Your outline could stretch,
To the nowhere edge of all,
Further and further,
To where this moment becomes,
All the thoughts and deeds,
Both done and undone,
Both ending and beginning,

The twisting stillness of pluming smoke,
Denies it’s own time,
Bites its own tail,
And casts its nets around us.
That none can taunt,
With their promise of permanence.

Their little lives fall on you now,
Harmlessly melting,
Like the flowers of evil,
That scatter and perfume this bed,
Wherein you lie;
Smooth and sleekly naked.

GF Mar 2011

In tenebrae

Vengeance, she came to me last night,
Bearing herself and serving coldly
A dish fashioned well of crooked love.

She rode upon a voice which closed on tears,
And strove to hide her shame,
from the beckoning confessional.

‘Mea culpa’ now on first name terms;
Whilst her spluttering demotic despair
Anoints your godless intellect.

Two passing mentions in one holy week;
And all are weak in the garden with sinning and
falling and with rising again.

GF Feb 2011



‘I’ve come to show you who you are’,
She said,
‘What you were always meant to be’.

‘You knew that it was me,
In that field on a Summer’s eve.
Me, only with a different face,
And many faces’.

‘Different eyes too,
That shone yet saw the same things’
That I see now’.

‘Feeling your eyes on me,
I laughed and teased,
And felt my tongue and lips,
Find their use’.

‘And between my legs,
I felt it all,
Filling me up to the brim,
And over the brim,
And so full was I,
That inside I could only weep,
Knowing full well,
That it was all for me’.

‘Then still I felt your eyes upon me,
Whilst your hand still clutched at childhood,
And in time my dear,
I’ll let you open me,
Like a Christmas gift,
That’s just for you’.

‘And I’ll pour the soiled honey,
of my words in your ears.
And I’ll pleasure your body,
(For this is my body),
As I flatter your mind’.

‘And, if you taste some venom,
On my lips,
Then put not the blame on me.

‘It came through the edge,
And the turn of my cheek,

The bite of my lip,
The heft and the blackness,
Of my eyes’.

‘That fall on you now,
To tell that it was I,
That has made you old,

‘And even then,
When I walked in the garden,
I laughed at that belly without sin,
Scorning a god,
That would make my work,
So easy’.

GF Dec 2010


There the secrets spoke

In the darkness,
There the secrets spoke,
Of no words were they made,
And sounded of no tongue,
Back and forth.
With no breath to break them.

And it was deeper,
Than ever I thought it could be,
And wider too,
And with a sound far beyond silence it went,
Back and forth.
With no breath to carry.

And it made death prick up his tired ears,
As those secret things stretched and whispered,
Into his all conquering night,
Back and forth.
Till breath breathed no more.

GF May 2009



There was no need for arrangements when you died,
No calls to make,
No letters to write,
And nothing to put in the paper.

Even if after such a long and drawn out sickness,
It all still came as quite a shock.

Nor were there grim yet needful tasks,
To speed the gloomy hours to close,
Cloaking despair in forms familiar,
Even in her finest clothes.

Nor was there need of the services
Of a black clad portly waist,
Nor his reverence,
Nor his box of cheap hankies,
Piled high with snot and tears.

Nor did words and flowers call,
Each in the company of the morning post,
Nor across that table a palpable grief,
Binding all to one.

Neither as the evening fell,
Was comfort found in the laughter of the young,
As they without knowing,
Forced life into the sepulchre,
And mocked mortality,
Even for a while. 

GF Nov 2008

Natural selection

As the glove smacks a waiting cheek,
Fragile on its staggering feet,
Punchdrunk and with cuts unhealed,
That yawn and gape under cheap stitching.

The spray of gory sweat,
Mixed with the dull thud of the inevitable,
Which comes in time for those who wait,
Like a mouse bloodripened for the claw.

GF 28/11/07



Drawest thou the sap from my desire,
And ring the embers from my once proud flame,
Which cracked full bright when newness did inspire,
Yet fell from grace to couple with my shame.
Had fate ne’er took my part nor showed me all,
Of bliss perpetual in another’s life.
Instead a bliss of different ilk did call,
Behind whose back the kindest thrusting knife.
And first upon those lips of bitterest wine,
A bargain struck in taunting grape and lust,
Both joining, bent to mock the mock divine,
And banished me from that which held my trust.
A fool so finds himself so basely blessed,
And finds a torment where he’d set his rest.

GF August 2008


On Pére La Chaise

As they in vain with paltry frames,
Imprint themselves on immortality,
Forgotten whispers full speed them to that end,
‘Mid memories piled thick high on bones,
For their voices fill this place to every nook.

GF December 2008


The Reminder

Decaying signs before my eyes
Have read these unfleshed words;
There in the cold dark ground,
Lies a digital necropolis.

I lived with each new sounding,
Growing fainter than the last,
Until I found my new found faith,
Had found its first apostate.

G.F. 24/11/07


Mr Shakespeare

She said a lot of things all told,
But as it turned out,
None of them applied to me.

There was something that she said,
about parting and dying,
That didn’t quite work out that way.

And once she told me
That she was involved with
Mr Shakespeare.
But as luck would have it,
He just couldn’t give her
What she needed.

She told me not to mix,
My colours with my whites.
And when she said my name too often,
A sweet chastisement,
Washed me from head to feet.

She said that age was just a number;
But all that gave me,
Was a pretty good idea of numbers,
As the enemy banners flapped  noisily
in the wind.

There were no words though,
When I thought of you in your underwear,
Assembling that sofa,
And sweating under the strain.

No words that is until
You took me down that night.
With your tongue
wrapped in a mother’s tongue.

And you told me that one very bad night,
You felt your head
Go through the t.v. screen,
With that same guiding hand
Around your throat.

And, I remember how you wept,
As god gave you a few extra moments
of bliss,
Before you rose again,
And left again.

GF July 2008



Have you been brought so low?
Low enough to try the guiles of others,
That hitherto by you were deemed
As nothing.

To say within the night,
That all must die
For want of you,
Unless hope dies a death before,
And rips the life from out her shade.

For now has time spat upon your bright light,
Which flickered, grew dim and grew darker;
Darker than the dark of the countryside,
Where no distant strand of streetlight
Can give you ease.

G.F. Nov 2007


The lost

The rubiest of lips,
with the slightest parting
and the slightest knowing
and a gentle biting upon themselves,
mouthing the shapes that mouthed the words,
that seemed to stretch eternally.

And upon those heels,
as red as those lips,
you tottered and traced
those big striding lines,
across the stumbling floor.
With duty and emptiness
Moving as one.

GF Jan 2008


Signs of life

And I felt it then,
The lightness of your dead weight.
Not twisting, nor stretching,
To an endless arch,
But stiff, cold and bound,
In your swaddling cloth.

Only cold eyes,
With no signs of life,
And nothing left to shine,
With an indifferent nobility,
Nor blink in time,
With the sleepy universe.

And all my care was wrapped ,
In the sleekness of her hide,
There, autumn colours met and said,
To speak well for nature’s grace.
For nothing all cruelty,
Could form a thing so fine.

GF Feb 2011