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07 Preciosa And The Wind
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Recorded at various concerts across the UK

My Own Poetry

Keith James

Pantomime Horses
From the Album Always..
Written in Cordoba, Andalusia. January 2015 and Llangoedmor February 2015

It would appear that the Scorpionís tail, has turned upon itself
The sandman can blow like fire across the circus ring
Now we are the chickens who peck at bare stones where the dust of grain is hidden
As a cloud paints the church where children sing

So after yesterday, we all said, life will never be the same
I was summoned to agree, my hands were tight and frozen
Around the life I would have chosen

The hipsters in the city freeze their dance into a rhythm
For their gods who have no time for those who linger
The silent withering of grace will cause the blessed to lose their calling
Sweat that turns to silicone gives no pleasure to the fingers
No encore for the groom with borrowed lines inside his jacket The rose of ego sheds its petals in the rain
They will just rot away in vain

Language is so imperfect, it coughs and improvises
When the secret flickering firmament of souls can be fetched no more
When all our homely shapes of love can no longer be fed and sent to market
A mighty clamour of a bell that every heart is waiting for

The blameless and contrary fire volleys at the audience
They sit on pantomime horses that hurry round and round in circles

Quoting passages learnt from the chamber of dolls
While the young who bought tickets for the stalls, have finally come of age

They are the children who were born with a cross on their shoulder
They are the children who now have a flame in their throats
Your perfect acts of secrecy, will be crushed by slight of hand
A simple card trick, at the table of the creeps and rakes
A rumour in the corridor, a monkey on the shoulder
And all the portraits go up in flames, along with a gallery of fakes.

Circle Song
Written in Cadaquez, Catalonia 2000
This became a song later that year and has been played in almost every concert since then.

A swan is sitting in the rain, an old boy stops to throw his bread again
Taxis circle with no fair, circles never do go anywhere
A pack of cards without a King, eyes that cry but never sting
The consequence of family rows, the negligence of wedding vows

A window dress that fades to grey is one girlís summer trophy anyway
A prayer thatís spoken, bare of voice, a thought thatís thrown to earth without a choice
The sunburn of the saxophone, the night you took my sister home
The ambivalence of all thatís lost, these broken bones will count the cost

A shirt thatís waiting to be warn, two children laughing there, were never born
That magazine was never read, a corner folded, left beside the bed
A photograph that someone found, like gloves left on the underground
And all thatís left of those who died, are stones that rattle me inside

The Water and the Rain
Written in BBC Studio Maida Vale 1987 and in Sandwich, Kent 2005

This poem became a song almost immediately after it was written, but has hardly ever been played live. I have always been hesitant of including it in a concert because it is so relentless in its sadness and reminds me of times when there was only emptiness in my life.

No matter from which point in time, I reassemble every face
I have no photographs to fumble with, no words to fill the space
I am struck by the conclusion that I have broken every toy
That I have cheated transformation from a man into a boy

No matter from which angle, I try to penetrate my mind
I have only sentences that scratch and tear, no phrases underlined
Through a mist of self assurance, I see each figure of distain
The truth spills out like water and the lies fall down like rain

Now from the comfort of euphoria, I feel the clatter of the years
Iíve grown accustomed to humility and the salty taste of tears
I am cocooned in my apartment, protected from the pain
The truth spills out like water and the lies fall down like rain

The Pacific, a letter home..
Written in Sandwich, Kent and Cardigan, Wales. 2012 - 2013

This is Waltz that can either be read with a rhythm of 3/4 or 6/8 or sung in the same time signature.

It is late afternoon, just before the election
When heads have been stroked and the ball has been fought
I think of your hair, maybe greying as mine
And this match box of sentences, pressed into time

Lucy cooks savouries, here, facing the sea
She laughs at my ways, but has vowed to be mine
There is cafť on the stove before I turn up
And a flower from her garden, curled round my cup

The fathers go fishing, they have arms like roots
The Salt and the sweat strips their faces of fear
My single light harvests the moths and the flies
My sheet and my books bring some rest to my eyes

But when the rain comes, it has the frown of a Judge
Committing bodies to prison, pressing shapes into caves
Oppressed by an earth with its ring of clownís pockets
Oh the folly of those who invest in space rockets

On the steps of the Church, in a fight, a boy died
His Motherís procession held Lilies that wept
In the cafť, the clarinet was silent tonight
Father played dominos under candlelight

I heard the students in the street, with bongos and flutes
Primitive, possessed, crying and screaming
They shot bullets to the stars, they lit fires in the square
The children of protest, still know how to care

It is long way from Cheap Street, tangled on sofas
Picking a way through all the bells and overtures
Two hundred pound taxis, the smoke and the pills
Our dances in fountains, our hospital bills

I never imagined how exile would be..
A pocket full of nonsense or a Panama sketch
A bowl of black beans, birds singing in my ear
A shelf full of books and a head, full of clear

First published by Hay on Wye, Collected poetry. Quirk Volume I 2013

A few small Grains
Written in Orgiva, AndalucŪa 2006

This has already become a song. Also in 6/8 time

I am that tired soul in the market place
Grubby coins, a grubby face
Surplus coat and Chinese shoes
Dodging fares and jumping queues

A few small grains of warm grey sand
Can pass through time, can pass through fashion
A maypole smile, a travellers tooth
A pair of shades in a photo booth

All of us have our fatherís hands
Hands that write or mock or kill
In the dark green river we wash our sweat
Watch the torch processions cross the hill

Tall men stand against the wind of change
Gothic spires are sacked and strewn
Poets loathe in Merchant halls
To music that corrodes its tune

So donít you dare chastise me with your cross of youth
Donít play that trumpet in my ear
No pious drivel, no military boot
No chlorine kiss, no awkward suit

So I will live without chocolate in a brimstone house
With my few small grains of warm grey sand
A cat for every day of the week
And an eye for a tale
and the open land

First published by Hay on Wye, collected poems, Quirk Volume III 2014