Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Beautiful Thing OR G-A-Y, Seeds in the Wind

My poem takes its title from a delightful gay movie of the same name. It is one of relatively few mainstream movies (available on DVD) that I have seen whose story line turns on the developing relationship between two schoolboys. [Do so many parents and teachers really think gay men and women emerge into adulthood out of thin air?]

Now, parents sometimes get in touch to ask what they should so about a gay son or daughter. Do? What else, but continue to love and support them?


Though a day be my last on God’s good earth
and I regret many things I have done,
I’ll bring hopes of a second chance, rebirth,
to whatever we like to call ‘Heaven’

Though a breath be my last in Nature’s arms
and the world’s judgment upon me unkind,
I’ll submit to her dear, evergreen charms,
trusting in Peace to be always at hand

Though these eyes look their last on a bird’s wing
as it soars with grace and kisses the sky,
I’ll clasp to my heart love’s beautiful thing
that has blessed me and will not let us die

For knowing you, needing you, loving you…
Nature’s seeds in the wind, gay, free and true

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2014

[Note: This poem has been slightly revised from an earlier version that appears in 1st (print) eds. of A Feeling for the Quickness of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005; new (revised) ed. in e-format in preparation.]


Monday, 15 September 2014

Love: Where Fools Rush In OR G-A-Y, All or Nothing

 “You’re a fool!’ someone told me forcefully years ago when I came out to everyone as a gay man, adding for good measure that ‘All gays are losers.’

Well, all I can say is that now I know why ‘fools rush in’ and I certainly don’t feel I’ve lost out. On the contrary, in spite of my life’s many ups and downs, I feel all the more fulfilled for being openly gay. Tragically, many gay boys and girls, men and women living in a gay-unfriendly culture and/or environment may still feel unable to do so.


Those who say gay love is fool’s gold
have never mined craters of the moon
or lain with another, naked as the day
he or she were born

Those who say gay love is fool’s gold
will never have zigzagged helter-skelter
down the Milky Way into the arms
of Earth Mother

Those who say gay love is fool’s gold
may well have admired a summer rose
and pored over one season’s poetry,
but what of others..?

Those who say gay love is fool’s gold
will invariably reach for reality’s sword,
forgetting that craters of the moon
are not of this world

Those who say gay love is fool’s gold
see history’s reworking of its stereotypes
as a convenient excuse for blots
in their copybooks

Those who say any love is fool’s gold
have never mined craters of the moon
or lain with another, naked as the day
he or she were born

Copyright R. N. Taber 2009

Sunday, 14 September 2014

G-A-Y, Second Chances

There are night moves and more night moves, but there are no moves quite like lovers homing in on each other to make up following a lonely, soul-destroying separation, especially after a quarrel…


Fast asleep, foetal position,
I did not hear the seventh stair
that would always creak
even when sly tiptoes trying
to sneak, unheard

In a dream, as always, I stirred,
reaching out for you,
making believe we hadn’t parted
the way we did, lashing out
with cruel words, each wanting
to hurt the other more
(it was like committing suicide);
Now, your body pressing
against mine, this dream-self
responding, oh, so eagerly
with passion, hot lips relishing
your tongue, entering caves
of loneliness, teasing me
with a happiness tossed aside
that night we died

What’s this?  A kiss, surely
meant to restore a lifeless heart,
let the blood course anew
through a body all but ready
for a coffin

Willpower, forcing itself
through each pretend motion
of everyday living,
taking where it can, giving
nothing in return,
unable to feel anything
for longing to taste your lips
again, again…
My eyes flew open - and there
you were, no mere vision
of naked beauty but angel arms
holding me, our sexuality
awakening to the rising heat
of a true reality, nor any  words
(ever) necessary

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2013

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears (under the title Seeing is Believing) in A Feeling for the Quickness of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005; alternative title added, 2014; new (revised) edition in e-format in preparation.]

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Love: Custom Made OR G-A-Y, Our Way

As life makes us run the gamut of this world’s (and our) various shortcomings, don’t all its lovers - gay and straight alike - dare to dream of being able to say, ‘We did it out way…’?


We dream of being together,
looking after each other,
seizing each day,
and it really doesn’t matter
we’re gay

We dream of living together,
looking after each other,
leading the way
for those to whom it matters
they’re gay

We dream of staying together,
looking after each other,
come what may
and it really doesn’t matter
what folks say

Dreams that bring us together,
looking after each other,
realized every day,
custom made for all lovers,
straight or gay

Copyright R. N. Taber 2012; 2014

[Note: This poem  appears in 1st eds. of Tracking the Torchbearer by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books. 2012 under the title 'Custom Made'; new (revised) ed. in e-format in preparation.]]

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

G-A-Y, Willing Captive OR Nature is as Nature Does

Of all the accusations leveled at gay people, the idea that we are ‘unnatural’ is perhaps the most hurtful. Certainly, it is the most ignorant. As I have said many times, sexuality has to be in the genes or how come there are so many gay people from all socio-cultural-religious backgrounds across the word.  Many gay man and women grow up in a very gay-unfriendly environment yet still find themselves attracted to the same sex.

Never let anyone get away with suggesting we are unnatural, my friends. What is unnatural is betraying the most fundamental of humanitarian principles by inflicting hurt on those who mean no harm. Yes, I know politicians do it all the time, but that doesn’t mean we have to follow their example. The old rhyme isn’t true that says, ‘sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.’ Names can and do hurt, terribly.

Those who call us names because they are too ignorant and/or lazy to look beyond the stereotype and see the person are beneath contempt.

This poem is a villanelle, and was originally requested by ‘Charlotte’ for her nephew Guy who is too scared to tell his devoutly religious parents that he is gay.

Good luck to Guy. But we should all remember that parents may well need time to get used to the idea. It may well be as hard for them to accept that we are gay as it can be for us to ask it of them. Sadly, it is sometimes the case when people are asked to go against what they have been taught to believe.

But gut instincts are strong, and love is the strongest of them all. Love, especially parental love, does not cave in easily, even to devout socio-cultural-religious bigotry.


Living in nature’s skin,
exploring our sexuality;
willing captive within

Trying, anxiously, within,
for a new reality;
living in nature’s skin

Seeking inspiration,
a kinder morality;
willing captive within

Surpassing expectation,
risen to ecstasy;
living in nature’s skin

A sense of valediction
on our mortality;
willing captive within

A lasting benediction
on love’s complicity;
living in nature’s skin,
willing captive within

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2014

[Note: This poem has been slightly revised from an earlier version that appears in 1st eds. of A Feeling for the Quickness of Time (under the title ‘The Captive Heart’) by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2007; new (revised) e-format edition in preparation.]

Saturday, 16 August 2014

G-A-Y, An Incredible Journey

My class of 1959 was once challenged by a teacher to sum up the meaning of life in one word.

People gave various answers; ambition, achievement/s, sport, family, friendship, music, survival... 

For me, it had to be love although I was only 14 years-old at the time and still coming to terms with my emerging sexuality, so the best was yet to come.


A gay love blessed can hurt,
its wounds fester, let in snake venom;
jealousy, bitterness, hate even
in a dark, lonely, wretched, heaven
as a great sadness creeps in,
killing off its angels one by one;
in a weepy twilight all of love’s own,
a so-broody, bitter-sweet pain

Yet, listen! Birds, flowers,
friendly ghosts in the clouds, singing
of life and hope, fair sunsets,
sunrises, faery mists, summer kisses
autumn leaves, shades of red
and gold, stories at winter fires told
of love eternal, no self-pity, but thanks
for making its incredible journey

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2014

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears in A Feeling for the Quickness of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005]

Saturday, 9 August 2014

G-A-Y, No Token Trophy for Glass Houses

A former work colleague, unaware at the time that I am gay, once boasted that he had gay friends, so no one could accuse him of being homophobic.

Okay, so far, so good…

He went on to tell me that, 'To be honest, gay sex disgusts me, but ‘you have to cover your back these days, don’t you, what with all this equality and diversity rubbish?’  It was as if his gay ‘friends’ were notches on his belt meant to show everyone he was no homophobe. His obvious distaste for and discomfort with the whole gay ethic made me see red. When I mentioned that I am gay, he beamed, seemed to think I was making his point (which was what, I am still not sure) and said, ‘See, I am talking to you as an equal aren’t I?’

This conversation took place in 2008, the year I retired. Maybe I am being over-sensitive, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth whenever I think about it.


It seems like only yesterday we’d play
at hide-and-seek as butterflies looked on;
happy days, gay lovers feeling our way
into red-and-golden hours of autumn

By Christmas, gossips had left us for dead
(memory’s embrace enough to surf the swell)
nor winter’s cold, but lies covertly spread
conspired against us while wishing us well

Old prejudices, they (still) threaten us,
cast their nets as at moths and butterflies;
collectors, like minds, and the curious,
sure to excuse the means, relish the prize

Though the world’s hypocrites, theyabuse us,
we’ll fly free, no token trophy for glass houses

Copyright R. N. Taber 2007; 2014