Monday, 30 May 2016

Bending Nature's Ear OR G-A-Y, As the Wind Blows

There are a number of documentaries on You Tube about homosexual behaviour in animals; the link below will take you to my favourite video:

Nature’s heterosexual majority, it would appear, is far more accepting and understanding of various species’ native traits in this respect than many among its human counterpart of its own.

Is it any wonder then that as a gay teenager and young man long before gay relationships were decriminalised here in the UK, I found not only comfort but growing sense of spirituality in nature sadly (still) lacking in any religion regarding potential subscribers who happen to be gay.  (Members of the Church of England hierarchy who maintain that it is OK to be gay so long as we are not having sex have to be living in cloud cuckoo land!)


I’d let squirrels swinging upside down
on a washing line
into certain secrets I preferred to keep
from family and friends

I‘d tell next door’s cat touching base
with its favourite haunts
how it’s a shame many humans so love
pass judgement on others

I’d hold forth to a vixen watching cubs
venturing into the open
on humankind’s fetish for hypocritical
hearts and minds

I’d confide in the sun, moon, and stars
that many Earth folk
might well be happier for engaging less
in one upmanship

I’d commune with nature and company
about divided societies
more likely to fight over any differences
than respect them

Finally, I got around to telling the wind
I am gay and to pass it on;
if all nature can live with that, humanity
can take or leave it 

Copyright R. N. Taber 2016

Friday, 27 May 2016

G-A-Y, Mixed Feelings OR The Divided heart

Some people are bisexual while others can relate to the opposite sex but prefer their own, yet feel - for whatever reason – unable to be open and up-front about it. Such men and women are frequently criticised by gay and straight people alike, but who are we to judge?

The Japanese have a saying ‘I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu.’ (Literally: A frog in a well does not know the great sea.)  In other words, people are satisfied to judge things by their own narrow experience for not knowing any different.

Regular readers will know I do not subscribe to any religion, but I had a Christian upbringing and I reckon Jesus was spot on when he told those anxious to sentence a woman to be stoned to death for adultery as according to the law, ‘Let him among you who is without sin cast the first stone at her.’ (John 8:7)

Myself, I probably relate more closely to words attributed to Bob Marley, “Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I'm not perfect - and I don't live to be - but before you start pointing fingers...make sure your hands are clean!”

This poem is a villanelle.


A tourist I met from Japan one fine day
much prefers sex with a man,
confessed his heart reminds him he’s gay

A family man, he keeps regrets at bay
by getting on with life as best he can,
a tourist I met from Japan one fine day

He said he liked me (what could I say?)
Although married with three children,
confessed his heart reminds him he’s gay

He needed to let his heart have its way,
(mine, playing catch-me-if-you-can)
a tourist I met from Japan one fine day

He only had a few hours, not even a day,
shed tears for his devotion to a woman,
confessed his heart reminds him he’s gay

Home truths, he said, must be kept at bay
or crush even a good person to ruin;
a tourist I met from Japan one fine day
confessed his heart reminds him he’s gay

Copyright R. N. Taber 2016

Sunday, 22 May 2016

G-A-Y, Evolution of Shadow into Substance

Being a gay schoolboy in the late 1950’s, on into the so-called ‘liberal’ 60’s and beyond meant learning to live a double life; one life for myself, another for everyone else. Even during my young manhood, I was in and out of the proverbial closet for years until finally coming out to stay in my 30’s. My only excuse for not standing up to be counted sooner was having been browbeaten by years of having to listen to gay people being maligned by just about everyone around me. I was a psychological mess, and physically exhausted by it all.  It took my mother’s premature death at 59 and a nervous breakdown three years later to bring home to me the obvious but sometimes elusive truth that life is too short to be lived at second hand.

There was no epiphany. I had known I am gay since I was 14 years-old. Yet, a sense of evolution excited and encouraged as much as it scared me. From potential human being, I became the real thing; from living figment of a fertile imagination, I metamorphosed into active participant in that process of positive thinking demonstrated since the beginning of time by the common art of Carpe Diem. Oh, yes, and along the way, I also discovered poetry...


My world, it was a shadowy place,
closet with the door barely ajar,
a galaxy where neither sun, moon
nor stars had the stomach to come out
and shine

I ate, drank and breathed shadows,
body and mind all but crushed
by temporal divisions, pulling me
this way and that, yet underestimating
the spirit

All but dead, it stirred, a rebel spirit
now toeing at the closet door,
now kicking it wide open, the better
to enjoy all the womb-like nourishment
of aspiration

My world, it was filled with the light
of an imagination nurturing hope,
addressing vibrant stirrings of new life
metamorphosing self-pity into barefaced

Sun, moon, and stars now shine on me
as on anyone once bound to Earth
by its umbilical cord, cut according
to its nature by any blade to hand, witness
blood stains

Now, my only darkness, that of sleep,
no fear that my sexuality demand
I (ever) make apology for its being gay
as I wake to your steady breathing, sweeter
than birdsong 

Copyright R. N. Taber 2016

Monday, 16 May 2016

Where Nature has the Last Word OR G-A-Y, Epiphany

Some years ago I met up with a long-time acquaintance that had just lost his partner of many years to a (much) younger model. He was in pieces, and we spent some time over a few beers, mostly complaining about the fickleness of human nature as I, too, had recently been abandoned for a younger guy although we had not been together that long. About six months later, we met up again.

The second time, he was far more positive about life and even had a sprightly spring in his step. “I went for a walk in the countryside one day, and had an epiphany,” he told me. “Nature is as nature does, for better or worse. Now, the worst does not necessarily rule out the better so there is always something (or someone) to look forward to, whatever the circumstances. It’s obvious, really, but I couldn’t see the damn wood for the trees. We have to stay positive, young Roger.” [I was in my early 50’s at the time and he would have been in his late 60’s.]


I died a thousand deaths
when you left me for another,
plunged into a lonely dark,
harder to bear than any closet
for having found and lost
a raison d’ĂȘtre in you, creating
joy out of sad dreams  

Some said it was just deserts
for being openly gay in a world
where (yes, even these days)
gay people are seen as betraying
a native heterosexual ethos,
compensating for our weaknesses
by demanding equality

I died a thousand deaths
as love stabbed me in the heart
and left my remains to rot
in an open coffin of everyday life,
existence no more or less
than the stream of consciousness
credited an android

On spring, I walked woods
where bluebells nodded knowingly
for understanding my pain,
rabbits darted helter-skelter here,
there, and everywhere,
seemingly with little more purpose
than random thoughts

I would have closed my ears
to birds singing sweet songs in trees
whose new leaves asked
no more or less than my eyes open
to the potential of rebirth
in a world where life is not measured
out in silver teaspoons

Having died a thousand deaths,
I felt a faint heartbeat grow stronger,
body, mind, and spirit
coming together like a jigsaw puzzle
until just one piece missing,
and that mattered less than my resolve
to find it and complete me

Copyright R. N. Taber 2016

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

G-A-Y, A Comfort of Strangers OR An LGBT History for the Here and Now

I have no idea when I wrote today’s poem. I recently discovered it (undated) in a pile of potential rubbish for the next recycling collection.  (Hopefully, I have not since reworked and given it a different title.) I suspect it was written sometime during the mid-late 1990’s.  Whatever, it is as relevant now as it was then. Who knows where a chance encounter with a stranger may lead, and if there is a clearly a mutual attraction, why not GO for it…?

Whether a person is gay or straight, much the same principle applies although - yes, even in this 21st century of ours - it can be a tougher decision for any gay person who, for whatever reason, feels unable to go public about his or her sexuality.


Meeting by chance, noon sun
like an acid drop in a stormy sky;
crow, pausing in mid-flight
to stare. Ghosts in the wind, lonely
and eager for romance, though
time deny the finer fruit that only
lovers share

Highlights in the hair, a sparkle
in the eyes, frantic lips on mine,
world ceasing to turn for us;
ghosts all around us crying, ‘YES’
and each kiss, the spoils of a motley
that’s a waking dream, ours if we
but dare

Defying bigotry’s menacing look,
I gladly take your arm, find shelter
in a barn, madly returning
each caress as ghosts, warned off
in times past for their sexuality,
warm up for what promises to be
a brave new century

Bed of straw, magic of clowns
ringing in the ears, we’ll play out
life’s circus, confront our fears,
our heaven the laughter and tears
of other people’s ghosted years,
reaching for clear skies, further even
than the crow flies 

Winging history’s cruel divide,
gay and proud…

Copyright R. N. Taber c1990’s

Sunday, 8 May 2016

G-A-Y, a Life History

For centuries gay men and women have seized the day and followed their dreams, often with tragic results in societies always on the lookout for a scapegoat for its own shortcomings.

Yet, we persevere, resolved to take our natural place in the world order and achieve equality with those among the heterosexual majority who would still – even in this 21st century – persecute us for our sexuality.  True, in some parts of the world gay people have greater legal and social support than ever before; not so, alas, where there is neither cultural nor political will to deprive society of its scapegoats.

Wherever anti-gay attitudes prevail, we can but continue to seize the day, challenging various socio-cultural-religious and political attitudes where appropriate while following our dreams as far as contemporaneity permits, as we have done throughout history.


Among leaves by a timeless stream,
denying war its say…
we kissed, gay lovers with a dream

Heartbeats joining in earth’s hymn
to life, we found our way…
among leaves by a timeless stream

Passing cloud like summer ice cream
celebrating a heavenly day,
we kissed, gay lovers with a dream

Songbirds, relaying nature’s scheme
of things, kept enemy fire at bay
among leaves by a timeless stream

Daunting though odds against us seem
(shrapnel in history’s clay)
we kissed, gay lovers with a dream

Come leading bigots fighting to cream
home truths of love away…
Among leaves by a timeless stream,
we kissed, gay lovers with a dream

 Copyright R. N. Taber 2009

Thursday, 5 May 2016

G-A-Y, The Zen of Insight

While I do not believe in a life after death as such, neither can I cannot believe in some eternal nothingness. Nature tells me there is a sense of renewal. My own feelings assure me we live onin  the memory of others. How about those who never knew us and what happens to those memories when there die? No one knows, of course, and although I do not subscribe to any religion, I envy those who do if only in the sense that it must be very comforting to feel assured that this life is not all there is for us.

We are all influenced by other people; in turn, we, too, influence others by what we say and do. In this way we create a ‘presence’ that even death cannot wipe away as if we were but a smudge on the temporal landscape. In this way, at least, we continue our paths through time and space.

As for being assured of a place in some hell because I am gay, bollocks to that! It is not only bigoted speculation but also typical of humankind’s darker side.

Carpe Diem, yes, but we need to remember that spring always follows winter and nature does not discriminate…so why should humankind or, for that matter, any God…?


Death caught my hand one day,
took me away to a cold, dark place 
and a part of me wanted to stay;
the cold, it ripped my pain away;
the dark, it hid the tears on my face 
for a part of me wanting to stay;
one more step, an end to living
at ends but sure to make me suffer
for a part of me come to nothing

Nothing, looking me in the eye
while I peer over Death’s shoulder 
at that part of me wanting to die;
suddenly, a hint of light appears
inviting a rush of warmth to the body 
where part of me allaying its fears;
I succumb to a familiar embrace,
hear a loved voice reciting the poetry
of that part of me I dare not face

Even as I stare into Nothing’s eye,
something of life appears, makes a play
for that part of me wanting to die;
love, it reassures me, will always stay,
no matter what lies told for its being gay
to a part of me, divided (go or stay?)
Suffice to say, it was love won the day,
nor will Death, next time, find easy prey
in me, dragging my feet all the way

Copyright R. N. Taber 2010; slightly rev. 2011