Monday, 25 April 2016

G-A-Y, Where Do We Go From Here?


Regular readers will know that I had realized I am gay by the time I was 14 years-old. As a teenager and young man, I despaired of being gay. I was not ashamed, but gay relationships were a criminal offence and I saw no future in being far more attracted to my own sex than to women. It took me some years – and a nervous breakdown – to  fully understand that I was not the one at fault but the society in which I had grown up. Even so, i was in and out of that closet for years and it was not until my late 30's  that I came out and stayed out. 

Being openly gay was (and still is) a liberating experience although it would take a good few more years yet before same sex relationships – even marriage – would acquire legal if not (entirely) social, cultural or religious acceptance here in the UK.   Now, at 70, I can still vividly recall those early years in the proverbial closet and feel for those gay boys and girls, men and woman around the world who, by no fault of their own but the genes with which they were born, are made to feel obliged to remain there.

It will be to the 21st century’s credit if, at least by the end of it, the heterosexual majority worldwide has come to terms with the fact that all gay people deserve better than to be discriminated against simply for their sexuality. 

G-A-Y, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

The world is a dark place,
and Nature shows a cruel face,
has neither, time or space 
for someone like me?
Yet, the world is a huge place
and Nature can show a kind face, 
so time and space (surely?)
for someone like me

The world is my enemy
and nature dead set against me,
fat chance against history
for people like me?
Yet, somewhere walks a friend
who will fight to the end
of time and space (surely?)
for people like me

By nature’s finer grace
we are come to this dark place
concealing time and space
from people like us;
yet sun shines and moon,
and a time soon when 
time and space letting light in 
for people like us

So what are we waiting for?
Let’s go, grab our share

Copyright R. N. Taber 1963; 2010

Note: Written 1963 (while still at school); rediscovered and slightly revised 2010.]



Sunday, 24 April 2016

G-A-Y, Poems on Pages turning Yellow


At 70, I often find myself turning the pages of memory and feeling inspired by what I find there, just as I did at the time…

People, places, things we do and words we say in response to whatever or whomever…all are filed in archives in the mind. We may well have mixed feelings about browsing them from time to time, but they remind us who we were and how we became who we are now…so never a waste of time.

Never, either (always) too late to change the Here and Now where the archives may suggest we might at least try.

This poem is a villanelle.

G-A-Y, POEMS ON PAGES TURNING YELLOW

In an ochre mist
of spring twilight on a lake,
we gay lovers kissed

The bigot’s fist,
our every bone would break
in an ochre mist

Sworn to resist
all prejudice for truth’s sake,
we gay lovers kissed

Love, once missed
among fair copies, mandrake
in an ochre mist

Choices addressed,
a kinder future ours to make,
we gay lovers kissed

Feeling as blessed
as dreamers unafraid to wake,
in an ochre mist,
we gay lovers kissed


Copyright R. N. Taber 2009

Friday, 22 April 2016

A Confrontational Life OR A (Gay) Poet's Take on Four Seasons


The seasons of life see us all through various ups and downs, highs and lows, while Hope remains a steadfast companion although we may lose sight of her now and then and/or she may fall short of certain expectations.

I had hoped that by the 21st century homophobia would be all but dead in the water and the heterosexual majority a more enlightened one; sadly, offensive stereotypes continue to dog gay people just about everywhere; in some countries, more so than in others but in any gay-unfriendly environment including those that wear a mask called Political Correctness.

We can but play our part. Some readers rubbish my gay-interest poems (so why read them?) but I like to think that being openly gay on-line and in my poetry is helping just a little to help gay people stuck in a cold, dark closet to feel better about themselves and summon the inner strength to come out and stand up to their demons. (Rarely if ever easy, but always worth the effort.)

A CONFRONTATIONAL LIFE or A (GAY) POET’S TAKE ON FOUR SEASONS

In the springtime of my years,
I longed to run away
from this life’s trials and fears
confronting me each day

Come summer, and I grew tall
like a tree in acid rain,
and wept to watch leaves fall
though not even autumn

Come autumn, I could but wait
while nature had its say,
proud, for my own small part,
I’d told the world I’m gay

In this, the winter of my years
I rise above, won’t run away
from this life’s trials and fears
confronting me each day


Copyright R. N. Taber 2007

 











Wednesday, 20 April 2016

G-A-Y. Getting On With Love


More than once I have heard those among the less enlightened heterosexual majority sneer that gay people don’t know the meaning of love. Such stupid, ignorant comments do not merit a response except, perhaps, in a poem…

Readers may be interested to knwo that the villanelle was inspired by a fascinating and very uplifting conversation with two gay ex-servicemen in a London bar one evening.

Photo taken from the Internet

G-A-Y, GETTING ON WITH LOVE

Getting on with love, two gay men
(in a world living with Terror)
and some (still) quick to condemn

Nothing to lose, everything to gain
(in world that’s a weeping sore);
getting on with love, two gay men

Getting on with life, two gay men
(where Oliver still asking for more)
and some (still) quick to condemn

Nature on high alert time and again
(floods of fear, a living nightmare);
getting on with love, two gay men

Played a part saving Afghanistan
from the Taliban’s grip on power,
and some (still) quick to condemn

Pray, we see its peacemakers win
on a planet left turning on Terror;
getting on with love, two gay men,
and some (still) quick to condemn


Copyright R. N. Taber 2009; 2016

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

G-A-Y, Pondering Mortality


In my 70’s now, I sometimes find myself thinking about death, not in a negative or despairing way but curious and generally hopeful. I have never fear death, only pain. Whenever I (frequently) commune with nature, I rediscover a huge sense of reassurance which has to do with growth beauty and renewal although I cannot quite put my finger on just what it is that fills me with a sense of well-being even - especially - when I am feeling low or intensely reflective for one reason or another.

I have nature to thank for a strong sense of spirituality that has seen me through some BAD times and continues to inspire me as I struggle sometimes with the various ups and downs of growing old.

One day, I will depart for the evergreen foliage of Mount Parnassus. I can but hope people may remember me not only as a poet but also as a gay man who found much inspiration in his sexual identity which did not in the least contradict an ever-growing sense of spirituality found in nature.

While I do not subscribe to any religion, who’s to say that whatever life force some call ‘God’ did not simply create nature but IS nature?

G-A-Y, PONDERING MORTALITY

As a wind across the world
blows cold
and in the eyes of the world
I grow old,
where is the world that said
we were free,
except slaves to its prejudices
like you and me?

As the sun across the world
sinks lower
and people across the world
blame each other,
where in the world shall I spend
my last day
and will all they say of me
is I was gay?

As a wind across the world
blows cold,
and in the eyes of the world
I grow old,
where in the world shall I lay
my head
when all they will say of me
is I am dead?

As the sun across the world
disappears
in ashes and dust, sum total
of our fears,
where in the world shall I discover
the humanity
good people lend to one another
like you to me

As a wind across the world
blows cold
and in the eyes of the world
I grow old,
Earth Mother but waits to take
our part
in a poem her children know
by heart


Copyright R. N. Taber 2009

Monday, 18 April 2016

Protest in Paradise OR Open House, All-Comers Welcome


Many people from various socio-cultural-religious backgrounds continue to condemn gay relationships. A Christian I used to work with - a charming woman -  once told me that she, personally, had no problem with my being gay but regretted I would go to Hell. A Muslim colleague was more forthright and said there would be no place for gay people in Paradise.

Fortunately, not everyone from (various) religious backgrounds feels the same way and see God as an all-inclusive God of Love.

Now, regular readers will know that I am not a religious person, and this has nothing to do with my being gay. I rejected religion even as a child because I found it didactic and divisive. Yes, I like to think I have a strong sense of spirituality, but I take it from nature where religion offers me nothing to which I can even begin to relate.

Whatever, I cannot conceive of any ‘God’ that would condone any form of discrimination against anyone simply on the grounds of their sex, colour, creed or sexuality; if it were so, that particular religion would make no sense if only on the grounds of its inhumanity.

So if you subscribe to a religion and are gay, never let anyone tell you there is no place for you in it.

PROTEST IN PARADISE or OPEN HOUSE, ALL-COMERS WELCOME

My God, these people are gay!
What on earth can we do?
Can’t we just send them away?

Looks and speech are everyday,
(easy to slip through);
My God, these people are gay!

What on earth will the hets say?
They’ll be such a to-do…
Can’t we just send them away?

A voice in the soul says, ‘pray’
but it speaks to them too;
My God, these people are gay!

Commit themselves as they may
to a love running true,
can’t we just send them away?

Same sex couples should pay
but of course it’s up to you;
My God, these people are gay!
Can’t we just send them away?

No, you say? So, why, pray…? 

Copyright R. N. Taber 2007

[Note: This poem first appeared on the blog several years ago and feedback indicated that some readers were offended. No offence is intended, I assure you.]

Sunday, 17 April 2016

G-A-Y, No Standard Template OR De-constructing Stereotypes


I have never made a big issue of being gay. If people ask me, I tell them, If they just want to wonder, I let them.

A person’s sexuality is nobody’s business but his or her own.

While I have often been told by other gay people that I should be more up-front about being gay in everyday life, why should I?   Yes, I ‘go public’ in my blog posts and poems, but that doesn’t mean I either want or need to thrust my sexuality in everyone’s face. No one has to read my blogs.

I hate it when religious-minded people shove their religion in my face all the time as if I am in the wrong for not sharing their faith. If I were straight, I certainly would not want a gay person banging on about being gay. Besides, there are plenty of other topics of conversation, and what possible interest can anyone have in another person’s sexuality…unless he or she wants to go to bed with them, of course…in which case, yes, being up-front is more than just OK.

We are all different, and everyone has his or her own way of going about their lives. We have no right to criticise simply because we would do things differently.

G-A-Y, NO STANDARD TEMPLATE or  DE-CONSTRUCTING STEREOTYPES

I can’t be gay, school mates told me,
because I’m not a bit like those gay folks
you see on TV, who stick out a mile,
and I don’t, not at all

I can’t be gay, neighbours told me,
because it’s plain to just about everyone
I’m a very ordinary a person,
no screaming queen

I can’t be gay, colleagues told me,
because I don’t fit the politically correct
media bill for doing its damndest
to promote stereotypical

How can I be gay school mates asked,
when I won’t dress the part or even parade
on the local Gay Scene for blows?
(As far as anyone here knows)

How can I be gay, neighbours asked,
when I’m rarely if ever seen camping it up
and much prefer drinking real ales
to knocking back cocktails?

How can I be gay, colleagues asked,
since we’ve often chatted at this or that jolly
social or works occasion and never  
a hint of my persuasion?

A friend overheard and commented
that anyone who knows me well will quickly
have discerned for which side I bat,
and, so what…?
  

Copyright R. N. Taber 2001