Tuesday, 3 January 2017

A Late Evening Swim OR G-A-Y, Never say Never


Readers sometimes ask me how I cope with being gay and growing old on my own without a partner. (What has being gay got to do with growing old?)

Well, I have some good friends so I don’t feel so alone, and my Muse may be fickle but she can be inspiring when she likes. Besides, I live near Hampstead Heath so there’s always plenty of trees and bird life to sustain me whenever I feel the need, whether or not any human company on hand.

It may well be too late for me to find love again, but maybe not. I was 71 on the winter solstice, but only recently I met a couple about my own age in a local gay bar celebrating their anniversary. When I asked how long they had been together, both grinned from ear to ear and told me how they had met in that same bar just two weeks to the day. They were so happy, their years falling away even as we chatted. I might have been in the company of lovers in the first flush of youth.

As with many (by no means all)  of my poems written in the first person, the poet-storyteller is Everyman with whom the reader may or may not choose to identify to the extent I do as I let imagined experience take me wherever…

Never, but never, say never… 


Friendly fingers ruffling my hair,
Apollo’s belated kisses
bringing blushes to my cheeks
as I slumped by the sea, let your tears
drip rainbows on my heart
if low, grey, clouds all but refusing
to be titillated

I’d thought your feelings for me
were as mine for you,
but your, stunned expression
when I took a leaf out of Apollo’s book
had me pinioned to a crab’s back,
scuttling over sand pebbles mocking
all human despair

Sea horses prancing all around,
daring me choose one,
head for lost horizons shrouded
in a shadowy mist harbouring pirate ships
and slavers crewed by ghosts
last seen flailing among sharks’ fins
alerted by bad blood

Friendly fingers ruffling my hair,
your belated kisses
bringing blushes to my cheeks
after you caught up with me, let your tears
drip rainbows on my heart,
low, grey, clouds capitulating to Apollo’s
surprise breakthrough

Just we two, heading for a glorious sunset
on bold, white horses…

Copyright R. N. Taber 2011

Monday, 19 December 2016

Paris, Hearts Beating as One OR G-A-Y, the Two of Us


Reader ‘Jean-Claude’ who lives in Paris once emailed me about this poem to say how much he could relate to it. What better praise for a poem than it lets the reader into it?  I wrote it as my thoughts turned to a particularly memorable June night there many years ago...

I would also like to take the opportunity yet again to recommend a delightful DVD  'Juste une question d'amour' ( Just a Question of Love) which take a delightful and sensitive look at the difficulties the parents of some gay people experience in coming to terms with their son's homosexuality.

I have a friend who lives in Lille who still feels he cannot break it to his parents that he has a boyfriend even though they have been in a relationship for some years. Sadly, there are gay people worldwide who feel they cannot be open about their sexuality for one reason or another. In my friend's case, he is burdened with a whole load of Catholic guilt; in other parts of the world, gay people have anti-gay legislation to contend with and live with the threat of imprisonment or worse. It is a sad indictment on a 21st century from whose socio-cultural-political and religious elements we deserve better.

I find the rise of the Far Right across Europe very disturbing, not least because it plays on people's fears regarding the extent of immigration. While it is true that many immigrants are from cultures that are intrinsically homophobic, and many seem unwilling to change their attitudes towards gay men and women, we should never forget that the policies of the Far Right are as essentially homophobic as they are racist. No one who deplores prejudice of any kind should ever vote for these people.

Gay couple outside a cafe in Paris; photo by Braden Summers (Internet)


Under Paris stars, 
one night in June - a nightingale 
sang our tune;
we embraced, 
exchanging vows - with tongues
of fire;
no chill of darkness
undermining or intruding upon
our happiness;
your hand in mine 
as kissed and exchanged rings
said it all...

Come morning, 
sweet night bade us each a fond
au revoir;
a minute’s silence
for two singles joined together
(no matter what);
cock crows 
as we embrace a parallel dawn,
bask in its glory;
love, icon
for all seasons, opening its petals
to the sky

Story told, the world over, me 
and my gay lover

Copyright R. N. Taber 2002; 2016

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appeared as ‘The Two of Us’ in 1st eds. of First Person Plural, by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2002; revised  ed. in preparation in e-format. 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

G-A-Y, a Hitchhiker's Guide to Christmas


Well, yes, it’s that time of year again and 2017 is just around the corner…

Some of you may be interested to know that I am giving a sponsored poetry reading for Prostate Cancer UK in London on World Poetry Day, May 21, 2017. I will not only be celebrating having seen my poetry in print for 60 years (my first poem appeared in my school magazine, 1957) but also living with prostate cancer for 6+ years. Not everyone who wants to come will want to donate, of course, but do come along if you can. More details at:


Now, I’m no killjoy and it is always GOOD to see people happy and celebrating either a religious festival or whatever the occasion. Regarding the former, though, as regular readers will know, I do not subscribe to any religion. Christmas cards were only ever a way of keeping in touch with people before the advent of computers.  (For anyone like me who have terrible handwriting, e-mails are a great idea.) 

Many thanks to all of you for supporting my blogs, and I hope you have found a good few poems to enjoy. 

As for Christmas, however you feel about it, whoever and wherever you are, ENJOY and may its message of peace and goodwill to all mankind be for all time, not just at this time of year. . Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, all humankind will listen and learn one of these days…?


One Christmas Eve,
I sat alone by the fire,
content awhile
to watch familiar shapes 
in feisty flames
invoke happy memories
of times long ago,
the world a kinder place,
a place where such 
as you and me would live, 
love, and hitch rides
to gay-friendly galaxies
on wishing stars 
exploring the potential
for Happy-ever-after

One Christmas Eve,
I felt alone by the fire,
saddened so
to watch familiar faces
coming and going
like players on a stage 
acting out memories
for an audience of one,
all others who lived
for love by hitching rides
to gay-friendly galaxies,
on wishing stars, invoking
for any less touched by love
than seems fair

One Christmas Eve,
I almost let the fire go out
for empathising
with flickering flames
to stay feisty, a losing battle
from the start
where the heart not in it
when suddenly 
one flame leapt higher
than the rest
as if making the point
that all’s not lost
till we wish it of open hearth
and inner self

One Christmas Eve,
I took a new lease of life
for taking my cue 
from a fire all but gone 
to embers,
the spirit of love and peace
risen like a phoenix
for getting push and shove
from an understanding 
that past loves never fade,
are an inspiration,
forever banging on doors 
to be let in…
if only to share daily outings
on wishing stars

Copyright |R. N. Taber 2016

[Note: More ‘Christmas’ poems can be found (on both my general and gay-interest blogs) by entering ‘Christmas’ in the appropriate search field.]

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

G-A-Y, First Christmas


There is nothing sinful, criminal or wrong with the love between two gay men or women. Others will always disagree, and sometimes we might even feel sufficiently put down by various socio-cultural-religious bigots among the heterosexual majority to start doubting the deeper truth and wisdom of our own feelings.

In my experience, something (or someone) always happens along to restore our faith in ourselves and a greater good that does not exclude the gay ethos in its ringing endorsement of human love.


I could hear cock robin’s song in the air;
at a window I watched first snowflakes fall,
missing you so and wishing we could share
that gift of love at Christmas to us all

In the distance, I could hear bells ringing,
a sound to fill this lonely heart with cheer;
at my own front door, an angel’s singing
calling on Christmas to bring its love here

In the window’s reflection, next to mine,
I watched a sad face break into a smile,
aching heart soaring, a white dove divine,
lifting the snowflakes like a wedding veil

I raced to my front door, flung it open wide,
a gay love redeemed, our first Christmastide

Copyright R. N. Taber 2012; 2016

[Note: This poem has been slightly revised since first appearing in Accomplices to Illusion by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2007; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]]

Monday, 5 December 2016

Found, Out or G-A-Y, Easy Targer for Small Minds


There will always be some who refuse to get their heads around the fact that there are millions of us gay  people amongst humankind making as valuable a contribution to its humanity as our heterosexual neighbours if not more so.


When people ask why I’m gay,
I tell them I was born this way

Some will say it can’t be true,
any God has better things to do
than create distorted images
to blot humankind’s copybook,
rewrite history’s pages,
make religions take a long look
at themselves, leave cultures
to those power-hungry vultures
that love to preach and lead,
assuming their authority as read

People suggest my sexuality
is irreconcilable with spirituality;
they, so blessedly taken in
by interpretations of Holy Books,
a case for eternity that brooks
no argument among those afraid
of condoning, let alone trying
to understand bigotry they’re sold
by those we’re told know better
how best to live with one another

People accuse me of blasphemy
(at best, a penchant for immorality)
thus putting me on the defensive
for what has to be a clear distortion
of what Holy Books have in mind
for each person (Oh, so what am I?);
Ah, but taking issue asks we see
how and why there is a place for each
and every one of us,  regardless
of ethnicity, creed, sex or sexuality

If some think they have all the answers,
the rest of us know what thought did…

Copyright R. N. Taber 2012; 2016

[Note: An earlier draft of this poem (under the title ‘Found, Out’ - mistakenly appears in 1st (print) eds. of Tracking the Torchbearer by R. N. Taber, Assembly Book, 2012; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

Sunday, 4 December 2016

G-A-Y, Crisis at Christmas OR Dreamtime Revisited

This poem was written in 1996. In many societies and communities, attitudes towards gay people have changed for the better, but many remain bigoted, a carbuncle on the face of human nature. Yet, we are a common humanity driven by a common desire for love and peace…so where, oh, where did humanity lose the plot?

Religious festivals, Christian or otherwise, acknowledge the power of peace and love so if we all seek the same goal, why can’t we put our differences aside and put spiritual aspiration into practice across a world that still has much to learn…?


Christmas, a special time of yearE
thoughts of home deserve a special tear;
loneliness, greater than a fear
of nights and days, maze without end
(it seems) in worst waking dreams.
Whatever creed or need, hear prayers
for the strength to endure, ways
to be sure that - for all our pain - we’ll get
to laugh, find peace and love again

Kisses flaunted
on Queer Street, one for each chair
left haunted each year,
with evergreen comfort and joy

Ah, Christmas! Dreamtime yearnings
of the heart, wistful thoughts like mistakes
on a fire; flames risen higher
and higher as we pile on self-blame,
calling out in Someone's name
to restore us, cool and clean - to a world
that needs must hang its head 
in shame no more or leave us for dead
at some mindful spirit's door

Who to wipe our tears,
calm our fears, rewrite history - take us
proudly through a maze
of ignorance, bigotry and hate?

Santa's running late…

Copyright R. N. Taber 2001; 2016

[Note: A different version of this poem first appeared in Love and Human Remains by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2001; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

G-A-Y, Seventh Heaven OR Frontiersmen


The phrase ‘making love’ can be something of a misnomer, but is always a new experience and usually a delight, whether with the same person or someone different.

Now, sex may well give physical pleasure, but genuine affection, whether or not it transcends into love later...  These can and will take us to indescribably wonderful frontiers of existence and beyond ... Well, so long as we are not simply playing mind games.

The prevailing irony for many of the world's lovers (gay or straight) is that it takes a lot more than sex to see us through journeys of a lifetime across exciting new frontiers of love and human relationships. At the same time, too, we may well need to pull down barbed wire fences  erected by the less enlightened entrenched in various socio-cultural-religious divides.


I love to lie naked with you,
letting the warmth of your flesh
invade mine and comfort me,
making me so glad to be - alive!

In an embrace or lying still,
asleep or awake, your nearness
touches my heart as surely
as your lips parting to receive
my yearning tongue…
as we make love, rediscovering
each other and ourselves
during each gloriously intimate
moment as we, in the gutter,
reach for the stars and discover
new galaxies to explore,
plant our seed, express a need
denied all known art forms
for more, oh, but far more than sex
and its ready Box of Delights
can expect to offer as we lie here
together, secure in the knowledge
that we are soulmates, bound
by a love beyond mere parameters
of time and space and I gaze upon
your face, content to caress
its outline, lightly, with a forefinger,
knowing that soon your smile
will cross new frontiers, lips raise
a cheeky grin before we begin
again, again…to show the world
how it matters far, far less than
our being here together, like this...

I love to lie naked with you,
letting the warmth of your flesh
invade mine and comfort me,
making me so glad to be - alive!

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2016

 [Note: This poem has been slightly revised from the original as it appeared under the title 'Frontiersmen' in 1st eds. of A Feeling for the Quickness of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books 2005; rev. ed. in e-format in preparation]