Saturday, 27 August 2016

Assisted Travel

Source; Buchanan

I think the picture and the poem say it all!

Assisted Travel

Suddenly I veered to the left
and the going got heavy.
The smooth tiles had not changed
but it felt like gravity had.
I was twice the weight.
Glancing around I saw my son;
gliding silently along behind me
on a penny board,
dragging a suitcase,
holding on to the back of my chair.
The assisted travel in Heathrow sucks!

John Carré Buchanan
07 August 2016


Friday, 15 July 2016

Media Blues

Image Source:

This months Open Mic had the theme of Media, so i wrote this;

Media Blues

The papers say it all;
shots fired, bombs, markets crash,
politicians up to this and that
misery abounds
but
I went to the beach today
watched children dig in the sand
cartwheels, Frisbees, shrimp nets,
a kite in a sapphire sky.
That wasn't in the papers
nor on the Radio
I didn't see it on TV, the net,
or late night show.

The media doesn't see true beauty
just shallow looks and cats,
as such it's our perception
the world has gone to rats.
But if you take the time to see
what's really going on
the worlds a whole lot safer
then it's ever been before
fewer wars, less crime
and far less dinosaur.

We have more time to play
than our forebears ever did.
but the media keeps us frightened
imprisoned in our place
by only showing evil, pain and disgrace.

Take some time to breathe
turn off the radio
put down the paper, mouse
don't watch that late night show
experience the wonders,
this planet has to share
form your own opinion
you can if you dare
ditch the media's frown
and.... well....
just turn it upside down.

John Carré Buchanan
09 July 2016

Saturday, 11 June 2016

The Ace Of Spades

Image Source:

This month's open mic topic is 'superstition', I couldn't bring myself to do black cats, ladders and mirrors, so I came up with this instead;

The Ace of Spades

He always tied his laces in exactly the same way,
then he'd open his top left pocket
and put the photo away.
He'd pat the lucky picture
as he went out through the door
then stamp his feet twice upon the dusty floor.
His helmet bore his blood group,
his rifle the number 7
but he always broke to the right
and now he's up in heaven.
For the dickers had been dicking
and his habits, they'd espied
his silly superstitions
we're the reason that he died.
In the grass below his tombstone
a bunch of leaves did sprout
a patch of four leaf clover;
his luck's at last run out.

John Carré Buchanan
10 June 2016

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Mountaineer

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​The last 8 years have been tough, the accident, pain, loss of mobility and the job I loved and the plummet into the depths of despair was all made worse by the guilt associated with the effect it was having on those I loved.

Somewhere in all that darkness I found a spark, faith, that ray of light that gave me the strength to start climbing.

This poem is called the Mountaineer...

The Mountaineer

I hated the face in front of me,
the pallid complexion,
puffed up jowls
dark patches under vacant eyes,
that stale unwashed reek
of pain and self loathing
a weak and crumbling vestige.

I stared mercilessly
into its worthless soul,
glaring at the
epitome of everything I despised,
trying to find a merest hint
of strength, courage or drive.

As I searched those dead eyes
pitiful tears started to flow,
my hatred deepened.
I wanted to strike him across the face,
tell him to man up, grow a pair
but more than that;
I wanted to destroy
the sniveling wreck
that stared back at me;
from the mirror.

Deep within,
something fanned a dying ember,
it spluttered briefly,
faltered and dimmed
a mournful sigh breathed life,
made it glow and this time
it stuck.

Fire to fight fire
pain to fight pain
forget hatred, hang it up
put fear and anger aside
and trust, believe, know;
I can, I will
climb the hill.

Looking back down
I see a reflection in a lake,
a tall snow laden mountain
rugged and unyielding
and there, right at the top
a small black speck;
a man standing.

John Carré Buchanan
03 June 2016

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Boxes

Image Source: 

Watching the Invictus Games I was inspired by the stories of incredible people who have experienced and continue to experience, horrendous pain and suffering with such determination and dignity.

I have my own challenges, we all do, but listening to the testimonies made by people with PTSD and other invisible injuries spurred me on to write the following poem. I can’t advocate this approach, but it is the approach I used until I realised that I was using cardboard boxes, and they crumble with age. At that point I talked, and found hope…

Boxes

Sometimes,
Just occasionally,
a scent,
a shadow in the periphery
let's slip a memory
that leaves me stunned.
Numbed.

Pandora had one box,
I have many;
rubble,
teachers - predators,
torture, beatings, burnt feet,
silent screams in the night
choked back, concealed
and children taught to kill.

We're told a peek loosed all evils
yet one remained confined.
With Elpis* tightly locked away
I'll strive to keep my boxes shut,
for,
if I were to lift a lid,
there'd be no hope for me.

John Carré Buchanan
22 May 2016


* In Greek mythology Elpis was the personification and spirit of hope or expectation,

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Have A Care

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Humankind is obsessed with its own worth, we acknowledge that we are damaging the environment, we pretend that we care, yet we are naïve enough to believe that replacing ancient rain forests with palm oil trees is an acceptable trade.

This poem aims to highlight the biggest threat to our species, a threat which receives far less media attention than it deserves, for when the true impact of humankind on the environment is realised; the media’s bias towards; religion, politics, nationality and human rights pails into insignificance.

Have A Care

I don't care if you’re a Muslim
I don't care if you’re a Jew
I don't care if you’re Christian
Syrian, or from Crew.
If your L-B-G-T
they're all fine by me,
because I believe
we're all humanity.

From the tycoon in her ivory tower
to the orphan on the street.
A rebel fighting government
the girl I've yet to meet.
The Inuit in the high north,
the Bajau on the sea,
we all share the basic right
to live a life that's free.

It’s a right we share with nature
with beasts, the birds and bees,
the creatures of the ocean
and yes; the plants and trees.
From tiny little microbes
to the might of the great blue whale,
the spider hanging in its web
and the humble garden snail

Yes, we share that basic right,
to live a life that's free
but we humans also have;
a responsibility;
to mind the world we live in,
to mind the air we share,
to keep the oceans pure and clear,
and above all show we care.

so; I don't care if you’re a Muslim
I don't care if you’re a Jew
I don't care if you’re Christian
Syrian or from Crew.
If your L-B-G-T
that's ok with me
but if you insist on damaging
this world, that all life shares
we're going to have a problem
because I'm someone who cares.

John Carré Buchanan
12 March 2016

Saturday, 5 December 2015

A Guide To Extending Foreign Policy

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Reflecting on parliament's decision to bomb IS assets in Syria I recalled several lectures I attended during my military training. These lectures contained a number of 'lessons learnt' (often the hard way) during past conflicts.

The complexity of the current situation is horrendous and resolution will require the full spectrum of political and diplomatic effort. That said I can't help thinking that our politicians should be required to attend the same lectures, particularly as they are the people who ultimately define what our armed forces are tasked to do.

My thoughts and prayers are with the men and women who protect our nation and of course the people of Syria and Iraq.

The following poem sums up some key lessons.

A Guide To Extending Foreign Policy

“War is the continuation of politics by other means.” - Clausewitz

There are times when action is needed
when you just can’t stand and observe
but if you plan to use Armed Forces
take note these lessons learnt;

Regime change is not your decision
no matter what you might feel.
You have to let the people decide
not grind it in with your heel.

Rich bullies are never respected,
their acts breed envy and hate.
Win the hearts and the minds of a people
and your efforts will carry more weight.

When fighting terrorists or rebels,
you have to comply with the law,
if you break it you may win a battle
but morally you'll lose the war.

Your allies’ views will be different
they may even get in your way.
Tread carefully when taking action
lest the cons do the pros outweigh.

Befriending your enemy’s enemy,
is rarely the best way to go.
If you can’t find an ally you trust
take care; you’re in the wrong show.

You can't hold ground from a plane,
with artillery it's just the same.
If you want to hold on to what's around
you’ll have to put boots on the ground.

If you’re in you must be; all in,
there is no other way,
the reward for a half assed effort
is to be bitten another day.

Yes - war is a messy business
in which everyone gets burnt.
So before you stick your oar in
take heed these lessons hard learnt.

John Carré Buchanan
03 December 2015

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Winds Of Time

Image Source:

In the scheme of things mankind has not been on earth very long and no matter what we achieve in the future the probability is that in a geological timescale we are likely to be a mere blip in the history of this planet. That said the lifespan of Earth itself pales into insignificance in grand scheme.

This got me thinking and a the following poem breezed into mind.

Winds Of Time

The Fulani knew my power
as hunched against my breath
they drove herds in search of pasture
that I’d not smothered yet.
You call me Harmattan,
though that is not my name,
for I was here before you
before the desert came
and when your bones are naught but dust
I will still remain.

The Clatsop knew my warmth
as I swept the mountain slopes
I melted snow before me
and bought false signs of hope.
You call me Chinook
though that is not my name
for my clouds enriched sunrise
before the dawn of man
and they’ll brighten western skies
when your last race has run.

Columbus and Magellan
thought they'd harnessed me
as they navigated oceans
in search of destiny.
You call me Trade Winds
but that is not my name
for I blew before the ocean's birth
when a mighty rupture came
and I'll be blowing still
when land joins land again.

I helped shape mountains,
I swept the plains between.
From ice cap to desert
I sculpted the terrain.
I breathed, before life,
before little pools of green,
before cells came together
to crawl out from the sea
and I was here a long, long time,
before apes climbed in the trees.

Yet even I will perish
as time alone survives,
for this planet will crumble
scattered amidst the skies
it's atmosphere burnt off
carried on cosmic winds.
Our atoms will float
through a universe sublime
waiting to be born again
in the ebb and flow of time

John Carré Buchanan
31 October 2015


With thanks to Richard Fleming for his help.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Bad Form

Image Source:

I dislike filling in forms at the best of times, but badly crafted forms really annoy me. This poem is based on one such form, enjoy;

Bad Form

They sent a form in the post to my house
with my name and address on the top;
"Dear Mr. Buchanan... complete and return...
if you don't payments will stop".
The first three boxes I had to fill in
we're; title, name and address,
then date of birth (day month and year),
.... then they asked for my age!
but not as a number, they don't want to pry,
just tick the appropriate range.
The reference they'd used; my account number,
the next box wanted that too,
so I spent 5 minutes digging it out
…. when I realised, the air turned blue!
Then came the boxes to date and sign,
I thought the chore was over, but
just below, yes, on the same page
they asked me to sign
on a dotted line..........
to confirm I'd completed the form!

John Carré Buchanan
09 October 2015

Monday, 21 September 2015

A Full Life

Image Source: Buchanan

Two years ago a doctor told me that it was unrealistic for me, a fifty year old man, to want to live the sort of active life that I lived before my accident and that I should accept my lot.

To me his suggestion was like telling a lion to eat grass, it wasn't going to happen. I decided then and there that I had had enough of doctors and their drugs. Two years on I have just completed my first major goal.

I hope this poem might inspire someone else to grab the bull by the horns and find the courage to go for it.

A Full Life

They said;
"After this you'll be able to live a full life."
But what did they really mean?
How did these overweight, red faced,
middle age men define "live"?
I'd never run again.
I'd never climb, or swim or jump
Or live....
but in their view,
why would a fifty year old want to run, climb or jump?
They had consigned me to their bin
their 'has been' bin.
Leave life to the young,
accept the constraints of a failing body,
fade into the mass.
So I said "NO".
I threw away their drugs,
dug deep and fought to live life again.
Baby steps at first
then as meters turned to K's
I felt the real me rise again.
Quiet determination at first
and then a blazing;
"I CAN"
"I WILL"
as the pain burned deeper
the fire within grew
and the "I CAN"
became "I DID"
and now I am ready;
To LIVE.

John Carré Buchanan
02 September 2015

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