The weather report
(i.m. John Clarke)
It's a bleak, sad day,
The clouds have shrouded laughter,
The sun can only frown sadly to itself.
Malcolm, thankfully, has blown well off-shore,
And Bill is petering out to the east,
While brave Scott is dribbling like a broken tap,
And policeman Pete is freezing in a tent.
It's a bleak, sad, humourless day,
When all there is to hear is a replay.
The lightning is sheet not sharp
And the winds are cold and sodden.
The highs have all become lows
And the mountains are deep in snows.
It's a bleak sad day,
That special voice has been taken away
That voice that saw so much,
Waged war against the witless and their wrongs,
That smothered our lives and hopes
And that voice will still sing his songs.
Which we are free to hear for ages on.
Today was a bleak, sad day,
We remember and rejoice in his wonderful way.
(A.B.C. Radio F.M. 105.9 — 31 December 2016)
It is the eve of the new year
And, of course, we are not sure what blasts
The trumpets will make, but we do know they won't be
Alfred Hill's. It was good in the cool of the morning
The white rabbit chose to jump
From the superior Satie's grand piano
Scattering correspondence, memoirs and memories
Rattling the keyboard of the lower piano.
Sadly we can be sure that the precious spoils
Will reach out and touch fewer and fewer people,
But we are lucky in the cool of the morning
To have and hear that voice that's grown from the feet
Of 'The Lark Ascending', heard the voice
Of Kathleen Ferrier, the human spirit at its height,
And all that shared with the weekly chattering
Of two men in the hope of decent crops
Like 'The Pearl Fishers', and the joy of the disciplines
Of vineyards and oyster farms.
'My name is John Clarke and the embrace of
Civilisations and their makers is a glory to me,
And the trust of the future lies in feasting on the past,
And truly hoping that the broken cities can be mended
Upon the foundations of the bottom hand of "Moonlight Sonata".'
Peter Gebhardt is a retired school principal and judge. His most recent book is Black and White Onyx: New and Selected Poems 1988–2011.