Author of the Month: Graham Lancaster

Graham Vivian Lancaster

Pied Piper

Was it the plinking of bamboo wind chimes
On paradise island we had,
That drifted me up from dreamy slumbers,
Or your smiling voice
Calling; like once in a happy time
When we sealed love’s sweet
Vows of foreverness
With a dewy falling apart
Rose petal kiss,
Attended by red eyed
Head cocked seagull -
Wed by a benevolent African sun
In a rolling whisper of surf?
I know you were here again,
Your delicate perfume mingled
Heady with coconut summer skin
Drifting on the ocean breeze,
Your warm footsteps printed
One behind the other
In slow sand moulds
Of each careful toe walking close past;
But then my heart beats faster
As I hear them calling out to me
In command of my name,

To Another Place

The same flirting wind that
Whispers sweet love songs
With her soft breath to my ear
Like a passionate lovers kiss
Sneaking sleepy eyed longings
Lingering just long enough
To entice a wayward delicious thought
But never long enough
To invite gravity bound hands
To welcome wonder,
Steals my mind away with her passion
On rich velvet cushions
And exotic deep pile carpets
Upon a softly hissing dhow
Rising - falling - gently riding
Streaked clouds of stratus
Waved like white swells of the ocean blue,
Magenta sails blooming full
With magnolia scents of the islands,
Coconuts and her perfume
Intoxicating in hints of boldness
To a place - -
To another place - -


This ship
Sailing the flaming sunsets
On oil green waters
Into the lonely purple night
Will return to sail again
For there is no death
In life.

Night Time

The wooden clunk
Of summer night blinds
On window frames
Snatches me
One thousand miles back
In a mind flash
To the islands
Carved wind chimes
Of coconut shell
Hollow bumping
In the seaweed breeze
And the taste
Of your
Sultry salt seasoned skin
My hungry tongue tip


Amongst the third world cars
Waiting their turn across the traffic circle,
Sits another wizened old caramel sun baked man
On the bench seat of a bright painted
Indian ox cart;
Cap peak pulled low against the early sun,
High steel shod, wooden spoked wheels
Almost reach his shoulder;
And a spread horned,
Huge muscled red ox between the yokes
Flared nostrils
Rolling red eyes at the noisy traffic.
Picture of tranquility and mayhem,
Yesterday beauty losing itself in
Today ugliness.
Watching breathlessly - me,
Driver whip cracks the air,
Leans forward,
Ox of inseparable friendship,
Implicit trust - maybe suicide pact,
Leans obediently into the traces,
Takes strain, plods
Across the intersection,

Cart trundling behind,
Drivers, revving; oily motorbikes,
Acknowledging their presence;
Their right;
Vanishing ancient respectful world
Merges with modern chrome glass impatience,
Delivering a load of manure
To the farmer’s vegetables.

Craft Master

Thundering waves crash upon the reef
In bursts of white foam
Rippling across the bay,
Bobbing pirogues on crystal water,
Swinging from rope anchored prows,
To lap, lap gently on the island
With the hiss of rolling sea shells
Up the beach.
Beside the boat,
Chocked with poles,
Barefoot on the white powder sand,
Squats the wizened ancient mariner,
Bony buttocks resting on his heels,
With bulging kneecaps tight through
Wrinkled brown skin,
Old skinny thighs
Without trace of muscled bulge.
Wrapped in scant loincloth,
Hollow stomach,
Naked ribbed chest,
As the soft chop, chop
Of his wood crafter’s adze,
Clamped in skeletal fingers,
Rises and falls,
Fashioning graving pieces,
For the rotten cut away hull.
He studies his work
Beneath careful touch,
His measuring eyes
Looking thoughtfully to the coconuts.
With a slight nod,
Cuts away a sliver, confirms.
From an acrid bubbling black pitch pot
On the smoky wood shaving fire,
He carefully caulks the joints,
With a rude mallet,
Taps it into perfect fit.
Awl bored, secure
With hand fashioned trunnels
Hammered home.
Surveying his labour,
He rolls a cigarette of pipe tobacco
In a torn strip of newspaper,
Running his pink tongue along the edge,

‘glues’ it closed.
An orange match flares
And two nostril streams
Of grey white fragrant smoke
Carry on the breeze.
Rested, he paints careful stripes
Of bright red, blue and yellow.
With a gummy toothless smile,
Ton Raymond rises slowly
Walks with aged dignity,
On bended back,
Knobbly spine like knotted cord,
To the cool palm tree shade.
He sits with the men,
Noisily playing draughts
With tinkling bottle caps
On a square board drawn with blue pen.
A burst of enthusiastic island discussion,
Counting notes, slipped into his waistband,
And a fish into the bargain.
He gratefully accepts the cold Phoenix,
Sipping beer from the bottle in his turn,
Passing on, watching the players,
Offering excited pointing finger advice.
Then, fingertips to forehead
Of palm pressed ‘Namaste’ hands,
He bows out backwards away.
Two big eyes,
Beneath scarred crash helmet,
Chinstrap hanging open,
Tool bag handlebar slung,
Pedals his moped to life
And rides off like a stick insect.
Tonight, his great grand children
Will suck on five for one Rupee sweets.


In the hurricane lamp’s
Orange flickering paraffin flame,
Dancing gold across the
Dark early night water,
The Creole fisherman slowly
Powers his boat to the gap,
Through the reef on the wave lull
Into the open ocean.
He sleeps with fishing rods
Tied into rod holders,
And in hand,
Jerking awake with each bite.
Returns at day break
With tails poking out fish bucket,
Pushes along the beach

On bicycle carrier
To the weigh station,
Before working the garden all day.


With tsunami memories,
The Indian Ocean’s
Anger tonight
Flings its full petulance
Down on the reef,
Breaking down its length
In the semi darkness
Like some vapour trail jet,
Roaring in crashing waves;
Great foaming white lines
Booming across the coral
To jerk the tethered boats
Like wild horses – panicked,
Rearing against spray snapping tight
Mooring ropes
In the light of the
Quarter sickle moon,
Lying on its back,
Holding water.
Its going to rain too.


Leaning over the veranda wall
The old man looks down
Into the Port Lois street
With disinterested eyes
At the busy traffic.
A case of empty beer,
Cold drink bottles
In a splitting rain brittle
Cardboard box,
The skeleton of a dead bicycle
Rest beyond family space
Outside on the ledge,
In danger of falling one day
And killing a pedestrian.
Looking up from the window of the Triolet Bus
At the exhaust grimed building,
Our eyes meet
Without assumption;
For I don’t know him.


Small Indian schoolboy
Sits on a low stone wall
Down a Grand Bay side street,
Tears splashing like
Black spiders on his trousers
As I crouch beside him,
But our language is different,
He can’t tell me
His Hindu pain.
Other children
Walk away disinterestedly
At my query;
Island isolation
As he clutches the sucker
I gave.
We sit; with my arm
Around his shoulders;
Maybe for different reasons,
But for the injustices
Of the world,
We cry together.

Graham Vivian Lancaster

Fellow Member Production Management Institute, degreed in finance, production, economics, Master Business and technical metallurgy, Alexander House / Trayberry Press publisher, he is published in eight genres.
Anthologised in poetry and short stories, he has five study guides and forty one published books, nine of which are personal poetry anthologies. He is an American Pushcart Poetry Award nominee and has won the top South African Writers Circle Quill Award for his novel, ‘Strength of Ten,’ which is to
be made into a motion picture. 2010 English Academy of Southern Africa poetry judge, 2011 English academy of Southern Africa Gold Medal proposal. Three of his poems were chosen to represent South Africa at the Dec 2010 World Poetry Festival in Canada.
Translated into Spanish, Romanian, Hindi and French, read on radio in Argentina and Puerto Rico. Published in Fullosia Press, A Hudson View, Labyrinth, Convorbini Literare, Seventh Quarry Press, Nord Literar, Axiom, World Anthology Of Love Poetry, Crossroads Of The Century, Sailing
Through The Mists Of Time, Across The Long Bridge, Journeys, Skyline, Episteme, Unbreaking The Rainbow, Tonight, Trainstorm.
SCUBA diver, sky diver, fisherman, photographer, he writes from the many varied facets of his full and adventurous life.

1 comment :

  1. Excellent poetry. Pied Piper and paradise island brings back memories of my Father. Thank you. Pete Dreyer


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