21 October 2009


Fallen, and for what?
To save a continent
From the jack-booted heel.
For the lands of their allies
To be hammered and
Reaped by a blood-red Star?

Fallen, and for what?
To defend our liberty,
Our freedom from tyranny.
For their children to treat
Liberty as license, or embrace
Tyranny in the name of tolerance?

Fallen, and for what?
They fought for our lives,
By laying down their own.
They fought not for their world
But that we might build a better one:
What did we build?

Fallen, and for what?
Remember the Fallen and ask,
Are we worthy of their Sacrifice?
Could they but see what we became,
Would they, bemused, ask themselves,
Fallen, and for what?

Copyright © 2009 Desmond Hilary

For Remembrance Day, 11 November 2009

26 June 2009

Too Much To Do

Too much to do
And not enough me.
One me is all I have,
One day at a time.
It's all good stuff
But hard to stomach,
Like over-salted food
On an overloaded plate.

I'm swimming in treacle,
Dark and sticky,
That resists all effort
At forward motion.
Or I'm treading water
In a stagnant pond
At midnight - nothing to see,
There's just a bad smell.

There's a beached whale
To heave into the sea.
I don't know what's best:
Push it, or pull?
Dolphins frolic
In that limitless sea.
I watch, and wish
I could play like them...

Yet, each day brings progress.
Put enough days together
And the job is done.
One day at a time.
Each day, a new start.
Each day, the next step.
I'm moving the mountain,
One rock at a time.

Copyright © 2009 Desmond Hilary

26 May 2009

A Dog's Life

The sea! The sea! I love the sea,
With waves that slosh about.
Its salty water beckons me,
‘Come in, please don’t stay out.’
Although it’s freezing, I am bold;
I’ll gladly take the chance
To plunge into those waters cold
And splash and swim and prance.

The sand! The sand! I love the sand
That lies so flat and wide.
There’s lots of room upon the strand,
Depending on the tide.
I’d gladly stay here all the day
To splash and chase the brine
And run to fetch my ball and play
And dig the sand so fine.

The car! The car! I love the car
That brings me to this place
And takes me home to fields afar
With wind blown in my face.
I love to have the window down
And roll upon the seat,
And smell the smells of field and town,
And wipe my dirty feet.

My food! My food! I love my food
Served in my shiny dish;
Leftovers fried or boiled or stewed,
Or even some fresh fish,
Are what I like the best to eat
But kibble smells all right.
I’ll gobble ‘til I’m quite replete
Then fart for half the night!

My bed! My bed! I love my bed
With stuffing soft and deep.
I’m quite worn out and nicely fed,
So, time to go to sleep.
I’ll dream of cars and sea and sand
And other pleasant spots,
And food that fills my tummy, and
My folks, who love me lots.

Copyright © 2009 Desmond Hilary (with help from Maximus Flatus Rex)

25 May 2009

A Summer Reverie

When summer kisses England
There is no lovelier place.
See the green meadows
With wild flowers festooned:
Brazen buttercups hoist high their heads
In mimicry of the sun;
Subtle speedwells, spread carpet-like,
Reflect the firmament;
Dazzling daisies’ pristine petals
Resolutely face the light;
Campions blush, embarrassed
By their own beauty.
Bees, in lazy haste,
Unbiased, visit each bloom
With diligent care.

The river, no more rushing
From wintry ravages to salty oblivion,
Now languid, slides slowly by,
Playing among the rocks,
Basking in warm sunlight.
Swallows swoop and dart
And twist and dive,
Beneath the open sky.
Multifarious birdsong breaks
Upon the listener’s ear,
Instilling awe and wonder.
The riotous greens that surround,
Of tree and field, of vale and hill,
Fill the eye and its owner
With rest and joy of living.

No, in all the world,
There is no fairer place
Than England’s countryside
Caressed by summer’s kiss.

Copyright © 2009 Desmond Hilary

11 May 2009

The Ornamental Garden

Here, Nature's marvels orchestrated
Play, the human eye to please,
With rich new colours variegated
Set beneath great, ancient trees;
Warm sunlight bathing open spaces,
Shapes and patterns, shades of green,
And greens in shade in sheltered places;
Birdsong urgent, now serene.

The paths that guide the eye's direction
Lead our weary, wand'ring feet
To find a place of contemplation
At some beauteous vista's seat.
In view, in watery reflection
Muted, Nature's song still clear
Can melt away our disaffection,
Quell our darkest, inmost fear.

For here, all Nature's gathered treasures
Ordered by the craftsman's skill
Can clouded minds transform with pleasures,
Anxious hearts by respite still.
This peaceful place, its moments tranquil,
Bars all turmoil from its ground,
Reminds us that our lives are special,
Tunes us to a deeper sound.

Copyright © 2009 Desmond Hilary

Inspired by Samares Gardens, Jersey

26 April 2009

The Making of Me

One life is all I have.
What will I do with it?

I could make the most of it:
Indulge myself and seek out pleasure,
Take what I want wherever I can get it,
Give nothing out except to my advantage,
Use whoever and whatever,
Every appetite to gratify;
Then, at the end, look back
And revel in the making of ME!

One life is all I have.
What will I do with it?

I could make the best of it:
Deny myself and lay up treasure,
Give all I can to those who truly need it,
Take nothing to another’s disadvantage,
Use myself and all I am,
Others’ real needs to satisfy;
Then, past the end, look back
And marvel at the making of me.

One life, two ways
To spend my days,
When fullness means empty
Or nothing means all,
Where one ends in silence,
The other shouts loud.

One life is all I have.
What will I do with it...?

Copyright © 2009 Desmond Hilary

12 April 2009

Son’s-day Morning

Brilliant, burning light
Floods the tomb.
Darkness flees the flame
For sanctuary in the shadows
But finds they are gone:
For here, there is light
And no darkness.

Brilliant, burning light
Banishes darkness.
Death’s grip slips away,
A broken body breathes –
Breathes, and lives again:
For here, there is life
And no death.

Brilliant, burning light
Restores and heals
The True Light of the World,
Who stands and laughs loud,
Delights in life itself;
For here, there is wholeness
And no pain.

Brilliant, burning light!
Angelic beings
Fold the remnants of defeat,
Bow low before their Maker,
Gaze up at his face, and smile;
For here, there is triumph
And no defeat.

Brilliant, burning light
Proclaims resurrection,
That He who lives and was dead
Is now alive for ever
And, with Him, all who are His;
For here, there is eternity
And no ending.

Brilliant, burning light
Spills past the moving stone
And presages the age
Of new-hearted people
Who can lift their heads:
For here, there is favour
And no shame.

Brilliant, burning light
For all the world to see.
The Light of Life and All People
Wrought in one act on one day
Everlasting peace:
For here, there is shalom,
And full salvation.

Copyright © 2009 Desmond Hilary

10 April 2009

God’s Friday

Darkness rolls in.
A man weeps in a garden,
Pleading for release but
There is no escape.

Darkness rolls in.
Liberty, now captured,
Is carried away,
Betrayed by a kiss.

Darkness rolls in.
Witnesses lie on oath.
The Guardians of Justice
Condemn the Innocent.

Darkness rolls in.
The first beating is dealt.
Mockery and Humiliation
Pluck at his beard.

Darkness rolls in.
The Roman finds no fault
But condemns him still; soldiers
Flense him with whips.

Darkness rolls in.
The troops have their sport:
He is known as a king, so they
Crown him with thorns.

Darkness rolls in.
He is lead out to die
Like a common criminal,
Carrying his end.

Darkness rolls in.
Nails are driven home,
The hammering drowned by
An agony of cries.

Darkness rolls in.
The sun hides its face.
The man breathes his last.
His broken mother weeps.

Darkness rolls in.
Splattering in the dust,
The final drops of blood
Carry all our deaths.

Darkness rolls in.
Remains, wrapped in linen,
Lifeless, still, grown cold, are
Sealed in a tomb.

Darkness rolls in
And laughs in its triumph,
Then gasps and trembles, for
The Light is coming…

Copyright © 2008 Desmond Hilary

28 March 2009

A 40th Birthday Poem

It is my friend's 40th birthday, a special event. I marked it with this poem.

Birthdays come and birthdays go
But this one is a special kind
That ends with zero just to show
Another decade lies behind.
Moustaches from your nose will grow
From this day forward, you will find;
To show the wisdom of your years,
Grey tufts shall sprout out from your ears.

Copyright © 2009 Desmond Hilary