Category Archives: Romance

Night Departure

Tail lights vanishing into a darkening sky,

A symbol of your leaving,

An intermittent spark of fading cherry red,

Dwarfed, and made miniscule by the vastness of night,

The lonely silver disc of the moon, bathes the landscape with surreal intensity,

In it’s unfeeling spotlight, for an unknown reason, I feel desolate,

You, speeding across the roof of the world, chasing the eastern mystic dawn,

I gaze at the last seductive blink of light, yet distance and darkness conspire,

The universe wins, and defeated, I stand alone,

I trudge to the car park, wearing shoes of lead,

Having nowhere to go, yet no reason to stay,

Out! Out! onto the highway, My reality here,

Yet My spirit soars east, chasing, never catching,

Radio taunts, me, romantic songs,

I turn south, and briefly look up,

I see another, red, winking, vanishing into a darkening sky

Mark Charlwood© 1989

The Pub Pickup

I saw her across the bar from me. She was young, She was beautiful, and I was struck by her eyes. The colour of cornflowers, they were calm, and they were fixed unwaveringly on my face. The steadiness of the gaze was impressive, if not a little un-nerving. I felt guilty looking back at her, but she didn’t appear to be with anybody, just sitting there waiting patiently. Waiting for what? Or maybe for whom?

I looked away, picking up my pint, and taking a long satisfying pull from it. I popped open my bag of Walkers Cheese and Onion Crisps, and picked up my book. I attempted to read, but some sixth sense told me that I was still being watched. I furtively looked up, and the same blue eyes were still looking at me. I am not sure what I saw deep in those eyes. Was it desire? Hunger? Maybe. But I also detected warmth and friendliness, I could sense that she was screwing up her courage, and I wondered if I should invite her over to my table.

Raucous laughter came from the other side of the pub, and the spell was broken. She looked away, and I went back to my book with a sense of disappointment. I had hoped I would have had time to invite her over. Sipping at my beer, I managed to get through another few pages of Lee Childs’ latest Jack Reacher novel, when I felt the hairs on my neck prickle. Looking up, I saw immediately that she had made it halfway along the bar towards me. I gazed at her spectacular body, admiring the bright red kerchief that was around her neck.

“Hello” I said softly. I indicated the seat next to me, patting it with my hand. “Come on” I smiled…. “You know you want to”

She hesitated, then elegantly walked over to me. It seemed that now she had made the decision, there would be no stopping her. She plonked herself down next to me, pressing her body firmly against me. I could feel her hot breath in my ear as she leaned over to help herself to a crisp. I cautiously put my arm around her shoulders, and turning, she focused her eyes on me, her whole face smiling. I hugged her tightly, feeling her warmth and strength.

I thought to myself…

“God….. I love Siberian Huskies”.

First Date

Another one that I wrote some years ago….musings on a first date at a country pub, in Leafy Surrey. I seem to recall it was early spring time…..

First Date

Its Friday night and I head for home, the working week is done,
I’m happy its the weekend and I’m going to have some fun,
The sun’s still shining brightly, as I walk up to my room,
The clock is showing half past six, I must get ready soon

I gratefully shrug my suit off, and hang it on the hook,
Go over to the unit, select myself a book,
I choose a decent comedy, I like to have a laugh,
And now to soak the day off, by laying in the bath

Cleaning time is over, I leap out – still soaking wet,
Cross over to the hi-fi, put on a good cassette,
Something from the Beatles, their twenty golden best,
I sing along with some of them, and hum to all the rest

Listening to the music, I towel and comb my hair,
Then open up the wardrobe, and consider what to wear,
I’d like to go quite casual, but my jeans are looking rough,
I wouldn’t want to meet her whilst I’m looking like a scruff

Well – that’s it – I’m ready, or as ready as I’ll be,
So I infiltrate the kitchen, and glug down a cup of tea,
I pick up my “shades” and my car keys from the bar,
Have I forgotten anything – No! then out and to the car

Its early when I get there, we’re supposed to meet at eight,
I start to fidget nervously; I hope she won’t be late,
Ten past eight has come and gone, and now I start to doubt,
Perhaps she won’t be coming, perhaps she’s blown me out

Relief floods through me, as I suddenly spot her car,
She pulls up in the car park, right outside the bar,
I walk over to her vehicle, and there I stand and wait,
She stands, she looks around her, and Wow! she’s looking great

I cannot quite believe it, to find a girl like her is rare,
Intelligent and attractive, in whose interests I can share,
And so we both just sit there, and talk and talk, and talk,
Then suddenly its over, Oh damn! the night’s too short

And so the evening has ended, and there we have to part,
May I see you again soon? I’m asking with hopeful heart,
She nods her head and smiles – the answer’s yes – I really hoped she might,
And with a head that’s still whirling, I head off into the night

Mark Charlwood

Mark Charlwood©

Mark Charlwood is the owner of the intellectual copyright of this work. It is prohibited to re publish, or distribute this work without prior written permission. Please contact me if you wish to use it.

Airport visit

This is another one from my back catalogue. I wrote this whilst working as a part time crew bus driver, when I was raising money to pay some big bills. The scene was London’s Gatwick Airport South Terminal. The Northern terminal wasn’t built at the time of writing.

I found it in a folder whilst unpacking some boxes that I took out of the loft.

So here it is…..

Airport Visit

Yellow sodium lights, string upon string, row upon row,
Casting a yellow aura onto the pregnant clouds,
Whilst the world slumbers, this is a land of insomnia,
Never sleeping, teeming with life

I pass through the doors, into this concrete and chrome citadel,
It’s artificial warmth engulfs me, bright neon and noise,
Smells of stale burgers and stale humanity, crowded yet empty,
A different world – an alien place

Wandering through this manmade canyon, yellow stalactites offering directions,
Avoiding the endless cleaners, driving their powered brooms, scarabs of the night,
Ever watchful, vigilant, evading mobile cages of luggage,
Destined for who knows where?

Dante’s hell here, tens of sentient corpses, in limbo,
Strewn like victims on stereotype couches – the un-dead,
Awaiting their flight into the future,
The cheerful obnoxiousness of a giant orange kiosk, serving processed juice.

Musical, the chimes demand attention, the disembodied voice,
Reaching into the furthest nooks and crannies – no escape,
Calling the faithful to the altar of travel,
A tired policeman, gun on hip, drinking plastic coffee from a cardboard cup

As I walk by a party of arrivals dribble from the customs hall, motley collection of searching faces,
Meeters and greeters surge forward clipboards held aloft like religious talismen,
Their overspill of emotion floods me, drowning me, relief, tears, tiredness all at once,
The elderly couple tightly embrace, oblivious to anyone but each other

Deeper I penetrate into this strange land, my eyes assaulted by TV screens that force feed data,
Boldly, I step onto the rubber walkway, driving me into the maw of the machine to be processed,
Journeys end! Departures, and I go to the check in desk,
The uniformed clone launches a computer designed smile at me, chants a litany of questions to appease the gods,

I’ve passed the test, and weigh my bags,watching, devoid of emotion, disengaged,
They lurch away, into a dark oblivion, nostalgia hits…will I ever see them again?
I stand and appraise my fellow travellers; the lady in the two piece, face taut, fearful,
The drunken louts in suits with Nikons round their necks

I see a weary figure, a foreign lady, pushing her cleaning cart like a mobile penance,
How many toilets has she cleaned today, how many will she clean tomorrow?
Will the pretty girl ever see the soldier she’s kissing goodbye again?
The future seems so uncertain, and I share their insecurity

I am alone. No one to wave farewell to, no one to miss, or send a card,
A piece of business flotsam, jostled by the tides of commerce,
Cast wherever the capricious winds of profit blow me,
Oh no – A loud stag party with braying laughs and cowboy hats,

Happy and sad, birth and death – it all happens here,
The total gamut of human emotions and life; deceit, betrayal, love and loyalty,
But emotions can’t be X Rayed, or found by customs – prohibited articles?
Just people, all suffering the common condition of confusion

At last we’re moving towards the rubicon,
Passport in sweaty hand, boarding pass clamped between gritted teeth,
Shuffling like convicts towards the scaffold,
A bored security guard barely glances at me or my papers as I pass through,

Out of the warm cloying fugg, and into the drizzle, the smell of kerosene in the air like mist,
The sleek belly of the aircraft, illuminated by intermittent flashes of Amber and red,
I’m dwarfed by its size, and the impatient whine of its power,
The raindrops hit me, disguising my tears, as I shuffle forwards to embark

The night is then ripped apart, as I stand at the hatch, mesmerised,
A cluster of lights race past me, rotating, clawing their way up the fabric of the night,
Suddenly absorbed by the clouds, with only the lonely baying of jets to testify to it’s existence.
I turn, and see yellow sodium lights, stirring upon string, row upon row

Mark Charlwood© August 1989

Mark Charlwood holds the intellectual property rights of this work. It is prohibited to copy, republish, or distribute this work without the written permission. If you do want to use it, please contact me.

Night of Beauty

Night of Beauty

Soft-perfumed dusk falls silently, like black snow,
Creeping over quiet english meadows and fields, gently heralding night,
Warm laughter floats across the garden,
A sea of sound, washing along the shores of consciousness,
Orange and red lights outline the silhouette of the country tavern,
Fluttering moths glitter, as they perform their haphazard evolutions,
Evading, by chance, the zooming bats that swoop above,
Deep blue eyes, made mysterious by the shadows,
A smile that cuts like a searchlight through the gloom,
Soft, warm fingers entwine with mine across the table
As my internal warmth of happiness shuns the cooling eventide
Look heavenwards! Above, countless numbers of stars glittering,
Strewn like shards of broken glass on Tarmac,
Awesome in their profusion, humbling in their magnitude, numbing brilliance,
And so, I relax, in the mental easy-chair of contentment,
Noticing that lady night has changed her gown,
From one of grey to velvet of the deepest violet,
The better to show her finest jewel – the moon,
As red as a blood orange, wreathed in ragged wisps of clouds,
Majestically climbs the firmament,
And Mother Nature congratulates herself on the creation of a night of beauty,
Made complete by the beauty of you.

Mark Charlwood© December 2014

Notes: This poem was written by me on a summer night in June back in the early nineties. I wrote it after going on a date with a beautiful woman, to a small pub in the middle of nowhere in West Sussex. I have been with this lady ever since. She is still beautiful.

Mark Charlwood owns the intellectual copyright on this original work. It is prohibited to copy or republish this work without the prior written permission of the author.

Dream Holiday

Dream Holiday

The city traffic hum, is reduced to a murmur,
Washed away by the sounds, flooding from the taverna,
The strong heady aroma, of Ouzo, Retsina,
On the wings of a zephyr, spread across the marina.

When I arrive, I know that you’ll meet me,
With crowds of old friends, who’ve turned out to greet me,
Away from old London’s pollution and lies,
To relax on the beach, under warm Grecian skies.

Hand in hand we wander, through quiet olive groves,
Or tramp for miles on the white, dusty roads,
And when too tired to wander much farther,
We sit with cold beers, on the wall of the harbour.

When I arrive, and the sleek jumbo lands,
I’m minutes away from your warm, golden sands,
Away from the smog, London’s urban disease,
To relax on the beach, with its azure blue seas.

Then I come to, with a frightening shock,
Realising I’m still in the travel agents shop,
My heart is still with you, a powerful call,
Propelled by the picture of Greece, on the wall.

So, alone I wander, back out of the door,
The Oxford Street traffic a deafening roar,
The strong heady odour of fumes, and decay,
Make futile my plans for a Greek holiday.

But all is not lost, for with coming of night,
When I climb into bed, and turn out the light,
Once more in the darkness, my spirits at peace,
As my ‘plane touches down, and I’m with you in Greece.

Mark Charlwood © November 2014

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