A space for poems you like to read again and again.
Thank you for supporting the poets featured last weekend. Their work is still present in August Archives (left).
This weekend we have five poems, which will be the maximum shown per week. They are by Joan Johnston, Emma Lee, Colin Will, Susan Castillo and A. E. Baker.
How to send, see first post of the month.
A Particular Blue
i.m. Roy, who died flying, 1976
This afternoon the weather broke
and changing light
brought back morning,
waking as the shining
water you’d carried for miles
poured into me
from your cupped hands,
became the liquid song
of a blackbird.
Then your promise,
opaque, clinging all day
to the tip of my tongue,
clarified with the start
of rain: you’ll bring me
a colour next time, a particular
blue you saw once, beyond
azure, a deep sky. Breathtaking
– your last word – revealed
as you flew again into cloud,
as birds stilled,
First published in Joan Johnston’s book The Daredevil: Scenes from a Bigamist Marriage, by Red Squirrel Press, 2011, this in memoriam poem was recently plagiarised, and Joan says she would like to reclaim it.
What they didn’t take
They took the white goods, easy to sell,
easy to replace. They found my jewellery,
but took nothing. Riffled through,
not recognising what they saw.
My jet drop earrings left intact, untouched.
A reminder of our first proper date
where your eyes didn’t stray from the woman
about to spend the rest of your life with you
and when I wear them, I’m not in mourning.
First published in The Journal in 2012 and included in Emma’s collection “Ghosts in the Desert”, Indigo Dreams, published earlier this year.
Satori in Fauldhouse
The Great Sage came to the vile West
and asked “Who is your wisest man?”
“That would be Big Shuggie”, said the villagers.
“Go then, and fetch Big Shuggie,
that we may engage in discourse
on the nature of Buddhahood”.
But the people returned, saying
“Big Shuggie is on the bevvy
and will not come”.
“Go again, and tell him I desire to know
the sound of one hand clapping”.
The emissaries returned in sorrow, reporting
“Big Shuggie says he’ll clap yer lug in a meenit.
He’s on a roll at the dominoes,
Ma Johnson’s 80-shillin’ is goin’ down a treat,
an’ he’s juist had the nod for later
from wee Senga, whose man
has neutered himself
with much lager. Bugger Buddha! he says”.
So spoke the spokesperson, apologetically,
for such was his role.
“Truly, Big Shuggie is wise in the ways of Zen”,
said the sage,
“I will return to the mystic East, for I can learn him nothin”.
First published in Seven Senses, diehard, 2000.
My students, hunched in rows.
Flock of crows
scratching frenzied ruts
across the page.
This university is old,
A Bulwark of Tradition. On the walls
Ancient men in gilt-fringed squares.
One, white-haired, seems benign,
like an uncle, really. Another, quite demented,
glares down at us, eyes iridescent slugs
peering through black thatch.
Below, all my Fionas,
My Clares, my Mariannes,
crank out prose
on “Gender in Milton”
One chews her lip. Another, flushed,
braids fingers through her hair.
I don’t believe in ghosts. Still,
I could swear I see
Old men draped tight around soft necks
Dour donnish veils that dim bright eyes
Black bridles muting sharp pink tongues
Censors, Jailers, Fathers, Lovers
Blindfold, gagging Noose.
First published in The Candlewoman’s Trade, diehard 2003
In the beginning God made the world
out of a No.83 Meccano Set
which is the biggest Meccano Set
in all the world
which God made out of it,
and which is Model No.46.
Then God made Adam, who is Model No.98,
in his own likeness,
and Adam saw the world and it was good
and Adam said to God,
Who made this world, for it is good
and God said to Adam,
It was I who made it
out of a No.83 Meccano Set.
And Adam said to God,
Who made the No.83 Meccano Set?
And God said to Adam,
And Adam gave great thanks to God and said,
But Lord, I am alone.
And God said,
Let there be Hornby Trains
and there were Hornby Trains.
Published in 1997 in Smiths Knoll Magazine. Efforts have been made to trace this author to request permission to republish.