Poetry Blog by Adam Whitworth

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Robert Haigh on If I could Walk On Stilts (7 days ago)

Kevin T.S. Tan on If I could Walk On Stilts (9 days ago)

Paul Sayer on The Kid With The Target On His Chest (Sat, 8 Aug 2020 10:42 pm)

Shifa Maqba on Wisdom Exhausted (Sat, 1 Aug 2020 04:07 pm)

Shehariah on Restoring Perspective (Sun, 26 Jul 2020 05:07 am)

LEON STOLGARD on In Appreciation Of Genuine Poetry (Sat, 25 Jul 2020 09:34 pm)

Shifa Maqba on The Down-Trodden Bastard Still Blesses You (Thu, 23 Jul 2020 02:58 am)

Vautaw on Poem By The Stream (Sat, 18 Jul 2020 05:59 pm)

Philipos on So (Sun, 12 Jul 2020 09:14 pm)

Adam Whitworth on The Ball Of Life (Tue, 23 Jun 2020 03:29 pm)

File Under The Wrong Heading


I had sought the innocent lover
     (I could turn my hand from conflict forever!)
so long frequenting the masters and servants;
     drinking it in, smoking it out. They swear
the innocent lover has left the building.
     Now I have turned a corner and lost
sight of an innocent beauty. 
     My door opens to my own key,
unrelieved, I claim sanctuary.
     Don't hound me to admit th...

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If I could Walk On Stilts

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Reluctantly I revere those who can
if I could I would be forever happy

I can plummet out of control
my face hit the dust again and again
these things hold no fear for me
now I have made the deal 
with whatever powers might be

So here I step up proudly
bearing all my history's bruises
let this be the day I hang in the air
easy as a condor

I feel it within my growing bones

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The Poet Speaks (To Himself)


I heard you say you can't read my lines:
you feel they're not meant for you.
Well I wouldn't normally say:
I don't like your food, it stinks.
(Except that stolen fruit- hey, hey!)

You'll be satisfied with nothing less than a mirror
but, going through life with your eyes closed?
Me, I'd like something for nothing
an uplifting thought that won't go away.

We're both out of luck but ...

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Daylight Still


You'll whisper to yourself
     "It's daylight still".

You'll have in mind a white-barked tree
     with no breeze for the leaves.

You'll pull yourself from the mire:
     your achievement defined.

The tree before the one before
and the one that stood before that,
all one radiating melancholy.

Twilight flight through pain and dangers
O, soar! Invigorate spent emotion.

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The Body Of Odysseus 


Seemed like angry sores and welts
over a dramatic sunset.
Like someone, frenzied, had taken red felt-pen to that sky.
Black holes set the challenge for doubting fingers-
this body had been gored by fantastic beasts.
A wildly ridged brow told a story of agony.
This could be anyone.

And there it was 
like a stain on a road-map
another scar, this one
no fault of heaved spear nor rock...

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For Poetry To Survive


Theirs is a darker time than ours
obstacles to their progress greater 
and the pain in their minds more real.

They lift average people like us
for they work for the sake of people like us
sharpening the edge of our weapons.

They deny us nothing, but do we see?
Clearly they speak, let us hunt for our ears
and hunt for hands that might receive tribute.

We await their word, their ...

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Work In Progress

Only because keeping still 
as beloved photographs
wouldn't do, they laboured on.

Their desire's simulacrum moved
across gold sands ahead-
not everyone approved.

Not everyone agreed, not everyone believed,
worried over motes in the eye
while whipping up a storm.

Here we were born, as this old world
bid its interminable farewell,
a bird taking to a vast blue sky
fading like the mo...

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The Kid With The Target On His Chest


It makes me consider the heart more 
sympathetically, this target on the chest
designed to make me condemn outright
the beating heart it reveals more than covers.

Who is this boy who could be anyone?
Ghostly in black and white
as if from a chapter now ash
but I've met with less in the mirror.

Shadows cresting night's hills
I take them to be the firing squad
too well trained to h...

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A Visit

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It seems to be a special day
for grasshoppers in the graveyard,
this one on my bedroom ceiling
must have hitched a ride from there

I want him to stay this luminous green
wowing us all with feelers longer than his body
standing there upside-down
where we couldn't dream of it

so with this paper I'll bear him 
to my open window leaving him to pursue
the grasshopper ways with his un...

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Wisdom Exhausted


They will meet all the urgent needs
satisfy all thirst and hunger
solve the important problems
avert the worst disasters
     and relax

irreconcilable spirits

will look upon one another
with eyes like marbles
over any breakfast they choose
searching impenetrable darkness
     for simple answers

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In Appreciation Of Genuine Poetry


Thinking of the weekend
on a dull wednesday morning
that's poetry
brings about a glint of joy 
a welling of sorrow 
seeing Olhos de Agua
from a bus in Gravesend
for the chance to break 
the language barrier
eye to eye with dolphins
they, scarred, in their element and I in mine
that's poetry
like meeting a wise cousin at the zoo
who finds a way to say- nothing special
then you co...

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Life is...


Life is walked in ill-fitting shoes
many times mended:
glossy high-heels are parody.

Life is played by self-taught bands
the childs rattle, the broken reed:
competent orchestras are parody.

Life, brief as a sneeze
complex as merging galaxies:
a written history is parody.

My life is surprised, often, by smiles,
open arms- and overwhelming gratitude:
To parody this has to be se...

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My Plan


I plan to steal away from this circus
with the cool discipline of a juggler
and I'll make ready for silent dessert
if flowers will grow there they will guide me

Head bowed, I trace the narrow corridors 
of my fingerprints. Too long, too long;
eyes swim, neck aches, and I look up.
All those bombs that hang in the sky,
do I hope to live long enough 
to watch them slowly fade?
But ju...

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The Down-Trodden Bastard Still Blesses You


At the caravan's rest two prayers I say
one for the mothers all children need
and one for the children who follow and lead.
The mothers all children need
the children of the children of the children
who follow and lead, follow and lead.

Deeper than those things one can decide on
go these whispers reaching infinitude
where the loudest roars also roar in tune.
These sighs reach right...

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Poetical Polemic


A human being 
by temperament savouring the long lyrical line
strays never far from a curved river 
that creates the habitat, marvellous and mysterious,
the inquisitive spirit desires; 
if you cannot be lost, you cannot be found.

The idiot himself can see 
a short plank won't cover much ground
a sensible person sees also
it can't possibly carry much weight
and deep within humanity

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Poem By The Stream

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Calm among the voices and the laughter
a grain regardless of the sands
under the play of roving cloud 
against the sun-bright blue

I mused upon a willow there
hung over the modest stream
and the way this brooding giant
kept its a-dangling tips from immersion
in the reflective element
so neat as would please a barber
held my focus long just there
and when the voices and the laughter 

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From a strange land comes a person
engendering much puzzlement.
On the steps I greet the stranger
who has been invited, not sent.

To begin again, a person
might well tend a vegetable plot.
If nothing grows, in retrospect
what you dreamt you did, you did not.

My brief outline of a person
repressing more than it reveals,
not by choice but necessity
-words proved to be incorporeal...

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A History

Divination by the flight of birds
is the order of the day, he sees doves swoop
from the right, and his love is emboldened.

The world is flat (and whatever happens
at the edge is no concern of the boy),
to his horizons she is the centre.

The eye of eternity has been found 
to be blind, the amber clear as aspic.
He vows to weave through these days for her sake.

To make of Mars a peace...

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Something About Hands

    You enter the mountain when it opens
Koppen hills...Aladdin's cave...Koh-i-Noor-
time comes you return empty handed:
gravity can't be held in the hand.
But you can 
imagine a huge sack of experience,
feel the weight heavy on your back;
drag a miser's triple-locked chest
full of inexpressible treasure.

    Myself I made progress
when I shut myself up
in a room for a solid decade,

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An Open Boat


The children
stuck there at the top of the ferris wheel 
swaying between this view and that
an open boat comfortably settled in the sand
decide on further investigation 
it's only at the end of the day
exhausted and entering sleep
the children
aware water follows every path down
they'll run a proud hand along 
the smooth gunwales of their own little skiff
thought they...

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The Way To Work


Grieving ahead of time
my peculiar misery
I fear the cost of missing you
our epic migrations by day

endanger fragile connections

because the most precious 
is separate from the most strong
and the collapse of the good
not always due to the wrong

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Little creatures perfectly merge

with the only surface they know.

Beings; seen clearly as in meditation,

imagined lines of beauty 

understood, caught in time.

Sight and insight seeking to merge

before the surface is sheer again

and all is lost to forever.

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Titanic Ships

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Titanic ships divide the seas, beware.
In their wake fortune's armada, beware.
Yes fortunes are made, so they say, beware.
No ha'porth of tar left for your old hull,
a light touché for fathoms dark, dreadful.
New world or crab to reside in a skull,
the lifetime that skips disaster, so rare.
Go bravely then, carve at the tiller yet
love who prepares ashore the hungry net.
Go well, you...

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The Age Of Human Rights Has Been Kindest To The Rich.

Sad signposts tilt at obtuse angles,

already rusty, known to wandering dogs,

pointing nowhere in particular.

Older, wooden posts lie rotten

and, beside that, obscure in high nettle,

stones have marked the way.

So the slug leaves a record of how 

he or she (in fact the slug is hermaphrodite)

reached this point. It's further progress

is unclear.

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Angels Don't Need Wings


If understanding finds each one
like sunlight reaching each corner of the garden.
If each one rises on invisible wings
carried far by sweeping currents.
Why explain in excruciating detail 
until none shall sleep without nightmares?
Each one waking sweating, crying,
still chained to the dust. 
As likely to be moved as giant trees
deeply rooted in the dirt.

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The Ball Of Life

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A curled up mouse, woken by a silken voice.
"Ah how they dance! 
Never did I see feathers fly this way
even as I stole into in the hen coup."
     Says an old fox.

"And oh how they love!
So distinguished a courtship,
loosing that fear and dread:
the life for such as they."
     Says the fox.

"They place but the finest sweets upon the board,

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Take me back

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For could you really be in heaven 
knowing your neighbour suffers in hell? 
Wouldn't that heaven be blighted, 
sham as a rubber bell?

To left-overs of left-overs of São Paulo
in make-shift shelters, corrugated iron.
Over the way the slavery goes on
in utmost luxury, in plain sight;
sore eyes look both ways between railings.
In the vigorous turmoil of the present, writhing,

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Brown Study

The trees don't walk around here but
you can see how they might stalk the fields in gangs,
the stronger pushing over the weaker.
The wise ones finding a field of their own
for silent meditation; a century or so.
When they speak we should listen.
And these ten tonne rocks once hurled by giants
wailing shrieks of terror forgotten
learnt to sing to their veined neighbours
gathering in circle...

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All About You


You'll find it common as a buttercup.
Any animal anytime
is liable to (certain to, if you practise) 
mediate between your refined self
and all that you, in your intelligence,
can never define but feel subject to.

A finger of ivy insinuates
through the slightest crack. More than proof
your chamber is not hermetically sealed.
It's not so hard to step out of the space capsule:
just r...

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Restoring Perspective


Whatever got me to this point
it was not all my doing.
I didn't get here by my own wits
any more than I appear now by magic.

My confession is just this:
I have felt rushed along
blurring vision to my left and right
and my attention was poor.

All I wish now is to revisit 
those dusty lanes
this time at a proper pace
to see the life I missed by living.

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The Active As Statues


For good and clear reason we are 
imprisoned under black skies. They must pass overhead 
before those upholding the bright sun 
encounter our hearts. No incantations nor actions 
can hasten the day.

The temptation is to imagine 
armageddon upon us; the end is nigh.
The temptation is to create 
the hell one fears, to lose one's mind.

With our colours greyed under leaden skies 

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Daniel's Nth Poem


By the blown career of the butterfly
perfection proves immaterial.
By long seasons of slow-motion descent
blossoms falling widen the obvious
open door; rusty hinges can be heard.
By what uncanny proximity
is the threshold always here?
Look for no cities, no computers, no
awesome parade of gadgets passing through.
A humble starling about to show the way
now loses herself in murmurati...

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Long Haiku Or Short Sonnet?


as if there is no fate.
Choose long straight hair
like a long straight road
from here to there.
Choose the easy life
however hard it may be.
At the last minute as at the first
as if the duelling pistols are identical.
As a baby turtle rushes
into the sea or into a wall.

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Urchins And Has-Beens




A kid throws a stone.

It hits a post in the garden
     the post the kid was aiming at.

The hours of practise!

Annoyed neighbour-
     Distractions arise 
Another kid to play with-
          like stories 
The call in for tea-
               in a dream.
When you wake again

You can beat your record.

     Summer passes
a kid reali...

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Awaiting A Title

He's been around the world, and so
sums up every other fella
according to an occult system of his own.

And you.

Thousands of times you were tested
according to the arcane system
you had little interest or belief in.

In those times- it seemed right- you did your best.
He was your father after all.
He had his system.

And You. Uncategorised.

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The Bard's Walking Blues

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My dawg has got the blues.
Surely must be a sad tale
ready to make me cry.
Lord! Lord! Lord!
Dog's got the goddamn doggone blues.
Got to be some kind of answer
and spirits again leaping high.

But here's a sorry, sorry man
a small gittar in his hayand.
Just the same wherever he go
all across this heap o' land.
And when he grow so weary 
stripped of consciousness,
he sees not one...

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Where the heart is, that's the place to be.
In a nutshell, if you're looking for me, 
I'm in.
So many voyages made around my room.
But if I'm called for another journey,
I'm in.
All through the bright, bright sunshiny day
personal engagement will guarantee
I'm in.
As enthusiasts banging pots by night
applaud the NHS of the country
I'm in.
And the in-crowd is no longer elite
a new...

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Rainbows On Windows


As though the rain were already falling.
As though the unequalled good had already done
as they should, their easy golden sunlight
showering upon the fields.

As though the tower was already lightening-struck.
As though hands will do no other than rebuild
one another, their artistry brighter
for having been so long hid.

Dawn has drained the shadow from the mountain.
As if a gamble...

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The Deontologists

She had that dream again:
Solution found! Everyone celebrate!
Thus, supremely happy, she awoke.
But walking the boundary 
that could not be crossed,
the leaf and flower carrying stream
disappeared into the ground.
As seconds passed the precious discoveries 
she'd recorded reverted to indecipherable code.
Look now to eager friends approaching-
but tricks of light and shadow.
She was crue...

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Likeness In Modern Art

      I'd spent an eternity 
constructing my dream home.
Today I began to wonder
who it is suitable for- certainly not me.
A  bee, unaware of a way out, finds it by chance.
I began to cross the road...pity me
it's always from the side you're not looking
-the inside-
the speeding truck descends upon you.
      Well, here I am waking up 
after total oblivion, no problem at all.
No worries...

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Zen Flesh, Zen Bones


My pirouette mistaken
I collided with something solid
whatever pride might have been about
to announce skittered from my head
projected scenarios often fail 
to reach fruition this way
being plucked from a daydream
perhaps it's for the best

So much for zen flesh
what of zen bones?

The poet asks the reader
together they might reach further
the song and the listener
to make the...

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For The Pained Spirit


eyes like red-hot lasers 
withered all they saw
at that time
speech was reserved for criticism
children bathed in a toxic stream 
while the generation grew 
to understand the way of their world
choking on the air of disapproval
some level of depression was inevitable
but true to their nature
they were not convinced by their state
a window onto another world
had been glimpsed or ru...

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Look over the heads of the crowd to see
just where the eager throng would direct thee
                                                                                             if it could.


Look again at the cloud in headlong rush
just think, would it take all eternity
                                                                        if it could? 


Don't fret, so sl...

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The Old Women Are Weaving


The old women are weaving
flags to wave over our land,
good for scaring birds
as harvest time comes around.
They could just as well weave
a scarf for each man or wraith
who has to leave them cold
as wartime comes around.

They wove the fine threads
colours of joy and plenty
that long forgotten enmities
somehow increase upon.
They wish just to be weaving
soft caps for bonny babes

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New Problems, Same Solutions

We all long to send off
a message in a bottle.
At last we have the chance...

In this peculiar state
we do things differently.
All this year we note a close communion 
between the living and the dead.

We could ask our redeemers to send help
but who could deliver so far?
The sailors who chance to find this-
it is we who might help them.

What vital signs are worth recording for them-

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The Clouds Should Know Me By Now


But they do, they do
and blackbirds leaving a treetop 
haven't felt the need to ignore you.
Reed heads gathered by a riverbank
do not criticise your mood.
A silver moon won't laugh at your conduct
and the sun seeks only to remain your friend.
I can but give advice you already know-
Don't wait for the time they greet you in words.
To move on from this impasse
return here when you can...

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Living Poetry


I heard again today
poets must compete
in competition they grow stronger
I must look up to those
who stand on the bodies of the slain
still I persist in prizing
a few drops of ink to the broad page
anonymously given
as from every cordon of the vinyard
for a wine daily imbibed

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Get Outta Town


a midlands town where the roots prove thin
calloused thumbs casually point out
long dusty roads straight to the expanse
and sky over sea doesn't disappoint
here unbounded power could concentrate
in one bolt of lightening to the heart
knowledge inspiring yet not frightening 
horizons indistinct no inch closer
become much more familiar with staring
and somehow the inevitable falling of...

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Boy Without A Story


He doesn't ride anywhere
not a flying horse 
or one fashioned in gold
he has walked these hard streets
apparently every day
have you seen him?

Too shy to sing out
no will to write
no telling his past or future
he stood where doors were closing
and still when lights went out
who knew?

Not recognised in the mirror
nor noticed in the dream
he has taken clouds for his friends

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The Matter Of The Heart

Piece of our shattered new moon
one of our untold names of love
murmurate across the sky
this day and that for this one and that one 
who have a view
but for now settle in my tree
common garden variety
plain brown coat
your movements obscured
in leaves and leaf shadows
your stillness declares
approval of my thin-drawn lines
your movements obscured
in leaves and leaf shadows
alert com...

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