Poetry Blog by Adam Whitworth

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Don Matthews on Bus Stop Buddha (Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:49 pm)

Don Matthews on Crow and I (Fri, 18 Oct 2019 10:40 pm)

Candice Reineke on Mandy's Girl (Sun, 13 Oct 2019 04:56 pm)

Candice Reineke on Yours Sincerely (Sun, 13 Oct 2019 04:51 pm)

Rose Casserley on In The Mansions Of Memory (Mon, 7 Oct 2019 02:20 pm)

keith jeffries on A Poem (Thu, 3 Oct 2019 01:17 pm)

Martin Elder on Mandy's Girl (Thu, 3 Oct 2019 08:39 am)

Cynthia Buell Thomas on Next  (Sat, 21 Sep 2019 01:06 pm)

Don Matthews on Wakey, Wakey (Sun, 15 Sep 2019 10:15 am)

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They'll show themselves as birds of paradise
not because they are proud
but because they are fearless
and when they have shown all they can
as birds of paradise
the one behind a screen, still as the dead,
camouflaged birdwatcher, weighted
with every kind of telescopic camera
posing as the one thing unshown
by the birds of paradise
sometime soon must throw off the sheet

and move unenc...

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What Happens In Mid-Air

 

This little world recalls a rise, a fall of morning tide.
A hovering snowflake on St. Perpetua's Day.


There is no magic such that
A falling leaf may vanish in mid air.


Remember good fortune if you will
As this little world will remember you.


The least feather can't be lost from the story,
Tell yourself not to sorrow to long.


Every step, every turn of the head
Brings a new lit...

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We Voted With Our Dancing Feet

 

Blind man's buff: in your own home 
and you could have been anywhere.
Pin the tail on the donkey: again blind as a bat
and how wrong you could be.
And the charades. Charade after charade:
at least you could see but were not allowed to speak.
What a riot, all played simultaneously.
Back then it was taken for granted
we knew our left from our right.
Labour was the working man's party.
...

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The Precariat Of London

 

Nobody knows the percentage
of the world population
heading for London where 
the streets are paved with gold.

Those who have arrived
have condemned their own homes.
Along darkened alleyways now
they stoop and scrape for their gold.

Any avatar stood on Waterloo bridge
might admire the art of the sunset.
Old Man Thames will turn to blood
after passing through urban gold.

Thos...

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With Or Without God

A suggestion of a statue, timeless 
on a pedestal, has released your heart 
-like a leaf from a tree- to voodoo dolls 
dancing in the foreground. Released your heart  
-but your dream is a nightmare-
to pieces of silver you have to eat,
and the lonely wayward miles, combusting.

How the eons feign to move!
It is that your heart may return.
All times are grievous says the poet
for the ol...

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Bus Stop Buddha

 

Is it a low-flying plane?
Permanently overhead.
When you live by the road
you accept your fate.
I've thought of ear-plugs: 
I could be happy as a monk.
Still my eyes would be harangued 
by objectionable sights.
I'd close my eyes happy as a prince,
but that means ear-plugs out
listening like a ninja for the bus. 
Damn that Hawker Harrier 
hovering overhead.

 

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Crow and I

 

Walking along the roof
       I see a bird

              Shitting freely
                     I observe

All shrieks and a-squawk
       I laugh out loud

             Oh, that withering look!
                     I fall silent now

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Make The Blues News

 

When will the blues ever be news?
The ash will remember the fire
before the blues will ever be news.

Look at a president's scandal.
See a neighbourhood cat run wild.
After all could the blues be news?

Say you support this particular cause
whatever support can mean here,
however ash can be said to recall,
however the blues could be news.

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These Islanders

 

Varied as any flock, these islanders 
are yet never far from one view.

On the horizon
it may be dragons they look out for
and the dull clunk of bells they hear
from where the sun has other business.

Looking out on these changeful waves 
always the same, the same
fascinates the islander
just as the ever evolving curls
of the beloved's shining
shining hair.
And looking out, to t...

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In The Mansions Of Memory

 

Here one small circle of lamplight
is all the world against the night.
And on this stage breathes a lady
old, in pain, but no way sleepy.
And the photographs in her hand:
different times in a different land.
And call her tears sentimental,
she has them flow, seen as central.
The dark surround is all it seems
-just dark- against the stuff of dreams.

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The Millionth Existentialist Pome

 

I've eaten the carrot and felt the stick
still I refuse to reach for last season's fruit
wishing to swing from branch to branch


but now, see-
I smack into a supermarket shelf
stacked high with marmalades and pickle


and all that saves me from kicking out and crying
that saves you from commenting at length
is indifference.

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Yours Sincerely

These poems have a parallel.

Without exception they are written to benefit the reader.
They are family, appearing alone is agony.

They are certain to make sense
the reader is certain to struggle with this.

The privately whispered hopeless prayer.
The celebrated arm of the drowned still outreaching.

One poem pulls the reader into its heart
another flies past mysteriously.

Each is...

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A Poem

 

Before sunrise you'll see your breath riding the air.
The Andromeda nebula and yours.
Rivers forever returning under skies forever restless.
Frame the photograph you snap; give it pride of place.
"Long ago, in Utopian times!" You'll say before the end.

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Mandy's Girl

 

Listen, 
should a mermaid you befriend advise you-
trim your sails for home.
Let the irresistible force 
meet the immovable object.
Never mind who is who, right or wrong;
seagulls aim for both the same.

Let's hope rainbows from teardrops reveal
that power residing in simple things:
your quiet word above the roar,
your face in the aperture.
The seal imprinted on your heart
you'll n...

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#NationalPoetryDay

These Times And Others


A tattered grey shawl snaps in the chill gale. 

The widow scowls it is these times.

She hugs the graveyard closer to her heart.

For there is a howl of cold wind,

but it is not these times.


Books fall open when there is no path back.

A lifetime's study fails to show the way.

O, Arrow without target deprived of peace. 

Sustain yourself through an emptiness,

but it is not t...

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Next 


Time is of the essence.
Running is bad for our knees and driving
bad for the planet but faster 
and faster we have to go.

Once on the same jet plane
we'll converse above the clouds and laughing
skydive together in contact for more 
than a glancing second.

To speak the truth, break the sound barrier,
see eye to eye at the speed of light,
contemplative hearts over and angain
read all ...

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Wakey, Wakey

 

Someone, anyone. Not rich or famous
but very, very fortunate.
Awoke somewhere, well, it was a hospital.
And someone, it must have been a doctor
said simply "You're cured!"
The patient, flooded with relief, was unable to speak.
Later a nurse arrived with a bite to eat.
"Congratulations."
The patient smiled and, feeling unworthy
lowered his gaze. Obviously he would have to
offer a pro...

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The Future Is Another Country

 

You think that is the Moon?
That is a pale ghost of the Sun.
You know, of this immersion in silver
how very little is silver, don't you?

In this light we work out our course.
Each on a different planet; 
as though joined at the hip.
Then blazing Sun accuses us again.

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Power In The Eyes

 

Let's define human beings
as grown up children
playing at falling in love.
Of course you and Jesus are different.
You have such a power in your eye
you keep the lazer beam hooded.
Do people need their limbs loosened,
forgetting for a moment 
how terrible they must have been in a previous life,
falling into a delicious trembling swoon?
Perhaps they do
but not unexpectedly, at a mome...

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Quiz On Greek Gods

Who might I offend trying to stay young forever?
Who do I honour slaying no killers on my land?
Who do I fail speaking the unwelcome words?
And who might I follow when fireflies leave the city?


Who might I need as witness to love?
Who do I fear with my reed-flute silent?
Who do I reach when I fly from my cage?
And who might I offer the answers I find?


This chorus that plans not a rhyme
...

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Where Is Prosperina?


The Unseen One picks a queen...
Hades

Fleeting life I associate with 
comedy and tragedy- nothing is fair.
Callous or devious accounts
I turn over and over.
But I have no resort to persuasion,
my will has no hint of subterfuge.
I hear no prayers, nothing justifies me
and my kingdom cannot be undermined.

The Threshing Goddess is implacable...
Demeter

Spare my ears, I am not about to r...

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Ceaseless Traffic

 

The noise is traffic and it is ceaseless.
Turn back where lies your sleeping angel
enveloped in silence.
Her hand unconsciously entwines with yours.
She is the one to lead you through
olive, myrtle, laurel groves.
You with the narrative; she and her elixir;
when both are lost and mists clear 
you'll find a forever home, 
perched beside bluest sea. Crystal air
upholds gulls a-floatin...

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Aesop's Parade

 

 


Sentinel trees in a parade,
human beings find a boundary thus.
Felt to celebrate with folk of ease,
who call them majestic and inspiring.
These same sentinels seem to commiserate
with those brought low, to whom they seem
gloomy and menacing.
Sentinels alive with a niche for every creature
following its dream. And human beings 
follow their exploits with interest. 
Not being ind...

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Unrhymed Sonnet

 

Sunvivid atomlight, whirled around in blue.
Let a body of wisdom accumulate.
And grow, nurtured in each experience;
one unique basketful per unique hand.

Mementos of years, bones after the feast-
collected knowledge to lock in dusty drawers.
But wisdom, as love, will not know itself caught
so think not to break free, all being well.

Sometime, for the sake of good hungering
shall ...

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As I Rambled

 

In these lands, at once familiar and deadly,
natives now for the first time explore peace
having long sought to channel the storms.
These lands, deep and inspiring, 
have been shaped, are still,
by the prevailing wind. 
Having gained at last this small understanding,
natives may choose to benefit where once all was warfare. 
They may view the bones, broken and petrified; 
generations...

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Crux

A song made a visit today.
In the yard, children whistled and hummed.
Such was the power, I was transported for a time.
No musician was there to catch the theme,
light as soap-bubbles on the air.

A poem made a visit today.
A rose standing clear of thorny briars.
One I had passed many times; what moves the heart today?
No poet was there who'd memorialise the thought,
simple as a love of ...

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Commute

 

Up before the alarm;
money in the bank.

Close to silence, formless day
concocts some kind of brew.

Something of value,
held in the glare of a star.
How could I lose sight of it?

Door flung open: I am leaving home.

Today's motto rubs me up the wrong way
you can have it if you can pay for it.

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Memento Mori

entry picture

 

I have a Glass Skull.
You with eyes to see
a busybody bustle about
know that nothing can be hidden.
And how my mystery remains intact.
I have a Glass Skull
or snowdome that's been smacked.
You'll clearly sense combustible ambition
in shows of electric activity but,
for what exactly?
I have a Glass Skull
as documented in high definition,
filmed and followed on-line,
tapped by dete...

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A Delicate Bridge

I

With the silver in their hair some have found 
treasure and not through sheer luck.
For my signs long have I peered through windows 
but beyond me through walls they look.
With a breast that harbours surpassing dawns
uncowed by night, sweet for growing rare,
yet familiar as day to these spirits
beyond the thud from my raucous funfair.

II

Today a flock I've come to know vanished.
...

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Beauty In The Scales

 

On finding his fish
the mechanical fisherman
schooled to salute
inclined to dream
the mechanical fisherman
drips from his eyes
looks no further
on finding his fish

On finding his fish
the mechanical fisherman
rooted to the spot
rocketing through ozone
the mechanical fisherman
laughs away his aged scars
recalls his smoothed soul
on finding his fish

 

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Dream Will Not Wait

 

Everything about you is strange. 
That is, interesting for its own sake,
pressing itself upon the whole body 
of your attention and imagination. Do you see 
the shiver move over tall grass, compelling
evidence a love-lorn god pursues his tryst.

Moving like an astronaut on Mars,
a foreign coin in your hand,
anyone might run after you as if
trying to catch a balloon before it floats ...

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The Benefit Gig

 

While seeing familiar faces on the morning bus
I wonder how they might benefit from my poem
for I'm sure a poem should benefit the reader.

The day will come, as will peace on Earth,
when I'm able to hand out copies 
but at present, I'm the only reader.

I often feel, not only that a poem 
should benefit the reader,  but also
it should be written for that purpose.

Sadly I am the ...

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Mutualdisappointment

 

Of course
You could climb for the apples of a tree
Consumed by fire in 1663
After
The long, long dive from pink Aegean clouds
Ingenious plumage falling around
But
You should run with a scream at these answers
Across that bridge rudely smeared on canvas
Until
Inhabiting the paralysed spider
A businesslike wasp has stung for her larder
You
At last see by your own light the cloaked ...

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More About Clouds

entry picture

 

 

 

 

 

If all you can have of Helen Mort are her poems
what do you say? I'm puzzled. 
Do I learn of her or of myself? 

I take the hour's perspiration
gathered into a drip. It tickles me.
I take with gratitude the cooling breeze
that which propels those silver unicorns 
and other fantastic beasts.
For shape-shifting clouds pass
that's a fact. Specific to the day
unless...

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These Days As Ever

entry picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Celtic knot-work bordering on life
innocent animals tangle with dragons.
In thickening crowds, as far as I can see
it's the mood portrayed in loud tattoos.

It's the lamb torn by the wolf's jaw;
snakes aloft in the eagle's claw.
How many like me would race away at that 
silent bell: a straight line out of the maze.

 

 

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Architectural Movements

 

Hands up
all those who have an idea
how cities of the future will be.

Cities of the past we know.

Shelters made good
from sheets of corrugated iron and strong plastic. 
Streets runnning alongside
filthy sewerage streams.
Citizens facing such hardships
any kind of crime should be expected.
Some degree of madness is
almost impossible to avoid. 

Connoisseurs of tears
need only...

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Shake On It

 

There is yet much to see
within the darkness of a tomb,
so much to discover between two atoms.
An awesome universe of consciousness
separates you and I. Discussion continues;
argument, but not agreement.
Fantastic discoveries, proofs, but no agreement.
Insights, epiphanies, revelations. No agreement.
We, not blind to the crisis, see far 
when we close our eyes, imagine
fine times of...

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Wayside Episode

 

By the edge of the road
I stopped and sat down,
at the bottom of a mile-long hill.
I mean, it was the height of summer
no shade and my hangover disabling me.
My sweating stumps could get no further.

Why should a brown Austin Allegro
roll to a stop 50 yards ahead?

Perhaps 10 minutes later 
my pulsating plates of meat 
were persuaded to shamble over.
A white-haired man sat eating...

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A House In Silence

 

In your dark house, you should know,
the moths have gathered around a flame.
One by one they'll accept the challenge:
destined to assay closer, and closer.

An unremarkable moth has chanced 
by a window in the wall, by day revealing 
all you could want of the world,
but now sheer and simple as a mirror.

Here he learns more of the flaming wick
than all his brothers combined. 
Fram...

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Beheading 

 

I hear disturbed air
protest, sharpened iron moving too fast.
The sensible world in apology
lends me all it has. So blessed,
I am thankful, beginning
an elaborate fantasy.
Wielding the blade myself
I am Shiva, the destroyer,
my curfew by nightfall
savagely enforced.
The eyes of tigers still fiercer
crave those remaining proud.
And by the smell of evil
they shall be hunted down,
...

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The Nature Of Love

 

You could say there's a rune drawn on a leaf
thereafter follows a new season

 

    No art prospers in the valley
    where eyes meet like rivers.


    Only the tumbling waves 
    have a palette for rainbows, 


    droplets sparkle as facets
    of the rarely won gemstone.


    Only the tumbling, babbling waves
    overwhelm all questions.

 

    Not for me, nor the hone...

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Words To A Playground Tune

 

There is a time
as good as any
to start afresh
a man
as poor as any
holds a key
killers
blase as any
flip a coin
yon harpist 
blind as any
claws the heart
the poet 
cold as any
lives once again
there is a time
as good as any
to start afresh

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Pueblo


Pebbles in this river-


smooth as skin, every one!


Shall we check further downstream?


No need. These pebbles have been kissing.


Tuesday, kiss. Wednesday, kiss.


Have you no prophecy for next Friday?


Pueblo, these waters swell


with more tears than your own.


Cast your line further now.

 

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Before Too Long

 

Like nothing
more than an intelligence

my moon, diminished,
pales before the galloping van
of smokeblack horses. 
It's my turn to reach out
as if I could help: I can't help it.
The site of the slaughter,
before too long, will be a sea of corn
like any other. Little beasts peep out 
after the storm. Golden apples
silently swing, growing silver
by dusk. Figures begin to walk
march, q...

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Maia

 

Not yet flattened by the gravity of a dark world,
throw yourself into space, invite diverse colours
to assemble around you. You have assumed 
a central position. It may not be the best attitude 
but it will your own.

Mayfly brides are traditionally heard
"Soon there'll be less of me to cuddle."
How could there ever be less! Sweet darlings!
We glean little of our own destinies,
only...

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Knucklebones

 

one's mother had died
another was calling from hell
such inventions they needed for a day off work

one couldn't find a clean toilet cubicle
another could fly like a bird but not land
these were some dreams occupying their nights

one counted magpies and looked for more
another was glued to the news- for the cricket scores
topics worthy of speech

one was a band of housemartins we...

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My Two penn'orth

 

Today, let our pursuits be anything
but trivial.
Poetry can twist and shout, cajole and flay;
not ours.

This time let it be the small-minded
spirit of self-interest
that is homeless. Should it not be 
the most generous genius
settled at the heart of our craft?

The hour has come
the soul has waited long enough.
We breathe the air 
of Buddha, of Socrates:
Acting accordingly our...

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By Yourself

 

For every beggar you passed by
you should raise ten gallons of water from the good well

For every minute spent in pampered extravagance
knowing you could but raise a finger to ease another's plight
you should spend a day ploughing the good field

For every act of secretive and shameful violence
that you have added to the mountain of injustice
you should flatten and smooth and mainta...

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Powers Lost

 

Who has strong arms that gather the warm winds,
clever fingers that weave them through your hair?

Where you look
who throws diamonds of sunlight wide across the sea
or where you sit
holds a lace parasol of living leaves above 
just as you may wish?

Whose, the enchanted path you would choose to walk?
And whose, the soft cloud playing pillow for your dream?

Creatures left over fr...

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WHAT?

What- genuinely new under the sun-
is heading this way? 

Born of intuition, born of wonder,
rumours grow, fit to burst.

It is said to be an animal, a relative,
a bird some say, a sparkling unknown 
one-of-a-kind rainbow creature.
Catch it and it must speak they say.
Miss it and... well, our stuttering ways
are not so bad.

But what could it tell us?
What difference would there be for...

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