Poetry Blog by Adam Whitworth

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Paul Sayer on Stood Together (2 days ago)

jennifer Malden on The Figure (4 days ago)

Adam Whitworth on The Figure (4 days ago)

oussama elmanar on The Figure (4 days ago)

Greg Freeman on The Figure (4 days ago)

keith jeffries on The Figure (4 days ago)

Paul Sayer on Poor Lives Matter (Sun, 8 Nov 2020 11:34 pm)

Rose Casserley on Poor Lives Matter (Sun, 8 Nov 2020 05:14 pm)

Rose Casserley on Every Day (Fri, 23 Oct 2020 09:19 pm)

keith jeffries on You can't see the join (Sat, 10 Oct 2020 03:41 pm)

Stood Together

Drawn closer
hands light on each other
hips, waist, back of the neck, hair.

The epitome. Iconic 
eternal centre of the world.

But we are frightened.
Here to express ourselves, boy and girl
are we to play a role, representing our kind?

Must the gale flourish it's cape
virile as a matador
while sweet leaves of the tree
sigh a chorus in unison?
Perhaps so.

And as we take the stag...

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The Figure


I thought the fog was thinning
walking along a country lane.
I thought a figure, just like me,
walked ahead along the country lane.
I thought the figure seemed suspended
puppet-like, on a cord
feet just happening to brush the ground.
I can tell you now that later
I would practise the same technique
when I needed to raise my game.
Discerning no features to the figure
I provided my o...

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Poetry For Health


I want to feel my small room a cabin 
in a boat, rocking imperceptibly

and understand when I open the door
flames will fill the corridor I must walk

like a statue on wheels, chiselled features
set firm, my thoughts bent to sombre lovers

the sweetest thing holds her breath on Mars
unwilling to be reconciled cheaply

Houdini of the prisons remains dead
to the heart beat any fool...

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Poor Lives Matter


poets can't write
musicians neither amaze nor inspire
freedom fighters postpone their advance

tape up the bottom of a box
fill it with products
tick off each as it goes
put stickers in the right places
and on the conveyor with it

you'll be lucky to get a piss
let alone paint a picture

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Vitriolic but justified, even necessary
words had been hurled as stones
intended to do the same damage

they were not stones but boomerangs
the sharp edge coming now
to claim their painful bullseye

one student of aeronautics, scarred
had a boomerang painted
hung on the wall too good to use

through a storm of hissing skies
the maimed stagger on as ever
but our student at last i...

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In Flux


The old days, the old ways
have flown like birds from a cage
like dramas from my youth
I looked away for a second 
and they were gone

In the old days
obstacles were rudely hacked from the path,
shells were smashed to reach their treasure.
You make to manipulate the entire environment
for your own benefit;  laugh in the end
and adapt yourself to the situation.

Other people const...

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Friends Like These


the people you could be open with
for the first time
are coming to town

control your nerves
rehearse your speeches
isn't it hard to sleep?

closer now
the people who could share
your fears and dreams

compose yourself
your stance and your smile
set out your true nature

these people you yearn to meet
are languorous and oblivious
as angels or gods

it is you who called the...

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Every Day


They take each other to the sun 
delighted having their portrait taken
with fingers entwined 
each feels joy in the other's lead
and furthest from their minds
lies a destination nearing
sunshine's victory over shadow

Bees dancing in the air before flowers
they revel in their fragile and temporary status
revel in anonymity
by night in each others arms 
they are happy to disintegra...

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Goodbye To All That


     Writing as mourning-
and I could just let my tears fall 
into the lake. Writing as persuasion, 
coercion, argument, complaint.
     Now that I write for myself
I find I have two feet, one tongue,
a number of days and so many
questions coming into being.
     I should be forgiven for mistaking
the poet as possessing three eyes
all the better to see with;
a mysterious voice whis...

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Congratulating Louise Gluck On Her Nobel Prize


A real fear of drowning floats
vertiginous in this fluid mix:
while it's hard to believe
life's brevity,
it hurts to curtail the desire to 
know this world.

Here's a mirror of water; 
you can't smash it.
Adding and subtracting
in its reflection;
you can't trust it.
But then you can't trust
a ruler to be straight,
the word to be true.

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At The Station


Across the tracks a colourful poster
showed me how I might become so happy. 
Long I studied the colourful poster;
three simple steps for a simple chappie.

A train ground to a halt between us
stocked with faces I could only pity.
They seemed to know nor would I achieve bliss
as I stepped aboard the inter-city.

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You can't see the join


There'll come an uphill struggle
 to leave; the salty ozone thinning
as crooked houses yield to the familiar
regimented highway.

We had travelled to sea-level quite certain
the sands always welcome the waves
two sides of a sail billow inseperably 
and taut kite-strings pull on the stars for fun.

When enjoined to view the edge of the world 
we find it veiled by white mist;  an unw...

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I write you a letter, don't worry why
I am the muse of poetry; I write.
You call me the dark side of the moon
that's alright, we don't really have names.
You have the bright and beautiful face 
that inspires humankind through all it's phases
I am well contented sharing your being
plus my proud thrill of invisibity.
I write you a letter but wish it were a conversation.
I long to simpl...

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I Knew You Were Waiting


One day you may hear on the radio
an otherwise trivial song in which
the great Aretha Franklin delivers
an almost throwaway off-the-cuff line

"I know you did"

Here the words of a mother to a child
of any age bring comfort to the soul
defeated in anguished misery
who may only mumble  "I did my best"

"I know you did"

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Before The Morning


Asked to provide an emblem for life
I opted for the restless sea.
I thought it important that it is not itself alive
yet its constant motion parallels
life in many ways.
Very good, they said. Tomorrow, bright and early,
you must tell us your emblem for love.
Sweet dreams.

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How that icicle shone, illuminated
for a while; ice melted, unremarked.
Out of reach of passing innocents
absorbed by the rainbow within.
It was a good life- it left no trace
on the world. The world can be thankful.
If it grew heavier it carried its own weight 
before the drip, drip, drip of time
took away its burden.

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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


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


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


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


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


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


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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