Poetry Blog by David Cooke

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kJ Walker on After Cavafy (Thu, 31 Oct 2019 08:31 pm)

Philipos on Iraqi Schoolgirls, 1932 (Wed, 30 Oct 2019 09:39 pm)

Philipos on After Cavafy (Wed, 30 Oct 2019 09:36 pm)

raypool on MAN ON A WIRE (Sat, 10 Aug 2019 11:15 pm)

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raypool on Iraqi Schoolgirls, 1932 (Fri, 22 Feb 2019 07:48 pm)

poemagraphic on The 2 CV (Fri, 11 Jan 2019 11:05 pm)

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After Cavafy

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Όσο μπορείς


Even if your life

is not the one you’d choose

try at least

as best you can

not to demean it

by courting the world

too frantically

with self-serving

moves and chat;

and try not

to cheapen it

by dragging it

here and there

and keeping nothing back

in the daily


of news and views

with those you think

have made it


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There are times your dancers undermine
the humanist in me. In that northern
Cockaigne, you viewed with a realist's eye,
their heartiness tramps to raucous tuning.
Unconstrained, the couples are blatant;
the heaving trestles piled with plates.

Such carouses, what were they to you?
Did you celebrate, despise, or pity?
For there is shown mere lumbering daftness,
feet clumping across the fl...

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Life is understood backwards

but has to be lived forwards

Søren Kierkegaard


When he looks back on his life

he will see that the best of it

was a journey he took from A to B

on a wire between two buildings –


his every breath a distillation

of what it meant to keep your nerve

and hold steady, each muscle

braced and quivering like the wire itself



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Isaac Lowthian Bell (1816 – 1904)


In that stern, expensive portrait

he may have hung centre stage

just above his mantelpiece,

he is staring back at the world

like a founding father.


Self-contained and righteous,

he is the one who pays

the piper. Like it or not,

for your own good, you’ll dance

to the tune he’s called.


His name is Isaac Lowthian Bell –


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Iraqi Schoolgirls, 1932

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Beyond these walls there’s a place

where they are sisters and daughters

and soon, inshallah, virtuous

wives- and mothers-to-be.


Out there where modesty's praised,

their future's determined.

Their allurements buried

like a hoard, each bride-price


is settled. Being who they are

and where they come from,

each is a link in the chain

that holds the world toget...

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The 2 CV

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for Bernadette


The first car we owned was a 2 CV

with no certifiable history.

The year we got together

we drove it to the end of its days.

With its tinny dinted roof

it had an air of slumped defeat

we rose above quite easily.


When summer broke all records

the windows that didn’t quite close

were an unexpected bonus.

Its mind-boggling gear stick

seemed ...

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