Poetry Blog by Graham Sherwood
What drew my eye
was the scant advertisement,
Poet’s Retreat available
on a route du vin,
followed by a telephone number.
On arrival amidst the vines,
a coverlet of green corduroy,
I was surprised to see
you lived on your own,
in such a sprawling cottage,
apprehension and relief
balanced precariously on your brow,
a weighed smile that whispered welcome
Tuesday 21st November 2017 4:46 pm
Tuesday 14th November 2017 9:13 pm
Tuesday 14th November 2017 9:55 am
A fey autumn, its
florid colours scarcely spent,
no mettle left to repel
the presage of an early winter,
or burnished shield, to brandish
in defiance of December’s eager face,
no late lick of flame to salve
such stinging polar breath,
no final flench nor gleen
no swan song, nor last lament
no chance of one last harvest song.
© Graham Sherwood 11/2017
Wednesday 8th November 2017 2:03 pm
Oh for the opportunity,
to let her look into my
to hold my hand
and to hear me say,
“Well Bea, how’s your life going so far?”
And she’ll kneel close,
close enough for me
to feel her breath,
as she whispers the words,
“It’s going well Papa, really well”.
© Graham Sherwood 11/2017
Tuesday 7th November 2017 12:16 am
A new day, bright, promising
I’m not yet out of the bedclothes
but our battle has begun.
You spin my legs awkwardly
and push my head into my hands
elbows on knees, submissive.
I dare to look toward the ceiling
pleading, begging, asking the question
that prefaces each day.
Today we’re not in love...
Monday 6th November 2017 11:37 pm
we become in spirit form
curated by the actions of our prior existence,
unseen, unheard, unnoticed, unknown.
Be vigilant, amongst
the bristling leaves of
a majestic tree,
the vengeful wrath of a turbulent storm
the comfortable roll of an ebbing tide,
the mesmeric crackle of a licking flame.
Tuesday 31st October 2017 7:46 pm
Saturday 28th October 2017 6:48 am
There is little odour
save for the natural pungency,
of the earth re-breathing, warming,
flexing strength for the coming season.
A man touches soil in a special way,
like his own child,
not bought or borrowed
but that of his own creation,
nurtured for an age.
Crumbled between his fingers
it flakes confidently, ready,
so much has been t...
Monday 16th October 2017 11:15 am
(In order to understand this piece please read Cranford first).
Cowardly, I set off in the drizzle,
brief glimpses of the grey horizon
bleed onto the tarmac via the car's wipers
as I come to say my goodbyes.
Your charming cottage is now a hospital
a temporary bedsit
the clinical paraphernalia out of place.
Fate has cruelly sought to bring
a new grandson in...
Tuesday 10th October 2017 9:07 pm
Summer once again, unnoticed
has slipped through our fingers,
wet clay pots spin into October
rime with reasons, the end of days.
How low the suns sits,
barely clearing the gable of our roof.
When did she slip from such a lofty perch?
The cornus already shorn,
the last three reluctant leaves
dance as giggling marionettes
whipped along the fence top rail.
In this bl...
Sunday 8th October 2017 4:46 pm
the news that you were dying
came to me cold as mutton
whilst I was still in France
waiting for a ferry home.
The early morning’s sky blue sky
with the blue/black inky clouds
of night, billowing
from a full nib dipped into water.
Then the sickness came,
the awful gut-gripped nausea
at the unjustness of it all,...
Friday 6th October 2017 10:41 pm
The first leaves burnish
under late September warmth,
already the flayed canopy
is shot through with sun spears,
laser fine, a brilliant
the mute gold shadows,
a last huzzah of light
charges the lifeless underbrush
the crown falls.
© Graham Sherwood 09/2017
Thursday 28th September 2017 10:39 pm
In this peculiar dimmed copper dawn
the matins bell plays messenger
to the first ferreting fingers
of October's spying chill.
Terracotta pots unwatered, light,
totter and topple to worry whine
back and forth and back
against uneven riven slabs.
Laxton windfalls, squandered
like snookered reds are
poked by autumn gusts, to
scatter searching safety.
Wednesday 27th September 2017 11:16 am
Wednesday 20th September 2017 2:09 pm
Monday 11th September 2017 1:33 pm
Saturday 9th September 2017 6:04 pm
Not the best of weather to begin my Camino,
clipped slate clouds so low I stoop beneath them
their ominous jags hanging stalactite fashion,
there’s a stiff riffle of a breeze squaring-up
determined to push me back indoors.
my best intentions
fractured porcelain mosaics
my fortitude pierced
Threading gently in this dull malaise
wind-song charms my ears with dist...
Tuesday 5th September 2017 12:13 am
Friday 1st September 2017 3:42 pm
I remember we met, almost colliding
in a doorway,
too close to be gallant,
your glance initially defensive
was framed with embarrassed irritation
washing over me like spilt wine,
at best inconvenient,
messy enough to navigate around with care.
Those young earnest eyes
orbiting in front of mine for days after,
Sunday 20th August 2017 3:52 pm
It’s a conversation killer
muesli for breakfast
there is no room for words
between the oats, seeds, fruit,
nuts and chaff,
so we glare at each other
like careworn cattle
How different the bacon sandwich
or the dripping fried egg bap,
those are happy breakfasts
impossible not to gossip
through the dribbling ketchup.
Monday 14th August 2017 11:52 am
It’s been a solemn summer
and a paper-thin bravery
has once again been vanquished
by my foolish curiosity.
So, I have haplessly returned
to search for my ghosts,
hoping to find them friendlier
I find a verge to park
at the parish boundary,
to walk into the village
like the hero-stranger of a
spaghetti western film....
Wednesday 9th August 2017 4:07 pm
Tuesday 8th August 2017 11:37 am
there’s a subtle difference now
on those rare occasions that our eyes meet.
I feel I give myself away too easily
having lost the skill of camouflage
wearing this faded jester’s cape.
always the jester,
my bag of tricks threadbare
the wrinkled joker card
overused and too easily spotted
in this well-thumbed dog-eared pack.
I now understand
my magic is ...
Tuesday 25th July 2017 12:02 am
Rabbit holes, narrow as a beggar’s luck
can be deceiving
dangerous to both life and limb.
In the winter they are bare,
tight drainpipes with ragged stone-clad walls
that whisper in a local tongue,
and run red wet
with the skin of travellers past.
Summer, in full camouflage
they conspire and constrict
with hungry ivy lichen tendrils
that feign soft welcom...
Sunday 16th July 2017 9:27 pm
We assembled quickly
from all points west, were told to,
and there you were
amongst the antiseptic mist
looking like death.
Your suffocating breathing metronomic
a bad dance band ballad
played far too slowly
rat-a-tat, pause, rat-a-tat
We three just sat there
and stared at you, not speaking,
as ever I’m the one that must fill the silence
Friday 7th July 2017 12:08 pm
© Graham Sherwood 07/2017
Sunday 2nd July 2017 10:38 pm
There’s the lightest frisson,
a gentle breeze, caught up
and nudged by the threat
of an approaching storm
to shake lacework ripples
across the millpond’s placid face.
Once spent the bobbing lilies
slowly come to rest, so dapping flies
may once more tap dance
on the settled spreading pads.
Watched by a bowed but proud straw man
aged branches creak and wheeze,
Tuesday 27th June 2017 11:03 am
Thursday 22nd June 2017 9:48 pm
We sleep downstairs,
wonderful in this heat and
I’m dreaming of Bea playing
outside the open bedroom window
then realize it’s the boys next door
in the tree house.
I slip out and leave you to sleep
stumble up to make tea,
wash up last night’s wine glasses
the taste of each wine
the words of each friend
Sunday 18th June 2017 2:20 pm
outside nothing stirs,
occasionally a lazy cloud
glides across the tarnished moon,
a slow-motion camera shutter
sleep defying blink,
light into darkness into light
then motionless once more
it’s easy to become snake-eyed,
my saucer size pupils
glare at a single point
a lichen covered stone toad
urgently willing movement,
my brain elects to play the game
Thursday 8th June 2017 11:06 am
Unbidden foreign spores
alight upon our skin
and slowly seed among us
…. the canker sows
feint blemishes first unseen
religiously infect with malevolent
…. the canker grows
youthful bloom bleeds
self-assured beauty poisoned
tainted by this vague stain
…. the canker shows
this crippling vile palour
Tuesday 6th June 2017 12:49 pm
Wednesday 31st May 2017 9:44 am
Sunday 14th May 2017 11:01 pm
Tuesday 9th May 2017 2:19 pm
I'd never held a man in my arms,
forty-five years married
and the closest I've been
is a handshake, or the briefest man-hug
with my sons,
but there you were at my front door
almost immediately falling onto me,
I was surprised at your weight
not being a big man
but you pulled me down
and very shortly we were both on our knees
you crying, me confused,
I held you t...
Monday 1st May 2017 9:10 am
Before undertaking its last journey,
whether it be through
air water fire or earth
a soul must be carefully prepared;
well clothed within the
warming fibres of contentment;
adequately nourished by
the clarity of conscience,
with the power of purpose
and taught to be fluent
in the infinite lexicon
thus a soul fed of such ri...
Tuesday 25th April 2017 10:45 pm
After Barbara’s funeral
“If I died first
what would you keep of mine?”
I couldn't answer, apart from the quip
"ten bob it'll be me goes anyhow".
Afterwards though I did think
long and hard
and it would be your smell
I'd be lost without,
the trace of No 5
on your pillowcase.
Indelible as your fingerprint,
closer than your smile, yes
I'd need the ...
Monday 24th April 2017 11:00 am
When asked to wait by someone
boredom very quickly agitates my eye
so everything must be assessed, like evidence
and where it fits within this scene.
A row of untidily parked cars
become uneven poorly manicured toes,
a line of chipped nail varnish reflectors.
Hastily planted whisper saplings
wave and jiggle like excited schoolgirls
awaiting a royal visit.
Tuesday 18th April 2017 11:03 am
We are all of the sea
there is salt in our blood,
the salinity of our beginnings
brought onto this land.
We stand to look at the waves
see the tides stroked by the moon
and feel that same motion
the roll, the rinse, the draw
With eyes closed we list
toward the magnetism of the waves,
fearful that we can never ret...
Thursday 13th April 2017 10:36 am
So the world begins to eat itself,
consuming it's own rich bounteous fruit,
once tended in the alluvium of tolerance
overfed by the nutrients of equality,
having bathed in the sweet oxygen of freedom
and watered from the everlasting stream of
she then chokes her children callously,
suffocating each one, smiling,
as she curiously regards
Sunday 9th April 2017 7:07 pm
silhouettes, smoke, suspense
skittles soar skyward
standing shoulders squared
silence settles spatial spirits
© Graham Sherwood 04/2017
Wednesday 5th April 2017 10:45 pm
This early spring
is yet to paint its colours fast,
a hazy bud break on folded limbs, blows
grey green smoke and swirls of lime and olive
the branches are quietly mesmerised.
Chaotic hedgerows bleed
and newly shorn
sport a watercolour swathe
of washed russets
more akin to autumn.
urgently over sing the criticism
of fractious magpie...
Monday 3rd April 2017 10:36 am
We met in 1973
you immediately attractive
exotic then, foreign, exciting
my head turned, beguiled
and we were in bed in no time.
It was the little things you did differently
I was eager to please you
we worked together, played, loved
and built a fine home,
life was good, I admired your vivacity.
Why wasn't it enough for you?
you changed gradually,
from lover to monster
a controlling h...
Wednesday 29th March 2017 2:10 pm
I will not
answer your question today
as you appear so cocksure
about everything else in your life
and quickly tell me
not to preach long platitudes
that have no relevance
to you and your generation,
So I merely sit here
hearing your confident words
come from my mouth
albeit an age ago, and
how you will feel
when the question,...
Monday 27th March 2017 5:21 pm
The rhythms of my youth
cut with the precision of a surgeon
at my gut strings
at my yearning stranded senses
leaving me breathless
contorted, foetal, spent.
This heart-breaking ache
retreats like an assassin
until the next vicious chord
twists the scalpel further,
paring hidden signa...
Friday 24th March 2017 1:56 pm
Crumpled beneath troubled cumulus
a badly shaken tablecloth
lies carelessly thrown,
its frayed edge chines
dipping their hems into the sea.
a diamond crumb
ripped from Hampshire's
as witches knickers like spinnakers
flap loudly in the trees.
To quench this tempest
dragon's teeth needles
Monday 20th March 2017 10:49 pm
The warmth of Monday’s bedclothes
clings desperately to my skin,
and irritated by the discomfort of crusty eyelashes
that resolutely refuse to open
I fumble clumsily to produce
coffee aromas that will usher out last night’s smells.
One pace from the back door
I stand easy, caricaturing Henry VIII
legs akimbo, the early spring breezes
squirreling though every a...
Wednesday 15th March 2017 2:41 pm
Intensely polished emerald green tiles, shimmer
like gently rolling waves, bizarre shifting puddles of light
lit by myriad spotlight moons.
Heads entering this surf piecemeal seem shocked
to be treading water in this retail ocean,
a crazed and frantic juggle and bob.
Cast adrift at closing time, and
unsure of rescue they swarm together, fraught
and tightly clutch ...
Saturday 4th March 2017 4:38 pm
Lean Suffolk winds
gush and worry through these pencil pines
where squirrels live, content
among posh cabins, bikes and anoraks.
This orderly, numbered wooden village
laid out, clean, as a board game corpse
offers inquisitive urbans careful shelter
as they search for sanitised rurality.
Bravely, clutching site plans,
they venture warily, in search
of their p...
Wednesday 1st March 2017 9:52 am