Poetry Blog by Graham Sherwood

Poet's Retreat (1)

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



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Bleeding Obvious Haiku

it is what it is

let me explain this further

we are where we are


© Graham Sherwood 11/2017

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HAIKU or haiku

a story told in

just seventeen syllables

not a word wasted


© Graham Sherwood 11/2017

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Falling Short

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

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Oh for the opportunity,

to let her look into my

nonagenarian eyes,

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

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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


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Upon death,


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.



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© Graham Sherwood 10/2017

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Zen, and the art of compost and leaf mould

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,

raised, nurtured

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...

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Cranford Requiem

(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...

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Rime with Reasons

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...

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Unexpectedly, shockingly

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

still blotched

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,


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Holly and Oak

The first leaves burnish

under late September warmth,


already the flayed canopy

is shot through with sun spears,


laser fine, a brilliant

showerhead piercing

the mute gold shadows,


a last huzzah of light

charges the lifeless underbrush

the crown falls.


© Graham Sherwood 09/2017

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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.



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Koan on Sound

See how sound may confer movement

on an inanimate object.

Notice how temperature may

alter a sound.

Consider then the movement

that the temperature of each season

may impart to a sound


© Graham Sherwood 09/2017

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Palindromic Piddling

Strange forces horological

stir me from the warm darkness

at 3.33.

It was 4.14 yesterday

5.05 the day before.

Peeing pondering palindromes

I shuffle back

to the darkness to kiss Eve


© Graham Sherwood 09/2017

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Koan on Emotion

Is it ever a good idea

to act so frequently

on one’s emotions?


For example,


How many of us kill others

when we’re angry

or ourselves, when we’re sad?


No, it’s not a good idea.


Then why do many of us

fall madly in love?



© Graham Sherwood 09/2017

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Camino Haibun

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...

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So Haiku

So illiterate

don’t start a sentence with so

stupid so-and-so


© Graham Sherwood 09/2017

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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,

or worse

messy enough to navigate around with care.


Those young earnest eyes

orbiting in front of mine for days after,

morphing chameleon-like

cautiously adve...

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Breaking Fast

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

masticating miserably.


How different the bacon sandwich

or the dripping fried egg bap,

those are happy breakfasts

impossible not to gossip

through the dribbling ketchup.



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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

torpid, malleable.


I find a verge to park

at the parish boundary,

my intention,

to walk into the village

like the hero-stranger of a

spaghetti western film.


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Grey Haiku

(In these long August days, it is grey economy that keeps the country afloat!)


We steal small children,

the smiling old grey people

Grandpa and Grandma


© Graham Sherwood 08/2017

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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 ...

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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...

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Family Gathering

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

a painful

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


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© Graham Sherwood 07/2017

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Finedon Mill

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,


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we choose,

some lose

young old,

weak bold

colours pall,

fortunes fall

care less,

reap mess

woman man,


colours shift,

fortunes drift

weather storm,

regain norm


action stations

colours tally,

fortunes rally


© Graham Sherwood 06/2017

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Morning Bill

We sleep downstairs,

wonderful in this heat and

I’m dreaming of Bea playing

outside the open bedroom window

too early

then realize it’s the boys next door

in the tree house.

I slip out and leave you to sleep

entangled, and

stumble up to make tea,

wash up last night’s wine glasses

wistful, remembering

the taste of each wine

the words of each friend

still sa...

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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


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Free Radicals

Unbidden foreign spores

alight upon our skin

and slowly seed among us

…. the canker sows


feint blemishes first unseen

religiously infect with malevolent

seditious intent

…. the canker grows


youthful bloom bleeds

self-assured beauty poisoned

tainted by this vague stain

…. the canker shows


this crippling vile palour

deepens, burrowing

embryo t...

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We will stand in line

together, to choose the path

that will divide us


© Graham Sherwood 06/2017

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Masoch....new work on my blog now


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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...

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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, 

armed discretely

with the power of purpose

and taught to be fluent

in the infinite lexicon

of enlightenment,

thus a soul fed of such ri...

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After Barbara’s funeral

you asked,

“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 ...

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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.

The clinical...

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Hejira 1

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

perpetually repeated.

With eyes closed we list

involuntarily, primordially

toward the magnetism of the waves,

fearful that we can never ret...

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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

liberal consciousness, 

she then chokes her children callously,

suffocating each one, smiling,

as she curiously regards

the s...

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Gandini 4x4

silhouettes, smoke, suspense





skittles soar skyward





standing shoulders squared

syncopated sequences




sure-footed, soft-shoe

site-swapping, structures




silence settles spatial spirits

somnolent symmetry




© Graham Sherwood 04/2017

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March to May

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.


Competing blackbirds

urgently over sing the criticism

of fractious magpie...

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Affaire D'Amour

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...

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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

in sorrow

hearing your confident words

come from my mouth

albeit an age ago, and

grieve, knowing

how you will feel

when the question,


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Squeal and Howl

The rhythms of my youth

indelibly embedded

cut with the precision of a surgeon

claw deeply,

at my gut strings

plucking vulture-like

at my yearning stranded senses

ripping voraciously

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...

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Crumpled beneath troubled cumulus
the island
a badly shaken tablecloth
lies carelessly thrown,
its frayed edge chines
dipping their hems into the sea.

This wight, 
a diamond crumb
harshly torn, 
ripped from Hampshire's
fractured skirts,
crouches wind-blown-wild
as witches knickers like spinnakers 
flap loudly in the trees.

To quench this tempest
dragon's teeth needles 
slather ...

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On taking the piss!


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...

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Mall de Mer

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 ...

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Center Parc

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...

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Recent Comments

Colin Hill on Poet's Retreat (1) (4 hours ago)

Stu Buck on Bleeding Obvious Haiku (5 days ago)

Colin Hill on HAIKU or haiku (7 days ago)

Graham Sherwood on Falling Short (12 days ago)

Colin Hill on Falling Short (12 days ago)

Graham Sherwood on Falling Short (13 days ago)

Hannah Collins on Falling Short (13 days ago)

keith jeffries on Falling Short (14 days ago)

suki spangles on 2041 (14 days ago)

John Coopey on 2041 (14 days ago)

Trevor Alexander on 2041 (14 days ago)

Graham Sherwood on 2041 (Tue, 7 Nov 2017 10:36 am)

Colin Hill on 2041 (Tue, 7 Nov 2017 08:37 am)

Colin Hill on Ghostwriting (Tue, 7 Nov 2017 08:26 am)

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