Poetry Blog by John E Marks
Tags from last 12 months
Street lights no longer glow
As rain moistens the bricks
Of derelict buildings
The ground squelches as I stop
And tap my feet in the mud,
Get my bearings.
This grass colour is not green
But a battered brown
The nearest iron bar is not close
No choice but to walk
To where we'll meet
Must be five years since
The demolitions ...
Tuesday 19th February 2019 8:38 pm
Some muttered words in uncounted time
Make me listen closely to your heart-beat.
Words can decline into cant – quick, flippant, arrogant
Listen! to Gregorian chants: gargoyles speak across the centuries
In silence, the stonemason’s art,
A palimpsest of languages:
Latin, Norman-French, English
Each overtaken in time
Vernacular or divine.
Blue eyes at the funeral.
Monday 18th February 2019 10:02 pm
"As I have not worried to be born, I do not worry to die." Frederico Garcia Lorca
what remains in the purpled garden
resurrected in all honesty
your hands around your lover’s waist,
eyes shining with tears
taste the brandy
swilling around your mouth
look at the azure ocean,
so far from Barcelona and the battle for Madrid
you wrote about...
Monday 18th February 2019 2:34 pm
Crocuses and snowdrops push up their merry heads
The cairn on the woodland path marks the unburied dead
The fleeting wisps of winter, white detrius on the skeletal trees
The very occasional dew drop hanging with the weeds.
This man he is an old man, Gaelic and rare,
Who stares into the fire, in his isolated lair,
An bóthar ag taisteal na sióga....
Aye, the road that the fairie...
Sunday 17th February 2019 3:17 pm
City without sleep where I am
They die in the sky.
Moon people kiss
Kill like normal
People who do not dream with a broken heart
Face the tender protest of the stars.
Nobody sleeps in this world.
There are lots of dead men in cemeteries
The child they buried
Is not a dream.
We climb to the edge of the snow with the colour ...
Saturday 16th February 2019 1:51 am
The Emperor of Constantinople - Emperor Theophilus (d. 842AD) -
Wanted Kassia as his wife.
Even though she defended icons
She was not ready to be a wife.
Kassia chose to become an abbess and poet instead.
Theodore the Studite - a wise man indeed
Condescendingly wrote that he was ‘astonished’ by her erudition
Kassia was, it is true, very well-educated - as only Greeks can be -...
Friday 15th February 2019 11:38 pm
The love of adultery is a sin of man
Devised to ruin the goodness of woman
And is a temptation that must accept:
The full springs of my tears,
As you who bring the rain to wash us clean and fresh
Bow down to the sighs of my heart,
You altered the realm of being by your incomprehensible incarnation
And now the followers of a desert seer dismiss your revelation
As less than n...
Friday 15th February 2019 11:00 pm
On 29 May 1453 the Greek Christian city of Constantinople finally fell to Muslim armies. At least 2.5 million Christian Greeks and Armenians, who resisted conversion to Islam, survivors of the Byzantines, were slaughtered by the Turks, many in the early C20. Now there are 2000 Christians in Constantinople and 15 million Muslims.
Imagine that you are falling
Endlessly into a dre...
Friday 15th February 2019 9:46 pm
The beautiful clouds of a high summer sky
Rush by like a stone flung from a sling
Designed to bruise but not kill my stone dreams
Inspire me to sing the high-fluted songs of summer
Contrary to the dumb laws of matter
I wear my profusion lightly and glance behind the show-screen of coincidence
Into the heart of the matter.
Swans swimming with their young through these mome...
Friday 15th February 2019 12:19 am
The pungent smell of tar sends me back
To summer days spent wending my time away
As dandelions parodied the gawdy sun
And the pebbles in my pants were reserved for having fun by skimming water.
In the dark church heavy incense melds with the body odour of the priest
Sweating for his immortal soul while mixing an amorous alcoholic liquid on the altar.
Did I dream the frozen moment...
Thursday 14th February 2019 12:33 am
Anna Campbell was her name and Kurdistan
Was the country in which she died on March 15 2018, the Ides of March
She was fighting as part of the all-female
Kurdish Women's Protection Units, the YPG.
She was 26 when she died a long way from Lewes in East Sussex where she was raised.
She was killed by a Turkish airstrike - the Islamist Turks NATO-empowered enemies of the Kurds
Wednesday 13th February 2019 3:20 pm
Dedicated to all the western volunteers who have fought and died with the Kurdish YPG to defend the Yezedis and to resist Daesh and their allies, the NATO-supported Islamist Turks. Including: Aidan James, 27, who is the second Briton to face terrorist charges after travelling to join the Syrian Kurdish YPG.
Allow all Yezedi refugees into the UK
The Ezedi: Assyrian, Zoroastrian,
Tuesday 12th February 2019 9:47 pm
Poor little Oscar is banging his drum
His mum's got a headache, she aint
Having fun. He sprays out his patterns
Of cross-stitched beats and his Ma, well, she
Just aint able to stay on her feet. His beatings they tell
Stories of long long a go: when the cat had
Her kittens and the dog he walk slow. Beating
A drum is a full-time pursuit but doesn't pay money and doesn't gain...
Monday 11th February 2019 9:26 pm
Follow the stream past the boarded up houses
By-pass your dreams on the Cemetery Row
Pass the quiet bridge on the edge of the moorland.
Listen to the caw-caw crowings of the ravens and crows
All that you care for still lives where you're heading
Follow the foxes to where street lights are setting
Rude postcards, the smell of candy floss, there's just no forgetting.
Though the ...
Sunday 10th February 2019 11:50 pm
Ye old gods of the greenlands and the raging forests have gone to ground.
Your acolytes were burnt, stretched upon the rack, hung, cruelly drowned.
For century after century until now. Druids — we who know the old, oak tree -
Were found only in histories, myths, tales. But, come, walk with me in this freezing mist
Of a deep-winter's night — don’t get squeamish and don’t take fright. ...
Saturday 9th February 2019 11:12 pm
My hestitancy has bothered me for a long time
It is not the cruelty of children that angers me
But that my hesitation to commit the word to air
And, aye, maybe, to the heart, was treated as an affliction
By those with the polished shoes and starched aprons which set them apart;
Sometimes I was not even there when they mocked me but I knew
What they did and 'never-a-bother-it-was-...
Friday 8th February 2019 11:04 pm
At last the Kraken awakes in waves
Of towering seas and air that shakes.
A hungry colossal octopus drops
Like a cephalopod sea-monster
Into your dreams of Norse sagas
Of giant size casting cliffs into seas
Roaring fiery folklore like screaming
Yarns and pen and wash drawings
Of giant squid inking their way into
Nightmares of sheer size bamboozling
Exhausted eyes into ...
Wednesday 6th February 2019 9:38 pm
At your nerves
Leaves you in tatters
Feeling sore, weird,
Yet thankfully alive
Trying to hide the pain
From your loved ones
No analgesic relief
On and on
Even till the Finnegans wake
And you can sleep.
Tuesday 5th February 2019 2:15 pm
"Glücklicherweise kann der Mensch nur einen gewissen Grad des Unglücks fassen; was darüber hinausgeht, vernichtet ihn oder läßt ihn gleichgültig." Goethe, Die Wahlverwandtschaften (Elective Affinities), 1809
Fortunately, people can comprehend only a certain degree of misfortune; anything beyond that either destroys them or leaves them indifferent.
Historical grievances are held clo...
Tuesday 5th February 2019 1:56 pm
Under the swinging bridge flows the old canal
Bridgewater canal built in 1761 to carry coal to Manchester
To fuel the industrial revolution, the black Satanic mills
Full of women workers on their first step to emancipation
And on one late summer day one sailor met one mill girl
She reminded him that joy came after trouble.
Manchester at night was a strange stage for their love affai...
Monday 4th February 2019 1:24 am
I struggle every day to remain well,
It's an obstacle course, of sorts,
Yesterday, I was ko'd, knocked out,
But before the count of 10 I was
Up again, fighting to recover my balance, poise. On my toes
I rise to the challenge. Today, I Am fasting, The best detox I know,
Hoping I will recover, in time
To watch a film, have a meal,
Get up from my bed. Be well.
It's been like this since ca...
Sunday 3rd February 2019 5:35 pm
The moon is set in ice my friend
The heavens sparkle and shine
The old guy staggering in the cold
Looks out at the far-divine.
Money for food or money for heat
He gathers his coat around his feet
And he dreams of the heaven he knew as a child
When everything was lovely and everything was wild.
So, you, look at anything except this screen
Raise your voice and scream
Saturday 2nd February 2019 12:17 am
Don’t let the fat white males into this land
They have no concept of stewardship
They think they can own the air and the land.
Watch them massacre the holy bison:
The white buffalo is dead
Their bodies rot under the sun.
These men have no respect for themselves:
They are rapists and child-killers.
They love watching sadistic pornography.
They spoil all the Great Spirit h...
Friday 1st February 2019 11:29 pm
Nothing happens unless we dream it
Poetry is the sea mammal who loves the land
The man who wants to fly
Unaccompanied by engines
The regret we have at words not said
Under the summer moon
When she looked so pretty
Like a flagrant crimson flower
With the power to subdue
We, who lurk in the dusk
Smelling the beautiful musk roses
With the wild red leaves,
Friday 1st February 2019 10:38 pm
Change, that's what's need
Leave our egos in bed
Let our imaginations roam
Che and I rarely saw eye to eye
As we passed below the Oxford Circus
Clowns hanging around
Learning to pontificate, always
Too early, always too late
Face death, be bereft, grow up
Read the book written in the stars
In the etchings of a beloved's face
Grow wise, no disguise
Learn that not...
Friday 1st February 2019 3:57 pm
Vitriol exhibits at a heavy price,
Slices through our softest parts,
And always emerges as stinking farts.
Friday 1st February 2019 12:24 am
I ride the wind, this cutting wind
Cures me of indolence, regret
Towards the close of day
Clouds swirl blue celebrates
A tiny victory
Cynicism drains away
Thoughts tumbling over the cliff face
Thoughtless man lacks the will to care
The whole green earth suffers at his hands,
A women's care is gracefully sustained
It is her flair to create beauty, even in the barrenest...
Thursday 31st January 2019 12:20 pm
A terrible thing happened today.
She took her life and went away.
Her rickety car matched her blonde hair.
Wild and more than a little desperate.
She is a nightingale ghost singing to me of the insanity
Of leaving young parents to bring up children isolated
With no help from anybody. Her voice echoes
Across the years of coping, scraping by; while
The rich old have money un...
Thursday 31st January 2019 12:02 pm
So, are we fit for purpose?
Are we the game changers?
Walking clichés begging to be banned?
Can we obfuscate meaning
Rather than convey it?
Add value-added granular
Deep down and dirty content
To the verse? Good.
Now we're thinking outside the box
Swiping the low-hanging fruit
Singing from the same hymn-sheet.
For, in language as in life,
All that glitters just ...
Monday 28th January 2019 4:52 pm
The love we have for mother, father, sister
Is inculpatory evidence of mere humanity
And enables us to see, half-way,
The merest movement of the moon
Will shift the seal that hides the veil
That moves us all to the tempest's sail
And storm and thunder-struck avail
Across the fields of corn and gold
Until the years, when growing old,
We walk along the mee...
Sunday 27th January 2019 1:27 am
Missing the wildness of my younger self
I degenerate into words. Waiting, between
Sentences, for the Muse to catch up with me,
I fulminate, flash like lightning, explode so
Violently that I catch myself thinking this
Is an all an act to compensate for the time
Brian climbed that tree before disappearing
To Japan for all eternity. I wish Haiku was true.
That an apple blossom...
Saturday 26th January 2019 10:53 pm
Paul Léon was murdered in 1942,
In Auschwitz concentration camp,
A Jew, he was Joyce's friend,
The Joyce of Dublin & Galway,
Trieste, Zurich & Paris
And, off course, Anna L'Liffey,
She who riverrun on & on,
Even till the Finnegans' wake.
Joyce lived in Paris for twenty years
He was so poor but everytime he had money
He always paid for everyone i...
Saturday 26th January 2019 4:05 pm
Egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly
This natural magic of transformation
Can happen to you too. Time makes you
More beautiful. Human metamorphosis
Liberates souls. Such a rare achievement
Requires an emptying of the mind and a deep (and so painful) compassion.
Defeat your expectations; free yourself and you will see
The passing beauty of a butterfly.
Butterflies live fo...
Saturday 26th January 2019 12:35 am
We own nothing
Maybe, stewards we are
Passing on, even adding to,
But I don't think mother Earth
Would think that
Plastic fantastic mess we make.
At best we're renters
For a wee while
A daily subscription. at best
We take nothing with us.
Not even ourselves.
Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
And this whole fucking
Cornucopia of law
Protecting private property...
Friday 25th January 2019 1:08 am
the tone of the big bell settles in the dust
of this small market town in county meath
and on the stained glass window still
the sun-marked resonance of bell
circles of uninscribed sound
through all the cerebral centuries
chimes and chants for christ the king
chimes of crucifix, pyx and plate
these bells have blessed the insouciant faithful
Thursday 24th January 2019 9:35 pm
Sitting in an old, damp boozer
Brasses polished, leathers gleaming,
Wood, dark mahogany, glows.
In the dark daylight lamplight
Watching, now, the snow flakes tumble
Out of a heavy sky
Nature's green, and man's concrete grey
Gradually evolving into this whiter
Shade of pale.
Yes, a pint of porter's your only man
Nobody dares to disturb
This chapel of rest
Tuesday 22nd January 2019 1:51 pm
I can hardly speak but I will try.
My brain falls silent, still;
It is the dying of the day
When a ferment of tenses
Lead me up many cul de sacs.
Lingering a moonlight-figure
Mirrors the sparkling frost,
He's gone but never lost.
Suspicious of the silence within,
Outside all is wild, the colour of blood
Soaks the sky.
On a barge meandering down the river
Sunday 20th January 2019 11:01 pm
England is Britain's last colony
But we English are an awkward lot
We like to make our own decisions
And not delegate to Westminster
Or to the EU. When we watch our
Politicians prevaricate when we've
Told them exactly what to do:
Leave the EU! Then our long fuse
Starts to burn ever-so slowly
And our long memories surface too.
The first country in Europe
To execute ...
Sunday 20th January 2019 12:58 pm
No matter how we invent this writing malarky
Or, how, precisely, we feel about it,
There is a wondering within our hearts,
And a hiding between the folds of our soul;
So much more than a mirror
Mumbling at us, incessantly,
"There's a story to be told,"
But all we hear is:
'Fear fear, fear terror, fear anguish'
Untold stories circle within us
As we try to live sec...
Saturday 19th January 2019 7:33 pm
If you can see the good in everyone
And not condemn the less fortunate
If you can speak the plain unvarnished truth
When all about you are prattling prevarications
If you are patient with those who lack intelligence
And when faced with stupid bias you do not duck or dive
Or respond to haters with hatred
Or respond to the wicked with dread
If you can modestly accept success...
Saturday 19th January 2019 5:48 pm
Sudden uncontrollable crying,
Embarrasses the English
Laughing, or feeling anger can occasion crying
A symptom of a condition called pseudobulbar affect (PBA).
This 'emotional incontinence' is spreading
Outwards like the ripples on a lake
Music is often the trigger
For a flood of tears
Sometimes it's just
The passing of the years
For me it's cruelty
To children or...
Friday 18th January 2019 10:04 pm
Lithe legs spread
Like a swan-song
A spectacular series
Of whirls on her toes
He circles her on the ball of his foot
Musical, muscular movements mingle and mix
A shiver of white as she jumps
A catching of the breath as she slumps
Into his arms;
A choreography of bodies
Thursday 17th January 2019 2:09 pm
Let's just assume I mean....something....
There's a putative purpose to words
Even if you think they're quite absurd....
Or offensive or sexist or racist or classist
You get my drift? Some words = sh...
Something wrong with the words?
You don't like the implication?
Offensively an aberration?
The palace of protection
Is in charge of all public
Wednesday 16th January 2019 10:09 pm
Everything depends upon today
Washing lines billow
In the breeze of time
Conglomerations of colours
Rainbowing sedately along
On the same Tuesday at differing locations
Diverse people walk along winter's coasts
For the final time
Prayers and mantras
Blown by the wind
Compassion throughout space-time.
Wednesday 16th January 2019 9:15 pm
Mabinogion was reborn as a lover. She set out to rediscover why idiot savants sent the hot wind, the Sirocco, inflaming those who saw seas, skies, mountains with a yearning to drive out the Barbariaid Saesneg and return to Arthur's court all the delights of Celtic culture. Building a maze of fires across the hills, the bog poets, extraordinarily gifted idiot savants, saw the ripples that invasi...
Tuesday 15th January 2019 10:37 pm
A large private house. People I don't know but who say they know me. They don't. A disorientating mix of normality and extreme distortion. A work connection is claimed. It is a lie. I feel isolated and vulnerable. Distorted faces. Strapped to a chair. Nobody there. Convinced these people are in disguise. Nowhere to hide. People fading, becoming insubstantial. Such stuff as dreams are ma...
Monday 14th January 2019 2:27 am
In England we can pursue a ladder to the stars
Our nation's due a new beginning. Four hundred
Years ago we executed a king, a commonwealth
Came to be. The English peasant was the freest
In Europe. The millenarian Fifth Monarchists,
Evangelical Quakers, proto-democratic Levellers,
Libertarian Ranters, and communist Diggers.
It was such an exciting time to be alive and free.
Saturday 12th January 2019 10:27 pm
It's hard to see in the dark
But your eyes grew accustomed
To the gloom of the winning line
Short odds on the grey market
On foggy days in November
Through the mists of September
You peered at the finishing line
Anything less than a head and you're in
On the flat or the hurdles.
But as you tried to spot the winner -
Your eyes failed again and again -
Saturday 12th January 2019 9:35 pm
Try not to think the worst of folk
The best of us is a bantering joke
Mocking mirrors cleanse the soul
Laugh lines delay being old.
In the cold of winter do what you can
To help the the raggedy poor old man
Who tries to manage on his own
In a freezing room that he calls home.
Sharing food and time and money
Telling jokes and acting funny
Watching people grow...
Saturday 12th January 2019 1:48 pm
Let's keep the light we're given
When our stores of words are fled
Empty as a musical box
Or a box for housing the dead;
When the bridge between giving and taking
Has crumpled in the dust-prints of mouse.
A Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie.
Then all of our days are a struggle: to walk
And to dream and to think; when the gates of the new
Jerusalem appear blinking ...
Friday 11th January 2019 9:49 pm