Poetry Blog by John E Marks
Nicola Beckett on These empty streets (Mon, 25 Jan 2021 03:19 am)
They gave us three options: conversion, death or jizya [a special tax for non-Muslims]. We have no money, so we left.
All across the Nineveh plain the lights are being snuffed out. Crosses driven into the hearts of the last of Mesopotamia’s Christians.
Christians. These Assyrians, speaking Aramaic, the language of Christ, ...
Wednesday 24th February 2021 1:58 pm
Words cannot echo mood.
It’s impossible to convey
the tingling numbnesses
of yesterday, today.
The semi-detached gaze,
a tight closing-in upon oneself
foreshadows pent up tears.
The fear that accompanies
almost everything I do
meanders like an ox-bow lake,
and can take years to settle at a flood-tide
to knock us off our feet,
It is then our time gathers
to a slippery greatness,
Sunday 21st February 2021 10:58 pm
Such airy valedictions cannot span this bridge in time
What’s mine is yours, what’s yours is very definitely mine.
We both can hear the quiet roar of our own new found land
As time drifts to a stop and as we focus near and far
We no longer stand amazed at the hollow rancour of public life
And have no more time for the mere indulgences of strife.
We look too much upon these empty places, the ...
Friday 19th February 2021 11:38 pm
Memories diamonds and rust
time's chasm opens before my sight,
vertigo returns with the Lapis Lazuli night ,
resurrecting lived poetry
of the Byzantimes, Armenians, Assyrians.
Each civilization allloted supreme value to the blue of lapis lazuli.
Lapis lazuli was used in the funeral mask of Tutankhamun (1341–1323 BC).
Blue as blue robins' eggs fly, ultramarine, a pigment of supreme ra...
Friday 19th February 2021 9:46 pm
On the north coast of this isle of the druids
I see cliffs sheer, hear gulls scream incessantly,
I know Celtic monks set off from here
In flimsy wooden ships to Ireland
With only their robes, their faith and their blessed literacy.
Their Latin Christian inheritance was attacked
But never extinguished by invaders:
Angles, Saxons, Jutes, ...
Friday 19th February 2021 7:53 pm
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 ear, the heart, was treated as an affliction
By those with the polished shoes and starched aprons;
Sometimes I was not even there when they mocked me but I knew
What they did and ‘never-a-bother-it-was-to-me’.
But it was. I was brought up to be brave but inside I was ...
Wednesday 17th February 2021 11:03 pm
Shadow behind the sun, the echo of her words,
Meanings stuck in transit, the music of the Byrds,
Brimming lives at stake, my friend, as all hearts ache;
Years pass by like phantoms, passions of the heart
Stalk in silence the silence of her heart, faeries take their part.
Forget what you remember, give and never take.
Lift the veil off the mysteries, see the lady of the lake. Silky torn up la...
Tuesday 16th February 2021 1:07 pm
Blue as forget-me-not blue
Blue as an Alaskan blueberry
Blue as an English May morn
April egg shell blue.
Endurance is a flower
A bulb in winter’s depth
A rare-repeated wonder:
A sin we must forget.
In this world-of-make-believe:
Cancer, the death of children,
Are fallen autumn leaves.
I see this road before me
A road I walk in vain
A road ...
Sunday 14th February 2021 10:07 pm
Feel the ripples of fear
don't hesitate, draw near,
people spend their lives avoiding 'situations',
running away from 'situations'
Consequences of such avoidance -
sins of omission -
frozen secrets in rocks of ice
leak out into Trilobites
staring out of the deepest past
It is, of course, possible for
any woman or man
to stop this dance of death
by just being who we are,
Friday 12th February 2021 9:36 pm
scribbled on a memory, potted like a plant:
dazed by the sun's romance
summer days' sleep
dust motes gleam in the sunbeams
I will keep
as primal screams seep into splintered recollections,
formed in sharpened shards,
while meaning schemes
to split the scene
and I try hard
to focus on what appears,
Friday 12th February 2021 7:59 pm
pulsing pale waves of mist
as fear parades these walkways
as we fade into the rain which seeps through the holes
in the fabric of my heart;
we are torn apart
The road forks as,
streets stink of fried food
rats scurry into mind.
These are the concrete estates
of the heart.
Monday 8th February 2021 8:21 pm
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2011
Abstracted in Afghanistan
I pick cankers for a simple
choose a rhapsody in blue
love lapis lazuli
I paint the Virgin Mary
with ultramarine pigment
extracted from lapis lazuli
where I am with the brave Kalash,
in their snow-capped mountains,
of the Hindu Kush,
The blue-blue skies
reflect their blue-green...
Saturday 6th February 2021 11:14 pm
Wind cuts through this January night
Slices like a knife through my meagre clothes.
Signs on the road hidden by an iron fog
The cry of the wind is all in vain
Nothing is the same.
I kiss you across this black hole in time.
In the old be-jewelled spider-webbed
Way we kissed tender to kiss long,
Frost-filled graveyard remains
For the happily insane.
Yew trees shadow against the moon.
Saturday 6th February 2021 10:22 pm
I do not think
But I am living under this mountain,
That might crush the life out of me
Any time, any day,
So, I drink anyway.
Too much grandiosity
Dims the soul
Makes us old.
I hear the wise ones pleading, screaming when on fire,
So much screaming, as the flames they get higher:
Hebane, belladonna, mandrake, datura
All of these, like mescaline, can see right through yer.
Tuesday 2nd February 2021 10:46 pm
Freezing rain soaks my clothes, my hair,
I do not care. I am not there.
I stare at the mortar
between the crumbling bricks in this old wall
built by the calloused hands of men who’d survived
the Somme. Who’d been called ‘dirty scabs’
in 1929 by striking dockers, miners. They’d hung their heads in shame
but they’d had mouths to feed. They’d taken any work they could obtain.
Monday 1st February 2021 12:25 pm
When I have been drinking a lot
The Irish way — night and day —
I think who would wish to fall in love?
You cannot wish it to happen
Like the sun, once, happened,
You cannot let someone love you,
Without smelling early morning
dew on a rare May day.
And if not, well, loneliness is short,
The important thing is not to hate
Saturday 30th January 2021 12:38 am
“You will hear thunder and remember me,
and think: she wanted storms...”
― Anna Akhmatova
She said to me:
If you hear thunder
Pray for me
And remember we loved to listen to a thunderstorm
Whilst we were here in bed together.
Outside, the sky was much the same
the weather drained of color,
shocked into the routine drift and swell
of another rocky road to hell.
The strip of ...
Wednesday 27th January 2021 9:59 pm
This thick freezing mist
Lends a heaviness
To this oft-breathed air.
He was ventilated
In the one bed
Whilst life, of a kind,
It did not matter
How much we cared
We just couldn't be there
Tuesday 26th January 2021 11:08 pm
Since new year, I’ve taken to walking these empty streets
At 3am. So quiet, you’d think a nuclear device had wiped out
All the people, left the buildings intact.
Stopped twice by the cops. ‘Can we inquire…’
You could tell they were English. No less the servants
Of a repressive state. Told them I was thinking
They didn’t know what to make of...
Sunday 24th January 2021 11:32 pm
The best of us British fell on the Somme, Verdun, Passchendaele,
Our luckier cousins had long ago set off across the broad Atlantic
Convicts moved to the antipodes, to the Swan River of Western Australia
Convict scum of the East End born to live again.
The ragged Scots, after Culloden
So many Irish everywhere in the Empire
The Raj with the spice and ...
Friday 22nd January 2021 10:41 pm
The last time I saw Bill was when I took him to lay a wreath on his wife's grave
Just before Christmas. A week later Bill was dead. Massive heart attack took him dead on cue.
From a single parent family in the 1930s, brought up above a shop, no chances offered, no respect. That was his lot.
He joined the British army as a teenager (a new word then) and toured the trouble spots of the world. He ...
Thursday 21st January 2021 11:51 pm
Sky and sea and land, these three amigos,
like love and fate,
lately delayed the day when the dreadful daylight starts
of unkept promises and broken hearts.
God’s dying conspired to extinguish every ounce of youth and beauty
to send us scurrying to the heaven-sent skies,
or some dreamy city of the sultry south,
where word of mouth only carries a smidgen of meaning,
and that’s ...
Tuesday 19th January 2021 7:37 pm
“Do not be afraid; our fate
Cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.”
― Dante Alighieri, Inferno
A rose in December,
snows in July,
as far as we know
the unexpected will die.
Common sense has infirmities
with pie in the sky;
we seek to get by.
Nothing happens too late
that isn’t taboo
a floating moon slips
above stone-built walls,
a story of ...
Monday 18th January 2021 3:14 pm
Gorffwysfa* - Welsh, place of recovery
This is the place of recovery
This is where we begin again.
Amharic text reminds us,
As we live beneath the sun,
That she was a warrior,
An Amazon on the run.
When sky was black and yellow as gold,
She was dragged across the sunless sea
By men without a soul:
Her stories and her narrations,
Her lives as yet untold
Were dumped inside a slavers...
Sunday 17th January 2021 12:38 am
Waiting for the barbarians is over:
A whiter shades of pale, pretty traces of lace,
Reveal in opal-sluminosity these late Romans,
Their indigo-dream, red with gore on this bloody May Day
Arabian savagery negates their absorption into the timeless
Creation of Constantinople’s drift and swell,
Elysium’s perfumed garden of lucidity broken by
Mehmed’s Turkic desecration, his sweltering road to ...
Saturday 16th January 2021 11:51 pm
There’s a body on a mid-winter beach
Bloated by sea water, battered by waves,
The skin an indeterminate grey but the DNA
Gives it away: stomach distended, flesh declined,
Soul departed, a package of flesh left behind,
With seaweed dancing from her open mouth
That once kissed another, a mother, a lover.
Spoke words of comfort to the dying, bereaved:
Religion indeterminate, national...
Friday 15th January 2021 11:17 pm
In the year-of-our-Lord 1972,
there’s only so much reading one can do,
only so much listening to storms rumble in
from far horizons.
We think this earth is solid under us,
but talk to a seismologist,
then you’ll quake.
We carry this dream of solidity
through time and space:
in hospital, at the grave-side, through tattered l...
Wednesday 13th January 2021 8:33 pm
Woody is a dog
He does doggy things
And sleeps like a log.
Just at the moment
He’s barking in a mirror
Every time he looks again
That damn dog gets thinner.
Tuesday 12th January 2021 9:54 pm
1. FROM HERR JOHNSON
2. DO NOT LEAVE THE LOO UNTIL YOU'VE DONE A POO
3. & THEN STAY IN THE LOO ALL NIGHT & ALL DAY
4. UNTIL THE SOCIALISTS HAVE GONE AWAY
5. DO NOT BREATH
6. AIR CONTAINS GERMS AND IT STINKS
7. PUSH PEOPLE OUT OF THE WAY AT THE SINK
8. DO NOT WASH YOUR HANDS.
9. WATER CONTAINS GERMS
19. DO NOT DO ANYFUCKINGTHING I DO OTHERWISE THE ROZZERS WILL BE ONTO YO...
Tuesday 12th January 2021 9:46 pm
Pulsing waves of mist,
a pale kiss & bless you,
as we walk along
these walkways in the sky
rain seeps through the holes
in the cladding
(we've heard that word a lot, of late)
straight into my heart, so scared are we.
on a town like Malice,
behind the eye-line:
this estate blooms
with youths who
screech while seagulls see
Monday 11th January 2021 7:09 pm
Beneath this beach of sand, shells ,sea
A permanent loss of happiness, awaits me
I see this image of the rolling sea.
A new-found-land frames and hides
These wide horizons; I walk along the cliff:
Sheer drop upon the windward side,
Embedded trilobites hide beneath my feet.
Quartz and Muscovite from the granite
Weathered by winds and by waves
Sea-formed outcrops, hidden rocks, caves.
Saturday 9th January 2021 11:58 pm
thoughts rarely derive,
evolved and alive.
The music is frugal,
and spreads like a stain,
our sun-blasted days,
immune to the shadows
of our wavering gaze.
Such sun-blind imaginings
can ping off your eyes,
breath-in then breath-out
Saturday 9th January 2021 7:34 pm
Yet ghost prints are on our lawn
and wilderness is in the wood,
lurking in coughing fits of blood.
‘Annals of Cartmel’ 1872 by James Stockdale
Melanie from rural Bohemia, in the Czech republic,
Saving lives in Oldham. Fighting Covid
Like her grandparents fought the Nazis
like her parents fought the Russians.
After a 12 hour shift, she knew exactly
how the moisture hidden in the...
Saturday 9th January 2021 12:00 am
A cold and dreary December rain
Poured down again, pitch black,
By 3.30pm, here in the sodding north.
He thought 'I'm within striking distance'
'I'm that close'. The ghost-voice of fear,
Was in his ear, but he ploughed on,
Taking out his phone, he found her number
Regardless. Logged on to their special site.
Left a message, as agreed, he was only 14,
After all. She replied with just a kis...
Thursday 7th January 2021 9:47 pm
She knew from the very start
Which mountain the sun came from
For eyes can be deceiving in rain.
Fountains are rain corralled by man
I’m tempted into sleeping on your neck.
A servitude of roses.
In which green bay does the rolling sea spy on me
That’s deep, but not at all clear. Like seawater,
Salty lagoons on tropical oslands are lost on me.
Monday 4th January 2021 12:39 am