Poetry Blog by John E Marks
Tags from last 12 months
Those rich metaphors drawn from the earth and sea,
Rich biblical language of baptism and burial and birth,
Blossom and harvest, wise ones, holy fools, women.
From the lips of children learn that clinging to life
Is not sufficient: the worried well can still go to hell.
Smoke over Mosul. Mosul’s churches where once
The Jacobite heart of Christian belief was celebrated
Tuesday 23rd April 2019 8:51 pm
National Thowfeek Jama'ath,
A Sri Lankan affiliate of Daesh,
Carried out a Satanic attack
On 'Christian and Crusader
Targets' in the Christian area
The deadliest attack,
Was against St Sebastians
In Negombo, known as 'little Rome'.
One of the suicide bombers
Waited for the priest to call
The children up to the altar
Before detonating his bomb.
Tuesday 23rd April 2019 8:20 pm
The wind cuts through this January night
Slicing like a razor through the skin of my face
Signs on the road hidden by an iron fog
The cry of the wind is all in vain.
Love crossed this black hole in time.
In the old be-jewelled, spider-webbed
Way kisses when young are tender and long,
Not in this frost-filled graveyard,
Where the dead remain unusually silent;
Yew tree sha...
Monday 22nd April 2019 8:58 pm
There's a forty ton truck
Coming his way
Will he sway out of the way?
Or, does he believe that nothing happens by accident?
Are you on your phone, texting your mate?
Hurrying up so you wont be late
Later, will you scream all alone?
Fall into the opposite of mystic,
Sink into real pain?
Dark river flowing
Through your veins
As you moan
like the animal we are
Saturday 20th April 2019 12:20 am
The silk road into Manchester,
The sundry stops, and stinks,
His rising into fury
Her slinking into think.
This edge of trees and wildings
The glazing of the sun
The rising sniff of wolverine
The falling of the sun.
Mixing flesh and friendship
In the rising up of love
This game of death and nothingness,
The dying of the dove,
The beginning of the end, my friend,...
Friday 19th April 2019 11:17 pm
From the cracks along the pavement the purple flowers bloom
Now this concrete is the medium and there's a body in the room
Paint peels slowly and surfaces glow with dappled sunlight,
Words scrawled on a wall: all-women 'jin' unit based in Sinjar
Will throw Daesh into hell
These words bounce around the walls of my cell
As sun and shadow meet
To swirl in the whirl of this ...
Thursday 18th April 2019 10:58 pm
"That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?" Christina Rossetti
Sackcloth on our backs
Ashes in our mouths
Wailing loudly and bitterly
Morning maniac music
Awakens me to the truth
Those who once brought hope
Now mired in a maggoty apathy
And that, over the mountains,
Black clouds scud w...
Thursday 18th April 2019 9:27 pm
Sometimes there is only bad news:
Death waiting in the wings,
In the meantime
We must hone our vision to what is half-perceived
Will we risk our children for the future?
Make preparations, plan?
How to respond to a war of each against each?
We must find friends where we can.
Learn to speak in broken languages
Bring back all those young men we lost
Wednesday 17th April 2019 8:50 am
green in all its shades
the burgeoning of blue:
grape hyacinth, cornflowers, forget-me-nots
blue, grey, white, black, swirling
chiaroscuro, echoing Turner's kippered skies
a green heart,, so full of love for the simple
decencies of human nature
when amongst hills, weeds, nests, trees.
birds singing as if an end had come
to the fickle ordinariness ...
Tuesday 16th April 2019 10:02 pm
of stormy autumn
held in memoriam
the leafy-mist lights this late
October dawn recalls,
in swirls of hieroglyphics,
the wood-smoke of the ages,
a fleeting meeting with the past:
something else that does not last,
visions hidden in a mind
aberrant, obsessed, selfish,
wisps of co...
Tuesday 16th April 2019 9:50 pm
Notre Dame's Gothic aspiration
Became a symbol of the French nation.
It took one hundred years
To build Notre Dame cathedral
1160 - 1260.
Within two hundred years
Of its completion
The largest cathedral in the Christian world
St Sophia's cathedral in Constantinople
Built to the glory of God
The centre of Orthodox Christianity,
Was converted into an Ott...
Tuesday 16th April 2019 1:52 pm
We were in a public garden
In England in May
We sat together
In mild balmy weather
We did not track those
Who moved around us
They had their instructions
We looked at the water and ducks
And the weeping willow tree
Reflected in your eyes
A subtle disguise
I dropped words into your ears
There may well have been listening devices
Planted here and there
Sunday 14th April 2019 10:08 pm
I knew from the beginning
The sun would rise
Teach me to cast my eyes to heaven
Cloudy days are sacrifices
To compensate we have the green
And water worlds, tall trees and dappled sunlight
Most would like the world to be clean again
I knew from the beginning that my heart was tender
Easily broken. There is no balm for the earth's hurt.
There's no point fooling around, ...
Saturday 13th April 2019 10:06 pm
Teenage dreams so hard to beat
Tapping feet to a fleeting tune
Teenage days gone too soon..
A blazing intensity every second
Flying as high as a flaming heaven.
Everything new - a fire in the blood -
Love at first sight, as lovers should
Follow your heart, reap what you sow,
Follow your dreams, never say No.
Friday 12th April 2019 8:29 pm
Empty streets in a town I once walked
A town which is fading
Or so my sisters say
It was always too late for us, my love,
Cold winds blew our dreams away.,
We were both born too early or too late
See, the scattered snow settling in.
The misery of a future when he's not there.
I look into my dreams even before you knew
I existed and all the twists of life tangled
Friday 12th April 2019 12:10 am
'Non Serviam,' the devil said,
'I will not serve that in which I no longer believe'.
Lucifer, fallen angel, tried hard to be good
But servitude just wasn't in his blood:
A pebble in a dream, a breast that heaves,
With all the unresurrected flotsam
Of flowers that leave a cloying perfume in the breeze
Satan has a mind that rhymes
With time's eunuch
Millennia: battered, n...
Thursday 11th April 2019 9:06 pm
"Leave you homesick for a home you never had..." John Moreland
This rose for all the world
These tears for all the dead,
Those empty words of morning tide
This ever-present dread.
Those cloying smells of perfume,
On the dresses of the rich,
This workman stumbling,
His body in a ditch.
September's moon still shining,
On this ol...
Wednesday 10th April 2019 7:47 pm
In the deepest reaches of night,
Embroiled by this thick absence of light,
My beating heart
Is torn apart from the inanimate
We spend so much time
Meanwhile, my soul meanders
Into a foreign time and space,
Delighting in breaking through
the barriers of self,
Rising and falling like the moon
Like the tide, like wom...
Wednesday 10th April 2019 4:11 am
muttered words in uncounted time
Listen closely to your heart-beat.
Words decline into cant –
quick, flippant, arrogant
Gregorian chants speak across centuries
Cultures buried in silence, the stonemason’s art,
A palimpsest of languages:
Latin, Norman-French, English
Each overtaken in time: vernacular or divine.
Blue eyes at her funeral.
Follow in h...
Tuesday 9th April 2019 8:09 pm
I'd prefer a rose in December
Than snow in June
But that's to be expected
Common sense has its infirmities
Nothing happens too late
Or too soon.
Those stone-built houses of Lancaster
Told me a story of endurance
Despite the fact that I was illiterate
At the time, my eyes deceived by promises
Of an abiding
Shaman, who once, said to me
Don't rely on a break in the...
Tuesday 9th April 2019 12:08 am
My parents were Christian, Serb,
I remember the icons in my mother’s house,
The smell of roasted meat on feast days.
One Orthodox Christmastide,
I think I was nine or ten,
My parents made me hide when the Turks
Came to our village in Kosovo again
Looking for boys and women.
My father was ashamed.
He hung his head.
I pretended I was dead.
Hiding under my sister’s be...
Monday 8th April 2019 11:11 pm
The sky is grey today with streaks of blue;
Swirls in the sky reflect sombre horizons;
Behind my back cumulus clouds mass
Over the hills, conspiring in their usual
Ragged silence. In front of me are drear
Trees laid bare, a mist of water soaks the air.
A cough that I caught in the peasoupers
Of the past, pulls my scarf tighter, I focus keenly
On the patterns of infini...
Saturday 6th April 2019 9:17 pm
Light waves to Schrödinger’s cat,
it does not matter
if a particular particle’s partiality
parts from the classical concept
For a wave can be a particle
and matter, or matter not.
Behaviour at the quantum level
is unpredictable in the extreme
firing particles through a mountain
isn’t as odd as it first may seem.
Like position and momentum,
or like phot...
Saturday 6th April 2019 8:53 pm
Truth is hard to find – the years ahead, the years behind,
Yet find it we do – in snatches – on days that go by:
On days when nothing is decided,
On throw-away days such as these:
Smells and bells, and all the frumpery of lawns.
Children connect us to the truth: goblins and elves
Fairy tale worlds without end
Now elude us
Metaphors are not fit to give it shape
Nor are ...
Saturday 6th April 2019 7:41 pm
Everything dies in time
Memories, birds in the trees,
That the old druid time
Plays such cruel deceptions
Creates such havoc in the mind
As we reach out and hope
To find somewhere human.
Sardonic wit, the sceptical glance,
The silent prayer,
Converge into this plea
Wear your learning lightly.
Reach out to Syrian and Lebanese
Assyrian, Druze, Maronite, Ezedi
Thursday 4th April 2019 11:56 pm
This old feller pushes this other old bloke in a wheelchair
Down a dreary Salford road in late November.
Avoiding kerbs, talking
Always talking, talking of nothing,
Talking of everything:
What it takes, and never gives back,
With wheels of fire and haloes running all amuck
These two desperados meander along past
The pound shops and the bookies and the booze 24...
Thursday 4th April 2019 11:21 pm
No bidders, no interest.
Blanked by middle-class morality
The channel 4, BBC, well-heeled media brigade
Dashing out of the Salford studios back to London
With all 500+ Remain MPs
As quick as you can, my man,
Back to the Estonian nanny, The French chef, Polish gardener
Such a ...
Thursday 4th April 2019 10:08 pm
Lurking in the shadows - on this groggy
Gas lit night, that followed so many
To their deaths in this age of the machine.
See the tender white crosses-row-on-row
On a wind'swept night of swirling snow.
Leave the creaking branches, catch a whiff
Of Lady Fortune a-floating on the breeze
Peased I was, immeasurably. More fool me.
I introduce myself to darkness -
Thursday 4th April 2019 9:26 pm
from earth to earth, from air to air,
never at home
scored by the passing blocks of ice
an earth, torn from the permafrost,
this is where the old sun can sting me back
as I hear children laugh
in the rich meadowland
and this is where I can hear
fear calling its long retreat
and this is where
the very gods ...
Tuesday 2nd April 2019 9:16 pm
The sadness of Sundays
reds, yellows, browns and golds
of stormy autumn.
As I walk
I have in mind
the fragility of a veined
So, who am I to resist
Sunday 31st March 2019 10:14 pm
Memories are all we have
Feeling happy, feeling sad,
Thinking of the distance
That separates us over time
Unless, of course, you wanna
Get stuck in the eternal present
And that just aint pleasant .
One high English summer day in 1984
We took our daughter, Kate,
To the Dorset coast.
She was eighteen months young
My wife was pregnant with our second child
Sunday 31st March 2019 2:17 am
We wager all we have in the life stakes
Then the choice is upto the gods
It doesn't matter who likes me or not
They can dance on my grave for centuries
I do not care, if you're not there.
Yes, it was me, that helped your mum conceive thee
Dear child of the morning. I will never-ever
Be through with you. Lady Blue.
There's no stake in my heart
Nothing in my eyes, brain, ...
Saturday 30th March 2019 11:44 pm
Forgetting the usual run of things
She'd sing as she worked
Looked up and down the street
Decided there was no retreat
And committed an act of petty vandalism -
but enough to enrage the already angry man -
such a cocky racist, sexist, homophobic
twat of an excuse for a man,
she thought as she tidily shut the door
of her quietly terraced house.
She knew he had CCTV bu...
Saturday 30th March 2019 9:56 pm
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought Percy Bysshe Shelley
Low slung August sun shadows stonework into
deeper shadow lands —
phantoms adrift on the wide Sargasso sea —
and so unruffled, these lawns,
and all this frumpery.
So much then has time
and its opposite
done for me.
It was along these lines that we walked, it was
beneath these swaying poplar...
Saturday 30th March 2019 3:05 pm
Crack thunder over head
Flash crackle of lightning
The gods said:
Stretch your words across the sky
Illuminate the stark, skeletal
Trees of a northern winter
Some poor sod undoubtedly dead
All around my desperate head,
Hidden clouds drop hail-rain
Like soft stones pelting down
On a world turning wet and lonely
With a c...
Saturday 30th March 2019 3:15 am
Jim Morrison would throw a massive party at the cemetery in Paris
Where his mortal remains were buried one bleak summer day in 1971
He was the man who came back through the door
To attend his own wake and to read more
From Joyce’s work-in-progress Finnegan’s Wake
Anybody who has passed through the wall
Will be changed, changed utterly, a terrible beauty is born
She may be wis...
Thursday 28th March 2019 11:40 pm
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
Only found in north-east Afghanistan
Where I am with the brave Kalash,
In their snow-capped mountains,
Of the Hindu Kush,
They have resisted assimilation into Islam for over a tho...
Thursday 28th March 2019 10:32 pm
In a world without connotation
In a world of artificial intelligence
No ripples come from the stone thrown in water
No ripples come from the word written on the page
Just an eternally blank slate
A Tabula Rasa of clones
Colourless, without scent,
Designed not created
Decidely, not, heaven-sent
Man's ill-fated sojourn is done
To be knocked off his throne
Thursday 28th March 2019 7:49 pm
A poem's appearance is of little consequence
The moon was sad as only the moon can be
Men in tears seek to flee the nightmare of their lives
We dream that with the fingers we can pluck
The calmness of flowers, the depths of moments,
The completeness of a live birth;
White sobs slide into our ears
Remembering the smile of your mother,
On the fortunate day of your first kiss.
Thursday 28th March 2019 11:13 am
After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
'Binsey Poplars', Gerard Manley-Hopkins SJ, 1879
the emptiness of moonlight
strikes me dumb
shadows flicker like an old film
cats eerilly call each to each,
cats yowl, strike a pose,
freeze, with fur mantled by shadow;
so much idiosyncratic beauty given to us -
see the clouds scoop across the face
of the moon as the ni...
Wednesday 27th March 2019 8:14 pm
So-tired, she slept standing up on the bridge of signs
Death fell faint and disappeared still alive
Into the guts of this ISIS sniper
Who follows his actions with bloody word-sighs.
Tiny hidden exhalations, bubbles which speak volumes
Disguised as a fashion for these young soldiers of Allah.
The Kurdish women step up on the shoulders of these sister-giants
Those who scrolled ...
Monday 25th March 2019 11:12 pm
Come with me down to the depths
Down to places you'll never forget:
Down where the good are always struck dumb
Down in their graves, down in their mounds,
Where all that it takes for evil to swell,
Is for the good to remain silent, as hell.
This gap is a canyon, unimpeachable cliffs,
Between the airy nothing of words that exist
in the brain and the thud of unalloyed experie...
Sunday 24th March 2019 9:00 pm
In this country there is rarely a fierce hurricane
That easily destroys that which has taken
generations to create
Here, all things move towards their own dispersal,
Trees covered with mustard seeds
As a cold front approaches.
Tonight the cheerless moon
Shines on us all for good or ill
Some people are enthralled by shadows
Penumbras, glints, glimpses, as am I,
Sunday 24th March 2019 8:41 pm
On a windless night
I feel the house shake
A child swirls rises
I smoke. Sit still.
In this twenty-first century
The wind screams, rises
My mind screeches
Scattering thoughts, paper
Rocking foundations, shattering monuments.
Outside I gather windfalls in my night clothes
Images scatter like dust.
I forget. Remember.
Sunday 24th March 2019 1:11 am
Syd Barrett 6 January 1946 - 7 July 2006
Fare thee well you crazy diamond,
The lone piper at the gates of dawn,
An Icarus, a Phoenix, a Painter and
A Poet. Turned away by the mystics,
For too much ‘emotional behaviour’.
You followed nobody’s lead.
Traced the life of the underwear thief,
Arnold Layne. Saw Emily play.
Cut your teeth on mescaline.
Lived another day. 'Fa...
Sunday 24th March 2019 12:27 am
First light: every day a new beginning
Rising at the crack of dawn
To feel the air against my skin
To walk, with the aid of a stick,
To listen to the dawn chorus.
Thrillingly, it's already late March,
A year since the sepsis started
On St Patrick's Day,
When madness brushed with death.
Now, I'm thinking that when I return
Home with Charlie I'll read
The words, aga...
Saturday 23rd March 2019 11:58 pm
A weight is lifted as we look at each other
You, in your brilliant femininity, me, helplessly hoping:
Love has sustained me my whole life
The loss of that, even for a moment,
Leaves me bereft upon a far-shore
The door into the rose garden closed
And I saw what was really always there:
Denying the frosty richness of happiness to myself,
Removing the comfortable unhappin...
Friday 22nd March 2019 9:48 pm
No retreat, No surrender - easy to say, harder to remember,
But we do: in these smoky terraces, which are my home town,
People from across the world
Now share my home:
Huguenots and Flemish weavers remembered in the names of pubs.
The Irish fleeing famine: the O'Donnells and O'Neills on the rub
Ashkenazi Jews escaping the Czarist pogroms: the Cohens and Rabinowitz.
Thursday 21st March 2019 10:36 pm
Bone marrow transplant au Paris
Brutalized eyes in a skull
A husk of image
In an empty skin
Skin as tight as light
As shadows flickering
On a man with eyes like vipers.
Solemn, slow, the tusk begins to grow
From blood and bone.
Draining the body fluid
Into the sewer beneath.
Thursday 21st March 2019 8:38 pm
He spoke his lines slowly, his face was a mask,
Until the heart attack took him, dead on cue,
Then all the veils of his trade dropped from him
As he fell ashenly, in the rain, in a moment of pain.
In the small city garden the children are busy
Making scent from flowers and weeds and water
Waiting to be called in to wash their dirty faces,
Brush their teeth and tumble into...
Thursday 21st March 2019 8:23 pm