Poetry Blog by John E Marks (2018)
Nicola Beckett on An Irish love poem (11 days ago)
Unlock your heart with the grateful dead
The original code is nearly always 0000
Pull off the shackles to unlock your hands and other necessary appendages.
Rotate your heart 90 degrees counterclockwise
Look out of any window
Squeeze your heart.at what you see
Set a new combination by turning the tide.
Choose a magical number and never-ever hide, never-ever part
Monday 31st December 2018 9:51 pm
The King of the moon came looking for her
With blood dripping from his mouth
And a wide toothy smile as wide as the Bosphorous.
Aristomenos became the daughter of the Ancient Man.
Did everything she can to remain Byzantine
But the Ottomans raped her and laughed at her and smoked hashish.
She asked herself what the Greeks said about murder
And refrained. Uttering such-and-such ...
Friday 28th December 2018 10:17 pm
especially in mid-winter
I picture the rose garden
the secret garden of my soul
where all that is good and all that is fine
are written in a tender-script divine
where persian berries tantalise us
and dates from al'andalus tempt us
and the figs are fine and the wine just fine
and chinese herbs help me see
the tibetan plateau all around me
where all that is, is being ...
Tuesday 25th December 2018 12:34 am
the room is crowded, sultry
with an air of frustration
the functionary loves his power
to make people wait for necessary pieces
some need to register births, others deaths,
they sway and smell of drink
others stink of sweat with holes in their clothes
a woman is beginning to screech and plead
she is pregant - see - and has cildren to see to
Thursday 20th December 2018 2:15 am
Shout it out or whisper secretly in my ear
Tell me all the things I never want to hear:
Tell me how Sharia law liberates the woman:
Tell me how nationalism is patriotism writ large;
Tell me how we need to empty out the prison bars.
And I’ll tell you our lives are way too crammed with things
How we need to let go, to hear the song thrush sing.
If we allow irresponsible mac...
Saturday 15th December 2018 9:30 pm
Hanging on or just scraping by,
Keeping my head above water
I'll never learn to fly
In this monochrome world
Of winter trees stripped
To skeletons against the snow-laden
Sky moving in slow motion
And always catching the eye.
On the beach, hunched up,
We face the freezing wind
This wind that crosses the north sea
From Siberia or the Arctic
To exculpate our many s...
Friday 14th December 2018 10:00 pm
The hill was steep upto the Ashton memorial
At 5 am iI was wondering why I was walking up
The hill. I rarely stopped to think in those
Long-gone days, just what I did was what came
'Natural'. I hought of my friends as permanent
Features in my life. Time would tell me that was
Not right. Those with money and charisma would
Be successful. The rest of us would struggle. I'd
Monday 10th December 2018 10:58 pm
Staring at the red candle, remembering the smell of patchouli oil
Mixed with Red Leb from all those years ago.On Saturday 4th July,
1846 the London Daily News extolled the virtues of this peculiar
Indian oil in preventing moths. Nothing to do with hippies except
India and olefactory-based imagined communities from the past that
Have a grip that will last. Ad agencies will use the ...
Monday 10th December 2018 9:04 pm
The children were attending, or not, sitting at their desks or not,
On the terrible day of the spoil slip. They may have been thinking
About Halloween but unlikely given the date 21 October 1966
Americana was still at a distance from these south Wales valleys.
More likely the boys would be planning to collect firewood for Bonfire night.
The unforgettable truth was that 14...
Sunday 9th December 2018 7:49 pm
The priestly fathers love to laugh at Quasimodo
They said he was a dirty broken gypsy boy, who climbed like a monkey
These priests in their black robes, jewels and gold crucifix lusted after young Esmeralda
Her wild gypsy eyes flashed and she kicked and she tore and she screamed
Magically Quasimodo lifted Esmeralda into the heavens above
The bells of Notre Dame which had so deafene...
Sunday 9th December 2018 12:59 am
The 1997 collection from Manchester poet John Marks. He was a part-time tutor for the Open University specializing in 18th cent. European literature and 19th cent. British religious history.
ISBN 0 903610 20 5
Low-slung August sun shadows stonework into the
deeper shadow lands —
phantoms adrift on the wide Sargasso sea —
and so unruffled, these lawns,
and all this ...
Saturday 8th December 2018 9:08 pm
WE let others kill the elephants
In our name we are letting this obscenity
Happen. Again and again until the elephants are gone.
It is easier than doing something
That might embarrass us or tire us
WE fear being accused of
Creating a scene by screaming out
Man's cruel derision to elephants
Who we already know mourn the deaths
Of those they love. Scientists are discoverin...
Friday 7th December 2018 10:26 pm
The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. Luke 16:19-25
Take the earth’s resources from the poor.
Rob them. They can’t fight back.
They have wives and children to feed.
Yes boss. Sure will boss.
Let them do all the work, stretch
Them on the rack of survival. Grind them
And beat them and terrify and mist...
Wednesday 5th December 2018 10:06 pm
there's only so much reading you can do
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
with us always: in hospital, at the grave-side
everywhere our dream allows us to live
hoping, just hoping
that we're travelling towards
Tuesday 4th December 2018 9:41 pm
finisterre is no longer there
the end of the earth has gone
from being occasionally poorly
with sprightly attempts
at good visibility;
she entered a decline
she was last seen
veering off across
the broad atlantic;
her funeral was at sea
the comic Jacobite FitzRoy
has sought to claim lineage
with Admiral Robert FitzRoy
HMS Beagle's capain...
Tuesday 4th December 2018 9:18 pm
Hushed, stuttering, sotto voce conversation
Of women of a certain age squatting in a cafe
Like tigers in a rage. Red in tooth and claw,
They defend their young with barbed remarks that
Carry such sage implications
That the ripples of misunderstanding extend far and wide.
Of their dark past little is known, except mothers
Perform many daily tasks whilst with joy and grief
Tuesday 4th December 2018 5:52 pm
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 extracts
From Joyce's work-in-progress Finnegan's Wake
Anybody who has passed through the wall
Will be changed,
She may be wiser buthe will be unsure of everyt...
Monday 3rd December 2018 10:47 pm
Before the Reformation
The Christian's duty was
To carry out the instructions,
For the whole of the community,
Laid down in Matthew chapter 25 –
That all Christians shall:
· Feed the hungry
· Give drink to the thirsty
· Welcome the stranger
· Clothe the naked
· Visit the sick
· Visit the prisoner
Sunday 2nd December 2018 6:30 pm
Imagine the ego you'd need
To say "son we're on the long march
And the killing has begun.
20,000 purged. It's essential
You know, to know who to trust
As we march over mountains and
Learn to drink dust." The gulag,
Concentration camp, torture chamber
All designed and working to save yer
From thinking for yerself. Chile
Under Pinochet, China under Mao,
Thursday 29th November 2018 10:42 pm
and I force myself toward pleasure,
and I love this November life
where I run like a train
deeper and deeper
through the tunnels,
over the wind-swept bridges,
through the sedentary, school-less
villages of the old and unwise
Into the land of my enemies
where hostile witnesses abound
skilled at shaking fists, digging up dirt
spitting and being contemptible
Thursday 29th November 2018 3:54 pm
Philosophy or poetry?
Plato preferred philosophy,
He would being a philosopher.
Poets, of course, are liars by profession,
And endeavour to give an air of truth
To airy nothings.
Poets, like children, personify ideas
Through extended metaphor and simile
Imagine in more than one dimension
A golden age, an Arcadia, which poets have invented...
Is bewilder’d by these sp...
Tuesday 27th November 2018 11:54 pm
Moments of Vision are fading away
But a magical moment is, here, today;
All it will cost you,
Is all of your life.
Cast over the sea and cast over the moon
She'll be reading the stars
After reading the runes.....
Green shades, dappled sunlight
The landscapes of the eye
A life passing by
Music lacks the primal scream
It is more than it seems...
Sunday 25th November 2018 2:35 pm
never-ever seen one
of these newmen
are they like newts only longer
or do they lack semen
anyway I've never seen 'em
newmen: what do they do
take their kids to see the oldmen at the zoo,
go to work when they don't want to
spend all their time and all their money with their children
is a newman always young
never tired, knackered, crotchety
is a ne...
Saturday 24th November 2018 10:18 pm
The clock ticks so slowly, my mind spins so fast
Imaginings hover just out of reach, how long can a minute last?
01.32: A dialogue in my mind as I try, fruitlessly, to unwind. Imagine if I could send you a screen-shot. A screen-shot of my mind. I'd save all these words. No. It'd be absurd. You'd need a screen-shot of time.
01.48: I'm going to oversleep, I'm going to be late.Tick-tock. Ti...
Friday 23rd November 2018 2:14 am
Shifting shades afflict the ghost of David Rodinsky
As he returns to his room in Whitechapel, London
For one last look at the Aramaic and Hebrew texts
Which provided him with the hex of disappearance.
Where he came from nobody knows. Was he Jewish?
Yes and no. Was he British? Who knows? Not he.
Certainly he lived there once: ate, slept defecated
Wednesday 21st November 2018 9:03 pm
I want to smell the tender roses,
Before their petals droop and fall
In that one garden in St Petersburg
The most beautiful city in holy Russia
In the whole world this city stands out
There statues will remember me when I was young
And I remember them all under the river Neva.
In the fragrant silence between the Tsars and Putin
I have changed form
No longer a young woman...
Tuesday 20th November 2018 10:24 pm
As we, again, set sail for Byzantium
Have spent 500 years wiping out
Every trace of our 1500 year occupancy here
Our voyage will be a long one
Full of adventure, full of discovery.
Covering much time and space
Yeats set out but never arrived
His spirits flagged:
But St Sophia waits!
Surrounded as it is by minarets
Friday 16th November 2018 11:51 pm
The old pub on the corner lost beneath a motorway junction; stands
in a similitude of snow now. Its windows are gone the way
Of the church spire from whence the müezzin calls a different faithful to prayer
The bronze statue of an eminent Victorian child abuser
Glowers over what was once his property, his factory, his people
There is wet snow in the air....
Thursday 15th November 2018 8:25 pm
Complain with the full force of a Jesuit priest
Whine like a man who knows he's out of time
Casuistry and sophistry
In perfect harmony.
But poetry's more about wine than whine
More about seeking to express the inexpressible
Than complaining about how difficult it is.
A true poet makes the difficult easy
Can turn water into wine in a half-truncated line
Tuesday 13th November 2018 10:59 pm
Siegfried Loraine Sassoon, CBE, MC
An Anglo-Jewish volunteer - did his patriotic duty
Joined up on 4th August 1914
He was one of the First World War’s greatest poets;
A fearless soldier who won the Military Cross for bravery,
The citation read:
For conspicuous gallantry during a raid on the enemy's trenches.
He remained for 1½ hours under rifle and bomb fire
Sunday 11th November 2018 5:30 pm
At the pomana - the death feast - I missed him most
But I am relieved to know that under the stars of this cold, pellucid night
The ghost of the gypsy soldier is not without a home
No Romany man can live alone, our women are not alone
We carry our home in our hearts, our women wear topaz and dance
No, we will never-ever part: the man I killed is part of my family
Saturday 10th November 2018 12:57 am
“I done me best when I was let out
Oh yes I did: whistle-blowin, liftin the lid
I think I always knowed it'd go wrong
Nuffin fer a laugh, nuffin fer a song
A hundred seas could separate you
From me, our sea of troubles,
Fear death by drownin
Or one in a thousand years of nights
Will parcel me up and remove me from sight
The cubby-hole under the stairs
Was for wettin t...
Thursday 8th November 2018 9:48 pm
An old, Welsh witch once said this:
"Taliesin, don't be sad if you're alone
On Ynys Môn you have battled mightily
Despair will bring us no advantage.
No man sees what supports him
Courage is invisible. Study The Mabinogion
God will not violate his promises.
We must suffer in Gwyddno's weir
Where our stand against the invaders
Will end in defeat! We must learn how to fail
Being sad will...
Saturday 3rd November 2018 8:26 pm
Winter on Mount Sinjar in 2014,
By the Christian calendar.
That year lasted forever:
Such a long, long time,
Our mouths expelled a hidden heat
The soul of the Ezedi.
Never before has the sun
Filled us so full of tears
Though we have been persecuted
Since the killing-wind of Islam arrived
These particular torturers arrived in the night
Stole our daughters, killed ou...
Friday 2nd November 2018 10:22 pm
From last November's quiet recall to duty
This piece of graffiti on a dry-stone wall
His headstone verses are writ in water
Drawn by the eyes of his future daughter.
And all he knew was the deepest blue of Lapis lazuli
A good man’s eyes are written in the blood
And mortal love will always end in death. Time
Friday 2nd November 2018 9:48 pm
the soft and steady silence of a baby
the gaze which tells you all you need to know
her footsteps tender in the snow
the pitter-pattered blast of rain upon a window
considering all we do not know
or understand, we stand hand-in-hand
under the beautiful harvest moon
setting off too soon, determined not to be late
seeing her lost in thought by the five-barred gat...
Thursday 1st November 2018 4:02 pm
What church-bells or calls to prayer by the muezzin
For these young men who kill themselves?
— Only the monstrous hypocrisy of the media
Can call attention to this national blood-loss of young lives
No mockeries now for them from politicians who do not care;
Only the voice of the mothers whose sons are no longer there —
Only black and white boys' photograph...
Tuesday 30th October 2018 6:31 pm
With the golden eyes of a pharaoh –
My lioness extends her paw to me -
Her forebears brought down rhino –
Under the sweltering skies of the high veldt:
Lithe and supple, fleet of foot,
She covers this northern turf
With ceaseless leaps and bounds.
Her loyalty is unbounded by species,
Affiliation is to the death.
No treachery in her world of smell:
No subtleties of intent
Saturday 27th October 2018 11:28 pm
A river runs through us
the river of life
With its twists and its turns,
and its banks out of sight
mist, fractured light,
these dregs of the day –
The flotsam and jetsam
of the years passing by
Swirl in the whirlpool
float in the sky.
the azure blue
childhood, all gone by
Down in the depths,
murky and drear,
Listen to the heart...
Saturday 27th October 2018 9:43 pm
In memory of Malcolm Lowry
No se puede vivir sin amar” ..
It is a time of wind and rain
And in the green wood
The voices of the dead
Coagulate and skim this edge of consciousness.
It is a time of heavy-hearted dread.
It is the day of the dead.
And what have we done
Since the last, lingering death?
Nothing, nada, no.
The wicked still prosper,
And the rich come and go
Saturday 27th October 2018 9:27 pm
To live a life in a day
the difference is plain
There's no doing it again
A flight within the 4th-dimension
No squirming weasel words for you
Just a graceful flutter and decline
With no direction home
No squabbling No fighting No waiting in line.
The begetting is done
On a wing and a prayer
No absence of synaesthesia there!
A mingling of the finest bouquet
With the deepest ...
Thursday 25th October 2018 10:51 pm
The roses of Picardy are blooming,
Red like the blood we will spill,
The sun shines onto the yellow wheat
Which drifts in the summer breezes
Sill, we face the Saxons, brothers-in-arms,
And this quiet landscape will soon explode,
With all the bloody gore of war.
We swore we would survive.
My tommy gun spat bullets for days
My hands bloody, burnt and raw.
Sweet Christ w...
Tuesday 23rd October 2018 3:03 am
The sounds of the day
Are clownishly fooling
But it won’t go away -
A nightmare to follow
This minor delay -
We’re all going away.
Such a story to swallow -
When the old witch is flying -
On the edge of the moon
And the war is beginning
And it’s zoom-slugger-boom
The starlight is raging -
It's all over so soon
Monday 22nd October 2018 8:30 pm
He was but what he was, nobody cares
Or knows. We forgot easily what he might
Have been. And all thought falls into
The remains of this tear-filled parting forever.
Dreams I had, come and dreams I had go,
Leaving nothing but the faintest
Impress of my hair upon a pillow.
Shadows flit across this static air
And the sun-soaked dust rests here in mid-air.
My dreams rem...
Sunday 21st October 2018 1:23 am
Poems that do not rhyme often
Do not help themselves - considering -
Poems that deal with obscure subjects
Such as by-gone times and dead people fail
To engage the attention of those who'd.
Choose to focus on supermarkets, special deals
Buying stuff online and being a very BIG part
Of a WhatsApp group that crosses generations
And sexual orientations. .
If you think you'r...
Saturday 20th October 2018 12:34 am
The red-gold glow
of stormy autumn
leafy-mist lights this late
October dawn recalling him,
to the design hidden in words,
which swirl like smoke
rising from a fire, from a pipe,
tended by an old man in a black suit
the front of which is bedecked with medals
time-ridden, he is missing, gone missing in 1913;
this fleeting meeting with the present
Friday 19th October 2018 1:10 am
More than five rugby teams' worth, of men, every week, dead by their own hands,
Young men mostly, three times as many men as women,
Nearly 6000 a year, 60,000 over a decade and....
Using the traditional routes to oblivion - hanging from a tree, opening the arteries, being free with the pills
A closed garage and exhaust fumes, jumping off high-rise flats, bridges, cheap thr...
Sunday 14th October 2018 11:52 pm
A bride's beauty surpasses all
The love farmer can say
I said she was a human person
And that destiny is the fruit of love.
When the crowd gathered and saw her,
They cheered and sang songs.
When love is a glory and men
All bodes well.
There is no war.
We all have a country
And a heart beat of dreams
Music makes us cry out loud
And love is curtailed
Friday 12th October 2018 11:45 pm
We have eaten rats during this seige
The Goths want us acquiesce to Christian suzerainty.
They never tell us why we should do so
We have our music, poetry, wine, gardens and our beautiful women.
And beauty gives light like lamps to one travelling in the dark.
Makes one wake up, notice a sparkling jewel
A pearl from the deeps of a distant ocean
A rarity of dreams:
Friday 12th October 2018 10:34 pm
Κύριε, ἡ ἐν πολλαῖς ἁμαρτίαις περιπεσοῦσα γυνή,
τὴν σὴν αἰσθομένη θεότητα,
Oh Lord, my God, I fell asleep
No longer in a state of grace
No longer a beautiful woman
Beloved by the Emperor,
But a harlot, like Mary Magdalene,
A sister of the Christ
Dazzled by the myrrh,
By an acre of sorcery, by a terrible moon
By a time of the month.
Nothing is too soon.
Give me your t...
Friday 12th October 2018 9:51 pm