Poetry Blog by John Marks
I remember falling as a child
And being lifted by a fairy-wild
She kissed my cheek and mussed my hair
And then she wasn’t there.
Some blind folk see the fairies clear
For faeries are always close or near.
Oh, better far than what we see
Are fairy wings that brush our faces
Like spiders’ webs or shimmering laces
Such magical, lovely, lonely things.
A rustle in the ...
Saturday 11th November 2017 9:51 pm
Those high, dry skies of flaming June
Are in absentia in damp and cold November
For the patterns in the grass do not last.
So, we must take the winding stair into the
High towers above the land of forgetfulness
Where once upon a golden dawn good faeries
Danced a circle of rare delight within the sight
Of John Mulligan who, on the last day of August
1938, according to t...
Saturday 11th November 2017 7:59 pm
Faoin trá seo de ghaineamh agus sliogáin
Feicim íomhá na farraige rollta.
Frámaí agus seithí talún nua-aimsithe nua
Na fairsinge leathan seo; Siúilim feadh an aill:
Fágann an duine ar thaobh na gaoithe,
Trilobites leabaithe, faoi bhun mo chosa
Grianchloch agus Muscovite ón eibhir
Na gaoithe agus na dtonnta a thug an t-am
Fóicphointí farraige, carraigeacha i bhfolach, phluai...
Tuesday 7th November 2017 11:00 am
His headstone verses are writ in water
They draw the eyes unto the fact of death.
Lichen lines that love-and-only-love remembers.
All we knew was the deepest blue of
This good man’s eyes. It is written in our blood
That mortal love will always end like this. Time
Weathers the stonemason’s art to a flat palimpest
Of hieroglyphics which resemble not the zest
Of pumping blood...
Wednesday 1st November 2017 10:17 pm
Beneath this beach of sand and shells
I see the image of the rolling sea.
Such new-found-land frames and hides
These wide horizons; I walk along the cliff:
Sheer drop upon the windward side,
Embedded trilobites, beneath my feet
Quartz and Muscovite from the granite
Weathered by the winds and waves
Sea-forming outcrops, hidden rocks, caves.
Time carves the face of al...
Saturday 28th October 2017 9:24 pm
How can I write about the famine
Born into the welfare state
Brought up on a council estate?
But I read and I know
That the Warehouses up and down
England’s west coast
Were stuffed with grain
While babes in Connaught,
Mayo and Donegal,
Were left to die,
Saturday 21st October 2017 1:12 am
I loved the rainy morning of my life
And I never think that friendly mountain passes
Will not ferry me away
But happy times are seldom
And rain runs away.
From holiday beach to temptestous sea
I have lost my faith in the indomitable sea.
And I lose my faith in humanity.
O! the mechanical movement of the sun
Sunshine blooms and spreads
Like a tender tree
Friday 20th October 2017 10:45 pm
A cold-hearted man with a gun in his hand
He loved to control, did this man with no soul.
He died long ago, in a land made of snow,
Was soon born again, in a world without end.
He lived in that cave right next to the grave
Of his brother, his wife, his lover, I mean
Just someone obscene. He worked and made money.
He thought it was funny,
His nature was such, so-cold to the...
Friday 20th October 2017 10:28 pm
Morning maniac music
Shakes me awake
Those who once brought hope
Now mired in hate
Over the mountain, clouds scud
There's blood on the floor
Christendom has fallen
Collapsed from within,
Deep, deep in the mire of sin.
Oh! I'm glad I never fell in love with you
I try to speak
But I cannot begin to say...
Sunday 15th October 2017 1:56 am
The best of us British fell on the Somme, Verdun, Passchendaele,
Their luckier cousins had long ago set off across the broad Atlantic
Convicts moved straight on 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 opium...
Sunday 15th October 2017 12:03 am
We wake to the rumbling thunder of blood,
Pumping hearts, twisted hearts, this shadow and I
Squeeze into the thick silences of trees.
Soon the dark lights of Christmastide afflict us
Twilight memories drift, flux and flicker
In this breeze of Time,
Such pungent affirmations, slip into the past:
Generations of suffering: eyes lifted to a cross, a crescent, a...
Sunday 8th October 2017 1:06 am
the sadness of sundays
reds, yellows, browns and golds
of stormy autumn
and as I walk
I have in mind
the fragility of a veined
and who am I to resist
Sunday 8th October 2017 12:28 am
Why do you stop me?
Stop me for no reason
What do you think I’m committing?
I can see from the way
That you look at me
Exactly what you think of me.
You assume, you assume
And you generalise
Why don’t you use your mind?
And your own fucking eyes?
Let me tell you, I’m proud if I’m poor,
For I’ve stolen nothing,
Ripped nobody off,
Saturday 7th October 2017 9:06 pm
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. 'Fame'
Provoked a sarcastic sneer.
Friday 6th October 2017 3:46 pm
Curtains tightly drawn
Voices scream in my face:
Eternity out of place.
Wind roaring around my head
Silence, shush! the watery dead.
Old kindness fails
Tenderness will no longer do
Addicted to kindness
He just faded away.
My friend, died today.
This man's ties are looser
Alone on an empty shore,
Listening to the tiny oceans
Saturday 23rd September 2017 2:29 am
What a pea-souper fog in London town
Today all those rich men with their top hats
And their pasted on holier-than-thou frowns
On guard as they queue for the child brothel
On Jerome Street – so clean, so ordinary, so neat.
Edgar Allan Poe's tell-tale heart, his dream of America
Freedoms Europeans could never keep: The Grateful Dead
The wide open prairies and the Atlan...
Friday 22nd September 2017 11:24 pm
This audio does not support your DNA
What is your derivative today?
In this curve of time
We need a degree of differentiation
To establish our rate of change
With respect to time.
There are a number of ways
To fix this derivative:
In the end they all amount to the same
In the fourth dimension
The gradient of the curve
Is flat, time is still still,...
Friday 22nd September 2017 10:50 pm
Filled your eyes with music
From the plunging depths
To the screaming heights
Such plangent affirmations
Even from the Queen of Night.
Soaring, soaring out of sight
Then swooping back to earth
Again, this Am-a-deus,
Heavenly arias tumbling from his soul, his brain
We will never see his li...
Friday 22nd September 2017 10:17 am
A palace after the in-laws
He’d shipped West
Africans from the Gold Coast to Burma to fight
The Japs. Sunk, he was, three times, no bugger
Thought to teach him to swim.
No bugger taught him anyfuckingthing.
We played all around where we lived
Belting down the double hill to see me aunty (well her Alsatian, Prince)
On a three-wheeler...
Thursday 14th September 2017 12:35 am
On this flaming day in June, with such beautiful pagan mountains
Rising all around, I felt your uncertain presence buckle in this
Bastion of the Jesuits. I listened, and you, doubtless, overheard,
Disquisitions concerning the nuts and bolts of your poetry whilst your
Real presence crept slowly into my heart. Your journey of renunciation
Saw you washed up on many steep and rocky, gri...
Wednesday 13th September 2017 11:32 pm
Winter on Mount Sinjar in 2014
By the Christian calendar
That year lasted forever:
Such a long, long time,
Centuries, millennia, decades, years
Our mouths expelled a hidden heat
The soul of the Ezedi.
We worship the sun.
Never before has the sun
Filled us full of tears.
The torturers arrived in the night
Stole our daughters, killed our sons
Saturday 9th September 2017 12:57 am
On a night like tonight
Girls, gin, thin
Like a foggy pea-souper
On the Kentish marshes
Charlie Dickens told us
Gin has a rosy
Glare and Glow
See it sitting there
Give the shade a bottle
Green swirling glass
sup it by the neck
Aye. That'll ...
Wednesday 6th September 2017 3:09 pm
His garden was slightly uneven, slightly tiered
From early February's putting on of scattered beauty -
Snowdrops and crocuses -
Through a cascade of shade and colour
His garden bloomed throughout the growing year.
Wild primroses, crocus and aubrietia
Then larkspur, delphinium and the beautiful bluebells
Carnations, cornflower and iris
Tier after ...
Saturday 26th August 2017 9:19 pm
I do not drink
But I am living under this mountain
That might crush the life out of me
Any time, any day
So, I drink anyway.
Lucifer, Brightest of Bright Angels, stuttered out
"'I will not serve!'”
And that is enough, and more than enough, for me
To condemn all the big words like ‘humanity’.
I will not serve that in which I no longer believe
Whether it ca...
Wednesday 23rd August 2017 11:07 pm
So scared tonight, he made me feel as helpless
As I am. He’s looking at me as I write
Cataracts on his eyes, panting. Fear. No disguise.
The fear he feels at the strangeness of the universe,
The inexplicability of life. The Thunder..
But he knows I love him and he takes heart
As I tempt him into a cave under my desk
And Yes! He has finally settled down –
At least a bit – panting still bu...
Thursday 17th August 2017 1:00 am
Oh! the lack of light, all day twilight!
Can anybody live through this visual misery?
Even the trees have no leaves.
And the cold!
We wake to the rumbling thunder of blood,
Pumping hearts, this shadow and I squeeze
Into the thick silences of trees.
Now the dark lights
Of Christmastide, drift, flux and flicker in this breeze of
Wednesday 16th August 2017 11:42 pm
Swirls of smoke
Swirls of smog
Breed pestilential marshlands
No Turner landscape this
Church bells only useful for
acres of the dead.
Sin shine like black pavements under gaslight
Look! a broken green-tinged laudanum bottle
Tincture of nightmare
Assail me, roast me, strip me
This cemetery with its wrought iron gates
Saturday 12th August 2017 10:38 pm
The silk road into Macclesfield
The sundry stops, and stinks,
The rising into fury
The slinking into think.
The edge of trees and wildings
The glazing of the sun
The rising sniff of wolverine
The moon falls to the Son.
The mix of flesh and friendship
The rising up of love
The game of death and
The rising of the dove
The beginning of the end
Wednesday 9th August 2017 1:19 am
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they don't want to hear." George Orwell
Morning maniac music
Shakes me awake
The regular guys
Those who once brought hope
Where hope is now a disguise.
Over the mountain, the clouds scud away
Blood on the floor
Blood in the soul
All those refugees
Waiting for your house
Wednesday 9th August 2017 12:09 am
No buggy-pushing for you, my son
It’s done. You’re dead.
26 days we had you
Saw you. Felt you. Touched you.
And I am snake-bitten
Clouded and red
For all crumbles under you.
Penumbra: winter tree
Rain-shine on our time
You darling boy. So hard born, I sang.
Now even your blanket-smell has gone.
Nobody mentions you.
Kieran Sean Ja...
Monday 7th August 2017 6:27 pm
On a windless night
I feel the house shake
A child swirls rises
I smoke. Sit stil.l
In this twenty-first century
The wind screams, rises.
The wind screeches
Scattering thoughts, paper
Rocking foundations, shattering monuments.
Outside I gather windfalls in my night clothes
Images scatter like dust.
I forget. Remember....
Monday 7th August 2017 6:10 pm
There's a ten ton truck
Coming my way
But nothing happens by accident
But I am on my phone
Let's sing together
It'll go away
I scream all alone,
Fall into the opposite of mystic
Into the zone of the real
Dark river flowing
Through my veins
And I moan
In a wet Monaghan field
Not stoned, not on his seat
Thursday 3rd August 2017 4:59 pm
When I was a boy, a nipper, a kid
Wild flowers on a concrete waste
Rooted in the cracks along the road
A slash of yellow beneath the sun
We prisoners see her
Gaze in awe, saw what was really
Always there: the beauty that is
Life beneath man’s
Deadly abominations: plastic, concrete
Streams into these brooks running
Beneath the few trees that ...
Thursday 3rd August 2017 10:45 am
Every day regardless of the goodness or evil lurking in my soul
I see these kipper skies, placid blue occasionally, but much more
Like the skies of Turner and how the skies of the young Mozart
(And he was forever-young) might have seemed when he was adding
Note to bloody note to produce the magnificence of the Requiem or the Magic
Of the Flute. This is a privilege and a God-given pi...
Monday 17th July 2017 9:51 pm
In praise of the refusers
Those who never bend
For only in opposition
Will you always find a friend.
In praise of the contrary
Who refuse to bend the knee
To the cultured, rich and ugly
But who'd rather worship me.
In praise of sceptical believers
Who can always see both sides
Who never want to be open
Yet never want to hide.
In praise of those wh...
Thursday 13th July 2017 12:24 am
And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. Revelation 20:4
All across the Nineveh plain the lights are going out
Crosses driven into the hearts of the last of Mesopotamia’s
Christians. These Assyrians, speaking Aramaic, the language
Of Christ, have been loyal throughout the long cent...
Sunday 9th July 2017 9:02 pm
Saturday 8th July 2017 1:14 am
Rose, the loveliest of pagan naming,
She can see clear to another day
1967 and the Hippy trails
That landed us in Golden Gate Park
Palo Alto was
Looking for a revolution
And this is it:
No empty-headed technologies either
Still no silicon in the valley yet
Just a box of rain
Such a long-long time to be gone.
And a short time to be there.
So, God don't check...
Friday 23rd June 2017 2:48 am
The red glow of our one-bar electric fire
Reflected on our hardly bearded faces
The multi-coloured music of curved air
Synaesthesia rampant, the sweet smell
Of burning Lebanese hashish everywhere
That thick and smoky sweet sweet air.
Nick Drake still alive amongst
The flat-lands of Cambridgeshire
Five leaves left was a common currency
And me the lad from the North Coun...
Wednesday 14th June 2017 9:55 pm
(To John Donne)
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 muc...
Tuesday 13th June 2017 9:15 pm
Green in all sorts of shades
Contrasts with the burgeoning of blue: grape hyacinth, cornflowers, forget-me-nots
Too soon for my favourite, delphinium
The sky too is blue, grey, white, black, swirling
Chiaroscuro, nature echoing art:Turner's kippered skies
Beneath which my green heart, so full of love for the simple
Decencies of human nature. Look! hills, weeds, nests, trees.
Friday 2nd June 2017 11:29 pm
Lorca’s blood wedding
Packed fulll of vaginas bleeding
Into lemon-tree- soil
Reminds me of nothing more than the toil, toil, toil
Of life in Al-Andalus.
Priests chanting the rosary
Like it was El Maleh Rachamim
Or the Mourner's Kaddish
(which it probably was, if the priest
Was a Converso, who changed his religion
To save his life or, maybe, that of his children).
Thursday 25th May 2017 12:09 am
These smokey terraces 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,
Ashkenazi Jews escaping the Czarist pogroms: the Cohens and the Rabinowitz.
Later came the Afro-Carribeans, the Patels from India and Pakistan,
Hindus and Chinese opened rest...
Wednesday 24th May 2017 11:29 am
Saturday 20th May 2017 2:46 am
She cried as if she was three again
This competent, clever, caring woman
Her practice is all emergency work now
Mental illness, deserted children, scattered souls,
Spice, Meth, Horse
Foul defilements, rapes, violence, tears.
People living in fear
Do you hear?
People scared to fall asleep
You! who live in the comfort zone,
Of pensions, savings,income drawdown
Friday 19th May 2017 11:24 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 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-to-me'.
But it was, I was brought up ...
Friday 12th May 2017 10:51 pm
Arabic spoken in Al-andalus
after 400 years of the inquisition.
Muslim houses in Bosnian villages
with crosses on display despite the threat of apostacy.
"And slay them wherever ye find them."
morning fresh as one –
the Buddha knew –
the flowers of the valley
grasses of the plain
shine with the unbidden light of heaven
nothing shall remain.
Sunday 7th May 2017 8:31 pm
Once I knew you,
Red hair blowing free
Catholic and wild:
The young banshee.
A Jacobite, like me.
The moral guardians condemned us:
Said we were transgressors,
The breakers of the law.
So then we asked each other
What was life for?
It’s the wildness that’s within us!
Our spirits roaming free:
The accomplishment of nothing
That is you and me.
Friday 21st April 2017 10:12 pm
A weight is lifted unexpectedly as we look at each other
You, in your brilliant femininity, me in my thorough-going loss.
I thought love was going to sustain me for life.
The loss of all that regularity failed me
Left me bereft upon a far-shore
And so the door into the rose garden finally closed
And I saw what was really always there
Denying the light, frosty richness of happ...
Saturday 8th April 2017 12:12 am
Charlie and I have walked our post-cancer walks
Down this narrow stretch of green in the city
For a full decade now. We’ve aged together
But not like malt, we’ve blended into each other,
Man and Dog. He recognizes the smells, me the sights,
And his life is shorter than mine. That afflicts me like
A sentence. Very few minutes pass
Without me thinking of that. He connects me to...
Friday 3rd March 2017 11:08 pm