Poetry Blog by Jonathan Humble

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Jonathan Humble on Still Life (3 days ago)

raypool on Still Life (4 days ago)

Stu Buck on Red Pencil (Sun, 14 Jul 2019 12:42 am)

elPintor on How Bad It Is (Sun, 7 Jul 2019 12:26 pm)

Jonathan Humble on How Bad It Is (Sun, 7 Jul 2019 10:48 am)

Wolfgar Miere on How Bad It Is (Sun, 7 Jul 2019 10:46 am)

Devon Brock on How Bad It Is (Sat, 6 Jul 2019 06:37 pm)

Jason Bayliss on How Bad It Is (Sat, 6 Jul 2019 06:25 pm)

raypool on How Bad It Is (Sat, 6 Jul 2019 05:07 pm)

Devon Brock on Giving Up (Sun, 30 Jun 2019 10:12 pm)

Slow Move To Fall

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The argument stops. Slowly the heat dissipates;

clouds drift away over torrid skies.


The silence is broken by a dripping tap;

water easing past a damaged washer,

falls, swells and falls again.


A few words return; the question is repeated,

hanging on each pulse and breath.


The droplet hangs too,

bending the light,

distilling this moment and mocking the room...

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Still Life

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Such a sketchy fox;

broken lines and poor shading,

a child’s painting rushed onto paper,

barely recognisable in two dimensions.


Autumn riot of matted fur on frost,

an arrangement set amid a fog of guilt

and quickened wisps of midnight breath.


Deep colour oozes in slow flowing pigment,

warming these shaking hands, melting snow

steaming on the canvas of a hidden ...

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Unable to return it, the boy kept his mother’s gift;
heard it, understood it,
accepted her beast of words.
Ill-conceived, born of incompetent rage,
it latched itself inside his aching rib cage.
Wary of guilt-ridden, thinly spread
slices of mother’s pride,
the beast gnawed at young bones,
consuming his youth instead.
The boy grew old dealing with its anger.
He questioned his beast, learnt...

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If I wanted to ...

If I wanted to remember you,

I wouldn’t use this picture;

faded and mildewed through years of neglect.

If I wanted to find you,

I wouldn’t start from this place;

confused by thirty years of one way streets and dead ends.

If I wanted to walk to where you are,

I wouldn’t want this baggage;

collected as if purpose hadn’t come into it.

If I wanted to talk with you,


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Red Pencil

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I am six years old, my pencil breaks
mid-word in Mrs Foster’s class.
So I turn to my friend Martin,
show him the pencil and whisper,
‘Martin, Martin, my pencil has broke.’
‘Use this,’ he says and passes a substitute,
secretly under our desk.
‘But it’s a red pencil, Martin,’ I say.
He smiles a smile. It is an ‘it’ll all be ok’
sort of smile and so I carry on,
copying lines of words I cannot read,
but which I ...

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How Bad It Is

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How bad it is when every note you play upon the keys

sustains the void within the waiting soul;


when it is accepted that this flow will not stop

and bring an end to all these helpful faces;


when your scent assaults my senses like a bludgeon

and takes me to a day I want to bury;


when an empty chest refuses to give way

under the repeated blows of expectation


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Giving Up

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Thirty years ago, he gave up in that place. 

He cried a lot. He laughed and cried again,

desperate to welcome the oblivion of sleep,

exhausted by Machine Theory,

confused by university social politics,

rejected by the faces staring at him from his flock wallpaper

at three in the morning,

medicated on an unfamiliar bed by someone unknown; 

alone within an establishment o...

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You and I

In some other universe, you and I didn’t play football as kids.

We weren’t lucky enough to have Mr Walker as our teacher.

The team photograph doesn’t exist in this other place,

so people wouldn’t wonder why we looked so serious,

you and I.


Or maybe through some weirdness, we lost the cup final,

so the victory meal at the chippie would have been cancelled.

Or at lea...

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Goole Revisited

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Hello Humber Gateway,

you old dock drab,

winking at passing commerce

with your ample warehouse acreage,

welcoming skirts hitched

up the legs of the Ouse and Trent.


Under stretched skies,

I am a salmon swimming the sixty-two,

past rotting coal fired corpses,

where orderly pylons queue the lanes,

sturdy girls whispering old secrets;

gossip from a shabby adolesce...

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In Shoes Like These ...

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I’ve stumbled over rock and root,

torn fabric holes and worn out soles,

the dirt and fraying scars from days

spent pounding roads or rutted track,

while eager laced, I ran on routes

from which there was no turning back;

those proper runs, in shoes like these.


I’ve pushed old limestone crag beneath

this body. I’ve compelled the world,

with cadence eating up dead...

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Book End

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Lost in an oversized raincoat, she sits outside the library;

an old book, out of print in a dog eared dust cover.


Through thick prescription glass, puddles ripple

with memories leaking in the autumn rain,


spreading as oil dripping from a rusty sump;

time worn colours swirling away in a wet breeze.


Jaw set, head tilted, she tries to stem the flow,

but the past sl...

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This Work Is Done

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This is an old feeling,

standing by this evening’s field,

these dark rags hanging, strung on wire,

beaks silent and unmoving under a stretched sky.


So which lore or gods apply?

Would it help to free your feathers,

wake thought and memory in cold skulls,

wear a black cape in silhouetted brotherhood?


Should I take up your work?

Am I a familiar to a Norse god,


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In search of yew in Borrowdale

that shared the sun with Judas,

I walk a rutted path,


aware of twinges, snares, rocks,

carrying your paints and easel

along with this bowl of words,


no longer fit for consumption,

mold festering in knots

from sour touching fruit within.


And if these words were berries,

gardeners would stand disappointed

at the canker in...

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I was the designated person. I’d seen it

before and I am hard. All over in a few

seconds; a slow movement across two

graduations, then an increased flow to a

final stop at empty. Clear eyes to

opaque in an efficient procedure

performed by this calm and experienced

professional; the dog, supporting his

own weight one moment, to being a

dead-weight slumped in my arms on a


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On The Road To Samaria

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In these shoes,

I negotiate life in the third person;

toes swathed in top quality calfskin,

safe from random shit and shards,

where neither grass nor paved path

can sully these soft arches and soles.


I wear these suits;

an actor avoiding the fourth wall,

costumed and painted with lines learnt,

senses fenced off with silk and cashmere,

any truthful light blocked b...

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Coming Home

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I wonder if, like me, the winter skies at Cunswick,

swathed in low cloud, above old scars of crag

and frozen garlands of brown bracken,

anticipate the welcome return of African visitors;


if underfoot, limestone bones ache for warmth,

dark fissured slabs buried beneath grass paths,

quietly longing for early May’s trick of light,

tired bodies aloft after months of migration...

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Grown wild, unclaimed and loose in lanes,
he peed higher, spat further, swore louder
than any other latchkey street weed.

Green acolytes, summoned with strangled
banshee howls, drawn to worship as he spoke
to us in bloodied tongues for a dare.

Envied for knowledge of hidden pathways
by the railway, and his dead bat in a matchbox,
which some could see for tuppence.

Pursuing the lost, alw...

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Remember Me

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Haunting places where secret agents once hid,

I return to childhood as a stranger.

All games we played for keeps; no second chances.


Committed to blood and rain and wind and sun,

a tribe summoned down alleys by banshee howls;

we spoke in bloodied tongues for a dare.


Drawn to worship by abandoned rank canals,

waist high in summer filth, baptised with leeches;

all c...

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Secrets Of Men

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Perched on a milestone,

Spy considered offers from fylgjur,

haunting woods like fox wraiths.


Night worn as a cloak, tired bones

aching under breeze ruffled feathers,

his conspiracy betrayed by brother silhouettes

circling in tempered moonlight.


Revealed by flecks of white in beads of jet,

he watched ghost clouds drift like lost leaves,

disturbing stars floating...

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The Copenhagen Interpretation of E-mails (after Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg)

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I read somewhere, at sometime,

that everything and nothing exists

outside the space you’re placed.


Closed doors are quantum barriers

separating the countless possibilities

of constantly branching parallel universes.


Facts on the outsides of rooms

are blurred, until they are moved into

and created through observation.


So, ignoring Newtonian classical notion...

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On Good Days

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On good days, the voices were quiet.

He’d fumble the razor, indulge in muttered

early morning profanities, yet still wear

his hope like an old boxer’s dressing gown.


Water cascading over knotted hands,

temperature rising as the boiler kicked in,

he’d tickle the soap trout like a novice,

splashing water over threadbare slippers.


Thin ribbons of steam wafting upward...

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Death On A Pavement

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On hard wet ground, exposed like a pulsing nerve,

half a yard from the comfort of grass,


it writhed unsteadily to unheard music, while the

connoisseur’s eye judged its girth from a bush.


Rainwater marinated and near wasted after a night

of passion, casting tired letter shapes as the sun split


clouds overhead, this foot long night crawler knew

of its place on the...

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Schrödinger's Mouse

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Your love of my raspberries has resulted

in this late evening walk in headtorch,


to hedges of hazel and blackthorn,

far enough from home to foil ideas of return.


Aware of owls ripping through moonlight,

I kneel in damp fescue and sedge,


clutching this tilt trap of quantum uncertainty;

mouse or no mouse? that is the question.


The trap gate opens. You see ...

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Then It Rains

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You ask on my behalf to rise and leave,

to dress without the hindrance

of bootlace worms returning at our feet.


In vain we anticipate permission from spiders

who watch in shadows, spinning webs

that constrain all action.


Standing, squatting, sitting, we are opposed,

resisted. We are tangled marionettes,

linked with quantum string, each responding

with ...

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Invitation To Move On

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I am small in the sea, pushed around

by waves that care not for any grain of sand

or stuff that floats in old men’s heads.


Arms held wide and high, that reach and cling

like a child to a parent when things get rough,

when routines fail and muscles waste.


I hesitate, recoil, cower; skin so thin

these cold water blades could spill these guts

for waiting gulls an...

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And Yet

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Curtains remain drawn, as day comes with rain
like a returning memory. In darkness, early moments
rest on heavy eyes, closed to a wave of sickness.

In the residue of cracked ashtrays and stale alcohol,
sit diary entries of dissolute nights with succubae;
a debt of bad shillings that smothers and oppresses.

With a switchclick of artificial light, a three-quarter
circular tea stain on the...

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I don’t feel like searching this time.

What would be the point? But we’re

throwing cushions to the floor,

groping down the sides of armchairs,

emptying cupboards, rolling back

mats and scrabbling under beds.


I know it’s useless looking for this

jigsaw piece, the missing bit I burnt in

the grate last week along with other

stuff from a shoebox of old crap,


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Old Dog

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Heart racing as if a mile had been lost,

at odds with the stillness of a newly

emptied room, taking in the failure

of pencils on the floor and books left

on tables. He sees ghosts, hears the

echo of children’s voices, careless and

free now it has gone three, oblivious

of the anguish stalking this classroom;

a place conflicted all day, growing

through the week with doors ...

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One Called Paul

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Five drab juveniles land outside my window;

goth eyeliner, raucous and rucking over territory,

fouling up my window ledge, five floors high.


Under murmured shadows, three leave suddenly,

startle the two, who, drawing close, look to each other,

before the larger wings it with thousands in late city skies.


The smallest catches reflections in the high rise glass,


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