Poetry Blog by Stephen Gospage

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Stephen Gospage on Cynics (1 day ago)

Brian Hodgkinson on Cynics (3 days ago)

Stephen Gospage on Cynics (3 days ago)

M.C. Newberry on Cynics (3 days ago)

keith jeffries on Cynics (4 days ago)

Stephen Gospage on Unmade (7 days ago)

John Coopey on Unmade (7 days ago)

Ferris Ty Taylor on Third Wave in Europe (7 days ago)

Ferris Ty Taylor on Unmade (7 days ago)

Ferris Ty Taylor on Unmade (7 days ago)

Mainstream

 

Glad to belong to the mainstream;

Delighted that my boats are burned.

I’ve joined the crowd life passes by,

The columns of the unconcerned.

 

My friends will never admit it,

But we are all set up just fine.

The ink, still drying on the page,

Initials with gusto each line.

 

There is now no way back for us;

The contract is sealed, like our fate.

And what is ...

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Cynics

 

The cynics are the enemies of love;

Though cheats and low deceivers have their faults,

A part of them is driven by their heart.

The cynics know the fickle candle’s flame,

The ravages of time, the wilderness,

The unaccomplished ventures of our dreams.

But isn’t it delightful when they’re wrong

And one condemned liaison turns out long?

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Unmade

 

As soon as they cast eyes upon

Our muddy shoes and soaking socks,

The other kids and parents knew

That we were from the unmade roads.

 

Of the school’s catchment area,

The fraction we made up was small.

Reputed brutish, we compared

Badly to the pounded pavements.

 

In truth, I think that they envied

Our potholes and rough traditions:

Card schools, brisk tra...

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Sons and Lovers

 

 

The horny-handed sons of toil

Roll up their sleeves and till the soil.

They function as a perfect foil

For lovers, hidden in the trees,

Who cool with pleasure in the breeze,

In huddles which nobody sees.

 

They wander later back to home,

Each one tired from their labours;

Here they will subsist as neighbours,

Friends, dispensing valued favours,

Gossips, s...

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Third Wave in Europe

 

The blossom sparkles on the trees,

And now spring time is here.

This should be a new beginning,

But it is not, I fear.

 

For infections rocket upwards,

The situation’s tense.

It’s as though someone is having

A laugh at our expense.

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Last night

 

Last night

I walked upon the water.

I really walked

Upon the water.

You who do not believe me,

Come back tomorrow and

I will tell you

That last night

I did it again.

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Sounds of the Seventies (or 'Those weren't the days')

 

Our centre forward, just before the game,

Downed quantities which put us all to shame.

The dressing room was strewn with girlie mags

And at half-time we puffed on full-strength fags.

 

A few jars at the club then down the town,

Towards steak joints and strip clubs of renown.

Back then you could stagger to your motor

And fiddle overtime on the rota.

 

Those were t...

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Public Schools

 

 

Let’s give three cheers for public schools;

They fill the country full of fools,

Whose birthright is to make the rules.

In places not displayed on maps,

The locals queue to doff their caps

And show support for these fine chaps.

 

The playing fields, the blazered crowd,

The exhortations shouted loud,

The offside goal not disallowed,

Space reserved for each re...

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Chewing the fat

It’s such a waste when people who

Spend half their lives engrossed in chat

Perceive that they are having fun,

With pallid mates, all underdone,

Or hangers-on. They chew the fat

Until there’s no fat left to chew.

 

The world spins round

And time goes by

And then they die;

 

Once they are safely in the ground

We wonder what they could have done –

What they woul...

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Land of plenty

(As we approach the anniversary of the first lockdown, the theme of this poem from March 2020 may still be familiar)

 

At six o’clock, the hour strikes;

The fragrance of the flowers still remains.

The man about town stays home for dinner

And churches are closed to every sinner.

This March twenty-twenty,

In the land of plenty.

 

At eight o’clock, the hour strikes;

The ...

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Cash in hand

If you pay me,

I’ll say daylight is black,

I’ll say the sun is blue,

The moon’s held up with glue.

If you pay me.

 

If you pay me,

I’ll say the square is round,

Your friend fell through a crack,

The world is safe and sound.

If you pay me.

 

If you pay me,

I’ll give you the nod,

Get you in the squad,

Make room up on the stack.

If you pay me.

 

I...

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The widowed queen

 

Awake at dawn, with almond eyes,

The queen is seated on her throne;

Confronted, under leaden skies

With prospects of a life alone.

 

The taste of young and tender shoots

Was too soon soured by the storm,

And crushed by soles of marching boots

Which flaunt their predatory form.

 

In some far field his buried feet,

Anonymous, lie, like the rest.

The one who m...

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Old Trousers

 

In sunny times outdoors,

They will drag down the tone;

But when the weather’s foul,

They come into their own.

 

They keep at bay the mud

And swallow up the rain;

They fight the bitter wind

And, best, they don’t complain.

 

(From "The Shape of the Trees"). For all gluttons for punishment, this book is available free on kindle (Amazon) from Friday 26 -Sunday 28 Feb...

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Vacuum cleaners at twenty paces

 

So, it has come to this, I hear:

The total sum of human existence,

The very germ that led to our creation.

Don’t give me that, I’m a busy man;

 

I can’t be bothered with such things.

What I have to do is resolve

This argument over who can fill, or empty,

The dust bag in the fastest time.

 

Let battle commence:

The referee checks his watch,

The seconds are r...

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Spring

 

Listen to the spring: arriving

Discreetly, like a masterpiece

Of understatement, noticed when

The chilly air melts in our hands.

Then longer days of time relax

And pass their message to the world.

This is no moment to forget

But, by nature of reminder,

A step upon the path we tread

Towards our better selves and lives.

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Listening to Tippett

 

That’s not me standing there;

It’s not my face I see.

The music is so beautiful

And I yearn to be so free.

 

I want to float up on those notes,

So sweet and gently lilting;

I want to sail in heaven’s boats

And feel the blue sky tilting.

 

Never more will I feel this way;

A unique moment has now passed.

He has nourished my perfect day;

Banality now seems ...

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The Red Marriage

 

During their sixty years, it was him:

Always the one thinking big, dreaming

Of contour maps of the shires,

The rapid spread of forest fires,

Views of the moon, magnified,

Deserts, stretching far and wide.

How the diamonds glinted

And his projects hinted

At non-stop, love-soaked fun,

At daring days blessed with sun.

 

While she focused on the miniature:

Coll...

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In the woods

 

In the woods, unkind glances cascade down;

Corpses howl as they dangle from the trees.

Bored beasts run wild and roar at every pass;

Trespassers beg for life upon their knees.

The night-time tunes of childish thirst for blood

Make matters worse by willingness to please.

The rain drips through and drenches body parts,

As errant spouses plead outside and freeze.

Armed hu...

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Essex

 

I was born in Essex,

But I never really lived there.

In truth, nobody does.

The county, like its cricket grounds,

Gets up each day and does the rounds.

 

On one hand, there’s Basildon:

‘A Taxi Town’.

On the other, Kelvedon Hatch,

Where next door’s son or daughter

Is ‘something of a catch’.

 

Misplaced commuters, left to roam,

Walk streets near Hornchurch...

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Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

 

Those socks that Dad gets at Christmas,

Sellotaped in packets of three.

 

The monosyllabic young man

That your daughter brings home for tea.

 

The fair to middling result

Of your son’s prestigious degree.

 

The mediocre performance

Friends and family had come to see.

 

The soufflé which for once falls flat,

Reminding one of molten brie.

 

The putt ...

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Behind the door

 

Behind the door, true love awaits,

But not like any love we know.

It is a feeling stronger than

A star-crossed tango, taken slow.

 

The peak of amorous delights

Lies beating in air mountain-thin.

The wordless, unrepentant act

Sinks deep beneath our shedding skin.

 

This is a force beyond control

Of any stable, settled mind.

Obsession is a gentle term

For...

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The mysterious case of the hole in the trousers

 

It began when a man discovered a hole in his trousers.

 

A bullet, a burn, an assault? The police were baffled;

They had no answers, only theories.

A suspect was arrested, then released.

Discontent rumbled in the town.

The victim made a tearful public appeal.

Vigilante groups were mobilised.

Journalists probed, going door to door;

An on-line team led a large-scale e...

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My perfect day

My perfect day

Begins imperfect, flawed,

Even downright miserable,

But becomes a little less so

With the passing of the hours,

Until the sentinels of sleep,

Calling from above their towers,

Say : 'This, in its unlikely way,

Has turned into your perfect day.'

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Pain

We dash around and do

The things we should not do,

And then enjoy our fun

To countervail the pain

Of races we have run

And will run once again.

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Voice

 

Somewhere out there exists a voice,

Distinctive and unique as yours,

Which shuns the norms of rise and fall

And spits out harsh staccato roars.

 

Though issued from another place,

It soon seeps through inside your skin,

And, once you bolt too late the doors,

Invades your conscience from within.

 

At first you notice minor traits:

You say things that you do not...

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Inadequate Translation

 

One dark Sunday afternoon in the gallery,

We watched the people stream out of the theatre.

I remember the men, identical,

All dressed in sharp, grey suits;

And one sparkling woman of a thousand kisses,

Trying, with inadequate translation,

To explain each one.

 

(2019)

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