Poetry Blog by Stephen Gospage
Big Dave Diff was a local bloke;
He liked a laugh, a risky joke;
When no one watched, he cadged a smoke.
One day he told us he was broke.
Though usually a blow to pride,
He seemed to take it in his stride,
But soon great chasms, acres wide,
Would open up on every side.
His savings short, surviving thanks
To social credits and food banks,
Dave’s loan sha...
Wednesday 16th June 2021 5:41 pm
What she remembered was the sound of seagulls,
Not the burning eyes of the eager boy
She had come away with for a dare.
Harold. Yes, that was his name.
She could see he had it all planned out.
‘I’ve brought some,’ were his first words.
Frinton. She had gone there because that was where
Mum and Dad had spent their honeymoon.
Where she was conceived, almost certainl...
Saturday 12th June 2021 5:35 pm
I remember him all those years ago,
Ploughing through the sleet and the mushy snow
One late December night at Upton Park,
Where pre-Christmas fixtures lit up the dark.
He made his move in his late middle age,
Flaunting his body on the public stage.
Far from Charles Atlas but certainly male,
Folds set to wobble and skin turning pale.
I recall the cold steamed ...
Tuesday 8th June 2021 5:22 pm
They needed a short paperback on love:
‘A hundred pages,’ explained the letter,
‘Airport stuff, a Christmas stocking filler.’
Simple enough, I thought: a poem or two,
A few choice quotes from the usual suspects,
A photo of a couple by the Seine,
Plus memories of passions at first sight,
Delirious summer days of pleasure.
‘The Little Book of Love’, I shall call it....
Thursday 3rd June 2021 5:25 pm
Come out today! Come out today!
To see this first of June display!
The pinks, the whites, the blues, the reds,
Emblazoned on well-tended beds.
Fuelled by spring rain, still in the soil,
The fruits of nature’s ceaseless toil,
They preen themselves till summer’s heat
Brings shrivelling and sure defeat.
Wednesday 2nd June 2021 5:49 pm
A drifter rides into the town,
Soft-spoken and quite roughly dressed;
His smile and manner win him friends,
Three others are far less impressed.
While he relaxes at the bar,
They gather, spoiling for a fight.
The plain folk start to peel away;
This is a match of wrong and right.
He swigs his drink and spins around;
He picks off one from either side.
Thursday 27th May 2021 6:16 pm
An uninspired singer,
A rather plodding song:
Zero voters can't be wrong.
No offence, mind;
I'm sure they did their best.
I just wanted
To get it off my chest.
Sunday 23rd May 2021 12:42 pm
Your loveliness faded with the morning.
At first sight, this may seem strange. Why should it?
The daybreak, with its blaring rays of sun,
Perturbed, with its sudden glare, our idyll:
The twilight just before impatient dawn,
When your beauty had attained perfection.
Illumination disarranged the mix,
Removing the refinement of the dark.
Will we see again this rare conjun...
Friday 21st May 2021 4:16 pm
At the time of colours, no one came here.
The sea-red sand, compacted, stained the floor
Of the yellow valley. Some way above,
Off-duty mountains in teardrops of blue
Topped hedgehog browns in bark of trees. At dusk,
Venus shone, white as glass. No one came here.
Alleged sightings of a stagecoach, a cart,
Or a bicycle, easily disproved,
Confirm this truth, with proof t...
Monday 17th May 2021 9:20 am
As he looks out past prison bars,
He magnifies the unkempt world:
Sees leftovers for Sunday lunch,
Dry sandwiches, with corners curled.
The paint is peeling off the doors;
The once-thumbed books are brown and frayed.
Through windowpanes, opaque with grime,
Lie bills piled high, as yet unpaid.
Most words recede in faded ink;
All vivid colours dim with age,...
Monday 10th May 2021 5:16 pm
Now is not important;
Nothing really matters.
Your latest wheeze in shreds,
A whole month’s work in tatters.
This is not what matters.
Your ego is the thing
Controlling this charade,
And in a cowbell’s ring,
Lines spoken by a bard
Or low skies dappled red,
All timelessness is stored.
While close by, in the head,
A devil’s dreams are moored.
Saturday 8th May 2021 5:58 pm
The college master lurks behind the screen;
The innocent young student is his prey.
‘My experiment!’, he cries, triumphant.
Inside a church, remorseful priests clench hands;
Dog-tired wives can stand their fate no more.
Jealousy tears the fabric of their dreams.
Slow-witted boys are beaten to the punch;
An old man’s lust awakens from the dead.
Ambitious workers sl...
Tuesday 4th May 2021 4:49 pm
Poems, deep on many levels,
May end up nowhere near enough.
At such a time, we should give thanks
That Mister Larkin did his stuff.
It’s true he had a gloomy side
And used the odd indecent word,
But nobody would claim his work
Would better be unseen or heard.
He wrote about the everyday,
Of unspent childhood, wedding feasts,
Sullied posters, non-co...
Friday 30th April 2021 5:31 pm
We ordered him to write a verse.
The poet laboured night and day,
With little rest and with no pay,
And penned the best he could muster.
But as time passed, we feared the worse;
Now his ode has lost its lustre.
Its shiny eloquence has gone,
Its bounce and pace is weighted down
And, like a fading seaside town,
The content has slipped out of date.
There is an ...
Thursday 29th April 2021 6:32 pm
From her balcony, she scrutinised
A man’s strong hairy leg below.
“A very impressive one”, she purred.
“But I have two,” was his insistent reply.
Peeping downwards, he panicked, rose,
Unexpectedly lost his balance
And rummaged through the undergrowth.
She leaned over and waved something;
Enticing him up with the prospect.
“Is this what you were looking for?”
Tuesday 27th April 2021 5:39 pm
I want a revolution now;
I want to smash the state.
I want a new society
To end this cruel stalemate.
I want to stop the lockdown,
Some lines of police to knock down;
The walls are going to tumble,
The edifice will crumble.
Hang on, they’ve opened up the pubs!
Oh well, mustn’t grumble.
Sunday 25th April 2021 4:53 pm
They’re lying at the bottom of the hill;
Not destined to climb back up to the top.
Face down in mud, their bodies stiff and still;
Their untold stories blasted to a stop.
We knew them once, as neighbours and as friends;
Their crime was being on the other side.
Once peace arrives, we’ll try to make amends,
But there’s no bringing back the ones who died.
Friday 23rd April 2021 5:46 pm
Below the stairs is where I want to be;
The people up above are too consumed
And sickly in their self-congratulation.
The air downstairs is pungent yet perfumed.
No rueful, unrequited love dwells here;
This place is where our follies are exhumed.
There’s no plush carpet like they have up top,
Just dingy crumbling concrete on the floor.
Some tenants may be flawed o...
Monday 19th April 2021 5:39 pm
In that one orbit of the Earth,
He must have understood far more
That any human mind alive.
Think about it. Not just the view,
But actually being there:
Above the trifles, the low plod
Of puffed-up order, the slow deaths
In crowds pressed against shop windows.
Above the bile, the pious chat,
The mush of mediocrity.
Above the relevance of air.
Seeing all t...
Monday 12th April 2021 5:57 pm
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 ...
Saturday 10th April 2021 5:41 pm
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?
Wednesday 7th April 2021 6:03 pm
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...
Friday 2nd April 2021 6:19 pm
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,
Monday 29th March 2021 5:53 pm
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.
Monday 22nd March 2021 4:23 pm
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.
Thursday 18th March 2021 5:30 pm
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...
Tuesday 16th March 2021 4:42 pm
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...
Saturday 13th March 2021 5:36 pm
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...
Tuesday 9th March 2021 5:14 pm
(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;
Monday 8th March 2021 5:43 pm
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.
Sunday 7th March 2021 5:02 pm
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...
Sunday 28th February 2021 6:14 pm
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...
Thursday 25th February 2021 4:59 pm
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...
Saturday 20th February 2021 5:50 pm
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.
Friday 19th February 2021 5:45 pm
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 ...
Tuesday 16th February 2021 5:33 pm
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:
Wednesday 10th February 2021 4:54 pm
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.
Friday 5th February 2021 5:28 pm
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...
Wednesday 3rd February 2021 9:50 pm
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 ...
Tuesday 26th January 2021 5:02 pm
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
Thursday 21st January 2021 5:19 pm
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...
Tuesday 19th January 2021 6:26 pm
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.'
Wednesday 13th January 2021 6:15 pm
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.
Friday 8th January 2021 5:29 pm
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...
Monday 4th January 2021 5:38 pm
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.
Sunday 3rd January 2021 5:35 pm