Poetry Blog by Stephen Gospage

Tags from last 12 months

Cold Fiction


Works of fiction should be as cold as stone;

There’s no point what’s invented being warm.

Created stories must be read alone

(Imagination’s better on one’s own)

And fantasies should take a cooled-down form.


It’s facts which generate those sultry days;

At least they have the merit to exist.

Pursuing, like the Earth, their melting ways,

Not blinking when they’re sin...

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A prisoner's verse


As long as there’s the sun,

The world will wait for me.

As long as there’s the moon,

I shall one day be free.

Once there are stars to guide me by,

True splendour in the evening sky,

And Venus chooses to appear,

I shall have nothing more to fear.

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Creating the illusion of flight


The pensive next-door neighbour said:

‘I’m sure I saw him leave the ground.

He flapped the wings against the wind,

But then there was that crashing sound.’


That was the moment I arrived,

As he lay prostrate on the lawn,

Surrounded by a broken wreck;

His odd ambition still unborn.


His target was to be the first

To lift off under his own steam;

To generat...

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An English tale



At the end of the garden,

In the long grass,

There lies, too close to touch,

A skeleton of a man

My neighbour shot ten years ago.

Some things we think; some things we know.

Still, we mind our own business,

Keep ourselves to ourselves.


We don’t talk about it.

At least, not much.


I sit in the pub, with one straight glass

Nursed all evening long in...

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Better people


Over there’s where the better people live.


They talk better than we do.

They live better than we do.

They work better than we do.

They play better than we do.

They wash better than we do.

They smell better than we do.

They make love better than we do.

They feel better than we do.

They flirt better than we do.

They tow the line better than we do.

They doff...

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Critic's choice


The blurb on the inside cover

Said: ‘He has been too long ignored.’

I ploughed through the first two chapters;

By then I was thoroughly bored.


Until I thought of my contract

To review the book on TV,

Together with some Oxbridge types

And an artist dressed as a tree.


(Later on, in a wine-soaked haze,

I also remembered my fee.)


And so I read the weig...

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Daleks at Fenchurch Street on a rainy day


Quick, take off your shoes and rush inside;

Conceal yourself and turn your back,

Defy invasion and the wet.

Dripping Daleks are on attack;

Though dry, there is nowhere to hide.

A trifle short on easy charm

And rather awkward to disarm,

They have little conversation

Even in this busy station.

‘You will be exterminated’

About as friendly as they get.

(Film of th...

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Bodies on the battlefield


Strange to see them all, suddenly no more.

Yesterday they had thoughts. Fear, certainly,

But perhaps still hopes, wishes, even dreams.

Now they are defined by their strange absence;

Lying here, but not being here. It’s odd.

Some had warnings, time to prepare, for sure;

To visit the priest and forgotten mates,

Or spent years flat out and bombed up on drips.

For others, ...

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Climate Change (and us?)


The planet turns, the planet turns;

The adults fiddle while Rome burns.

And children yet to be conceived

Have every right to feel aggrieved.


And us? We tiptoe through the mines

And join the back of frantic lines

In shirtsleeved January sales,

Pursued by ever-warming gales.


Exhausts and power stations spout

Unheeded warnings all about.

But politicians mu...

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Blessed are the lovemakers


We take appalling risks

To taste forbidden fruit.

Desire is our spur,

Its pathway our pursuit.


The obstacles ahead,

The disapproving stares,

Will not deter the urge

To flourish all our wares.


For love is in our blood;

It cannot be slapped down.

It is made every day

In village and in town.

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Honours System


A chap I was at school with

Once worked for the NHS.

He’s written dozens of reports

And made a total bloody mess.

Still, there’s no shame in being wrong;

Let’s give the lad a proper gong.


A CBE? Perhaps.

An MBE? Why not?

An OBE? Let’s see.

A peerage? Well, maybe.

A knighthood?  Not likely, that’s for me!

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Big Lad


The big lad in our street

Sat at the back at school;

We used to pull his leg

And took him for a fool.


He seemed a little dim;

His mum and dad were poor.

The paint was peeling off

Their ramshackle front door.


He was the worst in maths,

At bottom place in French

And would cut his finger

While at the woodwork bench.


We all had a good laugh


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Dog-tired of my dreams,

I gave them to

Someone who traded in such things.


‘Such an exquisite find.

I’ll shift them fast,’

This eager go-between opined.


A few years down the line,


I had an urge to get them back.


Polite but firm, he said

That they were sold.

A ‘proper’ price was duly paid.


Should I make an offer?

No point. Su...

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I don’t know what to think

About what’s going on.

Shall this state of affairs

Be never done nor gone?


Shall all rich seams of life

Lie dormant in the shade?

Shall millions of us

Feel constantly dismayed?


Not far away, someone

Stands and stares as, too fast,

Deprived of their purpose,

The seasons scuttle past.


Will news today brin...

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This summer's yellow tinges form

A harsh sandpaper of old gold.

They make the brightness rather dull

And leave the warmth a little cold.


They are not colours of the South,

The lemons and the salty blues;

They point towards these bleaker times

Of city heat and fear for news.


And yet the words of poets stir

Our hearts and pacify the nerves.

Such moments of rel...

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We cherish beauty in the stars

And slivers of a new-born moon,

Collapsing far away from Mars,

Preparing reappearance soon.


The evenings trumpet fuller moons,

Each rising higher in the sky,

While Bruckner’s matchless, melting tunes

Are tracing shapes in your mind’s eye.


Dark night paints portraits of the dead;

Their beauty is too much to bear.

From music...

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Agony Street

This is my street.

This is where I live.

This is where I’ll die:

In Agony Street.

This is where I call the shots;

This is where I make the rules;

This is where I knock the spots

Off those who don’t comply,

However hard they try.

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The tragedies of daily life:

The loss of hopes, the rank despair,

Are multiplied a thousand times:

Above, below us: everywhere.


We think we empathise with woe;

We feel the masters of our grief.

Yet when we lock the door at night,

We slump in palpable relief.


When tiny agonies befall

A creature that we do not know,

Our remedy is to dispense

Some ...

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With his binoculars, he saw them both;

They lay, side by side, in the grassy lands.

Dressed in their Sunday best;

Each grasping nervous hands.


As he watched from the tower, they made plans;

Unfolded picnic tables and then wept

At unexpected bliss

And secrets closely kept,


Or so they thought. They hugged, as if unseen,

Their aching bodies duly fused as one.


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A hyphen in the middle of a name

Should be a cause for bashfulness and shame;

But in the course of life’s one-sided game,

Double-barrelled monikers are handy

And public school credentials are dandy.

By hiding posh pursuits that he enjoys

And spicing up bravado with more noise,

A chinless toff becomes one of the boys.



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The Sausage Man


This time last week the Sausage Man

Was selling bangers from his van.

He cheered the locals with a joke,

His natty headwear was bespoke,

A new bandana sparkled red;


But now the Sausage Man is dead.


For all his quips and attire,

Thoughts of him will soon expire;

Yet in the town, grilled crisp and brown,

The sausages are still for sale.

What is the moral ...

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They were all there that day.

Everyone. The whole bunch.

The Plexiglass faction.

They were all there that day.


I kept watch; my eyes peeled.

I could see right through them

With my X-ray vision

But dared not go too close.


I know them, one by one,

Their foibles, their weak points,

Their vulnerable joints.

They were all there that day.



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Wounded Animal

Wounded animal


‘Mankind’s a wounded animal!’

The voice of the columnist boomed.

As though his mansion dripped with blood,

While a hungry predator loomed.


Down his way, though, mankind survives.

The van, sanitized, delivers

Deep-cleaned excitement on a plate.

Summertime: nobody shivers.


The odd spark flies and tempers fray,

But daily jogging keeps all tr...

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Bedside Days

    Bedside Days


In those days we kept a vigil

By her bed,

Holding her hand as she withered

On the vine.

We imagined her life

As something which, down the line, slithered

Inaudibly into the long grass, uncomplaining.

Outside, it was raining.

‘Just a few more days,’ we said,

     'Then there will be sunshine, no more rain.’

     Was she in pain?


We neve...

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The new normal

Piled high in your fridge, happiness abounds;

Open up the chill, imagine sights and sounds:

A lightly oiled couple, crisply tanned,

Lie ready and impatient on the sand.

He looks like Mister Universe;

The cash is bulging in her purse,

And no one thinks it is perverse

That honest, sweaty fun's at hand,

For them and for you;

You can have it too.

Take it out,

Thaw it o...

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Desert Island

Desert Island


Confinement measures now imposed

Would seem, on desert islands, daft.

Washed up there, even for one day,

You yearn to get away. You say:

I need some stuff to build a raft.


Sorry mate, the D.I.Y. store’s closed.

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Moon River

Moon River


Leaving today’s non-contact shift,

We see a shadow and recoil.

Our home is daily grind and toil;

Elsewhere, like time, we feel adrift,


As though with wounds. We lie, infirm,

Procumbent in an unlit boat.

Our destination is remote;

Events this night may make us squirm.


Downstream, the show-off of a moon

Engulfs some twinkly passing star;


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The Thirties

The Thirties


In nineteen thirty, Bradman piled on runs at Lord’s;

We sprinted from the bus to beat the hordes.

Our fancy was the first place in the queue.

Did we know then those sharpening their swords?

We should have checked, to see how much was true.


In nineteen thirty-two, the worldwide slump took hold;

There was no fuel to save some from the cold.

We sheltered...

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Last night, through the window

Last Night, through the Window


Last night, through the window,

I heard a train;

But I am far from the railway.


Last night, through the window,

I heard a plane;

But I am far from the airport.


Last night, through the window,

I heard a bus;

But I am far from the road.


Last night, through the window,

I heard an owl;

But I am far from the woods.


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