Poetry Blog by stephen smith

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Harry O'Neill on Shore (Sat, 23 May 2015 05:27 pm)

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The Transmigration of Souls

The Transmigration of Souls


On a hillside facing the ocean, two houses;

One emptied by potato blight and Famine

Years ago, now  tumbledown and fading

Back into the rock. That family all went West,

Dreaming of golden dawns, or died green-mouthed

From eating grass. The other house stands boldly

White-faced in the moonlight, empty-eyed

These twenty years; all but one of t...

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A Suitcase in Berlin

“Ich habe noch einen Koffer in Berlin” an old popular song in Germany

A Suitcase in Berlin

I still have this suitcase in Berlin,

It’s stuffed with receipts for comradeship,

Paid for anonymously by hours lived in fear:

Of  betrayal, of interrogation, of the camp,

Of footsteps on the stairs at dawn. I listen

For movement behind the wall of this day.

The hours pass slowly-the ...

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Six thirty a.m. Beside my bed a drawer

One quarter open ,like a lip in the gloom,

Pouting, reluctant to say what has happened.

Light increases at the window, edging

The dark rectangle of blind with white.

Spring dawn is pouring in, unstoppably,

Like the silent rising tide of a brightening sea

At the beach of a million shells where childhood

Left. Inevitably this da...

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Public and Personal

I will be launching a collection of my poetry at the Dead Good Poets in Liverpool on Wednesday 17th December.If you have read and liked any of my stuff on Write Outloud,

please come along at 7:30 this Wednesday.

Stephen Smith

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This Autumn

This Autumn

Strong winds have ripped the smoke tree’s russet gown,

Yet with glistening berries still the hedgerows drip.

In skies of arctic blue pale suns slip down,

As iceberg moons  the season’s balance tip.

Winter flint now gives the evening air its edge,

In his cottage an old scholar weeps alone,

Weighs the beauty of a disregarded pledge

Against summers which are foreve...

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At The Bombed-out Church



At The Bombed-Out Church (Liverpool)


Burnt rafter stubs pock blast-nudged brick,

Wan plaster scabs an irrelevant pattern,

Choir stalls are stripped to their roots

In a barren tiled floor, All blown to blazes

by Nazi bombs. Emptiness

Is the memorial to pious songs.

Cold is the wind through the nave,

Warm the fusion of your hand in mine,

As we...

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Mid-Summary Murders


Mid-Summary Murders


No need for sleuths

When the brown people die.

No maverick detective required

To ponder the  motive,

As he looks over the rubble,

With eagle eye ,and later argues

With his boss,(crusty but benign),

 To be given another 24 hours

To follow his hunch , crack the case,

And identify the perpetrator.

 No. That won’t be necess...

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Haikku for October


Sycamore leaves fall,

Evening paths become golden

Veins of memory

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Poppy Picking Day

Poppy Picking Day Posted on Tuesday 16th November 2010


I say this to poppy-wearers; which is it?

The papery one that sprang from Flanders mud,

To jog the memory of long rotten dead?

Or the one from Afghan fields,

The flower of   pipe-line power,

That feeds the morphine dream,


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Play at the Unity

Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 July
Patchwork Theatre Present

Redundancy has followed Rob around like a stray dog, but,as a counsellor for Personal Agony Relax and Release Call Centre [PARRCC] he begins to believe he has found his niche. With a talent for adding to company scripts Rob is noticed by the directors of [PARRCC] and he is invited to become the model for their AVATAR project.


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white cat hunting


In the car-park border,

By bright, mid-day light,

With pea-green eyes’ cool sight,

A white cat is hunting, his paw-step

Touchy among the lizard-skinned

cacti sprouts whose leaves burst

Through the limestone chippings

Sprinkled on the bark mulch strip.

It’s there that some dark little  prey

Is making now its getaway.

White cat pauses before the poun...

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Poppy Picking Day


I say this to poppy-wearers; which is it?

The papery one that sprang from Flanders mud,

To jog the memory of long rotten dead?

Or the one from Afghan fields,

The flower of   pipe-line power,

That feeds the morphine dream,

Lets you forget when you fill

Your tank with Arab blood

And surf along on its energy sud?

In flabby rhetoric you say

“It’s w...

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Season\\'s Sonnet



Sonya,I got your comic Christmas card •

In a bed-sit Santa irons red suits alone •

But I hear tom-cats screech in your back •yard

And Santa’s smile conceals an inward  groan.

For while you wrap  bright parcels,show good cheer,

Weave plans to please the young and innocent,

Under lock and key you store a secret tear,

And out of bottles ,pour your merriment.


When to-morro...

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Perfume in a lift


I smelt your perfume in the lift today,

Felt my cheek brushed by an invisible rose,

Your touch  and your scent, then the doors

Closed like blades ,cutting off that memory

Before my eyes , but worse, leaving as one shred

The hope, un-amputatable as a curse,

That you had just got out one floor below.

 So I press  the button to go down,

The doors slide back once more

I step  o...

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The Taleban are skittin' me Nan

The telly said the Taleban would bring terror to our streets,

So our Ronny went to Afghanistan, to inflict some big defeats.

Yes, he had them on the run, but they must have run quite far,

‘Cos they got back here before him and vandalised his car.


For the Taleban are crafty, they hang about our street,

Wearing trekkies, baseball caps and  drinking vodka neat,

They’ve shaved  their beards ,...

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Cure cure


  If pigs could fly then swine flu,

The government says so it must be true,

‘This virus came from a devil’s brew,

But there’s a vaccine that’s new too,

Something  we made earlier ,just for you,

Costs don’t matter, it’s all in hand,

We’ve got a fool-proof payment plan,

We’ll divert money from your tax!

You don’t need cash , just make tracks,



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Home in the Country



In the homestead  farmyard Cindy sleeps

on straw in the hollow of a stone wall,

Her naked plastic  covered

with a  wedding dress of  gauze.

The  hap for cold she cannot feel.

Pink little pony, her protector, gazes out

At meadow grass he cannot eat.


Children’s games are visions too.



In the kitchen Micky  brings soup to the boil

Half • alone ,he   stirs though...

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Fried garlic, lemon, sea-salt on the air,

Coffee brewing , sunlit room , morning, you, there.!

Black curls glistening, wet from ocean rush,

Fiery droplets  your body spangle, as  in naked hush

You go to the window,   step slow and certain,

And across  the blazing blue ,draw a bamboo curtain.


Shadows stripe and tiger us,  to the narrow bed

We stalk,   no sign giving ...

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A poetess worth words

A Poetess worth words


In my shoe I put the pilgrims flower,

Yellow heart and purple petal

The little star , Speedwell.

Through wooded lanes I climb,

Where rowan tree and cowslip

Bloom in froth of cream

And scent the air with

Procreation’s smell. Soft thunder

Of the waterfall, urgent torrent,,

Pillar of white liquid life ,a strand

On the mountain’s slatey shoulder

Where it break...

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entry picture



Softened black ground under foot

Smell of hot tar and spring

Has come; buttermilk white

The blackthorn sprays

On the lips of iron-age ditches.

Primroses speckle their green banks

New scarring earth’s old wounds.

Lanes exhale tang of burning old -wood;

Through this  perfume ,rare as sandalwood ,

I   wend the road  that leads 

beyond these hills

Towards the sun of other day...

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Making Allowances -a polemical parody

Making Allowances -2009 A polemical parody  


‘Ave you ’erd of this expenses row?

Eh , it’s enough to put you off yer brew!

An M.P. claimed and took our hard-earned cash

To put two seats upon his loo.!

Though they say he gobbles so much chow,

For him, two arse-holes wouldn’t do!



Then that lady down in London, she got subbed

To cure her home of bad dry rot!

But the home she meant, ...

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Souvenir -(Persian Gulf 2001)

                                Bright mornings before work,

                               I walk over the  path stones

Through the sand, under the trees,

 meet the scents of  day-birth ;

sun-wood resin of pine-bark,

Sap of eucalyptus ;I sniff the salt

 of the hidden gulf and  remember…


North of the open window

Above a rocky mediterranean shore,

A cold sea crashing and

Droplets of sa...

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Serious Person

                 You clenched  my mind ,

                  Likewise my body

                  In yours, and you said,

                “.Words are the heart of magic.”

                  Then squeezed me  until,

                  released from my answers,

                  I let visions appear,

                   spirits I had  banished

                  By logic, from fear.


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Limerick for a gardening party

   So Phil said to the fascist called Nick

     'My own views on race are quite sick,

       So to prove you're a Saxon,

        Don't get those kaks on

       I need to measure the length of your dick!'

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I was proud

 I was proud


Despite the maoist mist ,

The one step forward

The Twenty backwards,

despite the red thread ,

 not  political correctness,

but  power- lust,

 that ran through all their dealings,

When I heard  the story of the Congo,

 Union Minieres

And the Leopoldine butchery ,

the surplus value

of African people’s pain ,

Their severed hands

Solidified into the pillars

Of a bank i...

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The Thief of Time


The Thief of Time


Bound by trance to this spindled kitchen chair,

I ,in the leathern gloom of  dawn alone await,

Some act of will, that will fresh words or deeds create,

And from thought-smothered thought , my liberation dare.


In a house, where love is rent, and touch is cold ,

And all achievement’s dues languish yet unpaid,

Of this day the thief of time a purse has made,

And g...

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                                                Alone in silence and noonday heat,

                                                I hear clicks echo in the stairwell,

                                                As considerate hands restrain

                                                The lock-spring of a closing ...

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Kevin's Gloves

Kevin’s Gloves


I found

A spider-nest of fingers in a plastic web-

The gloves in the wash-basket

They left in the shed after they left,

After the latest beating of the mother.

Hers are there amongst the load,

long-fingered ,long- wristed,

Elegant black velours

With a leopard-skin -substitute furry trim,

 The feline touch, now derelict grace.

Kevin’s gloves surround hers;

His footba...

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Haikkuish- Ballerino




Ballerino Haikku-ish or one too many.


Wind threads  rain- drop –lace

On night’s–window ,to  crystal

Gown for my dancing soul.

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Beg her (for baby P.)



BEG HER         (for Baby P.) January 2009


Hurrying on a grey street ,under a grey sky,

for convenience ,for time’s sake, to catch a train,

Through the back gate of a chapel I passed ,

And before the door of that cult’s emporium

at the hour of morning mass, I met a child ,

A beggar, No more than six years old, jigging

where she stood ,for her dress,   green white –polka ...

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