Poetry Blog by Tom Harding

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Alan Travis Braddock on December 24th Notebook Pieces (Fri, 11 Jan 2019 01:55 pm)

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Douglas MacGowan on December 24th Notebook Pieces (Tue, 25 Dec 2018 01:38 am)

Tom Harding on December 21st (Mon, 24 Dec 2018 11:35 pm)

John Marks on December 21st (Sun, 16 Dec 2018 10:47 pm)

Martin Elder on December 21st (Sun, 16 Dec 2018 10:41 pm)

December 24th Notebook Pieces

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Past 3 O’Clock
Still, the moon like 
frost across the bedroom 
we find the language
we spoke as 
when our minds
were open
and our hearts 
We hold hope within us,
like a little house
swelling with light
in the darkness
of a late 
December evening.
listening to the gentle sounds
of those I love
The candle 

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December 21st

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Everything goes 

and we bury this thought 

within us 

walking down the unremarkable pavement

covered in leaves

like a year's worth of paperwork,

to-do lists and

unfinished poems

breathing to heaven as we go

while the buildings peek from clouds

and the winter sun 

polishes the world

reminding us beauty can be found at any time 

If you can stay clear headed


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Do not go mad

do not panic

do not chase after fact and reason

as if such things exist.

There isn't enough time

to be offended by this world.

We only have this moment

slipping from us,

the sun on your bare arms

and newspaper

leaving the table

and coffee

to cross the street

towards the trees

now emptying

of birds.

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She looks like a milkmaid
in a 17th century Dutch painting
or a tourism poster
from the 20s
Summer in the Alps, perhaps,
tilting the milk jug
with her hair tied back
in a blue shawl
as she serves the
queue of businessmen
for any deviation to the script,
the most casual smile
lighting hope
in that dark place
wherever it is
that men keep it.


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Cafe Scene

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If someone told you
this was the midpoint of your life
and at a precise moment while you

were lifting your second cup of coffee

to your lips a lever had been thrown
causing the axis of your life to tilt downwards
and an unseen ball to drop and begin

a rattling descent towards the inevitable
what would you do?
Would you embrace this new awareness as freedom?
Perhaps ask the knockout...

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Hello there little visitor
how brave of you
to cross this desk to come see me
when I think of your life
even more
fragile than mine
but perhaps this fragility
has allowed you a certain
devil may care spirit
as right now you're
heading up my arm
as easy as someone
going out to buy
the morning paper.

Well when you pause there,
an old man shivering
amongst the poplars,
is it to not...

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In here is the history of the world,

a wretched depiction of life’s poorest victims.


The deluded moth venturing all night

at the dim window trying to reach the moon.

The spider plucking his web

as the fly drowns in the toilet bowl.


Here is the threshing floor

we teeter across clutching our suitcases,

the butcher shop with

it’s the blood stained alter,


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Death is a little like this,

the way it knocks out the lights

and sends you room to room

blindly searching wardrobes

and turning out draws for

a battery, a torch

or some utility

with which to respond

to this impossible new reality.

While the unthinking part of you

keeps expecting

to flick a switch

and return this house

to some scene, years ago

when it ...

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Maundy Thursday

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You let go of mystery,

now without thinking about it

you know ghosts don't exist

and whatever else,

you suppose,

that might bring someone 

back from the dead.

Your most enlightened philosophies

turn out the lights

on a dark afternoon 

in an empty kitchen

where the shadow of trees

flail like the outstretched

arms of a martyr or saint,

while you sit in a cha...

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Spring Office Poem

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Spring is back

and beyond the window

birds are circling lazily

between white clouds and trees

and I can't keep my eyes on

this spreadsheet;

a quarterly assessment

of business achievements,

wanting instead

to document a confession

of our collective failings

or perhaps a database

of our deepest desires

in an attempt to facilitate

a new landscape

of commun...

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John Clare Poem 1

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Even now the snow lies strewn

like something forgotten

or waiting to be collected.

There, at the limits of the field,

unreached by sunlight,

clinging to the feet of

the quivering fence posts,

where I picture him,

heavy legged

and bending thin shoes on

the frozen stubble

familiar with every ruck and forrow.

Tracing, retracing,

the worn grooves of the...

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Courtyard In Snow

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Who tucked the world under
new sheets while we slept?
How loving,
even the cars looks peaceful
with their night caps on.
What can be said of such a perfect scene? 
The cat peeking out hesitantly,
the little birds dusting their wings,
each know the slightest stroke 

could spoil the canvas.
Wait here awhile before 
you put your boots on
and go about restlessly
blackening the page.

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Morning Thought

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More snow just when we were 

looking to get on with our lives,

now the pipes have frozen

and I spend the morning 

drinking coffee in the kitchen 

watching a blackbird

pecking through the drifting snow

of the courtyard

as if looking for something lost.

There's an emptiness I can't shift

and a dissatisfaction that says

when I'm working I should be relaxing

and whe...

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Look at the light of the candle

flickering like a spirit trapped in the wine glass,

who's watching over this close communion?

It seems you can forget a face

just like anything else,

like the rocks and the flowers

on the hillside slipping into the tranquil

night around us.

Leaving behind the aftermath of a scene,

this little table with it's plates,

olive stones and b...

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In my loneliness
I retell myself what I know
that for instance there is a shark
in the North Atlantic
thought to be four hundred years old.
A cold dark grey animal
that survives in the pitch blackness
of the deep ocean,
the midnight zone,
a scavenger surviving
on the decayed carcasses
of seals and polar bears
and whose flesh if consumed
is poisonous causing
neurological effects simil...

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Coffee Break

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Sat just before noon drinking coffee on the step

I watched a bee maneuver himself into a small hole

in the cement between the bricks,

casually brushing the dust from his sides

like someone wiping their feet

as they returned home from a morning's work.

He disappeared for maybe fifteen minutes or more

long enough for my coffee to grow cold

as I sat wondering when he would re...

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