Poetry Blog by Tom Harding

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Vautaw on The African Queen (Wed, 20 Nov 2019 05:21 am)

raypool on The African Queen (Tue, 19 Nov 2019 01:27 pm)

Tom Harding on The Wrestler (Mon, 18 Nov 2019 09:53 pm)

raypool on The Wrestler (Fri, 15 Nov 2019 03:33 pm)

poemagraphic on The Wrestler (Fri, 15 Nov 2019 02:28 pm)

Vautaw on The Wrestler (Thu, 14 Nov 2019 11:31 pm)

Tom Harding on The Hard Problem (Thu, 14 Nov 2019 10:59 pm)

raypool on The Hard Problem (Tue, 12 Nov 2019 10:15 pm)

poemagraphic on The Hard Problem (Tue, 12 Nov 2019 05:35 pm)

Tom Harding on Now (Sat, 9 Nov 2019 09:13 am)

Theme For Ernie

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Many nights like this

I sat beside a darkened window

cradling thoughts of what

delivered you here.

Nights when snow fell

and Coltrane's mute tenor

signalled in the gloom,

A Golden Record, 

spiraling the consolations

of a beleaguered earth

into the silent cosmos.

I would wonder what

beacon you followed,

in your small white suit, 

buttoned to the chin,

lu...

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The African Queen

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I am listening

very closely to you,

just as the Buddhists would

recommend,

keeping attention

on your voice, 

how it sounds,

and the content of your words,

trying my best to

ignore my thoughts

that keep rudely interrupting,

how your hair

pinned like that

resembles Katharine Hepburn

in The African Queen

which is based upon 

a 1935 book by

C.S. Fores...

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The Wrestler

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You believe in love don't you?
You know love,
the one with the
plastered knuckles 
and fractured nose
and lifetime
prescription for
painkillers?
That old war horse
drowning his sorrows
over there,
who can still turn it on
now and then,
in that arena where
every move is scripted
but the blood is still real.

 

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The Hard Problem

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Nobody knows what it is to be alive

or at least there is no description 

to satisfy all parties, as to when

the lights are on and why we’re 

any more conscious

than this rubber plant, say,

or for that matter this table

or bent wood chair.

 

They call this the hard problem,

the one the best academics

can’t plough their heads through,

that leaves us with only best...

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The Secret of his Success

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The cat settles 

down by the radiator

as I pull on cold trousers 

from the cold floor

then watches as I

search for hat, coat, gloves.

Later I see him

in the upstairs window

while I scrape the frost 

from the windshield

and again

as I sit rubbing my hands 

as the engine warms

until he gets up

and with a stretch turns away, 

his whole day 

ahead of him...

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Thoughts This Morning

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Like the voices at a family dinner

like a film with reels 

in the wrong order

like the pages of a script

thrown by an angry lover

from a moving train

like a meadow of butterflies

where I am the one with a big white net

and an open book within

which to pin them in.

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Now

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Coffee and peaches

on the table,

the sun shining 

through the backdoor,

your son watching a bee 

inspect the heart

of a sunflower.

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Late Night Movie

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I fall asleep 

dreaming of another version of this film,

one rescued from the cutting room floor,

as they say,

except comprised of only 

the beginnings and endings of every scene,

a thousand black and white windows 

swept up after dark 

by a cinephilic janitor 

who spliced them into an unending reel 

of stolen frames from Nightmare Alley, 

Harbour Lights,  No Way O...

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Bad Influences

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The Golden Age Chinese poets
were always drinking too much
always going to sleep in their soup
or falling out of boats 
trying to serenade the moon.

They wrote poems with names
like Waking from a Drunken Sleep
Or In Praise of a Little Wine Jug.
Poems that chronicled the simple pleasures 
of waking up drunk on a mountaintop
or putting your plans aside
to watch a rain storm.

No doubt...

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Retirement

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The old man in the window seat

is setting quietly to his routine,

folding up the sleeves

of his Oxford shirt inch by inch

until the sun falls across his bare arms

 

then with just a smile

he signals to the waitress and waits

watching the hushed street

after the morning rush:

a mother with a pram,

a homeless man conferring with his dog,

a few pigeons plucking

...

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Love Poem

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Despite what they say

the mind is more

reckless than the heart,

ready to climb aboard

any passing distraction,

waving over it’s shoulder at you

as it stands you up at this table

staring vacantly at the waitress

with the red headband

but it could have just as easily been

the old man in the corner

eating chocolate ice cream alone

or for that matter

the dog ...

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Ant Poem

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It wouldn’t surprise me
if some of this number
making their way
past our resting elbows
are beginning to lose faith,
what with summer wind 
gusting so wildly 
through the long grass,
sounding like a sea 
preparing to part itself.
What's to stop one or two
falling behind the rest?
Forsaking the promise 
of what may come
to idle away this earthly afternoon
sheltering in the shade 
of...

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Cafe Window

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How beautiful

to become aware of yourself existing

to wake to the tiny pleasure

of a warm brioche

and cup of coffee, interrupted only

from the paper’s bad news

by the brief commotion of

a woman in yellow

losing her scarf to the breeze,

startling the realisation from you

that such a moment maybe everything;

a quiet cup of coffee

on a breezy morning in spring

...

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Development Plan

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When my line manager

asks me about my development plan

and where I see myself

in one, three or five years time

 

I begin to think how in a year

I would like to be painting watercolours

beside a mountain stream

somewhere in the Bavarian Alps

 

in three years eating cantaloupe

and drinking black coffee

on an early morning

in a European city I don't yet kn...

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This Morning

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Watching your turned back disappear

this morning, head stooped

beneath the black omen of your umbrella

ferrying you towards your day,

we parted as though in different streams

of the same dark river,

I began to think about those physicists

who would have us believe

there are infinite versions of ourselves,

going this way and that,

carried like scattered blossom

...

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Monday

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There are places colder and darker than this,

right now in Oslo, Reykjavik,

they’re waking too,

presing cold feet to the floor,

pulling on icy underwear,

peering into dim mirrors

to begin the search for their outside selves.

 

No doubt a few will be sat just as I am

peering light headedly into the gloom

to unpick the world’s

smallest knot from their shoes.

 

...

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Someone To Watch Over Me

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The future is dark,
our days are numbered,
there will be a last time for everything
given all things are finite
and the news the universe 
is expanding eleven percent faster than expected
as if wishing to hasten it's own demise.
Look at everyone on this dark afternoon,
hunched over these little round tables
like mourners at a funeral 
for our collective future,
the barmaid staring on th...

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