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John E Marks

Updated: Sat, 4 Aug 2018 10:09 pm

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Late 2006, I was told that I had three years left to live. So, welcome to the ghost writer! I try to learn from the poets of the past: all those legions of dead white females: Sylvia Plath, Emily Bronte, Denise Levertoff, Elizabeth Bishop.... Poetry....can be many things: words put to measure, emotion recollected in tranquillity, the expression of the inexplicable. All poetry must have something of music about it - music the greatest of the arts, because the most abstract. A poem can bring an understanding that is impossible to convey by any other combination of words. Disquisition endeth. WORDPRESS: RECENT BOOKS: 'A waste of time' 'Shadows and Dust'


SONG FOR THE OLD YEAR Redemption comes at such a cost Freezing winds off the Irish sea Blow me away from hearth and home At such a cost - loss pressing on loss - Yet still the winter-birds sing, Seemingly so carelessly, And we know it costs them their whole life To fly this way and sing and eat and build and build Yet still this merely human, framed of earth, Cannot scrape away the curse of discontent: Sitting solid as a rock, squatting squarely On the chest where a bird would build a nest Then fly high high into the blue skies of summer So far, far away from this deep and dark complacency. A WASTE. OF TIME I do not drink, But I am living under this mountain That might crush the life out of me Any time, any day So, I drink anyway. Too much grandiosity Dims the soul Makes us old. I hear the wise ones pleading, pleading when on fire, So much screaming, as the flames they get higher: Hebane, belladonna, mandrake, datura All of these, like mescaline, see right through yer. A broom, a pitchfork, a basket, or a snake The old religion is love For love’s old sake The beautiful Cathars Heard the rumble far below Looked at the surface, Saw nothing, only snow. Hares' prints lead me, Lead me to folly Red berries on The christmas holly: Soon, I shall go into a hare, With sorrow and sych And meickle, meckle care; And I shall go in the Devil's name, Ay, while I go, I come home again. Sometimes phantasma Strip my wits away Sometimes for a minute Often for a day Glad to be rid of them Pfff they are gone. My wits, for a minute, My wits, for a song. DRINKING WHERE THE RIVER BED IS DRY Charlie and I have walked our post-cancer walks Down this narrow stretch of green in the city For a full decade now. We’ve aged together But not like malt, we’ve blended into each other, Man and Dog. He recognizes the smells, me the sights, And his life is shorter than mine. That afflicts me like A sentence. Very few minutes pass Without me thinking of that. He connects me to the Pack, little knowing that the human herd is what I find Most offensive, most absurd. I try to fly past those nets Of race, nationality and religion. A new Daedalus come To cry: “my medium is the heavens, my medium is the sky.” But we walk slower and slower each day, me clearing Up his shit, him watching the dreary Manchester sky. ............................................................................ THE STOLEN CHILD I remember falling as a child And being lifted by a fairy-wild She kissed my cheek and mussed my hair And then she wasn’t there. Some blind folk see the fairies clear For faeries are always close or near. Oh, better far than what we see Are fairy wings that brush our faces Like spiders’ webs or shimmering laces Such magical, lovely, lonely things. A rustle in the wind reminds us A fairy sprite is near. Shush! Do not scare her She is full of fear until her night is spent Her tears upon the pillow-scent… The crow she sings her lullaby as harsh as harsh can be But the golden fairy goddess makes it so lovely for me. ............................................................................ WINTER We wake to the rumbling thunder of blood, Pumping hearts, twisted hearts, this shadow and I Squeeze into the thick silences of trees. Now the dark lights of Christmastide afflict us Twilight memories drift, flux and flicker In this breeze of Time, Penumbra-beginning hologram-end, Such pungent affirmations, slip into the past: Generations of suffering: eyes lifted to a cross, a crescent, a menorah, Yearnings spilling onto the page of history: Promises made and never kept. Out of time’s descent; In the beginning was the word. The sacred apartness of the intelligible: Fragments of the blood, firings in the brain, The body, a holy place again. This tinder-box of meaning flares, Time ebbs and flows, Means To an end.

All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.

Audio entries by John E Marks

The Incidentals (27/07/2018)

All these many ill-fated days (25/06/2018)

Roll away the stone (10/03/2018)

No man ever steps in the same river twice (10/03/2018)

kafiristan (10/03/2018)

Along the Unhallowed Way (09/03/2018)

RECOVERY (04/03/2018)

Outfoxing the furies (03/03/2018)

from swerve of shaw to blend of bray (02/03/2018)

Cavalier (17/02/2018)

More audio from John E Marks…

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Frances Macaulay Forde

Fri 17th Aug 2018 03:00

G'day John,
I've bought and read your Kindle chapbook 'A Waste of Time' and do not consider it so... I enjoyed it!
Especially the more personal poems like 'Children' or the 'Photograph'; the very sad 'Words that I forget' and 'Rainy September'.
Unfortunately I no longer buy books but only Kindle versions because my house is FULL! So although I would like to have purchased it, apparently 'Shadows and Dust' is only available to read on Amazon's app - which I don't want.
You are a favourite so I shall keep an eye out for more on WOL.

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Colin Hill

Mon 30th Jul 2018 08:36

Hi John
astir in SW Wales
this side of the Atlantic
travels on hold . . .

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Darren J Beaney

Mon 11th Jun 2018 19:27

Hi John

Thanks for the message, it was a pleasure to read your work. I love the idea of thoughts forming like an Oxbow lake. Terrific!

Having just read your profile -
I also love the way you have kept those 3 years going!


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sun 15th Oct 2017 11:55

I appreciate your interest and your comments. I always consider very carefully suggestions from fellow writers. And I have benefitted hugely.

But, in the case of 'The Dreamfooter', I would not now make alterations. It has been twice published and three times presented in spoken poetry 'programmes'.

I often make changes years after first 'writing'. Just not this time.

Thanks much. And, please, never hesitate to challenge anything I write. That is real 'sharing'.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Mon 10th Jul 2017 12:43

Interesting how 'history' is essentially 'story' as opposed to 'records'. The account itself, or at least the slant of it, depends on the person/s reporting of the happening/s, personal interests and the effective result/s. Records are then hugely influenced.

Point of view must always be a cautionary background to 'history'.

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Dominic James

Mon 13th Feb 2017 13:40

Hi John

Just come across your home page and blog, I hope the collection is going well, let me re-word comment on Byzantine - I retreat rapidly before your superior knowledge!

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Tue 14th Jun 2016 12:51

I'll make an effort to check more of your work. I like your ideas. Besides, my eyes work better now.

I live in Sale. You might like to try the WOL evening at Sale Waterside which meets next Tuesday; it's a widely varied group, and very friendly.

I'm going to be so embarrassed if you've already been out and I've not recognized your name.

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Patricia and Stefan Wilde

Thu 26th Aug 2010 22:05

Good evening John-'Fog at sea'..brilliant! your work is a 'must read' without doubt-and very much intend to do so-hope your health improves and quickly-thank you John-best regards-Stef

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Ann Foxglove

Tue 27th Apr 2010 00:31

I think your poem is really good. I esp like the last verse. To be able to write about this sort of subject in such a no-nonsense straight way makes it all the more touching. Hope your better health continues and hope to see more of your stuff on WOL.

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