A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination. Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry and Other Essays Three poems that illustrate the truth of Shelley's defence of poetry. Three lyric poems that move me, beyond measure: The Cloths of Heaven Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths, Enwrought with golden and silver light, The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light; I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. W. B. Yeats EDEN ROCK They are waiting for me somewhere beyond Eden Rock: My father, twenty-five, in the same suit Of Genuine Irish Tweed, his terrier Jack Still two years old and trembling at his feet. My mother, twenty-three, in a sprigged dress Drawn at the waist, ribbon in her straw hat, Has spread the stiff white cloth over the grass. Her hair, the colour of wheat, takes on the light. She pours tea from a Thermos, the milk straight From an old H.P. sauce-bottle, a screw Of paper for a cork; slowly sets out The same three plates, the tin cups painted blue. The sky whitens as if lit by three suns. My mother shades her eyes and looks my way Over the drifted stream. My father spins A stone along the water. Leisurely, They beckon to me from the other bank. I hear them call, ‘See where the stream-path is! Crossing is not as hard as you might think.’ I had not thought that it would be like this. Charles Causley Adlestrop Yes. I remember Adlestrop— The name, because one afternoon Of heat the express-train drew up there Unwontedly. It was late June. The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat. No one left and no one came On the bare platform. What I saw Was Adlestrop—only the name And willows, willow-herb, and grass, And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry, No whit less still and lonely fair Than the high cloudlets in the sky. And for that minute a blackbird sang Close by, and round him, mistier, Farther and farther, all the birds Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Edward Thomas I was born in Altrincham which was then in Cheshire, a long time ago. I lived in London for over ten years and now live in Monton in Salford. I am English, my wife, Martina is Irish. We have five surviving children who I love dearly and who give me much hope for the future. I worked for The Open University for 30 years teaching literature, linguistics and history. I have survived cancer and sepsis. I love reading poetry and novels from the past mainly British, Irish and American: Chaucer, Donne, Larkin, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Thomas Hardy, Dickens, Joyce, Christopher Marlowe, Blake, Plath, Yeats, Adrienne Rich, Denise Leveroff, GM Hopkins, Kavanagh, Owen, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, Emily Bronte.....the list goes on. I try to learn from these poets of the past as well as from many of the poets here on WOL: David, Ray, Jacob, Rachel, Vautlaw, Mae, Brian, Taylor, Stu, Mark, Cynthia and many others. I try to remain open minded and do not often write from a purely personal perspective. I attempt to give a voice to the voiceless: the dead, persecuted minorities especially the Ezedi from Shingal in Iraq, people lacking formal education but with much wisdom. I write for a wide audience and I hope that I treat my reader as an intelligent collaborator in creating the 'meaning' of the poem. The poet, through innovation in both word choice and form, seemingly rends significance from thin air: as in my favourite poem 'Sailing to Byzantium' by the Anglo-Irish poet W B Yeats and 'In Memory of my Mother' by Patrick Kavanagh: I do not think of you lying in the wet clay Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see You walking down a lane among the poplars On your way to the station, or happily Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday - You meet me and you say: 'Don't forget to see about the cattle - ' Among your earthiest words the angels stray. And I think of you walking along a headland Of green oats in June, So full of repose, so rich with life - And I see us meeting at the end of a town On a fair day by accident, after The bargains are all made and we can walk Together through the shops and stalls and markets Free in the oriental streets of thought. O you are not lying in the wet clay, For it is a harvest evening now and we Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight And you smile up at us - eternally. WORDPRESS: https://wordpress.com/post/johnemarks.wordpress.com/296 RECENT BOOKS: 'A waste of time' https://www.createspace.com/7484922 'Shadows and Dust' https://www.amazon.com/Shadows-dust-Poems-2015-2017/dp/1977848850/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1515791538&sr=1-1&keywords=Shadows+and+Dust+John+E+Marks
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. 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 faeiry-wild She kissed my cheek and mussed my hair And then she wasn’t there. Some blind folk see the faeries clear For faeries are always close or near. Oh, better far than what we see Are faeiry wings that brush our faces Like spiders’ webs or shimmering laces Such magical, lovely, lonely things. A rustle in the wind reminds us A faeiry 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 faeiry goddess makes it so lovely for me. ............................................................................
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
A permanent loss of happiness (18/08/2019)
A home I never had (18/08/2019)
Dark Star (17/08/2019)
On the Brink (16/08/2019)
Hearts are thrown at Strangers aren’t they? (15/08/2019)
A BOTTLE-NECK BLUES (14/08/2019)
A home I never had (18/08/2019)
Dark Star (17/08/2019)
Moon, moon (13/08/2019)
The beautiful Cathars of Languedoc (12/08/2019)
The Last Judgement (12/08/2019)
THE SNOT-GREEN (WINE-DARK) SEA (11/08/2019)
HOLY BROKENNESS (11/08/2019)
i.m. Paul Leon (07/08/2019)
- 2016 (1)
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