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John E Marks

Updated: 11 days ago


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FIRST SNOW We walk a steep and slippery way, Mixing senses is synesthesia's way, It seem as if I am a chorus in a play We feel by measure, hidden from the eye Time is borrowed, blue days wasted, time leant, I walk along a steep and scattered way. Winter seeps me into sleep, as my soul flies, To the gist of an art unborrowed from time or tide; I learn by going, where I have to go, inside. Dark holds imagination in thrall, fear reverberates In terror that, I know, can paralyse my mind or eye, I wake to sleep and take my waking home with me... Some seek with all their senses stripped away Others watch as skies fade to a kipper-grey, An ever-changing melding of night and day. I seek to shake off this edifice of days Time falls away the wise woman prays She dreams to make her waking slow... I mingle prayers, with softly falling snow. The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. Albert Einstein It is a test [that] genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” — T. S. Eliot, from the essay "Dante." 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: RECENT BOOKS: 'A waste of time' 'Shadows and Dust'


. If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. Noam Chomsky

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

Audio entries by John E Marks

Wie prophetisch - Rainer Maria Rilke (18/04/2021)

A California Spectral (09/04/2021)

Charlotte's one day late Birthday party (02/04/2021)

Epiphany (01/04/2021)

The rhythm of a dream (29/03/2021)

Things fall apart (10/03/2021)

The snow moon (25/02/2021)

Terra Nova (16/02/2021)

Himalyan Greeks* (06/02/2021)

The old religion of love (02/02/2021)

More audio from John E Marks…

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Martin Elder

Sat 23rd Jan 2021 14:47

I was just reading your first snow poem. there are some really great lines in it with so much richness of colour and texture. Wonderful John

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Ghazala lari

Fri 4th Dec 2020 12:20

Hello John,

May God be with you always. I made an elaborate prayer requesting God to help you in all your endeavours, to bless you immensely with good health, happiness, peace, prosperity, love, tranquility and serenity.
"May God be pleased with you always. May He grants all your good wishes, prayers in your favour."

Always have faith in the One who created you. He is extremely loving, merciful forgiving Lord. Ask and it shall be given to you. Pray with full faith and belief that your prayers are accepted in your favour.

All my duas and best wishes for you always.

Peace n blessings be upon you. Ameen.

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John Marks

Fri 4th Dec 2020 00:07

Canterbury Tales. I think dk. Pilgrims setting off from Southwark. And no. I can't draw a straight line.


Fri 20th Nov 2020 13:05

what is that paining of?
did you do it?

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jennifer Malden

Sat 25th Apr 2020 15:10

Thanks again John for the nice comment on Doing it Gingerly. I had great fun writing it, and my friends had told me this happened at an island where we always spent our hols together.The unfortunate cat was white and from Florence. We also go on hol to Elba sometimes, and there were several stray cats about. One left us 'presents' every morning on the doormat. Twice a juiicy rat, and another time a poor wee bird. The intention was greatly appreciated! I have always had dogs, but like cats too. Macavity is a fantastic poem. i never tire of reading it.


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jennifer Malden

Mon 13th Apr 2020 10:46

Hello John, thanks for the comment on 'Felliini in Florence' - glad you enjoyed it. It was so unexpected and unusual that I have never forgotten the scene!


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Ruvi Galhena

Thu 12th Mar 2020 16:07

Hi John,
Thank you so much for your comment on my recent poem 'women's day'.. Im glad you like it.. 😊

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Sat 7th Mar 2020 12:12

Thanks John for commenting on The Colour of Thought. A wee drop of philosophy there, but my real aim was to not fall into the trap of using the word black as a blanket term for our darker brethren. Nature has provided us with shades and we seem to enjoy reducing things to easily categorizable chunks. Imagine if we had a few primary colours for choosing clothing for instance.
That point has not really been reflected in the responses, so does that mean the poem has failed?

I've been using the site very sporadically, but it suits me at the moment. Hope you're well!!


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Binte Afroz

Fri 14th Feb 2020 17:53

Hi John,

I wanted to thank you for your supportive remarks posted on my homepage. Well, I read your sample poems a while ago and found them remarkable. It's a pleasure to read your poems always as there is a lot for me to learn from them.


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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sat 11th Jan 2020 15:05

Happy New Year, John. Your contributions to this site are highly regarded by me, both your personal works and your 'commentaries'. I do admire, and value, scholarship that is shared. Your bio entries are embracing.

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Sat 11th Jan 2020 00:38

Thanks for the comments John; micro-bite truths that we all should heed. I always always appreciate your input. And I hope Friday night is treating you alright.

<Deleted User> (18980)

Thu 31st Oct 2019 23:45

John - the words which Graham refers to, which you posted on his profile (16 Oct), I recognise as my words to him on his return to WOL after a break.

No need to apologise John...I actually feel quite flattered that you went back eight months to find the quote.

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Graham Sherwood

Thu 17th Oct 2019 20:39

Oh! I see my mistake now John. I thought they were your views and not those of another poet posted last February that you have dragged back for some god knows why reason.
Then I noticed that you have recently turned your profile into a David Moore tribute page. Now it all makes sense.
So let me tell you where I am. I’ll not create another battlefield here on WOL with you.
My advice, not that I suspect you’ll take it is, please take care and keep your comments to other’s work. You might also feel like apologising to the person whose comments you’ve plagiarised too.
As for me.....none taken!

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Graham Sherwood

Thu 17th Oct 2019 10:17

Thank you John.

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Mon 14th Oct 2019 11:08

Thanks for your comment on The Way I Write, John. You've managed to sum it all up in a single sentence. 😃

steven arthur

Thu 11th Apr 2019 11:13

Never stop writing, John.

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Becky Who

Mon 1st Apr 2019 17:14

Hi John, thanks for the birthday wishes, so sweet of you to remember! Sorry I've not been around much recently, think I've missed a few things. You ok?

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John Marks

Sat 23rd Mar 2019 23:34

Not too bad Jacob me ol'mukker. Can't walk, in pain a lot. BUT my daughter is about to give birth and that is beyond anything. I'm sure you know. Thanks for the ointment you sent me/ It is having an ameliorative effect but not enough. I need surgery and i'm seeing the surgeon on the 28th. More I read about Colorado, the more I like it. VERY progressive for a western state. All the best now and forever to you and your family. John

steven arthur

Sat 23rd Mar 2019 12:32

Hope you are well my friend. You and your family are in my thoughts, John.?

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M.C. Newberry

Sat 16th Mar 2019 15:56

Hello John - many thanks for your comment on my home page - and the quoted extract from the Binyon poem. Even
reading those lines brought the moisture to my eyes, such
is the effect on me of their irresistible evocation of nature's power for renewal.
And, yes, the first name is Mark.


Fri 8th Mar 2019 22:15

Still about, if only for now..

Thanks, John.

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John Marks

Wed 27th Feb 2019 20:21

Thank you Trevor, Kate and Mae for stopping by and for your encouragement. Best wishes - John

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trevor homer

Wed 27th Feb 2019 11:29

The poem was written for my granddaughter - so for you to offer such a personal comment means a great deal to me. By the way, I love the reflective mood of Drinking Where The River Bed Is Dry

<Deleted User> (19913)

Thu 21st Feb 2019 03:42

Hi John, I wanted to drop by and say how much I enjoy your work, and your supportive comments - particularly the lovely one you took the time to make on my blog. There's a beautiful quality to your work that leaves me wanting more. Thanks again, Kate

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Mae Foreman

Sun 3rd Feb 2019 12:49

Impressing bio John! I can relate on some issues (check my bio). I also loved your sample "stolen child"! I can say it faintly reminds me of the Peter Pan fantasy; some magical shadow sweeping you off in the middle of the night and taking into a dreamworld!?
I believe you definitely have a lot of things to say.

Big Sal

Sat 19th Jan 2019 12:46

Thank you much for stopping by to read my work well into the beginning of 2019, John.

I do hope you were able to scrape some enjoyment from them!

Until next time, Excelsior!

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Taylor Crowshaw

Sat 19th Jan 2019 06:20

Thank you for your comment on The Matriarch John. I loved the poem you sent..x

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John Marks

Sat 19th Jan 2019 05:22

"Glory is like a circle in the water, which never ceaseth to enlarge itself, till, by broad spreading, it disperse to naught."

Henry VI Pt 1

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John Marks

Sat 29th Dec 2018 21:45

Thanks Ray, Big Sal, Po, Taylor and Martin for getting in touch. A healthy and happy new year to you all!

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."

(Little Gidding)”
― T.S. Eliot

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Fri 28th Dec 2018 15:59

Hi John. I wanted to say that I appreciate your comment about rhetoric on my poem Letter from the Streets. I felt that there was probably enough flak to basically undermine any merit the poem had, based purely on an idea and not supposed to be a treatise on the subject. This is why I have contacted you directly. I think rhetoric should add views certainly, but I'd had enough in this case. I hope you will understand!


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