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Mark Gillies

Updated: Fri, 2 Jul 2010 08:47 am

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A very new entrant to the world of poetry, Mark's writing reflects the split of his life between the UK and Africa drawing on the literary and oral traditions of those two origins. Nature, landscapes and the interactions of the people with them often features in his poems. Currently unpublished, he enjoys (and occasionally contributes to) Poetry Bites in Birmingham hosted by Jacqui Rowe.


1.In Memorium, The Grey Man Snow Hill Train Station, Birmingham Did you feel it the day the frost set in? The day the stone began to form, freezing, numbing, petrifying, silent progress in a place of delay and shifting wait. Feel it. Wiggle your toes. Make the blood flow. ’45 with War gone, Routine clothed Peace for free, heavily in chalk stripes, rough cloth and a cut made suitable for Everyman with time to clock on; with freedom to plan ahead. Feel it. Wiggle your toes. Make the blood flow. Office fag smoke and station steam obscured calendars torn by time, flying numbers fleeing into history or next year. Progress for you a bowler hat. Status. Feel it. Wiggle your toes. Make the blood flow. Furled umbrella and grasped briefcase complete you, urban lever, freer of the cogs that grind out a growing, needy city. Winter draughts blocked by thoughts of last night’s game. Feel it. Wiggle your toes. Make the blood flow. You must have felt it, known, deep down, that age did not cause your slowness, the stiffness that let different fashions catch the train and hustle for advantage in crowds grown daunting. Fight it. Wiggle your toes. Make the blood flow. Then in the exhale of one ordinary day it all ends. The train leaves the station. Now you stand fixed in grey testament to the fallen, facing the stairs that brought you here. I wiggle my toes, feel the blood flow and board the train 2. Look out Have you heard? On the high street now they sell mountains. Nature packaged with bright eyes and good teeth; no longer red in tooth and claw, but a life/work balance, a leisure choice measured in feet gained and inches lost from waistlines clad in the latest fabric to end in an ‘x’ coloured for attention and always the maker’s name deftly placed. ‘This could be you! Come and join us.’ Wear your gear. Feed the seagulls. Join the queue to a summit fifty feet from a cafe; take pictures and wave at the folk on the train. Then wander back to the bus. It was not always so. * High in the hills, running strong on tight paths, sure of myself, reveling in the comfort of belonging, breaking the skyline I stop - still – to stand draped in the sheer heavy wonder of country. Down In the valley below, movement catches my eye. Bright fabric merges with tumbled stones. Sun stressed people rest in the shade of ruined buildings unaware of the gorse-pressed watcher on the rocks. It is all so natural. My fingers flex, searching for the smooth familiar of the leather grip. The sword slides in the scabbard; the blade is bright and the edge is keen as the winter wind. A summer breeze softens darting birdsong and breaks warm upon my face. Light dances on the ridged scales of the llyn’s ripples. Waving mountain grasses deny the density of rock. In this land of the massive lies only space for the delicate. Time paused, a sun caught drop slow-fallen. In the brief, serene, forever of a resting butterfly I anticipate the kill.

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

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<Deleted User> (7075)

Wed 14th Apr 2010 20:26

Interesting work mike. Hope you get something out of our site and keep on posting. Winston

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Mark Gillies

Wed 14th Apr 2010 08:58

Thanks Pete and good spot; the cpastline is Mafia Island in Tanzania during my day job.

Pete Crompton

Tue 13th Apr 2010 21:42

Welcome aboard, I like the 'memories / room ' metaphor especially 'memories are a room we dress together' the duality of this is great dress/decorate dress/clothes. Also the idea of a room as a stage to live out stages of life, the poem touches on some of my favourite emotions.

p.s is that the African coastline on your pic.>? Peter.

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