Tag Archives: Two Poems

Two Poems by Peter Taylor


I have not, until now, tried to write about him –
our father who ought to be in Heaven –
save for a brief description of a man’s face
shortly after death. It could have been anyone’s face,
a man of any faith, no clear trace of religion,
no “about to go somewhere” face – just a
cold, grey hue, the colour of a statue, as
still as a statue, yet no solid look – more like
the delicately shaped ash of a fire gone cold,
long before it was ever old.

Ought to be in Heaven? Not a bad man but,
yes, a sad man: a man unrewarded for his
loyalty to lowly small scale sales of
office tat, of this and that, ten shilling lunches
for likely sources of ordinary orders.
And in the depths of family dysfunction, he
spoke to his customers, not so much to us;
lonely at home where there lay in wait, each night,
the itch of cash being tight, in so slow motion;
being passed over for promotion.

He rarely shared the pain, so found no ally, no
tie to others, no bond on which he might rely
to live a private life that cocked a snook at
the tawdry world outside, where he might hide
and find succour, perhaps even love of a kind.
As it was, I remember, mostly, ghost-cold indoor
freezes, heated by rows, the children in bed,
frightened by the thought that frustration might
lead to blows. One time they did, in front of us all,
in front of black flies on the wall.

Mother says he made himself ill through worry,
a sorry end to a sorry life, strife at each turn,
leaving earthly happiness aside, hoping for
some paradise at the end of it all;  but
the end, once it began, was long and no-one knew
what it was – save him, who felt it deep, deep within,
saw the wood for the trees and knew he would leave
this beaten life early, the burly Reaper on his way,
scythe sharp as tongues. We heard his moans,
we heard the shrieking whetstone.

So there we are, the morning after, by the slab,
thinking of waxworks, because the nurses had
fiddled with the lines on his face – nearly enough for us to ask,
silently, is that him, surely some mistake?
A doubt for a second only, as his name is on a band,
around his wrist, in case he goes missing, perhaps?
Now he’s in the queue for those due to be readied,
for the fire or the earth. He is cold now but is down for
the fire – some colour at last (a wry irony at best),
until ash settles white and nothing else left.

Cliff Walking 
Fall away cliffs close by our feet
falling away to far down distant seas
would need to fall a long way to hear
this still day’s whispering waves
waiting to roll in at the whistle of the
goading tide, pulled then pushed
then dragged by an inscrutable moon;
its magic alone at work, no arms to
swish oceans in their shelves and troughs.

Gusty winds bend backs and
drum in heads that fight for balance;
keep eyes in front, not a foot cliff-ward,
forward is the only way, the lonely way,
no slip shared, no hand to grab, no
life spared if a boot slides before the
path widens and minds unlock their
grip on tightened limbs that loosen as
eyes rise at last to racing skies.

As just a single hour scuttles by while
rain drenches, chills then, blow over,
last spills running down weathered cheeks,
the autumn sea-cool sun unveils a
coast now stretching out a full day’s march –
oh so far away – and dries, warms, restores.
bodies sense our lives’ survival; the
elements have smiled on us today, have
played with us. And tomorrow otherwise?

And so a just point jointly roots inside:
one day, some unsettled day, as
dark night must faithfully follow day, it
will be otherwise; and the wind or water will
take us – oh so very far away but where the
sun shines long each day if we earn it well,
making warmth, in our own way, on our way,
our walk along the long path, telling of
humanity, telling our connection with a
passer-by, telling the celebration to be
held each day that has ended with a
promise for the morning and the
sleep of an open soul, a humble heart.

And in that sleep we will prepare for the
warm days – now not so very far away –
foot-sure, cliff-skipping, eyes up, down,
all around, no fear, no slipping, no
vertigo, so quick, so light, walking
through the day and into night.
seabirds swoop just a yard away
but know we are there, in the same way
we have seen them all before, when the
way was slow and our bodies tired.
Those were the early days; we can play
games with them now, as the young wind
once did with us, now we are beyond
old and past the start of the new days.
And, as we’d been told, there’s no cold
in the rain and, running in and out of the storm,
our bodies bone dry and washed by the sea,
our embrace is, as always, perfectly warm –
and there a promise for all days.

Peter  Taylor is a poet of four years vintage, his work focusing on links between human beings and the physical world and the enduring significance of relationships with other people and the things that surround us. He recently won the Paragram chapbook prize for his pamphlet “Perspectives from an Open Heart”.

Two Poems by Nick Cooke


Don’t mind me as I glide past on my scooter,
one foot in the air, an arabesque stagily held
against the traction of reality
while you trudge on, lost to reverie.

I wear long shorts and a fishnet vest.
You’re in grey slacks and burgundy brogues
and I’d lay odds there are braces underneath
that tweed jacket with Frankenstein shoulders.

I’m sure you can hear and hope you
enjoy my music pulsating forth
from the cables plugged into my skull.
Good luck with your glorified silence.

We inhabit different spheres, right enough,
and though I feel you mock me,
even if you choose not to regard me,
I have an advanced diploma in indifference

and will invite you kindly to self-copulate
should you dispute my rights over more than half
the dusty pavement. No, I know you won’t –
you’re far too busy not minding me

to suspend your plodding fixation,
your superstitious paving stone stare;
to glance up where the aura might blind you.

Animal Kingdom

my face in ecstasy
aped by you
amid giggles
and hand over mouth
too late
and I doubt we can go
on with that between us
a strangled fox
caught in the ripple of a mirror
unless we love
without animalising ourselves
even minimally
in which purest of dreams
we have some hope
but with lips mashed
and buried heads
it’s like music with no beat
no driving pulse
and I do not think I
can live like that

so instead
let us seek a medium
which if not happy
at least can smile content
in the teeth of compromise
and allow for the odd
half grunt and grimace
on either side
without sacrifice
of respect or favour
and in moderate degree
may even embrace
perspiration and sighs


Nick Cooke has had several poems published in Sentinel Literary Quarterly, along with the anthologies Poems For a Liminal Age and To Kingdom Come, and other outlets including Agenda, Ink, Sweat & Tears, The High Window Journal, Dream Catcher, Poetry Space, I am not a silent poet and Nutshells & Nuggets. His poem ‘Tanis’ won the Wax Poetry and Art contest (April 2016) and ‘Process’ was Highly Commended in the Segora Poetry Competition (July 2015). He is currently working on his first collection.
He has also written several novels and a collection of stories which so far remain unpublished, as well as around twenty stage plays and eight film scripts.

Anne M Carson. Two Poems

Old friends, three elementals

Lake Takepo McKenzie Basin, South Island, New Zealand

The wind picks up, playing the pines by the lake-shore – delicate
fingers across filaments. Today they sing a plaintive song, Aeolian
lament to the body of water they have lived by for so long. It’s not

always like that – when the sun shines and turns the lake translucent,
sometimes the wind whips up wavelets – then the trees are loud
with vigour and exclamation. They are old friends, three elementals –

though the wind is a gyspy-spirit and the water an alchemist.
They are familiars familiar with each other’s moods, each other’s
histories; ease of connection emerging from long-standing proximity,

the repetitiveness of daily life. Sometimes the lake dredges up the past;
plunging, writhing, frozen heart. It gets fractious, tosses in its bed,
then settles again into the habit of placidity, the pleasure of flow.

It retains the glorious turquoise depths of its glacial past, losing only
solidity in exchange for freedom of expression. Always an equilibrium
between the three, moving out of, then back into balance again.

The detective’s chair (7)

There is nothing noir about Guido Brunetti. Noir needs ground
of loneliness, food of melancholy. Crime gets him down from time
to time, but he is reflective, philosophical, dives into Herodotus
when distance is required. He doesn’t come home from violence
to empty taunting rooms, to the siren song of ghosts. Awaiting him –
the love of a good woman, laughter from his kids. Most days Paola
cooks for him, real food, not the grease and salt of take away. Often
both lunch and dinner: calamari ripieni, fusili con mozzarella di
bufala et olive nere. If lunch must be eaten on the run he is aggrieved.
Even gourmet tramezzini don’t placate him, no match for Paola’s
deft hand with homemade fare. Her wise words, humour at his
expense often pull him out of gloom. His chair is on the third floor
terrace, next to hers. Together they contemplate la Serenissima,
share conversation, sunset, a glass or two of chilled prosecco.

Anne M Carson has been published in literary journals internationally and widely in Australia. Removing the Kimono was published in 2013. In 2015 she was commended in the Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Prize. She is looking for a publisher for Massaging Himmler: A poetic biography of Dr Felix Kersten. www.annemcarson.com

Two Poems by Ogundare Tope

Happiness is being

I finally step out of my self
And walk the miles to you.
I have worn the cloak of winter for too long
And lived on dried raisins gathered in the summer
Many seasons ago
Living is empty when the heart is dry and stale
And memory becomes a bad brew of ale
Happiness comes from being –
My epiphany from intoxication on fumes of dried tears
Remnants of aged agony
From the cellar of sorrow.
In a drunken haze, I stagger into wisdom:
It takes courage to be naked.
I undress in sobriety
From the soul out,
And feel my manhood shrivel from the cold winds
Of your eyes
I step out of the pile of me
And take unsteady steps in your direction
A walk of shame
Towards redemption.


Sleeping on the same bed
Bodies touching
Hearts separated by a wall –
Travelling in different directions.

A lingering look
Radiant smiles
Arms locked
Weeping hearts
Picture perfect

Smiling faces
Cold eyes
Hearts at war

Bodies locked
In an intimate dance
Body double.


Ogundare Tope is a lover of books and music. He is a scientist by day, unraveling the mystery of the mind, and by night a writer- lost in the world of words. His poems have appeared in 2 anthologies, and in online and print magazines. He blogs at www.zaphnathpaaaneah.com

James Bell. Two Poems


you must eventually accept there is no word
for goodbye in Swahili
it’s – see you when you return
when you come back one day –
Kenya has touched you
although you must migrate north again
like wildebeest and zebra
who travel in herds with that pull – that flow
man and beast know so well
so deep it is never consciously acknowledged –
in spirit you cross the Mara river
that you wait for as the water drops
and lets you go
…………………….there are no demands
upon you – like the heron that stands
among a clump of reeds
and the water is so low
the crocodile cannot stop you
the hippo has sunk into its own deep pool
go now then return someway somehow


you saw the life go
…………how it eased from the body
……………………when there was still a head

demonstrated how
…………nothing is forever – and always when
……………………caught in carnivore jaws

the pelt is a discarded life
 …………or life has discarded the fur
 ……………………and guts and skeleton it grew

it is grey – dulled – movement now
 …………dictated only by live wind –
……………………has become smaller

James Bell has published two poetry collections the just vanished place and fishing for beginners. Born in Scotland he now lives in Brittany where he contributes photography and non-fiction to an English language journal. He continues to publish poetry and short stories on an international basis both online and terrestrially.



Two poems by Diarmuid ó Maolalaí

My heart is a magpie

My heart is a magpie
in the darkness of the early morning,
high pitched and loud
from the frayed death of the trees,
and I can only hear the sound of my tread crunching on gravel
and I can feel only the cold air
so perfectly pulled together and buttoned up
by the gentle tickle of Christmas lights
arranged there, I imagine,
by a man smoking a cigarette
and thinking about nothing much,
just about a woman
who once lived with him in a one room apartment
and had marvellous green eyes
which caught the blue puddles
in their shine.


Jigsaw symphony.

rhapsody in blue, huh Gersh?
just like jigsaw pieces
that have been kicked out of a box
all over the place
onto the kitchen

that’s what I like
that sound
all of it
edge and
no centre
all walls
and no
a man
on his back
on the side of a hill
squinting his eyes
trying to shoot out the sun.

Diarmuid ó Maolalaí is a graduate of English Literature from Trinity College in Dublin and recently struck out to try a new life in Toronto. He has been writing poetry and short fiction for the past five or six years, and has been submitting work for about three, with some success. His writing has appeared in such publications as 4’33”, Strange Bounce and Bong is Bard, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Out of Ours, The Eunoia Review, Kerouac’s Dog, More Said Than Done, Star Tips, Myths Magazine, Ariadne’s Thread, The Belleville Park Pages, Killing the Angel and Unrorean Broadsheet, by whom he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Two poems by Gary Beck


Dissatisfied people
unhappy with poor choices,
lost opportunities,
aimlessly drifting,
often return
to place of birth,
sentimentally sad
they don’t find answers
why things went wrong.



Portrait V

Hedge fund operator
travels to his mega-yacht
in his limousine,
tinted windows shutting out
frightened faces of the jobless
worried about their next meal,
while he coos to his trophy wife
about the next billion.


Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theatre. He has 11 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways (Winter Goose Publishing). Perceptions, Displays, Fault Lines and Tremors, Conditioned Response (Nazar Look).



Two Poems by J D DeHart

Ram’s Children

He lives on in the antlers
of the youth.
They remember his name
and tell stories about his
days in the office.
But not his days in the wild,
never his prancing and sharp
hooves, blunted by age
and child care.
They have photos of him
in his suit, but none in the field.



Tries to put a ring on
but it does not work
Tries to move with grace
but tables are snapped
and legs are broken
Tries to blend in
but rises, bulbous, above
the crowd
Tries to hide the tusks,
the large ears, the trunk,
but it’s all there, observed.



JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  He has recently been nominated for Best of the Net, and his chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available on Amazon.  DeHart also likes to feature the work of other poets on his blogs, one of which is spinrockreader.blogspot.com.

Two poems by Colin Honnor


Lamenting Isis and Nepenthys
bringing the peacock’s feather:
breathe life into the nostrils of the unborn
breathe life into the mouth of the god
so that he will live again composed of dust and silt
silt in his eyes and mouth, the rinsed spirit
sealed into black kohl eyes; you whisper from
the seamless corner in the seamless linens and tars.
I was your husband in the glass temple
splinters and scarabs pulled from my body flower run
this sanctuary of word sealed into the words on the glyph cartouche.
I stand in the tableaux of this forest of columns
at Karnak by the dry well of my marriage.
I am married to the god, broken, scattered,
I have spent my life reclaiming, gathering,
I am the peacock’s feather to cool your brow
although I reassemble these broken pieces
like Hellenic pottery picked from the rubbish heaps
the black and gold fragments of then become now.
I am there to shine my torch on the glyph,
decipher the meaning of these creatures.
Married, I knew his fragility, the turban of his wound
unwound itself in the anguished cries,
shattered the millenial silence of the tomb
in the Valley of the Kings’ violated sanctuary.
I recite these words prayed by the pilgrims
on the road to Abydos from Thebes’ sacred well,
I speak these strange words in a language none know
to an audience who hides its veneration
moved by scents of Egypt, rippling palm leaves, Nubian voices, the absent God.


A Valediction

This is a scrap ripped from the gallery of earth,
whine of those seekers after their breath,
there’s a mute balcony where these faces press
in Kamaraderie of their unknowningness.
This picture hangs in the gallery of blood
touches the shoulder with its Fruendliche schneid;
these are the million windows of the air
through which you know the nothing that is there:
There is a tree trunk with a few sparse leaves
where two squaddies clutch and curse the stinking breeze
as they drown through their torn ribs and windpipes
staunched by a piece torn from news inked by the breath of type.
This is a place where the troops go to die
among these pretty scorpions of the sky
stinging themselves to a death ripped from morning
with its tongue torn out forbids its mourning.
Whereafter this gong of great reverberation’s echoes fade
deafened you where you crouch in endless blue
with this fogged on glass dish tensed in, now
lifts from  pools of the daylight these catches of tears.
Camouflaged with their wounds’ paybooks, their broached wine
life cuts the hawser mooring them to their destination.
Where is this white clown-eyed cross-carrier coming
to quarter and peel their lives, pith and pulp spitting?

Colin Honnor: After University (Wales, and Leeds, where he edited the internationally acclaimed journal Poetry and Audience)  he has worked in publishing, the OU and the law. He is a literary scholar and a translator of modern European poetry, and also runs a fine arts press in the Cotswolds.

Two poems by John Paul Davis

Exit, Pursued By A Bear

The marriage had bears
from before its beginning,
cubs at first, roly-poly
with baby fat, tumbling
beneath the breakfast
table, play-growling, nipping
at each other. They grew
with us like our shadows
til they took up more space
than we did, musking
the air between us, weighty
as gods, and as predictable.
A year came when they hulked
between us, fur & snouts
& unending appetites.
When the screen door
bounded against its frame
while I heaved a duffel
bag stuffed with everything
I wanted into the trunk
of the older of our cars,
I thought I was leaving
the teeth & claws & hunger
behind but as I drove
off in the stuttering Buick
almost as old as I was
I saw in the rearview
one of them nudging
open the door, lumbering
out & onto the porch,
turning its inky eyes
toward me, then stepping
onto the sidewalk
then kneeling forward
as if to pray. It barked
& just then I knew
even with my foot
urging on the gas
it wouldn’t be outrun.

Lazy Eye

Oh, my lazy eye you’re me,
you’re mine. I love you. No one
is normal; everyone must learn to dance
with the body they are given. Rebel
rebel, errant as a comet, seer
fixed on your own private vanishing point,
how hard you romance the peripheral,
you aren’t listing or lackadaisical
but a lookout, a scout. When I’m tired,
sad or anxious you’re peeking north-north-west
or scanning the gutters or underbrush
or peering past shoulders for an exit
from every party in case it should break
out into karaoke. Heavier
eye, untamable eye, intransigent
mule, you’re like my southern
accent; when I’ve got no bandwidth or the fatty
slosh of my brain is swollen
from too much wine, you do your patented move, only
one you know, predictable as a talk
show host or a funnel cloud. Stereo
vision? Who needs it? Rogue planet, eccentric marble,
magic eight ball, lopsided pendulum,
you tip the scales just by glancing at them.
Who built your last-call stare, your maverick
droop toward my right foot when I need to sleep,
what invisible routes are you tracking,
what dreams & cartographies will you etch
& inside what memory will you stash
each? Most important organ,
not the brain & not the heart, a hidden
tangle of nerves wired to you, buccaneer
eye, a quiet seeker’s muscle, restless
seat of questing & yearning, fluttering,
a rabbit burrowed
deep & flexing in me, ready to run
toward every mystery, craver
after all that I cannot name, light bulb
dark & waiting for electricity,
pop quiz, trick question, pirated music,
query factory, little search engine.



John Paul Davis is a poet, musician and web developer living in New York City. You can find out more about him at http://www.johnpauldavis <http://www.johnpauldavis/>.org