SLQ Daily, 08 September 2020

In SLQ Daily 08 September 2020 our Read of the Day is ‘Considering the Elephant’, third prize winner in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2020) judged by Terry Jones. The Blast from the Past is ‘Departures’ by Bruce Ackerley, first published in Sentinel Poetry (Online), September 2003.

Considering the Elephant

Do not be taken in by our lugubrious appearance,
an apparent lack of get-up-and-go,
our certain want of brio.
No — do not be misled
by the ponderous pendulum of each leg,
deceived by the humph and schlep
of the single loaded step,
the hulk, the mass to move from walk
to run (a biomechanical joke),
the effort to shift the feet to haste
with not so much as one complete aerial phase.

Something is happening though you don’t see it yet.
You want, too, for our slow, fateful gait,
the repeated lumbering metres of grey,
nondescript days and days like these.
It’s in the bone, the habit, this mind of our own
to know we know what you can’t know:
within the kinetic heart, ceaseless
change: how all is time, all is flow.

‘Considering the Elephant’ by Michael Brown won third prize in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 202) judged by Terry Jones.


Leaving by train for London
A tiny fear crept in.
What if, in our mutual waves
We were waving for the last time?
A death that took you in the night,
How sullen fate stole in
To shatter our glass thin bliss,
The gentle detail of our everyday.

So that come the first frost of morning,
How would I; how could I step back
Into a world dressed in your memory?
All objects speaking your name.
A wall over every road. And myself
Without the courage to climb
The strength to break through.

But to return at days end
And rail against this, my sole companion
The ringing tone of a distant phone
Forever left unanswered.

The morning sky fills with showers
I have lived through your loss
Dislodged from my throat
The burn of each new day
So that now I’ve become little more
Than the sum of bloody minded vows
The thin relief when I hear
So many glasses sing with the same grief.

There’s no pretence to martyrdom
Just the long, low wait
For the day to darken.
I’ve been sitting up for you
To know how in the oil lamp glow
You have flown across the rubicon.
No need to show me the formula
For soon I too will bury one world,
Ready another. It’s easy enough –
This unfolding of wings

First one. Now the other.

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