Friday, 19 September 2014

I know the feeling...

As my compatriate and fellow poet Clive James, terminally ill, prepares for his final curtain call, in a recent interview he spoke with his trademark dry wit.

When asked if he regretted being better known for his work in TV than for his poetry he said "There is a long answer to this but the short one is that television paid for the groceries and as a poet I would have starved."

Japanese Maple

Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable. You feel the drain
Of energy, but thought and sight remain:

Enhanced, in fact. When did you ever see
So much sweet beauty as when fine rain falls
On that small tree
And saturates your brick back garden walls,
So many Amber Rooms and mirror halls?

Ever more lavish as the dusk descends
This glistening illuminates the air.
It never ends.
Whenever the rain comes it will be there,
Beyond my time, but now I take my share.

My daughter’s choice, the maple tree is new.
Come autumn and its leaves will turn to flame.
What I must doIs live to see that.
That will end the game
For me, though life continues all the same:

Filling the double doors to bathe my eyes,
A final flood of colors will live on
As my mind dies,
Burned by my vision of a world that shone
So brightly at the last, and then was gone.

Clive James
(First published in The New Yorker, September 15 2014 issue)

Thursday, 18 September 2014


The sound of people
once filled this place,
their footfalls, their jokes,
their occasional idioms,
but we were born far away
where the mountains are.
They created barriers for us
and taught us not to feel.
They taught us to do our 
own labor and not to stoop
to ordinary human kindness.
We have slowly learned
among the others to speak,
listen, and wear these masks,
but we are still made of stone,
with the occasional tender spot,
and still immovable as ever.

JD DeHart

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

A Time for War

She plumps up cushions on her sofa
in a flat off Baker Street tube,

two miles from the bookstore 
where her mother tore a page: a poem

about a soldier who never came home, 
framed it at her pre-fab, then made

cornflake-packet soles to replace the holes. 
On nights alone she would hold his pocket watch,

the steady tick but a glance away 
from her father's eyes.

Sharon Woodcock
Ashford, Kent, UK

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sundown at the Abbey

After a day in the fields
plowing and sowing, 
the old monks see 
sundown is near so 
they put away tools, 
clean up for supper. 

It's soup and bread 
torn from a loaf, 
chunks of good cheese, 
a rainbow of bright 
fruit from the orchard, 
coffee as black as tar.

There are 20 monks left,
slow and ailing, a drop
from a hundred or so 
a few decades ago.
The harvest is small,
their lives still simple. 

They work in the fields
and pray in the chapel.
But birds in the air 
sometimes hear prayer 
rise from the fields
and soar past them.

Donal Mahoney
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, USA and has had poems published Ancient Heart Magazine and other publications in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

These stone...

these stone
these painted
fingers finding no
hold or purchase
these nesting on cliffsides
eider-down white
past grey or greenness
hollowed out these
cavernous and flighty
these pleasantries
grope for handholds
winged by cumulus
pillows held up with
these stone remains, these
painted images of
elder men, of fingers, finding
no contact nestling falls
tries fails wings twisted in
the impossible
and freshness
salt-swept reaching for
handholds these gaps between
behind an edifice
made sacred
idolatrous winged nebulous
hidden by streamers of grey
these stone
these almost
contracted faces contort,
too young

Peter J. King
Churchill, Oxfordshire, U.K. 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014


I step through , here
inside , where all the scenes
ordered , shuffled . we
did not measure
these acts & yesterday
's a footprint in place
we are not
protected . do not see
we open doors
on new days.

Reuben Woolley

Sunday, 7 September 2014

First Cut

The first cut is brutal
always deep with cold
blade tearing into timber
opening a pathway
for subtler strokes
slicing with sharpness,
carving strongly,
the base for intricate designs
on blocks gripped tightly
in the jaws of steel vices

The last cut is gentler
a loving after thought
adding a signature
to shaped and shaved fibres
decorating with care
completed artistry
the chisel held lightly
like a violin bow
in the closing movement
of a great concerto.

David Subacchi