What is poetry town?

Poetry Town began in 2015 with a weekly poem displayed in the window of Kirkdale Bookshop. Following overwhelmingly positive responses from customers we have decided to partner with Sydenham Arts to build on the idea and fill Sydenham with poetry­ not just by famous poets but by local people, both young and old.
 
Leisure 21/08/2019

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare? —   No time to stand beneath the boughs, And stare as…

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Fireflies in the Garden 14/08/2019

Here come real stars to fill the upper skies, And here on earth come emulating flies, That though they never equal stars in size, (And they were never…

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Lines to a Nasturtium 07/08/2019

             A lover muses   Flame-flower, Day-torch, Mauna Loa, I saw a daring bee, today, pause, and soar,     Into your flaming heart; Then…

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August 31/07/2019

When my eyes are weeds, And my lips are petals, spinning Down the wind that has beginning Where the crumpled beeches start In a fringe of salty reeds;…

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Initiation Song from the Finders Lodge 24/07/2019

Please bring strange things. Please come bringing new things. Let very old things come into your hands. Let what you do not know come into your eyes. Let…

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This is a Rune I Have Heard a Tree Say 17/07/2019

This is a rune I have heard a tree say: ‘Love me. I cannot run away.’   This is a rune I have heard a lark cry: ‘So…

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To Mrs. Will. H. Low 10/07/2019

Even in the bluest noonday of July, There could not run the smallest breath of wind But all the quarter sounded like a wood; And in the chequered…

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Answer July 03/07/2019

Answer July— Where is the Bee— Where is the Blush— Where is the Hay? Ah, said July— Where is the Seed— Where is the Bud— Where is the…

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A Wonderful Bird Is The Pelican 26/06/2019

A wonderful bird is the pelican, His bill will hold more than his belican, He can take in his beak, Enough food for a week. But I’m damned…

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When I Was Prettiest in My Life 19/06/2019

When I was prettiest in my life, the cities crumbled down, and the blue sky appeared in the most unexpected places. When I was prettiest in my life,…

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Ablative Absolute 12/06/2019

Once the castle had been slighted I booked rain for 7.30, Knowing it would arrive late. Ash clouds blew away from the land.          …

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Dawn Wail for the Dead 05/06/2019

Dim light of daybreak now Faintly over the sleeping camp. Old lubra first to wake remembers: First thing every dawn Remember the dead, cry for them. Softly at…

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rainpoem 29/05/2019

three days of rain: indoors the mind runs over some eternal mysteries polishing them lightly: outdoors noticing how even the honest man seems frail, gentle, trying to keep…

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To the Main Roads Board 22/05/2019

Leave me one road, an old road,               Of red dust or brown, A road that swings through singing gums    …

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May 15/05/2019

Shyly the silver-hatted mushrooms make Soft entrance through, And undelivered lovers, half awake, Hear noises in the dew.   Yellow in all the earth and in the skies,…

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Spring 08/05/2019

There were so many days that I was given. But whether of this spring or that?  they merge As travelling clouds across my permanent heaven.   My life…

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Archer in a World 01/05/2019

Now in a world which has known its ending, Where skies were darkened with falling hawks, Where fields are blackened with withered corn, Who is the archer intently…

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My Little Dreams 24/04/2019

I’m folding up my little dreams    Within my heart tonight, And praying I may soon forget    The torture of their sight. For time’s deft fingers scroll…

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The Easter Flower 17/04/2019

Far from this foreign Easter damp and chilly My soul steals to a pear-shaped plot of ground, Where gleamed the lilac-tinted Easter lily Soft-scented in the air for…

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Tears, Idle Tears 10/04/2019

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean, Tears from the depth of some divine despair Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes, In looking…

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Bewilderment 03/04/2019

For I don’t know why I drew a line to the end of a field I made that a slender plow I put all of them up against…

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Mother 27/03/2019

Your love was like moonlight turning harsh things to beauty, so that little wry souls reflecting each other obliquely as in cracked mirrors . . . beheld in…

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What Kind of Times Are These 20/03/2019

There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows near a meeting-house abandoned by the…

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The Lent Lily 06/03/2019

’Tis spring; come out to ramble The hilly brakes around, For under thorn and bramble About the hollow ground The primroses are found. And there’s the windflower chilly…

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February 20/02/2019

THE trees stand brown against the gray,  The shivering gray of field and sky;  The mists wrapt round the dying day  The shroud poor days wear as they…

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Sonnet 13/02/2019

Love like a juggler comes to play his prize, And all minds draw his wonders to admire, To see how cunningly he, wanting eyes, Can yet deceive the…

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Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota 06/02/2019

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,    Asleep on the black trunk, Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.    Down the ravine behind the empty house,    The…

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Testament 30/01/2019

child, in the august of your life you come barefoot to me the blisters of events having worn through to the soles of your shoes.   it is…

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Ae Fond Kiss 23/01/2019

for Burns Night, 25th January   Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;  Ae fareweel, and then forever!  Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,  Warring sighs and…

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Mary’s Song 16/01/2019

I wad ha’e gi’en him my lips tae kiss, Had I been his, had I been his; Barley breid and elder wine, Had I been his as he…

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Ode for Donny Hathaway 09/01/2019

and then there are the one-hit zombies cursed to an eternity of Monday nights   who runs our music does not make it controls manufacture and marketing of…

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The Old Year 02/01/2019

The Old Year’s gone away To nothingness and night: We cannot find him all the day Nor hear him in the night: He left no footstep, mark or…

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little tree 19/12/2018

little tree  little silent Christmas tree  you are so little  you are more like a flower    who found you in the green forest  and were you very…

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Age and Death 12/12/2018

Come closer, kind, white, long-familiar friend, Embrace me, fold me to thy broad, soft breast. Life has grown strange and cold, but thou dost bend Mild eyes of…

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Those Winter Sundays 05/12/2018

Sundays too my father got up early and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather…

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Love’s Instant 28/11/2018

I held an instant in my hands The thing that no one understands, The thing most perfect and complete, Most finely fashioned and most fleet, And of myself I let it go, Being afraid to hold it so, Being afraid that overmuch It would be tarnished at my touch. It was as though, thus caught and mine, A flying fish, a silver line With wings of gauze grown softer still, Lay in my hands and at my will, And of my will it was set free, And plunged like moonlight in the sea. And though I surely know if I Should prison beauty, it would die, And though I know that flying fish Are sheathed with subtle spines, I wish That somewhere, someday, I could hold The ice-thin wonder, silver-cold, Until its thorny filigree Had pierced my hands and wounded me, And I would chance that beauty, dying, Were lovelier still than it were flying.

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November 21/11/2018

No sun—no moon!  No morn—no noon— No dawn—no dusk—no proper time of day.  No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,  No comfortable feel in any member— No shade,…

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The Crazy Woman 14/11/2018

I shall not sing a May song.  A May song should be gay.  I’ll wait until November  And sing a song of gray.  I’ll wait until November  That…

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They’ve Come 07/11/2018

Today my mother and sisters came to see me. I had been alone a long time with my poems, my pride . . . almost nothing. My sister—the…

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An Obsessive Combination of Ontological Inscape, Trickery and Love 31/10/2018

Busy, with an idea for a code, I write signals hurrying from left to right, or right to left, by obscure routes, for my own reasons; taking a…

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A Certain Lady 10/10/2018

Oh, I can smile for you, and tilt my head,  And drink your rushing words with eager lips,  And paint my mouth for you a fragrant red,  And…

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A Gentle Wind 03/10/2018

A gentle wind fans the calm night: A bright moon shines on the high tower. A voice whispers, but no one answers when I call: A shadow stirs,…

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Brockley Fox 26/09/2018

Dark encounter on the rim of the park, clandestine manoeuvres, marauders, the sheer audacity of urban foxes, freedom to explore in the safety of shadows the inky depths…

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To Autumn 19/09/2018

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,     Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;  Conspiring with him how to load and bless     With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;  To bend…

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On a Fly Drinking Out of his Cup 05/09/2018

Busy, curious, thirsty fly! Drink with me and drink as I: Freely welcome to my cup, Couldst thou sip and sip it up: Make the most of life…

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September Midnight 29/08/2018

Lyric night of the lingering Indian Summer,  Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing,  Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects,  Ceaseless, insistent.  The…

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Our Tears Are Sweet 15/08/2018

Our tears are sweet, our laughter venomous. We’re pleased when sad, and sad when pleased. We wash one hand in blood, the other we wash the blood off….

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1st Prize We Could Be Heroes ! Mr. Williams 08/08/2018

He swished through the door, his long gown rippling behind him, his dog, Argo, following in its wake.   Mr. Williams.  My hero.   Arms raised at shoulder…

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2nd Prize We Could Be Heroes ! The Longest Wait

Ventnor, Summer 1957, the year before the old wooden hut on the beach was demolished, and Britannia was rehoused. She died three months later.   There was the…

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3rd Prize We Could Be Heroes ! Tommy at Seventy

In appreciation of Harold Gillies’ pioneering work with severely disfigured servicemen   Three score an’ ten.        Yer’d not ’ave bet on it back then, me stuck in…

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Subway Wind

Far down, down through the city’s great gaunt gut       The gray train rushing bears the weary wind; In the packed cars the fans the crowd’s breath cut,…

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Smalltown Dance 01/08/2018

Two women find the square-root of a sheet. That is an ancient dance: arms wide: together: again: two forward steps: hands meet your partner’s once and twice. That…

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The Sand Witch 25/07/2018

Beware, beware the sand witch Who sweeps across the shore And sprinkles sand in ice-cream cones, Wreaks havoc, more and more.   She buries shards of broken glass…

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It’s Raining in Love 18/07/2018

I don’t know what it is,   but I distrust myself   when I start to like a girl   a lot.   It makes me nervous.   I don’t say the right…

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Coal 11/07/2018

I Is the total black, being spoken From the earth’s inside. There are many kinds of open. How a diamond comes into a knot of flame    How a…

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Autobiography 04/07/2018

The sniff of the real, that’s what I’d want to get how it felt to sit on Parliament Hill on a May evening studying for exams skinny seventeen…

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Inscription for a Wayside Spring 27/06/2018

ALL MEN FROM ALL LANDS KNEEL BEFORE YOU GO CUP YOUR HANDS LIKE A BOWL LET ME OVERFLOW READ WHAT THESE WORDS TELL LEAN DOWN AND KNOW EACH…

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People Equal 20/06/2018

Some people shoot up tall.  Some hardly leave the ground at all.  Yet-people equal. Equal.  One voice is a sweet mango.  Another is a non sugar tomato.  Yet-people…

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Naming of Parts 13/06/2018

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday, We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning, We shall have what to do after firing. But today, Today we have naming…

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Dürer: Innsbruck, 1495 06/06/2018

I had often, cowled in the slumberous heavy air, Closed my inanimate lids to find it real, As I knew it would be, the colourful spires And painted…

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The Moon is Up 30/05/2018

The moon is up There is darkness all around Not even a flicker of light to be found The wind is howling Storms a brewing No one knows…

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Your Life Is a Baby Not Yet Born 23/05/2018

Your life is a baby not yet born, a forest sleeping under deep snow. In Plato’s world, a blank white book awaiting the birth of someone who’ll write…

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in a bookshop 16/05/2018

I hover by the modern novels, turn the accidental page, try to focus. Instead of words I recollect a rainy lunch hour, umbrellas round me opening to sudden…

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Summer in Calcutta 09/05/2018

What is this drink but The April sun, squeezed Like an orange in My glass? I sip the Fire, I drink and drink Again, I am drunk Yes,…

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The Merry Month of May 02/05/2018

O, the month of May, the merry month of May, So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green! O, and then did I unto my…

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The Horrid Voice of Science 25/04/2018

“There’s machinery in the       butterfly;    There’s a mainspring to the       bee; There’s hydraulics to a daisy,    And contraptions to a tree.   “If we could see the birdie…

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Robot Unicorn Attack (a love poem for a videogame) 18/04/2018

Possibility bursts like a horse full of light, accelerating into a star. Explosion. Hit to make your dreams crash into stone. Death. Diatonic chimes of joy. I want…

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some mornings 11/04/2018

sometimes it rains. it is good to experience a train window. you have often laughed at the places i have put my mouth. it is good to experience…

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Pamphlet on Ravening 04/04/2018

You cannot will intoxication, vertigo, a ravening or wild Love. Of wisdom, I have plenty,   Like a keep of potted meats before the blizzard comes. Of sweetness,…

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The Mounting Summer, Brilliant and Ominous 28/03/2018

A yellow-headed, gold-hammered, sunflower-lanterned Summer afternoon: after the sun soared and soared All morning to the marble shining heights of marvellous blue, Like lions insurgent, bursting out of…

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Songs for the People 21/03/2018

Let me make the songs for the people,    Songs for the old and young; Songs to stir like a battle-cry    Wherever they are sung.   Not…

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Morning on Shinnecock 14/03/2018

The rising sun had crowned the hills,       And added beauty to the plain; O grand and wondrous spectacle!      That only nature could explain. I stood within…

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To the Swimmer 07/03/2018

With the waves that rush against you, ever with invincible strength returningNow as I watch you, strong of arm and endurance, battling and struggling   Into my heart,…

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Your World 27/02/2018

Your world is as big as you make it. I know, for I used to abide In the narrowest nest in a corner, My wings pressing close to…

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The Shadow on the Stone 21/02/2018

      I went by the Druid stone    That broods in the garden white and lone, And I stopped and looked at the shifting shadows    That at…

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Now I Become Myself 14/02/2018

Now I become myself. It’s taken Time, many years and places; I have been dissolved and shaken, Worn other people’s faces, Run madly, as if Time were there,…

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John Sees a Stork at Zamora 07/02/2018

Walking among quiet people out from mass He saw a sudden stork Fly from its nest upon a house. So blue the sky, the bird so white, For…

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The Common Cormorant 31/01/2018

The common cormorant (or shag) Lays eggs inside a paper bag. You follow the idea, no doubt? It’s to keep the lightning out. But what these unobservant birds…

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In a V. A. D. Pantry 24/01/2018

Pots in piles of blue and white, Old in service, cracked and chipped— While the bare-armed girls tonight Rinse and dry, with trivial-lipped Mirth, and jests, and giggling…

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On a Theme of Samuel Palmer 17/01/2018

We went along in absolute silence: it was coming on to a dusk of a clear hot day, there was a harvest smell. Armfuls of red apples blushed…

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The Final Poem 10/01/2018

A forge burns in my heart. I am redder than dawn, Deeper than seaweed, More distant than gulls, More hollow than wells. But I only give birth To…

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New Year 03/01/2018

a child carrying flowers walks toward the new year a conductor tattooing darkness listens to the shortest pause hurry a lion into the cage of music hurry stone…

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A New Year’s Resolution to Leave Dundee 27/12/2017

Welcome! thrice welcome! to the year 1893, For it is the year I intend to leave Dundee, Owing to the treatment I receive, Which does my heart sadly…

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The Christmas Beetle 20/12/2017

When Christmas comes the Christmas heat’ll bring once more the Christmas Beetle The first inflammatory breeze’ll set him buzzing like a diesel. Hear him open up his throttle…

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The Struggle Staggers Us 13/12/2017

Our birth and death are easy hours like sleep        and food and drink. The struggle staggers us for bread, for pride, for simple dignity.            And this is more…

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What I am for You 06/12/2017

A doe eating fragrant grass out of your hand.            A dog that follows everywhere in your footsteps.            A star twice as bright and sparkly just for you.            A spring rippling snake-like at your feet.            A flower whose honey and whose scent are yours alone. For you I’m all of these, I gave you my soul in all its guises. The doe, the dog, the heavenly body and the flower, the living water flowing at your feet.            My soul is all            for you, my            Love.

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To Waken an Old Lady 29/11/2017

Old age is a flight of small cheeping birds skimming bare trees above a snow glaze. Gaining and failing they are buffeted by a dark wind – But…

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Coffee Lips 22/11/2017

The guest who came in to the street people’s suppers last night, An elderly man with a lost smart little boy’s face and a look   As if…

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Mirrors 15/11/2017

The mirror is always slightly taller than I It laughs a moment after I laugh Turning red as a boiled crab I cut myself from the mirror with…

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Don’t Bother the Earth Spirit 08/11/2017

Don’t bother the earth spirit who lives here. She is working on a story. It is the oldest story in the world and it is delicate, changing. If…

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What I Learned from the Incredible Hulk 01/11/2017

When it comes to clothes, make an allowance for the unexpected. Be sure the spare in the trunk of your station wagon with wood paneling   isn’t in…

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Hoop Dance 25/10/2017

It’s hard to enter circling clockwise and counter clockwise moving no regard for time, metrics irrelevant to this dance where pain is the prime number and soft stepping…

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Two Women 18/10/2017

Please – please come in. Easy smile, pregnant with meanings                                   –  masks on the back wall –  this is an open house, my heart is open see all…

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Friday 11/10/2017

Quiet Friday  deserted Friday  Friday saddening like old alleys  Friday of lazy ailing thoughts  Friday of noisome sinuous stretches  Friday of no anticipation  Friday of submission.     Empty…

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Translation 04/10/2017

We trekked into a far country, My friend and I. Our deeper content was never spoken, But each knew all the other said. He told me how calm…

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If I Had Known 27/09/2017

If I had known   Two years ago how drear this life should be,   And crowd upon itself allstrangely sad,   Mayhap another song would burst from…

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Disregard 20/09/2017

Overhead, the match burns out, but the chunk of ice in the back seat keeps melting from imagined heat, while the old Hudson tiptoes up the slope. My…

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From Space to Time 13/09/2017

on a day when we were dark and not so full of light we met     what did we find? nothing. everything, when we closed our eyes which…

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What Is Poetry 06/09/2017

The medieval town, with frieze Of boy scouts from Nagoya? The snow   That came when we wanted it to snow? Beautiful images? Trying to avoid   Ideas,…

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