Poems by other authors
I have tried wherever possible to obtain consent to reproduce these works; this site is totally not-for-profit & if any author or their legal representative objects to their inclusion, please contact me & the work will be removed immediately. These are just a few of my very favourite works by both professionals & amateurs.
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Don Juan Matus
For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart,
on any path that may have heart.
There I travel
and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length.
And there I travel – looking,
John Cooper Clarke
Arts ‘n’ Crafts
out of bed into the shed
to paint the wooden roses red
to ride a rocking quadruped
with a big idea in your head
form and function in a line
the rudiments of good design
from the oaken keg to the fine wine
to table tops of melamine
there’s nothing that you couldn’t make
no effect you couldn’t fake
a pebble sprayed with metal flake
would make a precious paper weight
teddy bears to stuff with stuff
like nylon mink from a lady’s muff
cotton balls and a powder puff
pom poms and pocket fluff
stainless steel and a rock hard aura
the marble glance of a lost explorer
a heavy heart for the love of Nora
chains of flowers on a draped amphora
time time time to slay
each crowded hour of every day
where indolence is kept at bay
in an arty-crafty kinda way.
reproduced with kind permission of John Cooper Clarke
I had been looking forward to divorce –
recriminations, therapy and casual sex,
the disentangling of my life from yours
by sympathetic girl solicitors
who blush referring to you as my ex
and practice to avoid their own divorce.
I would have let you keep the chest of drawers
and hung my pants and socks on picture hooks
like bunting. What was mine would not be yours,
I’d cut my hair (too short) make common cause
with spinsters in wine-bars, bandy regrets
or shrug them off; you marry, death or divorce
come next, or so I thought. But love endures –
the mirror in the wardrobe door reflects
your face in mine and mine in yours,
a couple of fond baggy shameless bores
blessed with unmitigated happiness.
At night I wake from dreaming of divorce,
my arms and legs in sweat, tangled with yours.
I am proud to be divine
proud of such beautiful perfection
perhaps I’m made of marble
and my love is the purest love of all.
But soon from that volcano of tempting fire
love’s jealousies will ignite
and you will conquer my heart
for you always were my heart’s desire.
The Perfect Word
I thought of the perfect word
to describe your way of leaving,
how you performed the trick
of opening a door
and making yourself
pass through it into the street.
The word recalled exactly
how a piece of wood on a hinge
passed through an angle
of forty five degrees,
then closed again behind you
showing you not there.
The wall’s a rock
The shade’s the sun
And under both
I lie and heal
Clearing a path
To my heart so
You can visit me,
Even in winter.
dream about me sometime
on a pure white horse
riding through the forest
weaving through the shimmer of leaves
so soft a path
formed from centuries of ferns
turned brown in autumn
trodden to the sweetest bed
think of me someday
the canopy of beech trees
collecting rising thoughts
leaves alive by my breath
the air that silently flows
as my heart doth beat
the magical hawk
gone to hunt
he crosses in front of my path
gliding into the woods.
Tommy “Hawk” Hill
One woman can make you fly like an eagle,
another can give you the strength of a lion,
but only one in the cycle of life
can fill your heart with wonder
and the wisdom that you have known a singular joy.
Donegal (for Ellie)
Ardent on the beach at Rossnowlagh
on the last day of summer,
you ran through the shallows
throwing off shoes, and shirt and towel
like the seasons, the city’s years,
all caught in my arms
as I ploughed on behind you, guardian still
of dry clothes, of this little heart
not quite thirteen,
breasting the waves
and calling back to me
to join you, swimming in the Atlantic
on the last day of summer.
I saw a man in the shallows
with his hands full of clothes, full of
all the years,
and his daughter going
where he knew he could not follow.
I can’t remember being at Druridge Bay –
It was going that was important.
We might not get there anyhow;
It might rain, or Father change his mind.
But going ! The car’s leather smell,
The bright blue drive, mile after mile
Down shimmering tarmac lanes.
At last, the sea –
Can you see it yet ? – the magic line
Rising over coarse dune grass.
I could stand on the seat to gaze through the open roof
Or ride on the running-board
For the last few thrilling miles.
The silent engine’s petrol smell in sunshine.
Father’s first picnic cigarette.
Heaven about to happen.
When I sleep, I am also the stranger I used to be,
driving from Monterey to Calistoga
or leaving the car at the edge of a country road
and crossing the Brandywine in the yellow of morning;
and this is as close as I come to a mind I can love,
slowing for deer on a fire road near Shipshewana,
or later, in some blue-lit Kansas town
stopping a while to watch, as a gaggle of children
play out the final innings of a day
they’d thought was theirs, and could have been forever.
I wonder what she is doing at this hour
my Andean and sweet Rita
of reeds and wild cherry trees
Now that this weariness chokes me, and blood dozes off,
like lazy brandy inside me
I wonder what she is doing with those hands
that in attitude of penitence
used to iron starchy whiteness,
in the afternoons
Now that this rain is taking away my desire to go on
I wonder what has become of her skirt with lace;
of her toils; of her walk;
of her scent of spring sugar cane from that place
She must be at the door,
gazing at a fast moving cloud
A wild bird on the tile roof will let out a call;
and shivering she will say at last, `Jesus, it’s cold!’
Bullfight critics, ranked in rows
Crowd the enormous plaza full
But only one is there who knows
And he’s the man that fights the bull.
The Dice Player
When the sky appears ashen
and I see a rose that has suddenly burst
out of a crack in a wall I don’t say:
The sky is ashen!
I extend my study of the rose
and say to it: What a day!
And at the entrance of night I say
to two of my friends:
If there must be a dream, let it be
like us . . . and simple
as in our having dinner together
the three of us in a couple of days
to celebrate the truthfulness of prophecy
in our dreams
and that the three of us
did not go missing
one in the last couple of days . . .
we’d celebrate the Moonlight Sonata
and death’s magnanimity when it saw us happy
then looked away!
I don’t say: Life over there is real
and has imaginary places . . .
I say: Life, here, is possible
and only by chance
did the land become holy:
its lakes and hills and trees
aren’t a replica of a higher paradise,
but a prophet set foot there
and when he prayed on a rock it wept
and the mount fell prostrate in piety
And by chance the field’s slope in a land became
a museum for the void . . .
thousands of soldiers perished there,
from either side, defending two leaders
who say: Charge! Two leaders who wait inside two
silken tents for the loot of either side . . .
Soldiers repeatedly die but never know
which side triumphed!
And by chance, some narrators survived and said:
If those had triumphed over these
our human history would have different addresses
O land “I love you green”, green. An apple
waving in light and water. Green. Your night
Green. Your dawn, green. So plant me gently,
with a mother’s kindness, in a fistful of air.
I am one of your seeds, green . . .
and this poem has more than one poet
and did not need to be lyrical
Who am I to say to you
what I say to you,
I could have not been who I am
I could have not been here
The plane could have crashed
with me on board that morning
but it’s my good fortune that I sleep in
I could have not seen Damascus or Cairo
the Louvre or the magical towns
And had I been a slow walker
a rifle might have severed
my shadow from the sleepless cedar
And had I been a fast walker
I might have become shrapnel
and a passing whim
And had I been an excessive dreamer
I could have lost my memory
It’s my good fortune that I sleep alone
and that I listen to my body
and believe my talent in discovering
pain in time to call the doctor
ten minutes before dying . . .
ten minutes, enough for me to live by chance
and disappoint the void
Who am I to disappoint the void
who am I, who am I?
Translation by Fady Joudah (excerpt)
To your loveliness I travel
Through a bronze and yellow land.
England burns away November –
Every bough is a lit marvel
Pointing with a sentient hand
To where you stand –
Loveliest ember in the autumn’s amber.
Poem quoted by kind permission of the Mervyn Peake Estate.
Midwinter: The sun red on the brink of the trees far side of the valley.
We sit, she and I, in the frozen wide-eyed
silence, watch the living come-and-go of our breath.
Nothing permanent. Nothing can last except … now. A gull glides
From mist into clear sky – and back into mist:
A thought torn apart, bled out of mind. Then length and breadth
Melt back into emptiness. Each life is the thought of death,
A thought in passing. See it come, watch it go, says the guide.
You let it go. Let it go. Allow the thought to rest
On emptiness. On the silence. The valley is silent. In shadow beneath
The silver birch – one daffodil. A passing thought. The frost
Is set, the silence complete. He may already have died.
We hold onto the thought of him. A thought in passing. Death
Is unreal – until silence has healed. Yet still the spindrift on the glass,
still the poems, still our laughter sounding out of the mist.
with kind permission of John Moat
Water wearing tide,
Blind men folded at the front.
Seagulls wash on the long shore
As elderly couples demand comfort.
Children play with pebbles
With feet of afternoon blisters.
The sun hides for a second
Behind the mildest of clouds.
reproduced by kind permission of Kealan Coady
Don’t build me a coffin
of coromandel wood,
just leave me be.
No ormolu brass handles,
not for me.
No church, no pews, no prayers
and not that final curtain call.
Dress me in white lace
as for my wedding day.
Carry me to the meadow
and just let me lay.
Circle me with daisy chains
if you must
for there is nothing more to say
and all is dust.
You may forget my name
my voice my face
but maybe if you ever come
to this quiet place
to see the meadow where the daisies grow
blow a sweet kiss to me
and then I’ll know
that somewhere in your heart
there’s still a place
where you keep my name,
my voice, my face.
reproduced by kind permission of Ann Foxglove
Hello old friend. I’m sorry that it’s been a while.
I can’t pretend that this cold place is easy on the mind.
But nonetheless you’re always there, somewhere,
underneath and in the darkness; thinking through philosophies,
searching out those sparks of why and wherefore
Who me? I’ve done OK, The usual, you know – job, house, car
– relationships; the ordinary stuff of life.
Though I always held a candle for you.
Your memory sometimes hides
– but never fades. You’re set in stone. And now and then
I call your name, and wonder if you hear. and know
that in my memory,
you’ll never really be alone.
What’s in the bag? Oh just some things I brought for you
I thought you might have missed – comforts, more for me than you
a firmament of winter stars
a skylark’s hymn to spring-mown hay
a summer blush of giggling girls
a patch of bluebells fallen from the cloudless air of May
an autumn sunset, stained with ripened fruit
warm rain, lightning slashing at a charcoal sky,
a seastorm’s anger, three coins – a wish from Rome
plainsong heard across an Oxford lawn
a playground full of laughter,
a valley’s eiderdown of mist at dawn
a scented silver trail of woodsmoke, leading home.
Neruda’s words – (pour them gently in your ears)
Elgar’s melodies for English hills
a precious vial of unguent tears – scalded with rage
– and frozen by a mother’s loss
a moondust footprint from a giant’s leap
a nation’s roaring heart one afternoon in sixty-six
a pillow, dewed and warm with woman scent
a skyline waltz of starling wings
the molten kisses of love’s first fire –
as hot, and fierce, as hornet stings.
café chatter, jokes and bottles cracked with friends,
a generation’s theme tunes,
leaked from a letter box in Abbey Road,
church bells and confetti
strewn across a village green
two golden circles – interlocked
with nothing in between,
a child’s warm hand,
to flutter like a new-fledged bird in yours
strawberries, ice cream
melting in a July afternoon,
the Sunday scent of bacon
that tiptoes up a stair
a barefoot walk
in meadows wet with dew
a patient fathom
that waits beneath the dapple
of the parish yew
love enough to outlast every dying sun
and fading moon
wrapped in the words
of an agnostic’s faltering prayer.
I can’t take you home – that gift was never mine to give;
just your story, and the memory of you
to remind a world you too once laughed,
So goodbye old friend,
I’ll light that candle for you
of a long-lost cause
we’ll meet again
I’ll cross my darkness
where you wait
In general I believe that the explanation of a poem can detract from its sentiments and message, although I have often wished for one. In this case however, perhaps that rule is worth bending. Not because it adds anything to the poem, but that the story, in and of itself is one that should be told. In order not to further extend the length of this post those who are interested will find it here:
reproduced by kind permission of Anthony Emmerson
So! here you are at last !
silhouetted by your own sunshine
standing there, holding my breath in your eyes !
All is here that you are ever going to need
just look around,
everything is and was, always waiting.
reproduced with kind permission of Stefan Wilde
Meg Elizabeth – No Title
I’ve got this
that goes falling
(or a force
that could fit
or anything else
give me a
‘cause I never
that I need
know what I need
and the color
that don’t have a
need keeps on
links on my
heart and it
dives and it
pulls ‘til I know
I must realize
that all of this
The skim on the surface of your soup, or the cut on your plate
in the Café des Anges, juices swamping the willow-pattern skiff
as she dabs her mouth with her napkin, your blind, blind date,
leaving a smudge, lipstick-and-gore, though there’s still a worm
of gristle in the gap between her teeth.
Mood music, candlelight, wine, low voices in a world of harm,
The creature brought down, hindquarters heavy, hind legs
broken by the dogs, its head held up, eyes wide,
the tangle and drag as a gralloch knife unpegs
the bulk, all slippage and seepage, and the way she thumbs
a morsel into your mouth, or smiles your smile
back at you, lets you know that everything’s just as it seems,
Then back at the small hotel, she strips off quicker than you
might have hoped, pink as a new-skinned cat, all too eager to have you by heart. Her cry tells you nothing new.
John Glenday – British Pearls
British pearls are exceptionally poor.
They can be gathered by the handful wherever
surf breaks, but you’ll find no colour, no vitality, no lustre to them
– every last one stained the roughshod grey
of their drab and miserable weather.
Imagine all the rains of this island held
in one sad, small, turbulent world.
I can hear them falling as I write. British pearls
are commonplace and waterish and dull,
but their women wear them as if winter were a jewel.