j. Johnson Smith, Three poems

Voyeur of Memory

I could name them, every one.
No, that’s a lie.
I can see them, each and every,
And apologise
For what was never done
Under the sky
Or danced in moving revelry
And heated sighs.

Old man. Voyeur of memory.
False mood of what was never acted on.
Think that I
Am faithful to the memory of lies?
As if the carp was
Mirrored fondly on the heron’s mind
As she searched her stolen nest?

Rivers, scoured by the sea.
As hopes may die.
I can watch them, each and every,
And heart’s rise
For what may become
Under the sky
So gently moved by devilry,
And rested lies.



I nodded to the old man across the way,
Touched my finger to my brow in acknowledgement
Of the way he looked at me.
He returned the touch, hand slowly raised and finger bent,
A nod just faint enough to see the glitter in his eye
To say he was not saluting now.

And the woman by his side sat still and smiled.
She glanced at me and nudged his arm, then turned away,
Speaking to the air.
I watched, waiting for the moment to have my say
But when the pair took hand and turned back to me
I fudged the chance.

The crowd came in, the noisy throng, the drinking song.
The drinking song?  A rhyme no longer relevant
But you’re okay with the thrashing, spinning element
Of slot machine and nearly karaoke.

So, I look to the woman in the glass,
The face I scarcely see and wonder what I would have said.
What I would have dared to ask.


Is that it?

As my sister said, “Well! It’s all about semantics, then.”
Note the lack of question mark for I can’t recall whether it was rhetorical
Or statement or doubtful question penned in air.

It made me think of Schindler’ List, which I haven’t read.
And then again of Titanic’s list which could be viewed at least two ways
Or Schrodinger’s cat, alive or dead in there.

With Tennyson’s doggerel and Holloway’s monologues
You might spot the intent of rhythms different or lesser
Or check the words and see the metre of Shaw’s Pygmalion professor.

So, with glossary in hand and ruler ready and lemonade
I sit well in a chair with the sound of Walton’s Facade ringing round the auditoria.
Or maybe it’s just some other antics.
j. johnson smith


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