to Poets: ‘Things ‘ to remember

 

Rhythm and rhyme and verbal trickery
Are the building blocks of all good poetry.
Alliteration and metaphor and assononce too–
Here’s a message from you know who.                                      Philip Ivory

No adverbs or adjectives                                      JJS

When you write a verse they say beware the adverb, it slows the movement.  If you use a noun, decry adjectives as to describe just clutters the mind.

Just think,  “You save so much ink.”

 

Poets Cornered

 

Sitting in a stereotypical circle

each position duly claimed, duly noted,

we six practiced our secret art

of Poetry that we wroted!

 

It may seem harsh to chronicle something so abominable

but we only hope to be quoted when this Earth we all depart.

The problem, some see, or not,

is that like novelists,  of poets there are a lot,

but only few are published, and even then forgot!

 

Advertisements

Christmas mix (re-release)

Christmas mix   

In the tradition of  Christmas, or should I now call it the ‘FESTIVE SEASON’  I have re-cobbled previous years pages into a single and let it escape.

 

Tastes of Christmas Present

i                                                                          

Nero’s

Gentle

light flute, slow.

Bass between the beat,

counterpoint to lead, repeat.

Fade flute for bass to counterpoint

and softly run, realigned flute and bass.

Soft key piano, counterpoint chords that chase

each other gently, now piano high with beating

fine-fingered bass and rested flute.  Run piano,

gently through the keys to allow the space

between to be filled with fluted air again.

Fade piano, rest bass,

last hanging note.

Finis

 

ii

Have you ever thought

About the world in terms of

Presence,

Particles,

Yesterday?

Certainly the best and worst verse

have stuck since rhyme began, and always will

remain in the mind of the beholder,

insisting that their niggling lines,

surreptitiously laying down a course

to run with or from,

might just

amass a certain

Sense.

 

iii

Carol ran out across the square,

her heels tapping tunefully on the echo-frozen slabs.

She left the sparkling holly-wreathed door

and the mellow sounds within while

PC Rapper and his melting crew stood by the step

their noses dripping and white suits shiny wet.

 

Across the way, across the square, by the door, the alcove niche,

sat a shadow, dour, poor, ignored by the nouveau-riche

but Carol in her Christmas guise ran out in dress of scarlet cotton

thrust into his hand a glass of wine, turned, skidded, slipped.

and glass forgotten, the man jumped up and saved that Carol,

helped her, broken-heeled, across square of squares,

passed the crying, melting crew and through the sparkling holly-door.

Inside, greeted with a raucous cheer, Carol with fixed smile and reddened face

bent and straightened her strap and lace.

Looked up and round at the laughing crowd, suddenly ashamed of them,

while at the door the unkempt waited, gently bowed as she wavered thanks

and turned and left and walked away, across the square, towards his niche.

And now she tells this story every year as bells ring out on Christmas Day.

 

A Poor Poet’s Christmas        (with apologies to Clare and Bloomfield)

 

We sat around the fireside and called out merry oaths

Until there came the players in, plucking music from their throats.

With fiddles, horns and pipes they joined in olden song

Of maids and lords and stable-lads, of all their rights and wrongs

Which to this day warn youth and child that behind each golden door

May lie a heart as black or red as beats inside the poor’.

 

The sack and beer were passed around and tatties and pudding too

Until our voices burst the door and raucous was the night.

‘Til cows and chuks bemoaned the light that broke their stalls

And e’en the moon forestalled the dawn to keep the sight

Of merry players and happy fools

Take rest from blistering tools

On this our Christmas night.

 

Taste of Christmas Future                                        

 

I look out and swallow back the nostalgia

that rises as the shadow of the moon casts

it’s bleakness over the scene.

Clouds swirl like ancient whirlpools with the last glimpse of the sun

reflecting into the depths of the earth below the slow-mo drifts

and I too reflect as the shadows deepen before my eyes.

The scene, as grey as used snow,

a dusty surface shrinking to the narrow horizon

as if foreshortened by my reality.

The egg-shell domes, corrugated, wrinkled with taunting marks,

sit bleakly waiting, inhabiting an almost empty space.

 

This home, my hearth, no longer valid as a place

and yet from here we wait on mystery; await a face

that somehow sets the spirit free

while the Earth draws us with its sapphire blues of

ever-changing shades.

Those muddled waves of land that crease with mountainside,

the despoiled desert hands that creep into the fertile greenery

of water-lines and estuary but also glint, reflecting the solar miles of viticulture.

And the black cities that burst out at night like shards of radiation,

their streams of light the synapse of a sentient world.

 

So I wait, we wait, for the promised gifts of life, long delayed.

I am watching for the last star to come our way,

a burning arc to split the clouds,

cleave the grey mass that storms over half our world.

 

I look down and swallow back the nostalgia

as the curling fingers soften my hand,

softly pull and seek a thumb to suckle on.

The new-baby eyes reassure me, protect me as we wait,

as all around me wait,

for the first colony ship to Mars.

 

jJohnson Smith, JJS

Halloween, 2018, j Johnson Smith

Epicurean Epitaph                                                       jJohnson Smith

They said I’d die of fever, overheating.

I died of ‘Masterchef’,  overeating.

……………………………………….

 

Harvest-time.

The Reaper came and with a grin

asked how much time I’d like to borrow.

I thought awhile then looked at him

and requested to die tomorrow.

He stepped back into shadow and

waved his sickled hand,

asked me politely to follow

to his pleasant Netherland.

When I declined he bowed and said

he could never come tomorrow

but would be my friend and dine with me

and contemplate our sorrows.

 

Together we sit, he and I,

amongst the dead and dying.

He no longer talks but only grins

and I wait for tomorrow.

…………………………

Wrong words in the wrong place.

When I said, “I’d lost my mind”.

you took it so literally!    I didn’t mean to cause

that panic over such a little thing.

Because it really was just a passing phase.

A little phrase that covers many things

of dos or donts  or maybe-shouldn’t-haves

and never-do-agains.       From which I’ve  learned

(or hope I have) to re-think ways of saying; badly;

that I am madly in love with you.

 

………      Just loosen the buckles a little,

Let my arms relax, I feel like a skittle in this padded room;

though nice and plump it looks, ………

Reminding me of you; when we kissed beneath that moon.

When the black backed night had gone and I paraded myself

in the garden, calling your name in such memorable verse.

When I vowed, or something worse, to follow you to the end of the Earth.

………. Or maybe I didn’t.  It was someone else.  Not me….

This collar is tight…….

And when love blinds you to the world, does it have the right

to insist you wear this suit?  A jacket so tight that it binds your heart

and barely leaves your mind free to wander.  To wander in a storm

that chews the words and spits them out against your best intention?

 

tagged under: seasons,  JJS

poems JJS

 Poem 

The grizzled old man looked at me

with the morning sun glistening on bristled chin.

His eyes sunken, not hooded like crows

but sprawled-over by lank eyebrows; and his nose!

Thin commas red-lining the beak and you see

the grey from his nostrils peek.

There’s a finite crease in each lobe of each ear

and the duct in his eye predicted a tear, or sleep.

The fine hair cast thin and lopped to one side

hiding the patch where the thatch had died.

Back to his jaw where the line has sagged

and the lips drawn in.

The rhythm is missing, it’s not me nor him.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m seeing his twin.

 

 

Poem

The hawthorn, once budded and blossom-smothered

So smooth and supple that she waved to and caressed the breeze

Twisting with light to loose her petals and covered

To spell the ground white with flattering ease.

As branches arched, grew wide and reached for sun,

Beneath its shade in dappled light grew nature’s young

To play and grow and shelter as young shoots

In the founding nest among the hawthorn roots.

But time, the tides of man, an unknown thing in hawthorn’s course

Seeks recompense for seasons’ gifts

And bends and wreaks with gales that force

The gnarled and ancient roots to lift

And skin the branches clean of bud and leaf

To leave a memory and make a willow weep.

 

Poem….                                                                          28.march17

Recollection slips into gear when sitting in my quiet place

And the setting sun brings into view a distant face

That has never aged with signs of wear.

This time it’s red-eyed Henry who heads the line

With his solemn look.  Always hid behind

BIg-foot McCluskey but now he has the shilling

His penitent father gives for sweets

and he’s always willing

To share his treats with those who fold him in.

So there he is, is Big-foot, as heavy as is tall.

With Shiny-face and cheerful smile for one and all;

Unless you mock his mother, striving hard to keep together

A house of children by working the only way she could.

And then beware, big-foot.

 

I sip my thermos’ tea and hough quietly as childhood ghosts

Drift across the rows of red and white-stringed beans;

Canopies of leaves that point and flutter and boast of ripened seeds

That twist and burst and fall on fallow soil, on forgotten scenes.

Big Mary, Little Jane.  Oddly sisters a year apart

Who always dangled off each other’s arms as if alarmed to part,

Except when chased by Quickey-Tom and then would dash across the lane

To squeal in unison on opposing sides and feign

Surprise or anger amid delight.

And Mickey, Smiff and then there’s Jim.

What became of him, I wonder absently, sipping tea, still steaming

Into rheumy eyes.

He had big plans. Dressed like a mannequin for any occasion.

Always scheming, planning, looking for a reason

Not to be him.

 

Time, they say, is a great healer.

Glasses, they say are always rose-tinted.

Beds, they say, are of your own making.

But I wonder, in my quiet place,

Of the stories they would make of me;

Of my face that never ages,

Of my eyes, one, two, three.

 

for Jean, Poet.                     JJS.    9jan.2017

Spindrift.

A gossamer.

One hundred threads

of finest silken line.

A spiders web of steel

in summer through winter’s grip

and yet a sip of wine

that weds your world to mine.

 

 

Three Poems               J Johnson Smith

A Poor Poet’s Christmas

 

A Poor Poet’s Christmas         (with apologies to Clare and Bloomfield)

 

We sit around the fireside and call out merry oaths

Until there come the players in, plucking music from their throats.

With fiddles, horns and pipes they join in olden song

Of maids and lords and stable-lads, of all their rights and wrongs

Which to this day warn youth and child that behind each golden door

May lie a heart as black or red as beats inside the poor’.

 

The sack and beer are passed around and tatties and pudding too

Until our voices burst the door and raucous is the night.

‘Til cows and chucks bemoan the light that brakes their stalls

And e’en the moon forestalls the dawn to keep the sight

Of merry players and happy fools

Take rest from blistering tools

On this our Christmas night.

 

JJS

 

also tagged as  seasons

Sunny Days

Sunny Days                                                JJS.    8.aug2016

 

Every morning this summer, surprisingly

sunny and hot

for several weeks

Except for that twentyfour hours of

fine drizzle

and that final night-time burst of

torrential rain.

 

Every morning in that surprise of heat

inclined to frizzle

the finest leaves of fuchsia or

raspberry cane

I would tap my foot on a paving slab by

A waterbutt

then pause to bend a hand to a watering can.

 

A frog slid out

from under

the lip and sat on a brick an inch away

and refused to look at me.

 

I bent a little lower, as much as I could,

to study the smooth green skin with its fuzzed

brown spots

while it never moved or blinked or

even twitched.

 

Every morning frog played sleeping lions, refusing to see,

tantalisingly

ignoring me

as I studied the sleek leg and long blobbed toes.

Frog rested

casually

languorously

ignoring my existence while the sun shimmered over its back

and green skinned bellows.

 

Until I move a boot an inch, so I can reach the can.

Frog jumps

flat foot and splayed upon the chicken wire,

shrunken body, legs akimbo in dissection mode,

stranded.

We both hesitate again,

frog in the shade

while the sun still sweats on my neck.

 

Frogs don’t only sit or jump,

they manoeuvre

to slip front legs then head through the circle,

a too small circle,

then contract the bellows, the chest and ooze into

and through the wire noose

and flick

those wicket-keepers legs without a thought

to land like a tumbler and with a kick retreat

to ground-elder leaves and disappear.

 

The frog never looks at me face to face.

Why should it?

We play our little game, have no need to kiss,

both have chores to live.

I hope tomorrow will be the same.

frog lounge 2

tagged as  animals

Iris

Iris                                                      15.May2016            jJS

 

A glimpse of a world set in clear Amber for a millisecond,

hidden as a reflection that sits perilously on the opalescent lip.

Twin, triple, quadruple fine spines of delicate pink lines

with minute dots of orange.

 

So the delicate, tiger-striped burr alights and cools its proboscis.

A black head, black eyed, black tongued beast foraging

and nonchalantly robbing the nectar sweet with never a thought to assist

but flit to another pink edged well and dip.

 

Each head nodding and tempting amid the stems and stalks of reed-head grass

with yawning arms of petals that shimmer.

Purple rims of welcoming maws surrounding innocent white and a blatant gash

of orange.

That host rippling as the waterside ripples and the insects

hum about their business.  Dragonflies hover and dart

as fast as their life will last from the shallows to the wide open glass of the lake

to disappear as mysteriously as morning mist.

 

The iris-faces, like a crowd watching over the theatre of the lake,

bated breath,Irises

open mouthed,

turning with the spotlight sun,

too amazed

to notice what the bumbles take.