• Poetry



This Poem

Posted by Lisa D'Onofrio on 28 September 2011 at 12:21

Tags: australia lisa

This poem wears green eye shadow, and rainbow lipstick
This poem doesn’t own a clock, but knows how one ticks

This poem says – Wham, Bam, Thank You – Sir
This poem sports politically correct faux fur

This poem drives a silver Aston Martin DB4
With fluffy dice, fat wheels and four on the floor

It’s automatic, systematic and culturally clued
This poem rhymes when it doesn’t have to

This poem gives – and gets – oral pleasure
This poem is like, yeah, you know, whatever

This poem is gold-dipped, glitter-dusted and fairy-wanded
It knows a life half lived is a whole life squandered

This poem remembers a time before cellulite
This poem’s a pacifist but loves a good fight

This poem is bound for glory, this poem
Yee haa

This poem salutes irony, sarkiness and farce
This poem swaps showers for long soaks in the bath

This poem eats chocolate, and doesn’t brush its teeth,
This poem swims with dolphins, in the Great Barrier Reef

This poem has a personal trainer, but only for tea
This poem wears a singlet, and watches crap TV

This poem dyes its hair, and shows off its roots
This poem stands on one leg, and plays a small flute

This poem knows
when the writer is locked, and off floats the key
It can be whatever it needs to be.

This poem can fricassee, fillet a fish and quenelle
It’s a plus sized model on the cover of Elle,

It can strip wallpaper, plumb a kitchen and re-invent
But doesn’t give a toss of rocket cos it can only afford to rent

This poem is a greenie eco freaky nerd,
Cos it knows a poem is ultimately just recycled words.

Lisa D'Onofrio

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The Painter of the Angels at Barton Turf

Posted by Caroline Gilfillan on 28 September 2011 at 12:06

Tags: angels barton turf

Long hours I worked, late into nights
when the milk of the moon lit my hand.

I had a team of painters with me –
bright-eyed youngsters and solid men

calm and capable with their brushes –
but it was my hand that drew the lines

that coaxed the nine orders of angels
into this church set in rippling fields.

One day, it seemed, the angels were empty
shapes; the next dawn they’d arrived

with a whisper of feathers, a hiss of silk,
on the good, strong feet I’d drawn for them.

They came clothed in scarlet feathers,
white ermine, rose damask,

smelling faintly of incense and lilies,
of palm branches and ringing steel:

Seraphim, burning red with love;
golden Cherubim, all-seeing;

green-winged Thrones, Dominions,
blue Virtues; devil-scourging Powers;

Principalities, Archangels in armour,
and Angels guarding naked souls.

All this was eight centuries ago.
but still they glow in dappled light,

listening to prayers, readings and song,
and rooks and sparrows taking flight.

Caroline Gilfillan

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Syleham Light

Posted by Tim Lenton on 21 September 2011 at 23:04

Tags: waveney and blyth

Syleham View image

At Syleham bridge
light from nowhere paints
abstracts on the tree-lined river:
modern art on ancient canvas

A ladder leads into troubled water
and an empty bench waits for the right man
or woman

Not quite angel country
but rumours of a dove persist
somewhere upstream

and the bright white walls of
Tollbridge Cottage
stand sentry for free

as needles weave summer
into patchwork veins
and the usual suspects
pretend to leave

Comment on: Syleham Light

Here is the Book

Posted by Tim Lenton on 4 January 2009 at 18:07

Tags: book paston

Here on the edge of a drowned world
land of the True Cross
we walk on the moon, dark side,
among marbled pillars
touching unearthly colours
dusty passages
fingering forgotten legends

Treasure buried in the priory
where foreign knights battle secretly
against skeletons
and in the Kingdom of God
near Bromholm
the dead are raised

Iron stands like spears against the sun
while stone dissolves

As in the beginning
the word breathes on
until the void takes form
becomes a sacred, fertile field

Visions of Hildegard or Agnes in the rain
play dark tricks
as the world folds into paper,
holding on

Ruins bought and sold
breathe again
words emerge from the rock:
locks are broken

Burning kingfishers perch on fallen walls:
paths burst from the undergrowth

Here on the edge of the moon
Here is the book
Here are the letters thrown down and lifted up
Here the rushing wind
fire and water
laid like a cloth of gold and silver
under the patient stars

Poet's comment: This was written for the Paston Project in 2008 and draws on many aspects of the work, especially history and the surrounding countryside – and of course the book itself.

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Posted by Tim Lenton on 12 May 2007 at 23:29

Tags: eternity leaf man tree woman

Linocut by Annette Rolston View image

From the womb of the woman
and the heart of the man
a new tree grows

Through each fragile leaf
a narrow way opens
to other worlds:
a way like birth containing pain
and ecstasy

Drops of blood like light
pour through the darkness:
strange dew defeating time and space,
blotting out the stench
of decay:
turning the universe over
healing the curse of chaos

The tree survives flood and famine
dances to the music of eternity

Comment on: Leaf


Posted by Rupert Mallin on 21 March 2007 at 19:22

Tags: distance love the earth

Something immense and lonely

Divides the earth between us this evening.

I have placed the photographs of you

In my inside jacket pocket

As every lover does perhaps,

A million miles and four nights out of touch.

I have cut up turf

At the back of my mother’s house

And have watched the way earth

Turns itself over like my restless sleep.

You understand double your years

My soul as it breaks surface

And I imagine the rich soil in your palms,

Would that it could be

Just the distance between us tonight.

Comment on: Immensity

Intercepted light

Posted by Caroline Gilfillan on 12 September 2006 at 09:55

Tags: light

She watches shadows dip beneath the door,
swirling to the rhythm of the blades,
the push and pull of brown Bakelite whir.

Her fingers trace the swell of thigh to hip,
belly bump to ribs. Out in the dusty street
conversation splashes on to brick.

Next door the shower gurgles, as, within,
her heart maintains its sturdy, even thud,
reminding her that under her cloak of skin

she, too, pulses like intercepted light.
She too is rock and rolling out of sight.

Caroline Gilfillan

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Cracks in Canvas

Posted by Rupert Mallin on 4 August 2006 at 10:34

Tags: canvas cracks

I thought I heard you crying.
Or the sky.

I thought gulls were cracks in canvas.
Or their cries.

I thought tears were hanging from your lashes.
Not from mine.

I thought I heard you screaming.
Or a jet.

I thought I caught seas jumping from a brush.
Or finches twisting in a net.

I thought I heard you dreaming.
Or the earth.

I thought I would catch you falling from your blushes,
Not in death.

I thought loaded knives of light were life,
Not beached anguish in the nightmare
Of this breath, this breadth
Of skin – this 'scape of sky and sea;
This falsity, these lies.

I thought I heard you dying.
And the sky.

I thought gulls were cracks in canvas.
Or your eyes

In strokes of noiseless gashes
Bloody from the vine.

I just thought I heard you crying,
Girl of my ashes.

Rupert Mallin

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Art School

Posted by Rupert Mallin on 4 August 2006 at 00:00

Tags: art school

Chalk and charcoal net these images,
Hard edged or smeared with fingers:
A bottle wrapped by lines laid
Line over line to restrain
My interpretation of the real.

Yours is 'truth to materials.'
You pick up steel and see steel,
Not the stain of a black forest
In a sheet of tarnished aluminium.

Yours is 'truth to morals.'
You handle wood and see wood,
Not the pain of a breach–birth
In the handle of a hammer.

Yours is 'truth to money.'
You model clay and see clay,
Not murder's grey estuary
Or worms going down for air.

There is no denotative tool or bag of tricks
For reality has no measure but the quick
Of gestures marked upon a pane of light.
I scratch and scrape at the sun to escape
But in line upon line I am caged.

Rupert Mallin

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Still Life

Posted by Rupert Mallin on 4 August 2006 at 00:00

Tags: art

I am the black line beside each vein,
Leisurely, luxurious, deep as an ocean,
Thinner than cotton.

I hang from horizons
Behind breeze teased underwear,
Flat and fluttering upon the land.

Or curl up beside bones,
Orchestrating my growth to violins
Within the scaffolding.

I tighten the skin drum,
Lie thick in napkins,
Bleed all corners

Of simple symmetry. I am
Neither fillet nor feather,
Though I am that to which I cling.

Am a cavernous ghost
In a crevice, impossible to fill.
Emptiness is my fuel

In the cold ash of ovens,
In a duct not a tear,
Too small for forensic.

Am beneath all, invisible,
Until lifted from the soil,
Like stories, like holes.

I hog fridges and kilns,
Make a home of a scream
And am paint's illusion.

I am essential.

Rupert Mallin

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