Friday, 19 April 2013


Last week I wrote about how I had reduced the first poem in the post by a third as I typed it onto the blog. Well this week I revised it again, though I still haven’t got a title. Any ideas gratefully received.

Buzz and Neil are on the moon, it’s that July,
We watch them on the evening news,
my mother smokes a woodbine, unmoved,
my father is at work,
my brother understands the science,
I assume we will holiday in space next year.

My Grandmother, who now lives with us
watches the telly uncomprehendingly.
The lesions are forming in her brain,
she’s losing her own space race,
memories jumble, the present is confusion.

I come to dread visiting her in hospital,
on a ward full of old women
whose bodies have outlived their minds.
It will be years before I truly understand
just how sad all this is.

What do you think of the differences? Does it make the poem more effective? I think it does.

This next poem I so not think I have posted before. It is a story poem. The only thing I will say is that Oxleys’ was a department store in Widnes when I was a child.

Wild John

John was wild,
kinetic with the drink,
bouncing off the walls.
Out of the house,
across the gardens,
down to the row of garages.
Where better to shake off your clothes?
To caper round the car naked.
When that proved as pointless,
he sat on the cold concrete and he cried,
drunk in the darkness,
unable to see the joist or to tie the knot.

His wife, a martyr, (we all knew this),
would have fifteen more years
of going out, of other men,
Before the dementia claimed her,
Left her on a locked ward,
one room to ask her questions in:
Where is John? This is not my house, is it?

John would have five years
before the heart attack,
outside of Oxleys, by then a pool hall.

John would have five more years
And three more coaxings:
Come off the clammy bonnet John
Put your clothes on, please John.

Three more mornings
to pass you on the street,
as if the night had not happened.

I would be interested in your thoughts on both them.

My old cat refusing to join in playing Mah Jong

Have a good week.


  1. I agree, I do think the first poem is more effective--the words are tighter.

    Love the contrast between what is to come and the present in the second poem.

  2. Both very powerful poems (maybe Lost in space as a title for the first?). 'kinetic with the drink' is exceptional, but as a whole it flows well to draw you effortlessly to that last stanza. Good piece.