Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Five Superb poems by Rose Mary Boehm


On the Road to Novgorod*


His shoes inadequate

for the deep white.


His threadbare coat no

protection against

the driven snow.


His hands blue,

stiffened by his sides.


The rag covering his head

slowly unwinds until

it rides on fast air

into the moon-lit night.


His breath freezes

on the wind.


The angel with the golden locks

offered him solace and inquiry.

His answer:

The myrrh-bearing women

of Novgorod are expecting me.


 *home to the tradition of the churches of the myrrh-bearing women



Log 5533, earthdate unkown

The batteries will soon run out. I had enough
to last me through what I suppose has been
almost a year because I am a natural hoarder.
Difficult to tell, though, because it’s so fucking
cold. No seasons. They bloody did it. Went
off to I don’t know where and blew up the rest.
Used nukes.

I hope someone will find this digicorder and
make it work, because whatever they’ve told you
is crap. They lied to all of us and they’ll lie to you.
Anyway, there were only a few of us who made it
because we’re five potholers and were down at about
4000 meters. We knew a few exits.
When we got up and out there was
only this. Desert and rocks and a few new greens.
Don’t know how the plants do it.

Never mind, back to the facts. We had a few
supplies, some of which we’d stashed below.
We didn’t think we’d make it this long, but there
were more. One day they came over that hill
and we couldn’t believe our eyes. Burnt, tumourous, ragged,
looked like a leper colony. And boy, were we glad.
There were two girls. We’d worry about that later.
They carried stuff they’d found on the way.
Even had a big ham. Glowing in the dark?
Who cared. Can you imagine watching your health
after a whopper like that?

One of them started to build the temple. He was
somewhat ticked in the head. Probably from the blast.
He didn’t remember where he was when it happened. Come
to think of it, he didn’t remember who he was. Perhaps
some religious nut. So he started on that thing. What
would you have done? We helped. Spread out, found
bent metal – first melted, then hardened and misshapen.
We didn’t want to walk too far from the site and always
went in pairs. Had nothing else to do anyway.

And so it came about that we had a temple for
a god who had forsaken us. It was useful when it rained.




I am
the unwritten words
after an ellipsis.

You look
through me.
I become

I have taken
your image,
as a wraith,

and you live
in me as I do
in you.



παράνοια - paranoia


he corners me again

says he was a scientist once

I want to be invisible

still raw from listening

the previous night

he holds my sleeve

spittle spluttering from bruised lips

his eyes darting from me

to the lesser dark at the end of the alley

I can see them he says

over there

moving shadows

I can hear them he says

they talk in hushed voices

I know he says

only entropy’s left

talks about comets

shooting across the black of space

midnight surgeons feeding on body parts

he says love is a hoax

invented by perverted gods

our disabled minds

unable to search

for a new set of probabilities



Purposeless play (sic)*


I heard today that John Cage has died.

Ten years go.

More or less.


He would like to be remembered

as an empty book left open

for the wind,

as a tone-less symphony

waking the listeners

to their very lives,

as a poem never written,

never read.


As a silent presence

on a stage that has

been taken down

last year.


John Cage died a disappointed

inventor of aleatoric music for

which he invented a string instrument

that had to be played by one tall person

with four hands.


* John Cage has been lauded as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century. He is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4”²33”³, which is performed in the absence of deliberate sound; musicians who present the work do nothing aside from being present for the duration specified by the title.


Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her fourth poetry collection, THE RAIN GIRL, was published by Chaffinch Press in 2020. Want to find out more? https://www.rose-mary-boehm-poet.com/

Rosmarie Epaminondas (Rose Mary Boehm)






  1. Love the poem on the death of John Cage! Really interesting and wow.

  2. And the osmosis poem lingers with the echoes of John Cage
    Wow feels like an understsatement


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