Tuesday 23 November 2021

Five Superb Unpublished Poems by J.S. Watts


Three Candles


Three times now I have lit a candle

to stand sentinel to the dark outside my window.

Father, son and holy one have mercy.

Three golden flames dance before me

three more flutter in the blackness of the glass,

pulling from their wicks, tugging always away

like souls in purgatory seeking absolution,

but stuck fast in the guilt of their making.

Father, son and holy one have pity.

Three bright flames for three bright loves,

tugging and pulling my heart like fire about a match.

Venger, teacher and judge have mercy.


I was brought up to believe in one alone,

one pure, one true, one eternal,

but one alone is a lonely number,

one alone is the limiting factor

denying me as I really am,

rejecting others shining in me.

Three bright candles burn their flickering truth;

one and one and one make three.

Father, son and Holy Ghost, three in one.

It is one that denies, one that will not be.

It takes a man to fixate on just one.

Holy man, son, father, do you hear me?


If man's obsession is singular

the mother's arms embrace all of this world's making.

Mother, lover, wise woman, one as many.

Three bright flames reflected against the darkness of the night.

For the son I am mother,

caring and loving, holding the pain of the world at bay.

For the father I am wise

with knowledge beyond years, the death crone

speaking the world's only truth

and I am lover to the third,

melting body and spirit together

in the heat of a thousand flames.


In love there is life for we become more than one

and anything more than one is a blessed, living multitude.

Death limits us to singular.

Three died as one on the holy man's hill.

When one is gone there is no more.

In the time left us before the light goes out,

before we are reduced, we should celebrate the many,

burning as brightly as we can, highlighted by night.

Those who light just one candle

invite the coming of the dark

earlier than welcome.

I shall live in a house of fire.


Dancing and dancing with my sister selves

and our bright loves shall dance with us

anchored in life not guilt.

We shall celebrate until

I descend the stairs at dusk to find

three candles guttering on my window-sill,

three more brighter in the darkness of the night,

dancing to the same dirge, song of the death crone.

Mother, lover, wise woman, hear me.

The candle is not everlasting and the light will go out

whatever the wise men say.

Mother, lover, crone, I am yours until then. 



A Plague on All Their Flower Palaces


You’re a flim flam fancy man

Catch you up a corner

                        with your sausage leg spam

Catch you up a corner

                        with your message in the pot

                                    feeling, squeezing

                                                all the things you’ve got

Butcher’s Broom         Love Lies Bleeding



In case you can’t see it

                        I’m working a spell

I’ve seen it done with a wooden spoon

                        more squeezing, teasing

a spell against diseases

                        crabs, fleas, things that wheeze

                                    whatever won’t float away

Fleabane          Piss-the–bed



It’s ground breaking

                        earth shaking

                                    candy just there for the taking

Hit that rhyme with a hammer, Jack

So many possibilities              so little time

A long stone’s throw

                        plate glass tinkles with a different chime

Crack Willow



Night-time disturbing her daylight slumbers

                        the soft kiss of flowers on a midnight lawn

Awake at the back there !

            pale brown frog baby

                        awash in its bath

                                    drowning in laughter

Have you woken yet?

Mornin’ Glory            Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon



I wanted to get going

                        but the going got good

                                                got got instead

Bloody Cranesbill

A plague on you before you plague me         


Mother of thousands becomes Stinking Iris became Dead Nettle turned into

Corpse Flower             Forget-me-not



The End of the Rainbow


I am dancing away

with the music of the spheres,

song bubbles rising

like the kiss of champagne,

all the way onwards

to the end of the rainbow.

Why shouldn’t I?

Couldn’t I?

I am my own dreams’ child.


Life evaporates quickly

with every ragged breath.

I choose to breathe harmonies

into unheard promises

and sweetly aching hearts,

and if that’s just fantasy

then blue birds back at you.

I’m dancing all the way

to the end of the rainbow. 


Becoming Bones


A skeleton hiding deep within its bloody meat sack -

I am reclaiming old bones.

For too long life’s lean white core

has been owned by the miserly dead.

The hardened Grim Reaper leading

his ever-lengthening osseous dance of death.

Mud-caked relics of lost brittle lives

exhumed from the softly sleeping soil

to reshape our pasts.

But I am breathing. These bones are now.


I am liquids and solids,

soft flesh and calcified tissue,

the sum of all my parts and more.

Inside I am purity and strength,

all that remains when the rest of me is gone, sure.

Yet now my bones stand firm within me.

Are me.

This is me beneath flesh and skin,

constant, unbending, dancing alive.

Hard resolve cups the vitreous jelly

staring out from this brave citadel.

These my hands, my fingers, nails.

If I could look inwards

I would still be me. 



Waiting to Have Tea With a Friend While You’re in the Boot of My Car


She’s late. It happens. It’s no big deal.

A fresh pot of Lapsang, pen and notebook

plus time to kill. Life is refreshed after tea.

I can rest peacefully, wait things out, seated

at this dark, heavily grained table.

Old oak, I think, tracing

the black veins that once indicated living growth

while you, untraceable, are out there,

collected and yet not, like Schrodinger’s infamous feline

a modern day pending Bastet,

in my locked, unwarmed, immobile car.

I take the measure of things.

They feel appropriately balanced, like the heart’s breath,

the weight of a feather.

I said goodbye to you here less than a month ago,

toasting your unaugured departure

with chilled Prosecco and madeira cake.

Now I’m back here and you’re out there

without words, in my chill car boot,

waiting? Not sure about that.

What would you be waiting for?

The innocent teatime ritual is clear.

I’m waiting to drink tea with her,

mouth the expected sympathetic words

maybe eat some honey cake,

its sweetness sliding between barely opened lips.

Is that what you’re waiting for?

You’d like the cake, you always did,

the dark wood table, not so much.

The last wood before your eyes

was lightly grained pine.

You’re now mixed up over wood,

can’t see the tree for ash, so to speak.

I spoke the words that sent you on your way

shall now speak more with afternoon tea

the handed-down, unassuming ritual of food and drink.

Until then I’m waiting

and you...?

You remain obstinately late.

J.S. Watts is a UK poet and novelist. She has published eight books: two full poetry collections, "Cats and Other Myths" and “ Years Ago You Coloured Me”, two poetry pamphlets, "Songs of Steelyard Sue” and "The Submerged Sea” and four novels, "A Darker Moon” - dark literary fantasy,  “Witchlight”, “Old Light” and “Elderlight" - paranormal, published in the US and UK. See www.jswatts.co.uk

Books by J.S.Watts:  Elderlight (novel) – coming on 7th December 2021. Other novels: Old Light ISBN 978-1946050205; Witchlight ISBN 9780692406908; A Darker Moon ISBN 9780615706528. Poetry: Cats and Other Myths ISBN 9781907276644; Songs of Steelyard Sue ISBN 9781909252028 - Nominated for BOTH SFPA and Saboteur Awards Best Poetry Pamphlet 2013; Years Ago You Coloured Me ISBN 9781910855157; The Submerged Sea ISBN 9781907435591.

Website:  http://www.jswatts.co.uk/  Facebookwww.facebook.com/J.S.Watts.page 

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