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
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
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
It’s ground breaking
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
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
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?
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
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.
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
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
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.