Wednesday 16 November 2022

Five Poems by Stephen Kingsnorth




The lexicon is in free fall -

layed carpet, hearts of, craftsman’s chest,

rich russet range with jigsaw cut,

a brooch of honour, badge of war,

incised by auxin feed, then strewn -

vocabulary, greenwood hewn.

Tread lightly, moment in the hour;

boar hooves search truffles, miss the pearls.


A contemplation in the brown,

some squirrels wrest, cold storage barn,

though lost, recall not what it was,

still lift a corner, checking, swept.

For some an image, holm from home,

for me much mulch, worms working earth,

rich mould rug so our spring erupts,

such phototropes that stone is rolled.


Folk would wallpaper, like the floor,

as concentrate on background screen -

live dingly dell mind, in a heap -

but bright light room, while secret growth.

As turning leaves, sage wisdom books,

deposit of now dust and bones,

those pages vibrant, singing verse -

old order changeth, yielding new.


Tan palette stretcher, chestnut, dun,

in celebration of the brawn,

that rotting, yet dead, life again,

stirs resurrection gainst all odds.

In boyhood, swoop of clatter stag,

I thought force, alien controlled;

as man I find, as seasons spin,

that grace implanted in our ground.





Genteel branch of the family,

too soft-spoken for the organ loft

with strings and rods, the clavichord;

not far removed, harder cousins’ line,

protection racket, those body parts,

skeletal shield for inner work.


This little key, sternum strut,

horizontal long, swank only one,

contention, give the doggy some,

gnawing, can’t ignore the thing,

axis turn, abducting from

the inner core, normality.


Marrow, far from veggie patch,

process, joint and scapulae,

sounds mobster or Bond’s enemy,

connections in the underworld -

that’s where they lie, those ligaments,

take orders from the brain HQ.


Out on a limb, a funny bone,

now what a nerve to pretend joke,

far humerus, no laughter - pain,

as if the cut from blade run through,

which leaves me singing Boney M,

from Babylon to Mary’s child.


The last doubtless, unfashionable -

what magic trick with flesh and bones?

But that’s not what the fuss about;

prefer, contracted to a span,

the stuff of life, humanity,

and freedom, choices in the wind.





Elevenses, for sixties boy,

from garden-work, a rest, the tray -

Dads coffee mug, my jug of juice,

Mums teapot, milk and sugar bowl -

the robin choosing worms dug up.

The chat, as sweat allowed to dry,

a golden star for what achieved,

his comment, what not yet complete,

the tasks that lay ahead for each,

so buck up son, or lunch delayed.


Refreshment break, for twenties lad,

from pressing list, brief pause, a queue -

Dads mug, flat white, my cortado,

Mums cappuccino, cold foam iced -

the tweeting passing dirt dug up.

The talk is now to farther friends,

few faces seen, on Facebook, apps,

the garden chair a door-way step,

live streaming as the crowds pass by,

so buck up son, or lunch delayed.


First published by Medusa’s Kitchen



Past Death


I did not know her, here laid out,

a careful combing of the hair

not as I’d known it set before -

forehead laid bare, cleared silver strands;

not of my choosing, frame beside.


But father told he wanted this,

a final farewell to his wife,

though he knew, as did I, full-well,

she long had left; this trolley bare,

enforced that spirit flown the room.


By absence seeping beads drawn down -

the knowledge that we paused alone,

skeletal cage deserted now.

And since, the question posed myself -

should I dissuade through queries raised?


Poor memory’s now fixed in place -

this mask should not replace her face;

some say dread visit reinforced,

that shock fires mould of empty clay -

unnecessary proof for me.


For him, for his, I dare not say;

the sixty years entitle him

to linger, lose, yet loose again

the bond and knots that tied them close.

And sons accompany past death.


Previously published by Sparks of Calliope



Following the Grain


The speckled path traces a line

on which patina time will mark.


A clock that chimed important hours,

observing prayers and reading page;

from clammy palms timidly stretched

for reading creases, forward years.


A pared wood cup sweat globule-dripped,

then swirled with mead drained servant poured;

silver, planished, the hand-made sign,

left marks from hall, and sterling wine.


Apprentice piece, held journeyman,

a proof of travel with the joints;

two drawers matched stored marriage wraps,

their waist-let prompting wedding banns.


A cradle rocked white knuckled hands

to dampen cries of father, child;

a beam above smoke inglenook,

hot conversations with less light.


The treasure chest of daughter’s curl,

unlocked, but key of memory;

a truckle bed rolled out of site

that caked boots trod mud, bakers punched.


A varnish of flight pheromones,

more tears, some blood, flaked skin, hut dust,

capped steam from pots, seepage from pores;

ingrained, embedded, history sealed.


Previously published by From the Edge

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including Lothlorien Poetry Journal.

He has been nominated, like so many, for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.

His blog is at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Five Poems by Richard Levine

    Blinded     There are thoughts I keep mostly to myself,   the way day and night mind their own business.       Would it surprise you to ...