Sunday 18 June 2023

Five Poems by Stephen Kingsnorth


Joint Enterprise


At Woodstock rock rolls heavy round

the hill, as, Jimmy Hendrix style,

the stars and strikes of battlefield,

with copter crews from cotton fields,

the pickin strings by singing flag,

that guitar falls on silent field.


The food they found, shared sixty fold

beyond the Galilean hill;

those hickey folk said sons the same,

won’t have them starve, enjoying selves,

though most their lads had Nam and eggs,

their will, to share joint exercise.


First published by Foxtrot Uniform, Sep 2019



Dyslexic Games


My cut out work, order excised,

the lingua scooted franca by,

as written codes are in a spin,

that first impression, plumped for term,

but first edition, draft, revised.


Imagine, me, reading your words,

when orchard trunks are worn for swim,

an orchid seen, such fruitless leap.

From capital I take the lead,

or is it plumb from column head,

the problem, read, when seeing red?


I before E, save after C,

rule pointless, if after, before.

I take the plunge, recall the sounds,

but syllables beyond my count,

as if a haiku, different sums.


If shape my mouth, they think I’m deaf,

but trial and error only test,

a plunger diving, U bend blocked,

the structure fractured, disjointed,

my reading age reduced to eight.


That’s why I use the gift of gab,

my moving script performed, not scanned,

until they note, page upside down,

pretend my glasses left at home;

a strategy, dyslexic games.


First published by Ariel Chart, June 2021



Lengths for Width


It lies beneath her surface sheen,

the real disturbance of disease,

dementia spread, synapse collapse,

while outwardly she knows the rules -

the courtesies to strangers shown,

as even dares to hold her hand,

mutters sweet nothings to her lobe.


He daily comes from swimming baths,

stiff exercise for sinew strength,

some lengths of pool as butterfly,

prior to residence - not home -

the space where breast-stroke tackles width,

that gap between her mind and his;

from highest board, diving for love,

through water for the flower God,

his Lily, surface tension float.


Tomorrow it will seem the same,

unless more fumbles locked in brain,

meniscus broken, given way,

as lightest touch may break the skein.

Pale sunshine may give way to rain,

endearments whispered, leaning in,

cold shoulder proffered in return,

stare, a rejected sacrifice,

this diamond wedding alien.


First published by Poetry Potion, Nov 2020





A strange condition for a row

amongst the headstone rows that flank

the hill side cemetery,

that hangs and flows,

marble chips and chips off marble, chip paper,

scree of lager cans and driven flowers;

sunlight bearing on the granite backs

lapidary curlicues of the shade.


Does she entreat or remonstrate

as they pace on and through the slabs,

an avenue of undying love inscribed,

he silent, power-walking ahead against the wind and mood?

She, some pace behind,

outstretched arm and cupping hand towards him,

relaying, I assume,

the beg to hear her, or impress the point, backhanding.

I wonder if, affected by the tight clipped yews

and angel wings and comforts versed,

and likewise outstretched arms,

she solicits advocacy of heaven.


But as I muse on irony,

the hope of ancient dead to hold sway,

to influence for good,

I realise that in her extended hand

is her phone.


First published by Ink, Sweat and Tears, July 2019



Growing Patch


For years it was a briar patch,

the spittoon for my tar babies

where dog-ends crouched and mucked about,

a wasteland, harsh for lions’ teeth,

few tattered rugs for undergrowth,

a two-piece suite though downside-up,

no longer fire-resistant kite

flying as passers tipped more dump.


Deep roots beneath the mats required,

agent orange or napalm spray

from TV dinners, Nam and eggs;

but then despite my settled view,

like greenstick-fractured sapling torn,

my seasoned outlook snapped in two,

algebra working in my bones,

now marrow spreading, open flowered.


New groundwork digging in my mind -

a landscape under my control,

working not against, with the clay,

the carpets floored a compost heap.

I burned brambles, skipped furniture,

nightshade cleared from the deadly dock,

laid grass where the couch had strayed,

from mattress rot, created beds.


Now creepers climb where nettles rashed,

an arbour necklaced jasmine gems,

prim roses replace trailing dogs;

the paving crazed, thyme on its stones

the garden broom flings seeds about -

while honeysuckled by the bees.

Herbaceous fills the spacious soil -

I put flags out to celebrate.


First published by Here Comes Everyone, Feb 2020

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.

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

His blog is at


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