Poems by Moor Poets
This page features two or three poems by members of Moor Poets. New poems will be posted at regular intervals. If you would like to be included, please send one or two of your published poems to Helen Boyles.
Gertrude by Alice
I knew she was a genius; she did too.
You could tell it from the way she sat there,
thinking thoughts that were more thought thoughts
than the thoughts that other people thought.
My thought was that she was beautiful, majestic.
I fell headlong into those warm dark eyes.
When she asked me to be her wife I cried for days.
Being a genius she didn’t cook or sew
or grow the vegetables or see to the house.
I did everything for her, my husband-mother-child.
When she wrote down those thoughts she thought
I typed them – the typewriter made her scared –
and told the publishers how wonderful they were
so she would have more thoughts. She was a genius.
She talked to people always, people I never liked
coming into our house, taking her from me.
I spoke only to wives; the kitchen was our place,
the altar where for her I sacrificed chickens or ducks,
made her sauces from wine and devotion. I kept her fat
to cherish me, thin as her shadow. And in bed
(maybe I shouldn’t mention it) she was a genius too.
If she was here she’d tell you more, much more
about our life. Forty years it was, of thoughts
and books and fun. Her laugh was bigger than us both,
her words the melody that sang us through the day.
Without her I’m thinner than I ever was
living these days on memory and cigarettes.
I may have said this to you before: she was a genius.
Published in A House of Empty Rooms, Indigo Dreams 2017
On the day I didn’t know
The street was quiet on the day I didn’t know.
Pigeons went about their business along the windowsills,
the high street just as steep, the river on its way below,
the sun hidden, then re-emerging to soften the early chill.
On the day I didn’t know, I dawdled on the hill –
I couldn’t up the pace, lift myself, the usual shops
held no interest. Too much time to kill.
A busker sang a baleful tune, I didn’t stop
to hear his reason for the day. I reached the top
of town and found a place to buy a drink,
a compromise to help me home and swap
my dullness for reward, anything so as not to think.
On the day I didn’t know, at home I locked the door.
I emptied ashtrays, fed the cat, and mopped the floor.
Beauty and the Killing Machine
(Avro Vulcan Nuclear Bomber
Dawlish Airshow, August, 2015)
There is no 4-minute warning
but a thin preamble whine
and a huff of agitated air
like a squall in far-off trees.
No wrath of gods, not yet
but a delta moth
sidling into this piece of sky
a ghosting silver thing
of inconsiderate beauty.
And the thousands on the beach
whoop and cheer
at a circus elephant in ballet shoes
a whispering dinosaur,
a kindly giant’s trinket
There is just time
to admire the brazen gape
of bomb-bay doors
before the blacksmith’s hammer falls
and a man-made lightning bolt of noise
cracks the atoms of the air.
And in the quake
an old and shaky black and white:
a perfect puffball mushroom cloud
of inconsiderate beauty.
First to blink
And on the rain-slick road in front of me
white-staring staring me down
daring me down not moving
luminous in the moment in the car headlight
taking me in
taking my lethal metal jacket in
and not moving facing me down
claw gripping carcase
pinning me down
till I blink brake swerve
into the risk of oncoming
lifts upward like a leaf
letting go of gravity
curd of mist
of white ash
dissolving to night to drizzle
blurring to peripheral
letting me run
leaving me smeared
furred and bloody
on the road
Winner of the Kent and SussexPoetry Competition in 2015
published in Colouring Outside the Lines Oversteps Books, 2015.