Great Poetry Circle

Great Poetry Circle

About the Poetry Blog

Selection of Great Poetry and some from Tommy Stroller - choose your category - and see my other sites -

You constantly made up to me

TS LovePosted by Graham Thompson Tue, March 20, 2018 10:36:44

You constantly made up to me

In mascara, liner and rouge

Though I never asked for that at all

Nor ever made the first move

Then I was the partner left unseen

When you sals'ed thru the night

I was the secret that danced between

Your breasts and other men

My love you took the tram to Moscow

That got sidelined in my heart

You wanted to dance one last dance for me

On life's perfect seamless strand

It was a day you gave back to me

But really it meant the end

Then you tried to skate away from me

But fell and broke your wrist

You mailed me an X ray of the bone

That still treasonably hurts

Now you skate on kitchen floors

With home and babe and man

You never answer the phone to me

You've found another's wings

So when the time comes to count

All those ballroom heroines

I'll put you high above everyone

Though I'll have to unclip your wings

I can't remember the lines I said

When as friends we finally did part

But all I know is that breasts your size

Should never be let out alone

Hey angel, this utopia is upside down!

TS LovePosted by Graham Thompson Tue, March 20, 2018 10:23:27

“ … and (s)he was the devil of my dreams, the handsomest angel.”

Antonio Machado

Hey angel, why do your visits

come so often? Were you once

more human & voluptuous,

instead of ice thin & boney,

like my incarnate lover?

Are your wings of wider span

now you need to defeat

my gravity?

& who is escaping from whom?

Hey angel, the first time

you left me, you were parked

on a slab of stone, not in paradise

but the morgue – did you

fly up to heaven

all on your own?

Then you haunted me

constantly in muddy lanes

& briared paths

between sunrise & dawn

and in the soon-to-be-harvested

wheat-fields of my youth.

Were you taken in your nest

like the sliced & quartered rats

I found when they

came to take the grain?

Later, when I'd lost you,

I thought it was

forever, you flew in

from Lisbon

or some other port of whores.

You came back to tempt me, seduce

or pre-empt me – but I

knew your game right from the start.

You might have given me

the clap, but not the bee-sting kiss

of a Hecubus from hell

pretending to be heaven.

In Flanders fields I found you

blindly strolling through the graves

that ten feet below

tugged at your heels, but stop

you never did

except to undo this kid

who had single-mindedly

failed to win the war.

We slept between the graves,

made love between the folds

of the dead, we consumed

one another in passion's fire;

but there were no phoenixes,

only sadly failed intentions

as I escaped

out of your coffin door.

Hey angel

I thought I was free of you

in the far north of my freedom

a place where angels can catch


in their extremities,

but you found me

you came knocking

at my balcony window door

as I paused from my words

on the page. Of course,

they were of you, only you,

as you reached again

into my fiery coal-black heart.

You came to wrench me

from the page to the precipice,

you came to tear me

from my fate

ringed by circles arctic

and of stories old.

You dragged me to the balcony's

rough ledge,

then it was push & pull:

your push to make you thrill

at the dizzy heights below,

and at my fall,

my pull to draw me back

to the stage;

for it is an act, a play,

a whole production on the road

I'll never live to see:

it's our common desire

to join beyond the grave

at the crossroads

where all the angels

met the witch

(of the north?).

Written in a bar on the Avd. Antonio Macho, Playa del Balamadena, Andalucia, March, 2018

Vanilla – a mixed metaphor

TS LovePosted by Graham Thompson Tue, March 20, 2018 10:00:43

The candles in this stranger's house

reek of vanilla – a scent

that takes me back unerringly,

compulsively, to,

not the love of my life,

but loving that once seemed

unquenchable – it was her soap

and from it her skin

that gave off a perfume

which preceded her every entry

to my presence

by seconds:

Vanilla! It's origin

no mystery: those long

sensuous dark pods

the hidden fragrance of their insides

a life history

of pollination by hand -

a strange kind of sex

at its foundation

leading to another

more personal history

of childhood custards

seaside ice-creams

motherly cheeks and apple pies.


wreaking of life, sex and even the death

captive in its unlit interior

exteriorised in my love's

every tender move

this love haunts me now

from some distant place

I can no longer reach

but only smell

and here retell

again and again

our injured history and

miraculous intercourse

almost preternatural in its origin

a passion now belonging to

its own relational geology

an ice-age erratic left

forlorn, isolated

on some foreign strand:

how many times

will it lead me astray,

this lone signpost

to a pre-historic love

Love's Corner

TS LovePosted by Graham Thompson Mon, October 03, 2016 14:07:29

The cold held us;

A street corner of directions

Wheeled us apart.

Emptying your arms

I ran against the startling cold,

My face upturned and cradling stars,

My heart in the dark nowhere.

Then time streamed down my bitter cheeks,

And forced a turn of mind

To the statue of your beauty,

Immured in wrapt attention:

A woman of scarves and anticipation

Propped by her bicycle.

Alone, so utterly alone you stood,

Refusing all directions except my own,

Which in that moment turned on yours,

To the warmth of neck and hair.

And on the street we took away,

As long as two minds meeting,

We felt the words we had no need share,

Were turned on this love's corner.

When someone goes away

Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Mon, October 03, 2016 14:02:59

In the embrace on the corner you will recognize

someone’s going away somewhere. It’s always so.

I live between two truths

like a neon light trembling in

an empty hall. My heart collects

more and more people, since they’re not here anymore.

It’s always so. One fourth of our waking hours

is spent in blinking. We forget

things even before we lose them –

the calligraphy notebook, for instance.

Nothing’s ever new. The bus

seat is always warm.

Last words are carried over

like oblique buckets to an ordinary summer fire.

The same will happen all over again tomorrow—

the face, before it vanishes from the photo,

will lose the wrinkles. When someone goes away

everything that’s been done comes back.

Nikolai Madzirov from Macedonia b. 1973


TS Death & LossPosted by G. Thompson Wed, March 30, 2016 21:34:34
On the Death of a Young Boy by Drowning


We sing our nightingale tunes
In the echoes of a darkness that eclipses all night
Each alone & yet identical in the song of our delivery
What defiant beauty in this seizing
Of lost chances & last hopes
What magnificent artifice
In our evasion of oblivion


Where we shall go & where we came from
We never know
Sent in a body
We never chose
But then make our own
Like a house inherited
Built with momentos & forgotten scraps
Or a treasure found
Under an upturned stone


In the singing voices that spiral upward
Like smoke into the gaping ears of heaven
In the eye of a small flame glistening
Over the earth-filled abyss
Through the long wake of night
There is a prayer signalling silence
That outstares our long-starred fates


Our world is just a window in a

jet plane

bound for heaven


Our day is a porthole on the ferry

across the Styx


Our true friends weave the spiders web

to catch the ego in search of self-love


Our lovers become the shadows

cast by ourselves onto them


Our life is a blip on the radar

of the navigator God


Haiku for Eleanor’s Soul

A leaf spins through the sun

Lands on the water

Slowly turns then flows away

Tommy Stroller

Coming to the Limfjord

TS InscapePosted by Graham Thompson Tue, March 01, 2016 22:04:26

Coming to the Limfjord

Coming over the long slow hills

Of Jutland and its weather-torn

Landscape of blunted morraines

And trilling darkforest

The bridge over Aggersund appears

A mouth with metal teeth

Gaping into the Limfjord

That northern inland sea that once

Was unsalted lake a maze

Of febrile land and water

Islets coughing off narrow spits

The low foam rarely amounting

To waves of real neighbour seas

And in that winter’s evening hour

Suddenly the light behind

Imprisoning clouds breaks free:

The light now upon the face of the sea

And the face of the sea is mine alone

And its light on me

The Best Poems of D.H. Lawrence

Great PoetryPosted by Graham Thompson Tue, March 01, 2016 21:01:29
Lawrence was a great descriptive writer who wrote about love and nature in a way nobody has done either before or since. His poetry is rather like intensive prose, as if he was whispering in your ear or talking over a cafe table. He does not play with language, or rejoice in language, but his story-poems have an exactness of description and a hypnotic quality that I really love. So hope you enjoy this short selection of some of his best, including the last poem he ever wrote - "The Ship of Death". The only thing comparable to its content and purpose is "The Tibetan Book of the Dead".

The Snake

A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.

In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,

Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.

And voices in me said, If you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.

And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.

He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther,
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
Overcame me now his back was turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.

And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.


Why does the thin grey strand
Floating up from the forgotten
Cigarette between my fingers,
Why does it trouble me?

Ah, you will understand;
When I carried my mother downstairs,
A few times only, at the beginning
Of her soft-foot malady,

I should find, for a reprimand
To my gaiety, a few long grey hairs
On the breast of my coat; and one by one
I let them float up the dark chimney.

The Mystic Blue

Out of the darkness, fretted sometimes in its sleeping,
Jets of sparks in fountains of blue come leaping
To sight, revealing a secret, numberless secrets keeping.

Sometimes the darkness trapped within a wheel
Runs into speed like a dream, the blue of the steel
Showing the rocking darkness now a-reel.

And out of the invisible, streams of bright blue drops
Rain from the showery heavens, and bright blue crops
Surge from the under-dark to their ladder-tops.

And all the manifold blue and joyous eyes,
The rainbow arching over in the skies,
New sparks of wonder opening in surprise.

All these pure things come foam and spray of the sea
Of Darkness abundant, which shaken mysteriously,
Breaks into dazzle of living, as dolphins that leap from the sea
Of midnight shake it to fire, so the secret of death we see.

The Ship of Death


Now it is autumn and the falling fruit
and the long journey towards oblivion.

The apples falling like great drops of dew
to bruise themselves an exit from themselves.

And it is time to go, to bid farewell
to one's own self, and find an exit
from the fallen self.


Have you built your ship of death, O have you?
O build your ship of death, for you will need it.

The grim frost is at hand, when the apples will fall
thick, almost thundrous, on the hardened earth.

And death is on the air like a smell of ashes!
Ah! can't you smell it?
And in the bruised body, the frightened soul
finds itself shrinking, wincing from the cold
that blows upon it through the orifices.


And can a man his own quietus* make
with a bare bodkin?

With daggers, bodkins, bullets, man can make
a bruise or break of exit for his life;
but is that a quietus, O tell me, is it quietus?

Surely not so! for how could murder, even self-murder
ever a quietus make?


O let us talk of quiet that we know,
that we can know, the deep and lovely quiet
of a strong heart at peace!

How can we this, our own quietus, make?


Build then the ship of death, for you must take
the longest journey, to oblivion.

And die the death, the long and painful death
that lies between the old self and the new.

Already our bodies are fallen, bruised, badly bruised,
already our souls are oozing through the exit
of the cruel bruise.

Already the dark and endless ocean of the end
is washing in through the breaches of our wounds,
Already the flood is upon us.

Oh build your ship of death, your little ark
and furnish it with food, with little cakes, and wine
for the dark flight down oblivion.


Piecemeal the body dies, and the timid soul
has her footing washed away, as the dark flood rises.

We are dying, we are dying, we are all of us dying
and nothing will stay the death-flood rising within us
and soon it will rise on the world, on the outside world.

We are dying, we are dying, piecemeal our bodies are dying
and our strength leaves us,
and our soul cowers naked in the dark rain over the flood,
cowering in the last branches of the tree of our life.


We are dying, we are dying, so all we can do
is now to be willing to die, and to build the ship
of death to carry the soul on the longest journey.

A little ship, with oars and food
and little dishes, and all accoutrements
fitting and ready for the departing soul.

Now launch the small ship, now as the body dies
and life departs, launch out, the fragile soul
in the fragile ship of courage, the ark of faith
with its store of food and little cooking pans
and change of clothes,
upon the flood's black waste
upon the waters of the end
upon the sea of death, where still we sail
darkly, for we cannot steer, and have no port.

There is no port, there is nowhere to go
only the deepening blackness darkening still
blacker upon the soundless, ungurgling flood
darkness at one with darkness, up and down
and sideways utterly dark, so there is no direction any more
and the little ship is there; yet she is gone.
She is not seen, for there is nothing to see her by.
She is gone! gone! and yet
somewhere she is there.


And everything is gone, the body is gone
completely under, gone, entirely gone.
The upper darkness is heavy as the lower,
between them the little ship
is gone

It is the end, it is oblivion.


And yet out of eternity a thread
separates itself on the blackness,
a horizontal thread
that fumes a little with pallor upon the dark.

Is it illusion? or does the pallor fume
A little higher?
Ah wait, wait, for there's the dawn
the cruel dawn of coming back to life
out of oblivion

Wait, wait, the little ship
drifting, beneath the deathly ashy grey
of a flood-dawn.

Wait, wait! even so, a flush of yellow
and strangely, O chilled wan soul, a flush of rose.

A flush of rose, and the whole thing starts again.


The flood subsides, and the body, like a worn sea-shell
emerges strange and lovely.
And the little ship wings home, faltering and lapsing
on the pink flood,
and the frail soul steps out, into the house again
filling the heart with peace.

Swings the heart renewed with peace
even of oblivion.

Oh build your ship of death. Oh build it!
for you will need it.
For the voyage of oblivion awaits you.

* quietus: release from life, poetic death
** bodkin: a large sewing needle or hairpin

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