wilf jones poems 4

                    the heft and the edge                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     10/6/2020







          VERSE                                           distractions





















































































































































































































































































































































Degas and the Ballerina

I should have been a painter,
What better excuse could there be
To serve that aching prime impulse,
To study so many so intimately.
To trace with eye, hand and pen
The ankle and calf and thigh,
To steal that movement and then
To still it, forever alive

Locked now in memory
Her beauty and grace,
He must have it forever
‘Prisoned in place,
But it holds him forever,
This moment of truth,
And it prisons his eye,
In grief for their youth.








The silky roughness of stone
informs my trailing hand,
remembering his touch;

the slap and sting of day
reddens neck and face
though anger now has passed.

I walk the moss-grown path he walked,
I climb the broken stair.

The bright-blindness of the sun
skins my inner eye,
laying bare the facts;

and a bitter rush of wind,
shivering my quest,
calls to the final moment

when fled the strength and joy of life
in frailty of loss.

I stand upon the parapet,
now all the roofs are gone,
measuring the fall;

from the fire-rubble grave below,
in clay and brittle bone,
we disinter the cost.



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LARGING IT: the Confidence of Discovering Youth

Medium or large?
Medium or well done?
I think you mean
medium or rare?
I always go for rare,
Blue even,
Or raw!

In the restaurant,
she occupied my thoughts in a flash.
Small, blonde,
with close contact,
because of the kissing,
with the boyfriend,
just by my table.

A sudden image
of that same
kissy smile as fingers
spread and tongue
flicks.  Is this good,
she thinks, or
better than good –
can it be better than this?

Clean limbs,
pink health,
nerves making her jump,
gasping, smiling,
the ecstasy frown,
and the promise of more
and higher
and big.. big…
And oh! Oh! OH!

Not medium!
Never medium!
Not even rare but
definitely large.


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My day disturbed
Was like that wind-blown crow
Tumbled through the air:
Set out for food
But now disposed to play,
Too far gone to give a care
For what it was that should have been.
The elements
Have bundled in and changed the scene,
And wakened thoughts so passing rare,
Have led this heart astray,
Have changed the mood.
I stumble at the dare
And reel as tempests blow,
A flight perturbed




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The Canopy

Grains of light
filter through the canopy:
        sunlight and green shade;
filtered through, the heat
                is stopped and beams
                are cooler;
the canopy protects us from extremes.
That which is over
that we walk under,
                almost hand to hand,
has a voice above the creaking
                and the walking, and the foraging
                of small creation:
                       birds turn leaf mould
                       in search of the quick and the slow
                       and the quick move earth
                       in search of the fallen;
and all of these make noise: a rustle, a ruffle,
eruption of surprised life.  They flee
our heedless cracking of twigs.

But the canopy voice is susurration:
                a soothing, a background gentling,
                a sly listening, keen
                to bring on conversation.
Or when our words reach barriers
                too delicate to cross,
                and the air too charged
                and the heat too much,
the canopy takes our breath in gusts,
shudders forest, leaf and branch,
                to leave us gasping,
                hearts thumping.

We retreat
and on retreat branches fall into pattern;
light returns to skilful fretwork dapple.
Calm returns: still though full
                as if solid and sure;
but the secret of control is
branches bend at need.
We catch our breath, and on we walk
and the backs of leaves echo our singing
                as we bend too, to easy dreams
                beneath the trees,
                as we retreat
                from heat.


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To woo a lass,
It seems to me,
The better course
To make her smile
Than make her weep,
But love-lorn lads
Are wont to sigh,
And whisper words
So awful shy,
She'll run a mile,
Her distance keep.
She wants her days
With laughter filled,
She wants her men
So sure and strong;
An ingenue
Or Soapy Sam,
Who mopes the while
And cannot sleep,
May gain her love
As pity does,
But not in flames,
With no desire,
She'll never feel
Her senses leap,
She'll never feel
Emotion fired.
The way to be:
Be bold and free;
The way to talk:
Talk with a smile,
And in this way
Her dreams beguile,
And stir her passions deep.


Yeah right



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(is equal to the sum of the scars on the other two sides)

He loved her,
She loved him,
But him and he
Are not the same;
His love, though true,
He loved the two, so
He not him's
The one to blame.
Yes, he and him
Are both aware,
Though not aware of all,
And she must know,
Though no-one speaks,
Just how the feelings fall.
But no-one speaks
In mighty dread
That words will break the spell,
And him is sad,
And he is sad,
And she is sad aswell.
So tongues are tied,
The ache inside
Is hard for he and her,
And harder still
For him who loves
Not one but both the pair.
They pal along
Through all the years
And as the seasons turn
The dried up leaves
Of passion fall,
The tears and laughter burn.
The ash is blown
To kingdom come
And all that's left to see:
Unspoken words
Have scarred the soul
Not of but one but three.




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