One Autumn Noon

The aftershave balm evaporates from my face
scenting the air

I become conscious of little patches of burning skin 
on my exposed arms 

I have a window 
between responsibilities

There is nothing I can do now
even if I wanted to

No efficiency to be gained

I can't get ahead of myself

or catch up 
on anything postponed

Out of vision I hear
the wind annoying a door

Even with sunglasses the light is too bright
to stare directly at the centre of the solar system

There is not a single cloud
as my eye nears the sun

only a gradation of blue to white
like a really difficult jigsaw 

Dear poem 

this moment is ours.

Henry Normal


After last night's storm

After last night's storm
we walk early to the beach
the wind still brutal,
the memory of sharp, iced rain
still charging the lively air.

But all has changed.

Tossed by fermenting Spring tides
the boulders we have counted on
these past years
now lie in clattered, clumsy counterpoint,
and in the raking undertow
reckless pebbles chuckle
in new gullies.

The sand has all but gone.

Terns wheeling over our heads
haunt the air above the jilted beach,
stricken wary of the place beneath.

Under sullen clouds we walk
an hour around the cove
along low water line
where the scuttling ends of waves
cross fade and scull over our boots.

Here inconstancy is its own familiar.

But the shackles of the past
grow heavy
and, last night, damage was done.
And though your lips smile
your gaze slips always to the headland
and some other desperate horizon.

Chris Baldwin

Arc of a Journey (an extract from)

Half a day away....

The field boundary fences mark out a patchwork green quilt,
Stitched by hillside farms; taming the wilderness,
Imposing temporary control of the land.
Rough road tracks embrace the easiest contours,
Like untied laces, escaping round toed shoes.

Small river towns take hold, and cling on,
Striving, yet slumbering into this once new millennium.
Held together by religion and family,
Nurturing dreams; but knowing one’s place.
Tiny victories!
Dots on the route map, yet lost on the atlas page,
Lost between coasts; lost in time, lost?

An abandoned bottle-green pickup truck stares vacantly
at the tired baseball diamond,
From three bald tires and a cinder block.
Soft summer rain,
Falling in broken parallels.
Drips off the hood, splashing circles in the puddles.
Gasoline rainbows!

A white clapboard church's locus of influence;
Childhood sweethearts, nervously offering wedding vows.
Draping flag, faded and frayed,   .... here more red than blue,
Saluting both, the bible .... and the gun.

Old white man, tobacco stained fingers,
Sitting by the white, paint-peeled screen door.
Shaded from the midday heat and accompanied by
the random, rhythmic clicking of unseen cicadas.

Delivery boy; bike wheels hum,
The smack of the local paper on the front porch deck.
News unfolds,
Messages heeded, messages lost.  Same mistakes?
History …. or ink on paper?

Dusty crossroads promise far horizons.
October’s  scarecrow and a faded route sign,
Both bow and lean, as if about to dance.
Ambition’s roads lead to ‘ANYWHERE BUT HERE’.

Keith Marsden


Things To Do List

1. Write a things to do list (tick)

2. Give each item a number (tick)

3. Tick off things as they are done (tick)

4. Write stuff down you've already done 
    so you can enjoy ticking it off (tick)

5. Present as a poem (tick)

6. Lose interes

Henry Normal