A Few Poems

By John Stocks


Seven Acts of Mercy

First he will salvage the old photographs

The half lit Edwardian drawing room,

A glimpse of another dimension

Fixed smiles from sepia-tinged faces.

The Shibboleth of all desires, here

Distilled in letters, old documents

Residuals and marginalia,

The shards of benign fragmentation.

He will protect the tiny girl that died

With her daughter, haemorrhaged after birth

And the soldier on the Somme, alluding

To the consequences of indiscretions.

He will keep the prayer books from the library,

Boxes full of tissued medals, trophies,

Won on distant sun kissed playing fields,

Evocative of languid, post war ease.

And this long lost, blurred, half focused world

The loose plasticity of flowing time,

He will store in a corner of his mind

Their heart beats, their tear stained miseries.




Then moonlight trembles on a cobbled yard

Where French girls stand, holding their bikes,

Some smoke, struggling to find an easy grace

Chat softly, almost in whispers.

I stroll down some half remembered lane

Knowing I could belong here now,

Sit night after night in the same café

Listening for the invisible sounds,

Taking the language as my own,

Then tomorrow I would rise and gather

The ripest of October fruits

For it is late autumn; and I am blessed.


First Dance

There is always the last kiss

The final parting,

Already distant, the body cold;

The ‘Palais’ lights have dimmed.

He would have held her close

Less nimble than his brothers,

But ever smiling; more verbose.

His brown eyes steady and warm,

Gaze through wistful clouds

Of cigarette smoke.

She would glide effortlessly,

Lead him through the more complex moves,

Discreetly push the chairs aside,

Through the evenings slow eclipse

The one long, lingering kiss.

She would feel the contours of his shoulders

His strong forearms,

Note the confidence in his slow smile.

Weeks later they would slip

Between cool linen sheets,

Exploring for the first time

The flesh that would soon be wholly known,

His scent as familiar as her own.

For now they stand in silence

As the streamers begin to fall

And factory hooters blast away the old year.

They gaze curiously

Into each others eyes, wondering what to wish for,

From the other side of Paradise.




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