Two frankly rather puny poems about Love

Two poems of my own so small that they might only be flea-bites, but they give me breathing space to think of something meatier. And they also provide an excuse for three truly virulent poems by other people in the great War of the Sexes.  Stand by to take on sulphuric acid…

153 Red Rose



Beyond the horizon lies not mystery but indifference.

I knew you like a Christmas toy that had, without enchantment,

Been worked to bits.

I knew you like a Lost Property kiosk (where nothing was mine).

I knew you like an envelope whose letters had been entirely read –

Which had been made transparent by the rain

And whose contents, through damp, were beginning to burst slightly.


Stephen Jackson

 9 January 2011


(In response to a poem, Lady of Miracles, by Nina Cassian.  But there is another piece, entitled Advice to a Discarded Lover, by Fleur Adcock.)



Lady of Miracles



Since you walked out on me

I’m getting lovelier by the hour.

I glow like a corpse in the dark.

No one sees how round and sharp

my eyes have grown

how my carcass looks like a glass urn,

how I hold up things in the rags of my hands,

the way I can stand though crippled by lust.

No, there’s just your cruelty circling

my head like a bright rotting halo.

Nina Cassian  (Romania, born 1924)

Translated from the Romanian by Laura Schiff


NPG x35741,Fleur Adcock,by George Newson

Advice to a Discarded Lover



Think, now: if you have found a dead bird,

not only dead, not only fallen,
but full of maggots: what do you feel –
more pity or more revulsion?

Pity is for the moment of death,
and the moments after. It changes
when decay comes, with the creeping stench
and the wriggling, munching scavengers.

Returning later, though, you will see
a shape of clean bone, a few feathers,
an inoffensive symbol of what
once lived. Nothing to make you shudder.

It is clear then. But perhaps you find
the analogy I have chosen
for our dead affair rather gruesome –
too unpleasant a comparison.

It is not accidental. In you
I see maggots close to the surface.
You are eaten up by self-pity,
crawling with unlovable pathos.

If I were to touch you I should feel
against my fingers fat, moist worm-skin.
Do not ask me for charity now:
go away until your bones are clean.


Fleur Adcock


In Paris with You



Don’t talk to me of love. I’ve had an earful
And I get tearful when I’ve downed a drink or two.
I’m one of your talking wounded.
I’m a hostage. I’m maroonded.
But I’m in Paris with you.

Yes I’m angry at the way I’ve been bamboozled
And resentful at the mess I’ve been through.
I admit I’m on the rebound
And I don’t care where are we bound.
I’m in Paris with you.

Do you mind if we do not go to the Louvre
If we say sod off to sodding Notre Dame,
If we skip the Champs Elysées
And remain here in this sleazy

Old hotel room
Doing this and that
To what and whom
Learning who you are,
Learning what I am.

Don’t talk to me of love. Let’s talk of Paris,
The little bit of Paris in our view.
There’s that crack across the ceiling
And the hotel walls are peeling
And I’m in Paris with you.

Don’t talk to me of love. Let’s talk of Paris.
I’m in Paris with the slightest thing you do.
I’m in Paris with your eyes, your mouth,
I’m in Paris with… all points south.
Am I embarrassing you?
I’m in Paris with you.

James Fenton


And finally, for perhaps the smallest and puniest poem that I have written in my life.  But it passed five minutes of a Tube journey.

83 Handsome girl, Leicester Square

To the Girl sitting opposite



Please don’t get up!

The warm glow of your skin permeates mine.

Here, after all, I am: a worm skewered in a bubble.

Time’s motion’s not a ticking hand. It is encroaching smog.

And you, Miss Coral-in-Sunshine: you give me light.


Stephen Jackson

Victoria Line, London Underground,

28 June 2014



~ by Stephen Jackson on September 27, 2014.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: