Winter Poems

Poems written over the 2021 to 2023 period. There are two long poems and fourteen shorter, stand-alone pieces. Silver Sixpence is an argument for the aesthetic life, here divided into twenty self-contained sections. Janusz's Letter is a travelogue loosely based on the Peter Weir film 'The Way Back' (2010). The fourteen other poems in the collection are generally simple recollections in simple verse forms.

winter poems poetry collection book cover

Janusz's Letter speaks for itself, and should interest those who, like the author, simply enjoyed the romance of travel through the wilder parts of the world. Silver Sixpence is a more ambitious piece that looks at the aesthetics of art: what we must do to properly appreciate the arts, and what part, correspondingly, it can play in our lives.

The approach is not that of the philosopher, of course, but of the poet, whose sensory and intellectual equipment must be just as highly developed. Lest that seem an argument for woolly-mindedness, a typical section (number 3 of 20) follows:

Silver Sixpence (Excerpt)


Who knows why some familiar, high-wrought phrase,
and in an ancient tongue that no one speaks,
draws blood in full immediacy, and stays
unforced and brilliant in our thoughts for weeks.

Or months, or far, far longer, in a book
we opened years ago, as someone else,
with earth-time memories that clearly took
our small-town views for regal common sense.

All imprecise memorials, no doubt
like tourist spots we viewed on childhood jaunts,
on coach-tour days, the family roundabout
of places, later, some great beauty haunts.

And so the vistas of the perished hopes,
the thousands lost to mishap and to war,
where each returning veteran copes
with soils more deeply dug in than before.

Ourselves we dress up in the pasts’ bright shapes,
in aural splendour of some history read:
we look to distant, faint and shadowy capes
where rise the paths that only brave men tread.

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Poor Shuffling Folk

Of those we knew the greater part are dead,
the friends, acquaintances: they all are gone
and what were voiceless shadows in the head
return as interludes where the sunlight shone.

Yet those we loved with our full being, those
whose very ambience we’d also love,
their streets, their laughter, way they walked and clothes:
we cannot even sketch an outline of.

And you who look at us poor, shuffling folk,
would aid us on our nodding way, profess
to hear how plainly inward yearnings spoke,
know nothing of our grief and loneliness.

I shall go into a glad land, where all
is now prepared for me, where those I love,
still love as memories’ dark shadows fall,
will look around and know it was enough.