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poems beginning with J by Jehanne Markham

Poems are catalogued alphabetically. Please select a specific section by clicking on the the alphabet above.

Click on title to see poems:
CAMBODIAN SMILE
CHEZ NOUS
CLAPPING YOU SOFTLY ONE HANDED
COLERIDGE AT GRETA HALL
CONFUSION IN THE HOUSE



CAMBODIAN SMILE

Don't ask me why
this dead end place should make me happy
in the early morning light

Battambang Airport
at the end of a dirt track,
the departure lounge

no bigger than a village hall,
lilac curtains blowing
like silk flags against the wall.

Perhaps I want to go back
to the 1950's
when 'men were men'

and women wore lipstick
and tucked- in their blouses.
Is it reading the The Quiet American

that moves me to think
I am travelling somewhere special
where I have never been before?
Or is it that phenomenon, the Cambodian smile?
A cover up, a perfect foil,
a flower without form,
blooming so sweetly
from the depths of the Vietnam War.

from Thirty Poems Rough Winds 2004

CHEZ NOUS

When the last warmth had left you
and you lay like a statue
in that other world,

never holding me again,
the other of you
making the me of me.

The silence between us
final, absolute,
never to be breached;

I saw no angels
but the beauty of your soul
gathered in your face

like a holy light,
for a few hours,
in the cathedral of our house that night.

2015

CLAPPING YOU SOFTLY ONE HANDED

The babies swam through you,
The ocean made holes in your side.
You were a cabin cruiser sunk to the bottom
Though lights still glowed in the portholes
And beautiful people danced inside.

You were the octopus of many arms,
Holding each child through the night,
Clapping you softly one handed.
You were the eye of love
That could hear in the dark.

Those days of raw cries
Blowings, gulps and paps.
I need never move
Only hold still like a mountain
While the goat babies climbed
All over me with their eyes.


from Twenty Poems Rough Winds 1999

COLERIDGE AT GRETA HALL

In your room everything breaths.
Slowly the coal burns
as it shimmers its scarlet silks and slowly turns.

The hours solidify into amber,
a stag beetles sealed within
with your filaments of flamey blue and green.

Your have of midnight bees
is bursting with fatal stings,
Pegasus rears up and shakes them from his wings.

The moon hangs out the trees,
black lace over the stars
but you just stare at the night like an animal behind bars.

We are separated by a chasm of time
which sucks out the heat of life
yet I still feel jealous of your love and pity for your wife.

from Twenty Poems Rough Winds 2004

CONFUSION IN THE HOUSE

Confusion in the house
Alas,
White satin ribbons bind our heads
Water-red gladioli trumpet in the grass.

To the glory of death
Their stiff mouths blow
From the walled garden where tombstones grow.

In the dark window
A face appears to watch
The golden wolves
That spring and stiffen in the frost.

Buds form from a broken eye
To the glory of life
Their soft mouths cry
From the blank spaces where birds fly.

from The Captain's Death Soul 1974