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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:
I HATE THE YELLOW WEEDS
IF YOU NEVER GROW UP
INHERITANCE
IRISH GOLD



I HATE THE YELLOW WEEDS

I hate the yellow weeds
the colour of rusting metal
its smell
the slimy glitter of sweet
paper on wet leaves
I hate
turning my head inside the car
pretending I am not afraid

from The Captain's Death Soul 1974

IF YOU NEVER GROW UP

If you never grow up, does it matter?
If the years stack up
In a tower of shells
That might fall
Scattering over the sand like lost buttons
Under which you crawl
Revealing how dark you are
How raw inside
Moving with such tiny steps across the moving tide.

If you never grow up, does it matter?
If the years ring out
Like old church bells
That still toll
Clanging across the square in irons hums
To where you stand
Unsure, glove in hand
And you are
Trapped, all your different selves, like minnows in a jar.

If you never grow up, does it matter?
If the years rack up
Like unknown hats
In a tailor shop
Calling out to strangers as they pass
And you look up
With your bedroom eyes
To discover that
You don't have to grow up to have a past.

from Thirty Poems Rough Winds 2004

INHERITANCE

July 1955, Mummy packs the suitcase,
Daddy does the drive.
Daddy knows the way, so we don't need the maps,
Just my sister and I on the blue leather back seat
With I-Spy books on our laps.

I could sink without a trace

Perhshore-on-Avon, the town where he was born,
The Angel Hotel, with the river and the lawn.
Gladioli in a copper jug like swords crossing,
Our beds have eiderdowns of matching satin,
After lunch, my sister starts bossing.

under the quiet skin of the water

We run down to the river's edge,
There's a boat upon the water,
That flows flat and black below the ledge.
Daddy's hands look happy curled round the oars
As they slip into the river and rise with silver claws.

but keep the fear still in my face

Mummy looks dreamy, her head on one side,
My sister wants to catch eels in an eel-trap.
When Daddy was a boy, he nearly died,
Fishing for pike with his brother,
Drifting too close to the weir.

as I suffocate inside the youngest daughter

He pulls us in under the willows
Longing for bread paste,
So he can bait up a spot.
Water lilies like milk teeth, just appear,
The hotel garden shrinks to a dot

I could sink without a trace


When he turns the boat at last,
He's thinking about tackle, the old shops, his past.
Standing on the lawn again, smiling with relief,
I can feel the love in Daddy's hand
And his grief, which I know but cannot understand.

from Ten Poems Redstone 1993

IRISH GOLD

Gold ornaments of the Late Bronze Age, found at Tumna, Co. Roscommon 1834.

Bigger than puff balls,
Some dented like tin,
Now under glass, on hessian,
Not pearly skin,
Resting in the museum shallows,
Green in their blush.
Nine gold baubles
Once hidden in the peat bogs
By unknown hands,
Without a song, without a sound,
When men came on horseback
And women lost their ground.

From 20 Poems Rough Winds 1999

AUGUST

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