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poems beginning with A 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:
A VOICE, YOURS
ABOVE GROUND
ALL THE MOONS
ANGELS
AN ANGEL MET A SAILOR
AN OAK TREE, A FIVE BARRED GATE
ANNIVERSARY
APRIL
ASH TREE
AUCTION ROOMS
AUGUST
AUGUST 2016



A VOICE, YOURS

A voice, yours,
that climbs tirelessly 
up the telephone staircase
to my ears
and settles there for hours
though the minutes fly 
when we talk.
The merest gossamer strings
of possibility keep us attached:
a goldfinch in the cherry hedge,
rain like pearls on the garden fork.

ABOVE GROUND

I was above ground,
you lay unreachable
in your deep latitude.

The fuchsia on your grave,
its screwed hoods
were all grace and servitude;

it seemed to represent
our love, my gift,
your gratitude.

Blood red,
the drooping heads
hid unforeseen vicissitude

and the higher place
I had to reach
to gain the necessary altitude.

ALL THE MOONS

The pen and ink moon the cow jumped over
The blue moon who saw me standing alone
The day moon white as the Cliffs of Dover
The new moon sharp as a fresh fish bone
The red moon dipped in a rose wine
The silver moon who had Keats under her thumb
The harvest moon making the cornfields shine
The gold moon turning verbose men dumb
The full moon hanging above our city
The dark side who weeps into the sea
The man in the moon who has no pity
The paper moon when you don't believe in me.

ANGELS

There are angels made of stone
And those of flesh and blood
Whose future is unknown

We are born and die alone
In a house or in a wood
There are angels made of stone

Though my flesh still covers bone
Only birds escape the flood
Whose futures are unknown

No god upon a gold throne
Rain turns earth to mud
There are angels made of stone

Those birds have already flown
Love runs in the blood
My future is still unknown

The angels are back in town
Pray for them I should
Those angels made of stone
And those of flesh and blood.

AN ANGEL MET A SAILOR

An angel met a sailor
Sinking in the gloom

She rescued him from drowning
He took her to his room

He kissed her face with passion
And offered her his bed

A line of crimson
Drew a circle round her head

It's colour was her pain
The proof she was not dead

The sailor never saw
But drank her tears instead.

from The Captain's Death Soul 1974

AN OAK TREE, A FIVE BARRED GATE

When my mother couldn't walk very far,
when she was very old,
I took her out in my little blue car.
An oak tree, a five barred gate,
hedges and trees whose shape we knew by heart.
Where she wheeled me in the pram,
between our house and her best friend,
on visits to her farm
exchanging eggs for jam.
Where the pony used to graze,
where the dogs went off the lead,
at this spot we'd stop and gaze across the land.
Here the pig rooted among the round edged leaves
and we stood watching, hand in hand.
Now I'm the one in charge, getting her into the sun
before she leaves this earth entirely,
her journey already begun.

ANNIVERSARY

Darling, today is the day you always forgot,
the date of our late wedding
and the skins of my old life that I'm shedding.
Now I'm still here, and you're not,
it's the future that I can't help dreading
as I toss and turn on our cold, clean bedding.
Darling, today I still love you a lot.

People tell me about you
but I don't want to hear what they say
I'm not trying to be a good wife
more like a lover who's faithful and true.
Can your ghost kiss this sorrow away,
guide me into a different life?

Petrarchan sonnet
April 28 2014

APRIL

Tiptoeing in on violet shoes
you shake down your curls
in the purling rain
under the budding bare trees
here we are again.
Month of marriage and death
daffodils announce
the light orchestra of Spring
in one breath
and the ghost of a chance
for a romantic fling
for this is the time
when all the birds of the world
open their throats and sing.

ASH TREE

Ash Tree
Black buds in winter
Black birds that picnic and sing
Of the old lost woods
Where you held sway with the gods
Worshipped as queen each spring

 

AUCTION ROOMS

Possessions which have lost their souls:
Dressing tables with cracked backs,
Suitcases of cold bedding,
A wardrobe door, dropped like a pelvis,
The Lot numbers scribbled in chalk.
Once these things had gaiety
Or a sullen patience with things as they were
But now so dispossessed and shabby,
An ineffable sadness is in this furniture,
Opened and stroked by strange hands.

This is borderline country.
Where old men stand thin as trees
And women with cold country eyes grow huge on the stem
While children sprout like leaves.
Invisible finger prints haunt the china,
White on white, round the handles of cups.
Between the lidless dishes and chiffoniers,
Memory settles like a ghost in the dust.

from Twenty Poems Rough Winds 1999

AUGUST

The quince tree stands
Clapping the lemony rumps
Between its dark green hands.

We pick the inky blackberries tangling over the path,
Watch out for shooting stars,
Play Monopoly on the hearth.

Time is a sigh, a breath,
Like the wind catching the arms of the empty washing,
I sense the coming of death.

The children make patterns out of desire,
Their voices rising like smoke through the trees,
Their destinies held by angels above the fire.

from Ten Poems Redstone 1993

AUGUST 2016

The rowan tree tightens its fist
then loosens its grip.
Nettles dally and droop,
Far away, a stream dawdles.
Flies pin the landscape in my room
with a network of take offs and landings.
This is not the time of rose buds
but old summer warmth
and all the golds and greens hanging on
for a little longer, a little longer.