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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
CHRISTMAS PAST
CLAPPING YOU SOFTLY ONE HANDED
COLERIDGE AT GRETA HALL
CONFUSION IN THE HOUSE
COUNTRY AIR
COUNTRY MOON



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

CHRISTMAS PAST

The forest fir branches
tied with red ribbons
made a still carousel
with the twisted candles
on the window sill.
On top of the cupboard
the box of Christmas decs;
brought down to the sitting room
to dress the prickly tree
with faded tinsel and baubles
that broke too easily.
But the stocking that bulged
at the end of the bed
was full of hope and life's mystery.

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

COUNTRY AIR

Missing the flowers in my garden
an empty space
somewhere inside me moves around
like a glob of oil;
no south westerly blowing through
the oaks down the green lane.
No weeds to pull from the sweet country soil.

Feeling the loss of little lampshades,
forked tongues that curl and poke,
the spots and drapery of elves and fairies;
the green shoots, the green shoots,
that rise from the earth
like a kiss on the throat

with their snakeskin bark,
stewards of the street,
protect us like old professors
as shadows catch our hands and feet.
But the far away hills of green velvet
are what I want to stroke.

COUNTRY MOON

The moon last night
Cut right in half
By a cloudy scarf

A white bone
In the soft dark
She was my medicine spoon

Alone in the house
At the end of the track
Through the wet window

She loomed
A flat faced nurse
A spinning plate

In the universe
An ivory brooch
On the night’s cloak

She jumped my heart
And then the stars
Like electrical sparks

Twitched the light
Of the turning wheel
In the winter night.