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poems beginning with D by Jehanne Markham

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

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Your tiny heavy head
Gossed in ginger, gold and red
Worked against my marble breast
Doggedly fetching upstream
Till the veins snaked down bluish-green
And I sat up all night holding you
A weary, drunken queen.

At one year a Buddha king
You make the dead objects dance and sing
Bring grace to carpet fluff and string
See diamonds in the dust
Below the lampshade's brim
Your fingers trace
The connections across my face.

All my days are measured in your hours
Clamped by satin gums
I am sucked dry
Undone by your desires
Hooked to be by your green-sea eyes
Your life is a weight
Passing through me
On a thin line to earth.

from Fire The Sun Longmans 1989


Once or twice a year,
he'd motor down from London, for Sunday lunch,
my grandfather by marriage, not blood.
A man of impeccable taste and money,
that much I understood.

Knightsbridge, actually, was where he lived,
top floor of a mansion block: solid door,
creaky lift. His housekeeper, Caroline,
dressed in brown, stalked the hall
dusting down his collection of modern art -
she managed all.
Cut the cake, Fullers Walnut,
into equal, pearly slices.

The long snout of the bonnet slid up
and parked across the drive.
He always arrived a little early,
trilby hat slightly tilted,
driving gloves and a yellow cashmere scarf,
so soft, it almost melted.

He'd bring a bag of Callard & Bowser cream lime toffees
or boiled sweets for each of us.
Snapdragons on the table, sunshine,
my mother flustered over the stove, stirring gravy,
my father, the indebted host, pouring wine.
We children, unaware that his money bought our house.

Unpublished 2012


I would make the journey down
jumping from stone to stone
on the slippery track
I would find you in that dark palace
crowned with watery stars
I would gather you up
all the bones and the flesh of you
in one slim volume
and never look back


I've been skinned
My stomach is inside out
Entrails catching on wood splinters as I walk
A snail trail of blood
Drying behind me.

My muscles are being torn apart
Strip by strip
My flesh falls off
Melting round my feet.

Both hands against the wall
I can hold nothing
My head is open.

from The Captain's Death Soul 1974