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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:
JULY 2017


John, you were the one.
You made the red bricks twist and shout.
With the two points of your top lips
smudged with would-be kisses;
you brought the North down South.

John, you were the one,
with your deadpan face,
almond eyes, liquorice black,
haughty nose and sexy mouth,
you were made for black and white.

I screamed for you at the Odeon,
had your picture on the wall,
I whispered to you every night;
I was young and dreaming in the home-counties,
getting ill so I could miss out school.

A city came behind you,
the docks with their boom and clang,
New York calling across the Atlantic,
Come, live your life!
the slip and slide of the Mersey's tongue.

John, you were the one,
with the pain and the yearning
the proof of your soul was in your voice
Wit sharp as a razor,
and your oh so secret wife.



Here comes January with her short back and sides
She's coming down the alley
In long cold strides
You'd better wake up quickly
Shake the dreams from your head
Give up hiding at the bottom of your bed.

It's not cold, no brittle, briny frost
Has settled on the grass
Another space you've lost
The New Year at last
It's grey and damp and mean
Half-finished luxury flats standing in between

Here comes January in her two-tone shoes
She's running down the hallway
While she sings the blues
She'll get you by the heart strings
No matter what you do
And break your lovely beating heart in two.

January 1 2016


Janus, the king of kings,
Gatekeeper and opener of doors,
The dawn of all things.
From this month onward you count down the days:
What is to come and what went before.
Two-faced as ever, you are looking both ways:
Between the sun and the moon,
All our days are measured in calendars, not coffee spoons.
Janus, father of time and the coins you dispense
Pile up the hours and the shillings and pence.
Gatekeeper to heaven, janitor on this earth,
Make this January as good as the gold in your purse.


There's my father turning the lines of hay,
the soft green lines that snake across the shorn field.

In that hot week in July, he had scythed the long grass
avoiding the marshy sections where the prangs of mare's-tail grew.

Swish, swish, the curved blade had glided over the stems,
toppling clover and speckled orchids,

buttercups and thistles,
scattering seeds and buds in sparks of falling green.

There's my father in his French straw hat, turning the lines of hay,
the emerald grasses drying to another texture

dusty and sweet.

July 2017
Flat faced July
Let me dance
On the umbels of your sloping days!
Blue stars of borage
Are catching the light
As bees tunnel up foxglove sleeves.
Bricks are thick with fallen roses
And girls from Jane Austen's time
Rustle through the summer air
While ghosts of the Russian Revolution
Leave their calling cards
Upon the empty garden chair.


you mean that much to me
the hope of stretching time
forward and back
the space between day and night
morning wakes me with a wash of light

Hayfields, poppies, my mother’s poems

Keeping busy is
getting in the way
of pain and loss
I am your servant
you are the boss
instructing me
to do first this
then that
anything but
wear the mourner’s hat

Borage, honeysuckle, lovers from the past

Grief deferred is a gift that’s lost
the words that Eavan Boland
lightly tossed to her hungry readers
and I want to speak to you of love
but it’s in the can
no going back to begin again.