Monthly Archives: May 2016

Will-o-wisp

These strange, ghostly lights sometimes seen on swamps and marshes are said to lure travelers away from the safe path to their doom. Will-o-wisps appear in The Book of Life, when Lizzie is running through the Louisianan bayou, pursued by the possessed men known as plat eyes.

I wrote this poem a long time before The Book of Life, but I think the last verse particularly captures the sense of loss and confusion Lizzie experiences in her time with Caroline Day and Lola, trapped in the mysterious Cypress House.

Will-o-wisp

It was easier as a nipper.
Given your first slide rule in senior school
you’d soon work out the sine, cosine or log
with one swift push, and a pull.

Measurement was easy. Just
as you could flip a quick 3 to the foot of a C
or pass back a 2 to an O

so too could you slap the net with the ball,
top right or top left.

And you knew when to keep your trap shut,
understood when all around you
were silently agreed.

But now you’re in a world gone fuzz.
Your conscience, soul, mind, whatever
it is against which you judge
is blurred ground,
rushing away beneath your eyes.

You’re out on the marsh at night.
Everything you thought was solid you
has turned out to be
just a trick of the light.

Will-o-wisp was first published in the excellent Magma Poetry Magazine (issue 20)

Buy The Book of Life here:

Muse

If poetry can’t be used in the cause of love what can it be used for?  This is the poem I wrote for my wife on our wedding day.

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Muse

You are the start of things
you bring more than I ever wished for
you bring me blue ammonites from the shore
dark berries from the garden
and you show me the way
through fern-filled woods.

You bring fresh love
you bring fresh time
with you the past is retrieved
and the future is spellbound.

You make the present alive
you have a sunband in the soul
and you sparkle with numinous light.

You fill my life with love and surprise
and you make me more
than I was before.

And, in case you never knew,
you are my muse,
I write for you.