poetry diary

I rhyme to see myself, to set the darkness echoing. (Seamus Heaney, from Personal Helicon)

Month: November, 2010


Like a tree waiting for Spring,
I long for you.

Like the world greeting the dawn;
Like a cloud gathering rain,
I long for you.

Like a ship willing the tide;
Like a kite reaching for wind;
Like a song calling for words,
I long for you.

Like a heart waiting to break;
Like a cat waiting to pounce;
Like her prey sensing its fate,
I long for you.

Like a canvas without paint;
Like a flame seeking tinder,
I long for you.

Like a needle without thread,
I long for you.

Just you.

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes


Monday starts,
accelerates quickly to an endless stream of meetings without pause and
just when you feel there might be time to look at your list of things to do and think the
phone rings and is interrupted by an urgent face at the door wanting a
decision or information or reassurance or just a bit of attention because something
has happened outside…

that may even be important.

But by now I don’t know where I am at all,
beyond time and place where happenings have no meaning.
And urgency is lost.
It’s eleven pm and time for bed.

Tuesday will be slower.

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes

Winter day

I like the winter sky
and air –
clear, blue and cold.
(which is not a simple word).

Greens and browns of still trees
against eggshell sky
and white snow;
quiet, too, in the early morning.

The skipping bird,
is just enough movement
for the scene.
Buildings are smaller and
less threatening

On days like this,
the frozen landscape can be contained
within your mind –
like a child agreeing to hold still
for a photograph –
and all is caught and understood.

Until the thaw.

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes


Last year,
I read Birdsong;
a serious, sophisticated, sexy book.

This year,
I put out birdseed.
Which is a start.

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes

In the snow

Shadows long on the table –
Winter sun warms your hand.
I think of winters past,
In the snow.

Snow bright against the trees –
Squirrel runs for the hedge.
My mind follows its tracks,
In the snow.

So still and clear, orange leaves –
Framed outside my window.
Like Japanese woodcuts,
In the snow.

Grass tips through ice, caught, and
Waiting for snowmelt; they
Mirror my heart – trapped, now,
In the snow.

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes

Decision point

Raindrop on my windscreen,

Gravity-drawn downwards.
Air pushes back.

Traces of pathfinders:
Others follow –

Junctions and choices, blurs
Against headlights.

Indicator and pause.
Slow curve and bump.

The car stops. Gravity
wins: do it now.

Autumn light

Autumn light on leaves.
Golden, like the ring on my finger,
And just as magical.

It was so windy last night,
with rain.
The ring slipped off again,
And again. Rain battered. It’s cold.

And miserable. Outside,
But inside feeling warmer
It’s not so bad.

Imagination bridges in and out;
Past and future;
Me and all of you.

And cannot be trusted:
Magic – like the ring on my finger.
Except it’s gone now.

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes

City morning – Brussels

Today is a beautiful morning in Brussels:
Blue sky with jet contrails,
And quite quiet for a city.

Streets are damp, with odd leaves from unnoticed trees.
The sunlight reaches only the tops of the tallest glass and steel skyscrapers, and their flagpoles, Giving them an air of aspiration, hope and promise.
And making you look up.
Fatal errors have been made from such perceptions, Which are so false I think.
Give me the human tenements, with their silly facades and idiosyncratic doorways – graffiti and tramps – promising little, but almost always a pleasant surprise inside – any day instead.

And here, they are just
across the road, above Pizza Hut – another sadness, out of place maybe for those seeking authenticity, but also the reassurance of common humanity.

I went in there last night;
they seat customers according to nationalities in little ghettos of common culture tables.
I didn’t like this, and objected,
saying that I spoke French
(in French)
but then a glance at the faces
of the French
made me feel not welcome,
and I saw that it all makes sense,
And that world war three
will be started by a waitress.

And now another day begins.
To battle all!

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes

Eurostar Terminal – Brussels

Places of waiting, spaces like beaches
But without the fun.
And people as water,
Ebbing and flowing,
Selfish and mindless.
With officials like crabs
Among the rockpools.

Experienced travellers feel this
And go with the flow.
Others, impatient, fight it and end up
isolated eddies;
lost and bewildered,
Giving an ultimately calm place an air
of sterile desperation.

And I’m being unfair on Eurostar –
generalising to all
terminals and airports.
This is a small one.
But it’s still the worst part of the journey.

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes

Soft, soft, my love

Soft, soft, my love;
warm, warm, your heart;
long, long, the road,
while we are apart.

Slow, slow, days flow,
hard, hard, each task;
far, far, your arms,
no more do I ask.

Soon, soon, I yearn,
closer still to be;
stay, stay, my love,
for all eternity.

© 2011 Matthew Rhodes

I wrote this poem when I felt I might be in love a while ago. It was her favourite. I just found it again and felt like publishing it. Eternity wasn’t quite achievable in the event, but I’m still glad we met.