poetry diary

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

Month: December, 2010


There is no way to change the past.
Anger and frustration cast
Long shadows over dark’ning thoughts.
The sun will run its course.

There is no answer. It is too late
To hesitate or close the gate.
A world awash with colour waits:
No one pauses at the gates.

And beyond –
The glorious mystery –
Of a future lived.

Carol concert

Innocence and imagination –
Children singing at Christmas.
Hope and potential –
simple –
and love.
And so much happiness.

So much happiness,
So much,
Why do I always cry?

Monday morning

Earnest morning on the first train to Marylebone;
Keyboard tapping men at arms, protected by their grey screens. 
Snow outside, still,
And the flat greyness of a foggy day. 

It will be beautiful later, we know,
But for now engagement is discouraged.
Laptops make introversion aggressive;
Intruding on my space. 
And time too: 
The long urge to check for empty mail. 

Twin barns in a passing field
Remind me of other lives – 
Not simpler, but with different rhythms,
And yearnings for peace. 
Clouds still low,
Past Bicester and still another hour to go. 

Medieval furrows pointing north;
Ancient endeavours – arms of different men –
Slowly sink, now, into the landscape,
Extruding gentle sheep. 
The train hums on. 
And on again to London, Monday morning. 

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes

Wedding in London

A room of people
talking; time passing.
Flowers and champagne.
Waiters push nibbles.

Once you were children;
Now you are married.
Parents are crying:
Their past and future.

Making this smaller
(we’re modern people) –
Apache blessing –
just cannot happen.

‘Send not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.’


Is there poetry in numbers?
Accounts have rhythms just like you.

But precision is a fool – it
speaks of worlds in black and white.

And numbers are precise. They make
paths straight for lazy souls.

Passion, magic, and the rest
score nil, or worse…just make a mess.

And love?
Love has eluded millennia
of poets,
So accounts stand little chance.

An elegy for patience

We choose between sadnesses,
Sliding softly between the sheets;
Alone again and forever,
With you beside me as always.

I write an elegy for patience.
Yours, and mine. Waiting
For different trains
On the same track, at the same time,
And the same station.
So much in common;
But without hope.

© 2010 Matthew Rhodes

Frozen walk

Crisp crunch of iced snow,
Tingling toes touched through shoes
Which are no defence
Against this frozen earth and air. 

Quiet, but hard, not gentle –
The ground meets knees and hips
Instantly if you slip. 
And the grip of frozen footprints on the pavement looks strong. 

So cold, in the wind. 
So cold, outside. 
So cold, the air. 

Mulled wine and a fireside –
Imagined warmth;
Lasts the whole walk to work.