poetry diary

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

Month: March, 2011

Almost spring

Musk at dawn, rising like the mist
from open fields and woods. It’s almost spring
across our world, starting with snowdrops
and dew, light on the grass. You smile;
and minutes pass, always, passing.

And the tenseness of the buds propels
sunlight, spiralling onwards and upwards till
cold blueness reminds us
all, that winter watches still.

Yet it’s warm in the sun, and brave
souls and shoots emerge, despite
the warning scars, of last year’s fights
and joys. Which cannot wait – I’ll test
the day with you, if you’ll permit,
and bask in fragile light until
musty minutes condense
the flavours of the day.
And it is dark once more.

A response to this week’s wewritepoems prompt, which is ‘musty minutes’. It is simply such a beautiful time of year here that I have to write about it, whatever the prompt!

A poem for morning

Rays of pastel shade
should grace this page
as they do the world
of morning’s quiet illusions:
lace curtain to apocalypse – before
we remember
the land that lies beneath the dew;
the faces hidden still from view,
and the bells that toll
for yesterday.


Gently persuasive buds of dreams once grew here,
in fragile beauty convincing realities to merge.
Parallels in lamplight, tingeing ancient stone;
or some timeless concept, that in its simple bowl
retained the almost wholeness of some unspoken goal.

We know now –
existence is but a line in the poetry of the world,
and solitude is a journey: a road between our meetings.
Buds flower (the lucky ones) harden and fade to wood.

Splinters of reality;
cracked, now,
or perhaps recombined with gaps.

Once hammered by minds
against the
anvil of necessity
with such noise.

It’s quieter now:
more considered.
And new buds grow on our branches.

These are reworked excerpts and lines from poems written as a student many years ago, refound and recombined in honour of a college reunion yesterday and stimulated by this week’s prompt from Poetry Tow Truck, with thanks to Margo Roby for pointing it out on her wordgathering site.

I will let the door open

I will let the door open;
light fall on your hair.
I will draw back the curtains,
And let passing birds stare.

This prison is closed now;
The watch towers unmanned.
The garden is open,
Will you take my hand?

It’s spring in the country,
Still chill in the dawn.
You’ll miss the warm fireside
But no time to mourn.

Dissolve in the forest,
And drink in the sky.
For too long now grounded,
We’ll see who can fly.

A response to this week’s wewritepoems (picture) prompt Street Art Poem.

Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Warwick 18 March 2011

She’s only a girl, in the third violins;
maybe thirteen, with a face that’s glowing.
She’s moving her bow with the rest of the strings,
but her eyes are alive and her spirit’s rising.

The music climbs and descends,
gathering her and us all in its insistent hands,
and the girl becomes one with its flow.
Now she’s sixteen, now sixty:
the pain and the loss.
Time moves so fast,
and then slow – she knows love and joy –
and it’s gone.
I cry for her,
and for me,
as the sound fades from our reach.

And then?

And then the oboe’s whisper:

I am you, you are me,
please don’t ever stop.

We are one, hear us sigh;
How far can we go?

I am you, whisper low;
Feel my music flow.

Join in now with me.

Now I’m old, now I’m young,
Now we all are one.

Quieter now, please don’t go;
Please, oh, please don’t go.

I want you, you want me,
Please, oh please don’t go.

Please don’t go.

Don’t go.

…oh no.

But the hall waits,
and now you are reborn with trumpets and drums:
raise your chin.
The new world is here, and is here, and here again.

And she, and you, are there.

I am you and you are me,
please don’t ever go.

And now is the time to be thirteen and ageless once more,
And lost in the power and the might of the roar,
And let it unfold and drive forward that bow,
And be with the beat and be the beat too,
And all is to play for and all is to love,
And all are as one with the music and you,
And the audience have gone and are birds in the blue,
And my mother is with me and I am alone,
And now I am flying and part of the flock,
And now we are wheeling and facing a shock,
And now I’m my mum and I’ve fallen in love,
And now he’s gone off and I don’t understand,
And now the drums save me and now we soothe them,
And now we see freedom, and now we have won,
And now I am floating and lost in the crowd,
And now I am fading and watching them fall –
and fall –
and fall away at last;
rose petals,
on the

Silence and applause.
Inseparable humanity and youth.
Her face is ecstasy.

©2011 Matthew Rhodes

This was a full orchestral concert where the youngest violinist stood out through her immersion in the experience. I want to remember her expression at the end for a very long time.

Originally submitted to writers’ island. Also to Jingle Poetry Potluck April 24 2011.

Haiku – the empty page

Without conflict, there is no
force for creation.
The snow white page stays empty.

A (short) response to wewritepoems prompt 45, which is very timely in my case.

Warwick Castle

Always there;
embedded in your town,
like the patrician you are
and somehow always have been.

Haughty and magnetic;
drawing people now,
and warriors then,
like a wick –
a wick to war, so apt
to your name
and the role you play.

I like the orange glow at night:
the warm lit walls against the night
reflected in the river;
windows flash and flags implied
on slightly random towers.

Too many windows, though,
to defend –
your power is much more subtle.

You haven’t passed a thousand years
without knowing how to flatter
and adapt:
a twenty-first century castle,
conceived in nine fourteen.

© 2011 Matthew Rhodes

Not sure about this one – I may try some major variants. I play tennis beneath these walls twice a week.

The photographer

Nature and I lie quietly in your lens;
sunlight playing with our captive limbs.
New forms emerge which might make sense
of accidental histories, chance whims.

Nature moves on, wind and snow ensure
momentary beauty cannot last,
but seeks new frames, now richer for
your passing and reaction to the past.

But who outside your cosy frame am I?
The force within compels – go on
and make new shapes, don’t ask me why
the metaphor is good. We must be gone.


Submitted to Jingle Poetry Potluck May 2011. Sketches and impressions, like those caught by photographs…

© 2011 Matthew Rhodes