Travel Poetry

IN 2004 I wrote a small collection of poems after  I came into possession of a number of postcards sent in the 1980s from a couple called Pauline and Rob to another couple called Sylvia and Charlie who lived in Sheffield. There were a few sent in successive years from Gibraltar, and a couple from Cornwall, and some single ones from other places in Europe. I lost the postcards, sadly, but still have a few of the poems based on them. Here’s a few of them that are still on my hard drive.

Dear Sylvia and Charlie

We are sitting here
at Lands End
in swirling mist.

We are based
at St Ives
at the moment.

(It is very pretty.)

We have also spent
a couple of days
at Dartmouth.

(The weather is disappointing.)

We’ll come home
early
if there’s no improvement.

We are enjoying
the rest of
the change.

(See you soon.)

Love
Pauline
and Rob.

Nocturnal view of the Rock of Gibraltar

Summer: cold.
Sylvia: bored.
Husband: gone.

Weather: perfect.
Rob: sunburnt.
Transport: sorted.

Washing: wet.
Housewife: (just).
Family: sad.

Pauline: driving.
Children: playing.
Postcard: written.

England: dark.
Offspring: school.
Lonely: yes.

Viva Las Vegas

The warm air hits you
as you step off the plane.
Riding down The Strip
in a taxi
you feel totally free,
and you realise that

a million lights are shining.
A million lights are shining bright.
And the world is shining bright.

A million lights are shining.
A million lights: they shine for you.
And the world: it shines for you.

Ding ding.

The Natural Features of Western Europe

The weather in Gibraltar is generally super:
It’s hot
and there are no clouds.

There are markets:
Sunday markets
and gipsy markets
and meat markets.

There are campsites
and timeshare apartments
and package tours
and zoos with apes.

There are English voices
and Dutch voices
and French voices
and German voices.

There are shops
and cafes
and beaches
and boats

and armies
and bands
and crowds
and cameras

and postcards
and palm trees
and fountains
and gardens

and then right in the middle of it all
there’s a bloody great rock.

 

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More poetry

All the poetry I wrote years ago, it feels a shame to keep it to myself. I have more, and will probably share them soon. This was inspired by a photograph.

No Fairy Godmother

She smiles back to the on-lookers,
but she knows what they’re thinking:
Her shabby appearance doesn’t fit.
The dress was surely once beautiful,
but now it’s worn out like an old pair of shoes.
And she couldn’t afford new shoes,
even the stockings are hand-me-downs.
The necklace is plastic, with earrings that don’t match.
Her nails are clean, and her face natural.
Her skin is white and, like the dress,
it hangs, not quite fitting her bones.
Her hair is split at the ends,
but keeps growing like the lines on her face.
Her eyes are wet, but she smiles.
Because there’s nothing else she can do.

Sunday Creative Writing

A poem I wrote this in 2003, but it’s sat in my drawer since then.
[Content note: transplants, heart disease, death]

A Game of Give and Take

When she was younger
she could chew her food,
but it hurt.
So they pulled out her teeth,
and they gave her new ones.

So she grew,
And she ate,
but it hurt in her back.
So they pulled out her kidneys,
and they gave her a transplant.

She grew more,
She ate more,
but her legs buckled under her weight.
So they pulled out her hips,
and they gave her replacements.

She continued to grow,
She continued to eat,
But her chest was crushed.
So they pulled out her heart,
and they gave her a used one.

And she stopped growing.
And she stopped eating.
And it stopped hurting.
So they pulled out her heart
and they pulled out her lungs
and they pulled out her bones.
And they gave them away.


Sharing and licence conditions for this are the same as for the rest of my work: please share it, but pay me if you make any money out of it. JA