Dear Green Place Writers' Group

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Paul Wright's Poetry, May, 2010


Dense slabs of crimson

laid down with deft precision

bleeding penetration

into the black.

Scuffed lines

of bristles forced into canvas.

Dark mirror

to swallow.

Paul Wright's Poetry March 2010

A Villanelle

As winter fades
the mind turns
and days warm into spring.

Slowly, ideas grow,
thoughts drift ahead.
As winter fades

words on the calendar
start to fill the empty spaces
- as days warm into spring -

with new things to share;
the time opening out.
And winter fades

to longer days
with space to stretch and grow.
As days warm into spring

thoughts are cast ever further,
out to the full glare of the year.
Shadows retreat
and days warm into spring.

Poetry by Paul Wright - November, 2009.

My Late Mother's Coat

I came across it
buried, amongst the faded bric-a-brac of a life.
Laid at the bottom of a box,
neatly folded and wrapped,
a crisp brown paper parcel,
covered by a scattering of dust and papers.
I eased the coat from its wrapping
and let it fall into the shape of you,
a woollen cast,
small and light in my hands.
You'd gone before I'd grown
so I never knew the real size of you;
but here, your neat figure,
trimmed in satin and lace,
hangs in front of me.
I trace the abrasion of greens and browns,
feel the pain of the thick warmth of the weave,
and I want so so much to shrink back
into the dense folds of the fabric;
to force colour and words
back to hazed memories
and fill this shroud with your touch,
your smell, your love.

So I held you in my arms,
and took you out to my garden
- you would have liked it -
and laid your coat on a bed
of kindle and autumn leaves
and watched as soft orange flames
dissolved each fibre.

Back, again back,
to smoke and ash,
back, again back,
to smoke and ash.

Poetry by Paul Wright - October, 2009.

Fear Of Clowns

You danced the clown in front of my face
and told me lies about the way
the baby clowns are born
with chalk-white skin,
a seared grin
beneath a rounded red-horn nose.

You pulled at his strings for a crazy dance
while holding my fear in the palm of your hand.

Beware the clown whose painted face
hides nothing,
yet masks the truth:
he makes us laugh at a ridiculous soul.

And you told me how they were kept from sight
with their skinned heads and tragic eyes,
old-man's jowls,
stretched feet,
fat-bottomed seats
and dressed, from birth, in motley clothes.

And that night the clowns came while I was asleep,
with rainbow gums and needle teeth,
tear-daubed plaster cheeks,
star-crossed eyes,
custard pies,
honking horns, stamping feet.

They spun me around to a circus beat,
tumbled and tripped me over their over-stretched feet
and under a shower of paper strip rain
they passed me along,
one from one,
and cast me back to my bed to sleep.

That morning I took your clown and cut his strings,
left him dead to repent for your sins.

Then in the mirror I painted my face
etched tears of joy
into this clown-boy,
as my smile cracked over the death of a clown.

Poetry by Paul Wright - August, 2009.


Let my words rest on you, gentle as blossom,
flower-dust to the spring air, settling
to your soul, following a line through every season,
through the blind heat of the summer, caressing
long, lost days to the times we're together.
Shared walks and embraces, whispers on the stirring breeze,
carrying words over times of shortening days, cool nights,
treasured moments among the rain of golden leaves.
Winter caps the sheltering hills, drawing down
the clouds, a blanket to our fireside retreats,
tales of passion and misted windows,
sweet conversation embracing a love complete.
As winter melts, love's constancy brings
words as gentle as the blossoms of spring.

Poetry by Paul Wright - 16th July, 2009


You always used glitter
for every card you made.
It seemed to soothe you.
I'd watch as you'd sit at the kitchen table,
day after day,
your whole world within your reach
- glue card scissors paper -
and you,
spread amongst your mess,
tongue fixed in the corner of your slack mouth,
eyes slowly moving with your thoughts,
trailing dots and loops of glue onto card.
Then, clasping handfuls of glitter,
their silver specks trickling through your brittle porcelain fingers,
your shattered brilliance seeping from your palm,
you'd scatter light.
And then the magic
as you shook all the loose bits free
over table and floor,
to leave invisible smudges transformed
to fragile reflections of light -
and your precious work offered up
with a smile set deep in your eyes.

Poetry by Paul Wright - 6th June, 2009

Your Fingers

Your fingers,
fleshy buds,
unfold to test the air;
all for a feeling of themselves.
they reach
then curl;
hooks around my thumb.
Then retreat
to the wet heat
of your mouth.
Tiny explorers
of inner and outer worlds.

Poetry by Paul Wright

21st April, 2009

Mobile Infidelity

Flip me
slide me
stroke me.
Push all the right buttons.

Let me pass
whispers into your ear
and let you hear words
of love and lust,
make your heart beat
that little bit faster.

Between us
are secrets and surprises
full of subterfuge.
False appointments,
the occasional disappointment
when excuses are all dried up.
But mostly ... excitement!

Let me text you thoughts in words
when voices mustn't be heard.

I'll wake you
before you take me
and place me intimately
within easy reach
for the day's

I'll ring
I'll trill
I'll sing
I'll beep
I'll even 'buzz'
'til you press 'stop'

All my functions at your command.
At the touch of a fingertip.

So hold me.
I'm a sleek multi-functional
battery operated beast.
Desirable and desired.
The latest model.
So much better
than the one
you've left
at home.

16th March, 2009.

How To Eat Ice Cream

First rehearse ...

regular soft swipes of the tongue.

Take enough, not too much.
Stand in the shade
then out in the sun.
Check the wind-chill.

Test the texture - remember the effect.

Practice the timing
to extend the pleasure.

Avoid the meltdown.

You'll have it right
when you bite
into the still-crisp cone.

Then use your knowledge - for childish things.

Reckless skill.

Dare yourself to bite and chew.

Sculpt shapes with your tongue.
Make them rude.

Remove the bottom
tip of the

Dip your nose
into the ice cream
and let it drip

onto your bottom lip.

Wait 'til it's soft and squash it
on your

30th January, 2009


Sometimes I get so confused,
lost in my head
in self-abuse,
weary of making every excuse,
must be a way
easier to choose.

Once you caressed my very soul
while using our love
to sell your role,
and I thought I needed you to feel whole
so I gave myself up
to your control.

Short time turned your hand against me,
I took my blame ,
it was my fault, we'd agree.
I'd choose to stay, not to flee,
the relief of a beating
would set me free.

You stripped me of my darker soul,
tore away my dignity,
left me dead, left me cold,
caught in the lie of conspiracy.

Now bruises fade whenever you're near,
caught in guilt,
trapped by fear.
What to do should be clear,
one day there'll be
one final tear.

You stripped me of my darker soul,
tore away my dignity,
left me dead, left me cold,
caught in the lie of conspiracy.

Swallow poison, swallow pride,
something's so wrong
here inside.
I'll take my hand, forgive my lies,
and wash in blood
the tears I've cried.

January, 2009

I Need You

With acknowledgement to John Hegley who did something similar but different)

Like a dog needs a bone,
Like Greta Garbo needs "alone",
Like an ice cream needs a cone, I need you.

Like Morecombe needs his Wise,
Like trousers need their flies,
And the birds need the skies,
I need you.

Like "O Solo" needs "Mio",
Like Tony needs his Cleo,
And of course The Matrix needs Neo,
I need you.

Like the highlands need the heather,
Like Ulrika used to need the weather,
Like a fetishist needs a little bit of leather,
I need you.

Like a nun needs a habit,
Like a magician needs a rabbit,
Like romance needs a sad bit, I need you.

Like Christopher Robin needs Pooh,
Like a kanga needs a roo,
Like a ship needs a crew,
Like a flower needs the dew,
Like a cow needs a moo,
Like a g-nat needs a g-nu,
Like snooker needs a cue,
Like a detective needs a clue,
Like a foot needs a shoe,
Like a chimney needs a flue,

Like a 'me' needs a 'you',
I need you.

December, 2008.


You showed me the art of suicide.
Your life irrevocably your own.

Not the bullet
in the stomach for you
or pocketful of stones
but the gentle laying down
of your head
and surrender
to the soft whisper of gas
as it wafted
through your loosened hair.

Your body,
like freshly ironed linen,
too late to be claimed.

All you left
was your china-white cast,
hollow as a conch

and your words,
full of the roar of the sea.

by Paul Wright

November, 2008

Future Dream

The full reflected moon
milk white
on the slate sea,
under the warm,
heavy air
of a Hebridean night.

And into the future,
told in the diurnal ebb and flow,
magnified in lives and years,
a seeding thought drifts out into the night.

October, 2008


You clasp into regrets -

picking at dead meat,
claws fixed,
locked deep,

head twitching
side to side,

rotted carrion,
fit for teasing,
one piece
at a time.

August, 2008


The budgie's under the mulberry bush,
The hamster's under the hedge,
The gerbil's in a plant pot
On the window ledge.

The rat is in the vegetable patch,
The cat's gone down the well
And all that's left of the tortoise
Is his empty shell.

The fish is down the toilet,
The guinea pig's interred,
The rabbit's been incinerated,
But lately my garden's undisturbed.

You see, things have changed
From great to as bad as it gets,
My mum and dad have told me,
"No more pets!!"

Now I know sometimes life isn't fair,
Tho' there's no need for such drastic measures.
But giving God's creatures a dignified end
Is one of my life's greatest pleasures.

My animal graveyard is a place of peace
From where souls are free to leave,
But without any more new furry friends,
I've got no creatures to grieve.

And so I peer through our neighbour's hedge,
You must promise you'll never tell,
And I carefully watch our neighbour's dog
. . . . and I don't think she's looking too well!

So I think ... there's a shaded corner in my garden,
By the blocked-up water feature,
It's just across from the compost heap.
So yes ? there?s room for at least one more creature

Pearl Baby

You present yourself
- my child -
a creature of perfection

by the days


flowing along the route
for your way.

A mind of your own,
hold you in good stead,
but here's
a loving warning -

keep to the pattern
enfolding you,
do whatever we want you to.

Grow in love
with love
be good
take good care of yourself

don't ever disappoint.

one day
you take
your pure
baby body

penetrate it with steel
stain it black and blue
you do what you do.
(who's the adult here?)

Go on -
reject your perfection.

Tear down
those who love you


to where you want to be.

You pour out rejection
and I suck it up.

You should be frozen
in aspic


Photo: paul wright. Windows in the West

The poem was inspired by Avril Paton's painting, Windows in The West, and her other paintings of tenements where the collection of separate lives can be observed from the outside - each window displaying its own mini-drama of everyday life. I wanted to capture a sense of the collective nature of the tenements as well as the individual lives which unfold as night falls, rooms light up onto the streets and, finally, as the curtains close.

I used the form of a haiku for each verse as the structure readily lends itself to the pin-pointing of details by paring down the number of words and intensifying the descriptions.

Red slabs of sandstone,
slow weathered in time and lives,
a neighbourhood stacked.

Set, close upon close,
dwellings carved in ancient stone,
step to step apart.

Windows in the west
draw the spreading scarlet glow
of waking street lamps.

Night falls, glow-worm lit
window-casts mottle the street
while voyeurs steal past.

Windows set in stone,
impressed patchwork of lime-light,
each framing its show.

Lives spread, front to rear,
humdrum domesticity
played out night on night.

Nightly lit-to-view
stacked proscenium windows
play supporting acts.

Shapes shift in each space,
each out of time, out of pace,
white noise to the eye.

A dull, nightly glow,
a show slowly unfolding
in generations.

A hopscotch of light
shuttered at each curtain-fall,
lives now unobserved.

Drawn curtains close in
unspeakable acts, snatched from
the voyeur's hard gaze.

The night's performance
drawn down to a shadowplay
of banality.