Four Poems


The world turned turtle on me.
After the footnotes and the remedies,
After the mental embassies,
The missed alarms and deadline days,
The world turned turtle.

So now I wait the set of things.
After the boxing and the moving on,
After the looks of love that’s gone,
The lack of hunt to hatch a home,
So now I wait the set.



I haven’t worked the good times yet.
The visit late when late no cigarettes.
The second kiss still drunk from one night’s debts.

Those ending weeks to sift through, not forget -
And yet, work-shy, feigned fevers and old frets.



I slipped the group and down the tarmac track,
Where mountain flowers bloomed on tidy plaques:

Lady’s mantle, large-flowered leopard’s-bane,
Eyebright, broomrape, crowfoot-leaved hare’s-ear,
Twayblade and fairy foxglove, whitlow-grass,
Hawkweed, dwarf bedstraw, and forget-me-not.

That last year glancing down the mainline track,
And turning back. And mostly turning back.



A game of chess but not my country’s rules.
These halting friendlies tend to stalemate.
The usual Saxon gambits out of luck,
I feel for squares and how the pieces move.

For days, my stutter-play in church and square.
Each night a lingering at single moves…
Know if I blunder into false attack,
, my dear, j’adoube. I take it back.


Thomas Marks