Poetry Showcase: Stephen Kingsnorth (March 2023)

All pieces previously published, though rights remain with the author.

Bio: Stephen Kingsnorth, retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies.   

His blog is at https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/

Lengths for Width

It lies beneath her surface sheen,
the real disturbance of disease, 
dementia spread, synapse collapse,
while outwardly she knows the rules -
the courtesies to strangers shown,
as even dares to hold her hand,
mutters sweet nothings to her lobe.

He daily comes from swimming baths,
stiff exercise for sinew strength,
some lengths of pool as butterfly,
prior to residence - not home -
the space where breast-stroke tackles width,
that gap between her mind and his;
from highest board, diving for love,
through water for the flower God,
his Lily, surface tension float.

Tomorrow it will seem the same, 
unless more fumbles locked in brain,
meniscus broken, given way,
as lightest touch may break the skein.
Pale sunshine may give way to rain,
endearments whispered, leaning in,
cold shoulder proffered in return,
stare, a rejected sacrifice,
this diamond wedding alien. 

The House that Moved

Told moving house a major stress, 
but where the emphasis? 
My relocation, focal site, 
transferring home from house. 
The change was of my fixed mind-set, 
with salt drips reaching tongue, 
half-empty cup now overflows, 
I feel it in my bowels.

Never chessboard gambit, clever,
nor shift, a change of gear, 
timely initiating - but 
fresh rhyme, new paradigm. 
Stone lintel long-divorced from wall, 
each hang had its own song, 
put-up-with hatch that I moaned, now
anointed without oil. 

The tin bath is my jacuzzi, 
gas ring my Aga range, 
my outhouse mangle, laundromat, 
sea shanties I sing there. 
Before door shaped the bell lost flex -  
but like the clapper swing;
beneath, the scraper where I tread, 
soiled boots swop for my soul.

Still sat, I stare through the pained glass, 
cracked, garden, easy whin, 
built on dolerite foundation, 
now this my box on sill. 
Kites pennant, hawks stoop, thermals swoop, 
vigilante cloud patrol,
while even storm petrel coastguards 
serve lookout for my byre. 

Fisher King

Where ash and bullfinch, 
kicking the curl dust-desiccated floor
bedding conkers, to collect,
and learn why candelabra die,
the seasons passing, marking dance?

Tell the mistle from the song,
know more than robin’s easy blush,
the finches beak from starling stab,
enjoy the dripping on the crust
before we shared the fatty stub;
now thistles gone, greyed decking sum,
concrete for rims, wheel mowing lines.

Bruised reeds, unbroken, layabout,
minnows, a jam jar, string around,
tadpoles, toads and newts nearby,
seen thread or clump, we gathered spawn
to grail the jellied specks with awe.
We early reckoned death with us, 
fashioned cross where goldfish earthed,
more celebrated brought to birth.

That what early learning meant,
reading lines thought heaven sent,
dandled, dawdling, driven less,
halcyon, raft calming seas. 


What was the moment you arrived,
when you, the child, could be shown off,
and they seemed proud to name you theirs?
That liminal, transition point,
when you know more than they, for sure,
and they know that, with awe, inside,
not adolescent in pretence;
for it’s your ground, they visitors,
not entertainers, entertained.

It took no craft, but punt and pole,
a bridge of sighs to navigate,
a competence few strangers find,
and shirt, bought Delhi, on my back. 

The Snicket

I walked hedged in, the uniform,
longed for school grounds, too long for run; 
inviting thump, in chest, on ribs, 
caged in, the strain for flight not fight, 
adrenaline, hormone within but all about.
Face front, two privet edge, alone,
onward, knew paired, voices behind,
told sniggers dare not look or turn.

I heard cleared scouring mouth for spit,
and knew the score, gob land in hand,
its filter, fingers, slow to land.
Steadfast unaltered gaze and pace, 
slight swing of arms, chain necklace chime,
aware its drip, strings to the slabs,
that snicket path, where dawdled fast. 

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1


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